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I am so over Bath and Body Works.


When I was a kid (“once upon a time”), Bath and Body Works was a mythical land where a girl's friends discovered all the best things to get you for your birthday, be it hand sanitizer or lip balm. Then it got way out of hand. Every single friend, girl or guy-accompanied-by-girl-who-doesn't-actually-know-me-but-is-clearly-an-expert-on-girls, would go to BBW and buy on average three different items to give me for my birthday, every time I attempted to celebrate my birthday. Oh, yeah, because of that, my baby sister came to believe that BBW was the only place to buy good birthday gifts, so she usually wheedled my mom into shopping there for my birthday presents, too. I issued a ban on Bath and Body Works products. It didn't totally work since not everybody read the memo, and others, cough-little-sister-cough, just ignored it.

Even with the ban and me living on BBW to try to use it up, I still have 8 shower gel bottles (4 unopened large bottles, 2 half-used large, 1 mostly-unused smaller aromatherapy bottle, 1 partly-used travel size), 3 fragrance sprays (1 mostly-unused large, 1 large donated to my little sister, and 1 mostly-unused travel size), 1 aromatherapy lotion, 1 hand cream, 4 lip balms (3 mostly-used tubes and 1 little can-like thing), 3 little candles, and 3 – 4 tiny bottles of hand sanitizer. Oh, and a bottle of aromatherapy shampoo. It took me years to use up that first bottle of hand sanitizer (they were much bigger then and much cheaper per ounce). I used up some stuff but I also managed to regift a number of things. That's how ridiculous the BBW craze is.

The thing is, though, they don't even have good stuff.

I don't know about way back when they weren't cycling through new scents like every 3 months, but right now, I can tell you that the lotions leave my skin feeling greasy and nasty rather than soft or whatever and are the reason that I am strongly lotion-averse, that the hand cream gives me a rash, and that the shampoo fries my hair. What's the point of getting a pricey lotion if it's not even actually nice? And it's great that their products aren't tested on animals but if the hand cream has an allergen, it should at least be labeled if it's really impossible to make it hypoallergenic. I don't even know what's wrong with the shampoo but I suspect that it's a combination of harsh, oil-stripping ingredients (maybe the citrus components of a fragrance), the lack of a conditioner to balance the pH, and our friends the phosphates. Barring all else, it can't be that hard to make a phosphate-free version of the shampoo, can it?

The hand sanitizers, shower gels, and candles are not problematic for me—I haven't tried the air fresheners but some people are allergic—but they have different issues. The hand sanitizers (the regular kind? I know that they had a foaming sanitizer phase), which no longer come in bottles bigger than 1 ounce, keep going up in price, and the shower gel has been going up, too.

Also, a lot of the smells are starting to be unidentifiable because of the nondescriptive naming—“Country Chic” is an adorable name that tells me nothing about how it smells and they really should've made it smell earthy, like hay, instead of whatever it actually is—and the smells are no longer on point like before. One of the big draws of BBW when I was younger was that everywhere else, ‘strawberries’ didn't smell like strawberries but at BBW, ‘apples’ smelled exactly the same as apples at the grocery store. At BBW back then, even some improbable fragrance like ‘cotton’ smelled like cotton. Most of the new fragrances smell much too rich, as if the BBW fragrance experts can't smell anything unless it is overdone. If it says cookie or pie or anything like that, it probably smells like a brown sugar overdose. If it says anything else, then it probably doesn't smell memorable at all.

There are people aggressively defending BBW against complaints about spilled air freshener damaging upholstery and allergic reactions. By “aggressively”, I mean that they say things like, “You'd have to be really stupid… BBW is not responsible for your stupidity.” OK first, not all outlets are upright. So a leaking air freshener is a design flaw that probably isn't hard to fix. All you really have to do is design something that you can rotate with a little click whenever you plug it into a sideways outlet. Second, I don't know that much about air fresheners but I wouldn't expect an innocuous, chubby owl-shaped thing to contain substances that will burn through all the things except said container. Third, nobody except people who break out over every little thing expects to develop angry rashes in reaction to a product that is supposed to be designed for their skin. Who in their right mind would get tested for allergies just so that they could buy a $911 product?

