Facebook Doesn’t Annoy People, People Annoy People: Part 2

Holy *&%#! Facebook changed! *jumps out window*

Now, I will admit, I think the new Facebook is a stupid, convoluted mess that thinks it knows me better than it really does (sounds like some people I know), but at least I gave it a week or so before passing judgment. I had to laugh a little – well, a lot – at the people who logged in the day of the change and immediately posted about how much they hate it. Amazingly enough, they’re the exact same people who had absolutely “had it” with Facebook after the last change. Now they’re back to happily updating us about their treacherous bake-sale activities and fascinating coffee addiction.

Some people are starting to form an abusive relationship with Facebook. Facebook hits them with a new update and they say they’re done with it for good, but the next week they’ve come crawling back. They’ve been with Facebook so long, they can’t throw all of that away! After all, it was really their own fault, they shouldn’t have made Facebook mad. If you knew Facebook, you’d understand.

Because I hate the new Facebook, I had to re-think my stance that Facebook doesn’t annoy people, people annoy people. But then I scrolled through my news feed for five seconds and decided I was right to begin with. The people complaining about the new Facebook, and those of us complaining about the people complaining about the new Facebook, were way more annoying than any of the actual changes Facebook had made.

No one asked and Facebook listened! One of the grand new features we’ve gotten is the addition of “Top Stories”. I’d like to see whatever algorithm or other computer mumbo-jumbo they use to determine those “Top Stories” because Facebook seems to think I care an awful lot about people that I’ve never once interacted with on Facebook. Maybe they think the only thing keeping me from commenting on these people’s statuses is that they weren’t constantly at the top of my news feed.

However, I’m starting to think this was a deliberate prank on the part of Facebook. “Let’s constantly highlight people she could care less about, and make her wonder why she’s even friends with these people to begin with,” Facebook says sitting in its dark lair, petting its white cat and rubbing its hands together ominously. Yes, Facebook has more than two hands. How else could it do all those “likes”?

In Facebook Doesn’t Annoy People, People Annoy People: Part 1 I took a stance saying that I generally prefer to just hide people instead of unfriending them. The more I think about that, the more I realize that’s due to my own issues with confrontation. I’d much rather passive-aggressively hide someone than unfriend them and have them find out. Makes my life easier. And let’s be serious, the most important thing here is what makes me happy.

Does that make me a hypocrite of sorts? Yes, yes it does. I whine and moan about certain people and how obnoxious they are, but I’m still their “friend.” Well… I’m still most of their friends.

So now  you know I don’t unfriend often, and you’re still reading this, so you’re probably wondering what it takes to make me actually hunt someone down and unfriend him. Well, here’s the dish…

I had a hard time thinking of occasions when I actually unfriended people. I still can’t think of that many instances, but I know I’ve done it a lot. It’s apparently so traumatic for me that I block it from my memory. Sorry, I mean I “unsubscribe” it from my memory.

One instance was with a genuinely miserable person who I honest to goodness can’t stand even in person. Why was I their “friend”? Because they asked me and I knew I’d have to see them once and a while and it would have been awkward to ignore them. However, this person really loved aggressively pushing their beliefs on others and berating anyone who disagreed. The surprising part? I actually shared a lot of the same beliefs, I just didn’t like the way this person presented them. They were just so angry and bitter all the time. I’ve got enough anger and bitterness of my own, I don’t need yours Mr. Bitter McGrumpyPants.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from Facebook it’s that I don’t really care if people have different beliefs than I do. I don’t even really care if they post about their beliefs a lot. The people who tick me off are the ones who shove their beliefs on others and can’t take feedback from anyone with a differing opinion. Granted, the line here is blurred and subjective, but I do think there is a difference between “sharing” and “shoving”. If you don’t believe me, try to apply this to an everyday situation in your own life. Offer to share your dessert with someone and then shove pie up their nose. Then note how they react to “sharing vs. shoving.”

Another time I can actually remember unfriending someone it was due to me posting too much. Yeah, you read that right. I like this person just fine and had no problem with their Facebook activity, but they apparently had a problem with mine. Every time I saw this person the first thing they said to me was “well, I know what’s going on with you because you’re ALWAYS on Facebook.” I didn’t unfriend them the first time this happened… it was about the 10th time I ran into this acquaintance and had them rub my Facebook addiction in my face. I’ll choose to ignore the fact that if someone knows I’m on Facebook a lot, they must be on Facebook just a smidge as well.

