subtly hairy

Tuesday, 15 September 2015 01:51 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
My lovely hairdresser would tear his own hair out regularly at the things I do to mine (have it cut approximately annually, refuse to blow-dry it, hack my own fringe short), except he's usefully and artfully bald (and highly polished) already. Occasionally I wander into the salon having neglected it for longer than usual and he runs his fingers through it despairingly and announces "That's not a haircut. That's just hair." There is, actually, a huge advantage to the "just hair" stage of coiffure. There are those odd days, usually produced by insomnia, during which I trundle somnambulistically into work and, somewhere around mid-morning, glance at myself in the mirror and have a moment's blank inability to remember if I actually brushed my hair before leaving the house. Fortunately, with "just hair", it's quite difficult to tell if that's the case or not, and I figure that if I can't tell the difference, probably no-one else can either. I clearly did want to be an eccentric and absent-minded professor when I grew up.

Presumably being an absent-minded professor would to some extent insulate me from the kind of phone call I've just had to endure, from a parent equally distressed and infuriated by her attempts to re-insert her son into the institution following academic exclusion. I understand her distress, this sort of thing is equally hard on kids and parents. But during the course of the conversation she did the following:
  • Chewed me out because no-one else is answering their phone;
  • Claimed that the online guidelines to readmission, carefully written by myself, didn't cover the information she needs (they really do);
  • Accused me of gross insensitivity two sentences after commending the sensitivity of my language;
  • Accused the institution of elitism because we require some evidence of improved circumstances before we re-admit excluded students;
  • Accused the institution of elitism because we enforce the government-set restrictions on maximum number of years of study permitted without graduation;
  • Did all of the above in tones of sweet, icy, implacable restraint which did their damnedest to present what was actually a self-indulgent vent at a hapless and largely uninvolved target as an exercise in dulcet and righteous reason.

I am extremely proud of the fact that I didn't lose my temper for an instant, remaining determinedly courteous and rational while she escalated the ice-salvos. Years of therapy are definitely worth something. But calls such as these leave me shaking and with my stomach in knots for hours, and are undoubtedly highly implicated in the increasing acreage of grey which characterises my not-a-hairstyle. I bring it on myself, of course, by being conscientious about answering my phone, in sharp contradistinction to many other corners of this institution. Fortunately the spanky new VOIP phone system has caller ID, and her name is emblazoned on my brain in letters of acidic ice. I see her name again, I'm going to let it ring. This resolution will be materially assisted by the fact that I'm going to be out of the office for a couple of days having the cobwebs surgically removed from various neglected reproductive portions of my anatomy. She may phone in vain with my blessing.

My subject line is the Very Secret Diary of Aragorn Son of Arathorn, who is the patron saint of bloggers. I seem to be blogging again. Go me!
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I had an outbreak of Summer on Tuesday and madly encouraged the nice hairdresser man to chop my hair short, in the interests of getting it the hell off the back of my neck. It's now a shortish bob, which as per usual I will defiantly refuse to blow-dry at any price, and which will thus never look quite as sleek and grown-up as it does when I leave the salon. I've noticed a bizarre thing, though. Yesterday and today have been filled with colleagues being ridiculously and uncharacteristically chatty at me. They bounce into my office to discuss minor points, they engage me in conversation while I'm swearing gently at the photocopier, they laugh at my involuntary word-play in meetings. (I am incapable of professional meeting language. There will be play, and often metaphor, high-coloured, for the use of. Mostly people just look blank.)

I am driven to the conclusion that this haircut is possibly (shudder) ... cute. At any rate, it seems to make me more approachable. I'm toying with the idea of seeing what black-rimmed hipster spectacles do to the effect.

A quick public service announcement: the PC version of Dragon Age: Inquisition is released tomorrow. I pre-ordered it from Origin, on the grounds that it was half the price of the disc version on Loot for the deluxe edition and comes with Cool Bonus Stuff. They opened it for preload on Monday, and, the cardboard-and-string internets of our beloved country being what they are, I have been gently downloading it in the background (and swearing at the resulting slow loads of Tumblr gifs) ever since. We were at about 82% this morning. The gods willing and the geeks don't rise (or the damned cat doesn't climb on the keyboard in my absence and accidentally halt the download again), it should be finished just in time for official scratch-off tomorrow. I shall thereafter vanish into obsessive Dragon Age companion-flirting with a muffled squeak, probably for the next few weeks. Or months. Posts, and actual human interaction, may be a little thin on the ground, and unduly dragon-flavoured. Don't take it personally. With any luck they won't fumble the dismount as badly as they did in Mass Effect 3...

The car music system is still with the Death Cab. We're now in Transatlanticism, which I think is the last album I have on this player. I must acquire more Death Cab, I only have about three of them, and You Can Play These Songs With Chords is worth it for the title alone. For the record, my subject line is from "Expo '86".

look ma, no hair

Saturday, 6 August 2011 10:10 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
It transpires that one of the side effects of Warfarin is that it renders your hair unfit for human consumption. My hair has taken grave exception to my current regimen, marking its displeasure by becoming straw-like and brittle, and in addition prone to oiling up in about twelve hours flat after being washed. Since I've been patiently growing it out for over a year and it was down to my shoulderblades, that's a fair amount of hair to be lank and unspeakable; it's been driving me bats for weeks.

