Long Hair Dreams


Hello. I am a face, and a head, and an increasing amount of hair. My hair always enjoys thwarting me. It likes to flop about and obscure my vision. It likes to get into my food as I am eating it. It likes to hang around on the floor and form gangs that hide around me room and terrorise me. Basically, my hair is pretty rude. It's probably because I brush it. No-one could be expected to endure that.


I like it enough to daydream about having 6ft hair though, so it must be doing something to make all that rudeness lovable. I'm not sure why that's a thing I'd vaguely like to happen. Maybe I spent too much time reading fairy tales. Maybe it's just a fascination with the processes and limits and extremes of the body. Maybe it's because it's the natural opposite of shaving my head, and I've already done that one.


I think that's fundamentally it. It's an exploration. Some people climb mountains or sail around the world, exploring the boundaries of our planet. Others explore the boundaries of their own bodies. Their own little planets. I'd like to be one of them, somewhere in my dreams.

10 Love Lessons From Moomins

Listen man, Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden are pretty romantic. They have their flaws and disagreements, but they can teach us a lot about love. These are the lessons I have learned so far from them:

  1. Give your partner a wooden boat. Everything will be fine then. They will be distracted by the glorious boat whilst you are being annoying.
  2. Rolling your eyes in response to at least half of all sentences is the mark of true affection.
  3. Flowers will probably spontaneously appear on someone's person if they are worthy of you.
  4. It's okay if you are lost in a cave. Don't worry about it. Take it as an opportunity to write flowery poetry.
  5. Go to the meadow on a regular basis. It's integral to maintaining any relationship.
  6. Wave your big bottom at the person you love to signify respect.
  7. It is a good plan to cook a large pot of soup for someone you love.
  8. Always be as nice as you can to ghosts (trust me).
  9. Maybe don't row away from your partner in a boat to sulk in the middle of the night for a silly reason, but I don't know, it's your call.
  10. Be very grumpy at all times. Hopefully your love interest will absorb all the grump and turn it into flowers.

Shirokuma Cafe

I haven't read any manga in a while, so I decided to check out a series that had been on my 'to check out' list for a long time, and it is just as I expected - a very cute and relaxing read. Shirokuma Cafe focuses on a cafe run by a laid back polar bear (shiro = white, kuma = bear) and some adventures and pun-filled discussions with his friends. The friends and cafe-goers featured most prominently are a lazy panda and a penguin.


Panda is my favourite character, because he is quite charming and always trying to get more bamboo or go to sleep or appear cool. I can relate (mostly to the sleeping). Each story is pretty short and often largely focused on wordplay, as Shirokuma tends to make jokes with words similar to those used in the conversations going on. Some of these make sense in English, but most don't. I like this aspect though, because the endless explanations of how the puns work in Japanese are really interesting and give this manga a different feel for me as a person reading an English translation. I like the opportunity to learn how those puns work, and I still get to enjoy them once I've read the explanation.


This is the chillest (there's a pun for you - ha!) manga I've ever read. It's very calm and sweet and funny. A very wholesome animal cafe comic that I would strongly recommend to anyone who likes bears and/or happiness.

Sleep Imp

I am the imp of sleep. I have decided that just now. The imp of curling into a ball to sleep. It's so prevalent in my life, that feeling you get when you've eaten a very satisfying meal and need to doze off. Like, there's a large section of my brain dedicated to that, I think. I have a habit of accumulaing a pile of clothes on my bed, which gets pushed to the side a bit and becomes part of the bedding for a while. It's handy, because I then only need to stretch my arm to retrieve a jumper, but I think it possibly makes the bed feel sleepier. Like a hub of not only lying-down materials, but also of multiple layers of comfortable things to swaddle myself in with very little movement. Ah, I'm so sleepy.


I can't believe I was once a child who moaned and cried about having to go to bed. Sleeping is now one of my favourite pastimes, and sometimes I am unable to resist a mid-afternoon nap. I only wish I could paint in my sleep and that it was impossible to have a bad dream. I feel like I am an alchemist turning everything into sleep. I love sleep.


I also love sleep and night time motifs. The moon and the stars and the night sky, pillows and bedsheets, old fashioned stripy nightgowns. It's a very cute theme that I'm sure was very prominent in a lot of the poems and stories I read as a young child. In The Night Kitchen is one of my favourite childhood books and is centred around a dreaming boy travelling through the sky, and a bakery. Of course, there's also Wee Willie Winkie, which leads me to the fascinating world of sleep/bedtime entities. I would like to be one of those entities.

