Makeup Culture, Or, How To Effectively Market Using Frightening Words

My wife wears makeup.  Not always. Not a lot. She looks nice.  This post really has nothing to do with that, but I thought I’d just throw it out there.

My wife gets the Ulta ad magazine in the mail.  Today I decided to read it.  It’s amazing.

First of all, do you have skin concerns? Of course you do! Read on to find out the horrific ways that a combination of modern chemistry and ancient soil/minerals/plants/bugs/etc will solve them.

The crazy thing about the Ulta magazine, or perhaps just the makeup industry (my experience here is limited), is that it effortlessly rocks back and forth between extremely sterile medical sounding products and vials full of something-the-neighborhood-witch-doctor-whipped-up.  For instance, there’s Stila.  Stila is a line of products, some of which are called “Glowing Reviews,” “Coming Clean,” and “Undercover.”  These products are made with

Alpine Rose Stem Cell Technology, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamins A, C & E.

Stem cells from alpine roses? I didn’t know that was a thing.  And what’s the “technology” part about? Is that just the procurement of alpine rose stem cells, or is there more to it than that? I looked up Hyaluronic Acid on Wikipedia.  It seems pretty legit. It’s used in all manner of medical and cosmetic products for its skin firming benefits.  It’s also used in the “equine industry.” I found this nugget:

Note that, according to Canadian regulation, hyaluronan in HY-50 preparation should not be administered to animals to be slaughtered for horse meat. In Europe, however, the same preparation is not considered to have any such effect, and edibility of the horse meat is not affected.

Europeans eat horses? How did I not know this?  Also, Canadians, did you decide the skin on your horse meat was too firm and needed regulation? Is that actually what happened?

Sometimes the doctor talk and voodoo speak are mixed almost poetically, such as in Glow by Dr. Brandt – Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracrème.  I think I’ve seen how that’s made.  There is a giant Nazi base under a volcano somewhere where the retinol gets infused with the light of a ruby laser…or something.  Anyway,

The synergistic ingredients of time-release retinol and micronized ruby crystals come together to resurface & instantly illuminate skin.

Does that mean your skin will glow?  Will it glow red?  How long will that last?  The best part is the bottle contains 0.5 oz.  I guess you only want to glow on special occasions.

Bliss makes a whole line of “Fat Girl” products.  Wow.  How’s that working for you?  Fat Girl Sixpack is a

tummy-toning gel with 6 active ingredients and ab-activating applicator.

This is not a weight or fat loss product.

What are the 6 active ingredients? Are they activated by your abs or do they activate your abs, and if so, what does that mean?  If it’s not supposed to be a weight loss product, what does it do, and why is it for Fat Girls?  Again, how did the guy in your marketing department that came up with that not immediately get fired?

My favorite part about most all of these products is the fine print.  Normally on products the fine print is something that the manufacturer has to put out there, but they don’t want you to really focus on.  I have a jar of peanuts in my cupboard that has “Peanuts” and “Made with Sea Salt” in large letters and “Enlarged To Show Detail” in small letters.  The peanuts aren’t really giant mutant peanuts, and the manufacturer is afraid you will sue them if they don’t explain that to you, but doesn’t want to draw a lot of attention to that.  I get it.

With the makeup thing though, the fine print is almost always what the product actually does.  There is a company called Philosophy.  They have 3 products they are selling on one particular page of this magazine.  They are “Miracle Worker,” “Hope In A Jar,” and “Time In A Bottle.”  This is the large print on the bottle/jar.  Below that are phrases like these:

your eyes are the windows to your soul not your age.

to witness a miracle is to know yourself. vital, brilliant, heavenly in body and spirit.

where there is hope there can be faith. where there is faith miracles can occur.

time can be on your side. when you focus on what really matters, time becomes your lifelong friend.

Then at the bottom, in the fine print, is a description of what you are actually buying.

Miraculous anti-aging retinoid eye repair

Miraculous anti-aging moisturizer

Original formula moisturizer for all skin types

Most of them contain the French version of those phrases in italics as well, because you know, French people are beautiful.

So I guess the thing is, ladies, what you really want to know that you have access to is “hope in a jar.”  Whether or not that is moisturizer or serum, miraculous or age-defying, hydratant anti-âge or formule originale pour tous types de peaux, doesn’t really matter much.

I’m sure I’ll never really understand this.  I guess I’m ok with that.  However, one last observation.  There are several “Acne Starter Kits” in this magazine.  Is that really the best way to market that?  Surely they aren’t for people that want to start acne, right?  It’s for getting rid of acne isn’t it?  Isn’t there a thesaurus full of words that could be used to sell this product better that “Acne Starter Kit?”  Does it come with a petri dish?

Makeup Culture, Or, How To Effectively Market Using Frightening Words

Grand Theft Auto V, or, Women as Sex Objects, As Sex Objects

I haven’t blogged for awhile. Seems like a good time for a post.

