Category Archives: Complaints

There Is A Couch In My front Yard

There is a couch in my front yard and as if that is not bad enough it is raining. My husband is laughing as I lament our slow decline into what my elders used to delicately refer to as “white trash.”

The only thing worse than a couch on your porch is one on your lawn. When the neighbors drive by and slow down a bit to stare I cringe. A little piece of my dignity dies. This is a humiliation I can barely bear.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take it to the dump…eventually.” Jim chuckles in my general direction as he walks by. I look out the window and stare up at the rain clouds. They mock me with their raindrops. I watch as they land on my old, milk-stained, ripped, dog-haired couch.

Earlier my dog pushed open the front door, bolted to the couch, jumped on it, and then settled down as if he were going to take a nap. As if he were chaining himself to the couch in protest. He could not be consoled. He thinks the new couch smells funny and is missing all of the cozy lumps he’d become accustomed to. Even before that, I had watched Jim sit down on the couch, smile and say, “We can roast marshmallows from right here!” as he gestured toward the little charcoal grill that had been left on the front lawn since the fourth of July.

Moments later, Jim catches me still frowning out the window. He laughs again as he passes by.

Finally, I just walk away and pray the dump run comes sooner than I think.

 

Facebook Highlight Reel Does Not Depress Me

I’ve been reading a lot about how the Facebook highlight reel may be causing depression. Well, I just want all of you to know that your Facebook highlight reel does not depress me. I kind of like it. No, I absolutely love it. Maybe it’s because I love pictures of kids, babies, cats, dogs, job promotions, and all of the tiny successes my friends have on a daily basis. That stuff makes me smile. When I see new haircuts and posts about people doing kind things and someone winning an award for being awesome I actually cheer and show the pictures and statuses to my husband. Call me a little sappy or a little nutty, but I like seeing good things happen to good people. I like seeing the way they are devoted to their families and how the extra effort they are putting into their work is finally paying off. I like to see them going on spectacular and exotic vacations.

Facebook Highlight Reel
Portrait in Alcohol Inks – Work In Progress

I’m not saying Facebook doesn’t depress me because it does. Just for very different reasons than the researchers are suggesting. When I see the same article, five times in five minutes, about a couple who let their baby starve to death in his crib it makes me sad and angry and outraged. When I see people posting racist memes or really mean-spirited, untrue political attacks on our politicians I feel a little agitated. When I see people being mean and cruel or sometimes just plain ignorant…I feel a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I want to scream, “Do your research first!” or “Stop being such a bully!”

These are people I care about and they are saying things that are just terrible. It’s especially hard when it is a family member because for some reason that makes me feel even more sad. I think, wow, when did my family member get so mean? Or angry? Or bitter? I mean, sometimes on Facebook and other social media, you get to know a side of people you didn’t know existed. Or maybe just didn’t want to know existed. You find yourself worrying about people. You wonder about their mental health. You start to feel helpless or even a little hopeless about the world you live in. Sometimes what people post changes your opinion of them. Don’t even get me started on the people who like to rant and rave all day long. I’ve had to hide them from my feed. I can’t take that level of hostility for prolonged periods. That does depress me. It’s like being washed in a wave of negativity for hours at a time. That is not an enjoyable experience. Once I started figuring out how to hide posts from my Facebook feed I found myself having way more fun on Facebook. I mean, who wants to pop on Facebook and see someone screaming about how they wished the U.S. would have public hangings before you’ve even had breakfast? That’s not how I want to start my day. I’d rather wake up to posts about kittens. Let me work up to murder, politics, and people who want to set other people on fire after I have had my coffee.

I really get overwhelmed by sadness when I see people getting attacked in comment sections too. This happens daily. People are so rude sometimes. If they aren’t calling people names they are mocking them. You start to wonder what happened to having manners or polite disagreements or treating your friends, well, like friends.  What ever happened to formulating well thought out arguments? Do people even know how to do that anymore? Or not agreeing with everything someone says or believes, but still respecting them or loving them anyway? On Facebook it’s so often one angry mob yelling at another angry mob. I think social media has replaced pitchforks and torches. Witnessing that on a daily basis can be kind of depressing. You start to realize how cruel the average person can be and that makes you lose faith in humanity.