How To Do Hair Things When Your Hair Doesn't Wanna Do Things


Hello. Is your hair like the rebellious teen of your body? Does it constantly slam the door and play rock music very loudly? Does it not realise that what you are trying to do is for its own good? Well, I am also dealing with these kinds of uncontrollable hair issues. Much like any actual human children you might have, you should probably try to approach your hair from a sympathetic direction and give it some agency to make its own decisions. Don't expect to control your hair, just to guide it. Here are some vague attempts I make to control my own satanic hay bale.

The Bun



If you are not too weirded out by the actual shape of your face and the apparent masculine interpretation by society of a skull unsoftened by a floaty river of hair, you can try this fun thing where you shape your hair into a problematic orb. Just scoop all of it into a little planetoid on your head and pray to the gods of symmetry it ends up centred. If not, try again. Don't try to do two of them because you will look like Chun Li from Street Fighter if she was a house elf.

Pros: Associated with pastry, serves as an excuse to be as grumpy as Little My.
Cons: Can often give you a headache or easily unravel.

Plaits



If you are into hypnotic actions and repetitive strain injury, this could be your thing. There are some fancy plaits out there, but I stick to the three-strand plait and usually do one on each side of my head. Plaits are quite flexible and can be cute or elaborate or bland, but either way they will at least trap some of your hair in a prison that is also made of hair. You can also nicely curl your hair overnight with them, which is cool if minor variation is the main thing keeping you from shaving your head and glaring at everyone in the post office when they dare to glance in your direction.

Pros: One step towards becoming Pippi Longstocking.
Cons: Hard to get to look like all those tutorials on Pinterest.

Ponytail



The height of hairstyling. Also you can blend in with ponies and become part of a cool pony gang.

Pros: Like a pony.
Cons: You are not really a pony.

1960s Pigtails & Anime Pigtails



Pigtails are nice and easy and cute. Place them low to look like you might be about to shoot the newly invented laser at Mick Jagger, or place them high to look like you are about to magically transform into a frilly outfit and blast a demon (still Mick Jagger) with your celestial powers.

Pros: Cute and easy.
Cons: May injure bystanders with sheer cuteness.

That's all I have right now. Good luck.

Diary: Rhythm Inside


I've been thinking about my handwriting lately and wondering if I should neaten it up a bit. I mean, I like it the way it is, but maybe it would be a bit nicer just tidied up a little. I'm not thinking too hard about it. I don't want to over-engineer it. Although part of me would like to have my handwriting mistaken for a font sometimes, but that's pretty unnecessary.


I didn't want to go to sleep much of this week! I like the stuff I wrote about being excited and feeling adventurous. Reading about me being excited makes me more excited. It's an endless loop of excitement (until I get too tired and fall asleep in a patch of golden flowers). I love the feedback loop of being inspired by me being inspired. Thanks, me. No problem, me.


I have also been doing some Eurovision reminiscing, as we excitable Europeans often do once a month, sitting in front of our Eurovision shrines (Belgium 2015 forever). Today I am heading up to Scotland for just over a week, so the next diary post will be a bumper edition in two weeks. Please prepare yourself for double the sleepiness!

Book Review: The Kill Order - James Dashner

★★★☆☆: Dystopia can be dull as dishwater.


[spoiler free]

The Kill Order is the much better written prequel to James Dashner's best-selling young adult dystopian trilogy which begins with The Maze Runner. In it we follow Mark, a teenage boy adjusting to his new life removed from traditional civilisation immediately following the destruction of the outward surface of Earth by sun flares. Where the main series focuses on happenings much further along in the chain of events following the sun flares and their aftermath, The Kill Order deals with the immediate fallout.

The plot in this book is much more concise and well put together than the rest of the series, but sadly Dashner continues in his efforts to explain very little. Dashner's characters also suffer from a total lack of personality, excepting possibly one secondary character, the sarcastic army guy, Alec. It often feels like he should be leading the book. However, even he doesn't have as much depth as I'd like to see. The writing is at least reasonably well paced, but there are lots of action scenes which feel a bit like watching clothes being churned around in a washing machine. There is a strong blandness and emptiness to this entire world and what little explanation we are offered seems like a very basic attempt at constructing a watery motive for a series of mindless, almost random actions. Still, this prequel feels considerably more competent and mature than the other books in the series.

There is potential for some interesting characterisation, but sadly the book actually removes almost all of the characters from most of the story, so we're forced to hear only Mark's boring thoughts, and Mark's boring emotions, and Mark's boring concerns. At least there is some nice exposition via his memories, during which we get to escape from his head a bit, ironically by being further inside it.

Ultimately, the dullness pushes through this book. It does feel much more considered and fleshed out than The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure, but not really enough to make it very enjoyable.

