Saturday, April 29, 2006

Do not interrupt - genius at work


There have been fewer posts lately and this is because of the fact that I'm extremely busy. The exam season is approaching and that is the most stressful part of the year for me. I'm going to pass an extremely important exam in June and I know all of you want me to succeed, so you will be able to face the fact that until that happy time, when I announce I passed the exam, there will at best be only weekly posts.

On top of trying to learn about 9 hours a day for that exam, I have lately (as a special addition to my already existing allergy to pollen) developed a nasty cough which could well signal a lung infection. What with that and writing an article for our medical magazine, participating in a research, going to ballet at least twice a week, trying to run twice a week, hiking Smarna gora with my boyfriend and spending some time with the aforementioned bf, time is scarce to write my blog. I will continue writing, though. But I want you to know why there's a sudden decrease in my posting frequency. I will do my best and try to post several shorter posts a week, but nothing is certain from this point on. I'd rather have a medical degree a few years down the line than have a perfect blog. I'm sure you're supportive.

Also, I have a question for you, dear readers and even dearer Googlebot. Do you know of anyone who would be looking to sublet an apartment for the summer (I guess that's late May to late August) and who would also allow pets, let me know in the comments section!

P.S. I've been looking into redesigning this blog, also. If you're sick and tired of the vomit-like background colour, raise your hand.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:38 | 5 comments | links to this post

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thin, thinner, the thinnest


The "you're fat and ugly" issue has been my pet peeve for quite some time now. From the medical point of view I completey accept and comprehend the fact that being overweight deteriorates one's health. And the "medical reason" (for me) is the only reason good enough to embark on the yourney of weight loss.

A recent
article by J.K. Rowling sparked my enthusiasm for the topic again and I decided to write a post about it. Around that time I also went to Neisha's concert. I noticed imediately as she got on stage that she lost quite some weight and I wondered whether that was a rational decision she made prior to this major concert. About a week later, when my best friend came over for a drink, she explained this mystery by saying that she watched Neisha appear in a Sunday evening TV show (prior to the concert) where she said she was working out because she wanted to look good for the concert. It was just what I thought it was.

But it remains a mystery to me why a woman like her with substantial talent, a good singing voice and a firm educational background in music would go there. I understand that looks is very important for big-(fake)-boobed blondes without any sort of talent for music. Their looks is their ticket to success, but why would a woman who's already succeded because of her talent (even when she was overweight) want to lose weight? To attract more fans? (But would she really?) To look better? And, anyway, what does it mean to look better? Boyfriend and I have completely different tastes in clothing, shoes and what looks good on women. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful for me isn't beautiful for someone else. But generally speaking, 0ur society doesn't treat overweight people as beautiful. So did she lose the weight to be more socially acceptable, to come closer to beiny beautiful?

It's absurd. You have to be abnormally thin, you have to look like a model, have perfect hair and make-up and matching clothing and only then you're considered beautiful. Like J.K. Rowling says, it doesn't matter if you're a benevolent person, if you're happy, energetic, witty, intelligent, broad-minded or independent, it only matters whether you're thin or not. I believe it's also got to do with weak self-esteem. People who have a good opinion of themselves will never submit to the advertisments like "Lose as much as 30 kg with our new pills". And let's face it - the dieting industry is blooming as wildly as it can. Not a week passes in which I haven't seen several big advertisments for "revolutional" new products that just melt away the fat. People who buy such crap and such lies are naive and god help them if they haven't yet learned that you can only lose weight in one way: consume less than you expand. The dieting industry sends a very powerful message that sinks its claws deep in this low self-esteem world and the message is that you're not good as you are, but that you could be happier, more attractive, richer, more powerful, more influential, more loveable, more popular if only you were thinner. (Interestingly, the same industry also likes to remind you that while using their dieting pills your can eat as heartily as you wish - thus in reality gaining more kilos and thus even more desperatelly buying their products, which means more money for them.)

Many (young) women buy this without reflecting on it - they just accept the visual truth of the matter - no fat actress was ever proclaimed beautiful, famous, loved and adored (or so it seems). People seem to love skinny people, our culture values extreme thinness, but hardly ever taking into account that many actresses/singers/spoilt, rich brats have unfulfilling personal lives, marred by depression, constant fear of losing popularity, addiction, divorce or inability to form fullfiling and lasting relationships. The biggest achievement of the skinny girls is that they're just that: thin. Thankyouverymuch, but when I'm 95 and on my death bed, I'd prefer to have some other achievements to remember and I'd like to have people around me who shared their lives with me, in whom I could confide, with whom I could share the joys of my life. Being thin matters very little in the grand scope of things and yet our society makes such a big thing out of it. Why? Is fat really so unattractive? Is a rounder face so disgusting? Is a fuller behind a sin?

