Friday, March 31, 2006


Mark and I bought this Toynami Chi doll last Sunday while in Temple Bar! That was in the Forbidden Planet shop. They also had InuYasha dolls, the next item in my wish list, he he! Isn't she adorable???

Chi must be the most lovely manga character, from Clamp's Chobits - one of the first manga series I read (the 2nd to be precise), and fell in love immediately. Clamp is a great female group of mangaka. I adore everything they write and draw, especially Chobits and Cardcaptor Sakura, which was my very first manga series by the way...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fashion and Beauty Ignominies (Part 2)

I forgot to mention some other ignominies in my previous post. And these may be the worst. Ever.

- "Teint d'Orange" effect: it means "orange's complexion" effect. Namely, when one's skin acquires the colour of a fruit - orange. Or a vegetable - carrot. Or an oompa-loompa. Not very natural. And we humans come in a fantastic, beautiful range of colours: from deep ebony black to pale, almost blueish white, passing through warm and cool shades of delectable browns, mysterious olives, peaches and cream, flawless yellows, roses, autumn earthy shades, golden, copper and bronze skins, neutral beiges, sallow beauties etc... But no oranges. Not a glimpse of an oompa-loompa. Or a green Martian, for that matter. So, people love fake tans. Fact. But fake tans risk to turn us into orange, tangoed beings. Looks weird. It's a little crime against beauty. And diversity.

- Ornamental Fish Syndrome: now, I must point out I am not against plastic surgery. If you have the money, the guts and if it will make you happier and improve your quality of life, go for it. Most important is to find a very good surgeon. What I am against here is a bad, unprofessional practice with dodgy results. The Ornamental Fish has eyes that pop out, an unchangeable inquisitive expression, and lips that also pop out. The "inquisitive expression" consists of eyebrows bordering the hairline (yeah, "up there"), simulating an air of frozen, constant surprise: "Ooooohhh"... And foreheads that do not move. Excessive face lifts, botox injections, restylane, you name it. Looks bad. Plain bad.

- Breast enhancements: as above, but this time the breasts popping out. Who says bigger is better? Can be very bad for your back. Carnival in Rio is where you can see all these atrocities. On parade. From ornamental fish to big-is-better. Again, I am definitely not against it. I just think the humongous, fake, heavy effect is a no-no. It's great if you can lift it up when it gets saggy, or correct it if necessary or if it annoys you somehow. But the obviously fake big thing is completely out, in my humble opinion.

Well, that's it for today. I don't want to sound like an inquisitor or anything. Just sharing my opinion on these things, and whenever we are bombarded with celebrities' bodies and crazy beauty fads. I don't know...

Ah well, I am tired now. Had a bad night, and Mark too. Now we both got a headcold and are taking our Lemsips. Bleeeaaarrgghh...

Hasta la vista,


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fashion and Beauty Ignominies

I may sound a bit pretentious here, but while resting at home these days, I started to think about these little "crimes" of beauty and fashion that make me really freak out, and worry a bit, and question my very own standards, blah blah. Don't take me wrong though. Maybe I am just not very tolerant, but these things drive me nuts. I must say I am not quite the fashionable lady either, I am too basic in what I wear: jeans, floaty boho skirts, boots or sandals. Things like that. And I dislike anything that is tight, flashy or that clings onto my figure. However I consider these things to be quite elementar and, when I see them, I probably make a funny face and start to wonder how the heck, and why, and with which purpose they are "carried on".

What are they? Let's go then.

- White shoes: I can perfectly understand Kathleen Turner's character's behaviour towards this little piece of fashion heresy in that brilliant flick "Serial Mom". Agreed and signed-off. If I were that psycho, would probably have done the same.

Alternative: nude, buff coloured shoes. Never white. Puh-leease.

- Thongs, tangas, g-strings: how low can people go? I mean literally. Not metaphorically low here. These are not meant to be seen over the waist of your jeans. Or are they? No V-signs, no straps or lacy bits popping out. This is a no-no. Definitely. Well, that's how I think, at least. Not elegant.

