Tag: Facebook (page 1 of 2)

Facebook betrayal and…ducks

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Dear Karen,

I was all set to discuss betrayal on Facebook today but I decided not to.

Let me explain why:

  • I’m not a masochist
  • I don’t have time to dwell on people who childishly decide to  block me
  • Life isn’t a popularity contest
  • I can see ducks through my window
  • I guess they’re more important than hurt feelings and unanswered questions.   So I threw away my original post (Gone!  In the bin! So long, sucker!) and started to do some duck research

I’m so glad I did.

From Cuckoos to Ducks?  Huh?

You know I’m not a bird person, or as they’re called in professional circles, a Birdologist.   I used to think, based on the evidence that Donald Duck always flew in airplanes, that ducks don’t fly.

That’s how much I know about ducks.

alt="IMAGE-duck-balcony"

“Yes Wendy, I climbed up here, thanks to my portable ladder. I never travel without it”

 

So when I saw them across the way, I wasn’t sure if I was looking at girls, boys, or one of each.  All I knew was that they’d show up every morning around 6, stand on the railing looking towards my office window, quack a lot, and about 3 hours later, they’d fly away.  Lyra and Blue loved having them around.  So did I.  They were kind of fun.

But I wanted to know why they decided to come to a landlocked block in the centre of London. Why not fly the extra 3 minutes and land in the pond in Hyde Park?  Dumb ducks.

So, using something called Google (have you heard of it?  It’s kind of amazing), I tried to search for information.  I tried “Strange duck habits”, “Ducks landing on balcony”, and “Why am I so unpopular? Please help!” but came up with nothing that solved my burning question.

Imagine my shock and blushing horror when at last I Googled “Unusual duck behaviour”, and up came  this site addressing the much lauded topic of Homosexual Duck Necrophilia.

Well.  Tie my beak and call me speechless.

Of course I had to read on.

Don’t worry, it’s gruesome but it’s also incredibly fascinating.

Fascinating?  More like terrifying

Male ducks engage in something charmingly called “rape flights”.  These two males were going at it feather and tong  when, according to the scientist who was witness to the whole sordid affair (oh Wendy, you’re so judgmental), they crashed into his window and fell, plop!, to the ground, just outside his office.

alt=IMAGE-ducks"

We see a sitting duck, whereas he sees an opportunity.

He went out to see what was up, so to speak.  He found Dead Duck  and Lucky Duck, as I now call them.  Lucky was furiously pecking Dead Duck’s head.  Like, a lot.  As in, more than you’d think necessary or prudent in a situation like that.

Once he completed that little task, Lucky jumped Dead’s bones, and there’s no delicate way of putting it, raped him.  For 75 minutes.

Isn’t nature amazing?

What Kees Moeliker had witnessed was unique.  10% of ducks are gay, apparently, so they’re not that rare.  And sometimes the males do have a go at dead females.  But the combination of these two behaviours turned something sort of boringly average,  into the realm of “Holy shit, did I really see that?” and “Where’s my camera?”.

The only thing that could improve this story is if the Lucky were also a vampire duck.  That would be awesome.

Moeliker won the IgNobel Prize for this one, and I say Bravo to this.   Apparently, these ducks have  changed his life.

I love this story more and more.

But this is what I really take away from this article:  ducks have penises?  Wow. How did I not know that.  I thought they laid eggs and then kind of sat on them for a while.

I really wish I’d paid more attention in school.

The silver lining of this duck story is, I’m insanely happy that the person who has so rudely blocked me can’t read about my duck news.  And whenever I think of her,  I now imagine those ducks, which just makes me laugh.

And that’s good.  The world needs to laugh more, I always say.  Who needs bitterness and hard feelings when there’s nature to explore and necrophiliac gay ducks to spy on?

Right?

Love,
Wendy

Facebook, vague-booking: Lesson learned

Dear Wendy,

Last week I learned something very valuable. And of all places, I learned it on Facebook.

As with most Important Life Lessons, first I had to screw up in a fairly big way, though.

Here’s what happened.

