Wednesday, May 25, 2005

News: Wearing Glasses!

OK, let's face it. If you have more than one pair of glasses in your handbag, you are:

(a) a fashion victim?
(b) getting old?

In my case, check (b). I am getting old! Well, SITA sent us for some eye tests in order to check if we need to use glasses for VDU (fancy acronym for monitors, or "video display unit") and my results were... "positive"! I am near-sighted - as I already suspected.

And I have more than one pair in my handbag because I need to use sunglasses as well. I just cannot stand the sun on my eyes, thus I need sunglasses. I hate bright, blinding lights, thus I need sunglasses, and so on... Shades, whatever you want to call them. And, yes, I must admit these are a bit of a fashion statement. Utilitary, but glamourous.

As for the serious glasses, things got worse after I had the optic neuritis, almost 3 years ago, when I lost part of the vision in my right eye. Moreover, I turned 40, 41, 42... And started realising that my vision was not as sharp as before. In short, I needed glasses (or so I thought, having suspicions confirmed thanks to my employer). I need them for VDU use, reading, drawing (whenever I decide to come back to it, that is) and "close" stuff. For watching TV it turns out to be quite handy as well.

I have now a lovely pair of DG's (yeah, babe! Dolce & Gabbana alright! For that asphyxiated fashion-victim portion of me!) and I am quite glad because they not only look good (a bit of a retro vibe and so on) but I am also getting used to it! So used to it, that two nights ago I tried to go to bed wearing them and then, while switching off the bedside lamp, noticed: "what the hell am I doing with these here?".

Well, they seem to be helping me, though it was not easy when I started some 2 or 3 weeks ago. Everything looked a bit floaty, out of balance, with a strange, surrealistic "depth", blah-blah... Probably because my right side is much stronger than the left, but hey, it was not comfortable, oh no! But now I am happy to say I am adusting. As with (mostly) anything in life, I am adjusting. That makes me kinda happy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

My Latest Manga Reading

Last night I read the 7th and last volume of Tokyo Babylon, by Clamp. I have followed this series for almost one year and was really loving it. It follows the story of Seishiro-san and Subaru-kun, two onmiyoji (mediums) whose lives have been misteriously linked some years before, under the cherry trees. Subaru-kun has a lovely twin sister, Hokuto-chan, who has no psychic, paranormal abilities, but lots of common sense. A really "down-to-earth" girl.

The series were fun, with lots of amusing situations and sweet, loving moments. Artwork is just fantastic, as it always happens with Clamp, the characters looking gorgeous, with their wide-eyes, wonderful hair, impeccable costumes, and always inside the most exquisite scenarios.

However, the closing was perhaps a bit disappointing. And disturbing, I should add. I so much wanted a happy ending! And those guys deserved it (or seemed to, at least). And it's not what you get, unfortunately. It is tragic, to say the least. But at the same time it is great to see how Subaru changes, and turns into a man so suddenly. He becomes stronger, harder, taller, and even prettier. Well, he also starts smoking, which is not a good thing by all means, but somehow shows how his life is turned upside down by all the events. Tokyo Babylon is a beautiful and short story, but also makes you feel at a loss in the end.

I am not sure, but it seems it is a bit of an introduction to Clamp's X/1999, with pretty much the same kind of characters and more of a dark, violent plot. I should re-read X and see if either Subaru or Seishiro reappear...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My Kitty-chan's Kabuki Display!

I bought this display from a lovely EBay seller in Japan, have a look at that...

It is a lovely Kabuki display, containing Kitty-chan dressed up as 9 different characters of renowned Kabuki plays: Fuji Musume, Shizuka Gozen, the Hanagasa dancer from the Dohjohji play, Shiokumi etc... I still could not identify all of them, since I don't know much about Kabuki, unfortunately. I think I should perhaps buy a book about it next!

In the pictures below you can see it with more details...

(I am intrigued by the lady at the upper left corner, top tier, holding an umbrella, wearing a kimono and with her head partially covered... If anyone knows who that is, and from which play, please let me know...)

