Changes

I’m gonna to be taking a break from this blog for a while. As an introvert/socially anxious person, I feel kinda overwhelmed running 3 blogs! Not that I have to run three blogs but my teaching blog is good for my development as a teacher, my coding blog is good for my future computer science course and unfortunately that leaves this one being the least “essential”. I don’t feel I know what to do with it anyway, it’s kinda random, lol. There’s nothing wrong with random but I don’t feel I always show my best side here, I do rant and rave quite a lot and I think what my friends would say if they came across here (eek!). Sometimes it’s good to let off steam but, even on the internet, it seems these days there’s nowhere to hide!

Anyway, I intend to resurrect this blog, possibly under a new title once I move to London and will use it to document my experiences there. But that is a couple of months off so if any of you reading this follow me, I’ll understand if you’re not following me when I come back. I’ll still pop in here and there to see what everyone else is up to and I wish you all wonderful experiences and lots of exciting adventures.

Aliquo xx

Looking Forward II: Elvis Week 2017

Ok, so I’m really pumped that I actually get to go to Elvis Week this year! :jumps up and down like a kid: Every August they put on this cool week of events at Graceland in honor of Elvis Presley. This year is the 40th anniversary of his death back in 1977 – wow, time flies! I wanted to go for the 30th anniversary but… life got in the way! So this one I can’t miss! I’m kinda clueless though cause I’ve never been before…

I was talking to some other fans (veterans!) and they were all like:

:southern drawl:

……..”Which hotel are you staying at?” ……..

………”What are you doing after the candlelit vigil?”……..

…………”Don’t forget your bug spray!”………..

I was like, errrrmmmmergerd! I am so unprepared! I was just gonna show up, y’know. I hadn’t thought about all this stuff. I hadn’t even booked my hotel… and they were like:

“You know it’s Elvis Week right…? You think you can get a hotel at the last minute!?”

And sure enough, I looked and there’s nowhere near Graceland available under $400 – well, except for The Lone Pine Motel or some sh*t like that – sounds great, right? It has a rating of zero stars but comes highly recommended by hookers and druggies, so that’s where I’m gonna be staying for Elvis Week! Ermergerd!!! Well, I ain’t paying $400! I still have so much to arrange though… Like, I don’t even know what happens…. Do I have to get tickets??….. Does it cost to go in?…. Do I have to book stuff?… Do I get to meet Elvis?…. Idk! I’m gonna have to seek more advice from the veterans. This is fun though, I can’t wait to go and meet all these cool people!

Accepting Defeat (drawing challenge)

(*That’s the state of my pencil after this week!) Well, on my side of the world, there’s like 2 hours left of the #OneWeek100People2017 challenge to draw 100 people in 5 days and – eh – I give up! Actually, I gave up on Thursday after number 65 just looked like a scribble. I only got 10 people drawn on Wednesday so on Thursday I thought, gee, I gotta do 30 people! I was about 10 in and realized that far from improving my drawing, I was actually getting considerably worse.

I’m not at the skill level where I can accurately draw a person in 5 minutes, I’m still learning proportions and stuff so… I give up! I’m done! I’m handing in my glove! (Or is that pencil…?) Drawing more does not automatically mean drawing better. I don’t know the methodology of drawing people so…. I think I need to learn more about actual techniques before I can improve.

It has been an interesting experience though and I’ve enjoyed seeing other (better) people’s work this week and getting to chat and connect with some cool artists. Well done to those of you who have stuck with the challenge. I think I’m gonna put my pencils away for a while since I have a lot of teaching work to do over the next few weeks and need to catch up with my other interests: Python coding and writing.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Day 3 #OneWeek100People

Ok, so I drew Prince (The Artist) today. Enjoy laughing at how girlie and French I made him. Oh lord, good job he can’t see this, he’d die all over again!

I’ve done 10 drawings so far today for #OneWeek100People2017, having to do many rough sketches to get the number count up! But I can have fun perfecting them later, especially since I’ve ordered some new pens this week! Gotta love new art supplies, right? But I am kinda tired of drawing faces now, looking forward to going back to furniture and sh*t.

Highlights…

#42: Prince… or some French guy/girl/thing…

42

 

#41: Hawaii girl. My last one on lined paper because lined paper is annoying.

41

 

Day 2 #OneWeek100People

Yay! I’ve somehow managed to keep up with this and have now drawn 40 people – if I count the several basic outlines I have… shhh! Don’t spoil it for me.

I’ve had a really difficult two days with all kinds of crap happening in my personal life so this has been a form of intense but enjoyable escapism. I’ve loved doing the drawings (much more than I enjoy other stuff I have to do each day) even if I suck right now.

It’s funny how when you draw people you notice things about them – like the emotion in their eyes, or, wow, Audrey Hepburn was real angular! And women of the 60s are – hands down – the most beautiful women in history (even if they look like tellytubbies when I try to draw them… oops!).

I don’t think I’m improving yet. I think I need to look at other (better) people’s work and actually learn some specific face-drawing-techniques. In particular, I want to figure out how to draw lips and noses.