I also unfriend anyone who comes up in my feed whose name I don’t recognize. I’m not too proud to admit that this has happened to me more than once.

The birthday reminders are an extremely useful tool. Not so much for sending birthday wishes, but for weeding out your friends list. When a “friend” has a birthday and the mere act of seeing their name makes me go “ew,” “ugh,” “puke,” or “huh?” then it’s time to unfriend.

So what’s the point that this snarky self-helper is trying to make? Sometimes you pretend you’re doing something to spare someone else’s feelings when you’re really just making things easier for yourself. I unfriend people when I know I will either A: likely never have to see them again or B: dislike them enough that I’d prefer they avoid me in public.

Since I am openly a Facebook addict, I’m going to declare it now: Stay tuned for Facebook Doesn’t Annoy People, People Annoy People Part 3: Facebook: Making You Feel Bad About Your Life Since 2004.

“Fulfilling My Potential Would Really Cut Into My Sitting Around Time”

I’ve watched a lot of standup comedy over the years. Comedy Central was a main source of entertainment for me starting at a young age. Obviously this was before TV Parental Guidelines were put in place and immediately ignored by everyone.

Without Comedy Central, who’s to say if I would have developed my signature sparkling wit. ~Because if there is one word that best describes Comedy Central it would be “witty.” I certainly don’t think they should just change the name to Dick and Poop Joke Central.~

There are very few standup routines that I actually remember with any detail. I can have a decent recollection of Louis C.K.’s hilarious account of his daughter being bitten by a pony or Jim Gaffigan’s… uh… story about how Hot Pockets are hot. Obviously my ability to recall routines doesn’t directly correlate with the actual quality of the material.

The one piece of standup that sticks most vividly in my mind is a single punch line by comedienne Maria Bamford (now best known for her Target ads). I can’t even recall the exact setup of the joke. I believe that, as with all good stories, a cult may have been involved.

I did an online search to make sure I was somewhat close on what I remembered of this punch line. It has been about ten years since I saw this particular special, after all. According to the always accurate internet, the exact line is:

“She said I was afraid of success, which may in fact be true, because I have a feeling that fulfilling my potential would really cut into my sitting around time.”

Now why, oh, why would that one piece of comedy resonate with me so deeply? What possible reason would my increasingly forgetful brain have to retain this joke? My mind has gone through hundreds of information/data purges by now and somehow this line stays clear as day.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence that this line has stuck with me. I’ve never been bitten by a wild pony or had the inside of my mouth scalded by a molten hot Hot Pocket and I pretty much remember those bits. Or perhaps…

In an odd way this joke has kind of become my life motto. What? “Making a punch line your life’s motto isn’t a great idea,” you say? Well, bite me. I didn’t ask for your opinion.

I have actually used this joke to laugh away missed opportunities in my life. If I  skipped an audition or didn’t get around to applying for a job it was because it would have “really cut into my sitting around time.” Ha, ha I’m a slacker, ha ha. It’s been how many weeks since I posted to this site? You get my point.

Fear of success and fear of failure are one in the same. No one is really afraid of succeeding, they’re afraid of the possibility that they’ll fail at being successful. Read that sentence slowly about five times and it will start to make sense.

People just say they’re afraid of success because it sounds better than being afraid of failure. No one has ever not tried something because they were afraid they’d be too awesome at it.

I’m much older now than I was when I first heard that punch line. I’d like to say wiser, but really I’ve just been through more crap. However, that crap has made me realize it’s time to drop this particular life motto.

One perk of having been through more crap is that you genuinely care less about what other people think. I am slowly easing into this new concept called “trying.” I think it originated in China. It’s a foreign idea to me, so we’ll see how it goes.

So what’s the point that this snarky self helper is trying to make? Most of the good things in life will cut into your sitting around time. Get off your ass and don’t worry about who’s watching.

Until I can find a good replacement life motto, I think my interim one will be “We call our act the Aristocrats.” What do you think?