What I think is a sin is not taking care of yourself. I do not mean obsessive four-hour daily sessions at a local beauty salon. My point is to recognize your body's true needs: the need for good, healthy, nourishing and diverse foods, the need for pure water, the need for fresh air and the need for exercise which increases endurance (medium activity endurance exercise, such as running, cycling or swimming). If you run 3 to 4 times a week, eat diverse and nutritious foods and still are overweight: deal with it. There is nothing so wholly terrible (not even being fat) as the fact that you're not able to embrace yourself for who you are (and how you look). Again, a fuller body is not a sin. If you're embitered, full of hatred, have a propensity to be mean to others, are revengeful, disinterested, uneducated because of your own laziness and hate yourself, that's a far bigger sin than just the fact that you're fat.

In order to be more healthy, overweight people should aspire to lower their weight, but not because then they'll look better, but because they'll have much lower risk for suffering an infarction and other cardiovascular complications, which are the number one cause of mortality among Slovenians. Sadly, most people diet because they want to look better. They might lose weight, but their negative attitude towards themselves won't change, it will stay with them and perpetuate the negativity directed against themselves.


It hardly comes as a surprize that only 2% of Slovenian women, accorting to a Dove research, consider themselves beautiful. It shocks me. There are more than 2% of thin women in Slovenia, so thinness is not something that makes you feel beautiful or special. The women on Dove billboards, who are 89 years old, have lots of freckles over face and body, are overweight, have a crooked nose respectively... aren't ugly. They're beautiful, but not by the standards of bleached-blondes with artificial boobs, a Twiggy-like-feather-light body, a rhinoplasty and collagen implants in their lips. Have you ever paused to think how very ALIKE all these women look? In the words of dear Rowling, their function in the world is nothing else but supporting both: the manufacturing of crocodile-skin handbags and the breeding of rat-sized dogs.

I have often bragged here how well I look, but this has got nothing to do with how I really look. It has to do with being proud of myself, my achievements and the abilities of my body, my perseverance, independence and sense. If I posted my photos, you might not find me beautiful (or you would), but that would not waver my self-esteem or even get me thinking that there might be a grain of truth in your words. Frankly, I don't even care if I'm beautiful. Even though (mostly men) have often complimented me on my looks, I always winced at such moments. I didn't have so much to do with not being able to accept a compliment than it had to do with the fact that I wanted people to notice me, myself, the person behind the facade, who's intelligent, opinionated, daring, curious, decisive and independent. I knew beauty's of short duration (our society does not consider people over forty as beautiful) and thus I'd rather be something other than beautiful.

And you?

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posted by Nadezhda | 11:37 | 8 comments | links to this post

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reading The Speed Reading Book by Tony Buzan


Tony Buzan is something like a deity to me. Not only because he's the official inventor of Mind Maps, my preferred technique for making notes, giving speeches and planning tasks, but because he's shown me the way to learn.

Many people think investing time in reading how to read is useless, because you should just read more. So if you're a bad cook, you should just cook more in the same way that gave catastrophic results? Or would you consider reading a cookbook or two before attempting another shot at lasagna? Applying your old habits and approaches does not work if you want to improve.

Reading speed is something I was stuck with for quite some time. I was a painfully slow reader, not because I couldn't read faster, but because I thought and stuck (especially with study materials) to the method, that in order to understand and remember, you have to read slowly and carefully. I also like to read so I hear words in my head which additionally slowed me down. (Poems and novels are great to read this way, you can literally feel the verses and the paragraphs form in your mouth, it's not just going over words and understanding them, but feeling them, pondering about them... I love to do this, it's a physical contact with the material; likewise I can't read off the computer screen, I have to print the material out.) And here was my friend Tony, who was the first one to tell me that slow and carefully does not amount to better comprehension. And once I tried, when I forced myself to read faster, I noticed that I understand the material better.

