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Review – Alita: Battle Angel

Review – Alita: Battle Angel

I’ve been a long time fan of the manga Battle Angel Alita, known in Japan as Gunnm (銃夢 Ganmu, literally “gun dream”), by Yukito Kishiro.

Alita’s search for identity has been something extremely special and personal to me, and it is probably my favourite manga.

I have been aware of James Cameron’s love project to turn this into a live action film, and have followed its progress through Development Hell with interest.

So when the film finally hit cinemas, I approached it with some trepidation.

Here are my thoughts on it, now that I have seen it.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Posted by on 11th February 2019 in Opinion, Reviews

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Review: Binky nail varnish

I was in my local Co-Op the other day and they had Binky nail varnish on special offer at £2 a go.

Having really enjoyed wearing my best friend’s “Countess” by Barry M that we both wore during a weekend away with her recently, I was drawn to the glittery purple “Purple Shimmer” in the Binky range, and also to “Pink Crystal”. I figured that for a fraction of the price of an OPI nail varnish, they were cheap enough to give it a go.

binky1

binky2

As an aside, I have to say that “Purple Shimmer” and “Pink Crystal” sound like characters in ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic‘ which made them even more appealing to me. 🙂

I haven’t tried Pink Crystal yet, but I have worn the Purple Shimmer.

It went on very thick and gel-like. One coat was almost enough, but I did two coats to get a deep even coverage. It dried very quickly between coats.

However, it took three coats of clear top coat before it stopped feeling like sand paper, and I fear it’s going to be as hard to take off as the Barry M was.

Purple Shimmer by Binky

Purple Shimmer by Binky

Durability is good so far, and I haven’t had any chips yet after 5 days. I’ll update this post in a few days with further information, including how easy it was to remove.

Update:

Well, as expected it was an absolute nightmare to remove! But before that, it lasted a good 10 days before it had to come off, and that was mainly because it was growing out. So I call that rather good value for money.

 

Posted by on 16th October 2016 in Nails, Opinion, Reviews

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Review: BBC Radio 1 – The Surgery with Aled and Dr Radha (14-Jan-2015)

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, last night the weekly Surgery with Aled and Dr. Radha on BBC Radio 1 was on the subject of Gender Identity.

The entire hour of the programme was given over to the subject, and Aled and Dr. Raha were joined by Stephanie Hirst, a M2F trans woman and ex-DJ who I have mentioned in previous posts.

The programme started with an introduction, and then Stephanie was brought in and Aled interviewed her for a while about her background, her transition, and various issues surrounding Gender Identity. The programme then moved into a phone-in format with various people interviewed. Two parents of transgender children were interviewed along with several transgender individuals.

On the whole, the programme was extremely positive and it’s great to see that a mainstream National radio station is discussing issues like this and I think it is an indicator that society is becoming more tolerant and receptive to the idea of transgender people and Gender Identity issues.

However, I have two minor criticisms about the programme.

The first is that F2M (Female-to-Male, ie. born female and then transitioning to male) people appeared to be over-represented and M2F seemed to get far less emphasis. I think this is a pity, because society has always tended to tolerate masculine behaviour in a seemingly female person more than it does feminine behaviour in a seemingly male person (even the name ‘tomboy’ is less pejorative than ‘sissy’) and the cliché society view of a transgender person is of the archetypical “tranny”, so it would have been nice for this to have been explored a little more.
Having said that, Stephanie did have the opportunity to explore her own experiences so perhaps the balance was there that way.