I have been coming aware lately that we are turning a corner in our country around the issue of public nudity. I know our culture has been going this direction for a long time (since before I was born) but several pieces of work have been produced this summer that seem to be pushing those few boundaries that we have left really hard.

Several popular musicians have released music videos this summer with either incredibly sexual near nudity or actual full-frontal female nudity. This has got me thinking (and talking with Joanna) about where our culture is headed and how we will raise our daughters in this world. That’s not exactly my point tonight though.

I have heard that the new installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise continues to push the envelope when it comes to sexuality. I did a little internet research into what that actually means, and I ran across a review of the game in Time where author Matt Peckham has this to say about the sexuality of the game:

Let’s talk about one last, debatably uncomfortable thing: the game’s portrayal of women. Forget the partial nudity and softcore sex you’ve maybe heard about, both well within the bounds of other art forms and beneath mention here. I mean the way the game often portrays women, from the perspective of adolescent or misogynistic men, as sexual objects. Is Rockstar satirizing the objectification of women, or just objectifying?

Basically, the playable characters in the game are terrible human beings. They are criminals (which is a major plot point) and they visit strip clubs and cheat on their girlfriends in full digital view of the player. The crazy thing to me is not the premise of the game, it’s not the violence, the fact that you play a criminal, not even the nudity and sexual content. I think we are way past outrage at that. That’s where our culture is. The thing that I can’t figure out is that Peckham isn’t concerned about the nudity. He’s concerned that the characters are portrayed as objectifying women. He seems somewhat put off by this. He wonders if maybe Rockstar, the company that makes the game, is being satirical. Are the characters in the game trying to tell us something about the way men treat women in our society?

What (if I am understanding him correctly) he misses in his concern over the way the characters treat their female relations, is that precisely by buying and playing the game the gamer is treating women the same way. Using simulated sex and digital nudity in these video games is objectifying women. The young male demographic that is buying GTAV is being sold that game, at least in part, by its ability to give the gamer sexual objects to do as they want with. The problem isn’t that the characters objectify women in their in-game portrayal, it’s that the gamer objectifies women by playing the game in the first place. Peckham seems to be saying that if the digital sex scenes in the game were taking place in the context of committed, loving relationships, everything would be ok. He doesn’t see the fact that the gamer is still left as a voyeur in the sex lives of the characters and is still objectifying women by their being used as sex objects by the gamer.


Grand Theft Auto V, or, Women as Sex Objects, As Sex Objects

Nora Jane Nicole Adams, or, I Almost Forgot My Wedding Anniversary Under Oath

On Friday, we had a court date. Joanna and I were sworn in in front of the judge at the Kootenai County courthouse to testify that we were willing and ready to take on Nora Jane as our full child, equivalent in every way to our natural child, for the rest of our lives. So, Nora got our last name on Friday. The judge signed off on our adoption paperwork. He asked me the date of our anniversary though while I was on the stand, and I almost totally blanked. It’s scary being under oath, even if you know the answers to the questions.

Me, Joanna and Nora, Oct. 7th, Nora’s birthday.
Nora Jane Nicole Adams, or, I Almost Forgot My Wedding Anniversary Under Oath

The Slow Boat To Freeport, or, My Bahamas Cruise Vacation

My wife and I have been married for 10 years. That’s a long time these days. I’m hoping for 10 more, but she said we’d take it day by day and see (just kidding. I probably said that…in jest…)

Anyway, we have a yearly anniversary tradition. Money is always tight, so I let her believe that since we don’t have any money I haven’t made any plans. Then I surprise her with the plans I have made. This happens every year. She’s precious like that. This year I saved all the extra money I could find for 8 months and bought us a 5 day Carnival cruise in the Bahamas. She was surprised. What follows is a set of pictures as well as my commentary on the trip.

The Carnival Ecstacy outside of Half Moon Cay.
Me by the ship on the dock in Nassau.

There’s our ship. The Carnival Ecstasy. 14 decks. 3,500 people on board. Ginormous. At least I thought so until we docked next to the Carnical Magic at Nassau.

The Carnical Ecstasy next to the Carnival Magic.

That’s the Ecstasy on the left. The Magic is in the center and I think it was the Imagination that was pulling on the right. The Magic was way bigger than our ship. It also had 2 waterslides. And a basketball court. And a ropes course. And five more decks. Boat envy.


After a day at sea we stopped at Half Moon Cay. It’s a private island owned by the cruise company. It was great. The picture looks pretty overcast, but it was sunny and warm. The water was gorgeous and clear. We snorkeled. <– Weird word.

Bahamas Sign in Nassau.

Here is a picture of us standing at a sign. Please imagine us standing at a sign at every port, because we did. I’m not showing you all the signs though. Also, I wore shorts. For most of the week. (I actually had to buy said shorts for this trip because I didn’t own any)

Me on a bridge in front of Atlantis Resort in Nassau.