I still have problems, because I was stuck with my old, slow reading speed for decades and have to force myself to read faster and faster (Ideally I also use a leading tool, a pencil, otherwise I start reading fast, but the more I read the slower I get.) and especially with study materials this is still difficult. Realizing I could read twice as much in the same amount of time gives me hope, though, so I force myself to read faster, even if that means I have to read the same chapter twice. Reading faster gives you more time to reread, which I like doing and it does miracles for my memory. Once I read a text three or four times I already know it (almost) by heart.

Generally, this is a good speed reading book, a real do-it-yourself book, which offers insight into how people read and how to improve reading speed. However, I'm still a little skeptic about eventually reading at 3000 wpm, because even 500 seems quite fast to me. Also reading with a backwards sweep or two lines at a time is difficult, especially when the lines are long. In a newspaper I can read two lines at a time, but in a study book or a novel I find it very difficult. However, I hope that with perseverance I will manage to read even faster in the future. The only bad thing is that without a lead, I usually get stuck and start reading progressively slower. Having a lead on you at all times is not so difficult, but getting it out and using it is. I guess I'll just have to persevere.

While Tony still advocates some old-school ideas (e.g. that the brain is split in left, rational, hemisphere and right, creative, hemisphere), he always manages to introduce me to new knowledge which helps me to continually improve myself and that's what I like about him and what makes me read his books.

Has anybody tried to speed-read? What is your maximum speed?

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posted by Nadezhda | 11:06 | 16 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fragments


In March my contract with my mobile telephony provider expired. As the said provider really, really wants me to remain their customer, they're now offering me a broad selection of mobile phones to choose from. Provided I sign the contract for two more years, I can buy a mobile at a discounted price.

My current mobile has some disadvantages and the one that bothers me most is that it does not have a camera. If it did, I would have posted a photo of a horseman riding his horse on Zaloška street and a few examples of teenagers trying to mimick JLo's look, but failing admirably. (Perhaps it is your luck that I do not have a camera on my mobile after all. Otherwise this would soon turn into a fashion police patrol blog.)

Anyway, I was just thinking on my way home last week that it might be a neat idea to get a new mobile (plus camera) cheap. When I was reading the newspaper during lunch the other day, however, I felt slightly different about the subject. Now, if it wasn't some form of divine intervention I can hardly explain why the newspaper boasted several short notices about people who had their mobiles stolen lately. One of the victims also got badly beaten over a mobile worth 10 000 tollars (about 40 euro). And suddenly buying a new mobile seemed to vanish from my priority list. In fact, getting a new mobile was completely gone from my thoughts. Instead, I started thinking that I seriously need new ballet tights.

Lucky for me at least no dancer ever had their tights stolen...

*
I am allergic to pollen. I was allergic to pollen as a child and then the allergy subsided and for more than a decade and for all classifications I could well say I was functionally not allergic. Then someone talked me into eating a tea-spoonfull of pollen with yoghurt every day as part of my breakfast with the intention of boosting my immune system. It did indeed boost my immune system - in fact, too much for I became allergic to pollen. It was in April, a short way before my final exams and I didn't want to mess up my review period and so I went to see a doctor and ask her why my nose was runny all the time and why my eyes pricked from time to time.
"Ooooh, she said, that's easy. - You're allergic to pollen. "
And I replied: "You are mistaken. I was allergic to pollen, but that's over now."
She smiled mysteriously (as a future doctor I regret to say that I still haven't quite mastered the way doctors smile mysteriously when they want to tell you you're being idiotic, but can't.) and gave me aprescriptionn.

I consumed all the pills and was fine. Next year the allergy was milder, almost nonexistent and so was last year, so I never even went to the doctor's. A few days of runny noses and all was fine. This year, it's been a living hell. My eyes prickle (I will have to carry eye drops with me all the time, obviously), my nose is runny and all the work I seem to do in a day is reduced to blowing my nose and making my eyes red with all the finger-poking.

Whenever I arrive home, I close the windows of my room and keep indoors. It's such a shame, since it's a lovely spring and I love to take frequent walks across the city centre. (I walk anyway, but my eyes and nose strongly object to such behaviour.) The problem is ballet - doing a pirouette with a runny nose is not what I'd classify as enjoying myself. Luckily for me, the classes are in the morning, when there's not so much pollen in the air. But by midday the matters become unbearable and I frequently consume a whole pack of tissues in an hour.

