Saturday, March 31, 2012

DIY Pore Strips: Getting To Know Your Ingredients

Pore strips: the most entertaining grossness-based bathroom activity this side of the neti pot.  Also?  Not cheap.  A while back I came across Michelle Phan's video for pore strips and thought "huh, that seems neat," and then forgot about it for about a year and a half, obviously.  Listen, The Lucy just told me she took my advice on Makeup Forever's HD Foundation after two years, therefore two years is an acceptable and standard unit of procrastination BE IT SO ORDERED.

Anyway, to make your own pore strips, you take a tablespoon of unflavored gelatin and a tablespoon of milk, mix them up, nuke 'em for 10 seconds, then slop it on your nose (or wherever) and let it dry.  Here's Michelle's video.

I tried this today, and I have to say I'm kind of lukewarm on the result.  It may be that I pulled it off a little early, because I'm not good at being patient about pore strips in the best circumstances, but I didn't find the experience as thrilling as the storebought version.  That said, it did take a bunch of the oil off my face, and that's a plus.  Here are the pros and cons of my personal experience with this method.


  • Not as effective at dredging stuff out of your pores.  While oil came off easily (yay!) I got a minimum of those creepy plugs that come up with the Biore strips. 
  • You have to find Knox gelatin.  If you can't find it on your own, you will have to ask a teenager at the supermarket.  They will not know what it is.  
  • It smells like a foot.  Oh my sweet jalopy does it smell like a foot.  This would be less of a concern if you were applying this to, for instance, your own foot, but since it's likely going on your nose, it's kind of an issue.  If you're sensitive to smells, this is probably not a great option for you.
  • It will look like you have gross boogers all over your face.  
  • WAY cheaper.  Knox gelatin costs about $1.86 for a box of five packets (each packet a tablespoon).  Biore strips are $6.89 for six strips on  That box of Knox is at least five uses per box, and maybe more...I didn't try saving and reheating the goop, so it's possible you could get more than one use out of each packet, and you could certainly get a greater area out of each one than the strips allow.  
  • It's much easier on the skin.  Sometimes the Biore strips can be a little aggressive, but this method peeled off easily and without yanking my skin.  It was also minimally drying and either absorbed or removed a lot of excess oil from my face.  
  • Easier on the environment.  With Biore strips you have a cardboard box, foil packet, plastic backing and a cloth or paper strip.  With the gelatin you have a box and a paper packet; less materials and all the way recyclable.  Fight your wasteful American ways!!
  • It will look like you have gross boogers all over your face.  I list this here because it is hilarious and I am four.
I'd say this is worth a try, especially if you're a little light on the funds, but I did not find the results to be equivalent.  It's possible that with time I will get better at it, but I have to say this isn't the top of my DIY successes, unlike the use of olive oil for cleansing or apple cider vinegar and baking soda to clean my hair.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Have Some Thoughts on This Sandra Fluke Thing

1. Hormonal birth control does not increase in volume per fuck.  If I don't fuck anyone, birth control requires 28 pills, one ring or one patch per month.  If I fuck ALL the people, birth control requires 28 pills, one ring, or one patch per month.

2. Not everyone takes hormonal birth control for birth control.  I know this sounds crazy to people who don't have vaginas but that is indeed the case. I was one of them.

3. The above point, which has been raised in the media, is none of your fucking business.  It is the business of the owner of the vagina in question and the doctor said vagina-owner chooses.

4. None of the above points, nor anything about anyone's medical history, tells you a damn thing about their sexual history nor gives you license to comment on it.

5.  Ignoring point #4 makes you an outrageous misogynistic asshole.

6. As desperately as I would like to not have to think about point #5, it's a little bit hilarious to watch you - and obviously here I mean Rush Limbaugh specifically, but most of the right-wing media personalities generally - show just how ignorant and gross you are, several months before an election, by being all "HERP A DERP DERP, HOW DO LADY PARTS WORK" from inside your own ass.  Keep it you, you slut-shaming assholes.  Looking forward to November.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Land of the Free

On Monday, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Sa'ud appeared at the National Press Club, and journalist Sam Husseini asked him a question that I'm sure was extremely uncomfortable, to wit: 
There's been a lot of talk about the legitimacy of the Syrian regime, I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir. You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth. Human Rights Watch and other reports of torture detention of activist, you squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain, you tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt and indeed you continue to oppress your own people. What legitimacy does you regime have -- other than billions of dollars and weapons?
After some dancing around and several inquiries about whether or not Husseini had been to Saudi Arabia (...?), Prince Turki finally did respond, sort of:

