Cleaning up

Hi folks,

Larks, it’s late – or, depending on your point of view, very early ๐Ÿ™‚ Unusually for me, I’ve been playing a video game into the wee hours. Normally, it’s web pages, blogs, podcasts and maybe a view tunes of yesteryear via YouTube on a Friday night….

Blogger Challenge

The challenge this week is to write about skincare: do you have a routine? Are there products you like to use?

A routine? Well, not really, no, I don’t do the regular cleanse, tone and moisturise gig. The closest I think I get is the every-other-day use of a Clinique Facial Scrub for Men and the daily use of moisturiser. I have greasy skin, so I’m careful not to use too much. I don’t have a particular favourite, the Boots stuff seems as good as anything else. That said, I do look out for one with a Sun Protection Factor. Going back to the facial scrub, I find that helps keep my skin smooth and it’s not too harsh to use most days.

When I’m lucky enough to have a fancy night out, I use Take The Day Off to get rid of my make-up. That, and some Garnier Soft Essentials facial wipes. The bottle needs a good shake to mix the fluids up and then it’s a case of letting it soak into the pad, and after resting against my skin, wiping slowly. Rubbing vigorously leads to red eyes and sore skin – I wish I’d known that when I first started! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, between them, they seem to do the trick fairly well. I don’t know if it’s the handful of hours under full make-up, or a combination of the shower, moisturiser and then post-night out cleansing, but my skin feels wonderful the next day! Going back to the early 90s, I’d use sun block and/or moisturiser. I guess I’ve always tried to look after my skin as best I can. I really don’t like the feeling of rough or dry skin.

Does beard-care fall under skincare? Well, I’m going to talk about it anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve not had much truck with electric razors; they just don’t seem close enough and they seem to take ages to get a reasonable finish. No, I much prefer a wet shave – when time permits, or the occasion demands. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did use the Mach 3 blades or a bit, but of late, I’ve followed the advice on Lifehacker and moved to the old school safety razors. You know, the double sided single razor blade. You do have to take your time with that and it pays not to press on too firmly. Oh, there’s an anti-cut stick you can get for a few quid from Boots. Works a treat, but it doesn’t half sting when you put it on. ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s my notes. Clearly there’s lots of other choices: what do you find works for you?


Midweek, I downloaded the Grant Theft Auto series, as I thought I’d see how the games play out. GTA III was really showing its age, although Vice City seemed to be okay. So far, I’m slogging my way through the drive and fetch and drive and fetch parts of the game. Maybe I need to give it more time…..

But in the meantime, Steam are allowing free play on the last Saints Row game. I’d heard that the latter was a bit of a poor imitation of GTA, but I don’t think there is. There’s a lot more humour and all round silliness compared to some of the ‘gangsta’ games out there. Even Saints Row 2 – which seemed true to the beat down the other gangs and own the town formula, had various darkly comic parts. It also lets you design and dress your character any way you want to. So, for a gamer like me – and a trans gamer at that – that’s an added bonus to mess about with outfits. Oh, should you decide to put your character in a hotdog suit, or a 50s bunny girl outfit, the video cut scenes are played out dead pan…. which amuses me.

Last month, I was chatting to two ladies at work and they were both talking about video games. This was following a talk I’d been giving to school kids on design (which was a fun morning). One of them was saying that she was looking forward to hooking up her old console and replying GTA. The conversation rolled on and I had meant to ask her, what she felt of the media comments about violence and alleged weak women characters. Maybe next time….

Do you play any games and if so what? Do you play them on-line with friends, or are they more a solo affair, filling the evening rather than television?

Take care,


  1. On skincare: Like you, I used to moisturize regularly, though stopped, for reasons I don't recall. I also used to get facials on a monthly basis – firstly at a salon, then at home using mud masks – though again fell out of the habit. I don't really know why.

