Friday, October 22, 2004

There's been lots of moaning about the changes made to the Star Wars DVD box set for eps 4-6, but I hadn't really been that bothered until we watched Return of the Jedi last night. There are no doubt dozens of changes in the first two that I didn't particularly notice. But ROTJ was the first film I saw of the three, and I was obsessed, so I was much more set in how I remembered it.

First of all, when they're at Jabba's palace and he throws Oona the dancer girl to the beast, the band originally performed this great little plinky electro disco number called Lapti Nek. In the new version, it's some souped up broadway jazzy rubbish.

Even worse, there's new footage at the end with jubiliant crowds, which reminded me of those awful victory scenes from the Matrix. And as many have pointed out, Luke sees a ghost image of Hayden Christensen instead of wrinkly old dead Darth. But even worse, they've taken out the Ewok Celebration song and replaced it with generic modern perky muzak. Why??? I can understand wanting to tidy things up a bit, but for me the original charm was lost by replacing audio cues that would have brought on some happy nostalgia. Sigh.

I'm going to have to watch the bf's vhs to get my fix...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I was at Toni & Guy yesterday, trying a new stylist - the last one was good, but very pushy on trying to sell me products and extra treatments, so it put me off. But as soon as I walked in, I felt really out of place. Everyone there had fiercely trendy hair, fake tans, white cowboy boots with leggings and denim minis. There was nothing wrong with my outfit, thank you (velvet blazer, Dickie trousers and a white shawl) but it was so miles away from their look that they looked at me like I was an alien.

And then there's the small talk. Two girls were getting their hair washed next to me, and they were all gossiping away about flats, boyfriends and girls they hated. They all seemed to know each other. My junior asked me "Been anywhere nice?" but when I said "No, I've come from work - not too exciting..." that killed the conversation. I can do a bit of fluffy chat when I feel the person is genuinely friendly, but when it rings false or is just going through the motions I feel so desperately uncomfortable.

My stylist wasn't much better. She was nice enough, but she seemed to interpret my quiet persona as a sign that I should have a really basic haircut. I asked her for some suggestions, and she had none. I then had to ask her to chop it up more once it was dry, which she reluctantly agreed to. If I'd walked in and asked her for a "Shell" she probably would have fainted. It turned out well after all, but I hadn't exactly enjoyed myself.

Reading this back now, my instinct is "fuck 'em" - after all, it's just a bunch of shallow fashion sheep trying to make me feel small. What irritates me is that there isn't room for anyone different, and yet we all like a nice hair cut. I don't *want* to go to a salon that I can only trust to give me a trim.

The sad thing is, I had the most amazing hairdresser back in Toronto. She worked at Coupe Bizarre, and was quite bold with her own style (think French Canadian punkette) - but had a brilliant knack for suggesting things that were daring enough for me. Although it wasn't a particularly happy period of my life, I always had damn good hair.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sasha wrote about her concern over parabens and other nasty chemicals in her beauty products a while ago. I thought it was interesting, but didn't give it much more thought. After all, I was spending a fair bit on reputable products that contained lots of natural ingredients. Right? Wrong.

In the last few years, I've developed ultra sensitive skin, characterised by red irritation and mild breakouts. I'd tried everything I could think of - every product under the sun, skin vitamin supplements, giving up wheat, drinking gallons of water. Nothing seemed to have any lasting effect. Lancome, Fresh, Dr. Hauschka, Dermalogica, Creme de la Mer, Clarins, Avene, the latest indie beauty companies from Space NK... I'd been attracted to their products because they contained natural ingredients or were marketed for sensitive skin. And then I stumbled across a small company based near Brighton called Organic Botanics and read this:

DAILY APPLICATIONS of chemical cocktails found in most cosmetics, including so-called ‘naturals’ have been found to cause toxic overload which can impair the general health and vitality of otherwise healthy skin. Toxic overload has also been found responsible for numerous skin problems and allergies such as hyper-sensitivity, rashes, oiliness, blemishes, dryness, flaking, redness, blotching and other allergic reactions.

Having looked at the ingredient lists closely, Dr. Hauschka is the best of the lot I was using, but even they use cetearyl alcohol - a plant derived stabiliser that has this list of possible health concerns, and at the very least may have been irritating my skin. I also have to consider that naturally derived ingredients that aren't certified organic could also be irritants.

Anyhow - Celsi, the owner of Organic Botanics, gave me a consultation call and sent a couple of samples of her moisturisers. And I can honestly say that after just a few days of use, the change in my skin is amazing. Not only that, I like the fact that I'm supporting a small business who genuinely care about the products they make. Celsi even sent me a 1/2 price voucher good for ordering up to three full size products, which is a steal when you consider their prices are already much lower than most of the products I've been using, and p&p is free within the UK. Highly recommended.

Now I'm planning on ditching all my other products and switching to all organic as soon as possible. I can't afford to do it all at once, but here's some other interesting sites I found:

This place makes their own organic soap - I want to try the shampoo bars. Try here for ammonia and peroxide free hair dye. Avea sell organic shampoo and paraben-free cosmetics.

Friday, October 15, 2004

A phone call I've just taken here at work:

Me: Hello, this is the XXX XXX.

Him: Oh hellooo there, this is Pastor So-and-So. Is that Sara Ewing?

Me: No, you've reached the XXX XXX and there's no one here with that name.

Him: What are you called again?

Me: XXX XXX. We're a registered charity and a counselling service.

Him: Oh. I've been told to call you - do you know anything about the 20 cases of Palestinian olive oil I'm expecting?

EH??

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I was going to post about how down I'm feeling about work, finances and all that kind of stuff, but it was incredibly boring so I deleted it. I don't know what the answer is, but I hope something changes soon.

On a happier note, I'm completely enamoured with Anthony Wilson's new advice column in City Life. Thoughtful, funny, sharp, and well-read is our Anthony. I met him once, when he came in for a development meeting at a tv production company I used to work at, and the whole office fell over themselves to look after him. Not because he was a VIP we had to keep happy - there's just something about him.

The online version is pared down from the print unless you want to pay £1.50, so I'll have to write about my favourite bits another time when I've got the magazine with me. (You can read the interview with Goldie Lookin' Chain by my friend Ruth though!)

Right, back to my dandelion coffee - which is thoroughly disgusting by the way, but is supposed to be very good for sorting out your energy levels. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I've posted before about my weekly streetdance classes, and went along last night as usual. Sadly Becky was off for some reason, so we had a stand-in. I had a bad feeling when I saw him - silly tattoos, hair gel, string vest and Bart Simpson socks - but I still went in.

Normally, we have a good combination of dance routine, abs work and stretching. It's hard going, but she uses mid-paced hip hop or rn'b so we don't burn out. Mr. Stand-In had different ideas. He made us watch him go through his routine, which total Sparky, the crap choreographer from Bring it On. Splits, high leg kicks and funky moves stolen from a Black Box video, all set to some 130 bpm high NRG song we didn't know. Uh oh. And did I mention that he had the stereo at top volume, but hadn't brought a headset so we could hear him?

20 minutes of hopeless flailing around later, all but three of us had walked out. One girl said "I can't figure out what you're doing, so I'm going..." to which he obliviously chirped "OK, seeya!!!!!"

For reasons unknown I felt badly for him, so I didn't have the heart to go. My goodwill vanished when he turned to me 10 minutes later and said "Maybe you'd better try it without the arm movements... right girls, dead funky and dead sharp!"

I didn't think it could get any worse, but then he made us warm down to Mariah Carey's "Hero". The second it was over, we legged it as he called out "Hope you had fun ladies, and put in a good word to Becky for me..."