Just before I started writing this post I realized that apart from one packet of tissues we've run out of them. Time to befriend the toilet roll, I think...

posted by Nadezhda | 20:22 | 7 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Back to normal - being a rambler

Because of popular demand (you could also say that I was using this as an excuse to make the second change in a few days) I'm changing the title back to its previous state. The reasons are two-fold: I like ramblings better myself, but am convinced it's rather too generic a title and I'll be thinking about more creative variations in the future; reviews is in a way even worse than ramblings. You could reasonably hide anything being a "rambling" but half of my posts could hardly ever qualify as reviews. So ramblings really describes the contents of this blog better.

The reason why I ever thought of changing was Jonas' post where he said that bloggers should post about things they really know and excel in and not just "what they ate for breakfast". (Why is it that when you say you write a personal blog, people immediately think you're writing about the kind of dreams you had last night or what you had for lunch?) Jonas made me decide that in order to attract readers who crave more serious subjects (perhaps reviews) I should change the title.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Think with your own head (like I always did and it turned out to be the only right thing to do) or as Zoran Predin would say: Ata, misli s svojo glavo. (Anybody who was not at his February concert will not find it amusing, but we double over with laughter every time).

P.S. It's business as normal from tomorrow on. I've three (2 books, 1 performance) more reviews to post and several personal posts. Stay tuned.

posted by Nadezhda | 09:50 | 5 comments | links to this post

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So long and thanks for all the Random ramblings

You will notice that RR does not stand for Random ramblings anymore, since I've changed it to Random reviews, which better suits this blog.

I plan to post my book-, film-, theatre- etc. reviews here with an occasional personal post, thus arose the need to change the title as well. But fear not, my friends, for I have not changed in the slightest.

posted by Nadezhda | 18:15 | 16 comments | links to this post

Review of Neisha's concert (Cankarjev dom, April 2006)



Apart from hearing bits and pieces of her songs on the radio and TV, I wasn't familiar with Neisha's work prior to hearing her yesterday night. Now I can safely say that she has one of the best (and best trained, too I guess) pairs of vocal chords this side of the Alps. Her vocal performance was quite flawless, self-assured and dazzling. She performed a couple of her own songs and also a fair share of other's work. Her mastery of piano is undoubted and she truly seemed to enjoy performing.

However, I was most dissatisfied with almost everything that was not music. My belief is that when you perform on a country fair, you need not bother much. But when you have a concert in Cankarjev dom, then you need some more time for preparation. As already mentioned it was not her singing or piano-playing that bothered me, it was her performance. After having witnessed Zoran Predin's masterful performing in February I am not going to be satisfied with less. Especially when the woman in question confesses that she "has no gift for giving speeches". Honey, we can help you, but you need to think about that in advance. Once you're already on the stage very little can be done.

She could have someone to write her speeches, or jokes or the connecting sentences, which introduce the next song. Or she could think about what she's going to say on her own and give herself the time to come up with some neat ideas. If the ideas are too few, then she needs not comment after every song. These are things you need to prepare in advance if you want them to go flawlessly. Now, I understand that very few people can go on stage without any preparation and then give wonderful, thoughtful, insightful, funny, witty or whatever other decent speeches; the others simply have to prepare themselves that the occasion will demand speech-giving and that you should know what you want to say to your audience. This is called feeling the obligation towards your audience to give a thoroughly good performance.

What also bothered me is that she didn't know how to introduce the next song so she entangled herself in some very circular sentences that had little meaning and once she said something so ill-adapted to the occasion that even she realized how very little sense she was making and instead of moving on, she literally lifted a part of the fabric of her dress and covered her face with it. Now, lovey, you're 24, so behave like it, especially in front of about 500 listeners. Instead of making up for her lack of skill for speech making she made it worse. I did not expect anything so immature on a concert of an adult person. Additionally Neisha didn't realize that she cannot talk while the audience is clapping, because you can't hear her properly. So she might have made more sense at such times but you can hardly expect me to understand her when the full Linhart's hall is clapping enthusiastically.

And what's with the English? To be sure she sang some of the songs in English, but that's not yet a cause for her to say "here we go" before starting EVERY song and repeating "that's it" at the end of the concert. Sweetie, this is not a teenager parade. While the majority of your listeners might be younger, you cannot behave like slang is the most appropriate way for addressing your audience. Speaking in Slovenian and then saying you hope they won't feel "bad" about it is NOT the way to approach public speech-making, even if the speech consists of three sentences. In public performances you avoid slang at all costs and you speak in Slovenian (since we know you can). To top it all she added a full-English sentence somewhere in the middle (something with "thought" like I thought not or I thought so) but because I do not carry a notebook with me, I forgot what it was.

