Archive for the 'the internets' Category

Cute imploding on itself

This is like, through the looking glass of cute. It doesn’t have anything to do with what I write about ever, but I couldn’t not mention it.

Facebook’s codependent relationship with me

you, facebook.

Apart from being scary and all-poweful and mercilessly flip with my privacy, Facebook has taken to suggesting I make the site better for someone who doesn’t have a lot of friends by writing on his wall. Aw, sad.

Ok. Folks who know me (/read my status updates) know how I feel about this “suggestion” widget, and know that I have taken steps on my home computer and the multitude of work computers I use to make it go the hell away. But every time I see it (before immediately disabling it), I can’t help but think about the deeper implications of a tool that suggests active participation within a tool that is inherently socially passive. You know, because I’m like that.

Facebook started as an experiment among elitist colleges to see just how elitist we could be allow us to rediscover friends from home we’d otherwise relegate to the 10-year-reunion, is she preggers? did he die? corner of our brains. It came at an interesting time for me and my class: Spring semester freshman year, word of this “thefacebook.com” spread around. Not an actual facebook (which evidently existed, although I didn’t buy one), but rather an online website you could join and poke people. Maybe the experience of meeting people in college would have been better the traditional way (which is not to say there weren’t plenty of keggers and “who the hell is this entry in my phone book?”s). Maybe “thefacebook.com” augmented the freshmen meet market by allowing us to catalog our acquaintances, instead of letting them disappear forever once Intro to Ethics ended.

Facebook evolved from an opportunity to find out the name of that guy you made out with last night those early years with limited information to share and find, where your home page was just your picture and tally of friends and you had to dig for updates, to its current form as a constant stream of information, musings, relationship news, shout-outs, and parties that 20 of your friends are invited to but you aren’t. The poke is a thing of the past, and so is your privacy (but that’s another post altogether).

Because facebook now does all the work for you, even adding a “Live Feed” in its most recent update, this social network–in itself a supremely passive form of social interaction–has turned us into self-interested idle sponges of human beings. (To be fair, an effect of the internet as a whole, not exclusive to facebook. Case in point.) Self interested because the majority of posts are about #1–what I’m doing and thinking, this party I’m having that you’re not invited to, and this blog I think you should read. Idle because one needs not contribute a single thing to facebook for it to work for them; if even a small percent of your long-lost friends take facebook up on its suggestion to write on your wall or add you as a friend, you are instantly popular.

At 14:42 today, I got a banner that suggested I add an Automatic Friend Finder feature. Here’s a quagmire: facebook wants you to be more active in certain friends’ online lives, but it’s perfectly willing make friends, for you, automatically. I’m left scratching my head.

But I will say this: I AM NOT GOING TO SUGGEST FACEBOOK FRIENDS FOR A DOG. I shouldn’t even BE facebook friends with a dog. Even though he’s cute. Come to think of it, I know a lot of people who might think he’s cute too. Maybe they’d like to be friends…

Project Runway recaps are all about vision and delusion

I have no intention of getting into the business of doing television recaps. I don’t have an entertainment department, and I usually take several weeks to catch up on most programs that aren’t re-aired in endless marathons on girly cable networks. Also, I have a deep rooted personal fear of spoilers, to the point that I don’t even want to hear people discuss Gossip Girl on Tuesday morning in case they spoil anything beyond the first disc of season one. That said, here’s my one-time SPOILER ALERT version of gawker’s recap of the Project Runway finale, because I’ve grown weary of gawker’s recaps and this is my opportunity to gripe at them in prose.

Things we hated:

  • That tragic model in Carol Hannah’s short gold dress who couldn’t walk to the bathroom at 7am, let alone walk down a runway as a model. Did she think she was playing dressup in mommy’s heels? Learn to walk in stilettos: it’s what you’re paid to do.
  • No, Marc Bouwer, you shouldn’t say strongest ever. Even last season’s snoozefest and winner (Jane? Sarah? I don’t remember, something vanillay) was more inspired than oversized knit sweaters and skinny pants, even if the crazy cat lady, Katy Perry or whoever, stole all her designs from real designers.
  • Althea’s politics Obama blah blah fashion on the streets blah. At least she didn’t send this overt monstrosity down the runway.
  • Harem pants. No girl wants her vag to look like it hits her knees. Ever.

