27 November 2014

making faces :: red light

guerlain says stop
guerlain have released a limited edition red lipstick with their holiday collection.

it is in their rouge g formula, the ones with the bulky but amazing packaging that includes a mirror. in this case, the casing is raspberry red rather than silver.

the shade is called rouge parade and it is red. bright red. bold red. almost frighteningly red. so very red. a red's red.

the question of tone is a bit complicated; when i swatched it on my hand in a store, it looked warmish. then i saw sara's review on colo[u]r me loud and thought it looked even warmer than i'd initially thought. then i brought it home and put it on and it wasn't really very warm at all. in fact, it leaned cool rather than warm. now i'm confused. for such an incredibly opaque shade, it seems to change considerably from one person to another.

rouge parade

there are lots and lots and lots of red lipsticks. unfathomable numbers of red lipsticks. how many red lipsticks does one woman even need? that is a rhetorical question that no one should attempt to answer. but in case your bank account forces you to answer it, you should know that "rouge parade" is brighter, cooler and has a glossier finish than givenchy "rouge égerie" and that it's lighter and brighter than guerlain "garconne", but both are fairly close.

t to b :: guerlain garconne, rouge parade
 
l to r :: givenchy rouge egerie, rouge parade, guerlain garconne



the rouge g formula is creamy, intense and extremely comfortable. "rouge parade" is among their longer-lasting shades, which is impressive. it'll go on for days if you let it, although you might want to tap a little extra on after you eat.

that's it. i can't say more. i want to, but i've already used all the words to express how much i love these lipsticks. so i could either say very little, or just copy and paste from previous reviews.

god this is lovely.

so lovely.

this is like someone captured the wildest, happiest, most optimistic moments of your entire life and formed them into a lipstick.

it's like the platonic ideal of lipstick.

people should write passionate, romantic, dazzling poetry about this lipstick.

this lipstick could be used as a weapon to counter some of the ugliness that fills this world.

it's like a magic spell, because potions and incantations are old-fashioned.

this is the gift you give when you want to a woman to realise that only the very best is worthy of her- especially if that woman is you.

this is a link to synonyms of "magnificent".

some might feel that you need an occasion to wear this stunning colour. i think that when you wear this colour, it makes whatever you're doing an occasion.

 


clearly, this is something that doesn't need a lot of support. a very neutral eye is a much better idea than shades that try to compete. in this case, i know i've used a couple of shades from ysl'd "saharienne" palette and chanel "complice" is on the inner corners and along the lower lash lines, but i'm not entirely sure what else is going on in there. the liner is illamasqua "wisdom", layered over a black pencil liner in order to make the base stronger.

i thought a bold cheek would be a nice touch, so i went with armani "eccentrico", which is the boldest of the bold. i also used hourglass "diffused light" on my cheeks and the lower part of my forehead.

even applied lightly, "rouge parade" is a ridiculously saturated shade. it's something for women who are comfortable with their brights and who want to avoid anything earthy. there is certainly some warmth in it, but it's a light, yellowy warmth, not the golden brown you get with brick reds. the clarity of the shade borders on the unreal.

"rouge parade" is limited, but still available wherever guerlain is sold. it is rouge g #820 and not all displays show both the name and number. if you think you want it, you're probably right.

world wide wednesdays :: speaking englishes

i don't envy people who have to learn english. sure, you have vast reservoirs of popular culture to use as research material [dominic, whose english is so flawless that he can easily pass for anglophone, credits sesame street with his success], but it's irritatingly inconsistent and defined more by its exceptions than its rules. there's also an unpleasant tendency to use the exact same word to mean completely different things. and even if the english have been decent enough to assign different pronunciations, you're pretty much up the creek if you're reading. if you read [not red] the sentence "i took the lead", you'd have no idea whether i was bragging or confessing, even if you were perfectly fluent in english. or, to be even more difficult, consider if i told you "dominic gave me a really nice bow", you'd be left wondering whether i got a girlish adornment for my hair or coat, or if i'd received a weapon, even if you heard me say it out loud. lots of languages can be complicated, but the prevalence of english and the importance that's placed on learning it in many areas of the world mean that a lot more people have to suffer through its trials. [and let's not get into the fact that english-speakers offer advice like "i before e except after c", which would be awesome, if it weren't wrong more often than right. but it's easier to remember than "use e before i, unless the syllable is pronounced with a long "e" and does not directly follow the letter c, in which case put i before e".]

what really makes me sad about people who take the time to learn english is that they might then be cast into the world of english speakers, which i can only imagine would be horrifying. i mean, if you ended up in canada or large parts of the united states, you'd probably do fine. sure they say we have different accents and i can tell that i pronounce things differently than barack obama, but if you threw [not through] someone into a room with the two of us and asked them to identify where each of us was from by identifying our accents, there's an excellent chance that the person wouldn't be able to do so. i can almost always pick out an accent from the maritimes [specifically the maritimes, not newfoundland, which is a totally different thing], but to most people, maritimers just sound canadian, or american. my point is that while there are a few very distinct accents in north american english, a non-native speaker cast adrift in the continent wouldn't struggle to understand most people. put them in england and it's a completely different matter. [side note :: to avoid getting pilloried for oversimplification, i'm going to plunk a link to the wikipedia article on north american english accents right here. yes, there are a number of different accents, but it's nothing compared to the mother country.]

it's a befuddling thing: the country for which the english language is named seems to have real trouble deciding what the language actually is.



keep in mind, we're talking about a country that could fit neatly in the pocket of all but three of canada's provinces and territories. yes, it's more densely populated, but unlike the caucasus region, there aren't great mountain ranges and cavernous valleys keeping people apart. so in theory, britons proximity to each other should result in less variation, not more. and yet the country seems to have more accents than canada has moose. how does that even work?

well, i'm not about to attempt a history of either england or its language here, but even a cursory glance at the country's past does give some hints as to how the current jumble developed. first of all, people kept invading and leaving bits of their language around like food wrappers at a music festival. second of all, people kept fighting. england has been inhabited for a very long time; the oldest human footprints outside of africa were found in norfolk and the island has been inhabited steadily since the end of the last ice age, about twelve thousand years ago. however, no one really seems to have given a shit about the place until the romans got there. the traditional story was that caesar arrived and instilled order on a bunch of people who had basically been sitting there eating berries and, apparently, waiting for him to show up. others claim that he displaced the mysterious celts [and you just know that they're getting a world wide wednesdays to themselves at some point] who had lived there since the dawn of time. the truth is that, when the romans arrived, they saw ample evidence that several waves of people had been there before them and all had left their marks. modern day genetics tells us that the romans were right- even before the roman invasion, england was a big mess o'genes. but after the romans got there, people started writing things down and we therefore know a lot more about the last two thousand years of english history than we know about the ten thousand before it.

