Category Archives: Life

It’s life as I know it.

Go, greased lightning

My birthday was a week ago, and while I didn’t receive any gifts on the day, the box that arrived at my door yesterday more than made up for it.

Sturdy workhorse. Useful. Not exciting.

Last year I bought myself kinda-cheap hybrid bike so I could join the boyfriend when he took his shiny new racing bike for a ride. The thought was good — I hadn’t been on a bike for years, and was uncertain on how much I would use it, so I didn’t want to spend too much money nor specialise too much.

It was a good bike, and it turned out I enjoy bike rides very much. But a hybrid and a racer makes for a hilariously mismatched ride — I’d be putting in all the effort while the boyfriend couldn’t even work up a sweat.

That will no longer be a problem.

My *precious*.

I nearly killed myself five minutes into my first ride (HELLO, sudden car from the right who decided to stop far enough into the road to COVER THE BIKE LANE when I haven’t gotten used to the radically different brakes on my new bike yet).

The bike is so light it felt like even the lightest gust of wind would blow me off the road.

The combi pedals would always be the wrong way up.

Carbon frame and rock-hard tyres means every tiny little bump in the road is relayed up my spine.

But man, does it go. Push off, and it feels like I could coast forever. Start pedalling, and there’s a kilometer behind me before I can blink. Put some effort in, and I have to start dodging other cyclists.

I came home in agony after spending two hours in an unfamiliar sitting position. You really don’t ride a racer like you ride a hybrid, and my lower back muscles would sourly remind me of this all evening — as would my elbows and knees, which took my weight as I subconciously tried to compensate for my aching back. And yet? I want to do another ride tomorrow.

But someone, please explain to me how the hell the magically turning pedals work.

Dear thick eyebrows trend, please don’t ever die. I could never do the super thin arches (or arches at all, really), but this? This I can do to perfection. I love you. Don’t ever change.

I’ve shrunk out of the bike shorts I bought last summer, so I’ve replaced them with a pair of bib-style shorts. I’ve only used them for one ride, but that’s enough: Bib shorts are super amazing. I’ll never go back to regular bike shorts after having a pair of these.

Ugh, Superdrug

It has already been established that I did a mighty amount of shopping during our pre-christmas trip to England. I did a good chunk of it at Superdrug, a beauty chain with some pharmacy services, that offers a lot of cheap makeup brands that I can’t get back home. Now, I like the products Superdrug carries. I don’t like the actual shops at all.

There are two reasons I don’t like the shops, and they are closely connected. One is that there is a lack of upkeep in the shop. Missing or used-up samplers are rarely replaced, and the shelves are equally rarely cleaned and tidied. Second is the costumer base — cheap makeup means lots and lots of teenagers. These teenagers do not give rat’s ass about how they leave the place. When they use samplers, they spread product over half the shelf. If they can’t find samplers, they’ll just open the product they want and try it, putting it right back if they don’t want it. Y’know, behaviour that most other shops would consider theft.

The two factors combined means the average Superdrug is a filthy mess. The only reason I go back is because it’s months between each visit, and in that time I manage to convince myself it’s not that bad. This is wrong. It is that bad.

During our trip, I shopped at two different Superdrugs. Both gave me problems.

At the first Superdrug, I picked up a Bourjois mascara and a powder. The mascara is a gimmicky type that comes with a small battery-powered motor that rotates the brush. Sitting down in a coffee shop post-shopping I noticed the battery cover and the battery was missing, and they were not lying loose in the bag. Back to the shop with it. The cashier offered me a replacement, but the only possible replacement had been left turned on, letting the battery run down. I got a refund instead, with the shop keeping my receipt.

With no receipt, I’m sure you can imagine how trilled I was when I later found out that the mirror in the powder compact was cracked. The powder itself was covered in plastic, so there shouldn’t be any glass bits in it…

At the second Superdrug, Sleek was my main target. I grabbed two three-shades compacts of blushers. The compacts were boxed, and I didn’t want to be that rude person opening boxes. Bad mistake to make at Superdrug.

I didn’t open the blushers until I got home, and found this:

Three pans of makeup with finger marks in each pan.
Marks not made by my fingers.

Finger marks in every colour. Someone opened both of these, sampled the colours with their fingers, then put the compacts back in the box and back on the shelf. Ugh.

I’ve definitely done all the beauty shopping I need for a long time.

Security theater: Liquids edition

I travel several times each year. As I travel with hand luggage only, I’m getting used to running into the limitations on liquids:

Liquids in hand luggage

There are restrictions on the amount of liquids, creams and gels that can be carried in hand luggage onboard all flights. A maximum of 1 liter of liquid, creams and gels are permitted in hand luggage. Each item must not exceed 100ml. Liquids, creams and gels must be packed in a separate transparent re-sealable bag must be presented at the security checkpoint.

The helpful signs at the airport’s security checkpoint usually show a nearly empty bag, where a tube of toothpaste, a stick of deodorant, and maybe a small bottle of perfume have plenty of room. When I’m flying out, my bag does in fact look a lot like that.

But when I’m coming home from a week of shopping? We’re playing for keeps, darlings.

Security theater: Liquids edition

Said signs also say “do not overfill”. It’s not overfilled if I can close it without bursting a seam. Serious Tetris skills certainly doesn’t hurt.

