Sunday, January 21, 2024

Glow Up

Ding dong. A mate has introduced me to a not-so-new reality series called"Glow Up". I had seen a program called "Glow" on one of the streaming channels and I had thought that was it - but it's not.  "Glow up" is about aspiring MUA's who are competing for a contract to work in the industry. They are mostly young people - the oldest in Season One is 28 - and seem to be self-taught Make-Up Artists. There are some very interesting looks - always changing as they use their craft to create new and exciting looks for themselves.  Each week's competition is in three parts.  The MUAs have a challenge in a professional assignment under real world conditions - an editorial photo shoot for a magazine, a fashion show (catwalk), preparing personalities for walking the red carpet and being blitzed by papparazzi and doing the drag make-up for the cast of 'Kinky Boots".  The person responsible for the event is the guest judge joining the two usual judges - one MAC's Global Senior Artist and the other a make-up artist specialising in the "outlandish" - Dominic Skinner and Val Garland respectively.  The second challenge is a creative brief where the MUAs can show their vision, creativity and technique.  The third challenge is reserved for the two who performed least well in the creative brief and is the Face Off; the judges inspect the make up task - usually a single task like creating an ombre lip or creating believable freckles in minute detail - using magnifying glasses to check the MUAs works.
The feel of the program reminds me of "Masterchef" - where people are nice to each other and while it is a competition it's not one where they're determined to walk over each other to win.  At the end of the Face Off it's not uncommon for the winner to apologise to the person they have bested.  
Each of the MUAs work on either models or themselves during the challenges.  As well as seeing them work, we also hear them talk about their make-up journey - what it means to them and what make-up and its use means to them - and they also talk about what winning the competition would mean. 
I am on Season 2 after bingeing Season 1and and am loving it.  The latest episode has the MUAs working on the make-up for four characters from the Lion King musical. 
It's worth going to YouTube and searching for "Glow Up Netflix" or, better still, catch the episodes on Netflix.  

Friday, January 05, 2024


In these days of information overload, how many of us see a headline served up to us on one of our devices and take that as the "story".  

Yesterday I saw this headline in bold print:  Gold Coast crash pilot took cocaine in days before collision.  It was referring to the crash of two helicopters on the Gold Coast early last year.  I wonder how many people clicked on the link to read the next, more explanatory and less sensational sentence:  However, an ATSB interim report into the incident concluded that the low concentrations of the drug suggested it would unlikely to have been an "impairment of his psychomotor skills".  That does put a slightly different spin on it.  

I think that in the effort to keep up with what is a constant barrage of information, we may sometimes be missing out on more and important details. 

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Memory lane via media

It's not often I go through my old media and devices, but it may be something I will be doing a bit more of in future.  I started it as part of my 2024 'decluttering program' and also checking out photographs I have been taking on a phone (Pixel 7 Pro) - and I have been amazed at what I have been finding - including some music tracks which I had forgotten I had.  This in itself is a bit odd since I now remember that long, long ago they were my 'favourites'.  The challenge, of course, is these files were copied some time ago which means they were not copied with their details of artist and track name.  The best I am getting is a track number.  It's good fun going through them to see and remember what is there. And it's also good fun revisiting some of my old blogs and thinking it might be time to re-start them. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Not diversified

I chanced upon a Wikipeida entry today that talked about Midsomer Murders, the television series, and the deliberate decision by then producer Brian True-May to exclude non-white characters from the start of the show.   He saw the series as 'the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way'.  His comments were investigated by the production company - he had been suspended but was reinstated, having apologised.  He subsequently stepped down as producer.  His replacement, Jo Wright, is reported as saying that she was committed to on-screen diversity and in series 15, Asian characters played central characters in the show for the first time, and black characters also stated to appear in that series.  

I have to say that we are currently watching Midsomer Murders, starting at the beginning, and as at Season 2 Episode 1, we hadn't noticed the lack of non-white characters - I think because some of the characters in the episodes we have watched so far have been diverse enough!  We will be watching for cameos from now on - until the first real non-white characters make their appearance. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

How early is too early ...

 ... for Christmas decorations. It's okay for the shops to start doing Christmas decorations before November even starts, but we're supposed to save our Christmas shirts until Santa is almost with us and maybe sneak in a wearing for Christmas in July.  Not this time! We have our new Christmas shirts and we've already started wearing them ... on the 12th of November ... and it feels good!