So, there DEFINITELY is plenty of space for Neisha to improve her performance (although having slightly more substance in her lyrics couldn't hurt; repeating the chorus ad nauseam isn't really advisable). Since she has mastered the musical part, now she seriously needs to work on the other segment of what constitutes a good performance. Just because she realizes she "has no talent for giving speeches" that is not an excuse for her to make the impression that this is her first time on the stage. I understand she must have been at least a little nervous before the concert, but that can't be an excuse. She's a performer now and show must go on flawlessly whether she's nervous or not.

In conclusion I'd like to say that Neisha has potential, but if she keeps clinging to this half-arsed approach, then she will remain a one-hit star.

posted by Nadezhda | 10:13 | 6 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Life is beautiful



At times like these, it would be insane not to feel happy, elated, glowing.

I just completed a series of workshops called The Healer's Art and have for the first time in my life felt that it is possible to practice medicine in the way I want it to. Ever since I entered University I felt that this system is killing me - slowly but surely. The impersonal attitude, the feeling that you're only a number, the constant high demands that contradict all logic and drain you of life, the lack of purpose and lack of compliments, just demands, constant demands to be perfect, without fault and to know everything... I was so tired I lived only for a day and it was clear I'll crack soon.

But having completed these workshops, I again feel elated and full of life; I haven't felt like this at University for a long time (in fact did I ever? I distinctly remember finding out last year that I wasn't smiling anymore, that I wasn't happy about my life.). A feeling of lasting happiness, a feeling of fulfillment, being happy about who you are and what you do and how you do it. One probably has to feel it for himself to know what I'm talking about. It's like life gave you flowers and kissed you. Like God or whoever there is finally noticed you and decided to help you, because you can't struggle on your own anymore.

So today we had the final presentation of the workshops and it was a total success. The audience was happy, we tackled a big problem in medicine and they suddenly felt less alone. I think I did my part very well. People complimented my speech and my organization. (I had lots of work in the last week, because I had to coordinate 14 people; I wrote several lengthy e-mails a day, often checking my inbox ten times a day, which explains my absence on the blog.) In the end, one of my professors approached me and said that the presentation was very well done and thanked me for it (imagine me - I almost burst from happiness, I never received such a compliment from one of my teachers) and then she went on to say that if ever I needed someone to talk to, she was there and that I had her e-mail and knew where to look for her - it meant more than I can say. That one of my teachers is willing, actually offers to support me through the learning process is something I deeply appreciate. I touched her shoulder and thanked her for her offer and I didn't feel that I was being impolite or unprofessional or weird. I was humane to her, I expressed how I genuinely felt and she appreciated the feedback.

I kept smiling all the way across the city centre and while I was waiting for the bus and on the ride home. My bus drove away seconds before I reached the door, but that was really not a problem; I knew the next bus will be arriving shortly and that the day was too good to be wasted and spoilt because I couldn't catch the first bus.

While I was walking through the city, I noticed that barely anyone smiles - smiles in a way which says: "I'm happy, I'm grateful life is so good, I love every minute of it." I counted only two smiles in 15 minutes and I must have passed more than a hundred people. Only two percent have time to be happy and content with their lives, while others are busy being deeply in thought, depressed, angry, lonesome and scared. I felt it was a waste. Because life truly is beautiful once you start worrying about things that really matter and only doing things that matter to you.

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posted by Nadezhda | 20:48 | 20 comments | links to this post

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Review of Ženska od prej (SNG Drama, Apr 2006)


Photo courtesy of SNG Drama.

Ženska od prej (The woman from before) is an interesting story about a woman who finds the man who swore to love her always after 24 years. Romy (Polona Juh), the woman from before, was 17 and he was 20 when he swore his eternal and undying love for her. Needless to say, the man, Frank, (Bojan Emeršič) is now 19 years married and has an adult son, Andi.

Romy comes to remind Frank of his promise at the last possible minute; as she finds out on the next day the family is to move overseas after having spent the last 19 years in this apartment. Frank's wife, Claudia (Nataša Barbara Gračner) is furious when she learns who Romy is. She feels that Frank is happy about their guest and is confused as to why she wasn't informed of this relationship before. She claims it's either that Romy didn't mean anything to Frank and he really forgot her or Romy meant a lot to him, thus making him kept quiet about her.