Things we loved:

  • Suzy Menkes, fashion director for the London Daily Fog or whatever, bc ProjRun used up all its celebrity tie-ins throughout the season and now it’s time for real fashion people to judge the winner.
  • That Garnier Fructise commercial where the girl tied her hair in a knot, which I’m sure says something about Lifetime and our collective shame in having watched it each week since August.
  • ProjRun season 7 is in NYC again. Los Angeles is where fashion goes to die and get arrested for absurd dui’s.
  • That ninagarcia cautioned Irina against not using color three days before the final show and then called her out on the runway, as though she expected Irina to splatter dayglo paint on all her pretty black clothes as her 13th look. “We talked about that…” mmhmm. Like there’s anything I could’ve done, and besides, where were you all season long?
  • Jaslene “ChaChaDiva” Gonzales walking for Althea! It’s great to see ANTM alumni (except Saleisha) work, even if it is in the inbred circle of fashion reality shows, because, I mean, if Cindy Crawford can deign to be on ProjRun, maybe Jaslene’s not in such bad company.

In the end, Irina totally deserved to win. The other girls’ lines were ready-to-wear, and I would totally wear them (mostly), but I can see Irina putting in the work to be a real designer who actually makes her line happen. But I still hold out hope that one day I’ll be rich and fabulous enough for Christian Siriano to sew me a whole new wardrobe.

The opposite of “weblog” is “log”

The Oxford American Dictionary has given us the latest incarnation of what happens when the real world tries to grapple with online phenomena.

According to the Oxford University Press blog (which in itself is a quagmire), “unfriend” is the 2009 Word of the Year. Stiff competition? “teabagger.” I can’t wait until 2010 when “rimjob” might be in contention…

Anyway, the trouble here is, have you ever heard anyone use the term “unfriend?” I would think that word would be a derivation of the adverb, “unfriendly,” which is, afterall, a real word. eg: “The Id can be very unfriendly when she’s in a bad mood. She unfriended me last week by farting on my bed, although I’m not sure that was the result of a bad mood.” If her unfriendliness ever gets so bad that I want to cut all ties with her, I will “defriend” her from my facebook, and “stop being roommates with” her in real life.

Negative prefixes aren’t always perfect, but it makes more sense to think of “defriend” like “deactivate” (as if I would “deactivate” my facebook account) than “unfriend” like “undo” (as if I would Ctrl + Z our friendship).

UPDATE: Luke Russert agrees.

But the root of the matter, beyond the fact that Brits shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about how badly Americans bastardise [sic] the English language, is that when the real world tries to make sense of and codify the random and natural evolution of the internet, something’s bound to miss its mark.

When you have the world at your fingertips, it doesn’t make sense to go to a dusty library, sort through shelves of books, and then put as much of the world as can be contained by 1,000 abridged pages at your fingertips. When there’s a .com version of a real-life thing, the online thing wins.

Dictionary.com > Dictionary.
Google Translate > Merriam-Webster’s Spanish/English dictionary. (For that matter, Google > Human brain)
Thesaurus.com>  Shift F7  > Thesaurus.

The one notable exception to this rule is virtual pets (and materialistic teenage girls, and farms). FooPets is on the list of websites I should not have access to. Because, on a Wednesday night with a little shiraz in my blood and an intense desire to play tug of war with my actual dog, a cute furry animated Shiba Inu who barks and sneezes and lets you rub his tummy (with your cursor) is a very reasonable alternative. Until, of course, these clever webmasters get you hooked and con you into paying electronic funds transfers real money for pet food, shampoo, and facebook birthday gift doodads that you can never actually touch. When the time comes that you actually consider PayPal-ing your money away for a jpeg birthday cake, you should probably just go to the library.


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