Archive | March 2014

If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you (PWI: Rimmel London Sweet Lavender)

Since Mr. Fix-it made me realize I have no lavender nail polish (huh?), I obviously needed to buy nail polish.  Obviously!  Rimmel London makes these little $2 bottles – they’re really small, actually, 8 mls instead of 18?  But I have literally never once used up a bottle of polish (except, like, base coat), so I really don’t give a crap about the per-ounce price.

Rambling! Rimmel London Sweet Lavender:

Honestly it’s more lavender in person. A little bluer, a little dustier, but
it’s fine!  Because I’ve sorta reached détente with my phone on color.*
* Translation: it wins, while I secretly pine for a camera manufactured by Pantone.**
** Not that secretly.  Mr. F and I just talked for 20 minutes about what that would be.

I’m (semi)-unexpectedly home for a day plus a bit, so I’m screwing around… quite a lot actually.  Because (1) it relieves stress, and (2) my talk is done.  Done done.  No more practicing, no more fussing with it.  It’s as good as I can make it at the moment, I’ve practiced giving it… it’s done.  Which hasn’t been true for the previous, what, two months?

I realized in the course of looking at this that I don’t really have any pastel colors.  I mean maybe a couple accidental ones, but on the scale of my polish-buying, that’s odd!  Also, I realized that lavender doesn’t actually suit me.  The pic looks okay, but even Mr. Fix-It agreed that in person it looked off.

SO I am going to buy pastel colors and see what happens!

Meanwhile: the whole season-based color thing is a bit passé!  But, because pastels are usually associated with spring/summer coloring, I decided to try a thing.  I went and took every online test I could easily find about seasonal coloring…

Ok that’s not quite true.  We should talk methodology.  Which kind of takes us to another post.

2 down, 2 to go

Interview #2: accomplished!

It was definitely better than the first one.  But… I’m not sure the culture is a good fit, and I’m not sure I’m at the right stage in my career.  It’s a university-affiliated research institute, and I could apparently be jointly appointed with a (tenure-track) position at the university. 

That is an amazing offer. Amazing.

But trying to get tenure in %50 or %70 of my time sounds very, very difficult.  To succeed at both that and the institute’s needs, I have to be beyond “above average for junior faculty” (already f’ing hard).  I have to be a freaking star.

On the other hand, the research is an excellent fit.  They’re right to want me, given their needs, and there are people there I could totally work with.  Would be overjoyed to work with!  Hell, my first day there they brought in an ISS vet!  (It may not have come up, but I am a squealing and unapologetic space fangirl.)

I’m trying not to dither about it, because until they make me an offer, and someone else makes me an offer, and so on and so forth, it’s pointless – the decision tree is too deep right now.

Atlanta airport.  Sucker’s gotta be 3, 4 stories tall. Super-tall
escalators always make me dizzy when I look waaay up.

I’m sorry I’m being kinda cagey with details.  I would hardly describe this blog as anonymous (although I’m thinking about how I want to handle it), but I am trying to avoid anything Google-able for now, especially by, say, interviewers!

Interviewing!

I have three interviews in the next 2 weeks, so… posts are likely to flag a bit, I guess.  Or, um, a lot.  Please just cross fingers for me to get an awesome job somewhere (first talk’s in 4 hours!) and there will be content again shortly.

Now I have to go put on a Suit.  Fortunately I have an awesome Suit.

De rigueur kitty:

kitty smoosh

PWI: Urban Outfitters Smush

The other day I found that my grocery store has green olives stuffed with feta cheese, AND green olives stuffed with raw garlic, which I am now happily alternating.  I thought about entitling this post “How to never be kissed again.”

I recently mentioned my random bottle-grab Smush as a dumb name for a color.  But then it was on the surface, so here’s Urban Outfitters Smush:

Indoors, obv.  This didn’t stay on long enough for a daytime
shot!  Read on to find out why I have one weird green nail…

I was applying this, and I was thinking, “Seafoam, hm hm, seafoam… … didn’t I just do an Urban Outfitters seafoam color?  Is this a PWI fail?”

So of course I looked in the box, and discovered that UO Girrl Like You is a green seafoam, not a blue seafoam.  Silly me!  Hence the accent nail, for comparison purposes.

I’ve a bit of a dilemma.  Smush is a cool color, something I would like to have, but the formula is god-awful.  It’s streaky, chalky, draggy and miserable.  This is three coats, and the pinky still has a drag line; I chose the accent nail because the middle finger had the worst coverage.  I did not enjoy playing with this polish, which is super unusual!  Keep or ditch, keep or ditch?  Either way it’s hall of shame.

Man.  Now I’m out of olives.

Half Moons! plus, PWI twofer: Urban Outfitters Bandeau & Sinful Colors Frenzy

“Half moons” (those white arcs at the base of your fingertips) are often re-represented on nails in a variety of silly colors.  Traditionally this is done by masking off the base of your nails with these:

Which is, you know, pretty amusing.

I’ve tried this look before, but since I exclusively use peel-off base coat,* I always end up just peeling off the entire nail’s polish.  ANY way, the other day I was reading some blog about nails (don’t remember whose, sorry!) and the blogger said something like, “Then I put hole reinforcements on my nails, being sure to stick them to the back of my hand first of course…”

Of course.

So obvious in retrospect.  I mean if I had really sat down and formulated the question as “How do I make these less sticky,”  I would have answered it immediately.  Formulating the right question when you see a problem is, sometimes, the only hard thing.  Or even realizing you should treat it as a solvable problem.  Engineering is hard!

But!  It means you get to see my first ever successful (ish) half moons.