the romans didn't actually contribute a lot to english other than the habit of paying attention to what was happening and writing it down. because of this, we know that the romans left and that several tribes from modern-day germany, belgium, the netherlands and denmark started visiting more and more frequently, eventually deciding to stay. the angles, saxons, jutes, frisians and others didn't arrive unified and they didn't become so for several hundred years after they settled. herein lies the first "aha!" of english history. "english" is derived from "angles" because it is with their arrival that the language first began to take shape. lots of shapes. each group of invaders [who weren't really invading, since they'd been in and out of the british isles even when the romans were there and the britons had asked them to lend a hand in keeping out the crazy neighbours from ireland and scotland after the romans left, which the germanic tribes chose to interpret as carte blanche to move in permanently] established their own little beachhead and guarded it. so from its earliest days, english was developed in pockets. in fact, if you look at the divisions of the anglo-saxon kingdoms, they are still roughly contiguous with the different regional accent groups. [side note :: a second thing that the romans contributed was the creation/ demarcation of scotland. while the romans subjugated the britons with relative ease on much of the island, as they worked their way north they realised that the land was less useful and, more importantly, it was inhabited by legions of pale blonde and ginger-haired psychopaths. showing the judiciousness that allowed them to dominate so much of the world, the romans built a wall which kept these psychopaths segregated from the development of the english language for several hundred years. which is why, when a native english speaker hears a glaswegian accent even today, they're unlikely to realise what language is being spoken.]


the new germanic kingdoms each jockeyed for position at the top of the anglo heap, however they were all eventually subjugated by vikings from denmark who took over the whole place and joined it with their existing empire of denmark and norway. but it wasn't long before something went awry. specifically, the anglo-saxon king edward the confessor evidently spent a lot of time being pious [he was canonized and was england's patron saint for a few hundred years before st. george] and not nearly enough time impregnating mrs. confessor. he died without a direct heir in january 1066, at which point all hell broke lose among the various contestants for "england's next top ruler".

in late september that same year, william of normandy, edward's cousin by marriage, won the contest by defeating and killing his principle rival, the anlgo-saxon harold ii. normandy being part of france, william brought with him a new royal language, bits of which tumbled out the windows of the palace and started to get mixed up with the jumble of formerly anglo-saxon words and a few viking interloper terms that the common people were using to communicate. many of the more "complicated" english words [like "complicated", strangely enough] were originally french and were appropriated. also, while historians originally believed that the romans had left traces of latin behind them when they left, it now seems more likely that latin-based words in english came over with the normans as well.

one of william's most important contributions to the development of english, aside from bringing in lots of our most delicious-sounding words [like delicious!], was that he helped to establish a long-term class division that shaped the language on the basis of economic status. even though he had won the crown, william was aware that he remained surrounded by enemies: there remained others with arguably stronger claims to the throne than he [especially since william was a bastard, so his claim to the throne through marriage was predicated on a marriage that had never happened], the danish were always a threat to reclaim the island and the northern lands beyond the wall were still full of the crazy ginger people. in order to strengthen his position, william told his norman friends that they could move to england and take pretty much whatever they wanted from the nasty anglo-saxons. his famous "domesday book" [basically the first national census of england and wales] showed that norman names dominated the landowning class in the country and that the anglo-saxons who had formed the gentry under previous rulers had been displaced.


and if what you're trying to understand is why english is so bloody complicated, you don't have to continue a lot further than that. the legacy of the anglo-saxon kingdoms birthed a fierce regionalism which allowed early linguistic differences to be perpetuated, while the influx of a french gentrified class meant that the upper class in england spoke with both a distinct accent and a different vocabulary.

most important, though, was the fact that, as english developed, it just kept adding on bits from the various people who showed up there. the reason that english seems weird is that it is weird. french, italian, spanish and portuguese trace their roots back to latin. sure there are regional differences, but a lot of the basis is the same. german, dutch and flemish stem from the same roots and you can certainly tell this when you look at them. english comes from everywhere and as a result, looks a bit of a patchwork mess. ours is a duct tape language. [side note :: english comes from everywhere, it should be noted, except england. we don't know a lot about the language of the britons who lived in england before the romans arrived. the fingerprints of their speech can be found in the brythonic branch of the celtic languages, comprised of welsh, breton and the deceased cornish tongue, however we know very little about the "original english".]

and that, my friends, is why it sucks to learn english. because when you're learning english, you're not learning one language, you're learning to speak a half dozen archaic languages in a half-assed way and using rough guidelines to bind them together into something that resembles a unified whole.

24 November 2014

mental health mondays [rewind] :: historical perspective

i kind of hate myself for doing two re-posts in a row, but this one is over three years old and i do think that there's some interesting stuff in here. it's kind of frightening what we have allowed ourselves to think about our own brains. at some point, you'd think that the brain would just object to being characterised in such ways. nonetheless, we have had many, many bizarre ideas about ourselves and this is just a sampling. makes you wonder which current theories will be included in such a list fifty years from now. [note :: i do not expect i will be writing that list. even if i live that long, i'll be even crazier by that point and i'll probably be trying to sell you on some of the ideas listed below.]

*

when thinking about the problems of mental illness, it's worth looking at how tenuous our understanding is of the workings of the human brain. keep in mind that it was not that long ago that trained professionals felt that the only way to deal with someone in the throes of mania was to forcibly submerge them- all of them- in a bath of ice water until they "became calm". i'll let you ponder the possible outcomes of that treatment for a moment.

doctors now believe that they have a much greater handle on the workings of the human brain, but keep in mind, that is exactly what those who came before them thought. and while it is indisputable that we do now have more information about the chemistry of the brain and the makeup of the various substances in it, a lot of professionals will begrudgingly [some less begrudgingly] admit that knowing what goes into the brain doesn't necessarily make it a whole lot easier to guess how those substances interact with each other.

here's a few weird facts from the history of mental illness that may make you scratch your head, if only to make sure that there isn't anyone else trying to poke around in there.

just what the doctor ordered
"female hysteria" was a condition often diagnosed and suspected to affect up to a quarter of women in the 19th century. its symptoms included "faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and 'a tendency to cause trouble'". to many of us, that sounds suspiciously like the symptoms of being alive, or at worst of having pms, but it was pretty serious psychological business in the nineteenth century. one of the main treatments, since it was seen as a sexual disorder, was through vaginal massage, with the aim of reaching "hysterical paroxysm" [basically a kind of moment after which the women seemed to forget their problems and become strangely calm and happy]. this technique proved exceptionally frustrating to physicians, who found that the time it took to reach paroxysm was excessive and that sometimes, no matter how long or how intense the massage, the great moment just never arrived.

fortunately, the medical aid industry came to the rescue by inventing a mechanical massager that didn't get tired and that seemed to get more reliable results.

23 November 2014

more like space greatest hits :: culinating

i got reminded of this post because it's received a surprising number of hits this week and because i just made the same basic dish for supper. also, i realised that i haven't posted any cooking-related posts since the end of "eat the cup", which was entirely unintentional. i forgot to pick up parsley, but i did add fresh parmesan, so i guess that this is a heartier [although not healthier] take on the same idea. and parmesan doesn't make it any more complicated.

i no longer work in the sticks, thank god, but i do still appreciate something that's quick to prepare but isn't prepackaged, frozen or otherwise removed from what i snobbishly term "real food". i'm using dried pasta and minced garlic, so it's more than possible to get all holier-than-thou on my ass. 

