Just Around The Bend

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Happiness was a loaded gun
Mirror image engraved upon her
Overthinking temple,
Tick of a clock counting down,
Gears whirring mercilessly, waiting
Dragging the future (kicking and screaming) nearer, a firm grip on the scruff of anticipatory neck;
Hope a dangling carrot always just
JUST
Out of reach
She could feel the wheel turning, with that
Other sense she had sometimes
She knew that old adage (what goes up must come down) and
Life happens in waves, uncontrollable waves
“Oh god, we are so fucking powerless!”
A taste of bliss is so much more cruel than no taste at all.

Nicole Best

Catrice Colour Infusion Longlasting Lipstain Review

May 30, 2013 § 5 Comments

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I picked this up recently on a visit to Dis-Chem. While I don’t really know Catrice’s products very well, the Essence lip tints that I have been dying to try are always sold out when I visit Dis-Chem, so I browsed the Catrice stand instead and found this.

There are four colours but I chose just the one for now, called Rosewood Avenue. It’s a pretty natural-looking pink (I hate bright pinks) and looks like my lips, just better. It’s not an overt or glaring colour at all. It also really does stain my lips, and lasts for ages on them. Add a great lip gloss and you are ready to go!

It comes with a felt tip which makes defining your lips much easier, and tastes sweet (of course I tasted it!). I definitely intend to go back and buy the other colour that I liked. 😉

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The Sigh of Relief…

May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

You may have noticed that I’ve been horribly quiet on my blog during the past week, which is just terrible because so far this month I’ve been trying my darndest to post at least one thing per day (yes, I set the stakes high, that’s just how I roll). 

Well, I’m sorry! It was the last exam push and I had to study linguistics like a fiend so that I could do a decent job in today’s exam. Which was my last exam for the semester.

That’s right.

I’M ON HOLIDAY, BITCHES!

It feels about as amazing as I thought that it would, even though it’s not technically a holiday because this week I have to help my boyfriend pack…then over the weekend we move…and then next Monday I go in to have my pesky little gall bladder removed. And then I have to unpack, buy new stuff for the house, learn to drive, do some awesome make-up portfolio shoots, write, draw, and everything in between. I should probably insert some recovery time in there for after the op as well – sigh! No rest for the wicked, hey?

Don’t worry, though, because I promise to blog as much as I possibly can during these two months of “holiday” – I could never leave you all hanging for that long. 😉

Once again, this is my call for your input – please feel free to let me know what sort of posts you would enjoy reading. My writing is nothing without somebody to read it, so contact me. I do take requests. 😉

Currently reading: Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne (I recently finished 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea and I’m on a total classics binge).
Currently listening to: London After Midnight, The Bondage Song
Currently excited about: Spending the week with my man and going to see the Great Gatsby (I’ve been busy okay!).

Distance Education: The Highs and Lows

May 20, 2013 § 4 Comments

Here’s another rather substantial post for you all, since it seems like you rather enjoyed my last opinion piece about what it takes to make love work. 🙂

So, what many of you probably don’t know is that I am a bit of a veteran when it comes to distance education. When I was 15, at the beginning of my grade 9 year, the bullying from both pupils and teachers at school became too much for me and I approached my parents with an ultimatum: find me a new school, or I will just leave school completely. Obviously, in retrospect, the second option looks a little bit loony, but I was a desperate teenager so go figure. We eventually found a little school that was more like a study group – they did the Brainline home schooling curriculum, but had university students teaching the work. It offered more freedom than ordinary school but more stability than complete home schooling, and so my mother took the (considerable) plunge and enrolled me in The Bridge Private Tuition.

It was a huge adjustment, I will admit that much. The first year that I was there I completely neglected my schoolwork and just enjoyed the socialising and freedom of finally being able to decide on my own clothes, make-up, and accessories. It didn’t help that I was an angry, rebellious and depressed teenage girl, either. I was certainly not the academic that I am today! Somehow (and I still don’t know how) I passed my grade 9 year there, and we went on to grade 10. That year the school moved to the grounds of a church that intended to build school buildings and facilities for us on the property. That was also the year that I actually started giving a shit about my marks and my schoolwork, so I was often the only student in class, listening and taking notes and doing my work. The Bridge only lasted for the first six months of that year before having to close down, so one of the teachers decided to help us all finish the year by going over all of the work at her house. This all sounds incredibly disorganised and disruptive, but we all managed the transition fairly well. I stopped going to ‘class’ at the tutor’s house and just did the work at my house, and went there for exams.

When grade 11 came along, I reasoned that I had already done half a year of real life home schooling and passed with flying colours, so why not just carry on? And that’s exactly what I did – grade 11 work and exams, sitting at my dining room table. It was wonderful to be able to decide exactly when I did and didn’t want to work, and I did everything on my own schedule. For grade 12 I went back to a normal (ish) school so I’d be sure to get a valid matric, and then I was finished! I also passed matric with five distinctions, so obviously the home schooling thing didn’t negatively affect my competence in any way. 😉

Now, of course, I am studying languages and literature through Unisa – a distance education university. I am in the middle of my second year. So, what has my experience been so far?