Anyway ladies and gentlemen I advise anybody who has these questions to come to the kingdom and see for themselves. I don't need to justify my country's legitimacy. We're participants in all of the international organizations and we contribute to the welfare of people through aid program not just directly from Saudi Arabia but through all the international agencies that are working throughout the world to provide help and support for people. We admit this, as I said that we have many challenges inside our country and those challenges we are hoping to address and be reformed by evolution, as I said, and not by revolution. So that is the way that we are leading, by admitting that we have shortcomings. Not only do we recognize the shortcomings, but hopefully put in place actions and programs that would overcome these shortcomings. I have mentioned the fact that when you call Saudi Arabia a misogynistic country that women in Saudi Arabia can now not only vote, but also participate as candidates in elections and be members of the Shura Council. And I just refer you to your own experience to your women's rights, when did your women get right to vote? After how many years since the establishment of the United States did women get to vote in the United States? Does that mean that before they got the vote that United States was an illegitimate country? According to his definition, obviously. So, until, when was it -- 1910 when women got to vote -- from 1789 to 1910 United States was illegitimate? This is how you should measure things, by how people recognize their faults and try to overcome them.
Husseini raises an excellent point in his post about the incident, and his commentary explains why he is both a better man and a better journalist than I ever can or will possibly be: 
I was very glad to get the question in and and I was happy that Turki responded. I think his response opens the door to a lot more serious reporting. For example, Turki's response that Saudi Arabia gets legitimacy because of its aid programs is an interesting notion. Is he arguing that by giving aid to other countries and to international organizations that the Saudi regime has somehow purchased legitimacy, and perhaps immunity from criticism, that it would otherwise not have received? This is worth journalists and independent organizations pursuing. might seem like I'm giving him too much praise for being open minded about Turki's response.  I give him an extra measure because the same day, Husseini was suspended from the National Press Club for his question.

Here's the thing.

The United States has allied itself with Saudi Arabia for decades because we need two things: their oil and their oasis of reasonable calm in a turbulent region.  I am not one to immediately brush off alliances made for economic resources.  While we Americans refuse to work towards a less oil-dependent nation, we need to get oil from somewhere, and right now that means either from nations of problematic politics in the MENA region or from Canada via the proposed affront to the environment that is the Keystone XL pipeline.  It sucks, but here we are.  If you need things and someone else has them, you trade for them.  That said, it is incumbent on a nation that prides itself on its moral stature to occasionally say "this nation's human rights violations are too much to bear," and to at the very least separate the diplomatic fawning from the economic transaction.  There are plenty of countries we do trade with - serious, big time trade worth significant chunks of GDP - that do not receive nearly the endorsement, defense or encouragement that we lend to Saudi Arabia.  It is frankly unseemly for us to be castigating other nations in the region to act right and stop oppressing their people while shoveling money and support into Saudi Arabia as they commit the same sins.

Saudi Arabia has some serious shit to answer to, and so do we.

What worries me, though, isn't even Saudi Arabia's behavior or the fact that they send members of the royal family to the National Press Club to answer soft questions and lie to the world, but rather that the National Press Club, which despite its name is not an organ of the US government, but a private club for journalists, would suspend a member for asking a question that is extremely relevant to US foreign policy and also raises an important point about legitimacy of rulers and sovereignty generally.  This is precisely the kind of soft despotism that so concerned Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835.  Tocqueville was concerned that in a democracy, one would find not the despotism that jailed you or beat you or tortured you, but an even more insidious form, which would trick you into policing yourself.  He feared that citizens in democracies would become so brainwashed by the conventions of their societies that they would suppress their own freedom, without any prodding from the state.  This kind of incident seems to prove Tocqueville's concerns valid, and that is a really worrying proposition for America's present and future.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Unfuckening

I've been following this tumblr, Unfuck Your Habitat (...hee), which is a string of somewhat violent exhortations to clean interspersed with GIF-based praise for follow through.  The idea is that cleaning in small chunks is much more productive and long-lasting than cleaning marathons that make you hate yourself and everything you own.  It's SO TRUE YOU GUYS.  The author suggests going in rounds of 20/10...20 minutes cleaning, 10 minutes of planned break.  Here's a before shot:
Shit everywhere, hasn't seen the business end of a vaccuum in ages, nine thousand projects going on at once.  Here's what it looked like after two rounds of 20/10s:
Vacuumed, organized, cleared.

As you can see, it didn't take me just an hour, because I had a couple non-great-room 20/10s thrown in.  For instance, I took the shoes you see under the chairs in to my closet and did a 20 in there organizing my shoes and closet (more on that in a bit).  But the planned breaks made everything a million times easier, and I feel super accomplished!!  I highly recommend following UFYH and following the directives.  Love it!