*


one of the [many] frustrating things about having to commute to the suburbs for work is that by the time i get home, i pretty much never have the energy to cook a nice dinner- the kind of dinner i like and that will make me happy. dom helps whenever he can, although the state of his health means that he doesn't have the energy to do a lot of prep work in the kitchen either. besides, i'm the one who loves to cook. during times [very few and far between, sadly] when i've been working closer to home, cooking a good meal at the end of the day was something i used to look forward to. but after having spent the better part of a year and a half telling myself that i would eventually push through and would arrive home with boundless energy. [the optimistic part of me has a weird sense of timing.]

in the meantime, i've compromised with a lot of prepackaged foods and ordering takeout more than i should, but i think i'm finally ready to face my problem head on. i need to uncomplicate

one of the reasons that i find the notion of cooking supper daunting is that there are usually so many steps involved. on some occasions when i have felt like making something, we've ended up eating dinner at ten o'clock at night, which is fine if you plan on going to bed at two, but if i did that i'd suffer sleep deprivation and go crazier. 

so the immediate challenge i've set for myself is to come up with healthy, tasty meals with as few ingredients as possible. and in keeping with my thoughts on what to do with the blog this year, i've decided to tell you about all this. because if i have to post pictures of it, i'm less likely to tell dom that we're having a bag of flour for dinner. 

21 November 2014

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [winter edition]

it seems oddly canadian to have two posts in a row about winter/ cold/ snow, but they're obviously unrelated. after all, for most people winter is a season, but in colour analysis terms, winter is part of what you are, an effect of the different wavelengths that comprise the physical part of the thing known as "you". this might be getting a little heady for a post about lipstick. moving on...

if you've perused the other entries in this series without finding something that really spoke to you [figuratively- lipsticks shouldn't actually speak to you- get help], you may belong in one of the winter seasons. winter, like summer, is cool in tone; like spring, it is saturated; like autumn, it is dark. that combination of elements creates a colour palette [or three] that reads as very "strong" to most. and on people who aren't part of the winter group, such a palette would look severe. the point of finding a palette that reads "correctly" on you is to find something that you can balance and winter skin can absolutely balance these intense shades. someone who isn't part of the winter club will look like they're being buried under the weight of such colours- they'll look physically smaller and, as a result, give the impression of being diminished.

on the other hand, people who require stronger colours will look a bit ill if they adorn themselves with soft, milky neutrals, pastels or muted tones. yes, there are lighter, less "intimidating" options, but they'll always be more intense than those of other people. i'm mentioning this because, on their own, winter colours can look shocking. they won't when they're placed on the right person. anything less would seem feeble.

if you peruse the "making faces" posts on this blog, you'll notice that i have a marked preference for these sorts of shades, a lot more of them than i've had space to mention here, so please feel free to glance through them at your leisure.

19 November 2014

world wide wednesdays :: you don't know from snow

one hopes they tip the kid who shovels this
buffalo, new york has apparently called in the national guard to deal with their latest snowfall. a lot of times, canadians like to scoff at our southern neighbours and how panicky they get at what we'd call a flurry. that ignores the fact that, if your city doesn't budget for plows, salt, sand, disposal, etc., because it doesn't normally need such things, any amount of snow is a pretty big deal. most cities can't afford to hold tight and wait for the situation to resolve itself. more importantly, it also ignores the fact that the united states is home to a lot of the snowiest places on earth. in fact, when it comes to places that accumulate the white stuff, america kicks our frozen behind, whether you're considering it from the perspective of individual locations with the highest snowfalls or cities with the highest snowfalls. really, there is only one country that should have the right to scoff at the united states and their snowfalls: japan.

more specifically, the people who can scoff are the inhabitants of northern island of hokkaido, because for them, two metres is really more of a starting point. it's not uncommon for western areas of the island facing the sea of japan to see eleven metres of snow a year and while that's different from getting two metres at once, let's just say that such a storm would qualify merely as "annoying".

now, if most canadians were shocked to find out that the united states had more "snow hot spots" than us, we'd be absolutely flabbergasted by the fact that russia doesn't have any. our immediate assumption when it comes to winter is that russia is the only country that can beat us at it. it's likely that if you asked any ten canadians to name places in the world that got the most snow, not more than one or two of them would name a place in japan. but that's because in canada, we lump the two great harbingers of winter, cold and snow, together. mother nature doesn't. if you go back to that list of snowiest cities on earth, you'll see that the canadian cities that did make the cut are located on the sides, whereas the bitterly cold prairies are unrepresented. like the prairies, russian siberia gets plenty freakin' cold, but it's a dry cold. [side note :: a number of canadians would probably guess that the snowiest places in the world are located in the himalayan mountains and i did find some lists that listed nepal as one of the most snowbound regions, but there seems to be a lack of data on specific places. i'd say it's still highly possible that there are a couple of nepalese towns that should be on the list.]

go ahead, tell me about your awesome snow fort
if it helps you feel better, siberia is implicated in the outrageous snowfalls that western hokkaido experiences. every year, frigid winds go whipping across the plains in an easterly direction. as they cross the sea of japan, they pick up moisture from the comparatively warm water. then- bam!- they run headlong into the mountains of hokkaido. remember all that stuff you learned in grade school about how cooling vapours causes them to condense and form either liquid or, if it's colder, solid water droplets? when you cool an amount of humid air the size of a small ocean by forcing it up the side of a mountain, you get eleven metres of snow.

oh, and in case you didn't think that it was hardcore enough living in one [or several, depending on how you look at it] of the snowiest places on earth, it might interest you to know that much of hokkaido is made from motherf**king volcanoes, a handful of which are still active. this means that along with some of the world's best skiing, you have a number of hot springs [onsen], that offer a variety of different health benefits. chances are you've seen pictures of adorable monkeys using them.

all of this raises the question: who in their right mind would choose to live on a pile of volcanoes with some of the deepest snowdrifts in the world?

if you wanted an answer to that, you'd need to go back in time. way back. because as far as historians and archaeologists have been able to determine, there have been people living in hokkaido for about twenty thousand years. the original settlers appear to have been part of a larger culture that inhabited not just hokkaido, but other areas around the sea of okhotsk: sakhalin island, the kuril islands and possibly the southern part of the kamchatka peninsula. these were highly successful hunter-gatherers who kept largely to themselves and who gradually intermarried with the satsumon, a culture living on the japanese archipelago. the fusion of these two groups produced the ainu culture, which is what is chiefly associated with hokkaido today. [side note: the exact origins of the ainu, as well as the origins of the groups from which they descended, continues to be a subject of debate. although present on hokkaido for millennia, the ainu never codified their language, which means there is no written record of them before they began to interact with the japanese.]

the water is a little hot
the ainu remained more or less indifferent to their southern neighbours until the japanese entered their feudal period. japan's expansion inevitably brought them into contact with the ainu and the japanese level of organization and greater military strength allowed them to dominate the northerners with relative ease. nonetheless, the ainu did not go gently into the feudal night and mounted rebellions against their colonizers. however, as trade ties became stronger between the two, the ainu were forced into a position of increased dependence. these trade ties also resulted in the import of things like smallpox, which caused the ainu population to plummet. this decline in numbers made the ainu easier to subdue and they were often used as de facto slave labour.

with the meiji restoration, a campaign of assimilation began. this worked out about as well for the ainu as assimilation programs did for indigenous groups in north america and australia, although the implementation was slightly different. in 1899, the hokkaido former aborigines act was introduced in order to help the downtrodden ainu adapt to modern agriculture. the government said that their intent was to remove the stigma of being an aboriginal people from the ainu, but "removing the stigma" involved repressing ainu language, culture and religion. the ainu were forced to learn japanese and to change their ainu names to japanese ones. at the same time, just to level the playing field, the government decided that traditional ainu lands would be available to anyone and they conducted a massive campaign to encourage japanese immigration to the island, where all of this free land was suddenly available. the policy was successful, at least if you were japanese. the island was overrun with japanese immigrants and the ainu were permanently disenfranchised. [side note :: at the time, the government made no bones about what they were doing and even referred to it as "colonization". later on, upper class japanese academics realized that sounded icky and began to refer to the process as "reclamation". so the japanese were understood to have reclaimed land they had never inhabited.]

