Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Face Report

So, in Italy, I talked with Mormor and other family members about assorted skincare stuff, and it was fun, so because I feel like talking about something I like and care about instead of thinking about assorted school work or work work, I am going to talk about the stuff I use. I will also throw in a shoutout to Scarlett's superior makeup skills and her willingness to crash test about every cosmetic ever, which means I can say "okay, what stuff should I not live without," and she'll have an actual definitive answer, rather than saying "oh, gosh, I don't know, I guess some lip gloss?" Scarlett is indeed awesome.Item number one here is quite honestly a miracle product. I am skeptical of anything that promises miracles, which this basically does, and bought it more because it had small items that would be easy to pack for Italy than because I expected instantly perfect skin. However. I used this kit for two days, and my skin was pretty damn near perfect. It was unbelievable...I wouldn't have believed it unless the result was actually attached to my person. It's tough to pick one particular piece of the kit as a silver bullet, but the most drastic result came from the enclosed micro-peel system. There are three single-use peels included, and the result is instantaneous...your skin feels super, super smooth, and looks great. The cleanser is nice and really gets down deep into your pores. Then you have the three other pieces. The When Hope Is Not Enough serum (that would be the eyedropper bottle above) is full of nice vitamins and assorted other good stuff that helps soothe your skin, and the Hope In a Tube cream is a super-dense cream for your eyes. I am really lazy about using the HiaT because I a.) don't have substantial fine lines or wrinkles around my eyes and b.) don't particularly care about getting them, but it's a nice soothing cream, so if that's your thing, great. The Hope in a Bottle is a great blemish-zapping moisturizer that dispatches zits without consequently drying out the surrounding area (like heavily salicylic-acid based stuff does) and creating more zits. The kit is $78 and worth every penny. The bottles may be small, but you don't need a lot of any of them for each use, so they will last far longer than they look like they would.This is the first of many Scarlett recommendations - Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. Take it from the should always - ALWAYS - be wearing some kind of sunscreen outside. Yeah, I know, you only go from your car to work or whatever, yeah...I know. Still. You never know where the day will take you, so put the damn sunscreen on, male or female, light or dark skin, whatever. This particular one is awesome because it's very smooth and has just the right amount of coverage without looking cakey and gross. If you can even tell you're wearing it, I'll give you $5 of my own personal money. It's also a good indicator that I should go tanning more often, because the color I use is "porcelain." Oh, dear.

After the moisturizer goes on, I sometimes use this blush...I have pretty good coloring as it is, so sometimes I just don't really need it. This particular one is from Nars and the color is called "Orgasm," which seriously looks good on everyone. It's tough to accurately judge through a computer screen, but it's sort of a slightly peachy pink with a little bit of gold shimmer...very pretty, and miraculously cooperative with pretty much every skintone ever. This is not an exaggeration. I've seen it on white chicks, black chicks, latina chicks, asian chicks, you name it...fabulous on everyone. Don't ask me how it works...I assume magic.
This was the toughest piece for Scarlett to convince me of its value. This is the Dior 5-Colour eyeshadow, and it rings up at a frightening $52. However. You can have mine when you pry it out of my cold dead fingers, because it is fantastic. If every teenage girl attempting makeup was given one of these, there would be many less heinous makeup-growing-pains. Raise your hand if you're female and once wore shimmery blue eyeshadow up to your eyebrows. That's what I thought. In any case, these compacts are incredibly versatile - Dior has packaged ranges of color that allow you to mix and match to do day, evening, day-going-into-evening, and even those weird over-formal-lunch-meetings you have sometimes. It's easy to apply and stays put until you take it off. Worth it...even at $52.
After all those components get put on, I finish up with this mascara, which is DiorShow from Dior (surprise!). Scarlett says that the non-waterproof is actually her favorite (that's the one I have and I love it), and that the waterproof version goes on a little differently. As I mentioned before, Scarlett is my crashtest dummy, so I am just going on her opinion here, which is usually a winner.

These last two are brushes I use...both are super soft and awesome, except one costs a gajillion dollars (the Jane Iredale brush) and one was $10 at Brooks Pharmacy. Get the Posh one!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dear Shaws Supermarket at 14 West Boylston Street, Across from Starbucks

I used to drive through your parking lot only on occasion, when I was late getting to my parents' house or needed something from your store.

However, ever since you decided to be an asshole about it and put not just speed bumps but tranny-gouging, rim-denting, muffler-assassinating end-of-parking-spot concrete bumpers on the main artery, I have now begun driving through your parking lot, around the main drag so as to not ruin my car, as often as possible, PURELY OUT OF SPITE.