Simpsons Already Did It!

What’s the deal with airplane food? Men like sports, women like shopping. One Cinnabon is big enough to feed a family of four.

The lack of originality in the world is shocking. We’re about one movie remake – or “re-envisioning” – away from Revenge of the Revenge of the Nerds. Or perhaps America will flock to the theaters to see Mannequin 2 remade in eye-popping 3D.

Did you hear about the edgy new sitcom coming this Fall? It follows a group of friends living in *insert large metropolitan city here*as they navigate their way through the twists and turns of this crazy thing we call life. Men and women trying to “just be friends”? Let the hilarity ensue!

Or for those of you with a more serious side, I heard there is a shocking new drama coming about a group of cops/detectives/scientists/authors/psychics who solve crimes/investigate crime scenes/prosecute criminals. The stripper was killed by her jealous boyfriend that was a suspect in the beginning of the show, but then stopped being a suspect? ~That’s quite the twist ending.~

The “Recommended Reading” aisle at Target is like walking the halls of the most depressing animal shelter in the world. Apparently all you need to write a book nowadays is a blind cat, three-legged dog or a ferret with bipolar disorder. Tell the harrowing tale of one of man’s furry friends overcoming a disability and BAM! You’ve got a bestseller.

“Sara looked out as Rover frolicked joyfully in the backyard. She watched how he played with such youthful exuberance and for a brief moment, Sarah felt a pang of sadness. No one who saw Rover’s carefree spirit would guess that he was deaf, diabetic and had lost part of his tongue saving a newborn baby from a possum.”

Wait… didn’t something like that happen in Lady and the Tramp? See… I can’t even come up with an original dog-saving-baby-being-attacked by-wild-animal story.

You’d never know it by the final outcome of these posts, but I actually have pretty high standards for myself. I never feel like any of my ideas are original enough. Writing about Facebook? It’s been done. A story about Rebecca’s Black’s song Friday? How trite.

But apparently we don’t get sick of things as easily as you might think. We’re a culture obsessed with what’s fresh and new, but it would seem that we also enjoy the same old, same old. That or we’re just really stupid and can’t tell when we’re being fed the same idea over and over again.

Did you know that high-calorie beverages make you gain weight? How about the fact that there are jobs available in health care? If you weren’t aware of these facts, then you’ve never once been to the Yahoo! homepage.

Listen to the Comedy station on Pandora radio. The comedians’ topics are all basically the same, they’re just presented in different ways. Yes, yes, Snuggies are hilarious and women can’t drive. I think I just came up with my first standup bit.

So what’s the point that this snarky self-helper is trying to make? There are no original ideas left in the world. Even writing about how there are no original ideas isn’t an original idea. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Life would be pretty dull if we got bored that easily. It’s the way in which the material is presented, not the originality of the idea that matters.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there is a marathon of Intervention/Addicted/Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on that I must watch.

We’re Not As Cultured As We’d Like to Think

People used to be so barbaric in their chosen forms of entertainment. There was a time when people would actually gather around the town gallows and watch others be hung to death for the sheer amusement.

I want to keep my posts fairly light-hearted in nature so I’m going to just ignore the fact that there are still places around the world that do this. Like most Americans I choose ignorance. Makes me feel less guilty when I’m bitching about traffic jams or how crowded it is at the mall.

Another entertainment pastime that was less morbid – but 100% politically incorrect – was the good old-fashioned freak show. Can you believe that people used to actually pay to stand and gawk at individuals with physical and mental disorders?

Oh, look! Jersey Shore is on…

As I’ve previously confessed, I love reality television. And I must admit that most of the reality shows I like are the kinds that make me feel better about myself through the art of judging.

My love of judging probably comes as a shock to those of you who know me. The secret lives we lead, right?

I personally don’t choose to watch shows like the aforementioned Jersey Shore. I want my reality television to trick me into thinking I’m watching a documentary. Makes me feel all classy-like.

Everyone has their own reality show sleaze-threshold. Mine cuts off right around any show involving a half ton man. I eat those types of shows up, so to speak, but I feel bad in the process.

Whatever your style of reality show, it will always contain some element of what I call the “Freak Show Factor.” We watch these people struggle and fail and make fools of themselves. And because of the freak show factor even the kindest one among us has had a moment of “I’m glad that’s not me.”