Frank, on the other hand, is confused. Exactly what's going on in his head is never explained quite satisfactorily, but at first he wants to deny that Romy came to see him, he pretends he wasn't talking to anybody. Then he admits he knew and had an affair with her when he was 20 and she was 17. He claims that she doesn't mean anything to him anymore and asks her to leave. Romy says he doesn't really mean it and that he'll eventually want to leave her wife and start his new life with Romy. This statement is made fearlessly and without a doubt in her head and the viewer finds himself thinking about it as though it was a prophecy of sorts. As with any prophecy, the more you try to avoid it, the closer you get to fulfilling it.

Naturally, this first encounter between two used-to-be-lovers and am-now-his-wife is hilarious, filled with carefully observant statements which make you realize the nature of the relationship between the man and his wife and why exactly this woman from before could ever prove dangerous to the couple. There is further situational comedy in almost every scene because of the tensions in the marriage. It is definitely funnier than Smoletov vrt, but substantially more tragic at the same time. To see the lust in Frank's eyes means that he has no lust for his wife anymore, the constant bickering between the wife and man, the insulting remarks they carelessly throw at each other only go to prove how dissonant their marriage has become (and there is lovely background music to underline the fact).

In its own it's quite a good performance, the play being nothing very special, but its fragmented structure, frequent repetition of scenes and the unusual plot twist make it interesting and fresh. The performances are solid (even Polona Juh manages a slightly different approach than her standard performance), the best actor undoubtedly being Saša Tabaković as the teenager Andi.

There is just one flaw in the consistency of the plot, but fearing it might give away too much of the story, I cannot say what it is. Otherwise, this is a thoroughly enjoyable performance although the woman behind me muttered to her neighbour that the theatre has become obsessed with being grotesquely morbid.

posted by Nadezhda | 13:06 | 8 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Things you can(not) tell just by looking at her


So, according to United wankers of blogosphere people percieve me as a person who deals out "much of that cold stern contempt that makes sensitive people shrivel away and cringe in fear" and also as someone who lashes "out at people she disagrees with". But I'm smarter than that. I know that you can change people's opinion by showing them you have your weaknesses. Telling them you have your soft spots - and suddenly they'll (hopefully) realize you're just a person, too.

Now, this is another of my confession times. I love make-up. Love buying it, love trying new things out, love testers, love comparison between brands etc. So it will some as no surprise that I hardly ever wear make-up. My justification is simple: if you want to look like the girls I see daily on the bus (with horribly obvious orange tinge on their faces, so much black kohl around their eyes, it makes you wonder just how much they they spend on it and so much excess lipgloss it's actually dripping on their chin), it takes about five minutes. (Oh, OK, the numerous replications of gloss add some extra minutes, but you get my drift.)

But should you be interested in looking slightly more - shall we say - normal and less obvious, then it takes about 20 minutes. Actually the more you want to look like you're not wearing make-up at all (and it's only perfect skin, long-eyelashed you), the more time it takes to apply make-up. First you wash the face, dry it with a towel, apply face cream, massage the face cream in, apply some appropriate and hopefully longlasting foundation (and for girls with pale complexion like mine finding the right shade is as tricky as shopping for condoms in the Vatican), let it set, then dust your face with some loose powder. This is fairly straightforward. Then comes the more complicated part - applying Eyeshadow Base, which is a necessary step, if you don't want the shadow to crease by mid-day. (The only reasonably priced eyeshadow base I've discovered in Slovenia is by ArtDeco and the little pot lasts a long time as you only need a little to set the shadow. Now that I know the beauties of eye base, I'll never go back!)

Then you apply the eyeshadow. Which shade? Eyeliner or not? Eyeliner on the lower lid as well? When you have finished the fine brush work on your eyelids (You can apply shades with fingers as well, but brushes give better results - the lines are smoother, the colour stays longer and is applied more evenly and is exactly where you want it to be, not something you could claim for finger application.) you only apply mascara - I find that applying it on lower and upper lashes gives the best results. I use a brown mascara, not black. This was a mistake, since I always just buy a mascara without checking its colour, but then I realized that brown gives a much softer impression than black. Naturally, for evening occasions black is still a must, but for day-wear brown should be preferable for blondes! I swear by Intesifique (a L'oreal mascara) which I've been wearing for years. I recently tried Lashlift by Max Factor and it was a disaster. It did lift the lashes, but it flaked and creased in two hours already! Thanks, but I really prefer to walk around looking like I wasn't just hit in the eye. So I'm staying with L'oreal even if their mascaras are more expensive than others. I just hope they don't discontinue this product!