What restores my faith in humanity? Your Facebook highlight reel. So please, show me your kindergartener’s first day of school and the picture you took with Justin Bateman. Brag about the concert you went to last night or about how you spent Thanksgiving feeding the homeless. Share stories about men stopping other men from harassing women and stories about dogs adopting orphaned kittens. I want to see your son grow up and get a full scholarship to college. I want to see you get your first book published. I want to know when your daughter’s volleyball team won the state championship. I want to see all of those good things. Every single one of them. Your Facebook highlight reel does not depress me. On the contrary, it’s the only reason I am on Facebook at all!

 

Dear Facebook, Stop Trying To Sell Me What I Just Bought

Facebook is watching me. So is Google. So is the Government, apparently. I read the news. I see the Facebook statuses. I listen to the radio. So, now everyone knows I bought my husband some shorts. Everyone, now even you know. I bought some shorts! I bought some shorts!

Jim surrounded by shorts
How many shorts can one man wear?

I bought the shorts a week ago and ever since I have had ads in my stream, in my side bars, in my everything for the exact same shorts. Now, I could go on and on about privacy issues and how this is against our constitution, but I think I will leave that to better writers than I. Nope, instead, I am going to complain about how this is the worst marketing strategy ever. I have already bought the shorts. Three pair to be exact. It’s done. It’s over. I’ve been sold on the product, obviously. Showing me the exact same product every time I turn on the Internet is not going to make me buy more of the exact same product (unless they are 95% off and I lurve them so, so much). How many shorts can a person wear? My husband gets new clothes when the old ones are practically falling off his back. He’s not exactly a fashionista, which Google should know because according to my spam box Google reads my blog pretty regularly. Also, my every move is being tracked, so, seriously, they should know more about my families clothes preferences than I do.

Facebook should know better too. Don’t they pay marketing geniuses large amounts of money to set up algorithms and ad campaigns and all of that stuff? I mean, don’t they know if a person just bought shorts it might be better to try to sell them some T-shirts, some socks, maybe a few other essentials? Or maybe a vacation to wear those shorts on? Couldn’t this information they have collected be put to better use, I mean from a marketing perspective?

It amazes me that with all of the data collection and selling opportunities available to these marketing gurus (and big companies) that they still manage to get it so very, very wrong. I mean, if I buy a refrigerator online do they really think I will buy another one the next day and another one the day after that? I don’t think so. I mean I know very little about marketing, but even I know most people only need one refrigerator and just a few pair of shorts. Do the people buying these ads know their product is being marketed to someone who just bought said product and probably won’t buy that product again for another decade? Would they pay for those ads if they knew? I mean, I thought the point of these online ads was to target very specific people. Maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe other people keep buying shorts day after day after day…and refrigerators too, but I doubt it.

Anyway, I can’t help but wonder, if the people and corporations trying to sell us stuff can get things this wrong, what’s the government going to do with all of my information? I mean, corporations have the money to attract the best, brightest and most talented employees out there, right? I am a bit concerned that the best they can do with all of the data they have collected about me (and trust me, I am on the Internet a lot) is to try to sell me the same old pair of shorts I bought last week, which to be completely honest, I am really tired of looking at (and they haven’t even arrived at my house yet). The algorithms need some work, obviously. So, what if the government’s algorithms are even less fine tuned or less accurate than Facebook and Google’s? That’s a little frightening to think about. In the big scheme of things, shorts are pretty inconsequential, but if the same technology is being used to determine who is a good guy and who isn’t, I think we might be in for a heap of trouble.

P.S. If you are reading this one Google spam-writer, please stop trying to sell me what I just bought. Pass it on to Facebook. Thank you.