You’re familiar with the term “vague-booking,” right? It’s where someone posts a status update on Facebook consisting of an apparent cry of anguish…and doesn’t elaborate on what they’re talking about. It’s the Facebook equivalent of calling up a friend, sobbing that you just can’t take it any more, and then hanging up. It’s unkind, it jerks people around, it’s self-serving.

alt="IMAGE-vague-booking-alert-meme-after-the-kids-leave"And for some reason, last week there was an epic outbreak of vague-booking…at least among my circle. It started Monday, and by Thursday, I’d counted 4 separate incidents. Frankly, I was getting annoyed. As far as I’m concerned, vague-booking is a form of emotional manipulation. Almost invariably, as soon as someone does it, a crowd of well-wishers gathers, with equally vague messages of comfort. “Hang in there!” and “Be strong!” and “Whatever it is, hope it gets better soon!”

Of course, all this does is encourage the original poster, and things can escalate into a weird game of Blind Man’s Bluff, in which no one has the faintest clue what the original poster is talking about, but dammit, they’re determined to help! No one ever says, “Hey, could you stop beating around the bush and just tell us what’s going on, already?”

Anyway. This happened multiple times last week, and by Thursday I was ready to scream.

I know, a bigger and better person would have just ignored it. A bigger and better person would have walked away from the computer. Sadly, that’s not what I did.

Nope, you know me. Gallop in where angels fear to tread, and stomp around in my gumboots, roaring and growling. I posted an expression of annoyance:

Okay. The next vague-book post I read, I plan to punch the person in the nose. “Oh, the world is so cruel…so sad that the mean are rewarded and the innocent (like moi) must suffer the torments of the damned.”

Followed, of course, by sixty posts from people who are apparently okay with being emotionally manipulated by an attention-seeking nutcase. “It’s okay, snookums, we have your back!” and “Awww…tell us what’s wrong?”

No, really, it’s cool. I can live without knowing.

Okay, rant over. Time for more coffee now. Grr.

And then I felt better, and went about my business for the rest of the day. I’d vented, and that was the end of it. Or so I thought…

Because the next morning, I woke to discover that someone I know, but am not Facebook friends with, had responded at some length. She’d assumed my rant was about her, and she was hurt, angry, and very vocal about it. She ended her response by blocking me.

At first I was just bemused: why would this person assume I was talking about her? We weren’t even friends, for pity’s sake! I decided the best course of action would be to delete her response, as leaving it up would only inflame things further…but that didn’t feel right either. Suddenly I was the one feeling uncomfortable.

The situation had blown up in my face, and I had no one to blame but myself. By yesterday, I realized: I was guilty of doing the exact thing I was ranting about.

By leaving my rant vague and open-ended, rather than saying, “Person X, Person Y, Person Z: your posts have annoyed me, and here’s why,” I’d left room for misinterpretation. I’d created a situation in which my angry/hurt commenter believed I was targeting her, and that made me wonder how many others were making the same assumption, but not saying so.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I’d been a hypocrite. And if there’s one quality I hate, it would be hypocrisy.

So here’s my solemn pledge, to you and to Facebook: no more vague-booking for me. In future, I’ll live by the motto, “Say it or stow it.”

Lesson learned.

Love,

Karen

Mum’s imaginary thoughts on Social Media

Dear Karen,

I’ve been thinking of Mum lately (actually, when don’t I think of her?) because I often wonder what she’d think of this brave new world in which we live.  What would she think of Facebook, Twitter, and blogging?

I have a feeling she’d wryly smile, raise her eyebrows and say “well, that’s interesting”, which in Mum-speak means “that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard”.

MUM WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT SPY

Mum had a bizarre need for privacy, which sometimes bordered on the nutty.  When I was 18, I divulged family plans for the weekend (Dad was going to chop down a tree in the back) to one of her friends.  You’d have thought I’d committed a sin equal to letting the recipe for Coca-Cola fall into the hands of Pepsi, the way she lectured me about ‘family privacy‘ and ‘it’s no one’s business but our own’.

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Mum would choose a new category:  Hide This From Everyone (photo credit: flickr.com)

 

That lesson stuck with me.

I listen, I read, I share, but I don’t spend a lot of time talking about myself, my children or now, my grandchild.

It just doesn’t feel right.

When I see comments, threads or posts that annoy me, Mum’s voice of reason comes into my head and says ‘leave it alone, Wendy, this isn’t your business and if they want to behave like jackasses, you can’t stop them‘.

So I back away.  When something really bugs me, I get involved, but it doesn’t happen often.