I guess the big hint that Bath and Body Works iswas in the fragrance business and NOT the bath and body business should have been the fact that they don't offer choices that a real company would offer. Where other companies label their products things like “For dry skin”, “For oily skin”, “For damaged hair”, “hypoallergenic”, BBW just reissues everything with shea butter.

They're not a BAD company. They're getting there, what with watering down the products and raising prices, but they don't develop bad hand cream for the lulz. They're simply in the fragrance business and instead of trying to find someone to pay them for their fragrances, they package them themselves into bath and body products. They're very good at selling, too. Much to my annoyance. (Good grief, how much shower gel do people think I need?)

It has been a while since I first issued my ban on BBW presents. I just started thinking about it today because I have these nasty hives due to a body wash product—not a BBW product as it's their hand cream that gave me a rash—which reminded me of said hand cream, which reminded me of all the complaints I (and, obviously, other people) have about BBW.


A guide for internet-naïve parents to identifying clickbait articles


Clickbait websites are the tumors of the internet.

Some of them are benign, and maybe even a little helpful. Let’s be honest, though; you’re not going to use everything from that list of useful websites.

Some of them are malignant and waiting to metastasize, using a really gruesome (and Photoshopped) picture to get you to click. This often exposes your Facebook account or computer or both to some virus-y thing, which posts to your Facebook, sends messages to all of your friends, and/or sends emails to all of your contacts.

The shared goal of all clickbait headlines is to increase traffic to their websites.

It doesn’t cost you anything but time–well, time is money–but because all they want is traffic, people who get sucked into looking at clickbait articles often don’t realize that they’re wasting a lot of time on empty distractions. Do you want to waste time on empty distractions? Or beyond that, do you want to waste your time as a result of being tricked?

I don’t really worry about savvy 20- or 30-somethings. Most of them know what they’re getting into, and they’ve probably been on clickbait sites enough to recognize when to stop. I do worry about kids but even more, I worry about their parents. After all, how are parents going to tell their kids to cut back on the internet if the parents have themselves been ensnared?

Most parents do not go looking for clickbait. Usually, someone forwards an email, or an old family friend shares something on Facebook. Here is a list of red flags. If you see these words (or photos, I may include one or two), RESIST CLICKING ON THE LINK.

  • # Clickbait articles frequently use headlines like “13 Things that Everyone Does.” It has also become increasingly common to add something like, “and You Won’t Believe #11,” because your natural reaction is curiosity: “What is it that I won’t believe?”
  • ALL CAPS When people yell, it’s usually something important (and sometimes, it’s a ShamWow! commercial). Capitalizing all letters is kind of like yelling except on the internet, most cases are commercials trying to get you to click.
  • He or She or These or This or What Your natural reaction is, again, only curiosity (“Who is ‘He’?”). But you don’t need to know the answer.
  • I or Me or You Good headlines usually don’t address you personally, and definitely not in full sentences. Establishing a fake emotional connection is another easy way to trick people into clicking.
  • Incredible or Never or Shock or Unbelievable If it’s too much of *something* to be true, then reports are probably exaggerated.
  • This is a lotus pod. If you see a picture of skin with pods in it like this, IT'S NOT REAL. The real thing is just a plant.
    This is a lotus pod. If you see a picture of skin with pods in it like this, IT’S NOT REAL. The real thing is just a plant.

    If it looks kind of gross, just keep this in mind: This is what the lotus actually looks like.
    This is what the lotus actually looks like.

Kids on the internet need to be less ignorantly arrogant and acquire some self-awareness


This comment on Youtube caught my eye: “OK, I’m 11 and I didn’t understand more than half of that” [edited for punctuation]. Trust an 11 year-old to open up for attack by leaving unnecessary comments on the internet, I thought. This kid needs to be told politely and in no uncertain terms to get the hell off the internet before the trolls show up and eat her (I think that it was a her) alive. So I asked, “If you’re 11, you’re a little young to be using the internet, aren’t you?” Her response was, and this has been slightly edited in the interest of coherence: “No, WTF makes you think that? So now you’re saying that I shouldn’t be using the Internet, I swear that there is something wrong with you, mind your own business, stay out of my life, ’cause I got this.” My gut reaction was, “OH HELL NO YOUNG LADY.”

