Saturday, November 28, 2009

How to save the children from certain depravity

I cannot keep it a secret any longer! I have to tell someone! It might be an obsession. I have been looking at... beer websites!

Cue the melodramatic music!

OK, really, I was looking at the beer websites because I happen to work for an organization whose focus is on beverage container waste, and I was searching (unsuccessfully) for a company that still uses refillable bottles. But the point is, I was looking at beer websites, and what I found was shocking!

You know, even though I eschew alcoholic beverages, I didn't think anything of going to look at websites about them. That is, I didn't until I tried, and encountered the fearsome guardian at the gates--the age-verification dragon of doom! I was not permitted to enter the sites until I proved to them that I was over 21 years of age. By "proved," I mean I performed various feats that only a legal adult could do, such as enter a date of birth using a series of pull-down menus.

After this rigorous testing of my maturity, I was able to view the sordid content of the websites. It's a good thing they don't let the kiddies in. Otherwise, they might have been able to see...
Pictures of beer! Or possibly even find out... where they could buy beer!

What exactly are these websites trying to protect underage people from? I mean, the secret's out. Beer exists. And it's not like you can drink it through your computer monitor.

I wonder what nutcase is behind this virtual carding phenomenon. Maybe a gaggle of silly legislators. Perhaps a bunch of liquor peddlers wanting to build a good public image. Perhaps just some crazy drunk. Whoever it was, they came up with the stupid idea of the week!

I really can't believe that this nonsense is being practiced on alcohol company websites all across the country. But whatever. I guess I'll stop ranting now. I have better things to do. Maybe I'll catch some beer bottles on webcam.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

SMScapades (a very belabored title...sorry)

I am still not officially done with the template, but fixing it will involve a lot of tedious mucking about in the stylesheet, to figure out why some of my declarations are being ignored, and then doing some heavy research into hitherto-untested Javascript features. And I'm tired of tedium and heaviness, so I'm gonna slack off and write away my frustrations!

Speaking of slacking off, there is a phone number on my bulletin board that has been there for 3 weeks. It is the number for a potential client that a former client told me about. I have not called it. Mainly because I am afraid the potential client will answer!

I'm sure if it was an email address, I would have been done with it ages ago and would now be raking in the big bucks building the awesomest website the world has ever seen! But since it is a phone number, it is doomed to sit on my dry erase board until the ink permanently adheres to the surface.

I console myself with the thought that I'm apparently not the only one with a mortal fear of phone calling. It seems this younger generation (you know, those pipsqueaks two years my minor) communicate almost exclusively by text message. I can't fault them; I'd do it myself if only I was willing to shell out 5 extra dollars a month for a texting plan, but some people take it too far! I tell them "Don't text me--it costs me 20¢ per message," and they just keep on texting me, with essential questions like, "What's up?" I call them and leave a voice mail--they text me back!

I have discovered, to my great delight, that I can send messages to most cell phones via AOL Instant Messenger. I really am a champion at instant messaging, so I can usually satisfy these people's texting addictions without driving myself into bankruptcy 20 cents at a time.

Now, if you didn't know, the first cardinal rule of IMing is "Type fast." The second rule is, "If you can't type fast, make up for it by dismembering the English language." Even though this means that I must daily witness the sad demise of my favorite language, I also get to partake of some pretty interesting messages. A few examples follow.
  • I say, "It seems dangerous." My chat buddy says, "It snot"
  • I say, "I do like poo." Yes, I am ashamed to say that that gem came out of my keyboard! I was talking about billiards!

So yes, while instant message typos often seem to degrade into jokes that you tell in kindergarten, at least one of them gave me a great intellectual chuckle (which means it's probably not really funny). Here it is:
  • I say something (via voice mail) along the lines of, "I am backing out of our previously planned social engagement," which comes out as adrenaline-charged nonsense as per the rules of making phone calls. My chat buddy says (via text message! Argh!), "y arent you cumin sweety??" I answer (only in my head, because I think after crushing this person's heart by refusing to grace them with my presence, I really shouldn't be making bad jokes about their poor spelling), "Because cumin isn't sweet, it's savory!"



Umm, so, I was going to go on another little rant about some other text/IM mannerisms that annoy me, but this post is getting a little long, dont you think?

Yeah, I think. TTFN!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Updating my Blogger template. Things could get ugly for a while.

UPDATE (November 18):
I am not done, but I am so tired. I'll let it rest for a while. Sorry you can't read some of the links.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Picky eating

While I was sitting around, waiting for my bagel to get cold, it occurred to me that I have really odd eating habits. And then it occurred to me that I should share them with you!

So. Bagels. I really like bagels. I can eat them plain with nothing on them and they make me pretty happy. But my favorite way to eat a bagel is to toast it, slather it with cream cheese, and then put it in the fridge and wait for the whole thing to get cold again. I also prefer brownies and pies cold, but unless I'm really hungry, I'll wait until my ice cream gets soupy before I'll eat it.

When I eat cookies, I can't just take a bite out of the whole cookie. I have to break a piece off in my hand and nibble on that. The same principle applies to bananas. I cannot eat a banana unless it has been sliced first. And I won't eat corn on the cob, but I'm happy to eat it once it's been cut off. Whole carrots, though? Not a problem--I don't even bother to peel them. I eat the skin of kiwis, and with apples, the skin is just about all I eat.

I am a vegetarian, but I will not eat onions or peppers. I also dislike rice and all other whole cooked grains. When I buy snack mix, I throw the pretzels away.

