4 things that make a good manicurist

I used to bite my nails all the time. Then, one day, I got bored and decided that I wanted to try out having long nails– I wasn’t playing piano all the time anymore and I wanted to make my hands look a little more “grown-up.” First, I got artificial nails (silk wrap) and got regular fills (acrylic). I kicked my nail biting habit and my natural nails were able to grow out underneath the acrylic. Once my nails actually became long and strong enough, I switched to natural nails. Now, I faithfully get a manicure every two weeks and a pedicure every month and frequently get complemented on my perfectly polished and shaped nails.

Of course, some, including me, say that now I have an unhealthy obsession with taking care of my nails.

Well, I owe everything to my manicurist– here are 4 essential things that make a good manicurist:

  1. Hygiene & cleanliness. All implements should be clean and constantly sanitized. Same goes for the manicurist. If she sneezes, coughs, etc., she should be washing her hands or using hand sanitizer. There are a million places on your hands and feet where germs can enter, especially when removing skin and cuticle material. This is especially important for diabetics.
  2. Attention to detail. There’s a reason why they have those magnifying lamps. It may seem obsessive, but it drives me crazy if there is the slighest imperfection in the nailbed or shape of the nail (crooked, uneven, etc.). It becomes especially problematic after putting on polish and letting it dry– those imperfections will be even more noticeable.
  3. Health conscious. Well, at least when it comes to your skin and nails. Your manicurist should be looking out for you and making sure that not only do your nails look good, but that they also stay healthy. She should be making sure your cuticles aren’t drying out and that ingrown nails are taken care of. If your nail splits, she should be helping it stay clean and dry so it can heal– otherwise, fungus or infection can develop. If you have artificial nails, you should make sure your manicurist isn’t filing the nailbed too much. She will have to file it a little bit when putting on your full set and then each time she does a fill so that the artificial nail product has a slightly rough surface to bond to, but otherwise, your manicurist should be trying to keep your nailbed in tact. Your nailbed shouldn’t be flat and it shouldn’t hurt when filed. And your manicurist should be applying cuticle oil (and encouraging you too as well) to keep your cuticles moisturized without softening the nail.
  4. Confidante. Your manicure/pedicure time should be the opportunity to relax, whether that means you just close your eyes and let your manicurist do all the work or you talk about all the good and bad things going on in your life.

Current nail color: OPI‘s Route Beer Float.

Expandable TiVo

Everyone knows I love my TiVo. I could not live without it and whenever I get a chance, I become the world’s biggest TiVo evangelist. I’ll admit it– TV is a big part of my life. I read, surf the Web, hang out with friends, go out, etc., but a big chunk of my life is still spent watching TV, a phenomenon that is just part of my generation and every generation after. And TiVo has given me a way to effectively get all those other things done and get my TV watching in.

That’s why it makes me sad to hear when people are bad-mouthing TiVo the company, asserting that as more cable companies release their own DVRs, TiVo will be pushed out of the market. It’s unfortunate really when you think about how pioneering TiVo really was, but I don’t think it’ll happen. TiVo’s software is still the best around– the mark of a really great consumer device interface is that you don’t need to read the instructions. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate and their software is not only reliable, but is really streamlined with the “right” features. And amazingly, that little sound never gets annoying.

But if TiVo is looking for a little help in boosting their consumer confidence, not to mention their sales, they should really consider making TiVo expandable. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom because when I go into my bedroom, I don’t want the TV there as a distraction from sleeping, reading, or whatever. However, I realize that sometimes it would be nice to watch TV in bed or while I’m getting ready in the morning. Yet, the main reason I don’t put a TV in my bedroom is because the TiVo is in the living room.

I suppose I could buy another TiVo, but frankly, my 40-hour box is just the right fit and I’m rarely ever dying for disk space. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to manage two separate storage spaces– I would be limited to a certain set of TiVo recorded material depending on which room I was in. In the end, what I need is some sort of remote client setup where I could access my TiVo from another room. I could rig up some really long cables and some type of infrared repeater for the remote, but that’s just silly. It would be great if some type of remote client box/piece of hardware could register with a specific TiVo as an authorized client and be able to deliver content from that TiVo, similar to expandable cordless phone set-ups (which I also have). For monthly subscribers, TiVo could charge some additional fee per remote client, similar to additional receivers for digital cable/satellite customers (which I also am).

TV is an integral part of my life and TiVo has become essential to that experience. Now TiVo just has to become “mobile,” moving with me, following me and becoming as necessary and compatible to my high-tech life as high-speed Internet access and wireless Internet access (both of which I also have).

And that’s my big TiVo thought of the day.

Drama for jocks

I just got finished catching up on all the Playmakers episodes for this season. For those of you who don’t know, this is ESPN‘s first attempt at a dramatic series and I have to admit, it’s pretty good.

Of course, I do have a soft spot for football and, ahem, football players, but regardless, the series is compelling. At first, the storylines and the main characters we follow seem a little formulaic, but the show takes advantage of the appeal movies like Any Given Sunday have. It shows the exciting part of football that we usually see and love– the actual playing of the game and all the athleticism that goes with it– but it also shows the challenges the players, like all professional athletes and ultimately, people, face. Early episodes of the show revolved around Omar Gooding’s character, but frankly, watching him get high got old real quick. More interesting are plotlines like how they handled the domestic violence issue (it really was an accident!) and more recently, addressing the dangerous situation homosexuals face in professional sports. And at the end of the day, mixed in with all the soap opera drama, there’s still good ol’ football and inspiring stories of players overcoming challenges while playing the game, like Olczyk’s big play at the end of the latest episode.

I don’t know if I’d watch a show about professional baseball players. Maybe one about basketball players (let’s not even talk about the Kobe situation). But I’ll keep watching this one, especially if they keep showing all those very large, very good-looking men in the locker room.

Queer and fag hag eye for the straight girl

My new favorite show/addiction is Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I just cannot get enough of it. Sometimes, I wish I was a dirty, unkempt straight man just so they will come to my house, buy me new clothes and furniture, take me to the spa, and put together a fabulous meal. Instead, I am left to my own devices.

The thing about this show is that it doesn’t really need to have five gay guys. Really, it could just be some put-together straight men, specifically of the metrosexual variety. All the Web sites I’ve found that define the term “metrosexual” highlight the idea that the metrosexual man is narcissistic because he spends time, money and energy on pursuits that have been traditionally associated with women or gay men, especially things like grooming and fashion. But to me, taking on these traits and concerns is not narcissistic, but part of becoming a whole person. Yes, the inside is the most important, but dammit, sometimes you just need to take care of the outside.
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RPC Hell

The beginning of the school year has finally arrived and thankfully, I’ve survived somehow. Since my last post, I’ve been busy getting ready to release all the cool new projects we’ve been working on all summer, but the whole end of summer rush only got worse because of RPC hell.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, I’m referring to the numerous RPC vulnerabilities on Windows NT, 2000 and XP machines and the unbelievably fast-spreading worms that have exploited them. As the computing organization that supports the approximately 10,000 on-campus housed students (almost all undergraduates and most graduates), we are responsible for a huge part of the campus network and total number of computers, especially considering 99% of students have their own computer. We had hundreds of computers hacked during the summer when there were very few people on campus and we knew that it would only get worse once school started and all 10,000 were back on campus– over 85% of our users run some flavor of Windows.

But we weren’t too worried.
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