My second criticism is more fundamental though. The majority of the programme was preoccupied with gender binaries (ie. there is only male and female) and that if you found yourself in the wrong binary then you are expected to transition to the correct one. In fact it felt like every other word was “transition” for a lot of the show. I completely disagree with this concept. Gender is a spectrum with “totally male” at one end and “totally female” at the other end, and there is an entire world in between those two extremes. In the same way that Sexuality is a spectrum with “straight” at one end and “gay” at the other, and a huge range of bisexuality in between (including “bi-curious”), there is a whole range of genders in the Gender Spectrum. It can incorporate people who consider themselves to be a mix of both genders, or indeed neither gender. There are even bi-gender people who like to move between genders as the mood takes them.
Granted, the last caller on the line in the closing minutes of the show identified as both genders, but this was the first time the concept had even been mentioned in the programme and I felt that the topic wasn’t really explored and could have left listeners unfamiliar with the concept of Gender Identity with a rather skewed and incomplete picture.

I have to say that I’m not entirely surprised. Society (certainly Western Society) as a whole does have an extremely polarised and rigid concept of a gender binary, where men are men and women are women, and there are shopping aisles for boys toys and girls toys, so it’s not a great leap for people to accept an idea of someone being in the wrong body and wanting to change into the right one. Perhaps it was too great a leap to dive straight into the Gender Spectrum.
However, it’s worth mentioning that in some cultures, the concept of the Third Gender is well accepted and even has legal status.

Hopefully this programme will pave the way for more on this subject. After all, I’m sure it isn’t the only episode of the Surgery that has dealt with sexuality so perhaps there will be a future ones on the Gender Identity issues.

As I said earlier, though, I do consider this programme to have been overwhelmingly positive and I think it shows major progress in the mainstream media’s handling of this issue. However, I think that by being so preoccupied with transition it may have painted an overly simplistic picture.

Still, in this day and age of the World Wide Web, there is loads of information readily available for further research. So if nothing else, by raising the concept of Gender Identity it could get people wanting to learn more. And that’s always a good thing.


This episode of The Surgery is available on BBC iPlayer until Friday 13-Feb-2015 at 10pm UK time.
The direct link to it is http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xnh5v
It may not be available to you if you are outside of the UK.

 

Posted by on 15th January 2015 in In the News, Opinion, Reviews, Transgender

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Review: Homedics Mē Plus

Me My Elos Plus

Manufacturer: HoMedics
Product: Mē Plus (also known as the HoMedics Me My Elos Plus)
EAN: 4051123000848
RRP: £449
Price: Around £200

Introduction

This is a review of the Mē Plus by HoMedics, a home permanent hair removal system using a combination of IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and RF (Radio Frequency) technologies.

I bought this in Costco for £179.98, which included Costco’s current special offer of £18 (£15+VAT) off the usual price of £197.99. I bought it because, although I have had quite a lot of professional Laser Hair Removal (as regular readers of this blog will know), I do have problem areas of regrowth including my face, and I thought that for less than the cost of one session of laser, this item might save me some money.
I confess that this was a bit of an impulse (no pun intended) purchase and I did not do any research on it or read any reviews beforehand.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this review, nor received any remuneration, discounts, or reward for writing it. I have no connection whatsoever with the manufacturer. I bought the product myself with my own money, and as such this is an honest and independent review. All opinions are my own.

 

Overview

I’m not going to go into great detail about what this product does and how it works, because that information is freely available all over the internet. Suffice to say that this product uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) in conjunction with Radio Frequency (RF) to zap your hairs, giving semi-permanent hair removal (no hair removal treatment is truly permanent). Although very similar to Laser Hair Removal, IPL does not use a laser but uses something analogous to a high intensity camera flash gun. The effects are much the same though.

Unlike all-in-one rechargeable products like the Philips Lumea range, the Mē Plus is corded; it consists of a base station that is plugged into the wall, and then a corded flasher unit that is permanently attached to the base station.

The instructions say that it is not suitable for use on the male face since it may cause “patchy beard growth”. I have chosen to ignore this as I want to totally eliminate my facial hair and have had many sessions of professional Laser Hair Removal on my face already and am no longer able to grow a beard. So I figure the warning doesn’t really apply to me. 🙂

It’s worth noting that although the lamp is good for around 150,000 pulses, it is expensive to replace when it does go. A replacement “Quartz” lamp costs around £100-£150 depending on seller.
The lamp for the non-Plus models are much cheaper but also are rated for far, far fewer pulses making them actually poorer value for money.