New Perfume Today!

Today I received a beautiful perfume, from Les Salons Shiseido, in Paris. It's Un Bois Sépia, and it was already in my Wish List for some time. Bought it unsniffed, because I knew I would love it, since I had a wax sample from Les Salons and was quite impressed by the scent. It's been conceived by the genial Serge Lutens (the above website includes a mini-biography) and contains some of my favourite notes:
  • Precious woods - cypress, oakmoss, a hint of cedarwood perhaps, and sandalwood for sure...
  • Earthy tones - vétiver and patchouli roots...
  • Resinous, dark opoponax...
It is an almost masculine fragrance, which doesn't bother me at all, since I am not a "flowery" girl when it comes to perfume, favouring oriental or woody, earthy scents instead. Besides, the fragrance I use the most these days is Guerlain's Vétiver, which is a classic man's fragrance (with my beloved vétiver and again some patchouli alright!), so, not surprising...

I think this scent is pretty much related to Shiseido's Feminité du Bois, whose dominant note is cedarwood. This has a delicious, and almost nostalgic smell of colour pencils, a big box of colour pencils, pencil shaves everywhere! However, Un Bois Sépia would be a more discrete, and almost shy version perhaps, not nearly as pungent or strong as Feminité. It doesn't seem to have a very long lasting power by comparison, it simply melts onto your skin, slowly, graciously, a "solitaire" kind of scent, a scent for oneself - almost like an olfactory secret. Adagio.

There is another thing I love about it, which is the name. Un Bois Sépia. Like an old photograph, a distant memory, or something out of a Mishima's book. A tad bit melancholy perhaps, and I like to think it was probably raining on those woods. But I am digressing... It is a wonderful fragrance, subtle, and comfortable. There is also something sweet in the remnant, base notes, probably tonka beans? I am not quite sure, but it looks - or rather smells - like it to me. The tonka beans work as a "fixative" in a perfume, and are quite often found at the base notes. It also provides an almost sweet, nutty and sometimes "smokey" note, that we can sometimes detect in a number of fragrances.

Here is the new acquisition then!

(I received that today but... before you say anything... no, no, no, I did not use that much! Those missing 20ml I have decanted into a spray bottle, for the original one - as you may be able to see here - is a splash, traditional bottle, and I don't want to "harm" the fragrance with the constant skin contact, or even the air of course!)

These are the news for tonight. Need to go now! Good Night!

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Most Beautiful Short Animation Film Ever...

... must be "Overtime". I watched that on TV last weekend, in TV3's "Wonderscreen" and was simpy amazed. If you are a bit blue though, get a box of tissues because you will definitely have the tears flowing.

Basically, "Overtime" is a tribute to the Muppet Show creator, Jim Henson (1936-1990), and is a wonderful black and white, 3D animated short film of more or less 4 minutes. The music is very beautiful, and the story is simple, and very touching.

The film shows how a pupeteer, who creates kermit-like cute rag dolls, is found dead on his bed by his little creatures. It seems they quite do not understand (or do not accept) what has happened to their Master. Nonetheless they strive to keep living "as normal" and try to cheer up their creator, as they would normally do while he was alive: playing, cooking, eating, and having fun together. Until they finally realise that he will not wake up anymore.

The film has been created and executed by Oury Atlan, Thibaut Berland and Damien Ferrié as a graduation project, from what I could find in the web. It also seems it has received several prizes in competitions all over the world. Very well deserved, I just hope they will release a DVD one day!

Oury Atlan's website is noteworthy, and you can see some of his work (and CV) there:

Directed, Written, Animated, Filmed & Edited by: Oury Atlan/Thibaut Berland/Damien Ferrié
Music: Sielberman Ochestra/Ornadel and the Starlight Symphony
Producer: Supinfocom

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Slightly Disfunctional but Funny, Very Funny...