This is me standing on a bridge that crosses over to Paradise Island in Nassau. That’s Atlantis Resort in the background. I think it was a really cool place, but the staff kept hassling us because we weren’t staying at the resort, so we didn’t get to see much of it.

A Police Booth.

This is a mobile police booth. In this booth Bahamian officers of the law operate with courage, integrity and loyalty. They are also very tall and skinny.

Lighthouse and ships.

Goodbye Nassau! Goodbye snobby resort! Goodbye skinny policemen! Goodbye giant ship that I would not rather be on!

Freeport Sign.

Ok, I lied. Here’s another sign. The only thing Joanna wanted to do in Freeport (I had no ambitions this trip besides sunshine and books) was see the “International Bazaar.” This site was featured prominently on internet advertising, onboard excursion literature, and a sign at the pier. When we asked a taxi driver to take us there, he said it had been destroyed in the hurricane. The one in 2003. *sigh*


This is what I did and looked forward to most of the trip.


I didn’t take any pictures of myself. But Joanna did.

After we got back to Port Canaveral, we had a day to spend in Florida before we went back home. So, naturally, we went to the Kennedy Space Center to see ROCKETS!!!












All of these rockets were well and good, but I waited all afternoon for the mother of all rockets. The largest rocket ever built. The most complicated machine ever engineered by man: the mighty Saturn 5. We were not disappointed.

Saturn 5 Stage 1 Nozzles.
Saturn 5 Stage 1.
Saturn 5 Stage 1.
Saturn 5 Stage 2 nozzles.

It’s hard to conceptualize how amazingly huge this rocket is. It’s just so big.

At the end of this long building, we got to see actual Apollo command modules and a lunar module as well as space suits, artifacts, moon rocks and a rover.

Lunar Module.
Apollo era space suit.

That was our trip. Mostly. I have a lot more pictures, but I’m not showing them to you unless you come over to my house. Or my desk at work. It’s too much of a pain to upload them.

The Slow Boat To Freeport, or, My Bahamas Cruise Vacation

Car For Sale!

UPDATE: We sold the car. Yay!!!!


Hey there. This is my wife’s car. It is for sale.

It’s a 2006 Ford Freestyle. Here are some features:

  • 3rd Row Seating (seats 7)
  • Fold Down Seats (all but the driver’s seat)
  • Front Wheel Drive
  • Aftermarket CD player w/mp3/iPod dock (stock stereo included as well)
  • 67,500 miles
  • 25mpg highway

It’s been a great family vehicle/SUV alternative.

$7500. Leave me a comment if you are interested.


Car For Sale!

His Brain, Her Brain, or, "No, Go Back, We Haven't Seen That Yet!"

My wife and I will have been married for 10 years next Friday. Overall, it’s been a good thing. I can pretty heartily recommend marriage to most people…seriously though, it’s been great. I am a holier person, more dedicated to Jesus, and my life has direction that I’m not sure it would have had otherwise. All of this is due to my marriage. My wife is a wonderful woman. But that’s not the point of this post.

Joanna and I are really different. Really. Really. Different. Case in point:

A couple nights ago, we were watching a movie on the computer. It was only half over but we were ready for bed. I waited until the movie got right up to the 1 hour 30 minute mark and stopped it. That way, the following night, when we wanted to finish the movie, I could just run the timer up to 1:30 and we would be right where we left off. A solid one and a half hours is easy to remember so I wouldn’t have to look for the right place. Joanna found this to be hilarious. She said she would never do that, opting rather to just fumble her way through until she found the right scene. She laughed hysterically at how weird I was. She’s the one with the plan to ruin the movie by getting the scenes out of order, but I’m the weird one.

Marriage, kids. It’s good for the soul. 🙂

His Brain, Her Brain, or, "No, Go Back, We Haven't Seen That Yet!"

I Am The 99%, or, Just In Case He's In A Serious Fingertip/Acid Accident

I really don’t want to accuse the government of taking my money unjustly…but I just can’t understand why a criminal history fingerprinting only lasts a year. It’s $55 to have your prints taken, and the results from the background check are only good for 12 months. When we started our adoption journey 3 years ago, we were advised to have all our ducks in a row because it could all happen quickly. So we got fingerprinted as part of our required state home study. 3 years later, it looks like we are going to actually be adopting…and we have to get fingerprinted again.

Now, I can understand the need for a new background check, and a charge associated with that, but why the whole procedure? Some of my $55 must be going towards the labor of taking my prints (which is the majority of time since in the appointment, btw). So for a renewal, use the old prints and charge me less. I’m not sure why I even need to come in at all.

The whole thing would be less ridiculous if it weren’t for the concept of the fingerprint in the first place. You know, the marks that you have, from birth, that never change and can be used to identify you anywhere, even after you’re dead. The state needs updated copies of those every year. Sure they do.

I Am The 99%, or, Just In Case He's In A Serious Fingertip/Acid Accident