The Germans even have a word for this. They call it schadenfreude. The definition being: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. ~Shocking that the German people would go to the effort a creating a specific word for something so insensitive and cruel.~

If I were more thorough this is where I would insert some sort of information about the psychological principle behind all this. But I think you’re just as capable of using Google as I am.

So what is the point that this snarky self-helper is trying to make? We’re only human. Sometimes you just can’t fight nature. At least we’re cultured enough to feel bad about our schadenfreude. Or at least pretend that we do.

When It’s Okay to Say, “That’s So Gay”

Oh, Public Service Announcements. We know them so well. Created by The Ad Council, some of the most famous – and relentlessly mocked – PSA slogans include “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to  Waste” and “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.”

Hey Ad Council! What if we’re wasting the mind of someone who causes forest fires? Exactly.

One of the council’s current campaigns focuses on the negative connotation of the phrase “that’s so gay.”  These particular PSA’s are a collaboration between The Ad Council and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

The campaign’s commercials feature “celebrities” such as Wanda Sykes and Hillary Duff (~well-known gay rights activist~) confronting unsuspecting teenagers as they use the phrase “that’s so gay.”

The campaign hopes that people will stop and think what they’re really implying when they say “that’s so gay.”

For those of you who don’t know, I am the queen of the gays (yeah, you heard me Kathy Griffin). I love them and they love me. So I am all for fighting against discrimination and preventing the bullying of gay teens. However, this campaign has overlooked one critical fact: sometimes you just have to say “That’s So Gay.”

I got in trouble recently with one of my gays for saying “That’s so gay.” What was I describing? Something super gay.

When I’m watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and one of the contestants does a pirouette during the lip-sync for their life, how am I supposed to describe that? When a designer on Project Runway screams “Where the HELL is my chiffon?” what do you want me to say?

The most concise and accurate response is simply “That’s so gay.”

Some people use the term to be intentionally malicious or hateful while others use it with complete ignorance. When I say “that’s so gay” I say it with the utmost love and respect.

In fact, why can’t we decide to use “that’s so gay” to describe positive things? If you find a $5 bill on the street, proclaim “That’s so gay!” When your friend tells you they’re engaged, scream “That’s so gay!” The next time your boyfriend is excited that he bought some fabulous shoes on sale, tell him “that’s so gay.”

The point that this snarky self-helper is trying to make is that intent is more important than words. People can say some horrible, hateful, evil things without using a single slur or profanity.

And sometimes things are just super, mega gay and “that’s so gay” is the most eloquent description that can be used.

How Do I Get That Crappy 70’s Look?

Technology today is amazing. We can carry around 20,000 songs in our pocket, watch 3D movies in our home and we have the internet at our fingertips every moment of the day. We have all the tools we need to never have to interact with another human being face-to-face ever again. It’s magical.

Photography is an example of a medium that advances drastically with each passing year. Digital photography has revolutionized the way we take, keep and display pictures. Most family memories are kept in a folder in a computer hard drive instead of in a shoebox in the closet. The majority of us now carry a camera with us at all times (as the poor individuals on PeopleofWalmart.com can attest… or they could attest if they owned computers).

Even picture frames are digital now. Heaven forbid we have an attention span long enough to put one picture in a frame. Must. Have. Constant. Stimulation.

This year Hasselblad came out with a 200-megapixel camera that can be yours for the low, low price of $45,000. 200-megapixels? No one needs to be seen with that kind of clarity.

While most of us don’t have a 200-megapixel camera at our disposal, even the camera on my iPhone is 5-megapixels. The digital camera I bought a couple years ago was only 8-megapixels.

So even our phones can take amazing, clear, beautiful pictures. How can we best utilize these amazing advancements? I know! Let’s make our photos look like they were taken by a cheap 70’s camera and then stored in the pages of an acid laden photo album for 40 years.

Apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic give smartphone users the ability to add all kinds of filters and effects to their photos. For those of you who aren’t tech savvy, let me give you an analogy of the effect you get with a photo filter: it’s like buying a new pair of jeans, throwing them in a mud puddle and ripping them into shreds because you feel it adds “character.” Oh, wait! That is a current fashion trend. But I digress.