Thanks to the Digital TV, yesterday for the very first time, I watched an episode of Kureyon Shin Chan ( クレヨンしんちゃん ). To say it's wacky would be less than adequate. Possibly the funniest (and yes, wackiest) thing I've seen lately. I love the animation style, which looks like something I would have attempted to draw myself when I was a kid, possibly. And those bright, basic colours, funny expressions, and hilarious plots - some of it quite plausible from what I could see!

Pity the cartoon is dubbed. The actors' voices are quite good, but I would sell my soul to listen to it in Japanese (and English subtitles, of course!).

The kid is such an uncontrolable brat, with a big, funny head, and a language and quick-tongue that would humiliate the likes of a Bart Simpson. I love it. A bit insane? Maybe it is, but who doesn' want that once in a while? Do not expect any "politically-correctness" from that, oh no! Just relax and enjoy the pure, subtle wackiness of the show. I am not sure if we can compare it to the Simpsons, but Shin Chan's type of humour works better for me, because it sounds more "realistic". The characters are quite likeable as well. For example, with the Simpsons I not only grew tired of the overdose of episodes everyday on several different channels, as I cannot stand Lisa anymore, or Marge. They are just too plain boring. But that's my opinion anyways... I used to love it to bits years ago, but suddenly could not stand it anymore! Aw, that's life I s'pose...

Anyway, Shin-Chan seems so addictive I have immediately ordered two DVD's, which I could only find on EBay (where else!):

Here are some of the episode titles, so you can have an idea of the stuff...
  • Me Want Cookie
  • Mom Runs Away From Home
  • We're Getting A Divorce
  • I Get Recycled
  • Mom’s Getting Fat
  • Dad’s Lost his Eyebrows
  • Dopes at the Slopes
Sounds like fun, huh? Well, I ordered this from a Seller in Sydney, AU. It may take up to 2 weeks to arrive. Meantime, I will watch that on TV, of course! I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A New TV

This Bank Holoday weekend we have decided to treat us to a new TV. I became a bit jealous of that SONY Trinitron my Mum has got for our house in Rio. You know: great looks, perfect image, cool size (32 inches - that's good enough, right?). It is not a flat screen, LCD, but it is one of those new Trinitrons anyway. And it's great. I was wanting something like that for us here, we had an old Philips and the image was not as high-res and with all the cool DVD's we have been colectiong, well...

OK, to shorten it a bit, we went to Harvey Norman's and, in the end, Mark fell in love with a Sharp AQUOS 32 inches. Beautiful indeed. We were not quite planning on buying an LCD right now, but we would have a very good discount on that, then, why not? Thinking about it, if we didn't, we would have missed a great opportunity.

Here is some pictures we took of it:

And here's another one, this time with a scene from Love Hina Again!

Well, after that I decided to go digital too! I called NTL and they promptly came here on Tuesday, brought the box and plugged everything. This has improved the reception even more. Not to mention that now we do have Cartoon Network, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon and several other channels - instead of the shabby 16 channels we had with the standard cable plan.

My Hello Kitty Display!

After a long, long time, here I am. Back again. I have been very, very lazy lately (and sick too). But I will tell about this "absence" in a separate post (I am not in the mood now!).

Today, I need to show you the pictures of my new Kitty Display Board! Mark made it for me, he is indeed quite talented (lucky me!).

I am super-happy with the results. Actually, I do have almost 300 netsuke and mascots, and the board does accommodate only 56. However, the fun of it is that I can always change the Kitties - and make different "exhibitions" by theme etc...

To start with today I only put some of my favourites, from my wonderful Sellers in EBay, and the themes are: Kabuki, lucky charms, Summer, Hina Matsuri, Azumi etc...

Well, here we have Mark working on the board last Sunday, after having bought all necessary material (MDF board, frames, paint, sandpapers etc...):

The colour is a nice burgundy that we thought could make it look like lacquer (Mark's idea). And it does indeed! Below you can see the board, ready and drying:

And finally, here is the board already displaying some of my favourites!

Thank you Mark!
(Where would I be without you???)