the japanese remained adamant about their policy of assimilating other cultures on the archipelago. it wasn't until 1997 that the former aborigines act was repealed- until then, it was the official policy of the japanese government that there were no ethnic minorities in the country. nineteen-ninety-seven. worse still, it wasn't until 2008 that japan officially recognised the ainu as a indigenous group. however, the policy of assimilation may have accomplished its aims before it was repealed. official estimates are that there are only about 25,000 ainu people left [although some claim there are as many as ten times that] and even that number includes many japanese people who have ainu ancestry; ethnic ainu would often encourage their children to marry into japanese families in order to protect them from racial prejudice. the ainu language, which is unrelated to any other language on earth, is on the verge of extinction: the number of people who speak it fluently is estimated at one hundred at
ainu couple in traditional dress and traditional lip tattoo
the most and possibly as few as a dozen. there have been efforts to increase awareness of the history and distinctiveness of ainu culture, but it's a sad state of affairs for the people who lived 20,000 years under the snow. [side note: the historical presence of the ainu continues to affect modern-day politics. the kuril islands are claimed by both japan and russia because of the traditional presence of ainu people, who are neither japanese, nor russian, but who have long-standing communities in both countries. the kuril archipelago runs from the northern tip of hokkaido to the kamchatka peninsula and all of the islands currently belong to russia. japan, however, claims the four southernmost islands. national dominion over the islands has been an issue between japan and russia for centuries and they have been handed back and forth. after world war ii, japan was forced to relinquish control over all the kurils, however the united states and her allies refused to acknowledge soviet dominion over the islands. since these positions have not been updated since the 1950s, the kuril islands have been de facto part of the soviet union/ russia, but their political status remains a sort of enigma.]

so this winter, as you're stuck on the road, or shovelling yourself out, or falling in a snowbank, or experiencing any of the other unpleasantries that go along with living in a climate where winter is something to be respected and feared, spare a moment to think that things could be much, much worse. unless you're living in hokkaido, in which case you should just pat yourself on the back and take pride in being such a tough s.o.b., then head off to enjoy some time admiring the towers of snow that could not defeat you, while soaking in volcanic hot spring. 

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [fall edition]

after the brightness of spring and the coolness of summer, we come upon autumn, a season of warmth, lower saturation and relative darkness. saturation actually increases as fall moves towards winter, just as it decreased when spring moved towards summer. generally, though, autumn shades are rich, warm, with a golden amber core, as opposed to spring's bright daffodil yellow. i tend to associate spring colours with fruit and candy, whereas fall colours are those of the vegetable garden and the spice market. [i'm not sure if that will make sense to anyone else, but i'm just putting it out there.]

as you might expect, the fiery tones of autumn foliage all live here- flame reds, burnt oranges, ochre yellows. blue options are limited, but instead of spring turquoise, autumn leans towards teal.it encompasses a wide range of colours, all of which, i find, speak of the comforts of the season, ranging from lighter shades with the softened finish of brushed cotton to the delicious richness of stews and preserves to the sumptuous glints of gold and copper, like the waning sun reflecting from a metal surface.

when i started delving into the world of seasonal colour analysis, i already knew that i wasn't an autumn. i tried to remain open-minded, but those colours have just never worked for me. i know that my complexion doesn't look great with either a tan or bronzer, which is something that an autumn almost always would. [i'm leaving that as "almost" to account for very fair soft autumns or very cool dark autumns who might not look as good, but in my case, it is really difficult to find a bronzer that doesn't look like dirt on me.] looking at the various palettes, however, did give me more of an appreciation for how all of these colours can work together. it's not just shades of earth and rust.

that said, because i knew i wasn't an autumn, i haven't ever made a point of collecting autumn-friendly shades, so these suggestions, while i think they're all appropriate, don't necessarily showcase the range that's available to these complexions.


17 November 2014

mental health mondays :: doubt and dissociation

a friend of mine posted a link last week about the controversies surrounding dissociative disorders and how they are treated. i've posted in mhm before about the phenomenon of dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder, but there are actually a number of different types of dissociative disorder. multiple personalities is just the most extreme and the rarest of them. there are other forms of dissociation, which basically means a break with reality of some sort. some are extremely mild [and not considered signs of a disorder] and others are more serious. one thing that they share is that they are controversial and the more serious the dissociative episodes, the more controversial they become.

one of the reasons for the controversy is that they are difficult to prove. most dissociative conditions aren't a full-time thing. the symptoms can wax and wane, there is no true diagnostic test [although that's true for most mental disorders] and there is always great speculation that people are faking or imagining the condition, especially when it comes to offering a legal defense. many dramatisations have portrayed characters who mimic the symptoms of dissociative disorder in order to escape criminal charges. [face lift, an early episode of csi and the film primal fear are the first examples that spring to mind.] this may create the impression that the defense is raised fairly frequently in order to obtain a not guilty verdict, but in fact, it is attempted in less than 0.1% of felony cases and is successful in only a small fraction of those. [nor does that mean that the symptoms were false. courts have often ruled that the presence of multiple identities is immaterial to criminal guilt.]

in fact, a huge majority of people will experience some sort of dissociative episode in their lives. have you ever realised that you had no memory of several minutes of your life? or had a moment where you felt disconnected from your body? or even a sense of déjà vu? those are all very minor, fleeting forms of dissociation. they're certainly not enough to qualify as a disorder, but it might help you understand the situation of someone who suffers from a full-on condition.

dissociative disorders take several forms: amnesia is a fairly well-known one [although not all amnesia is dissociative- it can be caused by damage to the brain]. there is also the dissociative fugue, which is a temporary "switch" that often results in a person abandoning their home, job and sometimes even their identity for a certain period of time, particularly when they are under acute stress. [mystery writer agatha christie is thought to have experienced and eleven-day dissociative fugue in 1926.] there is also the possibility of depersonalisation/ derealisation, where a person can have an "out of body experience" or feel as if they are constantly dreaming, that nothing around them [or inside them] is real. these states can be transitory, or they can last for years and there isn't a lot of agreement on how they can be treated. therapy is seen as an absolute necessity, but then there is the question of what kind of therapy.

the most common theory on dissociative disorders is that they are linked to trauma [which means that they could be considered an effect of ptsd]. one of the most common examples is that people who are involved in car accidents will often have no recollection of the events immediately preceding and following the event. however, not all trauma will cause dissociation. holocaust survivors remember what happened to them very well. that may indicate that dissociation is more likely in reaction to shock, as opposed to sustained horror, especially in adults.

dissociative disorders are most often the result of early childhood trauma, such as abuse. unlike adults, children cannot understand or cope with what is happening to them [having little or no sense of the world outside their home] and, on a subconscious level, the brain "chooses" to distance itself from what is happening. this results in persistent problems later in life, since it is often not possible to shut this reaction off. dissociative disorders related to early childhood are extraordinarily difficult to treat, because they are usually deeply ingrained by the time they are identified and also because they are the most controversial.