Here’s Urban Outfitters Bandeau:

Indoor.  I doooon’t need a new camera (I don’t) but
would a lamp be such a bad idea?  …I’m doomed

Which is a fairly nice purple creme; 2 coats.  In low light it reads as black, in bright light it looks about like this, satiny dark purple.  In sunlight, however, it is glowingly purple, as shown below.  The odd, slightly satiny finish is accurate.

With Sinful Colors Frenzy, a nice purple-and-plum glitter.

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Purple!  Indirect sunlight/direct sunlight.  Glitter’s hard to take a good picture of.
I feel like I would need a star filter or something.  For the camera. That I don’t need.

I don’t think this color choice was that successful.  I’m not sure why, but it feels off from a bit of distance.  Dunno!  Maybe I’m just not used to it.  Also, waiting for three layers of Frenzy to dry was kind of awful; next time I want something fast for that part.  The stickers did pull some of the Bandeau up, I’m guessing because it wasn’t fully dry.

But!  Still!  Lookit!  Half-moons!  Purple ones!


* Subject of upcoming post

Nail mechanics

Interested in the mechanics and some chemistry of nail-painting?  Possibly not!  Feel free to move on.  BUT if you are interested, here are some deets of how it all works!  Actually, all the deets.  Good grief.  Deets are long

Polarity!  Broadly, liquids come in polar (molecules have a magnetic positive and negative), and non-polar (they don’t).  Water is polar; acetone and other nail polish solvents are non-polar.  Nail polish floats on water like oil.  This will matter.

Three peel-off base coats, a regular base coat, and two fast-dry top coats.  In
general, for any given painting of my nails, I will use one from each category.
(PS: augh augh now I’m noticing the numbers don’t line up augh)

So the nitty gritty!

First step, for me, is always a peel-off base coat.  They don’t last anywhere near as long, and the failure mode is looking down and discovering a whole nail is missing – “Now where did I leave that?” But I’d (much) rather paint my nails a new color than fuss with nail polish remover.  Also, glitter tends to mechanically block the action of remover, so glitters are a damned nightmare to remove otherwise.

The players.  I start with:

1: Nail Pattern Boldness‘ Glitter A-peel.  This is the only one that is regular, non-polar nail polish chemicals.  I used to use this a lot, but the solvents in nail polish eat your nails, and I’d prefer to avoid that – I only get chipping, peeling nails when I’m putting non-polar solvents on them regularly.  Including this.  So I moved on to…

2: Homemade PVA base coat.  PVA (polyvinyl acetate) is Elmer’s glue (or tacky glue, outside the US), which peels off nails exactly the same as it peels off skin.  Lab Muffin is generally credited for working this out, although others have too.  It is water-soluble and polar!  So this is a bottle of Elmer’s wood glue mixed with water.  It doesn’t eat my nails, and it works.  Also, no fumes.

3: OPI Glitter Off.  Also PVA, and brand new to the market.  OPI is best known for their formulas, because they are amazing, so when I found out that this existed got some immediately.  This is my new best friend.  All the advantages of #2, plus it lasts about 2x as long as my homemade stuff, dries a bit faster, and really only needs one coat.

Next is a regular base coat!  This is important!  Polar base coats (PVA) don’t block the sort of pigments found in non-polar solvents (all nail polish), so after either #2 or #3 I need a regular base coat to do that.  If those pigments aren’t blocked, they (occasionally) soak into your nails and take up permanent residence.  Eeeww.

In case you thought the “interview nails” was entirely a problem
in my head, I’ve been asked about this nonsense.  I failed to use a
non-polar base coat one time.  That polish is already hall-of-shamed. 🙁

4: Orly Rubberized Bonder.  This is a very popular base coat for holding polish without chipping, and it prevents the horribleness of figure 2 there.  Always use base coat, kids.  If you don’t want to go peel-off, this is actually the first step.

Next is some kind of attractive polish!

You cannot tell me this is not wizardry.

Finally, a coat of fast-dry top coat.  Fast-dry top coat is the difference between bothering to paint my nails, and not.  About a minute, maybe two after application, your nails are bomb-proof and you can go about your life.  I love you chemistry!

5: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.  Probably the fastest-drying, and very thick, so one coat can even out glitter roughness and so on.  Magical clear nail armor.  I heart this very much.  It chips quickly, but not as quickly as the peel-off peels off, so for me it’s excellent.

6: Sally Hansen Dries Instantly Top Coat.  (SH Insta-Dry, red bottle, is also good.)  Dries reasonably fast, a bit thinner than Seche Vite, but less chippy.  I use this for interview nails, which are not peel-off.

And that’s it!  Glue, a regular base coat, fast-dry top coat, plus something pretty, and you’re good to go.  It sounds like a lot of coats, but since the world dries faster these days, it doesn’t correspond to taking forever (much less time than typing up this monstrosity!).  All you really need is base coat and color, if you’re feeling minimalist.

Steampunk R2-D2!

Okay, confession time: I really do love steampunk.  Not for any good reason, it just tickles my aesthetic bone.  A lot!  Despite the fact that one of the best definitions I’ve ever seen is “when goths discovered brown” (Jess Nevins).  What can I say?  I want to replace all my light switches with teeny double-throw knife switches.  (Fake ones, because knife switches were always a terrible idea.)

So you can imagine how this little dude from artist amoebabloke hit me.

eeeeeeeeeee you are so cute
(source: amoebabloke’s deviant art page)

He’s quite small – from shots with tools in the background, I make him about 2″/5cm diameter.  And, sadly, nonactuated.  This distressed me until I found… this guy!