I don't put milk on my cereal. I don't put butter on my bread. I don't put dressing on my salad. I don't put sugar in my tea (in fact, I never drink tea, or any other beverage except water, unless someone gives it to me).

I eat oatmeal uncooked and dry.

I eat pizza with a knife and fork. I eat quesadillas with a knife and fork. I eat muffins with a knife and fork. In fact, I eat just about everything with a knife and fork, unless it is the type of food that will fall apart if you cut it. Or if it would be better eaten with a spoon.

I'm sure there are more culinary quirks that I could think of, but I bet my bagel is nice and chilly now, and I'm HUNGRY! So I'll sign off, and while I'm gone, you can tell tell me: What sort of bizarre things do you do when you eat? Surely I'm not the only one... right?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's a whole new me! But with the same low threshold for annoyance.

Usually I’m impressed with the way Google does things. Even though they’re slowly taking over the world, they seem to do it by being extremely useful, but Google Accounts – the thing that provides the backbone for all their other services – seems to be the stupidest system ever invented.

I’ve been using the “wrong” email address for most of my Google services for years, but once I signed up for AdWords and suddenly started receiving all sorts of business notifications in the email inbox I reserve for friendly communication, I decided it was time to fix things.

It was hard. After struggling for a while with the crazy interface that kept sending me back and forth between AdWords and Google Accounts, I eventually decided it was time to click the Help button. It was actually a link. I didn’t let that stand in my way.

What did stand in my way was the fact that help wasn’t helpful. It basically told me you can change your account address any time, as long as it’s not a Gmail address. If it is a Gmail address (which mine is), then you’re out of luck. Sorry! Too bad! Now what kind of nonsense is this--where an entity (such as Google) actually makes things harder for the people that use its other services!? They’re supposed to treat me better because I’m a loyal (ahem, freeloading) Gmail customer!

Well, humph, I thought. Perhaps Google has just made an honest mistake, and will help me out if I approach them through the appropriate channels and call them stupid. I thought this plan was coming to fruition when I found a link to “Contacting Us.” Alas, when I followed the link, I was presented with an impressively worthless set of options. First, I was invited to look in the Help Center. Well, since I’d just come from there, I rejected that choice.

Then, to my great joy, I read that if I “have a great idea or suggestion,” I should let them know! “We enthusiastically read and tally all your suggestions,” Google gushed at me from the web page. I clicked on the link, prepared to inform them that it was cruel and unusual to send me AdWords notifications where I’m expecting emails of adoration from my admiring fans. Instead, I was presented with four pre-written suggestions. If any of them happened to be the feature that I actually wanted Google to implement, I could then click the “Suggest it!” button to its right. Google apparently has some forward-thinking notion of the meaning of “suggest.” Why waste people’s time by making them come up with suggestions on their own? Let’s save them the work by anticipating all four of the things that they might conceivably want to suggest, and let them choose from among those options!

Well, I did click one of the buttons, just because the feature seemed like it might be useful in the future, but I returned to the previous page still clinging to the archaic belief that I might have an idea I might have to explain. Perhaps I could explain it in a forum! How fortunate that the next option on the list was “post your question to the Help Group!”

The Help Group was conveniently available in the following languages: 한국어, Türkçe, Nederlands, polski, Русский, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Español, Português (Portugal)‎, Português (Brasil)‎. No, not English. How silly for Google to have a help forum available in the language spoken at its corporate headquarters!

Well, below that were some options for Contacting Support, and there I saw the Holy Grail that I had been seeking! “I cannot change the email address on my account”! I clicked on it and the first question was, “Did you enter the correct email address?” This did not bode well. Google was already assuming that (1) I had actually been given an option to enter an email address and (2) I am stupid. Following gamely along this path did not yield results, and eventually I gave up.

This story may have a happy ending. I have opened a new Google Account, added it to as many services as I can, and granted it administrative access. I am in the process of trying to remove that access from my personal account wherever possible. So I'm mainly posting this entry to find out if my attempt at changing my Blogger sign in was effective. I sure hope so. Still, it woulda been a lot nicer if Google would have just let me choose a different address to receive emails.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Valerie makes keen observations on pop culture

For those of you who are not up to date on the pop charts, the title of my last post was a not-so-veiled reference to the song, "I Gotta Feeling," by the Black Eyed Peas. Now this is one of those songs that gives me a feeling that my brain cells are in mortal danger. It sounds like it was written by a bunch of idiots on speed ("Let's do this...then let's do that...then let's do it again! And do it and do it and do it do it do it!") Yet for all that, it's kind of annoyingly catchy.

Now, while we're on the subject of music, check out this song, Oru Maalai. No, it's not that great. But it's got its moments. Wait until you get to 4:03. Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, one of the singers breaks out with this, "Aw!" Who would have thought of just randomly sticking an Aw right there? But it totally makes the whole song! Or maybe I'm just being overenthusiastic about a tiny fragment of the middle of a song, like always.

Now, while we're not really on the subject at all, what's with this character, Domo? Right now there's some advertising campaign at 7-11 featuring this strange brown blob with teeth. Before that, wasn't he on an advertising campaign for Target? How come I never see him doing anything but selling something for some corporation? Maybe he's a washed up celebrity.

OK, I might have also seen Domo doing this. I ran across the blog of the person who originally took the kitten photo. Interesting story there, and also some information about what Domo really is, which I'll try not to remember, because I'd rather have something to wonder about in my blog.