starting in the early 1980s, a wave of stories spread through the american media [and eventually beyond] about children having been subject to horrific physical and sexual abuse. these memories were uncovered through hypnosis when adult patients sought help for a variety of different conditions. none of the people who reported abuse had been consciously aware of it before therapy, but they all exhibited some form of anxiety disorder that couldn't be explained by their current circumstances. the idea that psychologists could retrieve lost or blocked memories in great detail was a revelation. there was only one problem: it was hogwash. these "memories" of violence turned out to be false, an idea planted by the process of therapy itself and then retroactively believed by the patient. [i should note that the theory of recovered memory dates back to freud, it was just in the eighties that it became widely known and a sort of pop culture topic.]

there is no scientific evidence to back the theory of recovered memories. while some children do block instances of abuse, they continue mostly to be aware of what happened, it's just that they're memories aren't clear or continuous. usually, memories will present as snippets, but out of context, associated more with emotions than a connected series of events. nonetheless, the phenomenon of recovered memory made for grisly, prurient news and it was widely covered. as it was debunked, it unfortunately took the reputation of all dissociative disorders with it. since this particular method of addressing dissociation has been discredited, people assume that the whole category of disorders has been discredited as well.

the fact is that the human brain is so complex that we may never understand what causes dissociation and why certain people are affected while others aren't. in the meantime, we fumble to find treatments that help and not to make anymore egregious mistakes along the way.

16 November 2014

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another post.] the search for summer colours is further complicated by the fact that cool colours, when they are available, are much too saturated, which will make a true summer complexion look like someone else's lips are standing on her face. yikes.

bracketing the completely cool true summer season, you have the light summer, which is the cooler analogue to light spring and the soft summer, which blends summer cool with a hint of autumn's warmth. both of these pull away from the pure cool of summer by adding different types of heat. as the spring influence starts to fade, colours begin to lose their saturation, becoming softer and hazier. this reaches an apex as summer and autumn mix, as both are seasons with lower saturation. 

14 November 2014

time out

occasionally, you have one of those days where you worry that your brain is just going to explode and run out your ears. this has been such a day.

it's not anything to do with my day personally. i got a little work done around the house, watched team scotland win a football match, got some swatches done for future instalments of "a lip for all seasons" [finished the swatches, in fact], picked up some stuff needed from the grocery store, watched some of the tiny kittens live feed [we're on eleventh hour kitten watch for dorothy], felt guilty about not getting any writing done. about average, really.

nonetheless, i've spent much of the day in white-lipped fury, over a mass media rag that i haven't taken notice of in years. time magazine. why has this recycling bin staple suddenly gotten me so angry? it's because of a little user poll they're conducting to choose the one pop culture word or phrase that needs to be banned in 2015. among the candidates are tween-to-twenty-something staples like "bae", "i can't even...", "said no one ever", "kale" [because, fuck healthy greens already] and "feminism".

wait, what?

that's right. time magazine wants to hear from you if you want the word feminism banned [probably not literally... also, "literally" is one of the words on the list as well]. what the hell? don't worry, time reassures you that wanting to ban "feminism" doesn't mean that you have a problem with the idea of feminism, it's just that you wish bitches would shut up about it. why can't they just be sort of silent, acquiescent feminists? why do they have to act like it's important to speak up about being a successful, strong, proud woman? it's not like sexism still exists or anything.

it's not like some guy who took pictures of an underage girl getting raped and circulated them for laughs, so that she was bullied and tormented until she committed suicide just got off with a slap on the wrist.

it's not like a white, male united states senator demanded to know how a candidate to lead the equal employment opportunities commission can even show up to work with a straight face, because his entire job would consist of trumping up charges against upstanding businesses who like to hire women and people of colour to fill their lowest-paying jobs.

it's not like the amazing feat of landing a robot on a comet was just undermined by a spokesperson wearing a blatantly sexist shirt on national television.

it's not like an open carry advocate just dealt with opposition from "moms against guns" by telling its members to shut up and "put a dick in your mouth".

it's not like it's become a meme to yell "fuck her right in the pussy" at [mostly female] television journalists, because that's obviously the most hilarious thing that anyone could say on a live broadcast, ever.

it's not like a guy who champions choking women and says that a checklist of domestic abuse signs reads like a list of tips for a happy relationship [for a man] is currently on a world tour. [or that forbes magazine hails him as a canary in the free speech coal mine, whose views are basically harmless immaturity.]

and it's not like i just pulled those links from my friends' facebook posts in the last twenty-four hours.

no, what's really an issue is that women are talking about feminism like it's something the rest of the world should notice. like wanting to be treated equally and not judged based on appearance or marital status or any of the other conditions for respect that are imposed on women but not men is just such a downer. and this whole business about wanting to call attention to sexual assault is so tired. what is with these women? why can't they just be silent and let equality happen organically? or just accept the way that things are, because it's better than it used to be?

i'm not personally going to vote in this contest, but part of me is hoping that there will be enough #womenagainstfeminism groupies, pua aficionados and 4chan/ 9gag trolls to select "feminism" as the winner. because i think that would be a nice reminder to the corporate shills at time magazine of what they're pandering to by equating the fight for women's equality with colloquial trends. modern-era feminism has roots extending to seventeenth century dramatist aphra behn and eighteenth century novelist mary wollstoneraft. it has surged in waves and then been driven back [although always, slowly, winning advances] for hundreds of years, been vilified and demonized, been grossly misunderstood [starlet shailene woodley said that she didn't consider herself a feminist because she didn't believe that women should seek to dominate men], but as far as time magazine is concerned, it has the same cultural weight as "bae". [fyi, i may get my wish. "feminism" is currently leading the poll by a considerable margin.]

if ever there was an argument for women with high public profiles to keep avowing their feminism, this is it. [and, let it be noted that much of the list is made up of terms that have been appropriated from minority cultures, to be mocked by a white time employee.]

in the meantime, i'd like to suggest a term of my own that should be banned in the coming year: "time magazine". because if you want to find something that's outlived it's usefulness, that becomes more annoying every time you hear it, that's just an inconsequential piece of pop fluff, then you couldn't do better.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [spring edition]

for the most part, all of my colour analysis posts have been extremely self-centred. [other than the time i analysed dom. and the time i analysed the cats.] at the same time, i know that one of the reasons people start looking into theories of colour analysis is so that they can make sense of the plethora of options offered to them at the makeup counter. i suspect many of them want to try to make sense of the fact that despite the plethora of options, the things that should work somehow don't and yet random things seem to light up your whole face. i feel your pain.

fortunately, there are blogs that give some tips on finding proper makeup colours. christine scaman has both product suggestions and detailed descriptions of what you should be looking for. truth is beauty has extensive lips for sale for each season. i don't have the knowledge of either of those women when it comes to sci/ art analysis, but i figured that it couldn't hurt to offer my opinion. because what fun is the web if you can't find hundreds of opinions about everything?

i decided to start with lipsticks because a. i have a large number of lipsticks; and b. it's a little less complicated than, say, eye shadows, where you're often wearing three or more of them at a time and the question of how well something works is partially dictated by what it's next to. my intent was to do all the seasons in one post, but as i was doing the swatches, i realised that it would be a lot of information and that i'd already removed at least eighteen layers of skin by the time i was half way through. so let's stick to groups of three, organised by season, shall we? good.

my intention was to use only shades that were currently available as part of permanent collections from the brands i usually feature here. things being what they are, i know that it won't be long before some of them are discontinued, so you can just read this and hate me, but please know that i tried. i also tried to offer a range of colours for each season, including different textures and finishes, but i am limited to what i have [albeit less limited than a lot of people], so this was more successful with some seasons than with others.

so let's bring out the springs!