He’s not quite as pretty, but he’s actuated and he’s lovely.

Thank you, internet, for giving people a reason to do these things and a way to share them with us.  This is as it should be. ♥

PWI: Island Girl Polynesian Heat

Mr. Fix-it took my request to heart (okay, I poked him), and suggested lavender nails.  Whereupon we discovered that however the hell many little bottles I have, I don’t have a one of those.  Gah!  The closest I could come was this, which is more like a pale pink, although I tried layering it over purple, which sometimes works but didn’t really here.

Island Girl Polynesian Heat:

Indoor lighting, because then I took it off.  Please
ignore the one weird finger, that’s a failed experiment.

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Left: indoor; right: flash.  (Oo!  Flash!  Whatever’s next?)

Okay, first off I’ll just get this off my chest:  “Polynesian heat”?  Doesn’t that make you think of something in the red/orange/yellow family?  Or at least something saturated?  Something not, say, delicate, frosty pinkish-lavender?

Meh, whatever, it’s a pretty color.  Which is a shame, because the formula is fail.  It’s everything people hate about “frost” finishes: it shows every imperfection and every brushstroke, it’s thin and runny and doesn’t stay where you put it, it’s not self-leveling.  It looks mostly okay from a little distance?  But it’s not really worth the hassle.

I tried rescuing it by putting a topper on it I’m excited about; the two nail polishes played together poorly, with Polynesian Heat crinkling up and going all weird.

Hall-o-shame!  Shame, I say!  Burn the witch.

PWI: Wet’n’Wild Through the grapevine (aka ORCHID!)

First, a note: this article on mental illness in academia, while perhaps a bit extreme, is exactly the sort of thing that possible-academics should know and be asking themselves hard questions about.

More fun that that though:

I had dinner with my friend N the other day, and we hit a drugstore on the way home to feed our little obsession.  (Okay, I did and she came along.)  Towards the end I said, “Okay, pick something for me.” And then, to avoid the embarassment of spending 15 minutes saying “Already got that one… and that one…”, I added, “Pick something you don’t think I’d pick for myself.”

Introducing Wet’n’Wild Through the Grapevine:

X
Left: indirect sunlight; right: actual sunlight hitting my actual body you guys!  I think
these capture the pink-to-blue variation pretty well.  Under indoor lights it’s very pink.

Yeah, I would not have picked it!  I actually think it’s pretty flattering on me (?), but I’m not really a FLAMING ORCHID kind of person, and this is bright.  Nonetheless, I love it when people pick polishes for me, either to wear or to buy; it’s astonishing how often it’s a complete learning experience.  (Black on one hand and white on the other, chosen by a labmate, was so good that I want a matching dress.)*

If you don’t know, Pantone** has always had some geek love, and they’ve realized it and decided to make a profit off it – you can buy notebooks, watches, mugs, etc.  One of the things they do now is declare a “Color of the Year” (and season), which cosmetics, clothing designers, etc. dutifully note.†

This year’s color is Radiant Orchid.  That’s probably why I have bright pink fingers!


* If you have an idea (that you tell me) I will do it to my nails if physically possible, and post it.  This is a promise.  It can also be a dare, that’s fine.

** A company whose business is “reproducible color.”  You can buy physical swatches of thousands of colors, and the Pantone color number is just… that color.  That exact color.  No monitor differences, differences between batches, or creep: Pantone 13-1406 (“Cloud Pink”) will always be the same.  For example, the University of Tennessee’s official colors are UT Orange, White, and Smokey, while the University of Texas’ orange is Burnt Orange (#159).  You can see where that’s useful when thousands of people and hundreds of departments are doing their own thing.

Update: apparently they also look at runway shows and early collections to get ideas, so it goes both ways.  *shrug*

Interview nails dethroned!

So Rimmel London is a drugstore makeup brand, one that I think is relatively newly spreading into the US?  So that’s a thing.  Um sorry but I can’t do much of an intro because I am too excited to show you Rimmel London Caramel Cupcake:

It’s nail polish!  Promise!!  Dinged my index before it was dry.
jaundice = indoor lighting.  Matte top coat.

When it’s shown all close-up like this, you can at least tell my nails are painted, but in most light you really cannot.  I topped it with a matte top coat to minimize shine, and y’all, this stuff is me-colored.  Normally one doesn’t need a nail polish that looks exactly like one’s self, but at the moment I do, and I found it!!  It is this.  It matches me less or more depending on lighting, but I will swear you would never notice it.  (I showed a friend, and she grabbed my hand and stared at it super up close before giving me an “if you say so” shrug.)

In nail-polish-junkie-landia, this look (perfectly matching nail polish) is referred to as “mannequin hands”, for those following along at home.  I’m almost tempted to paint some half-moons (the white round bit at the base of your nail) just to see what it would look like.

I am really disproportionately happy about this!

PWI twofer: Wet’n’Wild Sophisticated Lady and Sally Hansen Ice Queen

I bought this at the same time as Wet’n’Wild Champagne Toast, from the same display and, apparently, in the same mood.  Behold!

Wet’n’Wild Sophisticated Lady:

pink nail polish is pink

I don’t really get the name.  It’s pink.  What’s sophisticated about pink?  I mean it’s too pale to be bubblegum pink, but?  …whatever.  It’s pretty, it’s subtle, it’s fine.  I feel like if I mixed this and Champagne Toast  I’d have a more opaque Nomad’s Dream.  Nice to have around.

Then, because I make the same mistakes over and over, I layered on the partially-contrasting Sally Hansen Ice Queen:

Bugz!  Little teal bugs on my hand!  Ugh.

