To be sure, unsure, etc.

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

I don’t know much about most things, but I do know that some things are just supposed to happen, and some are not –

I know that the moon is supposed to rise in the east and that dogs are supposed to bark at each other through chain link fences and that pomegranates are supposed to stain my shirt sleeves

and I know I would never want to be inside when they sky looks the way it did tonight.

But I’m not so sure that things are supposed to be like this;

I am not so sure that the pepper tree I stopped at today is the same type of pepper tree that I grew up with. It didn’t remind me of home in the same way they usually do. It should have been familiar to me, and it wasn’t.

I’m not at all sure of people like you, and I am not sure that the world should be melting and that we should all just be okay with it.

How should I be allowed to miss things before they’re gone? How can I possibly miss you when my hands are on your face and you’re standing directly in front of me? I’m not sure how that is even possible, and yet I do.

I must remind myself to look up every once in a while.

Does shampoo cause cancer?

We use shampoo in our everyday life. “Dove,” “Head & Shoulders,” “Suave…” There are over 10 categories of different shampoo, but often times we’d use shampoo without investigating what we’re actually putting on our head. 

Photo credit: bustle.com

Cocamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, is a kind of emulsifying agent used in the making of shampoo products. According to the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), cocamide DEA is an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which means it has the potential of causing cancer. 

However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has declared that there is no need to worry. In a document that gets updated only when needed, and hasn’t been updated since the March of 2018, it says “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics” because the NTP‘s (National Toxicology Program) study result in 1998 didn’t find a connection between DEA and cancer. Plus, if the customers still want to avoid using carcinogen-related products, they can do it simply by “reviewing the ingredient statement that is required to appear on the outer container label.” 

So, it would be overreacting to panic. Nevertheless, checking the ingredient statement of the products that we eat, use, spray, and wash with, is indeed important. We use shampoo everyday, but do you check what you use, everyday?

Photo credit: goodhousekeeping.com

Siege Pro League Changes

Rainbow Six Siege is a first person tactical shooter developed in 2012. It grew quickly, and within the first year, it had a thriving professional esports scene. Now, in 2019, there are dozens of teams, close to 50 if you count challenger league. There are tournaments that have prize pools topping one million dollars. So as the Siege Invitational 2020 looms on the horizon, with the Japan Major in the forefront, some big changes are coming to the North American team rosters. The biggest surprise is that Evil Geniuses, who in 2018 competed against Penta (Now G2) in the Invitational Grand Finals, lost both their captain (Canadian) and their coach (Gotcha) in the same week, picking up Modigga in place of their former leader. This in turn balanced many of the other NA teams, giving SSG a boost by swapping Chala with Canadian, as well as giving Team Solo Mid the confidence to win Dreamhack Montreal with their new coach, Gotcha. There were a few other swaps, such as Jarvis from DZ and Hyper from Rise Nation. With all of these balances and swaps among the NA teams (with the exceptions of Rogue and Reciprocity), Season X is sure to be an interesting one, with some big upsets along the way. Be looking out for Dark Zero, TSM, and SSG, as all are neck and neck in the standings for a spot in Japan. Also, a quick note on the EU side of things, G2, GiFU, and Penta all seem to be uniting in the goal to bring down the champions of the Raleigh Major, the Russian giants of Empire. With TSM and Empire Esports already having secured spots at the invitational in February, the Siege community awaits a barn burner in Japan, which takes place on November 9th of this year.

Credit: SiegeGG

Portraiture

There is something deeply fascinating in the looks people give no one but themselves.

Right after you drive by someone smiling, waving out the window.

And it’s unbearable eye contact with yourself in the rearview mirror.

So deeply it cuts, your focus lands into your own conscious 

Like staring through the viewfinder

And as you rotate your hand the background comes into focus

your eye lands upon your own face staring back at you

Frowning

And you can’t figure out why you might look so sad

I think I ignore myself so often that sometimes when I happen a glance in a mirror

It can actually be scary

Disturbing

Upsetting even

Is that a function of me forgetting to be introspective?

Maybe focusing so much about what other people think of me

That I don’t think of me

I want more than anything to capture those moments

In other eyes

So that maybe I could make someone think of themselves

So that maybe they might glance into their own eyes

And horrify themselves 

To allow for excruciating introspection

And to showcase

or maybe even just to see

those moments of introspection.

The moments where instead of looking out

Your vision rests precariously on the inside of your eye

That would be a good portrait

The kind of portrait I want to take

But I have to figure out how first.