12 November 2014

world wide wednesdays :: lest we've forgotten

i thought i'd indulge in a bit of a departure this week, in remembrance of what i firmly believe is the defining event of the twentieth century: world war i. it's certainly arguable, but i've thought about it a lot and i'm pretty firm in my opinion. because the second world war was better documented and made a better story [good versus evil], it has overshadowed its predecessor and this has done us all a great disservice. the "great war" as it was known [or, more optimistically "the war to end all wars"] is responsible for a staggering amount that we now take for granted. so today's world wide wednesday will take a look at some of those.

  • rosie the riveter and her world war ii colleagues might get all the glory, but it was in world war i that women first moved into the workforce to do the work of men sent off to the front. their work greatly advanced the cause of women's rights and the suffrage movement achieved their aim of having the franchise [i.e., the right to vote] extended to women throughout europe and north america as a result. [side note :: in canada, women's suffrage was granted by conservative prime minister robert borden in 1917-18 specifically because of the war. desperate to gain support for his policy of conscription, borden extended voting rights to women who were in service, war widows and female relatives of men serving in the war. he also courted members of the opposition liberal party to join him as part of a unionist government, because, with the war and all, he felt canada needn't concern itself with things like having multiple political parties. these strategies were successful and borden won re-election with a parliamentary majority in the election of 1917.]
  • wounded soldier with facial prosthetic
  • plastic surgery had been in its infancy, but was forced to advance at warp speed because of the war. one of the major causes of injury to soldiers in the field was shrapnel and many returned from service with faces almost literally destroyed. facial reconstruction was employed wherever possible, but not all could be treated this way. doctor sir henry gillies and american sculptor anna coleman watts ladd pioneered the development of prosthetics designed to cover the wounded portion of a soldier's face with a mask molded based on photos taken before the disfigurement and painted to match the skin as closely as possible.
  • most of the machines which we now think of as synonymous with armed conflict were introduced in the first world war. it was the first time that airplanes had been used as an integral part of battles. machine guns were widely used for the first time. although better known for their work in the second world war, submarines, particularly german u-boats, were deployed to great effect in the first world war. but perhaps the most memorable advance in military hardware were the vehicles dubbed "landships". their construction was so secret that even the [women] workers building them were told that they were some form of mobile water reservoir. they were shipped out to the front using this same deception- that they were water storage tanks and not weapons. this is how the "landships" came to be nicknamed "tanks". [side note :: one of the weapons most associated with world war one is toxic gas. it was first used by france, but became increasingly widespread throughout the war. once the participating nations had seen its horrific effects, they agreed that such weapons were too awful to be used in any future conflicts. and no one ever used a chemical weapon again, ever, anywhere in the world.]
  • america chose to stay outside the fray for some time, however both sides desperately hoped to convince the new world powerhouse to step in on their side. the british were terrified that america's considerable jewish lobby would convince the government to enter the war on the german side, since many american jews were of german ancestry. so in order to influence them, the british government agreed to support the jewish claim for a homeland in the middle east. at the same time, in order to get armies from the arabian peninsula to agree to rebel against the ottoman empire, the british promised arabian leaders that they would support their right to sovereignty in their own lands. and behind everyone's back, they were negotiating with their longtime rivals but world war allies france to carve up the middle east between them. [hey, weren't we just talking about that?] it's not like the middle east was all calm and love beforehand, but much of the modern conflict in that area can be traced to this duplicitous [or triplicitous?] british policy during world war one. [side note :: american president woodrow wilson was quite proud of the fact that he had not entered the war when he ran for re-election in 1916: his election slogan was "he kept us out of the war". three months after his inauguration in 1917, he sent america to war.]
  •  the great war introduced an ugly new word to the english lexicon: genocide. although not coined until 1943, the term was used originally to describe the organised mass killings of one and a half million armenians by the turkish government starting in 1915. this systematic slaughter may have inspired a later one. during the 1946 war crimes trials in nuremburg, the prosecution introduced a transcript of adolf hitler's "obersalzburg speech", given a week before his army invaded poland. one draft of the speech contained the line "who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the armenians?" prosecutors argued that this mention of the armenian genocide indicated that hitler was already planning a mass extermination of his own, with the expectation that it too would be forgotten. [side note :: to this day, the turkish government denies the claim that a genocide took place. in fact, only twenty-three countries worldwide acknowledge it.]
  • the family portrait with victoria, wilhelm, george and nicholas
  • although the end of world war ii is generally thought to have heralded the collapse of european empires, the process was well underway by the end of the first war. although germany didn't have much of an empire to speak of [they'd only had a country for a little more than forty years when the war broke out], their royal family was deposed and sent into exile. russia's royal family weren't so lucky. the ottoman and austro-hungarian empires were already in turmoil before the war [and indeed, their instability was one of the war's principal causes] and both collapsed in its wake. only the british monarch was able to survive his continental cousins. and i do mean cousins. with all this talk about different nations, it can be easy to forget that the rulers of britain, germany and russia were fairly closely related. they didn't call queen victoria the grandmother of europe for nothing. [side note :: some historians argue that the kaiser's refusal to back away from military commitments that put germany on a collision course with russia was due to the fact that he believed that king george v would never be able to back one of his cousins against the other and that britain would therefore remain neutral in any conflict. a rather disastrous gamble as it turned out.]

those are just a few of the effects of the great war that we continue to see today. but there are many more. i'm not even getting into a discussion of serbia, bosnia and the pan-slavic movement [although i probably will in a future www instalment]. my point is just to offer a few reminders of how the first world war continues to colour our perception of the world, even though we've forgotten much of the lessons it taught. when it comes to fighting, every state likes to invoke the metaphor of world war ii- that battle is an unpleasant necessity in the face of evil. but i believe we have much more to learn from the tumultuous world of the early twentieth century, when old powers were in the decline, new ones were on the ascendant and a lot of leaders out of touch with the people they supposedly lead bickered and stumbled their way into one of the bloodiest conflicts in history.

[parting note :: i feel like i should mention that searching for images of world war one-era prosthetic masks is the single most unpleasant thing i have ever had to do in writing this blog. if you ever want to really expose yourself to the horrors of war, i invite you to try your luck with google. if you'd like to sleep again, i suggest you take my word for it: you're happier not knowing.] 