Big pink glitter, big teal glitter, teeny iridescent multicolored sparkles.

This does a good job of showing why I don’t really like multicolored glitter.  Up close, it looks fine, but from any distance the teal glitter just looks like I got scunge on my hands and should wash them.  Also, getting the big hex glitters out was a giant pain; getting this many glits took three-ish coats and a mountain of dabbing.

So I’ll either get rid of this or use it for the teeny sparkles.  Meh.

PWI: Pure Ice French Kiss

I think a lot of my color photography problems stem from variations on blue.  I thought it was awesome that Eurso Euro (I don’t need to link it again, do I?) photographed so beautifully.  I now think it was luck.  Specifically, I’m beginning to think that my camera just gets way overexcited about blues.  It sees blue and just jumps up and down in its little… camera… space.  Thing.

(You do all know that when I say “camera” I mean “iPhone”, right?)

Anyway, this is a sort of navyish blue, which my “camera” waaaay oversaturated.  I got something closer to color-true by dropping the saturation enormously, hence the skin tone.  (I mean, I know what color my skin is.  I can just look.  It’s nail polish I need want some record of.)

Pure Ice French Kiss:

Taken in an alley with rain coming down, because I’m trying to add some
grit and drama to this blog.  (No I’m not.  Alleys just come in rainy here.)

It’s blue, all righty.  Yep.  Sure is blue.  I have a lot of blue polish, mostly from my long quest for a perfect indigo.  Not this one.  I just bought this one.  I don’t know why.

I guess that’s why I have so much blue polish.

My capitalization of brand tags is inconsistent, and to fix it I have to edit posts individually.  This does not please me at all.  In fact I am quickly reaching “unacceptably annoyed” by formatting limitations imposed by Blogger!  But any other blogging choice is a lot like work.  Bah.

On the Groves of Academe [a rant in several parts]

Okay, so (I claim) it’s kind of insane to want to be a professor.  “And yet,” you say (in my head, where you are interested), “You are yourself finishing a Ph.D. and trying to stay in academia!”

Well, I gave three possible reasons for that behavior:

  • You’re nuts.
  • You somehow missed the memo on the problems with academia.
  • You know yourself, and know what makes you happy, very well. 

I don’t think I’m irretrievably insane, and I certainly got the memo.  So.

[This got long as all hell.  Feel free to just look at this cat instead. –ed.]

Not posed.  I just looked over and Libra was sitting
in my backpack.  With her tongue sticking out.

Do I know myself that well?  Who knows.  Maybe!  But I know, as much as anyone can know without being there, what the tradeoffs are.  I undoubtedly have surprises in my future, and I have things to learn about being in academia – including unpleasant things – and about myself.  But here are some things I’m sure of about myself, right now.

  • I don’t care that much about money.1 As far as my life objectives and reward structures go, it’s not high on the list.  I want enough money for a reasonably nice life – but in my field, that doesn’t require being at the financial pinnacle.
  • I like writing.  I like presenting to groups.  I like being in front of groups.  I like teaching and I love presenting at conferences.  I am a big fat ham.
  • I love, love, love traveling.  I have a map of places I have yet to go.  This is a thing researchers do, travel for conferences; and I love basically everything about business traveling.
  • I love interacting with smart people!  In a university environment, many of the people you rub along with are stimulating, thought-provoking, fascinating people.
  • I am motivated by tackling new problems and coming up with new ideas – even if some of them don’t work out.  Tackling problems that humanity has never solved before is awesome.  Producing profitable artifacts, less my thing.
If you don’t know what this is all about, get off my lawn.
  • My personal health and well-being is best served by having a job/role that supports not getting up at 8 or 9 (or 10) every day.  It sounds minor, but it’s not.
  • I love being on campus.  I love wandering around a campus, people-watching students and professors, reading posters in random buildings.  I find that I feel comfortable and happy on almost any campus.
  • I do not give farts about how many people know my name.  I care a bit about the quality of those people, but the idea of “toiling along in relative obscurity” is untroubling.
  • I lead small groups well; I mentor well; I don’t want to be a career manager.
  • I work best under pressure.  With no forcing functions, I tend to play computer games in my underwear and loathe myself.
  • Mr. Fix-It hates moving with a passion, and I don’t want to drag him around as I do corporate job changes.  Also, neither of us is a big fan of Silicon Valley.
  • And hey – I went into grad school from an industry research job, with my eyes open, planning to enjoy it.  And for the most part, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it.

Some of these can be addressed by non-university research jobs; some cannot.  Some aren’t addressed by academia, either, and not all “industry” research jobs are created equal.  Put together, they make a pretty reasonable story.  That said, there’s one more slightly dirty secret:

  • It’s a one-way street.  You can go from academia to industry, but not vice versa.2

So “publish or perish” is really “publish or do what you’d be doing anyway if you weren’t in academia”.  Trying out the faculty gig keeps my options the most open, which I do care about. A lot. A whole lot.  A whole, whole lot.  …yep.


[1]  This, by the way, is the kind of thing that’s easy to toss off if you have enough money, and don’t have to worry about making rent, or have to decide between medicine and food.  I have always been that lucky, but a lot of it is luck, and I am profoundly grateful.

[2]  Yes yes there are exceptions.  People win the lottery too.  Thpt.

PWI twofer! OPI: Vant to Bite my Neck? and SOPI: Beam Me Up Hottie!

I did not choose to put these polishes together because they are both complete sentences with punctuation.  I would have, but I only just noticed.  Dumb sentences, sure, but better than [grabs a bottle at random] “Smush”.