    I share your frustration with electric razors, though for a long while used to use one myself, simply because it didn't cause my face to bleed in a dozen places, as a regular razor always seemed to (even when I took care not to nick myself with it). Since I had most of my facial hair blasted away with a laser, though, I've gone back to wet shaves, finding that they're not as bad as they used to be. I only need to do them every second day now, too, which helps.

    On gaming: I used to get into this in a big way years ago, but have become largely put off it now by the fact that every new game out seems to have a ton of DRM crap on it that often threatens to make it completely unplayable*. Call me naive, or a Luddite, or whatever, but I'd really like to see a return of games that don't require you to "register" them, or "activate" them, or whatever beforehand. This is a shame as I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of games in the past. Indeed (and as crazy as it may sound), I can credit one game – Fallout 3 – for stopping one year of my life, 2011, from sucking completely. Given that we buried my father the day before that year began, it was always going to be a bad one, and it ended up sucking for a few other reasons as well. Fallout 3 (which a brother of mine had lent me that year with the promise, "Try this; you'll love it!"), though, ended up being one bright spot in all the gloom, allowing me to escape into this huge, wonderfully detailed world for hours at a time, and forget about all the crappy stuff that was going on in "real life". It also inspired me to visit Washington DC during a trip to the States last year, which turned out to be a good thing too; of all the places I visited on that trip, DC was one of my favourites (it was so exciting to see something from Fallout 3 there, and think, "I know that building, memorial, train station etc!").

    *That said, if I was a little more computer savvy, and/or knew where to look, I could probably find workarounds for that sort of thing, no "anti-piracy" measure (which is the usual justification given for that sort of rubbish) being foolproof. Indeed, I feel stupidly proud of myself for finding a program that's enabled me to play all my old Doom games again. Primitive as they are by modern standards, those things are surprisingly fun to play, certainly more so, in fact, than Doom 3, which in my opinion takes itself way too seriously!

    1. The idea of not having to shave very regularly, is very tempting. Sadly, the price is not so much ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ahh, I remember my 20s when a wet shave would be good for about two to three days. Still, on the plus side, my mate (when we were in our 20s) had 3 o'clock stubble.

      The only DRM pain I've had was a CD based game that wouldn't run if you had put it in a CD Recording drive. Cos you be a pirate, innit? Nope. That game was such a pain to load, I checked out the forums and found that people were installing a cracked version, just to avoid having to hook a second CDROM to their computer. Clearly, this was before DaemonTools and the rest of the ISO mount nerdery ๐Ÿ™‚

      But, games like Half Life or ones that are 'Steam' delivered, they seem fine. Fallout 3 is a fine game – a bit like a movie you play in. Yeah, a cliche, but I think it's still true and if you take fun from it and you enjoy that, who's to say otherwise? BTW, I loved the idea that you visited Washington and matched the real world places with the game ones. That's very cool.

  2. On Skincare—
    I have two skin care practices: (1) I don't smoke; (2) I keep out of the sun (never liked being in it). Always had pretty oily skin, so it works for me.
    And I wash my face each morning with Imperial Leather, and also use soap in place of goop when wet shaving (most mornings is one that buzzes and tickles).

    In Gaming—
    My sons are keen gamers, it's not a world I've ever dabbled in.

    1. Not smoking seems to be a good one. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ah, so you're a fellow sun dodger as well? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Not tempted to see what the fuss is about with games? Our son – like most kids his age – is mad on Minecraft. I rather like the idea that you can play with friends and make things – rather than just blow sh** up. What do your offspring play?

  3. On Skincare—
    I also started using a good old fashioned DE razor a few months ago and to be honest I am very impressed. Besides being a whole heap cheaper than the fangled multi blade jobs, I find there is MUCH less irritation and as I have very sensitive skin, this is a very big bonus.
    I never really bought into the whole skincare thing, but the few products I do use come from Dermalogica. Yes they are obscenely expensive, but they lasy seemingly for ever and really are top of the line in terms of quality and doing the job well.