Anyways, then you've just got to do the lips (where I avoid the lip liner as it creates a too serious look and saves time) where I like a lipgloss, a lipbalm or a Max Factor Colour Perfection, which I like because it doesn't leak over the line of your lips.

Then, when you've (with as few touch-ups as possible) worn the make-up for the day, you have to remove it, which is my weakness. Sometimes I'm just so tired I completely forget to remove it. But if I'm a nice girl and wash it out, too, then I've got about 40 minutes taken up each day just for make-up. And that's too much. If only make-up was less time consuming; if it only were like a nailpolish - you apply it once a week while talking on the phone and you remove it at the end of the week, as the polishes today last quite a while. Which reminds me - yesterday I bought a really flattering nail polish by Nivea Beaute (I only recently figured what quality polishes they make) in 78 Mauvestar. A very shimmery pinkish summer colour that I already look forward to wearing on the beach.

(Incidentally, while I'm speaking about the beach - boyfriend and I are going to the sea-side this weekend and I'm already praying for warm weather and sun, but looking through the window on the combination of snow and rain leaves me slightly less hopeful that the weekend will really be sunny.)

My decision not to wear make-up is based solely on the fact that I have too little time to venture into make-up application. (Which really doesn't deter my from buying more make-up.) Though I know a great deal about the matter, I only wear it for special occasions when I do bother applying it at all. It's such a shame taking into consideration that my stocks of make-up: shades, glosses, liners, foundation, loose powder, bases, brushes, etc. are so extensive they take up an entire shelf. In fact, a very good female colleague of mine recently exclaimed "Oh my God - you look so much more - errr - pretty with make up on!" And I thought: Honey, if you only knew I spent so much money on cosmetics in my life that if I decided to save it instead, President Drnovsek wouldn't even need to start a Darfur fund - I could just donate all the savings! And - you too wouldn't look very flattering with swollen eyelids, a see-through pale complexion and huge brown circles underneath your eyes - anything can only look better from there on. But I only smiled and sheepishly replied with a thanks, pretending I never knew that before.

So again we come to the same conclusion. Being a woman is complicated - the dilemmas we face, the scarce amount of money we can spend - men (I guess Freud was right) can have no idea how it feels like... buying things and then never using them again.

P.S. Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her is a lovely film, if ever you wondered where I get such fine titles for my blog posts.

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posted by Nadezhda | 15:00 | 11 comments | links to this post

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon


I bought this book in the morning, but I only started reading it in the evening of the same day; -I opened it, smelled it and saw that it begins with the second chapter. Hm... Perhaps a badly bounded copy and they left the first chapter out? I turn a few pages and still I couldn't find the first chapter. Then I notice that a third chapter follows the second and a fifth chapter follows the third. And it occurs to me that the chapters are prime numbers.

"Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical, but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your life thinking about them." This is how Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old, explains why he's decided to use prime numbers for the chapters of his book. Christopher is not like any other boy, he's remarkably reflective, completely uninterested in girls, has in-depth knowledge of physics and mathematics, nearly perfect recall (memory) and often doesn't understand what people are trying to say. Although Christopher doesn't say it himself, the reader soon realizes that he's autistic. Christopher devises patterns according to which he sets his mood and chooses foods he likes, he doesn't like to be touched by other people and has difficulties deciphering meaning behind sentences. He needs a very structured, minute by minute schedule and he needs to check his watch constantly (to know what the time is) to feel safe.

Autists fascinate me, because things that seem easy and self-explanatory to us are incomprehensible to them. The following passage explains what I mean more fully: "But when you get married it is because you want to live together and have children, and if you get married in a church you have to promise that you will stay together until death do us part." Autists have problems detecting and expressing feelings (going beyond learned politeness) and their lives feel empty to us (reading the book, you are constantly reminded that there's something lacking). That's why autists have problems understanding normal conversations - a big part of what we say is marked by feelings and that is the part they're unable to receive and correctly decode. Autists thus understand words as they are, without the emotional connotation.