In Brasil (they are oh so irreverent there!) they call these "dental floss", easy to see why, no? I don't think it's very hygienic either. And not comfortable. If a normal pair of knickers can become hell if they get - sorry for being so explicit now - "stuck" between one's buttocks, I cannot figure how knickers that are purposedly designed to really stick in there may be of any comfort. Rather a self-inflicted punishment.

Are they really supposed to eliminate VPL's (aka "Visible Panty Lines")? Don't think so. I've seen many a lady walking in front of me with, let's say, linen trousers and thongs underneath. Were they hiding anything? Afraid not. Actually it only made things worse, especially those with cellulitis in their buttocks. Very wobbly, very visible, very hypnotic almost. To hide anything (including panty lines), go for a Spanx. Hide, conceal, tuck - everything in one package. And they will not stick "there", uninvited. At least.

Alternative: boyshorts. These are low-waist knickers, and super-comfy. You can even get cute Hello Kitty ones. The best. Ever. Period.

- Clothes that are too tight: hey, clothes are meant to be worn comfortably. Ideally, they should be one's very own "official" size, maybe 1/2 point larger (if that's possible). Never buy smaller sizes thinking "I can always lose some weight and that will be perfect". No. Forget it. Easy to alter your clothes than alter yourself, right?

- Very short tees + very low waisted trousers or skirts = very apparent belly, not very composed look.

- Trousers dragging on the streets: a phenomena very common here in Dublin, especially among teens and young adults. The seams get awfully dirty, black in some cases, several shades of gray in others. Again, not hygienic at all. Think about it: it means you carry home all those unwelcome guests (bacteria in general, fecal coliforms more specifically etc). It does mean if these bacteria were homeless before, now, thanks to this new transportation method, they can find a home. Yes, dragged directly to the peace of your home! And your body! Seriously now: who wants that? Yeuck...

- Visible Lip Liner and Very Visible Lip Liner: whoa, whoa, whoa... Stop there. Who wants to look like Batman's arch-enemy??? Hhhhmmmm... Afraid not. Light to medium-coloured lips with a seriously darker contour. That is freaky. Why not something the same colour of the lipstick? Or nude? Or just lipstick, lipstain, gloss, whatever, with no lining? Why... why not???

I once went to the Clinique counter in a very hip department store here in Dublin. The sales rep (how could she dare, tell me?) had indeed such visibly-lined-lips. Scary. She was a nice, young blond lady and started to talk to me through those l-i-p-s. I only had eyes for them, which seemed big, and bigger, and biggest. However, I could not quite hear what she was saying. All I could see was the lips, horribly magnified and lined, muttering some unintelligible words right to my face, slow-motion. The sound of these words? Think about a female Dart Vader. Or a Warlock. Or the Big Boss on that scary video-game. I just showed her a piece of paper with the name of a product scribbled on it, could not even talk. That was it. Spooky.

Alternative: skip lip liner, or go for the nude ones.

I guess that's it for today. I know I sounded quite nasty, but maybe I am in a bad mood, being sick and all. Sorry if by any chance any of you-my-17-readers just love the looks, but I needed to talk about it, vent a bit...

Good night/time to inject myself,


Friday, March 17, 2006

A Southpark character? No, just my new haircut!

Thanks to my lovely grand-nephew Afonso, I got to know this cool little website: Minijuegos.

There you can build your very own Southpark character, or make yourself into one! So, this is what I might look like if I lived in Southpark!

It's quite cold here at the moment, that's why I am wearing a scarf. Also the hair is what looked more like my new haircut.

I love the links Afonso sends to me, they are always so cute!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Visit to my new neurologist

On Monday afternoon, I had an appointment with my new Neurologist, now in St. Vincent's Hospital - no longer in Beaumont.