It was thus strangely cathartic to be able to wander into the hairdresser's on Thursday and wail "it all has to go!" when having, for once, a cast-iron reason for the decision rather than the usual vague and formless angsts which tend to prompt a sudden change of image. My lovely hairdresser has been rescuing me at intervals from said angsts, as well as tangles with henna, a resolute refusal to blowdry, assaults on my own fringe whenever it got into my eyes, and that one time I had a late-night fit of self-loathing and hacked it all off myself, for about eight years now, and he agreed that the hair itself was in worse condition than he's ever seen it. ("That's quite an adult decision, to simply get rid of it like this.")

The weird bit, though, wasn't the sudden acquisition of a jaw-length bob. That was rather fun. The weird bit was having the hairdresser, informed of the whole DVT/pulmonary embolism/10 days in hospital/Warfarin debacle, calmly cap it by telling me all about the parallel experience he's just had in hospital after a heart attack, at approximately the same time. We spent a happy hour playing hospital odious comparisons while straw-like hair drifted in sheaves to the ground. Apart from the odd fact of the synchronicity it does seem a bit unfair, though. He's one of those slightly stereotypical gay hairdressers who's an ex-dancer, and is slim and gym-toned and health-conscious. I can quite firmly blame my own experience at least partially on my own current complete lack of fitness, but he really shouldn't be having heart attacks. It holds out so little hope for the rest of us.

Good Friday

Friday, 2 October 2009 08:54 am
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Good Friday is good because it's Friday, naturally, but actually it's giving me enough pleasant surprises that I feel the need to construct an Anti-Rant List. Pollyanna, that's me.
  • My Cherished Institution randomly, and without warning or fanfare, doubled its bandwidth this week. My vague sense of "gosh, things are faster, all the students must be bunking" resolved itself this morning when I found the cheery "oh, by the way, we doubled our bandwidth" email in my inbox. This is unlikely enough that it may actually herald the apocalypse (and I have to say, finally acquiring home ADSL was probably at least the Second Horseman), but fundamentally I don't care.
  • Book Club last night was, as usual, pleasantly drunken and magpie-chattery, but my usual complete insecurity about my book choice resolved itself, after a spirited wrangle involving some definitive flag-planting, into a group decision to acquire 8 out of my 9 choices, the 9th being rejected because someone owned it already. I feel validated. Also, totally zombified on too much wine and lack of sleep.
  • Also, the book club loves the Hobbit, who was a total affection-slut all evening, and I had to shake everyone down when they left to make sure no-one had stashed him in a book bag. In even better news, neither the SPCA nor Gumtree has any evidence of someone mourning his loss. Maybe I will get to keep him.
  • Book club has also left me with the prospect of the new Lee Child, the new Margaret Atwood sf (even if she refuses to call it sf), Lev Grossman's The Magicians, which is apparently the gritty postmodern take on the HP/Narnia utopianness, a frothy Alexander McCall Smith romp about linguistics professors, and Tuesdays with Morrie, which about five separate people have recommended to me as a particularly good exploration of someone suffering from ALS, the disease my dad has. My shelf of unread books is already about two metres long without that lot, but it's all good.
  • I discovered this morning, after bumbling out the house in my usual daze without remembering to blow-dry my hair, that in fact this cut looks better if I don't blow-dry it. The cut was one of those annoying miscommunications with the hairdresser, who seems to have broken 5 years of careful training in order to ignore my dictates about non-layering. Mostly, though, this demonstrates that my blow-drying skills go way beyond "incompetent" into "catastrophic fumbling." I'm OK with this. Life's too short to blow-dry your hair.
  • I'm not doing anything this evening! Well, taking the lone rejected book back to the bookshop, paying for them, and visiting my dad. But then I get to veg out in front of the Middleman, and go to bed early in preparation for the weekend's mad socialising (Thai food with jo&stv tomorrow, lunch in Stellenbosch on Sunday for Salty Cracker). Life can hold no more.
  • Today's XKCD made me snerkle like a loon, particularly the mouse-over text. Yes, "snerkle like a loon" is my new phrase.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Phooey. Epic struggle with my hairdresser, an otherwise lovely man who has slight hissy fits every time I go to see him after a six-month hiatus during which I have regularly and cheerfully hacked my own fringe short. He feels, reasonably enough, that this is an insult to his artistry. I feel that I'd rather not look like an Old English Sheepdog if I can possibly help it. Yesterday he retaliated by cutting said fringe extra short and slightly wider than usual, which is unfair as it's the fatal thing he's always cautioned me against doing in my fringe-hacks. Also, he's blow-dried my hair to within an inch of its life so it's completely flat, straight and lifeless. I now look like a cross between Bluebottle (pudding-basin haircut) and a Chinese schoolgirl. I console myself with the thought that hair is the most ephemeral of irritations - a wash and a few weeks of growing and it might actually feel as though it belongs to me again. Besides, consolatory bonus: the nice hair-washing lady gave me a random ten-minute head massage while she was washing it, which successfully beat the headache back to a dull throb.

