Category: netiquette & e-commentary

Spam of the fortnight

Lifestyle Brands

A generic think piece

The Internet of Cats

Beauty supplements

I love the idea of a magic pill that makes you beautiful: perfect glowing skin, flowing shiny hair, slim and elegant of form, with sparking eyes and teeth, talons of steel, and immediately captivating to everyone. It would be a compromise to have to take such a pill every day for life; but many of us (women) do this anyway with contraceptive pills, and many people have to do more invasive things to themselves every day to stay alive, with scary-looking syringes. Having it all in one convenient pill would be great.  Continue reading

Some amusement

long time no see…

Life here in Vancouver continues. There has been the bad: heavy workload, work stress, and recent events in the outside world; that is, The Big Bad World that lies beyond my work-place, and indeed Vancouver, and well beyond the little bubble of pulchritudinous morosophy, such as the world of MakeupAlley. Some of the Bad Shit Going Down made me stop reading MUA altogether, because I just wanted to shake and spank MUAers for being vapid vacuous ****s.

“Spanking,” metaphorically-speaking–obviously one can’t actually go around and physically personally assault every irritating individual–and besides, however bad Things get, I absolutely must remain anti-violence. Also, it would be impossible in practice. Metaphorical spanking means expressing anger and home truths, calling a foolish spade a foolish spade. But I would be kidding myself if I thought for a minute that’s not violent too: it can hurt people. Like it or lump it, one’s own intentions are partly a selfish urge to express anger: to expel it from oneself, get it off you, no matter what the consequences are, not caring if anyone else is affected. That’s selfish. It’s uncaring: no care for others, and I think that I (and we all) have a duty of care towards others. It’s unthinking and reckless, not giving any consideration to consequences and to other people. All of these things make metaphorical spanking Bad, Immoral, and Unethical. So it is a thing that one should not do.

Also, in the online version, it’s one of the classic forms of trolling. It may start out as sincere trolling, but damn it, it’s still trolling and there’s the additional danger that one might get Into It. Keep doing it for the sake of doing it. Become more involved with goading other people and interested in their reactions (thus also: less angry, losing that original raging serious edge), invested in trolling itself (rather than one’s message). It could be enjoyable and addictive. As with certain very heavy and very illegal drugs, it may be a cowardly move, but better not to start at all… You all know my relationship with chocolate. I could be one of those addictive-personality types, I’d rather not risk finding out the hard way.

Furthermore, saying mean things to other people is mean. No matter what your intentions are, and no matter they have said and done. And meanness is something to be avoided. (Critical comment is different, but if and only if it is constructive and with the intention of opening, engaging, and continuing conversation.) Just like it’s wrong to murder satirical cartoonists. And that is all, on here anyway, that I’m going to say about that recent event in The Big Bad World outside.

And finally: it’s actually really nice and good to see everyday life continue, in its simple and often sweet way. One of the finest things about the online beautyverse, including fora like MakeupAlley, is that simplicity, continuity, and humanity. It’s peaceful. That peace is precious. Vapid and vacuous can be–usually is–wonderful.

On MakeupAlley, I often don’t have anything to contribute for good reasons (besides sitting back and enjoying normal human peaceful interactions). It’s great to just read what other people say, instead of blabbering on yourself. Sometimes I have nothing to say because the conversation is about something I know little or nothing about, and on which I have no personal experience: I can listen and learn. Sometimes I could say something useful, but by the time I read a thread–several hours later, or a day, or a week, or even longer–the moment has passed, and nearly every time someone else has said exactly what I would have said. Often better and in fewer words. Silence can be positive.

So I’m more at peace with myself, and the world, and the online world; however godawful yoga-selfie-Vancouverite that sounds.

There has also, as ever, been The Good of living in Vancouver and the happy positive uplifting aspects of my work. As ever, I don’t want to talk about work-stuff on here–I prefer to keep it and at identity separate, also it’s not really that relevant. It’s nice to have other places to talk about other things, relaxing, and helping to maintain perspective. Life in Vancouver is always brilliant, and the non-work stuff helps: simple things like going out the door and enjoying a pleasant walk in woods or along the beach, these too help with perspective, mood, thanking one’s lucky stars for the good things one has in life, going “OMG isn’t life brilliant!” at least once a day, and other aspects of basic good mental health and hygiene. Even if, as recently, it can be very foggy for days on end and it looks like our lovely mountains have disappeared.