    On Gaming—
    Games are what are played outdoors on a sunny day, like football and cricket aren't they? No? Oh, so you mean those that are played on a board like Monopoly and Ludo?
    Never did get the gaming thing, largely because all those many years ago when I had a brief attempt at it, I found my reflexes are poor and I, well frankly, I sucked at it!

    1. Hey, if the products work for you, isn't that all that matters? Not sure there's a lot of difference chemically speaking between the high street gear and the high end stuff that's flogged in fancy shops….. Oo, listen. You can hear the marketing departments' sharpening their knives. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Football? I've heard of that. Isn't that the game big companies play to see who can outbid each other and have exclusive rights on? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Computer games…? Well, things have thankfully moved on from the high speed finger twitching stuff you see. There are lots of different types depending on what you like. There's been a rise of the 'casual gamer'. Games you can dip into when you want, rather then spending most evenings battling away at a console.

      Minecraft – in creative mode – is a wonderful little game (see YouTube) and for cinematic stuff. Zozi's comments about FallOut are spot on. There are some critically acclaimed ones out there. More like interactive movies than games. But equally, if you're happier with a book, I can dig that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Skin Care:
    Cheap as possible, as long as it works! I used a two step make up remover that you have to shake to mix (as with yours). I used to use Nivea at 5.50 a bottle, but now use an own brand from a Dutch equivalent to SuperDrug that works almost as well (not quite, but close enough) and costs 1.99 for the same amount.

    I use Hema day cream (sorry, no UK equivalent…) at 7 euros a pot, which works just as well as the Clarins that costs 60 euros a pot – though I used the Clarins for years until I found a cheap one that was as good!

    Make up comes from cheap shops (all animal friendly!) except for my eyebrow make-up with costs a fortune, again as I have not yet found a cheap alternative.

    I wish I had your patience with removing make up though. I rub too hard to get the make up off (ending with red skin and blurred vision where I have got remover in my eyes from being too rough / too quick to be careful!). Something I need to learn I guess!

    As for shaving. When learning how to put on make-up I came across one YouTube channel by a professional make up artist who always had razor rash. he makes his own now. One part cheap condition, one part cheap olive oil.

    I gave it a try as it was cheap enough not to matter if it didn't work, and have not use anything else since! First for the face, and now just for my legs.

    Gaming? Well… I've had each generation of console since I was about 12 (Super Famicon, Playstation, Playstation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Wii – not to mention the handhelds ; Game Gear, PSP and 3DS). And of course various PCs over the last few couple of decades ๐Ÿ™‚

    But I have started to go off of them recently. The games are too much about graphics these days, rather than game play, and as wonderful as GTA V looks, I played those games for the cartoon violence (especially the Saints Row – very silly, but that just added to it) and removing the cartoon and making it photo realistic takes that away for me.

    I have Steam on my laptop – but I must admit I don't play that often anymore… Too many other things to do!


    1. Thanks for the tip regarding making your own shaving cream. That sounds very interesting.

      How many consoles?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah, I'm with you on the graphics. Sure, things look nice, but as you say, a game has to have the game play in there to hold your attention. How things have come on I suppose. I tried a VR headset (a research experiment at work) and that was fascinating. Although it was (obviously) a sim, after a while I found my imagination forgiving some of the graphical errors and it did feel good to get away from the cold Midlands climate and off to a virtual cliffside spot in Spain.

  5. Skincare: My hands, knees and elbows tend to get very dry and unsightly, so those get moisturised regularly. But apart from that, it's just using a moisturising balm after shaving. And using makeup wipes that apparently tone and hydrate.

    Game: These days I alternate between Animal Crossing on the 3DS, World of Tanks on my PC, and a bunch of casual flash games on I enjoyed the old GTA games (1 and 2), but never really clicked with the switch to 3D.

  6. Skincare: The most effective thing I have found for making my skin look better is Photoshop. Every girl has her beauty secrets, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Very good ๐Ÿ™‚ But reality rules…. when everything is cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don't tend to 'shop my photos – oo, get my street lingo ๐Ÿ˜‰ – although I do crop, adjust the colours and I've removed signs or red-eye.

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