Sad Affleck

You’ve probably seen this beauty already, but give it another go. This is why I love the internet.

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Digitally Naive

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s full of absolute rubbish, but I like to keep an eye on how my family and friends are doing. From time to time I find myself angry as I scroll through my timeline. Like today, when one of my relatives liked and shared this post:

Oh come on. Seriously? That’s a photograph? Of the Pope and Mary? Really? REALLY?

It was then, as I hunched over my phone scrolling through hundreds of comments to find at least one other person who thought it was hilariously fake, I realised why it had angered me.

Facebook is a place where intelligent yet digitally naive are exposed to a world they don’t really understand. It’s hard to watch. I think I’ll take a break from it for a while.

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Spoiling the Makeup Magic

I don’t normally wear makeup to work, mostly because my lazy priorities lie in getting that extra time in bed. I’ve never been a morning person, and flip between jealousy and annoyance at those who have themselves together before 8am.

Sometimes I try to pretend I’m an organised morning person and take advantage of a quiet train to put some makeup on: coverup, mascara, blusher. To ‘frame the face’, as Jeremy Renner recommends. Nothing crazy that requires two sponges, a paint brush and the the support of the entire Kardashian family – less than a two minute job normally. And never on a packed train.

The reactions of fellow passengers can vary. Most people don’t care or aren’t conscious enough to notice. Some other women take it as a cue to pull out their own makeup. Then you get the odd man, normally in his 20s-30s, who can’t seem to handle it.

They look over constantly and seem to get very uncomfortable. I’ve even had a few tut their disapproval (this morning, for example – hence the blog post).

I’m petty sure I understand why.

They don’t want to know how sausage is made.

By sausage, I mean my face.

By my face, I mean the thin cover of lies that pretends I’ve got actual colour in my cheeks and eyebrows that don’t have gaps like a morse code training book.

It’s like that time I watched a YouTube video of how caviar is made. I knew roughly what it was made of, but seeing it actually happen up close… not cool.

It spoils the magic. I guess that makes us the Penn and Teller of the makeup world.

Are you sure? Are you really sure? We have an app for that!

I can’t be the only one who gets irritated with this. You find an interesting link on your mobile, click through and are faced with this taking over your entire screen:

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Hey, I’m all for promoting apps. It’s a great thing, and sometimes I didn’t even realise you have one. But don’t push it in my face like that one aunt at the party who tries to get you to “try the quiche, you’ll love it”.

All I want to do is read your article titled “17 reasons Zac Efron’s left arm looks like Deirdrie Barlow’s throat”. I don’t think that necessitates a full app, nor I do I have the time or the attention span to download it.

(Don’t) Tell Me About It

I’m a big fan of old people, they’re brilliant. They’ve survived a lot of shit, so they deserve respect. But there is something that irritates me, and it’s quite universal by the sounds of it:

Their gory detail of ailments and surgeries.

They love it! Nothing excites them more than telling you about their neighbour Isa’s knee surgery, or the helpful yet sweaty support of their orthopaedic tights.

I’ve listened to an in-depth explanation of how a relative had been constipated for two weeks, the consequent surgery and a description of “the results”, all while at the dinner table. There was beef gravy available, but my roast remained dry that day.

Without fail, I hear more detail than I want to. As a generation that doesn’t do the “Facebook inner thoughts 24/7 365 broadcast” approach, I would have thought they would be a bit more reluctant to divulge personal information.

Not when it comes to health issues, it seems.

Where does this morbid fascination come from? Is there a point in the ageing process where a switch goes off in your head and you think “Know what’s cool? Varicose Veins”!

Unwelcome Train Buddies

I’m currently on a train carriage that looks like this:

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We just pulled up to a station where five people got on the carriage. One of them sat right beside me.

Right. Beside. Me.

The train, from my seat, now looks like this:

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And yet someone is now on the seat next to me. She is elbowing me in the side as I type this.

Are these people creatures of habit? Is that her “regular” seat? Does she ache for the body warmth an (angry) stranger on the train will provide? Or is she just thick?

For anyone who does a daily commute, you will know what it’s like being squashed together in a big can twice a day every day. And you will know the unbridled joy when there’s a quiet train and space to move in. There’s etiquette. Simple etiquette. If everyone pays attention, we can all have the space we need.

What’s so hard about that?

People just ignore this, though. It keeps happening! Either they’re right beside you or right across from you so you both have no leg room, even when they can sit diagonally and you’ll both be happy.

Listen, general public. Personal space is a big thing, stop ignoring it. If there are a multitude of free seats, don’t fuck it up by sitting next to someone when you don’t have to.

Think of it like a urinal, nobody wants neighbours when there’s no need to.

If it was a urinal, I’d probably piss on your shoes.

Baby Busking

Have you ever read something so completely unexpected that you sit silently staring at the screen? That just happened to me reading this news story from a few days ago: Woman gives birth outside Birmingham Primark.

Giving birth outside isn’t that shocking, and I’m not exactly surprised it happened near a Primark. It was the statement from an ‘eye witness’ that had me stunned.

“Everyone was crowding the woman and after about five minutes everyone was clapping,” she said. “Everyone was throwing money at her. She got about £300 to £400.”

Just… what? People were throwing money at a woman who just gave birth on a pavement? What?! It’s not like the pavement screamed sanitary in the first place. Let’s throw some well handled money in there!

And since when did flashing a placenta equate to busking?! Unless she strummed the opening bars to Wonderwall with it, there’s no reason to throw money at her. It’s all a bit bizarre.

Facebook: Ahead of the curve?

Facebook have come under fire this week after they admitted trying out an experiment with their news feed in order to gauge if “exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours”. In other words, seeing if sad content encourages sad content.

It has resulted in a bit of a backfire, with a rather over zealous MP calling for an investigation into the matter, people claiming that it touches on a “wider failure in ethics, power and consent on platforms” and others just being downright offended at the study.

It makes me uncomfortable to think that my internet activity is being closely monitored, but let’s face it – Facebook aren’t the only ones at it. I doubt ANYTHING I’ve done on the internet in the last few years has failed to be recorded somewhere for further analysis, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been manipulated at some point (I own a set of poached egg pods and I don’t even like poached eggs).

Behavioural targeting isn’t new, it’s used everywhere.

Continue reading Facebook: Ahead of the curve?

Respect the Viewer

As an avid Game of Thrones viewer, I found myself plagued by unwanted spoilers every Monday. It was everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Imgur and so many news sites I lost count. You just couldn’t get away from it.

I eventually accepted the inevitability and stayed offline, away from potential spoilers, until I could get home and watch it. That was quite tricky considering I work with the internet for a living.

For me, a spoiler is only when an episode is fresh. By fresh, I mean within few weeks of airing for the first time. Posting about an episode that’s five weeks old is fair enough, but five minutes after airing in the US is a bit poor.

I can’t change the fact that people post spoilers (however much I wish I could), but I can take joy from ranting about the types I’ve seen so far.

Note: The following contains something from the first season of Game of Thrones that might ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

Continue reading Respect the Viewer