Anyway, this kid is clearly not mature enough to be allowed on the internet. A lot of adults are just as bad but if they want to say something stupid, they’re old enough to make that decision. Not that I was trying to make any decisions for this particular kid but for the parents, you guys need to be parents. My kid sister mouths off a lot. When she does it out loud, my dad has this thing that he likes to say, “Every time you think that you’re being smart, you’re probably doing something stupid.” When she does it online, I’m the cyber parent so I annoy her with lectures and threaten to block sites.

Parents and teachers need to stop telling kids how smart they are just because they can figure out how to use smartphones. I agree that seniority can be utter bullshit when someone is older but less capable or less clever but kids are way too arrogant these days. My generation has a lot of douche-y people but if you look at today’s elementary school kids or even high school kids, they really think that they’re all that.

But it’s far too late to fix most of the parents and teachers, and principals and vice principals and school counselors. The reality is that arrogant kids don’t believe what you tell them unless they’ve learned it the hard way. Even if you try to raise your own kid right, she’s got her little friends at school influencing her. So we need adults who are active on the internet to school obnoxious underage users in the logic of manners (e.g. don’t tell people to mind their own business when you’re hypocritically minding other people’s business). How do you teach a kid to think before they type? I guess that this kind of project would require some field research.

Side thoughts: kids are arrogant off the internet as well. I see them dressed to the nines to seem twice their age, trying to mingle with the 20-something-s and 30-something-s, laughing like they get what we’re talking about. Or acting bored and jaded about things they don’t even understand yet.

Closing the distance from Cain


You know, I feel kind of sorry for Cain. He just wanted God to like him. He killed Abel because he was jealous for God’s acceptance, but doing that just increased the distance between him and God. Bible study groups and such tend to focus on saying that he didn’t have the right attitude, but God was clear about where he stands when he gave Cain his mark. He didn’t want Cain to end up like that. He kicked him out because he had to.

Cain’s just a fool, and I think that at least I, if nobody else, have similar feelings to Cain. A lot of times, I think that I’m trying properly, but other people think that my attitude isn’t good or that I lack character. They might be right. But it’s frustrating, upsetting, and angering for me when I think that I hauled major effort and someone looks at the results and sees laziness or lack of consideration. Personally, I don’t think that I have an instinct for doing the right thing, and whenever I see someone being considerate, I mentally kick myself (“Why didn’t I see that this needed doing?”) and I’m jealous because that’s the kind of person that I wish I were.

That doesn’t justify Cain displacing his frustration onto Abel. But when we talk about him, we shouldn’t try to distance ourselves from him, by making the lesson about having the right attitude or about not being haters. Abel’s a good person but the story isn’t about him. The lesson should be that we’re just like Cain, or at least I am, and Cain is exactly why y’all need Jesus… … OK but seriously, not killing people doesn’t mean that we’re any better and the purpose of grace is for the sake of people exactly like Cain, people who want to please God but can’t. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

God didn’t sacrifice Jesus for us to be like, “Cain, that horrible, horrible person”—he did that so that if people like Cain turn around and say, “God, I just wanted to be good enough but I screwed up and I’m tired of this whole trying-not-to-screw-up-but-screwing-up-anyway thing,” instead of God saying, “I’m sorry but you’re done for,” God can say, “Way ahead of you.”

Re: 김진수, “Why bad things always happen to good people?”


Bad things happen to everyone and good things happen to everyone. It’s just more jarring to see bad things happen to good people, or good things happen to bad people, because it contradicts the natural sense of fairness.

On my unattractive personality


There’s this whole obsession with beauty and relationships and guys and girls, like, “It’s OK, someone will find you beautiful,” or, “Every girl should be told by a guy at least once that she’s beautiful.” You know what? Screw that.

I know that some guys find me reasonably good looking (or whatever ‘reasonably above average’ means). But I also know that I dress with the aesthetic sense of a 10 year old boy… that I always smell like sweat and dogs and chicken shit because my backyard is a small farm… that I have all the grace of Bambi on ice (which is to say none at all)… that I have an aggressively prideful personality (I instinctively despise guys who try to help me when I don’t need it)… et cetera.