Technology

To some degree, everyone 25 and younger is an IT expert. When the WiFi stops working, it is usually the duty of the youngest member available to fix it. You just switch the button on and off and Lo! you are beheld as a technological deity, as the internet now works perfectly. Your family praises you, and you become the go to person every time something technology related goes wrong. But we know the truth. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon know, buried deep inside of our consciences, that we in fact know very little about technology. I have fallen victim many a time to this, especially when I slightly adjust the HDMI cable for Ms. Wilson. But my technological skills (or lack thereof) finally met their match. The portal into the WordPress site was a treacherous one. A cyclical loop of “Error 404” and “Please have the moderator re-invite you.” But then it appeared. Suddenly and out of nowhere. A big button that said “Start writing.” This, this was my salvation. And so yeah basically here I am. I figured it out. Easy peasy. Yep.

 

Credit: The Onion

Opinions, likes, and school walkouts

To begin,
For all of my peers who participated in the national school walkout today, I want to thank you for standing up for what you believe in and being catalysts for the change that our country so desperately needs. We know what kind of world we deserve to live in, and we are making it a reality.

Credit: TruthRevolt.org

Growing up in an age of technology, social media and internet access can be a double-edged sword of sorts. We can use our technology as a platform for positive things, like spreading awareness and voicing our opinions on all sorts of matters. But, that can also result in a nearly obsessive need to receive validation for our experiences. This validation comes from documenting and posting about almost anything that occurs and is worthy of being noticed.

This dichotomy poses a question: If you don’t post about it does it even really matter?

I’m not trying to be cynical, I’m just genuinely curious if that is a justifiable way of life. I’m not saying I am immune to it, but I would also like to think that I’m not dependent on my social media, nor do I find validation solely through it.

Something I noticed throughout the protesting that took place today is a lot of people seemed to have no idea why they were a part of it. Sure, they knew that it was in honor of the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting, but they were mostly participating just to follow along with everyone else.

Credit: Polkscan.com

I received several messages, posts, etc. talking about the protests and ways to be involved, which I appreciate, but in lots of ways they all seemed so disingenuous. I am fully supportive of young people’s activism. But when you send me snapchats of yourself wearing an orange t-shirt to “show ur support!” I can’t help but think that you really have no idea what you care about, you just want me to know that you “protested.”

When asked what you believe, you can give a coherent reply. But when asked why you believe it, you have no idea.

It’s almost as if you don’t even care about the victims of all of the past shootings, you don’t even know why people are fighting for stricter gun control/laws. You only care about how many likes you got or how many people viewed your story.

Being a part of a protest itself (actually being an active activist) should be validation enough, it shouldn’t need to be found on instagram. But maybe that’s just the way I look at it.

So, yes, I understand and agree with the fact that social media can be used to spread awareness and to generate change. I also realize that these walkouts were fueled by social media, and that without it we wouldn’t have accomplished such a large-scale and widespread protest. But when half of the people I see posting have no idea what the significance of it is, it just makes them seem ignorant and it takes away from the importance of today’s events.

It is inspiring to see so many young people who already have such strong opinions. But if you have no idea why you have certain beliefs, if your beliefs don’t have a purpose or a foundation, then you might as well not believe in anything.

In order to be effective you must first be informed.

 

 

Don’t hug me. I’m scared

A couple days ago, one of my friends introduced me to the youtube series “Don’t Hug me. I’m scared.” Before she played it, she told me it was gonna be pretty weird and messed up. I have to admit, she was definitely right about that.

It starts out looking like a children’s TV show. Strange puppets in bright colors in a room made of felt and fabric, all in a Sesame Street kind of style.

Credit: static1.squarespace.com

Credit: images.genius.com

Every episode follows the same pattern. It starts out somewhat normal, then a song begins to play. Each song addresses a subject that is important in today’s society. There is one about being creative, one about time and aging being unstoppable, about love, technology, health, and one about dreams.

Those don’t sound weird at all, do they? Well, just wait.

Because as the video goes on, the song becomes stranger and darker and more twisted, with loud noises and abrupt animations and a surprising amount of blood and death.

Honestly, I don’t even know why I started watching it in the first place. However, I was actually quite impressed by the deeper meaning of the show. Don’t get me wrong, it is creepy and messed up in so many ways. But I like the way it addresses things such as the brainwashing by mass media.

The way that all the “harmless” things and characters in the videos turn into literal nightmares- consuming your entire life, the way the characters get trapped inside a computer- and killed when they try to escape, or how you can only be accepted by people around you by joining the cult of love perfectly captures certain things that are wrong with our world and society, in an extremely twisted but ironic manner.

I don’t necessarily recommend anyone to watch this show, since I’m not really sure if it was or wasn’t a complete waste of time, or if the producers actually meant to be that deep. But in case you are looking for a great way to waste time, just watch it! It is definitely unique.