In the spirit of full discretion I have to admit that I love crap-a-fying my photos. Overexpose? Yes please. Add a lens flare? Don’t mind if I do. Fade all the colors? Indubitably. Crisp, color photos are boring.

So what is the point this snarky self-helper is trying to make? Sometimes technological advancements don’t equal advancements in entertainment or artistic expression.

Actually, that’s not really my point. The real point I’m trying to make is that we don’t all need to be photographed with amazing digital clarity and crispness. If I don’t have a photo retoucher at my disposal 24/7 then I might as well just overexpose the hell out of my pictures and throw a nice grunge filter over it. Amazing how my complexion clears right up.

Yesterday Was Thursday, Today is Friday

Teen singer Rebecca Black got a lot of criticism for her song, Friday. And why wouldn’t she? The song was ridiculous. With lyrics like “Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday, comes afterwards” and “we, we, we so excited.” Lyrics to a song couldn’t get much more moronic and juvenile. Or could they…

A couple weeks ago I was listening to the mind numbing song selections available on our local Top 40 station. I heard a song that I rationalized could only be a spoof of Black’s song Friday. ~The hosts of the morning zoo are skilled at parody and hilariously funny.~ This was probably a replay of one of their “bits.”

Here is a sample of the lyrics to this mystery song:

There’s a hickie or a bruise
Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a black top blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled

This Friday night
Do it all again
This Friday night
Do it all again

Slowly I made the horrible realization that this was a “real song.” Even more horribly, it turns out the song is by the 27-year-old singer Katy Perry.

“Whoa! People are going to make so much fun of this song,” I thought to myself.

But to my surprise I’ve seen nothing about this song. Where are the articles making fun of its idiotic subject matter? Why doesn’t my Facebook feed explode with statuses quoting Perry’s stupid lyrics every Friday? This is a grown-ass woman singing about getting hickies and using the term “epic fail” (without the slightest hint of sarcasm) and no one raises an eyebrow.

The answer to this conundrum is simple: most popular music is stupid and the majority of people just don’t want to admit it.

I have no problem with stupid music. It’s enjoyable. All in all, music should be fun. If it has a good beat and you can dance to it, I say more power to you.

It’s just an interesting line between what constitutes a laughably stupid pop song, and a legitimate pop song (if there is such a thing). Black’s song Friday has gotten stuck in my head more times than I care to admit, but I can’t remember Perry’s Last Friday Night even if I try. So which song is the real joke, America?

The advice that this snarky self-helper is giving to you is just to accept that every pop song you like is dumb and be okay with that. Life’s too short to be a music snob.

So go out and have fun, fun, think about fun. You know what it is.

I’m Not Old, You’re Incompetent

The horror. Oh, the horror!

Sorry, I got ahead of myself. Let me take a moment to set a scene for you.

You’re in the checkout line of your local grocery store getting ready to purchase your adult beverage of choice. You’ve carefully thrown some additional items into the mix so it doesn’t look like you went to the store just to buy booze. Everyone knows that you want your shopping selection to have that “I just noticed the alcohol while I was shopping for my groceries” feel. It’s just the classy thing to do.

As you begin to check out, the pimple-faced 12-year-old working the register asks you if you found everything alright. You answer politely “yes,” even though you’re thinking “why the hell would someone wait until they started checking out to ask where to find something?”

Since you’re a courteous shopper, you politely get your I.D. ready to hand to him. The sign does say that they card anyone who looks under 40-years-old after all.

The adolescent cashier finishes ringing up your items, looks at you and says “Your total is…”

Oh… no… he… didn’t.

In a humiliated panic you try to subtly put your ID back into its slot in your wallet. You attempt to cover this catastrophe by pretending that you’re getting out your credit card, but you can tell everyone is looking at you and laughing. Laughing at your smug delusion. “Ha! She thinks she looks 19,” they think to themselves.

There has to be some reason for this blatant oversight. The explanation is not an easy one to accept, but there is only one logical answer: he’s incompetent.

Here’s a little tip from this snarky self-helper to all the cashiers of the world: always ask a woman for ID. Trust me, it’s for the betterment of society as a whole.