And what I want to know is why on earth do some people want to convince me that having a boyfriend (are at least male attention) should be one of my priorities? I don’t know how I could possibly attract any guy when I don’t even know how to carry my purse-bag-thing without feeling awkward. It’s less stress to just not try. Sure, I find some guys admirable or interesting, BUT I’m totally fine with them dating someone else as long as the girl’s a decent person. People act like I should be upset when someone that I have acknowledged as having attractiveness value becomes taken. Is it wrong to be OK with people choosing whoever makes them happy? Because I know that I sure wouldn’t be able to make anybody happy. It would take an almost perfect person to make up for my slovenliness and if he’s really that good, then he should go out with someone who’s on his wavelength, not waste time on the girl who wishes that nose-picking were more socially acceptable.

If personality and all that stuff is considered in a beauty rating, then I’m ugly. I don’t care that I’m not the girlfriend type because since when has friendship been a second class relationship? I get honestly angry about this because I feel persecuted. I ‘have’ to want a relationship and if I say that I don’t, it means that I’m ‘in denial’, because GOD IN HEAVEN FORBID THAT A BOYFRIEND NOT BE ONE OF MY PRIORITIES.

And this is exactly why it’s so frustrating. The more I try to convince people that I don’t need their advice, and that I especially don’t need advice designed for people who actually want a relationship, THE MORE THEY BELIEVE THAT I’M ‘JUST IN DENIAL’… and it goes in a vicious circle of frustration and ingrained refusal to believe me.

I honestly don’t think the problem is with me.
For Christians (and others who believe in God): don’t you guys have anything better than to do? Go read your Bible or something. Yes, love is important, but love is so much more than boy meets girl.
For those of you who don’t believe in God: your brains are capable of programming computers and a bunch of other stuff for which I don’t have examples right off the top of my head. Take advantage.
All of you: put your energies into something other than fussing about attraction.

Serving in church


When people talk about leadership (or what we like to call servanthood) in the church, we often picture someone who is kind, understanding, organized in thought and in habit, a model of self discipline (at this point, I’m just describing this one guy that I know and I think that some of the people who kind of know me might be able to guess whom I’m describing)… and I could never, ever, ever be that person.

I mean, I get that all Christians are supposed to aspire to be the kind of person that you would see planning out Bible studies or checking in with people who seem lost or out of it. I think that maybe I just enjoy often irreverent, sometimes inappropriate humor and other less-than-godly forms of down-to-earth-ness too much to be such a considerate, organized person.

For example, I’ve always been a very negative person. My eyes are drawn to things that aren’t right. Once upon a time, I would kick people and throw things over those things. Now, I specialize in carefully crafted, verbose rants. It’s not that I don’t enjoy goodness, nor that I can’t see it, because I do. Show me someone that I know, and I can tell you what I think is good as well as what I think is bad, but it’s extremely rare that I both know someone and have nothing bad that I could say. And even then, that in itself is bad (people who are too good are often intimidatingly unapproachable).

There’s another side to being negative. Imagine that positive people are very colorful. Well, I am grey. (I actually really like that color, by the way.) I can’t gush about everyday things if I don’t mean it. If I do, I get that fake-ass hearty tone like Harry Potter does when he’s trying to sound like he’s not being consumed with resentment. If I really feel a certain way about something, I will spell it out but if I don’t, I won’t. Seriously, this is what happens when someone offers me food that they’re crazy about:
“It’s deLICious, RIGHT?”
“Erm, well, it’s… good…”
“You don’t like it??”
“Well, I do like it; it’s all right, that’s all. Er, just, don’t mind me.”

That’s really what it’s all about, with me: I’m all about expressing myself only when I mean it and only how I mean it. For example, I enjoy sass. So I will indulge in sass myself. Unfortunately, being sassy is not a very humble thing to do.

At the same time, I doubt that God would prefer that I dress myself in a fake personality. I try to keep me real, and I can handle getting called out when I’ve done something wrong. I don’t always change because changing is hard, and it’s even harder when people don’t tell you how to do it, step by concrete step. But I try to process the feedback and be a little better, without snuffing out the semi-rebellious independent streak.

An entitled person perceiving herself as suffering


I was in a bike accident by myself. I mean, there were a lot of causes but it’s probably more the bike’s fault than anything else.

The thing is, though, that I wish I had hit my head.