My first year went very well. The study guides and textbooks were easy to understand and work through, the assignments pretty much the same, and any questions that I asked of my lecturers via email were answered thoroughly and promptly. The exams also went very well – pretty much smooth sailing all the way.

This year, however, it’s a very different story. There was a strike by the postal workers at the beginning of the year, and then a strike by Unisa staff a month or so ago. As a result of the postal strike, the assignment deadlines were extended. Which is all well and good, but I submit mine electronically, so I submitted them on the original due dates anyway. You’d think that that would make mine the first to be marked, right? Wrong. I have written three out of five exams and I am still waiting for the marks from two assignments. I have already written the exam for one of those subjects, and write the exam for the other on Wednesday. TODAY I got a mark back for an assignment, the exam of which I wrote TWO WEEKS AGO. To add insult to injury, receiving that mark BEFORE I wrote the exam would have enabled me to improve my work and get a distinction. As things stand now, I did in the exam what I did in the assignment, because I didn’t know that what I did wasn’t entirely correct. Thanks, Unisa!

The English department marks that I am getting back vary wildly, and I believe that the external markers for the English department are not given rubrics. So my marks are entirely at the mercy of external markers that might not even know whether or not my work is good enough for a distinction. That does not sound fair to me. These essays also come back with almost no comments. If an essay is only worth 52% (that’s a whopping 2% short of a fail) then I want to know why, so that the next essay I write will be better! The lack of feedback on my assignments is one of the most frustrating things about this whole process. They just keep telling me that I am wrong, but not WHY I am wrong. How’s a girl meant to improve herself then?!

All I can do is fervently hope that Unisa will pull up their socks next semester because I am totally at their mercy – one of the crappier aspects of distance education is the lack of input and discussion with the higher-ups.

So, to sum it up in point form for those of you too lazy to read full sentences (or if you just need a re-cap):

HIGHS

  • You make your own schedule.
  • No commuting or petty socialising (yes, this is a high, because people can be extremely annoying).
  • You can fit your education in around everything else – work part time, party part time, whatever.
  • You learn the value of discipline and hard work, because everything is your responsibility.
  • Work in your pyjamas. This is a serious high point because pyjamas are awesome and I can wear my writing pants. 😀

LOWS

  • Lack of input from and interaction with lecturers.
  • Circumstances beyond your control screw with your marks.
  • Quality control of the external markers.
  • No continuous assessment and therefore constant improvement of understanding – your only real assessment is the mark for your second essay assignment, which leads us to:
  • Lack of substantial/helpful comments when you’ve done something wrong.

Do you agree with my points? Have you ever experienced distance education? What was your experience like? Feel free to let me know in the comment section (maybe you can comment better than the Unisa markers do). 😉

Opportunity

May 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

When I was a child
I had a pocket knife
They said it was my grandfather’s
(That mysterious figure who died before I
Was even born – then, later, they told me
He gassed himself in his car, a terrible alcoholic
Abusive)
And one afternoon
I used it to slice open
A slug I found in the garden
(“What difference does one slug make anyway”, asked my child’s brain)
I wanted to see inside so I opened it up
Though there was no external
Indication of sluggy pain
I will never forget the guilt
The misery
The self-loathing
That rushed across my undeveloped senses;
I cried for weeks afterwards.

Nicole Best

Yardley Stayfast Coverflage Concealer

May 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

As I follow the Yardley Facebook page, I was randomly chosen to be sent a voucher entitling me to a Yardley Stayfast foundation, pressed powder, and concealer.

Unfortunately they don’t make a foundation or powder in the right shade for my skin, so my mother got lucky. (Seriously, what am I, a freakin’ ghost!?)

I did find a concealer that was fine for me to use though.

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I will admit, and try not to be too horrified, that this is my first experience using a concealer on myself. I generally just let all the blemishes shine through because concealer often looks horribly thick and obvious.

However, I really like this concealer. It gives serious coverage without looking obviously caked-on, and is enriched with all sorts of healthy oils and vitamins so it doesn’t just cover the blemishes or dark circles but actually helps to fix them and make your skin healthier. Yippee for products with many uses; they are the champions of the beauty world!

Gatsby Is Coming…

May 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

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It opens on Friday the 17th of May in South Africa, and this is one of the movies that I’ve been looking forward to the most this year! Ever since reading The Great Gatsby so closely last year for one of my subjects, I have had a special place in my heart for this gorgeous book. I really do believe that it is a triumph of literature, and as many essays as I’ve written on it, there will always be something new for me to discover in it. So a movie version has me very excited – visuals of the roaring 1920’s excess are sure to be totally, gloriously overpowering.

The casting also looks absolutely spot-on. Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby is as charismatic and mysterious as I had hoped, and Carey Mulligan as Daisy looks lovely, delicate, and tormented. Those are really the only two characters I’m concerned about, as for me they totally carried the book and made it extraordinary, but I’m sure that the rest of the cast won’t disappoint!

Just watch these trailers and try to deny that they give you wonderful shivery, anticipatory goosebumps. ^_^

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“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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