I don’t discuss politics or religion online either, but that doesn’t stop people from wanting to ram it down my throat at every opportunity.  I can’t get through a day without an ‘I blame the sudden rise in teenage acne on Obama’ or ‘Jesus Loves You’ on my wall.  Ugh.

NEVER DISCUSS POLITICS, RELIGION OR YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

alt="IMAGE-mum-with-two-dogs-after-the-kids-leave"

Right, you two. Not a word to anyone. About anything. Ever.

They were ‘small-L’  liberals, our parents.  We knew, come election-time, who they’d vote for.  It was only discussed in the lightest of ways, mostly when Mum threatened to negate Dad’s vote by ticking the Conservative box.  She never went through with it, as far as I know, but she did like to tease him that she would.  It drove Dad nuts.

I don’t know if our parents were religious but based on how many times I went to church as a child, I’m guessing they weren’t.

However,  being lapsed Christians didn’t stop them from loving puppies and kittens and John Wayne movies.

Mum told me to never get involved with a man who didn’t like animals.  She had a soft spot for dogs; perhaps she appreciated their loyalty, devotion and inability to spill her secrets?

PREPARE FOR THE WORST AND HOPE FOR THE BEST

That sums up Mum’s whole outlook on life, in my opinion:  sit quietly and wait for the enemy to come to you.  Don’t search out fights or strife.  Just wait, and if trouble comes, be ready for it.

That’s a good mantra to have on Facebook.  I don’t search out problems.

There are bloggers out there who thrive on drama and if it works for them, I’m happy.

Drama is great when it’s on the TV, in the cinema or on a stage.  I don’t want it in my house, on my computer or in my life.

MUM’S HYPOTHETICAL STANCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

What on earth would Mum think about how we communicate today?  She’d say it was for the birds.  Too much bragging.  Needless information passing from one person to groups of thousands.  Who needs to know I’m on the 5.16 train from Albuquerque, or just had my second margarita served to me by a cutie named Jorge?  No one, that’s who.

Maybe, like me, she’d read it, but she would never contribute to the voices in the social media crowd.

Interesting, how much I feel the same way as (I imagine) she would.

Hmmm.  Maybe I’d be a good spy, as well.

Love,
Wendy

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Awesome Advice Central goes a little buggy

Dear Awesome Advice Central,

Help! I’m so depressed I can barely drag myself out of my bed to write this letter.

alt="IMAGE-beetle-multicoloured"

I loved him, yeah, yeah, yeah….RIP, little Ringo!

You see, my pet beetle, Ringo (my fave, he was so dreamy and ca-yute!), got sick a few weeks ago.

He began displaying flu-like systems, and I worked around the clock to nurse him back to health, feeding him tidbits of teriyaki turkey and morsels of Mars bars, his favourite foods in the whole world. It was a slow recovery but we persevered together, and I thought he was getting better.

Night after night, I soaked his little feet in thimbles of hot water, put mustard presses on his wee little chest and blew his adorable little proboscis with aloe-infused tissues.

He seemed to be perking up and actually looked pretty chipper, when suddenly, he went kaputski and popped his tiny clogs last night while we were watching Oprah together.

I sprang immediately into action: I administered CPR and gave Ringo the Kiss of Life but he just would. Not. Wake. Up.

To say I am devastated would be an understatement. I am crying constantly, wringing my hands over Ringo’s fate; I keep remembering all the special moments we shared together, and wondering at the cruel fate that has separated us forever. I’m in such emotional pain, I spend most of my time in the fetal position.

Except when I’m writing long, heartfelt odes to my wee beetle on my Facebook page, that is.

To honour Ringo’s life, I put up a picture of him on Facebook, with a little black band to signify my deep mourning. And I’ve dedicated a poem to him, entitled “My Brave Little Beetle.”

I wrote it myself, while watching his 6 little legs twitch their death dance during the commercial break on Oprah:

My Brave little Ringo
Death has got you beat;
You’ll get to heaven quickly
Because you have 6 tiny feet.

I miss Ringo so much. To add to my emotional torment, I’m getting rude comments from evil so-called Facebook friends, who insist they never knew about Ringo, and cannot understand why I’m making such a fuss now. They act like I’m lying or something.

But seriously: I wouldn’t write a poem for an imaginary animal, would I? No, I would not.

Should I keep these friends or dump them? I feel like they’re not sympathetic to my loss, and I hate to think what they’ll say when my pet flea Fred finally hops along to his giant Sheepdog in the Sky.

To help me overcome my grief, I’m also thinking of writing condolence cards for those whose entomological offspring have gone over the Rainbow Bridge. Would you like to invest in this? You’d be coming in on the ground floor. I really think there’s a market for this, don’t you?

I remain, with utmost sincerity,

Campbell Firetong-Smythe

Dear Campbell,

Well. This is really a new one on us. We’re at a bit of a loss, in fact.

Because honestly, we cannot think of a single occasion on which someone’s Facebook friends have ever doubted the depth or sincerity of their grief following the loss of a beloved pet. It really does lead us to ask what kind of “friends” you have.

In our experience, Facebook friends are far more likely to pile on the sympathy whenever they suspect that a fellow-traveller might be in any sort of emotional distress.

Comments usually range from “so sorry for your loss” to “you’re such a strong fellow, we’re sure you’ll get through this, because God never gives us more than we can handle, and this is actually just His way of testing your devotion, so chin up, old chap, and keep a song in your heart, because when He slams a door in your face it’s usually because he’s about to pry open a sixth-story window and toss you out, but that’s just part of His grand plan for your life.” Or some such.

We suspect your unfeeling so-called friends must have a screw or three loose, if they’re not offering you this kind of useful condolence in your time of need. We say “ditch the lot and start over.”

As for your business proposition, we’re intrigued. Let us know once you’ve got a business plan in place, and we’ll have our respective lawyers do lunch, all right?

Oh, and our condolences re your beetle. Life’s a bitch.

Awesome Advice Central

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Candy Crush has me in its deadly grip. Save yourself!

Dear Karen,

Have you ever heard of a game called Candy Crush?  It’s a silly little game you can play on your phone or iPad, and I’m here to warn you, if you haven’t played it, don’t start now.

Its bright colours and cartoonish graphics will make you feel like it’s a kids’ game, but it’s not.  It’s a Fool’s game and it will Take. You. Down.

Here, let me introduce you to Level One:

alt="IMAGE-candy-crush-level-one"

This is how they suck you in, by making it look all cheery, colourful and innocent.  In street parlance, it’s known as the “Gateway Level”.

The object of the game is create rows of 3, 4 or even 5 candies.  Each time you succeed, Fairies and Unicorns will appear in front of you and shower you with rare Gems and Kisses.

It’s easy to move from Level 1 upwards and as you progress, it gets tougher and your bottom gets smacked by the game. Instead of tossing it aside, you pray to your personal god (in my case, it’s the Underwear God so I had to set Lars’s boxers on fire as sacrifice), hoping that you’ve got what it takes to move on to the next level.

Bonfire

Oh, God of Underpants, I do beseech, let me win this Level.Take these boxers as an indication of my love for thee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The game seduces and it slaps, in equal measure.

Another name for this phenomenon is Stockholm Syndrome.  It’s nice to you and you revel in it, thinking you’re clever for having got past Level 65.

alt="IMAGE-candy-crush-text"

Saturday, 27th July, a day that shall live in infamy. It still makes me giddy.  I actually sent this text to my daughter who was in the same house, different room.  That’s the power of the game, my friend.

By Level 100, you’re not seeing fairies and unicorns but Simon Cowell and Don Rickles, both of them heckling you for your ineptitude.

Suddenly, through sheer luck (although you never admit this to yourself), you get to 101. Yay, Hare Krishna and big Huzzahs all around.  Simon and Don disappear and the Gems and Unicorn kisses return to make you feel better.

alt="IMAGE-candy-crush-addiction"

Licorice cages? Bombs? What the hell IS this? This stage is more commonly known as “Monkey on Your Back”. You’re hooked, man.  You’re in deep.

To help players get ahead, the game offers free lives—all you have to do is go onto Facebook, admit you’re hooked, and apparently other Facebook users will take pity on you and shower you with free lives.  Just humiliate yourself publicly and victory will be yours.

Don’t get sucked into this, Karen.  Save yourself now.   Remember:  Candy…good.  Crush…bad.

Think about that next time someone sidles up to you, asking you to “help” them win, or send them lives. These people are beyond hope and help.  There’s nothing you can do for them now.

Save yourself.  Go back to Dots.

Love,

Wendy

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