Here is the lot, unpacked:

Security theater: Liquids edition

With some determination, I could fit:

  • Moisturiser (75ml and the biggest item in the lot)
  • Two bottles of liquid foundation
  • Deodorant
  • Two mascaras
  • Four lipsticks
  • Traveldose of Lemony Flutter
  • Concealer
  • Two gel eyeliners
  • Eyecream
  • Perfume
  • Dry shampoo (not even sure when or why I picked this up, but uh, it could come in useful, I guess)
  • Eye shadow base
  • Samples of lip plumper, lip primer, and eye primer
  • Handwash
  • Eye pencil (which probably didn’t need to go in this bag, but it’s big and I didn’t feel like potentially getting my bag searched for the sake of one bloody pencil)

Let’s not get into the non-liquids I purchased, although packing all of those was certainly an art in itself…

Christmas Wish List

Here it is, the list of shiny expensive things my greedy little self would love to get for christmas.

7″ tablet

I already own a tablet and an ebook reader. They’re both lovely, but the 10″ Transformer Prime is a bit too big to carry with me all the time, and the Sony Reader Pocket doesn’t do anything that isn’t reading ebooks. The Nexus 7 looks like it would hit the sweet spot between those two devices, giving me one flexible and extremely portable gadget.

As a bonus, as a Nexus device it won’t come with vendor specific crapware that makes me scream in frustration, root the damn thing, and deal with the many issues of hacked ROMs instead.

Flash(es)

I’ve been learning how to work flashes properly this autumn, and it’s been wonderful. I don’t have any flashes of my own, but I’d like one. Or two. Or three!

Something shiny like Nikon SB-700 would be lovely, but I struggle to believe it’s worth the price when the Yongnuo YN-565 exists. Even the super cheapo Yongnuo YN-460 II does all the things I absolutely need a flash to do.

Handbag / camera bag

As a wearer of women’s clothes, I carry a handbag quite often. I own a small selection of bags, but nine out of ten times I use the same Trunk&co bag. This bag is now literally disintegrating, and I have to replace it soon.

I have yet to find the perfect replacement; a flexible bag that can keep my camera safe. The Shibata and the Bowery are both gorgeous bags. The Snoop Camera Messenger looks flexible but not pretty. The Medium Cafe Bag isn’t made with cameras in mind, but it’s roomy and I know the quality is good. Choices, choices!

Assorted photo goodies

Some flash gels would be neat. A flash bender would definitely be useful. A Lensbaby Spark could be a fun toy. A bokeh kit would be interesting to play with.

RPGs

d20monkey has convinced me I need a copy of Dread in my life. And a Jenga set, obviously.

Support gymnastics, Tumblr edition

I keep a tumblr blog as a place to keep “cool stuff I found on the internet”. I’ve been filling it with stuff for over five years. It has the mish-mash of cat pictures, youtube videos, links and quotes that you would expect from such a blog. One day, completely out of the blue, it was suspended.

Saturday, 3rd November, 2012

I get an email from IFTTT notifying me that my Tumblr channel is offline. This has happened a couple of times before, so I see no reason to panic. It’s usually some minor issue that’s easily fixed, or just a temporary problem that will fix itself with some waiting.

IFTTT happens to be down for maintenance when I see the email, so nothing I can do at that very moment, anyway.

Sunday, 4th November, 2012

IFTTT is back up, so I pop in to reactivate the Tumblr channel. Not a problem, this should only take a minute. Log in, click big reactivate button, get redirected to Tumblr…

Your account has been suspended.
To find out why, please contact support.

Hum. That’s odd. I have no reason to assume this is not a mistake or glitch of some kind. There’s an email address provided, so I drop them a quick note — from the address associated with my account — asking what’s up.

Half an hour later, I get an email asking me what my email address is.

Oh dear.

Monday, 5th November, 2012

It’s been about 20 hours since I sent my initial email when I get a response. I suppose that’s pretty quick in support terms, but when you’re wondering what the hell is going on, it feels like an eternity.

We’ve terminated your Tumblr account at <blog address>. As per the policies you agreed to when creating a Tumblr account, we do not allow spam and/or affiliate marketing on Tumblr.

That’s the whole email. There’s no mention of where this spam and/or affiliate marketing was found, which means I am, quite frankly, stumped. I post cat pictures and funny videos, and I do so mostly to keep a repository for myself. I know the blog has some followers, but I couldn’t tell you how many if you held a gun to my head. I don’t even use a custom theme for this blog, but something pretty out of Tumblr’s own theme catalogue!

I email them back stating that I have never intentionally posted any kind of advertising, requesting some specifics on what I’m supposed to have done wrong, and asking if I can have a copy of the contents if they’re not willing to re-open my account.

Wednesday, 14th November, 2012

Still no response from Tumblr, so I drop them another email repeating my request.

One hour later

We’ve restored your content.

Thank you for bringing this problem to our attention. We’re sorry that it occurred, and we’ll do our best to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

No mention of what bad about my account, but I have it back. I guess this means it helps to send some reminders if your account has been terminated in error…

Now, how do I back up my Tumblr blog? You know, just in case.

I was woken up after five and a half hours of sleep, by the postman coming to deliver two of the three items I needed on saturday. Items which are now as good as useless.

A chip has come off the tooth I have a root canal in.

My phone’s screen is so badly cracked I can’t really touch it, much less hold it to my ear. This shouldn’t be that big a problem, since I can go for weeks without a phone call. Today I’ve gotten three in an hour. All from numbers I don’t know.

I’m getting extremely unhelpful messages from support.

I call quits on this day. I’ll try again tomorrow.