People say that I’m really lucky that I haven’t even chipped a tooth. They say that God must have been watching over me. While I agree that God was watching over me, I don’t think that he did it as some special service. I’ve had a lot of close calls. I’ve fallen off a moving ATV. I’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. I’ve hit a divider on the highway because I didn’t change lanes soon enough. Actually, when I drive, I have this weird feeling in my chest, like I just want to let it fly beyond my ability to control it, like the car will fly into the dark abyss that is the night sky and carry me somewhere all the things that don’t really matter that are stressing me out will disappear, leaving only the things that really count. Anyways, I’ve had a lot of reminders that I could die any time and that I’m being held in reserve for something that I don’t see yet.

Isn’t that how it always is? You don’t die until it’s your time.

In the mean time, my dad rushed to the hospital to make sure that I was really OK and wasn’t just saying so. I know I couldn’t live with myself if I made his worst fears come true. I don’t want to do this any more, though, because I have a really strong feeling that I can’t. Just like your body forces you to sleep before you die of sleep deprivation by making you hallucinate and stuff, I think that this whole ‘vicariously’ living from midterm to midterm, paper to paper will result in me getting myself kicked out before it really becomes too much for me to handle.

Because of my experiences, I have this perception that everyone who looks put together on the outside, walking on the street, chatting with friends, playing with their dogs… I think that inside, they’re also falling apart. And they’re not falling apart because Grandma died. They’re falling apart because some small thing is gnawing at them. Maybe they’re also worried that everyone sees their social ineptitude and finds them selfish or plain annoying, and that’s why they front so strong like they don’t care. Maybe they’re addicted to the internet and hate themselves for it, and want to be free of it. Maybe they hate their successes and wish they went for something that they were actually interested in. Maybe they have so many things that they want to do, like reading 10 books a week, like learning a new sport, like reliving the time that they felt like they could do anything, like writing a story… so many things and they can’t do a single one of them or feel obliged to abstain. I don’t know. It’s how I stop myself from going all the way to the thought that I’ve been set up to be miserable.

I’m dragging my feet through life. I’m supposed to be young, but I feel old. And the reason that I feel old is not because I’ve been through so much but because I’m just atrophying away. I want to be energetic, smile and make faces without caring if I look stupid, and make something myself. Instead, I’m just withering away and there’s just one thin strand of sanity left. It’s strong because it’s founded on all the right things, but it’s weak because there’s not much of it.

I’m not always this way. A lot of times, I’m straight up elated. But right now, I’m in the dumps about something stupid, and I can’t unwrap myself from the thought. And I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to be depressed because somewhere out there, someone is being killed, someone is being raped, someone is terminally ill, someone hasn’t eaten properly for months. Somebody is out there, who would swap with me in an instant, whom I wouldn’t swap places with for anything. Sometimes, I think my family tries too hard to be good to this bitter old-young sinner because how else would I have ended up in a situation where I’m not happy with what I have? Yet it doesn’t make me feel a mite more grateful.

The things that are possible appeared impossible, and the thought made the possible become impossible. Time is moving slowly for me right now, yet it’s also too fast for me because I want it to just stop so I can take a nice, long nap.

Initial thoughts while reading Genesis


The order of creation described obviously does not align with the order that scientists have determined to be most likely. This doesn’t have to result in the unequivocal interpretation that someone has to be wrong between the Bible and scientists. It is hypothetically possible for the history of the world as we experience it to have occurred in the order that scientists have inferred based on unearthed evidence without contradicting the first chapter of Genesis in any way. Much as a writer does not necessarily create his fantasy world or even his story in the order that is experienced by the reader and the story characters, God could have created a world of order and sense—perfect and consistent in and of itself—without the final product showing evidence of being built from nothing. When we read a book, the book was created with paper, ink, and the writer’s thoughts but in the actual words, it doesn’t describe this process. We’re in the book. If we only navigate within the story, it’s impossible for us to know any more than what’s in the story but the Bible says that God made the paper, the ink, the dictionary of words, and strung it all together.