This first one I kinda already knew would disappoint.  It’s from the same collection as Eurso Euro (have I blithered on enough about that one yet?), and when I got EE in all its indigo perfection, I hoped the purple would be equally glorious.  (Spoiler: it isn’t)

OPI Vant to Bite my Neck?:

These are both pretty color-accurate, because your human meat eyeball with its high dynamic range can see a lot more color depth at once.  So the way-overexposed shot on the right that shows the purpliness is, in human eyeball terms, just another part of this polish’s “depth of color”.  Stupid excellent meat eyeball.

So, in other words,

Eggplant.  Very dark purplish-black.  (Unless it’s white.  Did you know it’s called an”eggplant” because of the smooth round egginess of the white ones?  I didn’t.)  Aubergine.  Lovely color.  Source: the wikipedia article on “the color aubergine”

Look, aubergine is a lovely color that is mostly black.  Seriously, when your canvases are 1cm2, this is just… black.  In direct sunlight (well “sunlight”) it’s… black.  (Black with an excellent, long-lasting creme formula, because OPI.)

With hints of eggplant.

So, since I don’t actually really like this polish, I decided to try to spruce it up by doing something I know I dislike, which is adding a highly-contrasting glitter topper.

SOPI: Beam Me Up, Hottie!:

Left: what it actually looked like, which is, mysteriously polka-dotted nails.  Right: They’re very holographic
polka dots!  And I learned that a blurry picture actually captures the holo colors better.  I learned this from
real bloggers with better cameras.  Which I do not need one of.  Because I don’t need another hobby.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  …no, no it didn’t.  It seemed like something I could reach without dislodging this cat.  So that’s like a good idea, kind of.

This is just a bottle full of silver holographic glitter hexes in a clear base.  Seems like my kind of looking-futuristic thing, but the formula is such a total goddamned PITA.  This is several layers, with much dabbing.*

So… all things being equal, total fail!  I’ll probably keep Beam My Up Hottie! for use over silver, where its holographic awesomeness can blend and glitter distribution is less obvious.  I kind of feel like McAubergine here is bound for a new home.

* (Basically what it sounds like – sort of “patting” the nail with the brush, pushing individual glitters (glits?**) around.)
** I am pretty sure an individual glitter is a glit

PWI twofer: Sinful Colors Aqua and Shattered Rocket Fuel

Occasionally  I look at the little bin of things that are post-Project Wear-It, then at the burgeoning bin of things that are still waiting, and I make a little sad noise.  Then I remember that it’s just nail polish for crying out loud, if it makes me sad it’s a stupid hobby.

Then I make a little sad noise.

I made lunch (and dinner) from scratch today!  Chicken stew.  But I was playing around, as I do when I have no-one else present to poison, and it’s… well.  I should have made more instacurry.  I would describe it as barely edible.  So I am sad about that (and a little hungry)… which means I should show you nail polish!  Yes.  Yes it does.

Sinful Colors Aqua:

Pretty color!  It’s not quite this… electric in person.  However, since
it was a horrid gray rainy day even by Seattle standards, I’ll take my
bright colors where I find them.  Even in misleading photographs.

This is so similar in the bottle to SC Gorgeous, when I find it I’ll show you.  This is a very pretty blue-leaning aqua, and Gorgeous is a sliiiigghhtly green-leaning aqua.

But I had an ulterior motive, which was to provide a base for a polish that must be 15 years old minimum, about which the Internet knows nothing (damn kids)

Behold!  Shattered Rocket Fuel:

Green and blue bar glitter everywhere!  I, I swear.  Honest?  This isn’t even
lighting, it’s just teal, honestly the camera adds drama here, I  don’t
understand photography apparently, why does the camera add drama.

Yes, it… also looks pretty teal, doesn’t it.  Hrm.

See this is actually a mix of beautiful blue and green bar glitter.*  In the bottle it looks like some kind of jewel.  But in person it looks.. well, aqua.  Especially from more than 6 inches away.  It’s pretty, especially in indoor light, but compared to the bottle it is disappointing.

What the bottle looks like; what the polish looks like with a little distance. Here
the bottle looks less exciting than in person, and my nails look more exciting
and glowy.  It’s the same damn polish, camera.  What do you want from me.

Ah, well.  Pretty is still a good thing.  I vaguely recall doing roommate E’s nails with this over purple and liking the results, maybe after PWI I’ll try that.

(PS: Also: It may seem as though our living room floor is covered in random objects.  In fact, they are cat toys.  I don’t know what to tell you.)

* Bar glitter means “long thin glitter”.  It tends to hang off the sides of your nails or stick straight up or otherwise be a pain.

Lazy curry dinner

Mr. Fix-It is out of town, and as much as I love to cook, I really don’t get any kick out of cooking for one.  Nobody does!  It’s depressing!  So usually when he’s out of town I subsist on boiled eggs and cheese sandwiches.  But, I am trying to do better.

Dinner Thursday was actually, in my opinion, surprisingly successful, for using stuff from the corner drugstore and taking barely longer than boiling eggs.  Also, Mr. Fix-It hates curry, so I got a curry fix.

    Step 1: Thaw a chicken breast,* cut it into teeny pieces, and quick-like cook it up in a pan.  (I used sesame oil.  I always use sesame oil if I can get away with it.)  Dump in a bowl. 

    Step 2: In the same pan, scramble an egg.**  Dump in the bowl. 

    Step 3: Take a one of these of these:

A Taste of Thai Quick Meal Yellow Curry Noodles!
Amazon, get this back in stock, Bartell’s is too far away

and (same pan! no rinsing it!) follow the stupidly-easy stove-top instructions. 