Monday, October 24, 2022


Helium. Who needs it anyway?  Well, as it turns out, helium isn’t just about party balloons and doctors around the world are worried about a global helium shortage.  Helium is used in MRI machines - each MRI needs about 2,000 litres of ultra-cold liquid helium to keep the MRI magnets cool enough to work.  Helium, a nonrenewable element found deep within the Earth’s crust - is running low. Part of the global helium shortage is due to a failure in a crude helium enrichment plant in Texas and declining or unreliable production from existing sources, and the delay in Russia’s helium facility coming on-line.  This is the fourth time the world has suffered a helium shortage since 2006. As well as balloons and MRI, helium is also used in high-speed internet, computer hard drives, airbags in cars, and as a coolant in nuclear reactors.  It’s also used in weather balloons - which are released from 900 locations worldwide a couple of times a day. Hopefully the helium supply will improve soon, and that there are plans in place for dealing with Helium Shortage 5.0 should it happen.

Up front training

How much training should you have before you can run “front of house” at a cafe?  We went to our usual Sunday morning venue today - and, admittedly it has had a change of management and it would also seem a change of staff, but you would think they would still be able to run a cafe properly … like knowing how old the croissants are, and when the jam is out of date … and to deliver the take-away coffee order (for multiple cups) to the table, the same way the previous management did.  I was not impressed.  But then, when collecting the coffees from the barista, that the server (who managed the get our coffee order wrong) was just “filling in” - I would suggest not very well but then again it might have just been that he had no specific training or maybe he was feeling put upon because he had been called in to work on the till. It looked as though there wasn’t much help for him either, so that might have been affecting his performance a little as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

In a word

Is it possible to tell a story in six words? I think you can convey an idea but I’m not sure about the telling a story. If you type “six word story” into a search bar, you will get many results including where there are numerous six word stories. I guess in a world where we have phone text messages as a way of conveying information, it’s feasible to think that people are used to truncating their communications ... and that six words could convey a lot. I remember reading a joke once about a woman and her sisters who ran a farm and she went off to see if she could buy a bull. She did managed to find one and it took just about all of the money she had to be able to secure it. It was the “old days” so ... she went to the Post Office to send them a telegram to let them know she had the bull and that they would need to come and collect her and it. She had enough money for only one word in the telegram so she sent: comfortable. And they did.

Up in the air

Who knew? And what are the requirements? Reading a story today about a woman who had been tricked into paying money to a “cosmonaut” who couldn’t afford to pay for his “return ticket to Earth” from the ISS, it said that space travel didn’t work like that … you don’t have to buy your own ticket. The amazing thing, though, it seems like private astronauts (and cosmonauts?) can pay for their own tickets to board the station. The price does include a return trip to Earth. I knew you could buy tickets to travel to "space" with Space X and other companies, I just had no idea you could buy a ticket to the International Space Station. So how much does it cost? What are the requirements/restrictions? And how much would it cost to take a Fisher Space Pen on board and see if it really does write in space.

Intelligent AI?

Plagiarism is a dirty word when it comes to study and research but it may be harder to detect now that some students are using advanced language generators to write papers for them - and this can’t be detected by plagiarism software. The issue is that AI-generated text is not copied from somewhere else - and that’s what plagiarism software checks for. In the article “Sneaky Students Using AI to Write Their Papers For Them”, one student suggests they still do their homework on things they need to learn to pass, but they use AI to handle the things they don’t want to do, or they find “meaningless”. I guess it’s fair to say that we all learn in different ways, and that this might be a part of this. It also may just be a way to make “busywork” less time consuming so you don’t have to fill in the details - but rather are doing the equivalent of “dot points” to answer. Hopefully, though, the AI being used is better than the voice recognition software in my car - you would think it would be easy for it to make a call to someone it has called many times before, rather than suggesting something like “email” which really doesn’t have a phone number attached to it.

The long and short of it

Why did the T-Rex have such short arms? A study published in the journal Acta Paleontologica Polica suggested that the T-Rex evolved short arms because they fed in packs - and by having short arms it meant they wouldn’t bite off each other’s arms. Or was it a matter of the arms didn’t get shorter but that the legs got longer - that’s a suggestion put forward by John Hutchinson at London’s Royal Veterinary College who is an expert in the biomechanics of movement in large terrestrial animals - both living and extinct - who also noted that there was no way we could really know what was involved or the triggering factors. It is interesting to think about this piece of evolution differently though - because we do tend to think of T-Rex anatomy and the short arms that way. 

Sounds of music

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - I think that’s how you spell it; I once read that you spell it exactly as it sounds - and it sounds like that! I must watch the movie (“Mary Poppins”) one day … although I remember it from when the child actors in “The Sound of Music” talked about how Julie Andrews would entertain them on set with songs from her previous movie … “Mary Poppins”. Although, me for mine, I’ve always been a fan of “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” and that famous line after she returns from the Von Trapp family house and the Mother Superior says to her “Maria, what is it you can’t face?”. I wonder how long it will be until they decide to remake “The Sound of Music” - they seem to have remade a whole lot of other movies which were perfectly good enough the first time around!