I wanted this change because I met both consultants from SV's and liked the way they approached the subject, and the researches they are involved in. I must say I did not like Beaumont very much. They all seemed a bit "distant" (consultant and assistants) and, besides, it was a bit too far away from where we live. The place was also a bit gloomy, and they had MS Clinics only once a month. Long waits too, tons of patients. Then I asked them to transfer me and so they did.

Well, I did not see the consultants yet - that will happen on 18th September. But I saw dr. Lisa Costello, who is a Neurology researcher there and she was quite nice. They also seemed to spend quite some time with the patients there, more than in my former Hospital. She asked me if I wanted to participate on a research they are doing there about T-cells, immune system and the possible causes of MS. I agreed. They took me for blood tests, I did not feel well because they really needed quite a lot (for the routine exams plus the DNA tests for the research). But then, the nurse took me to a room to rest and I was OK. Mark always with me, of course, he's such an angel...

Results of my visit were:

- Fatigue: there's no much to do about it, since I already tried all medications that could help (Symmetrel and Provigil) and they did not help me (as they do not help much people either, only a 20-30% chance of success, she told us). The last resource would be to start exercising. Only problem is to find some energy to start it, but hey, I always wanted to do some yoga. Now is time for that. Mark wants to go for yoga classes with me as well, so he can improve his flexibility. So...

- Aspartame and MS: she never heard about it (some crazy emails a friend of my Mom sent to her, blaming my addiction to Diet Coke as the culprit for my disease), and definitely there is no relation. I asked previous consultants and my GP and they said it's bullshit anyway. But you can imagine how my Mom pestered me about it: "I always told you Diet Coke was no good, blah-blah-blah and blah..."

- MRI scan: I will need a second one, since the time I've been diagnosed when I had the first. I did not like that idea much, because I would prefer not to see (or to know about) any changes that may have occurred with my lesions. But that's the praxis there. She will organise an appointment and let me know through a letter.

These are the news. I haven't been feeling good since yesterday and am home today. It's 6pm now, and after sleeping most of the day, I now feel a bit better.

Hasta la vista then!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Barbie Barbarism

I found some infamous pictures of my childhood some weeks ago, while in Rio. When I was young (maybe until I was 6 or 7, something like that), I had the worrying habit of destroying my dolls. Most especially, Barbie dolls.

I used to be very cruel to them. Cutting their hair with scissors, bending their legs until the wires showed off, taking their head off and throwing it to our Alsatian dog, Ziggy - who loved to chew on them.

My parents were horrified and thought I was a little psycho. Of course they brought me to the doctor, a child's psychiatrist. But I was "normal", in the end. This kind of behaviour was (or is) more common than one could imagine. When I grew older though, around 11 or 12, I had a Barbie with lots of clothes and shoes. I really liked that when I was a bit more grown-up. And never threw her to any dogs. But gave her away eventually, to some little girl, when I became too "adolescent" for barbie dolls. I especially liked those little shoes!

Anyways... Whenever I committed those "barbicide" acts, my Father used to say that he would never get me another Barbie, ever again. But then, the next week or so, I would come to him and say: "Dad, I want another Barbie". He would of course say no, reminding what I have done last. Then I would say: "I promise, I will not do it again. I swear!", and weep a bit. He would not resist and naturally would get me another one that same day! And guess what??? Yeah... The same crime would repeat itself. That's what my Mom told me. I don't remember all that, of course. But that's how things were. I was very spoiled. My Dad would fall for anything. Not my Mom though!

Mom can't remember very well what the Doctor said, but it was something like (me) testing how far they would go in their love for me. They would buy me a Barbie, I would destroy it and ask for a new one. And this was a cycle. Other dolls would suffer the same destiny, including the Italian baby twins that Betinha gave to me once. It seems these were gorgeous, my Mom and Betinha still remember them. They were hiding in a wardrobe, I found them, and did the same old nasty trick.

I never did that to my stuffed toys (animal toys) though. If I had a kid and if that kid were into this kind of stuff, I would be very worried, of course. Would do the same as my parents did (bring him or her to a specialist nonetheless). But it did not last for very long. I redeemed myself later on!

Well, I found the pics from that time. You can say I was planning something nasty by the look on my face and the way I hold the doll! In the 1st picture, I also have a little Japanese doll wearing a Kimono - that one was not destroyed!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Back to the cold - and loving it...

I am back home, since Tuesday night. Our flight had a 12hr delay, which makes come back to my Mom's apartment for some hours before going to the airport again. And we did not depart directly from Rio, but took a charter to São Paulo and from there, the BA flight to London, at around 2:30 am. A pain, really. But I managed to sleep this time. At least.

Well, it seems I am still jet-lagged. I was suposed to go to the office today, but could not. I am not well, quite congested and very fatigued. I also had a strong headache again. In the left hand-side of my head and back of the neck. Really sore. Hopefully, I have an appointment on Monday with my new consultants in the St. Vincent's Neuroinflammation Clinic. I am anxious because I am changing consultants since I was diagnosed in 2002. It will be better now, I am sure.

One quick message here for fellow blogger Treebob, btw...

Hi Treebob, the cockroaches did not attack me anymore! I thought that one had a funny shape because it was already dying, since all the apartment block has been sanitised two weeks before! The problem is, they fly. Leave the windows open and they may come in to haunt you. But I did not se a single one after that episode, thanks to the Gods above! I also like your extra faves. Of course you don't use makeup, he he, but just in case one of my girl friends read that, who knows! Hope your wife and kids are doing great, say hello to them for me. I will read your blog later, to keep myself up-to-date with the news. I am still floating on a limbo between Ireland and Brasil.

Yes, Ireland and Brasil... Temperature here at the mo must be between 3 and 5 Celsius. In Brasil... God knows. But most certainly obscenely hot. Irish weather is great. I love it. Although I must admit that I feel better (healthwise) in Brasil. One says hot weather is better for one's health and I must agree. Although the cold makes me feel much more comfortable and "light".

I was looking at some of my old drawings in Rio. My Father used to collect my drawings in albums, that he would classify by age: "Andrea 3-4 yrs old", and so on. Some of them are quite funny. I had a bit of an obsession with Rabbits, Mice and Astronauts, it seems. Also Beauty Pageants (Miss Universe and so on). And my astronauts and beauty queens were most frequently rabbits and mice as well! Weird!

I found the drawing below, that I made when I was 8-9 years old. It shows a bit of my obsession with manga. I based it in something else, a magazine, or God knows what. I still remember my Japanese cases and notebooks, with cute characters and the usual manga-girls: at that time, huge and long curly hair, and those bigger-than-life eyes! But this one seems like an odd character, something between manga and The Simpsons, no?Anyway, I have decided to call him "Captain Manga". In those times I did not worry much about the media used. This was done with hydrographic pens over a pencil sketch, and I used some old diary pages - you can still see the lines on the sheet. Later on, that would be replaced by Fabriano paper and watercolours and Caran d'Ache pencils, among others. Much nicer, must say!

Yes, the Oscars! I need to add a quick note on it! I am SO happy with Ang Lee's winning! So well deserved! I knew it would be him. I did not see the new film, but I am a big fan of his work and was sure he would get it! As for the Animation oscar, I was cheering for "Howl's Moving Castle", of course, but was sure "Curse of the Wererabbit" would win this time. Anyway, I also love "Curse", and am quite happy about it. It is a cute, well-done animation, with also lots of work involved and the result was excellent. The humour is superb too, very subtle and well-spotted. If you did not see it yet, please go. It's lovely!

Well, that's my report for today. Tomorrow I am back to work, hopefully. Tonight, we will have dinner with Mark's brother, Kevin, who's back from the Emirates. They are both out now, running in the cold! Now, that's some courage!

Later then!