Science is based on logic. However, as any researcher knows, there are very few things that all scientists absolutely agree on. This is because much of knowledge is based on empirical inference and analysis of the statistics of tested theories. As far as we know, all living things follow the same genetic code, from viruses to humans. Why does that prove that we’re all evolved from the same thing? Let’s use a different book analogy. Would it make sense to have to create a new alphabet and language for every book, and never translate them to a common system? It’s possible but it would be a royal pain in the- anyway, illiteracy would probably become an issue and somebody would throw in the towel and get translating. We standardized the US dollar and other forms of currency pretty quickly, and for some people, it’s their job to figure out how many pesos to a pound. God could choose to have a bunch of different classes of living things that are operating on entirely different systems, but the simple ACGT system would probably be both more sensible and more interesting. I mean, how big of a mindscrew was it when people realized that every living function was based on 4 molecules in 2 exclusive pairs? People have an interesting penchant for arrogance, and realizing that they didn’t even have the longest, fanciest genome was probably a little upsetting. And then they started trying to figure out how we do all this fancy stuff like philosophizing, engineering, and experimenting-with-stuff-we-don’t-actually-understand-like-radioactive-compounds (not one of our brightest moments) that no other organism does when we aren’t the most genetically complex organism in existence.

Then there’s the little issue of Occam’s Razor. Logically speaking, I disagree that it proves the superiority of Darwin’s explanation over mine. Except maybe that people like to keep things simple, sort of like how we weight negative experiences more heavily than we do positive experiences. This is usually where it becomes a standoff. I honestly consider Occam’s Razor a convenience rather than a real, good idea. Species go extinct much faster than they evolve beneficial adaptations. How does it make sense that an entire network of interdependent ecosystems sprang out of a simple unicellular system that would have kind of worked OK without evolving fancy multicellular organisms? In that it’s physically possible, or the ‘how’ of things, I get the role of Occam’s Razor but in terms of probability and, gee I don’t know, entropy, the simplest explanation is absolutely insufficient. Life, in terms of the science of it, is about fighting off the tendency towards equilibrium (death). Then what’s the point of living when it’s nothing but a dragged-out battle against the laws of physics? And how did we complex, ordered beings get here if the laws of physics are pushing everything towards simplicity and chaos?

Obviously, this string of argument doesn’t lead to God the creator. It only demonstrates, or at least attempts to demonstrate, that what we learn in science is insufficient to explain life, no matter how far we pursue it. However, it’s a starting point. I don’t have to prove that I’m right to believe in God if I can reasonably dismiss those who would prove me wrong.

Daisy Coleman


Most people want to have fun, whatever that means. Sometimes, they think it means drinking alcohol. This is clearly incorrect but who would believe otherwise when surrounded by people who do buy into the hype? It’s not her fault. She was a stupid teenager; we’ve all been there. Why else would people bicker about what minors should or shouldn’t be allowed to do and how much they should be held accountable for? Lots of minors sneak out all the time without raping or getting raped.

I’m not saying that she doesn’t have any responsibility for getting into that situation. She could have listened to her family and kept a friendly distance from that boy. She could have chosen not to sneak out. That’s all true but don’t you think that she’s had those thoughts over and over and over and over again? Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, she has been tortured enough? [←sarcasm here] Apparently, that boy’s allies don’t think so. Who in their right mind would burn somebody’s house down?

These people are even validating that boy’s actions in his mind. He seems to think that he did her a big favor by “giving her the D”. I can’t begin to comprehend the hazing if I don’t first assume that they don’t have even one tenth of an iota of a clue what they’re doing.

When we talk about rape culture, the mindset that justifies rape, we shouldn’t simply state that rape shouldn’t happen and leave it at that. We need to acknowledge that it will happen as it has happened for much of history. It’s like driving. There’s a big difference between legal driving and defensive driving. Should we be able to assume that everyone else will drive properly? Yes. Will they? No. Trying to convince everyone in the world that 1) they should not rape and 2) they should not blame the victim is really impractical. Does that mean we shouldn’t teach people around us? No, we should still try. But instead of engaging in open war between those who say Down with rape culture and those who say Down with short shorts, we should be focusing on teaching everyone that 1) rape is not OK and 2) that even if you can reel off a laundry list of the victims’ choices that beyond reasonable doubt could have prevented the crime, THE CRIMINAL IS STILL AT FAULT. Actually, if the criminals fully realize that they did wrong and that they deserve punishment, that’s really for their own good as well.

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