So what’s up on the Products front? Continue reading

product and ingredient updates

Golly, it’s been a whole month since I last posted on here. Deary dreary me. There have been reasons, of course: work and writing elsewhere about other things. I’ve also neglected MUA, again for Reasons:

1. Didn’t have anything to contribute, on topics or issues outside my knowledge or anything remotely resembling competence. Ex. teens and twenty-somethings with back-to-school/uni skin blues.

2. Didn’t feel like doing or saying anything beyond a good eye-roll in response to the inane, vapid, small-minded, selfish, and terminally stupid. Nothing I could have said would have had any effect, except maybe making someone feel worse about themselves without the redemption of seeing what they could do to make that (and themselves) better. Which would be pointlessly mean, and as bad as the original folly.

Life and Evolution will sort things out anyway. Nature vs. Folly: Nature wins.

Plus there’s that thing about casting stones when not without sin oneself. And it doesn’t matter: none of these things matter, it’s just an online forum, this is just a blog, there are more important things going on in the real world, which might also kill us all and make online follies doubly foolish and vapid, extinct and expunged from all records. I mean, crap, can you imagine if there were to be a great cataclysm (or if a certain current man-made disaster were to worsen), and the more foolish parts of the Internet survived but every ancient site and artefact from Morocco to Indonesia was obliterated? How culturally embarrassing, how embarrassing to all humanity, would that be? It’s already happening. Egypt. Syria. Iraq. Chechnya. Afghanistan. The Mediterranean, Black Sea, Fertile Crescent, the Nile and Tigris and Euphrates and Indus rivers.

Nature vs. Folly: Folly scores a point here.

3. Didn’t have anything to contribute, when other people had already said what I would have said, and often better, and always more succinctly. Sure, one could add one’s voice to add to a number of votes: but truths, as we all know, are not true or made more true by having numbers of votes behind them.

One could add one’s voice to add The Weight Of Authority (voice of experience and expertise, that sort of thing). And then either feel smug when one’s vote was treated as authoritative, thus reinforcing one’s Authoritative Status, in a virtuous smug-enhancing circle and an upwards spiral. Or feel sniffy if that didn’t happen. And misanthropic. In other words, move into a psychotic vicious circle and downward spiral.

I admit, I sorta kinda nearly did that a couple fair few times. But I stopped, because:

(a) I know I don’t like Authority.

(b) While, being a humble fragile human, I am as prone to foibles, flattery, and folly as anyone else; and as likely to fall prey to vanity and hubris: I feel uncomfortable about the idea of Being An Authority (because (a) above) and am not sure I would like or want to be one. I mean, in two words, Caroline Hirons. Or, to be fair, any other YouTube etc. “guru.”

(c) I’m not an authority anyway.

(d) “Seconding” etc. other people’s comments won’t change that, nor will others’ flattering comments especially if from trolls or Children In Need.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 2.14.23 PM

Not (just) being sarcastic: a splendid charity…

Hey, who knows, I might actually be an Authority: but I would rather risk that remaining unknown and not acknowledged and acclaimed publicly, rather than confusing Being An Authority with Being A Prat. Just as publicly.

That public thing increases the riskiness. The public eye is a flaw-enhancing magnifying-glass, mean and mean-spirited, without filters except those to caricature, by removing anything that is good or complicated, and all context, balance, and bigger picture.

3. Nothing much new or interesting. For me and my skin and products and so on, personally, selfishly. No news is good news.

4. I spend quite a lot of my work time helping and advising other people, patiently and calmly. This can be very rewarding, even when it is also trying. I don’t want to do it in what little leisure time I have too. I know what my professional time is worth, I do some other extra stuff for free for people who genuinely need it, and I sure as hell am not going to give away research, consulting, and advising services for free to people who are often (though not always) rich, spoiled, pampered, ungrateful, rude, undeserving little sods.

5. After having my lovely month away from everything in the summer, I found myself reading through a lot of online stuff that I had previously found to be riveting and worth obsessing over, and now found myself skipping over in a cursory fashion. Getting bored and going to do something else more interesting after just a couple of minutes. Caring less about Board Stuff than before. Often not caring at all. OK, apart from basic human sympathy for people who are suffering.

So there you have it.