Watched the weird Farscape episode with the virtual reality game last night. Yup, scriptwriters still on drugs. Good drugs. Also, scared self silly with X-Files before the Evil Landlord got home. Now in Season 5 - that freaky episode with the psychotic doll, which, cute Mulder/Scully interactions notwithstanding (I love it when they play against type), was distinctly creepy. I really enjoyed "The Postmodern Prometheus" - cleverly written and filmed, lovingly geeky, nicely tongue-in-cheek. The final Cher concert scene may actually have blown my brain, though.

Last Night I Dreamed: I carefully bought four extremely poisonous snakes for the rocky garden of my old house on a hill. Then I realised that they were extremely poisonous, and had to pay a nice snake-catcher lady to remove them. She found the small green one and the brown one and the sort of fat puff-addery one, but there's still a spitting cobra out there somewhere, lurking in the bushes. Then I was a somewhat powerful figure in a hugely complicated LARP/medieval court thingy in a castle, where all the factions wore colour-coded outfits and had scads of liveried guards. Someone, I think it might have been Adrianna, randomly gave me a crystal which could make gates to anywhere, and I started using it to buy favours from other factions by rescuing their sons from jail and what have you. Actually, I think both of these might have been career dreams. In a severely lateral sort of way.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
One of the side-effects of my ongoing occasional embrace of henna is that for the last couple of years my grey streak has been hidden. This is the grey streak I've had since I was 22, as a result of the unfortunate concatenation of a redhead, her considerable consumption of peach schnapps, the Bastard Ex-Boyfriend From Hell, a heavy pottery mug and four stitches. I've always rather liked the streak, considering it an Interesting Feature as well as a reminder not to be so bloody stupid in future, so it was a happy discovery to see it reappear a couple of days ago when I randomly re-parted my hair.

Today, updates! This morning I noticed a weird little patch of undyed hair in front of my right ear, which is a direct result of my strictly amateur efforts with the henna (score usually hair about 70% dyed, hands 40%, bathroom 20%, and splotches on passing cats). It's not the usual uninspiring brown of my usual hair unassisted by henna - it's full of silver. I have Official Grey Hair! For no adequately defined reason, although it's probably something to do with my ongoing inability to feel like an Actual Grown-Up, I find this inordinately cool.

Last Night I Dreamed: an extended and chaotic children's birthday party combined with a shopping trip and, for some reason, wading knee-deep through the sewers in search of some undefined goal.


Thursday, 6 July 2006 04:46 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Henry Jenkins (who is fast becoming my cultural guru) has an interesting discussion here of video games, and particularly open-ended narrative, as art. I don't know about you, but I kept thinking of LARPing, the definitive theoretical analysis of which I will one day write.

Yesterday's minor depression has had the usual effect, viz. to make me suddenly loathe my hair and want to cut it all off. What do you think?

[Poll #763266]

In other news, I have now finished watching the first season of Alias, and am shocked and horrified to report how badly I'm hooked. It's a bizarre, cheesily fantastic, completely unrealistic series, but it's got me, mostly because (a) it has gadgets, unlikely disguises and lots of stunts, so it's pleasingly like Mission Impossible without Tom Cruise, and (b) Michael Vartan, who I like enough to hold out real hope that my Bad Boy impulses are finally crushed. Shall now hunt down H, from whom I borrowed the first season, to get the next few, since the Vaughan-is-dead cliffhanger finale is causing me to gnaw my own elbows.


Wednesday, 16 February 2005 08:46 am
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Happiness! Favourite online fantasy artist (Ursula Vernon) is happy to license one of her pics as a cover for my book, for a fee which I can afford. Very lovely Art Nouveau "Beauty and the Beast", all stylised and therefore thematically right on target. See here for pic. Now to persuade the press's art department to use it... *girds loins for academic waffle*

I had lunch with Stace yesterday, which was cool - good lord, but Maia is a long baby. And very active and vocal - makes little noises to herself almost continually while wriggling around, whether awake or asleep. Obviously has a great future as a breakdancer, or something.

Have maddened day planned - I have to go up to campus to sort out bunches of readings for aforementioned second-years, which entails (shudder) photocopying. Shall then compensate self by going off to see The Inexhaustibles, or whatever the darned movie is called. Main attraction at this point is the air-conditioned movie theatre...

Am devastated that [ profile] bumpycat is not coming back to Cape Town, while simultaneously delighted that he was given the job he wanted. Sigh. Darned corporations. Shall consider myself revenged for his non-return by the fact that he has to wear a suit. Heh.

In other news, am currently a redhead, somewhat emphatically. Am awaiting the traditional effect on the brainwaves (i.e. psychosis). Although it's possible I'm a bit prejudiced here.

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