    Step 4: Add egg and chicken back in. Stir. 

    Step 5: Dump everything all together into bowl.  Eat.

Easy? Yes.†† Haute cuisine?  Absolutely not.  Better than a cheese sandwich?  Yes!  And honestly, better than or equivalent to about ⅔ of the Thai on the Ave.

Plus, I really like finding goofy things to do with convenience foods.

* Okay, that part didn’t come from Bartell’s
** This one did though!
Dump everything into pan, boil. “Everything” is: a cup of water; a large packet of “coconut milk powder”; a small packet of mysterious, slightly sweet yellow-powder-with-dried-stuff in; a tiny plastic pouch of oozy red curry paste.
†† You know what’s even easier though? Without the protein additions this is meant to be microwaved inside that box there!

Also also!

You guys you guys I wrote all my thank-you notes to the people I met at interview #1!

Okay, yes.  This is baseline.  This is something that took like 20 minutes and involved very little thought.  But I am terrible at it, like I never do it.  So I did it and in the same week and I am very pleased with myself for doing better than my own personal sucky baseline!

PWI: Maybelline Emerald Elegance

I am amazingly wiped out.  Walking to school yesterday, and back two hours later, necessitated a nap.  Putting on nail polish seems like a chore.  (Buying it, not so much, it seems.)  I think I was all wired up on anticipation and adrenaline for my Job Interview, and now that it’s over, my strings have been cut, and I am tired.

I wasn’t that impressed with the Maybelline Color Show Brocades collection.  (Too many words!)  But I eventually picked one up, which led me to looking at swatches, which led to the inevitable purchase of…

Maybelline Emerald Elegance.

Big green glitter, smaller green glitter and teeny-tiny gold
and green glitter, and it was easier to find that out on the
internet than by looking at the actual polish, by the way
Rather truer color at half-dark, 5 minutes after previous picture.
Thanks Seattle! When I need “darkness” you are there for me

Two coats. Thick and gloopy as all hell, but not actually hard to work with. The addition of teeny gold glitter makes it lean towards a yellowish green.

I feel like “brocades” is surprisingly apt (especially given the history of cosmetic companies on this). These are glitter polishes, but not sparkly; they end up giving the sense of complexity and something-happening without being glittery or obvious about the mix of colors.

From six inches, anyway. Beyond that, they look “green”. This is the tragedy of fancy nail polish. Le Sigh.

PWI: OPI Nomad’s Dream (interview nails selection!)

Since I made such a fuss, I’ll cop that I wondered all along if this would happen: I ended up using one of my possibly 5 oldest polishes for interviewing. This is pretty close to perfectly balanced between pink and gold, making it a good match for my super-noncommittal skin tone.*

OPI Nomad’s Dream:

I don’t have a conversational aside for this picture, possibly
because I am in New Jersey, slowly being drained of life

A little shiny, but on my short nails, basically unnoticeable, as desired.  It’s also pretty sheer; this is three coats.  Two is even more unnoticeable.

Nomad’s Dream was a special edition MANY years ago, but has been re-released in the last few years.  Since OPIs have been reformulated in the last ten years or so, it may be quite different – it looks different in the bottle.  I don’t care enough to pick up a new bottle and find out, and the internet’s fascination with nail polish post-dates the original.  Humankind may never know.

* Most makeup babbling starts with: “determine whether your skin’s undertones are pink (cool), or yellow (warm)”. This does not work for me, independent of being arbitrary and a bit odd.  OTOH, I pin down one end of the fair—dark spectrum pretty thoroughly.

Interviewed! Lived to tell!

I got interviewed!

It was… long.

  • 6:00 – Get up to practice talk
    • Body time (PST → EST transition + DST): 2:00? I think?
  • 9:00-11:00 – Many ½ hour meetings
  • 11:00 – Give talk (eek)
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 13:00-18:30 – Many ½ hour meetings
  • 18:30 – Break
  • 18:35-21:00 – Dinner (delicious; also, thinly veiled excuse for more interview)

That’s not THAT long a day, but it’s a pretty nonstop day, if that makes sense. Very few breaks, no letting guard down.  On the flip side, I learned a lot.

Since we’re making lists:

  1. Faculty seem socially isolated
  2. 2/3 of faculty live in NYC or Princeton (see above) – not a great sign
  3. Teaching load going up soon (from 1/1 to 1/2)
  4. Funding seems an issue in general
  5. CS department is split across several buildings
  6. Many significantly older professors
  1. Faculty seem friendly, forthcoming, and interested
  2. Students are engaged and (mostly) interesting
  3. Two profs closest to my research are both ~ my age and nice people
  4. Many options for collaboration, I think 
  5. Um, east coast? duh?
  6. Only one person harassed me a bunch about Cyc

I don’t have a synthesis.  Too tired.  But hey, it happened, and the world didn’t implode or anyfing, so that’s nice.  I felt like it went pretty well, and like I had a good connection with many of the people I talked to.  Maybe that’s accurate, maybe it was the sleep dep.

We Shall See!

I was gonna add something about… something… hard.  Uh.  Hard is too hard.  Brain going offline.  Cat:

My macbook pro has warms. He especially likes it when I play Flash games.

Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax

I committed quite an extensive rant a couple of days ago, explaining why it was slightly daft to aim for academia. Of course, I had planned a followup to explain why it can be right, and wonderful, and fulfilling, and actually a great choice. (I did throw in an “unless” in there…)

Unfortunately, that one’s going to have to wait, because I am frantically trying to get ready for (gulp!) my first faculty candidate interview, on Monday. (eeeeeeeek)

So only easy nail polish posts and kitties until that’s over with.  Also, medical stuff, good stuff we hope. So on all fronts, cross your fingers for me! Meanwhile,

We cannot see you.  Because you are Sneaky.