Enjoy losing all your actual customers as their mechanic bills mount. In the meantime, I will be cackling to myself as I breeze around the back forty of your parking lot while chucking you the finger and eroding your asphalt.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Operation Find Don

I am still fucked up about September 11th. With 6 years between then and now, that's the essence of it...I've told the story, I've gotten pissed, I've gotten sad, I've spilled out a hundred thousand words and more just trying to get less fucked up about it. It hasn't worked, and at this point I don't think it necessarily will. I'm not sure it's supposed to. Some things, I think, are just supposed to hang out in a corner of your brain and grumble listlessly into relevance periodically. I'm back in was freshman year when September 11th came around in 2001. Different school, different place. But I still think about it, and it still sneaks up on me, still makes me shockingly angry and immature about the not-fair-ness of it all. It still makes me sad. I still think about the people jumping and they fall through my memory. I still get sad because this is something I think I am always going to have with me. Maybe I should be happy that I can't forget. It's the best reason to try and make things better and not quit. But still. I am tired of the people jumping and the people crying and the smoky smelling firefighters than keep asking me for water. And I'm still fucked up about it.

Sarah Bunting is an amazing writer. Her range is exceptional and her success is well deserved. She wrote one of the best and most benignly traumatic articles I have read about September 11th. You can read it here: For Thou Art With Us

Sarah was in Manhattan on September 11th. She ran from the towers and hid in a building lobby, where she met a man named Don, who she would leave the lobby with to begin walking home. She would like to buy Don a beer, for helping her keep her shit in her basket. You can read more here. Here is Don. If you know of him or think you might know someone who could help, head over to Tomato Nation and let her know.

The latest news is that there is no news; if I hear anything, I will let you know, but I haven't heard anything…and it's starting to look like I won't. I don't think I would recognize Don if I saw him on the street, anymore; I doubt he would remember me, especially now that my hair is so different. It's also possible that Don does not in fact want to be found, or that he's in the Yukon or something, but I've done the paid name/birthday searches and I've hoped that six degrees of separation would loop around, and I still haven't turned him up.

Thanks again to everyone who's mentioned it on sites they run or frequent, or to friends of theirs in the media, and to everyone who's sent words of support. I appreciate it. If you hear anything, or you want to mention it on your blog, please feel free — you never know.

Don: A (Very Very) Brief History
Don is a man I met on September 11, 2001. Don and I became "disaster buddies," and ever since, I've wanted to thank him for hanging out with me and helping me keep it together — but I haven't seen or heard from him since we parted ways late that morning.

What Don Looks/Looked Like
Don is an African-American man. I would estimate his age at between 25 and 35 on that day — probably not younger than that; possibly older, but not much. That means he's 30-ish to 40 now. Don is between 5'9" and 6' tall, and probably weighed 160-180 pounds. (I suck at estimating men's weights.) In any case, at that time Don had a fit build — not pudgy, not skinny, well put-together. Don had short hair and a goatee at that time. I do not recall any jewelry; he may have worn a watch, I don't remember. No glasses. Don had on a grey windowpane-plaid suit and was carrying a black soft-sided briefcase. Don didn't really resemble anyone famous, except Blair Underwood around the eyes a little bit.

Other Possibly Relevant Facts
Don and I met in the lobby of the Bank of New York building, located roughly at Wall Street and Broadway. We left the bank together at approximately 11 that morning. Don lived at that time in Jersey City, or thereabouts — he took the ferry to Jersey City to get home, from a slip somewhere around Hester Street on the west side. Don had come into the city that morning via the PATH train, and had gotten off at the World Trade Center stop. He had come into the city for work, but I don't remember whether his business that day was actually at the WTC complex; I don't believe it was. If he had gotten separated from any work colleagues, he didn't mention it. I don't know what he did for a living, and I don't know if his job was based in Jersey City or in lower Manhattan, but I got the impression that he was in the city for an errand or meeting, and that he didn't regularly commute in. As I said, I don't recall a wedding ring; Don did not mention a wife or any other family at that time as far as I can remember. Don's birthday is September 11. No idea what year, but based on my estimate of his age it's probably in the late sixties or seventies.

Why You Should Care
Because it's a mystery, a puzzle, a story that needs an end. Because Don is everything good and friendly about the world. Because I owe him my thanks, and possibly a cold beer. Because it's his birthday.

What You Can Do
Do you know anyone in Jersey City, or anyone who lives or works near there? Have you heard a story like mine — secondhand, thirdhand, on someone's journal? Do you recall reading or hearing anywhere about people who ran for the Bank of New York, walked uptown a bit, and took a ferry to New Jersey? Post in the comments, or email me at sars at tomatonation dot com.
And if you are in fact Don? Well, don't just sit there. Show yourself. My mom's friend swears you were an angel and she'll keep believing that shit until I can prove otherwise. Suggestions? Clues? Conspiracy theories? Send 'em my way. I'll add any new information as it comes in. In short: Don. He's still out there. And he's another year older.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I Love the Smell of Politics in the Morning

As most folks know by now, I've started back at college right here in Worcester at Assumption College. Bring crazy like a fox as I am, I have arranged all of my classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so that I can continue working for the Defenders of the Environment and All the Wonders Contained Therein on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Good times. Because I have taken all M/W/F classes, my school days start at 8:30.

My 8:30 class is called Peace and War and is a very cool class about IR theory, war and the current war itself, and it's taught by a nice youngish dude with a good sense of humor who reminds me of a low-key version of my high school government/history teacher, who was frakkin' awesome, so thus far I love the class, which is a pretty big deal for ANYTHING that requires me being up and mobilized at 8.