There are various accessories available at additional cost – a shaver, an epilator, and a facial adaptor. The latter allows for more focussed single zaps to the face, although the manual points out that you can zap the face without it though. Some research online suggests that the shaver and epilator are readily available, but the facial adaptor is harder to find, and appears to merely blank off half of the flash window and reprogram the on/off button to be one flash per press.

 

Unboxing

The Mē comes in a square box.

The box

The box

Slipping the sleeve off it reveals a shrink-wrapped plain white cardboard box with everything neatly packed inside.

Neatly packed

Neatly packed

Inside is a thick instruction manual, the unit itself, some sunbed goggles, a cleaning brush, a power cord and two blanking guards – one for the accessory slot and the other for the flash unit. Presumably the latter allows you to use the shaver or epilator accessory without the flash unit, if you so wish. The accessory slot guard is pre-fitted to the head, whilst the flash unit guard is supplied loose.

Contents laid out

Contents laid out

Looking through the instruction manual reveals that only a very small proportion of it is actually in English and hence relevant. The picture shows the relative proportions – the English is the thin collection of pages on the left (obviously).

User Guide thinner than it looks

User Guide thinner than it looks

The ‘sunbed goggles’ are two heavily tinted lenses threaded onto a length of elastic. The elastic was secured with a tight knot of itself, rather than a cable tie, and I found it extremely fiddly to unpick this knot.

 

In use

Upon switching the power on, a fan in the base station immediately comes on and this appears to stay on permanently.

When the power button on the head is pressed, it too starts a fairly noisy cooling fan. It will not start flashing until the flash window is pressed against the skin, at which point it will start regularly flashing with a visual intensity similar to a camera flash gun. I’d suggest that at the minimum, you would want to wear sunglasses to protect against this.

I started out on the lowest of the 3 intensity settings, and felt none of the ‘being flicked with an elastic band’ feeling that I am used to from Laser. Moving up from Low to Medium to High, I still felt nothing other than a feeling of physical heat from the flash unit. I did notice that on the highest setting it flashed less frequently than on the lowest setting.

Initially I tried it on my tummy, since I have hairs there that I want to zap. Usually this is a moderately painful area when I have laser, but I felt no pain whatsoever. Next up was my bikini line, which is usually even more painful since some of the hairs are quite coarse and deep there. But, again, it was completely painless and the only sensation was of the skin getting slightly warm. There was the faintest smell of singed hair, so it must have done something but I did not hear or feel the familiar ‘snap, crackle & pop’ that you get with Laser. Finally, I put the sunbed goggles on and did my facial hair. With the Laser this is excruciatingly painful and I can only cope with one flash at a time, but with the Mē I didn’t feel a thing.

 

Conclusion

If pain is anything to go by, then I don’t know how successful this product is going to be. Obviously it is far too early to tell how effective it actually will turn out be though. And, equally obviously, it is going to be a number of weeks before I see the results from using it.

Just like with Laser, it is very hard to know where you have done and where you have not. When I have Laser, the Therapist draws a grid on me with white eyeliner pencil so that she knows where she has been. I will be doing the same for myself. I didn’t in this instance as this was just a test run.

I will post an update in a few weeks when I have something more to report.

 

Where to buy

All prices correct at time of writing.

Note that there is a cheaper version available (which looks the same) that does not include the word “Plus”. Be sure to compare like-with-like when making price comparisons!

CostCo: £179.98 Special offer – usually £197.99
Amazon: £229.95
eBay: £249.99
Boots: n/a Not available. The more expensive Pro Ultra is £349
Argos: £399.99

Note: Costco price is the in-store price. You need to be a Costco member, or the guest of a member, to buy.

 

Posted by on 19th October 2014 in Hair Removal, Health and Beauty, Reviews

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