News on the morosophical front:

My intolerance of aloe vera has gone, and some fragrance ones have reduced. Discovered via hair stuff used at hairdressers’. I’m using aloe in the following ways:

1. On damp face as a soother and humectant, before oil.

2. On hair and scalp, mixed into shampoo. Sometimes also conditioner when I can be bothered.

The aloe I’m using is the Aubrey Organics one, which is mainly aloe vera and water, with a little gum and I think some tocopherol acetate. It’s a clear liquid. It was in the fridge for use on The Beloved when he forgets to use sunscreen (or reapply, or do it properly) and gets sunburned. Poor lamb. There’s a bunch of different kinds of aloe vera stuff around. A lot of them have carbomers, which are irritating on my skin (in other products too). Some also have menthol or eucalyptus for a cooling sensation, similarly avoided. These are often also an exciting lurid green colour and may contain other equally exciting stuff: fun if you want to develop exciting skin reactions in time for Hallowe’en, perhaps. There is also the classic aloe vera delivery system that is an aloe plant. They’re great, and cheap. Sadly I don’t have one right now, but am planning on getting one.

My skin was being drier, and I ended up giving up on my main vitamin C serums as my skin retained moisture better (and was not dry, flaky, itchy–the itchiness of tight dryness mind you, not irritation) without either serum than with. And better again with aloe vera. Weird, as August experiments indicated the contrary.

Conclusion: skin is weird, and changes, and I don’t really understand it.

On which happy note, as far removed from Authority and its grand pronouncements as possible, it’s back to life, back to reality, back to the here and now…

Paula’s Choice

There’s been a spate of PC stuff on MUA of late. There is some suspicion that this is a foray by said company into Social Media for the purposes of drumming up Word On The Street, Buzz, and eventually sales. Whether by company employees, or by loyal fans, or by paid social media professionals, or out of work actors. This is not a new or unusual marketeering tactic.

I’m neutral on much of this. I first bought Paula’s Choice products over a decade ago, at which time they were a godsend because it was hard to find cruelty-free fragrance-free basic bland functional skin stuff in the USA. (Being where I was at the time.) They kept costs down by being online-only, saving on storefront and staffing costs, and indeed loss of profits if selling through distributors in other shops. Their customer service was impeccable. They gave away decent-sized samples with every order, which you could choose; and they also sold sample-to-travel sizes of products; both of which allowed to you try stuff out before committing to full sizes. Otherwise I was stuck with importing stuff whenever back in Europe. And with what little I could find in drugstores, health-food stores, etc. that was appropriate to my skin. Then PC changed and got all fancy.   Continue reading

New Year’s resolutions for 2014

I should preface this by declaring, as I did last year and as I do every year, that I loathe and despise NY resolutions. They’re silly superstitious nonsense at best. At worst, when they fail (as they inevitably do) they do so at the worst time of year: some point between the third week of January and the end of February. Worst time as coinciding with late-winter down and glumness. High point of the year for depression and suicide.

But here’s one that might be feasible, tenable, useful, and constructive or productive. It’s spot-on for improving on 2013 in the online world. It might make virtual 2014 better than its predecessor. It looks pretty much guaranteed to make people’s lifestyles and lives better.

From the New York Times today: “Tweet Less, Read More”

From Granny (RIP, back in the 1990s): “empty barrels make the most noise.”

I’m off to do some more reading now. Resolution for next year: read more, post less, and have more of my posts being links to things to read elsewhere. First up: the link above. Next ones: get thee to Project Gutenberg and your local public library. We also have urgent issues of “use it or lose it” on the latter. For both, I’m sure there is no-one reading this post, or online right now, or alive anywhere today, who has read everything that has been written in the past that’s worth reading. Great writing that’s out of copyright and free.

All those horrors that unfortunate souls are forced to read at school and university.

A.k.a. some of the greatest writing ever; expressing some of the greatest ideas, feelings, impressions, observations; and sharing moments of wonder.

Sure, some of that fusty old stuff is nonsense, and some horrors are horrors; and some are horrors from horrid past times; and some are not worth reading, by the standards of their own time or of ours.

But most are not: they only seem like horrors to a reader with an attention span so limited as to be disabling. With stunted imagination. Weak creativity. Inability to follow someone else’s train of thought, at their pace, be it faster or slower than their own. Lack of patience and empathy. Blindness and deafness to others. Zero tolerance. No intelligent thought. No thinking. No work. Lazy and intellectually lazy; creative lacks coupled with a lack of curiosity.

Reading that’s deemed horrid because it’s hard.

A condemnation that says everything about the reader, and nothing about the writing. Fortunately, all these ills can be remedied. There is hope for everyone. Anyone can change. There are no limits to the human potential for self-improvement. (OK, except oneself, that’s the only limitation…)

Through reading.

Here’s to 2014: to reading, to making oneself better, to making the world a better place, to making a better world through the Republic of Letters.

See also: