J. C. Mogensen

Reality with a Healthy Dose of Humor

Ramblings

Facebook Rules

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (2)

 


This whole social networking thing is getting out of control. 800 million people on Facebook?! That means that we are dangerously close to having one out of every seven people on the planet posting pictures of what they're having for dinner. I'm impressed that there 800 million people in the world who know how to turn a computer on. By my experience, only about 10% of the population understands that mailing back the excess funds after receiving a check from a Nigerian prince is a bad idea, maybe less.


Social networking is here to stay and why shouldn't it? Who doesn't want to see which of their classmates got fat or went bald? There are probably other pros to having a presence on the intertubes too, but I can't think of them right now. Unfortunately, there is also the risk of developing narcissistic tendencies, psychological disorders, antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies. A report in The Guardian says that Twitter is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. As someone who has succumbed to the siren song of nicotine, I would have gladly set an old lady on fire for a single drag on a heater, but I've almost never felt pyromaniacal because I couldn't read a tweet.


 

 I need to tweet, dammit!


 

If we're going to survive the profound cultural shift caused by all this interconnectivity, we need to clearly establish what is and what is not acceptable.


Chain Posts


You know what I'm talking about. How many times have you logged in to tell the world about your day only to find that someone on your friends list has made the bold move of declaring themselves against something bad. "I believe that bad things are not good. Repost if you agree. I know most of you won't, but my real friends will." This kind of bullshit might as well be followed with, "If you don't send this to ten people in the next twenty four hours you will be cursed with bad luck for seven years." Posts like this not only prey on the guilt of your friends, who are afraid of being seen as in favor of something bad (OMG, if I don't repost, everyone will think I love cancer), it is the ultimate in empty gestures. If you really want to stand up for AIDS research, campaign for equal rights, put an end to childhood obesity or whatever your pet cause is, make a donation. Last time I checked, war widows couldn't deposit Facebook posts in their checking accounts.


Purposefully Vague Posts


I swear to Vishnu, one of my friends posted a frowny face. Nothing more, just colon, hyphen, open parenthesis. Then they sat back and waited for people to ask what the problem was. I can't think of a single more narcissistic thing to do and that includes a rapper naming himself after a deity. I hate to sound like a grade school teacher, but either share with the entire class or shut the hell up. A post like that could just as easily say, "Everyone! Hey! Pay attention to me!" Social networking sites are also the wrong place to make thinly veiled threats or insults to someone you are too chicken shit to name. "You know who you are and what you did." Awesome, the person the post was actually about is either so vain that they think every post is about them or they'll just assume that's directed towards someone else. Meanwhile, the only thing the rest of us will take away from it is that you're a pissy little drama queen who's already on the hunt for the next thing to get upset about.


Airing Dirty Laundry


I have actually seen posts where person A outs person B for giving them an STD. While that may be a worst case scenario, it's not that uncommon to find someone sharing a little too much information. I get that everyone needs to vent from time to time, but I know a great place for that exact purpose. A blog. See, unlike a news feed, which dumps the most recent information in front of someone, whether they want to see it or not, your blog is a place where people have to choose to go so that they can get the latest insights into your life. If you absolutely have to bitch about what an assbag your ex is, why not spare the rest of us from having to filter you out of our page? There is also the option of just keeping it to yourself, but that's pretty unrealistic.


 

 Must. Share. With. EVERYONE.

 


Declaring Your Undying Devotion


Within the last two years I have seen five people wax poetic about how much they loved their significant other. Without fail, every one of those relationships ended within two months. There's nothing wrong with telling that special someone that you love them, but I'm talking about sonnets declaring a love that is like no other. I get why this happens. As a relationship dies, one person is almost always desperate to keep it from ending. They will claw and scratch at anything to keep from being alone. Unfortunately, these posts are a sure sign that a coupling is in its last gasps. Maybe you can live with pouring your heart out in front of people who don't give a damn, but the real problem comes later when the inevitable bitterness sets in. Of those five people I mentioned earlier, three went on to post things like, "Why can't a man appreciate a good woman when one's right in front of him? I'm over it," or, "Never trust a woman, that's what I've learned." Again, everyone needs to vent, but don't assume that the people on your friends list want to moonlight as amateur therapists.


Sneaky Bragging


There is a phenomenon known as "humblebragging" where a person let's people know how amazing their life is seemingly without realizing that they're doing it. This might involve a girl making a post about how she isn't sure if her new hairdo is any good while including a picture of said 'do taken in nothing but a bra. It's like the old saying, "You can lead your friends to your page, but you can't make them compliment you. Unless you show some cleavage." Humblebragging is basically any boast disguised as a complaint or concern. "The chiropractor says my back problems come from sitting on a wallet that's overstuffed with money." An example of someone who understands that subtlety is the name of the game when it comes to bragging is this post that showed up in my "What's Hot" feed in Google+:


 

It's impossible to appreciate the natural splendor of a California sunset without a Mercedes in the foreground.

 

 

I know we're all guilty of being a bad internet neighbor now and then, but we can at least try to be better. I say go ahead and share those pics of your dog, recommend a great video, link to an interesting story, promote yourself if that's what you're into, but remember that not every single thought that stomps through your brain needs to be broadcast.


Now that I've thoroughly denounced everyone, don't forget to click the Facebook "Like" button on the right, visit me on G+, Stumble this post and follow me on Twitter. Shameless, hypocritical self-promotion makes me feel dirty. If anyone needs me I'll be in the shower, crying in the fetal position.

 

 

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My Best Craigslist Friend

Posted on December 31, 2011 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (4)

 

 


Ahh, Craigslist, the internet's flea market. Where else can you find people willing to buy or trade your worthless crap for theirs? eBay? Sure, you could use them or any other online auction site, but you'll miss out on coming into contact with some really interesting folks. I've used Craigslist a few times and, aside from a Nigerian who insisted on trying to overpay me for a '67 Yamaha YG5-T, each transaction has been successful. The fun of Craigslist comes, not from the item you're buying, selling or trading, but from what you have to do to get it. There's the email exchanges that lead to text messages, the clandestine meetings in the parking lot of Famous Dave's and the crapshoot that is any purchase made from a digital garage sale.


Early in 2011 I had a smart phone that I wanted to get rid off so I put an ad on Craigslist. It was in good shape, had lots of extras and, based on the going rate on eBay, I asked a fair price for it followed by the requisite OBO. Then, I sat back and let the suckers start rolling in. There were a few emails from interested parties and I did end up selling it for what I was asking, but there was one guy in particular who just didn’t seem to get it. The following is the conversation I had with him via Gmail over the course of a few days.


Interested Buyer: Do you still have the Samsung Omnia II for sale?


Me: Sure do


Interested Buyer: What's your lowest price on it?


Me: Make me an offer.


Crotchety Asshole (Formerly Interested Buyer): I'm too old to play this game. We both know you already have a lowest price in mind that you're willing to take. Why don't you tell me what it is so I can decide if it's worth it?


Me: Well, the price is $75 OBO so if you don't have an offer to make then I guess my lowest price is $75.


Increasingly Crotchety Asshole: Look, I don't haggle. Just give me your bottom dollar so we can get this over with.


Me: You do realize this is Craigslist right?


Insufferable Crotchety Asshole: Are you going to keep horsing around or are you going to give me a price. I can take my money somewhere else.


Me: The price is $75 Or Best Offer, hence the "OBO." You'll notice that it's not $75 OJAMWMLPICYFOMCRYCSOAB (Or Just Ask Me What My Lowest Price Is 'Cause You've Figured Out My Cunning Ruse You Clever Son Of A Bitch).


Just as I was starting to enjoy our conversation, he up and disappeared. At the opposite end of the spectrum was the lady at Wal-Mart last summer who made a counter offer on every item as it rang up on the register (No, I am not making that up. I was as horrified as the poor checkout girl). What I'm trying to say is this – there is a time and place to negotiate.


Sometimes when I'm all alone I wonder what Insufferable Crotchety Asshole is up to these days and what he finally paid for his new used phone.

 

 

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First World Problems

Posted on December 14, 2011 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We all have our own idea of what constitutes a real problem versus just a mild inconvenience. There's no doubt that some things are more troublesome than others, but does that mean that something that doesn't bother one person isn't a pain in the ass for the next guy? No. Spend some time online reading about the irritating goings-on of others (posts usually punctuated with an "FML") and someone will, without fail, claim the moral high-ground by reminding everyone that we don't live under the heel of a totalitarian despot, aren't starving to death, have relatively easy access to clean water and health care, and on and on. It's true that we have it better than a lot of our 6 billion plus neighbors, but my reaction to the "you don't have it so bad" crowd is to recommend that perhaps they might enjoy a game of "Hide and Go Fuck Yourself" while the rest of us anonymously vent about the minor inconveniences that drive us into a white-hot rage.

 

I have a nice place to call home, food in the fridge, healthy kids and a sweet, sweet ride, but I'm not rich by any means. In our house certain luxuries have to be carefully planned out in order to keep from torpedoing our finances. Wanna eat out? Fine, but that means PBJs for lunch tomorrow. Need new snow boots? OK, we'll start at Wal-Mart and work our way up through the hierarchy of affordability and hope we find something before we reach gold-plated Trendy-Ohs at Macy's. This also means that when it comes to satisfying my sweet tooth for gadgets, I have to save a little here and there in order to experience the adrenaline rush that comes from firing up a shiny new toy for the first time in a fiscally responsible way.


 

Sorry kids, ramen noodles tonight. Daddy needs to look fabulous.


Which brings me to my point: I have been anxiously waiting for a certain high-end phone-type thing to be released (not an Apple product, thank you very much) so that I can finally upgrade to the latest and greatest in pocket-based computing. Following the tech blogs, and the comments therein, inevitably leads to some assbag telling everyone "It’s just a phone, relax." No, you pencil dick, it's not just a phone. For me it's a hobby, an entertainment device, a portal into my PC and a machine that plays a very real part in whether or not I make money since it is directly tied into my productivity. Could I make do with the smartphone I already have? Maybe, maybe not. But I don't want to.



Just take my damn money already!


 

Some people collect extramarital sexy friends, some people juggle geese, I love all things tech. Maybe it is silly to get riled up over a phone, but I'm an American and that's where my priorities lie. I mean it's great that Libya and Egypt have had relatively successful revolutions, and Imma let you finish, but Verizon cannot successfully release a hotly anticipated device without royally screwing the pooch in the process. Yes, we should support AIDS research, it sucks that almost 900 million people have unsafe drinking water and I don't understand why gays have to prove their humanity in order to get equal rights from the god of right wing fundamentalists, but why does road construction take so long, why can't my goddamn cable company consistently give me the high-speed broadband I'm paying for and what the hell are my upstairs neighbors doing after 10 PM – practicing their square dance routine?


And for anyone wondering whether I'm being sarcastic or self-centered, I totally am.


 Not a huge fan of most memes, that being said, here's a fitting one:

 


 

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My Car is the Highlander

Posted on October 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

In this age of disposable of tech, it's nice to see something that actually lasts. Of course, a lot of the time we upgrade without any real reason. My Droid Incredible, which was Verizon's flagship smartphone in early 2010, seems ridiculously antiquated now when compared to the dual-core, big-screen, LTE super-phones that are available even though it does everything I actually need it to do. Spending four or five hundred bucks just to have the latest and greatest piece of pocket tech may seem like a monumental waste of money, but it pales in comparison to the cost of replacing a vehicle. That's not to say that you can't get a pretty kickass hoopty for a few Benjamins. I have.


Seeing a car go a few hundred thousand miles while being treated to meticulous maintenance is pretty impressive but owning a car that can do that while having the living shit kicked out of it is really special. I have been blessed over the years to have owned a few unkillable cars. When I say 'unkillable' I don't mean a car that can go the distance if you baby it, I mean a car that you have to deliberately murder if you want it to stop. They're like Christine but without all the demonic homicide. My first such vehicle was an '83 F-150 that I bought in '95. The first day I had it I pulled a brand new Chevy out of the ditch while four-wheeling on a mountain in Northern Idaho. Two owners after me, it finally took a fire to kill it completely. I assume Satan needed a 4X4.



My entry for 'Badass' in Wikipedia



The next one is a '93 Crown Victoria that had over two hundred grand on the non-working odometer when I picked it up for $700 in 2005. She never got an oil change because she leaked and burned through that black gold as fast as you could add it. I once drove it for two weeks with no rear brakes. That car had a wierd habit of growling at random passers-by when parked as the air suspension built up pressure. It assassinated a deer once with nothing but a broken signal light lens to show for it. I finally sold it to a friend who was too cheap to pay for gas and who thought that hybrid vehicles were for pussies. He started adding a couple of gallons of used transmission fluid to every tank of gas and the Crownie ran like a champ, mostly to prove that it gave even fewer fucks than he did.



Imagine Darth Vader as a sedan



There is also the '95 Grand Cherokee that my ex-wife totaled twice. You know those two foot tall concrete parking posts that are bright yellow and tell you where not to drive in a parking lot? My ex decided that no one was the boss of her and proceeded to hit one head-on at full speed. After dislocating the front axle from the vehicle, she drove 70 miles down I-94 home. My insurance company took a look at it and pulled a Nader by declaring it "unsafe at any speed." $500 later and the Jeep was as good as new. Round two occurred a year later when a snow plow picked a fight with her and, sadly, the rig that I had used to tow a boat twice its size did not survive. I could have fixed it but my eye had begun to wander.



I'll never understand what she had against my cars



Honorable mentions go to my '88 Mustang and '74 Mustang II. My idiot roommate blew out the clutch on the '88 and left it parked in a snowplow turnaround on the highway between Moscow and Lewiston, ID.  After talking my other roommate into helping me tow it into town, I crawled underneath to find that I had connected the tow rope to the lower radiator hose. That's like pulling a person ten miles up and down hills by tying a rope to a single pube. The '74 Pintang executed a Ranger (I'm pretty sure it would have yelled "Come at me, Bro!" to the mini-truck afterwards if it could talk) and drove away with little more than a dent in the fender. For the record, the '74 is the one vehicle in this list that was, without a doubt, a Decepticon.




I will not post a pic of the '74 - that car is dead to me



Sure, you can spend 50 grand on a new BMW Douchemeister and have all the bells and whistles that anal-retentive Germans can stuff into a car, but I'd rather have a 10 year old Ford Zombie that doubles in value when you fill the tank.


 


 My newest lady. I call her "Echo."


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A Prescription for Fun

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Like most people, I drank more than my fair share of booze in my early twenties. Also like most people, I may or may not have partaken in a certain type of herbal self medication in my younger years. I was never, however, tempted by hard drugs or the idea of spending days in an alcohol-fueled stupor. Some people fall down that rabbit-hole and spend years trying to claw their way backout again, but not me. That's not to say that I am immune to the effects of fun-time chemicals though, for some reason prescription pharmaceuticals hit me like a two-ton heavy thing. I lost an entire week after leg surgery thanks to the wonders of Vicodin (I had to ask the Doc for something a little less powerful) and even Codeine-laced cough syrup knocks me for a loop. Crushing depression and fits of rage are common side effects of drug use, but, for me, I merely wax poetic about whatever stupid bullshit catches my eye. After a recent twelve hours under the influence of the previously mentioned cough syrup, I opened my DropBox account to the following gem that I swear I do not remember writing:


 

 It gets a little wierd


 

Oh Google, you really are the best. Is there anything you don’t know or can't do? I've learned all about Santorum from you, seen fake pictures of naked celebrities and found out whether or not pneumonia is contagious. I learned that 5ml is equal to 1 teaspoon (which I should have asked you about before quadrupling the dose on my narcotic cough syrup, but whatta you gonna do?) and how to make perfect Rice Krispie Treats.  I bet if you were a girl you would be supercute - not snotty or stuck-up at all. Bing is a high society bitch and Yahoo is the slutty friend that follows her around. The three A’s – Ask, AltVista, and AOL Search – are a cheerleader squad. They’re cute enough and they get the job done, but only by cheating off of you and Yahoo (who cheats off of Bing) and they lack your elegant simplicity and reliability. No, you are your own search engine and you don’t need to prove how much more breathtaking you are than the also-rans, not when your name is synonymous with “Sit back ‘cause I got this.” Only GigaBlast, the Zooey Deschanel of search engines, comes close, but at the end of the day she’s just a little too odd and quirky for it to be anything more than a summertime fling.


It doesn’t matter how we connect. Whether it’s from IE or Firefox, Opera or Safari, you are always my home page.  Maybe you’ve heard the rumors that Facebook is on its way to becoming the hot new thing in search. Well, that might be true for some people, but not me. Sure I use Facebook, but that little hussy will never come between us.  When I need a restaurant review, movie times, or even directions I don’t say, “Hang on, Imma Facebook this.” Nope. I turn to the one who has settled arguments and made me look smarter than I am time and again.


So here’s to you Google: You have my contacts, more personal information than I’m comfortable with, my number and my heart. Yes, I am feeling lucky, let’s go steady.



The warning label on my meds



From now on I will only use baby aspirin since that seems to be all I can handle. In summation, don't do drugs m'kay? Yes, they're fun and yes, they make the world a more interesting place, but they also make you stupid. And not just a little oh-you're-so-funny kind of stupid, but full-on, what-the-shit-did-you-just-say, retarded.


But I do like Google.

 

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