11 November 2014

mental health mondays :: talk about it tuesday

a few weeks ago, i was contacted by the american recall center, who are conducting a campaign to help start a conversation about medicines: personal experiences, side effects, any details that people should have before starting [or stopping]. more like space was invited to participate in talk about your medicines, with the focus for this blog clearly being on the drugs being used to treat mental disorders. i've expended a lot of pixels here talking about the different types of medications that are available to treat various conditions although, as i'm fond of stressing i'm not a professional and i don't know what i'm talking about in any scientific sense. that said, i do like to research such things and if i can make it easier to understand for anybody else, then i consider it a job well done.

one thing i've never done on the blog, however, is talk about myself. as much as i've written about the state of psychiatry, the prevalence of mental health issues, the treatments for disorders, i've never actually spoken about what's wrong with me. i'm guessing that most of you have figured out that i do speak about this from the point of view of experience, but i've never been specific. there are a few reasons for that; i wanted to make the focus more objective; i wanted the information i offered on medicine and disorders to be just that- information, rather than a diary of my own struggles; i didn't want to proselytize and assume that whatever worked for me was going to work for others [or that what didn't work for me wouldn't]. but by leaving myself entirely out of the equation, i've realised that i'm potentially hiding some personal biases. more importantly, if i'm not comfortable talking about my own particular flavour of crazy, i'm passively reinforcing the idea that it's something you're not supposed to talk about. or, in other words, undermining everything i've been trying to do.

so for any of you who have ever read this blog and thought "what's her problem?" i'm here to tell you not just what it is, but also what i've tried to do to fix it.

ARE YOU READY TO JUMP INTO MY BRAIN?


08 November 2014

the great leap forward

this morning i had the inevitable thought: i've done it again. i've screwed up and i've been putting writing on the back burner and i've lost an entire week of na-no-wri-mo. i haven't even put any effort into thinking of something that i could do for my own na-sho-sto-wri-ha-mo. i'd doomed myself to another year of failure, as i watched jubilant updates fill up my twitter feed from people who were obviously way better in the self-discipline department than i am.

what's worse, is that i just let all this happen. last saturday, the first, i had a halloween-themed supper to go to. that meant that i had to get a costume ready, which took a large chunk of the afternoon. sunday there was soccer to watch and i was feeling a little the worse for wear anyway. monday i had to do mental health mondays and i absolutely was not going to let myself recycle an older column when i so wanted to talk about jian ghomeshi. tuesday was all about american elections- the coverage leading up to it and the results as they rolled in. then wednesday was all about being grumpy about the election results and writing world wide wednesdays. thursday i really meant to get something done, but then dom started watching das boot and i hadn't seen it in about twenty years and had to know if it held up. it does, but it also eats up a huge chunk of your day. and somehow this blossomed into dom and me spending the entire day watching movies. then yesterday, i went to lunch with martin because we hadn't done that in a long time and when i got home, i decided i wanted to watch the third man because isn't noir just perfect for november? since i rarely get in the mood to suggest a movie, dom just went with it and afterward decided that we should watch catch-22 and then all of a sudden it's like one in the morning and it's the freakin' 8th of november. how? why? i know there was errand running in there too but damn. i'd told myself it wouldn't happen this year. i'd told you that i didn't want it to happen this year.

but tonight, i took a stand.

actually, i took a sit. a seat. i plunked myself down in front of the computer and made myself work on an idea that's been rattling around in my head. thus far, it's strictly an outline, although the outline has gotten so detailed that i'm wondering whether or not i shouldn't just go ahead and write. i have the very rough outline done, i just wanted to give myself more detail, because i'm prone to getting lost in the woods of my own writing and i can't find my way out. this is a decision i'll probably have to make tomorrow.

the important thing is that i at least started something creative. so yay me. and yay anyone reading this who wanted to try to be part of the writing month but lost track of time and now feels like they've been left out. you can do it. if i can do it, anyone can. and you are anyone.

p.s. :: yes, i'm aware of the irony that writing this blog post is taking me away from writing other stuff. i have given myself permission to stop for the evening and feel a sense of pride at my accomplishment. 

06 November 2014

making faces :: fade to grey

ah, november... halloween has past, the leaves have grown sparse and darkness falls so early. it's a month of feeble light and steely skies as we creep towards the winter solstice once again. i've often expressed a dislike for gloomy november, but i'm finding this year that it's been pleasant enough, if you can get over the perpetual cloud cover. nice walking weather, even. so i've tried to re-imagine the month as the natural transition between the fiery displays of fall and the cosy darkness of the december holidays. as such, the palette of november, it seems to me, would be dominated by greys, cloud tones and smoke, the cool silvery-taupe of bark from bare trees, the rusted brown and dirty gold of the last leaves of the season. it isn't the sort of thing that would necessarily catch the eye, but there's still beauty to be found in it.

giorgio armani tagged their fall 2014 collection "fade to grey", a clear reference to the new wave song, which was actually remixed/ deconstructed [along with some other 80s tracks] for the armani runway show at milan fashion week. their fall makeup collection bore the same name, but made such a fleeting appearance that i didn't even have time to think of what i wanted. the centrepiece of the collection was a silver and gold palette, exquisite to look at [see it here and here], but which i'd decided against, since i thought i could approximate it with shades i already owned. i was somewhat interested in the lipsticks that came with the collection, but they appear to have been whisked away...

nonetheless, the name "fade to grey" did inspire me, because i find that the original song carries a certain subdued melancholy that many electronic pop tracks from that era have. it is cold but not hard-edged. rather like november.



so with that in mind, i decided to do a look inspired partly by my new ideas about november and partly by armani's collection...

 


products used

the base ::
nuxe bio bb cream "light"
urban decay naked skin foundation "1.0"
dior star concealer "010"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes ::
armani eyes to kill e/s #4 "pulp fiction" [dirty, warmed silver]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "golden rhea" [light gold]
le metier de beauté e/s "axiom" [golden umber]*
le metier de beauté e/s "genre" [stormy graphite grey]*
inglot e/s "351"
urban decay 24/7 e/l "zero" [soft black]
guerlain cils d'enfer mascara

the cheeks ::
nars blush "sin" [plum with gold shimmer]

the lips ::
rouge d'armani sheer l/s #614 "belladonna"*

*suggested alternates :: axiom = extremely difficult to match... armani eyes to kill #5 [gold blitz] is somewhat similar, but much more metallic looking, while nars fez is warmer and browner; genre = urban decay gunmetal [darker]; belladonna = another very difficult one... mac viva glam rihanna 2 is much darker and browner, but it's really the closest thing that i can think of.

for the look, i used the lighter "golden rhea" on the inner part of my eyes and "pulp fiction" on the outer two-thirds. "axiom" was just used to blend the two shades together. on a lot of people, "pulp fiction" pulls more taupe, but on me, it's reliably silvery. i wanted my eyes to have a little more definition on the outer corners, so i added "genre".

these photos honestly aren't great because the november light makes them look kind of faded [particularly the lipstick, which looks more like the images in the original review linked above]. i suppose these are the perils of working hand in hand with november.