The lacking emotions are what the book manages to convey best. It's an interesting introspective into the life of an Asperger child, introducing to a wider audience the topic of autistic thinking. A lovely attempt with simple language and a whodunnit atmosphere; all in all a charming book - so short or so interesting you can read it in one sitting.

*
But not all is lost for Christopher, because he has devised a plan for his future, too; and mind you, he will do exactly as he says, because he never lies (again, people who don't have feelings lose the cause for lying).

"Then, when I've got a degree in Maths, or Physics, or Maths and Physics, I will be able to get a job and earn lots of money and I will be able to pay someone who can look after me and cook my meals and wash my clothes, or I will get a lady to marry me and be my wife and she can look after me so I can have company and not be on my own."

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posted by Nadezhda | 16:53 | 10 comments | links to this post

Sunday, April 02, 2006

For all you know, I could be a bikini model

When I woke up yesterday I didn't even realize, which day it was. When The Glory of Carniola somehow turned into Natalija Verboten's official site and when Mugglenet announced the merging of Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron, I knew something was definitely going on.

Then I thought I could do something on my blog, too, but wasn't sure what you'd fall for. That I'm going to stop writing my blog? Naaah, too obvious. That I'm posting pictures of myself? More likely.


Note, however that some years ago I was indeed asked by a professional photographer to pose to him in my bikinis. Indignantly, I said no. When last year his name was linked to the notorious photographer Hvastja, who took nude photos of his proteges, I was thanking my instincts, sense, intuition, whatever that I did not start my modeling career with him.

In fact, there is no modeling career. I am a person who detests cameras and such forms of attention. When in my younger days the majority of my social interaction was limited to IRC, I never exchanged photos with other chatters. Even my then friend, now boyfriend (whom I met on IRC, if ever you wondered just how geeky I could get) had to beg me for several days before I would tell him who I was. So, if ever a person introduces to you online as Nadezhda and then goes on to show you "her" photo, you should know it is not me. I harbour a strong dislike for any sorts of cameras and any type of having my picture taken. In real life I am quite good-looking, but on photos I always manage to look my usual morning puffy-around-the-eyes,-swollen-cheeks,-minuscule,-barely-open-eyes-and-weird-hair worst.

So, fear not. You won't be seeing my photo as I deeply value my anonymity and I will remain as mysterious as ever. :) Doesn't it amuse you that I could be the girl who sits beside you in a bus (myself being a frequent user of this form of transportation) in the morning and you don't know?

P.S. Those of you, who do know who I am and have managed to find this blog through a mix of pure luck and instinct (as I have not told anyone but boyfriend about my blog), I would advise you to shut your mouth entirely on the subject of who I am or what my defining features are. Well, it's this or death in the most painful way possible. :)

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posted by Nadezhda | 09:22 | 9 comments | links to this post

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Now, seriously, people


I know I've had this blog for quite a while and all the time I was somewhat mysterious and never decided to show myself on a photo. Now, that is about to change.

I realised I tortured you too long and denied you the pleasure of watching my photo (and my lovely curves, for that matter) on this blog. As I said, this is about to change. I was offered a free mini photo shoot with a renowned Slovenian fashion photographer. He offered me to take a few photos of myself - in bikinis. Now, myself being someone who never passes a good opportunity, I accepted. (I'm still a little shy about having to pose in bikinis, though I reasonably accept the fact that I've got more to show than to hide. Boyfriend is being very supportive on this point, too, saying that I've got a lovely little figure and it would be a shame not to have a record of that for my later years - and I completely agree.)

We're taking the photos today (sadly I didn't have any time before that as I had an exam) and as soon as the photos are made, I'll choose the best one and post it in my profile.

Of course, I wouldn't want to be a nuisance and a total show-off and I would therefore like you, dear readers, to say whether you actually wanted to see my photo (after such a long time of anonymous blogging) or not.

P.S. And yes, I'm doing it for popularity, too. I've never really tried to hide the fact that I would like more people to read my blog. I recently noticed that girls who post their Flickr photos get far more attention though the content of their blogs goes more along the lines of "y'a know, I went shopping the other day, too, I mean that was like the fourth time I went shopping in that week, y'a know?...". So I decided that time was ripe for desperate actions and that's why I decided to post a photo as well. (I would go to the photo-shoot anyway, though.)

So, yes - post your opinions, please.

posted by Nadezhda | 13:22 | 17 comments | links to this post