PWI: Rimmel London Burgundy Flirt, or, an interesting cheat; plus! L’Occitane Neroli

Well, I was going to do Rimmel London Burgundy Flirt. But… here’s the thing. I just did UO Spiked Punch, and they’re the absolute same. Really. Same creme/jelly* formula, same effort, same final color. The interim color was a bit different, but who cares? I had originally convinced myself that RL BF was a teeny bit browner, but, you know… it’s not. So, they’re BOTH going in the PWI bin.

I will not insult your intelligence with additional pictures.

So instead I will talk about perfume again! (wheee)

First, and important, there are two formulations of this, old and new. This is important because it is true of MANY perfumes (and some other cosmetics). This is because of either IFRA requirements (suuuuch a useless link) or EU requirements; basically, both have the same aim, which is eliminating perfume constituents that people are allergic to.

As a hopelessly pan-allergic creature myself, I love it. I never ever ever want my perfume to interfere with someone’s ability to breathe. (This is also part of why I favor low-sillage** perfumes.) But, a number of pre-existing perfumes had to be reformulated to comply with one or the other, and how much they changed is extremely variable.

So, L’Occitane Neroli (bitter orange blossom).

Some eBay seller. Thanks dude and/or lady!

I have a sample of this, and I have no idea when it’s from (I got it second-hand). My best guess is that it’s the original: exactly what’s shown above, a beautiful deep red. The newer versions seem lighter, plus I haven’t seen a new one in a little box-let. The internet suggests that the pre- and post-reformulations are moderately different. Also it … kind of smells allergenic?†

Review: y’all. I hate it.

I mean I can admire things about it! It has personality! It’s interesting and not the same as a million other perfumes! It has novel notes and dry-down! Just… they’re kind of a bad idea? (On me.)

It’s a very unisex smell, but not in a very soapy way; bitter orange is strong, and it’s backed by strong, strong cedar and spice (I get cloves and coriander). Sounds like it would be up my alley, but… it’s chokingly strong. Like, after 20 minutes of a fairly mild spray, I couldn’t take it anymore. Washing it off led to a lingering neroli/spicey/mildly soapy smell, tolerable… but not good.

This is someone’s perfect perfume. Go, someone! (You can have my sample.)

* I really need to get on a domain-jargon post
** reeeaaaallllyyyy 
Look, it sounds pretty hippy-dippy. But when you’ve been this allergic for this long, you actually start to be able to smell when certain things are a bad idea. I’m not crazy.

On the Groves of Academe [a rant in several parts]

Academia is a funny place.*

For one thing, it’s kind of insane to want to be faculty. I mean that in a fairly literal sense. Consider:

      • You spend 5-8 years in PhD school, living on a relative pittance. This is 5-10% of your life, 8-13% of your adult life.
      • Grad school isn’t always fun. It can be fun! There are excellent things about it! But PhD students spend a lot of time slogging through, under pressure.
      • The opportunity cost of 5-8 years of possible earnings with a BS/BA (or 3-6 years with an MS) is very high.
      • The odds of actually finding a position range from mediocre to astronomically low.
      • The pay is non-concomitant with the effort. Financially, the sweet spot is the Masters. 
      • Should you actually land a position, possibly after another 2-4 years as a postdoc, you face 4-7 years on the tenure track – years that are much more grueling than grad school.
      • Also now you are between 27 and 35. 
      • If you make it through ALL the hurdles, you achieve the gold ring: you’re a tenured faculty member, expected to teach classes and Produce Research.
      • Also now you are between 38 and 46. (I hope you didn’t want kids? j/k, that’s what faculty wives are for†)
      • The gold ring: If you do amazingly, continuously, for the rest of your life, at least 100 people will look up to you! Probably 200-300 will know your name. Maybe even more!
      • Congrats I guess?

          Is this insane? Well, the cost/reward ratio is waaaay off. I mean, nobody would look at this objectively and say, “Oh, that sounds like a great idea!” So… either you know yourself, and know what makes you happy, very, very well; or you’re nuts; or, you somehow missed the memo on the above.

          It’s interesting, what happens when I mention this to my fellow faculty-candidate colleagues. About half of them nod, a bit sadly, and we share a Look, and go back to our insanity. The other half go straight to, “Nooo! No, not true, because of reasons! …”

          I worry about the second half.

          How could you miss the memo? Well, really, the Academe is geared towards making academics. Great undergrads are steered into grad school; after that, research and publication and faculty are all anyone talks to you about. How could it be otherwise? You are mentored and taught exclusively by people who followed that path AND got the gold ring. What else do they know?

          But now, we produce at least one order of magnitude more PhDs than we have faculty slots, so something’s gotta give.

          After I get my crazy person slot.**

          I will try to amend for wordiness with a sleeping kitty:

          It is so hard to get work done around here you guys I mean what was I gonna do

          * A funny place, especially, in STEM. Which is honestly pretty close to all I know. One of the funny things is how very, very different areas are. So let’s take all of the following as referring to STEM.
          j/k, faculty-chillums obviously a problem for all genders.††
          †† (it isn’t)
          ** It’s a nice crazy-person slot 😐

          PWI twofer: Sally Hansen Celeb City and Sinful Colors Queen of Beauty

          Sometimes it’s worth posting base color + topper separately; often it’s not. This is that second kind.

          Base coat (which is nice on its own, I mean, I wore it), is Sally Hansen Celeb City:

          X
          Left is daylight, right is indoor, cuticles are covered in silver. Not easy to
          photograph! It’s no Push’n’Shove,* but it’s a perfectly nice metallic.

          Pretty color, nice and even in two coats. It’s shiny but maayyybe the glitters are too coarse to call it a foil? Nah, foil. (I think I’m going to do a post on all these made-up domain specific words.)

          Later, topped with Sinful Colors Queen of Beauty:

          X
          Do I need to say which is which? No, I do not. Because the
          indoor photos are always the ones where I’m in last-stage jaundice.

          My camera haaaates this. It took a while to get two even borderline decent photos, I mean, for heaven’s sake. Go look at KittyPNB’s swatches if you care, she has an actual camera. 😛

          But basically, it looks like little disco balls. Just straight-up silver glitter. This is 4 [!] coats. I doubt it would be opaque without Celeb City undies, but it was pretty at every stage.

          As a side note… who comes up with these names? Some of them are nicely descriptive (Champagne Toast), some are just eh (like, Celeb City, once I see the polish I can make some connection),  some of them are straight-up meaningless (Cassie, Hot Wired), and some of them are just weird and misleading (Pull Over is an orange-ish yellow). It’s like paint samples, which are also named by people tripping so hard they can taste colors.

          # of clicks it took me to find this: 2.

          So now we know what color surreality, quintessent..i…ality? .. and elegance are.

          PWI: Sally Hansen Rouge Rush

          This is another topper-over-previous thing. It’s very convenient! Also, Mr. Fix-It gave me the plague a head cold, which doesn’t change what I have to do to get a job, so forgive me if postings are kind of short and uninspired. Really uninspired.

          Over UO Spiked Punch, here’s Sally Hansen Rouge Rush:

          Indirect daylight, not-daylight. In person it looks better at night.

          These were disappointing to photograph. In person, especially at night, they have a sort of glimmering depth that I usually associate only with flakies. I mean, I’m really too casual a blogger to get a lightbox and a macro lens and suchlike nonsense, but I can see why people do.

          The polish has several different shapes of glitter in very, very minor variations of color; I’m a little surprised by how much I like it. AFAICT, it’s: pale pink glitter shreds; pale red glitter shreds; and smallish fuschia hex glitter.

          It’s… a lot more harmonious than it sounds?

          Also, perfumes? I guess that is a thing too?

          So since I seem to have a blag in which I talk about the things in my life that have few outlets, I’m going to say stuff about perfumes! Why not?

          The perfume my brother picked out for me ohhh let’s just say quite a long time ago is still wonderful. I wore it exclusively for many years (I’m not a “perfume wardrobe” kind of human). But, things change. I still think it’s wonderful, but it’s not a great reflection of my personality any more. I want to find a perfume that I’ll wear for the next  ten, twenty years. Which means I’ve gone from perfume monogamy to perfume dating? And there is NO good matching algorithm, let me tell you.

          Mostly, what I’ve done about it is collect small samples that I rarely think to try, and then when I do try them, I immediately forget what I thought of them. So I guess this is a reasonable place to record them?

          In that spirit, I recently (re)tried:

          l l
          Burberry Body, CB Russian Caravan Tea, CB In the Library. Uh… I’ll probably
          never show a picture of a CB perfume again; they are all packaged EXACTLY the same.

          Burberry: Body – This was very, very floral, and very, very unoriginal. One of the “yep, lotta perfume smells like that” ones. Also, it made both cats get up and leave?? So, no.

          CB I hate perfume: In the Library – I quite liked the scent, which does smell book-collection-ish. But it turns out that (1) libraries smell partly of dust (ew), and (2) liking something and wanting to be that thing, it turns out, are different.

          CB I hate perfume: Russian Caravan Tea – I remember really liking the smokiness to this, but as my little sample bottle aged, I feel like lemon became the predominant note. I maaay pick up another teeny decant, but I don’t think it’s got the characteristics I’m after.

          On a side note, Christopher Brosius (the “CB”) is an interesting dude. He has a manifesto, because he is an artiste. Nonetheless, he targets specific smells (Tea Rose, Russian Caravan) and … sort of scenes, like Summer Kitchen and Greenbriar 1968. Others are more “inspired by”, like 7 Billion Hearts. Basically, I respect what he does? But the wear time is frequently very short, and they’re expensive.

          PWI: Urban Outfitters Spiked Punch

          Captain Fix-It has had a nasty head cold all week (overlapping our time in Hawaii, ugh). I thought it was somewhat miraculous that I hadn’t caught it from him… until I woke up this morning midafternoon with a sore throat and fever. Sigh.

          Last night my polish-interested friend N came over with a bunch of Julep she’d gotten on sale. We swatched them all, then I foisted a bunch of swaps off on her, and she gave me a couple of colors that suited me better than they did her. It was a very pointless, girly, relaxing interlude. Then, shockingly, I painted my nails.

          Meet Urban Outfitters Spiked punch:
           

          Indirect overcast lighting, dimmed to zombie chic

          This was basically impossible to photograph. In real life it’s the deep, dark, true red of a well-aged Cabernet, leaning neither pink nor brown. My camera, however, insisted it was Bright Red. I darkened this picture until it was closer to color accurate, at the expense of making myself look like the undead.

          It’s a very pretty color, although if my nails were ANY longer it wouldn’t work. (My very pale skin makes dark colors look garish and out of place in larger quantities.) It’s a crelly, so this was four coats. It looks deep and interesting, but it was a mild pain. Dries fast though.