05 November 2014

world wide wednesdays :: the tale of tibet

tibet has long been a poster child for occupied territories worldwide. their cause has attracted a number of celebrity spokespersons because of its intimate connection with gelug or "yellow hat" buddhism, whose spiritual leader, the dalai lama, lives in exile and is perceived by many as a powerful figure of peace and restraint in the face of aggression. shortly after the chinese takeover of tibet in the early fifties, the current dalai lama, the fourteenth in a succession that dates back to the fourteenth century, fled his homeland in 1959 followed by eighty thousand of his closest friends and established a government-in-exile.

i should really have described that as "the latest chinese takeover of tibet", because there is a long-established history of tensions between the two, which has resulted in periodic annexations by china. the mongols also had their turn ruling the territory during their period of imperial grandeur. in fact, the entire history of tibet is a turbulent history of periods of independence and subjugation to foreign rule since the late eighth century. the modern idea of an independent tibet steamrolled under the communist chinese is exactly that- modern. tibet operated under a sort of independence from 1912 until 1951, before which it had been only loosely controlled by the chinese qing dynasty [who had ruled from with steadily decreasing interest since the late eighteenth century], but had become an extremely hot international property, the subject of disputes between numerous countries in asia and expanding european empires.

but really, it's a lot more complicated than that, because it always is. even basic questions have answers that can be quite involved. for instance:

where is tibet?

we can all agree that tibet is an area at the west of modern day china, bordered on the south and west by india and by myanmar [burma], nepal and bhutan, also to the south. it is a plateau to the north side of the himlayas with the highest altitude in the world- averaging over 4,700 feet above sea level. once we've established that, things start to get hairy, because there are at least two distinct tibets: ethno-cultural tibet, which are the lands traditionally inhabited by tibetan people and political tibet, which is the tibetan autonomous region, a province of china. [side note: no matter where you place it on a map, you'll be wrong soon enough, because tibet is moving. the austro-indian tectonic plate continues to press inexorably into the eurasian plate, squishing everything northward at a rate of about 5mm per year.]

for starters, tibetans claim that the areas of kham and amdo should be considered as part of their territory, and historically, there is truth to that. however, tibetan sovreignty over those lands has never been as clear as it was in the areas to the west and large parts of them were claimed by the chinese before they annexed the rest of tibet. sections of kham and amdo are currrently located in tibet province, sichuan province and qinghai province. the ethnic tibetan population is concentrated, of course, in the province of tibet, but there are also significant minorities within sichuan and qinghai, located near the borders with tibet. the current tibet government in exile claims kham and amdo as traditional lands. the chinese government regards them as anachronistic terms for areas that no longer really exist. clearly, we have a problem. [side note: although they live in proximity, tibetans are not closely related to the chinese. although both languages are part of the sino-tibetan family, it's like confusing iranians with americans in terms of the similarity level. the tibetan language, actual a group of languages in itself, is most closely related to burmese, but even that connection is distant. it appears that the people of tibet have been isolated for a long time. given their position on the far side of the biggest, scariest mountain range in the whole world, that might not be surprising. that proximity to the mountains and their incredible elevation have actually spurred evolutionary changes in the physique of tibetan people. their bodies have adapted to allow their blood to flow more easily in the oxygen-deficient atmosphere.]

but there's also a less discussed problem with defining tibet and for that, we have to turn to the one group who've managed to fuck everything up in the twentieth century, the one responsible for horrific examples of ethnic tension in europe, the middle east, africa and asia. you know the group of whom i speak.

white folks.

in the case of tibet, the problems can be blamed on one white guy named sir henry mcmahon. mcmahon was a british diplomat working in india in the early twentieth century. when the chinese qing dynasty collapsed in 1911, mcmahon and his government became concerned that tibet was a target for takeover by many different powers. britain was concerned that their frenemy russia would swoop in and assert themselves, but mostly, they were concerned about loot. they had discovered that there was a perfectly good commercial area called tawang sitting just on the tibetan side of the border with india and they felt entitled to it.

tibetans in the 1940s
so at the simla conference of 1914, where repesentatives of britain, tibet and china met to discuss the whole division of property thing, sir henry drew a line around tibet that handed tawan and about 9000km/sq of tibetan territory over to british india. somehow, he got everyone to sign off on this, but by the time the treaty reach beijing, someone noticed that they'd been had. china told the british where they could stick their treaty and have never recognised the so-called mcmahon line as the proper border of tibet. or rather, as the proper border of china, which includes tibet. [side note :: this wasn't the only notable cock-up of sir henry mcmahon's career. during world war i, in his capacity as british high commissioner in egypt, he engaged in extended communication with the sharif of mecca, husayn bin ali and encouraged him in his plans to stage an arab revolt against the german-allied ottoman empire, promising the british would support demands for arab sovereignty over their own lands. the british, of course, had no intention of fulfilling this promise and really just wanted the arabs to do the dirty work of kicking the ottomans out so that they could divide up the middle eastern spoils with france. it was an excellent example of imperial europe's sense of entitlement and helped ensure that no one from the arab world would ever trust a person from the west again.]

after the british pulled out of india, the new indian government wasn't about to just hand over territory to the chinese, which means that the border with tibet continues to be a diplomatic sore point, with the indians, tibetans and chinese all insisting that the area belongs to them. in 1961, the chinese seemed posed to retake the area, crushing the indian army and pushing them south of tawang, until the united states and the united kingdom made noises that they would back india and the chinese army hightailed it right back to the original border. decades of negotiations have gone precisely nowhere neither resolving the dispute nor redrawing the border.

oppressed, even in springfield
so what about that whole "free tibet" movement?

popular logic goes that china oppressed tibet by invading them in 1951 and forcing them to become part of the new people's republic, because communist republics like to invade other countries and stomp on their dreams. however, it's worth noting that part of china's justification for invading was that tibet still existed as more or less a feudal state, with a large part of the population living as indentured servants with limited rights to property ownership. slavery had only recently died out and the average life expectancy was about thirty-five years. it was decidedly not the idyllic buddhist haven we've been led to believe.

however, mao's "great leap forward" was a devastating policy for the region that caused widespread famine that, the buddhist panchen lama [second only to the dalai lama] pointed out, hadn't been a problem even when they were a "dark, barbaric" feudal state. the criticism was not particularly well received by the chinese government, who said that the famine was due to natural disasters and not government policy. then things got really, terribly, super ugly. the chinese insisted that the panchen lama had exaggerated the extent of the problem by visiting very limited areas. in response, they went on an anti-buddhist rampage, destroying thousands of monasteries and embarking on a campaign to assimilate tibetans in the new chinese nation.

in 1960, the international commission of jurists stepped in to evaluate what was going on. a nongovernmental organisation, they were to determine what china was actually doing in tibet and whether or not it contravened rules of the united nations. the report was beyond damning, accusing the chinese of genocide against the tibetan people, severe repression of their culture and violations of sixteen articles of the universal declaration of human rights. publicly shamed, the chinese agreed to offer limited but greater autonomy to the region, however ethnic tensions continue to flare up at frequent intervals. in 2008, violence broke out in and around lhasa and spread to tibetan dominated areas in the adjoining provinces. the chinese government attempted to bury the story to avoid another black eye as they prepared to host the summer olympics, but the point was made: relations between tibet and china continue to be rocky. [side note: it emerged years after the icj report was issued that they were for some time controlled by the american central intelligence agency, which has caused some to call into question their findings in tibet.]

also, when people talk about freeing tibet, they generally refer only to the parts located within china [whether it includes only the province of tibet or the province plus the portions of sichuan and qinghai]. no one talks about the significant portion that's still held by india, other than the chinese. but that part is absolutely part of ethno-cultural tibet, so if we're really to liberate the nation, we need to ask two separate countries to cede territory, neither of whom seems the least inclined to do so.

the possibility of a separate tibetan nation seems paradoxically inevitable, because it has enjoyed so much international attention and support and remote, because of the historical difficulties involved in defining the tibetan territory and the relative intransigence of the governments involved. as with all of these posts, i've done no more than gloss over the basics. there is far more to understand in order to approach the subject of a potential tibetan nation.
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