Undertale: Spooky-Cute Adventures With Skeletons


So I've been playing Undertale and it is such a cute and perfect game. There are so many elements I love, such as the obvious Earthbound/Mother influence, the many satirical deconstructions of RPG tropes, the genderlessness of the player, the incredibly rich characterisation of numerous cool characters, and a weird and ever-evolving battle system, off the top of my head.


This is the game I always dreamt of making. The constant mesh of cute stuff with playful humour and cultural references (like two lovable characters named after - and speaking in - the notorious fonts Comic Sans and Papyrus), the very cute pixel art style, and that sense that you never quite know what's coming next due to the cartoonish eccentricity of the game mechanics and narrative. All of that stuff is so what I always pictured as the ideal kind of game that I would love to make in the fictional universe where I can code stuff without bursting my brain. The visual style even reminds me of an old game screen mock-up of mine.


I guess what I love most about Undertale is its creative humour. There's an enemy who is a dog, and every time you pet this dog enemy, its neck gets longer. The sheer amount of variation and depth of personality in both NPCs and enemies is amazing. You can see that so much care must have gone into this game, because there are so many little details that make it incredibly immersive. There is personality pouring out of every wooden sign, and everything is so funny and sweet.


It's also such a visually pleasant game. The colour palettes and shadows and glittering stars are so magical, and the music sets the tone so well for every scenario. Undertale has all the beauty of various cutesy RPGs (e.g. Melon Journey, Very Retrouvaille), all the option choices and bafflement of a complex piece of interactive fiction, and all the sweetness of a cinnamon roll.


Becoming The Sky

I get this feeling sometimes like I know a storm is coming. Like I can feel the clouds coming closer, all dark and electric. It's a certain kind of anticipation. A pure thing. The kind of feeling I get when looking at elaborate salt crystals, because wow, the world did that.


I get this feeling about my life and doing stuff and being stuff in it. I care less and less about what I might be supposed to do, and the less I care about that stuff the more I get to care about writing and drawing and peering through tree branches and the colour of the sky, because a lot of the things we're supposed to need are a trick. A lot of the ideas about what we're supposed to be are a trick.


Realising that everything that matters actually kinda doesn't has brought me to the place where this feeling lives. I'm excited about what I'm doing all the time. It doesn't matter what I do or what I am half as much as it matters that I'm enjoying the whole being alive thing. The recommended path through life can be a trick too, so I'm probably gonna take a route right through the unflattened forest grass. I might get scratched by thorns, but that's fine.

Outfit: Forest Moomins


I am in my autumnal element as the fluffy cardigan lifestyle reaches maximum relevance yet again in the gentle November chill. This is the time when I discover that pairs of shoes are no longer adequately rain resistant and that I can no longer avoid coats. I can also no longer avoid Moomins, not that I would ever really try to. This wonderful Moomin top/jumper hybrid (it's a confusing thickness, so I'm not sure which of these types of clothing it wants to be - that means it can be both) is actually a pyjama top. I'm very glad to be fulfilling one of my sartorial dreams here by wearing pyjamas as outerwear. No-one can stop me.

top & shoes - Primark
cardigan & tights - gifted
skirt - Debenhams


There is a subtle bit of colour coordination going on here with the light pink of my top and the deep purple of my tights. I like to wear tights that are really dark but have a little bit of colour. Burgundy and navy are some good tights colours. I would like to get some mustard ones at some point though.


The comfy look and feel is everything I care about and I pretty much live in a cardigan, but trust me when I say that there are so many variables to a cardigan. There is so much potential nuance. To me, this particular cardigan is the nearest to perfect that I have found so far. It has that perfect thickness that is neither too much nor too little. Just perfect. It has an unassuming and gentle colour that works with anything. It is also a great length - adequately covering without giving the impression that you have looted a tall grandpa.


I also feel like the word 'tuck' is really cosy in itself, which possibly goes some way to explaining my enjoyment of tucking a nice loose top into a skater skirt. I am working my way towards becoming fully elasticated, but until then a good skater skirt will do the job.


Scan Bunny


It's about time for another scanner adventures post, so please enjoy viewing my face again, and also the face of my brand new buddy who I met via Kawaii Box. We're obviously going to be pretty good friends now and this sweet little bunny is going to hold my keys for me out of pure love and kindness. How nice.

I always kinda forget what I really look like. I don't know how many people this happens to, but I know it is a thing. Sometimes I catch myself in big mirrors or shop windows and I'm like "is that my true form?????" and it is! Shocking.

It's funny though, because scans are warped by their very nature, but they also show my real face like nothing else does. They are simultaneously more accurate and less accurate than all sorts of other representations of me. And that's why I love them so much, probably.