However, at 9:30, something awesome happens, and that something is my American Government class, which is taught by a CRAZY person who I enjoy very much. My first experience with this guy was when I logged on to BlackBoard and read his syllabus, which is basically a diatribe against THE MAN. To wit:

Stuff Required by BOBs [Basic Old Bureaucrats] who genuinely believe that this will make a difference between you passing or not passing my course. Of course, I am of the old-fashioned opinion that that depends on whether you study enough but in order to accommodate the BOBs I am including this stuff here. I wish you would let me know whether you think this serves any other purpose then allowing the BOBs to control what I put in my syllabi.

What you should remember, though, is that while BOBs claim to be serving you, in fact they are in the business of controlling you and, of course, me. An important fact about BOBs is expressed in the following sentence: “Bureaucracy replaces autonomous personality with organizational identity.” [Ralph Hummel, The Bureaucratic Experience, p. 11 of the 4th edition.] I would only add to this argument that BOBs try to replace autonomous personalities with organizational cogs. Because we are human beings and experience the world much differently than BOBs want us to experience the world and our own existence, we are constantly and repeatedly rebelling against the BOBs and, in fact, even many of the BOBs are constantly trying to resist the demands of bureaucracy.

You should also remember that BOBs are constantly trying to disguise their control mechanisms and one of my favorites is calling Assumption College a “family.” Assumption College is not a family and it is most certainly not my family. I have a job at Assumption College which is called
“teaching” [to disguise the fact that often teaching is really torture] for which I get paid and, if I don’t perform up to snuff I can get fired. You are nothing more than a student here at Assumption College, a privilege for which you are paying a lot of money. None of these variables are present in families, at least not in functional families. By calling this place a “family,” those in
charge, i.e., the BOBs for the most part, are trying to lay the foundation for putting demands on you that are, to say the least, onerous or at least burdensome. All I can say is “RESIST, RESIST, RESIST!” and try to preserve your autonomy. Anyway, here is the stuff these BOBs want me to put in my syllabi.

Awesome, no? So then, having read this, I attended my first class with him. I would now like to share a couple quotes from him, in what I feel will probably wind up being a weekly feature here in Josie Blog Land. N.B.: this professor is a middle-aged, white, balding guy.

{The topic of discussion is how government actually eradicates happiness. Along the way, Chelsea Clintone gets involved. This was a couple days ago, I can't remember how she got involved.}
"I wouldn't go out with her...all those guys with guns? Pfft. 'Get your hand off her breast!' Whoops, sorry guys, sexual harassment."

{Still discussing the government/happiness correllary, and now whether human beings can actually achieve happiness at ALL, government or no.}
"I always wind up doing this you guys on a Friday. This is why you guys drink. Remember, no binge drinking."

{I have no idea how this came up.}
"Whoa whoa whoa...I'm a bro, I don't have anything to do with you honkies."

{Talking about how we say Columbus "discovered" America}
"How would you feel if someone came to your house and said they had discovered it? 'What the fuck, I live here!'"

{Someone refereced Thos. Aquinas, and the prof drew a connection to Augustin}
"Hey, Augustin, shut the fuck up, I got it!"

Is it wrong that I think this is a far better way to educate young minds? Perhaps not the stuff about honkies, but between the attitude in the piece of the syllabus above and the stuff that followed in the full version, which all dealt with the aims of the class being about teaching everyone to sharply question the world around them. Isn't that what higher learning about? Learning to think for yourself and to actively seek out the truth? Love it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

There is a Point Being Missed Here.

So, Larry Craig is in some hot water.

Everyone's been talking about how he's gay or not gay or bi or a woman or a penguin or whatever. Everyone's been talking about whether he will resign. Everyone's been talking about gay rights.

Okay, well, in some respects, great, because we SHOULD be talking about gay rights, always and until everyone gets their heads out of their asses and realizes that people don't control who they love and that therefore we should all leave them the hell alone, but in this context it tends to be damaging since the unspoken connection is "gay people do creepy shit like Craig did." So okay, no points to anyone there. If Craig IS gay, which frankly it seems like he is, which I think not because of any scurrilous behavior, but because he has been freaking shit and holding press conferences to declare his straightness over and over again, grade school style...IF Craig is gay, then I hope that in time it won't just be Barney Frank excoriating him for his shitty voting record on gay rights and issues, because that is some GROSS hypocrite action right there.


But can we just put all this "he's wrong because he's GAY"/"he should be able to do what he wants because he's GAY" stuff aside for one sec and mention, just in passing, that there is no reason to be FUCKING IN A BATHROOM? It seriously cracks me up that this has almost been lost in the coverage. How screwed up are we, as a society, that the main issue has been this guy's sexual orientation, as opposed to the idea that he may have been soliciting sex in an airport bathroom. Innocent until proven guilty and all, and honestly I don't even understand the process of the whole gay bathroom sex procurement ritual but he is supposed to have been looking for SEX! IN A PUBLIC! BATHROOM! WHAT IN THE BLUE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?

Sometimes the news makes me extra super tired.