Anyway, here’s some of my better work from the last 2 days:

#1: I spent way too long on my first drawing…

000001

#3 & #18-20: Lol, I just had to get Michael Jackson in there…

0001

30-31: A friend of mine and her partner ^_^. You see how I cheat so I don’t have to draw lips…?

30-31

That’s it for today. Later dudes!

.

Day 1 #OneWeek100People

Good morning everyone! Well, it’s Day One of the #OneWeek100People2017 drawing challenge and I was up at silly o’clock to make a start (cause I’m crap so it takes me forever to draw anything!). Now, don’t laugh… I know you guys are gonna laugh ’cause y’all are better at drawing than me. I draw like a 5 year old.

First, I’ve debated this for a while… I had this old notebook (like 10 years old!) and have never found a use for it so I decided to do all my drawings for this challenge in there. Con: It’s lined paper! Pro: It helps me get proportions right. This is just for practise anyway… so it shouldn’t matter… but I’m still 50/50 whether it was a good idea or not…

Ok, so first I did this “cover page”:

001

Even with this I screwed up and got the black and orange mixed up – oops!

Then Drawing #1:

000001

See how bad I suck? And this one took me like 500 hours.

#2 – I haven’t finished. I hate umbrellas, I hate faces, I hate hands, I hate… hats! Yes, I very much hate hats! F*** hats!

02

Ok, now I’m late for a lecture so I gotta go. We’ll see if I can get to 20 today – I doubt it! But I’m excited to see what the rest of you create this week! Have fun!

Starting Tomorrow… Drawing Challenge: #OneWeek100People

Do you like to doodle? Up for a challenge? Starting tomorrow, there’s this cool sketching challenge hosted by Liz Steel and Marc Taro Holmes (full details here). The aim is to draw 100 people in 1 week. It runs from 6th to the 10th of March and you can join in anywhere on social media (including WordPress) just by using the hashtag #OneWeek100People2017 – and drawing 100 people of course! How you do the challenge is really up to you… some people are sketching people on location, others are doing it in the comfort of their own homes, some have specific goals they want to achieve from taking part, others are just doing it for personal satisfaction or to improve their skill.

I’m only an amateur but I’ll be taking part too and my personal aim is to draw 100 people from random photographs over 5 or 7 days. I usually avoid drawing people cause I find them so hard to draw! What I hope to accomplish is to simply improve my people-drawing-skills, and there’s the additional sense of satisfaction in completing a challenge and taking part in a global activity.

I’ll post my drawings during the week. Meanwhile, if you’re taking part via WordPress, let me know in the comments so I can follow you! Good Luck!

My Student is Still Hot

What? I ain’t blind!

So I saw my student again today – the hot one. Recap: He’s hot, I think he’s hot, wow he’s so hot.

He’s a mature student – don’t shoot me! And … And … and – wait I have more excuses… and, oh yes! And, he’s only going to be my student for a further two or three hours then weirdly I become his student. Cause he’s a trainee teacher and so am I… and I need tutoring……..

He can tutor me any time!

I actually just totally make excuses to be around this guy cause he makes me happy. Guys have never been anything but abusive to me so it’s kinda nice to be around a guy who is friendly and warm and makes me laugh – this is new to me.

But I’m not even dating my student or anything, he’s way too good looking…

My view is, if a guy is that good looking he’s either:
a) messed up in the head
b) married with kids
c)  a player
d) a vampire

I’m thinking c right now…or d….
I know you guys are gonna be like “What about gay…?” He ain’t gay, no way, no how. He is giving off way too many hetero vibes to be gay.

But see, I wouldn’t date him because:
a) he’s my student and my future teacher
b) he’s probably a player
c) I have plans! I ain’t p*ssing my dreams away for some guy. Been there, done that, learned the lesson: Ain’t no man worth p*ssing your dreams away for.

He sure is cute though – hot damn!

 

Sometimes A Change Of Perspective Is All You Need

So, I mentioned previously how I’ve been trying to get my 4-year-old book finished. Not my 4-year-old’s book. I don’t have kids. Children are the spawn of Satan.

Anyway… glad we cleared that up… so anyway…

Recap: 4 years ago I started a book; 4 years later it still isn’t done. And finishing it has been my goal for every summer for the past 4 years.  This summer is really like: “Get it done or I’m burning it!” I mean, I’m sick of looking at this now!

So, let me skip back to January briefly: I had 20 chapters of hot mess and no motivation.

Beginning of February: I knew it was too bloated so I hacked off 8 chapters. I felt motivated!

But then… it was still 12 chapters of hot mess so I lost motivation again.

Last week I was feeling ready to throw it out the window.

But, along comes this guy I know – Successful Guy (TM). I mean, he wins at life and makes me feel like a massive loser. But I like to hang out with him to try to sponge off whatever good vibes he’s got going on.

So, I went on this long rant to him about my book and in one word (or two…) he gave what was ultimately the simplest and best advice ever but for some reason I hadn’t thought of it: “Sub-headings” he said matter-of-factly over the rim of his cappuccino.

Sub-headings! Why the F didn’t I think of that?! Man, I was so motivated after talking to him (and I’m usually about as motivated as Grumpy Cat), I immediately went to the library and printed off one-third of my book…

The idea is I’m just gonna tackle it as 3 sections, I’m gonna spread it all over my floor and get out highlighters and colored pens and get my sub-headings in, and bullet points, and wrestle this tiger!

I’ve already started on the first third and – wow! – suddenly things are coming together! And all it took was a change of perspective. Where previously each chapter was some big, untameable beast, they’re now contained into neat, happy little sub-sections. And it’s had the added benefit of improving the readability and design of my book (I’m also adding some pictures, which helps too!).  I had previously started to hate it ‘cause it was just a big black and white lump but the hate is fading now it’s starting to look like something concise.

I’m not usually good at advice but there’s some: if you have some project you’ve been fiddling with for x years: change your perspective, think of how you can look at it in a new way than before – ask people for advice. It’s funny how just talking to people sometimes can clue you into something when you can’t see the woods for the trees.

Now all I wish is that I could just write and create all day and didn’t have to go do boring grown-up stuff!

 

Experiments with Henna Hair Dye

Ok, so I have a habit of trying and testing things and never bothering to tell anyone how it went or posting “progress” photos (like when I got braces, or when I tried microdermabrasion…). Well, anyway, I started experimenting with henna a few months ago so here’s how that went…

How it started was I was bleach blonde for many years (many, many years). My natural hair color is too ugly to ever consider not-dying. But every time I dyed my hair blonde (out of a bottle because: hairdressers are expensive!) I could never get the “new” color of the roots to match the “old” ends, so I stupidly just kept dying my whole hair every 6-8 weeks…. with peroxide… I know, right?!

Fast forward many years of treating my hair like crap and last October I finally found a decent hairdresser and she straight up told me: my hair’s disintegrating!

By the way, my hair had been in terrible condition for years and I just thought it was my hair type… oops! I know this makes me sound typically blonde that I didn’t know I was wrecking my hair :shrug: I’d been dyeing it so long I just didn’t think…

So, after this she said I could continue to just dye the roots blonde (at a hairdressers) but I couldn’t afford that and I didn’t want to keep damaging my hair so that’s when I started looking into henna.

I’ve only used it twice so far but I’m hooked! What I like about henna is not only does it not damage your hair but it actually improves it’s condition (which I desperately need).

Here’s my brief run down of some pros and cons…

Pros

  1. Improves hair’s condition
  2. No more expensive than regular hair dyes
  3. Can help heal hair that has prolonged damage (like mine!)
  4. Henna color can build up over long-time use and make your hair vivid and shiny.
  5. Vibrant colors (of red)

Cons:

  1. Hope you like red. Henna comes in light red, medium red, and dark red. Ok, also brown (brownish red) and black (black-red) and straight up orange.
  2. It stains everything (including you, so be careful!). You only need to spill one drop and – that’s it – kiss your white blouse goodbye!
  3. Can be problematic if you want to return to traditional dyes.
  4. It’s like mud when you put it on!
  5. You’re supposed to leave it on for hours! What if the doorbell rings?
  6. Can reduce the curls in curly hair (my hair’s a lot straighter since using henna, but the curl returns as the dye fades)
  7. Can fade fast, especially on light hair
  8. Can leave your hair feeling dry (this can be fixed by moisturizing your hair)

While this looks like more negatives than positives, I really like using henna! Sometimes I miss my blonde but I get way more compliments as a redhead and it makes me look less tired – and of course, my hair’s in better condition.

My biggest complaints are the fuss of applying it and the speed with which it fades. And the red tends to fade to orange on my hair… but hopefully as the henna color builds up and my bleach blonde grows out, this won’t happen as much.

These are the henna dyes I tried:

Name: Hemani Henna Burgundy powder

Cost: £8 for two bags (2 x 150g)

Where: Ebay

Amount used: 1 bag per go

Developing Time: 3 hours (you can leave it as long as you want)

Result: Fiery dark red (on my ex-bleach blonde)

After 2 weeks: Chestnut-ginger

Opinion: I love it! Because it’s a powder it’s easy to apply and even though the color was supposed to be burgundy, the fiery deep red looked awesome. I’m just sad it faded so fast.

Name: Lush Hennna Brun

Cost: £9.99

Where: in-store

Amount used: The whole block

Developing time: All night (you can leave it as long as you want)

Result: Brun

After 2 weeks: Faded brun

Opinion: Jeez, this was a massive block and hard to turn into mud-liquid, it also dried my hair out a lot and the color wasn’t very bright. Most people I know who use henna recommend the Lush one but I wasn’t impressed. For the price and quality, I prefer Hemani.

Tip 1: Be careful to read the ingredients when buying “henna hair dyes” cause some are not natural henna and cause damage to your hair.

Tip 2: If you want to go back to dying with ordinary dyes, it’s best to consult a hairdresser first.

Tip 3: Try natural henna shampoo to help maintain your color longer.

Tip 4: For darker or lighter shades, use e.g., lemon juice in with the mix or tea/coffee.

And finally…

Here’s a well-rounded guide by someone with more motivation than me:

http://m.wikihow.com/Henna-Your-Hair-Red