Animal Crossing Journal #24: Dream Adventures


Long time no see from the residents of Boy! Our dear frog friend Henry has moved away from the town, and everyone's houses have expanded considerably, but nevermind that. I've been doing some travelling to the town of Vanadiel, shown above (Dream Address 7600-2381-0814). I sure do like to see a nice ring of mushrooms!


Vanadiel also has a room full of mermaid furniture, so I can pretend I am better at swimming than I am for a little while here. Nice.


Here is the usual picture of me trapped in a hole. Thankfully, Henry was there to save me at the time. I'm honestly pretty sad that he's gone, but I guess it's nice to have an opportunity to meet someone new. I will always love Henry, but I will also always love any Boy resident.


My dirt paths have been getting so precise. It's really satisfying seeing them all perfect because no one has dared to walk through the flowers. Clearly I run a punishing town when it comes to straying from the path.


I have visited Flo's modern house and I desperately tried to focus all the attention on me. Luckily, Flo is a good sport and pours lots of attention into me. She needs to make extra effort because she lives in a secluded part of town across the river.


Here's a picture of me and Octavian having a good laugh because I made a joke about being a "ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb".


Once again, Berry sits at home alone, excited for the fifth One Direction album. I feel you, Berry.


At least Berry still gets out sometimes to spend the days with her neighbours. They appreciate it.


Meanwhile, Mac and I are hanging out at home in matching Madness t-shirts because apparently mine is the house of fun and we are all welcome in it. Great.

Diary: Zines, Messages, & Moons


You'll notice that I've stuck to a strict colour theme for each double page spread this week. That was quite fun, but I think I prefer it when all the colours amble around together. I do like the blue/purple/pink combo though.

So, Tumblr has a new instant messaging system, which I actually think is really cute. I'm not sure if it really is supposed to be an instant messaging system, as I'm pretty sure my messages don't come in instantly, but I like it. It's like instant messaging without that nervous I-must-reply-quickly feeling. It feels more like online texting to me.


In other news: I am about halfway through Andy Weir's The Martian, and it is proving very entertaining. I also went to a local zine fair on Saturday and it was lovely hanging out with some friendly faces and selling zines. I had quite a bit of anticipation built up for that, so it was nice afterwards getting to relax and watch the latest episode of The Returned and go to bed early.


After that I decided to learn things about moons so I can become an impressive moon boffin who is always talking about moons at parties. I have simple dreams.

TV: Wentworth's Bennett & Ferguson


It is really important to me to find inspiration in older women. I know 'older women' is a relative term, but let's just say I mean anyone aged close to forty or above. I love seeing women around me doing cool things and I especially love discovering older women who invoke some kind of excitement within me for whatever it is they're doing. Having cool older women around in my inspirational sphere (I'm picturing this as a crystal ball) helps me to get excited about what kind of a someone I might get to be as I get older, and that's a great thing. I really want to treat age as an opportunity and I've almost always been more excited about getting older than anything else. I used to secretly wish I was thirty five when I was a teenager. I guess I liked the idea of being further along in my life.

Vera's 'getting shot down' face. She wears it a lot.

I mention this because I've been watching some great older women in TV lately. I've been watching Australian women's prison drama Wentworth, and I want to talk about two of my favourite characters, jittery prison officer Vera Bennett and sinister bunhead governor Joan Ferguson, played by Kate Atkinson and Pamela Rabe respectively. There are lots of great characters in the show, but these two are strong favourites of mine. I love them as a duo and I love them apart. They are such different people, but it's so entertaining watching Bennett try to emulate some of the strong-headedness of the downright intimidating Ferguson.

The governor is thinking about cat memes.

Ferguson is such a blisteringly cold and meticulously cruel character, but she is so smart and sly and sharp that I can feel myself rooting for her. She's clearly coded as a villain, but I'm so hypnotised by her. The way she almost mathematically pats her perfect bun of hair, the calm and terrifying stoicism of her face as she speaks to others, the delicate smirks. I'm just so impressed by every flickering expression and movement. She is beautifully, expertly acted.

A gentle halo for Vera.

I have a similar, gentler appreciation for Vera Bennett. She is schoolgirl-like in many ways and we see her struggle through some difficult things, although she remains capable and held-together despite her mousiness, and I love her for that. I want everything to be okay for her. She so represents the part of me that is all full of worries and wide eyed naive nerves and I connect with her because of that, and I keep willing everything to go well for her. The dynamic of the anxious, emotionally raw prison officer whose career is her life and the clever, ruthless governor with an icy glare is so delicious. Whatever happens to them along Wentworth's narrative, they will live on forever in my heart as an enthralling dream team.

This is probably the face you are making whilst reading my blog.