Netflix Hate, Google+ Love
Epic Twitter Fail
Instead of Netflix's trademark red envelopes, customers of the company received a big red middle finger via e-mail this week.
My wife and I currently have the plan where we get two DVDs at any time and access to Watch Instantly content, which is essentially the worst B movies from the last 30 years. There are at least 30 movies like Timecop, Under Siege 2 and The Toxic Avenger for every one Pulp Fiction, and once you get past the handful of quality films, it's like an all-you-can-watch Pauly Shore and Steven Seagal movie buffet, which sounds like something you torture people with rather than ask them to pay for. I can already hear customer customer service reps saying, "Oh, you didn't pay this month. Well, all you can watch is Steven Seagal: Lawman and Bio-Dome until you do. Thanks!"
To express my displeasure, I'm considering stuffing steaming cat turds inside a couple of Thank You cards, placing those cards in the iconic red envelopes containing our most recent round of movies and sending them back. Yes I'm that mad, yes I'm that childish, and yes we have cats. So if there's a funk about your house that arrived the same day you got discs 4 and 5 from the third season of True Blood, your dog doesn't have a problem with his diet; it's definitely the discs.
All that being said, we are downgrading to Watch Instantly because we're the type of people who get a Netflix DVD in the mail and instantly lock away in a secret compartment we didn't even know we had for a year until we flip the house upside down looking for it. We've had Netflix for about three years and we've probably exchanged 15 DVDs, five of which were season 3 of True Blood over the last week and a half. We can live with the Watch Instantly content because our daughter likes watching VeggieTales, and if we cancel Netflix entirely, the first coherent words out of her mouth may be, "Mommy. Daddy. VeggieTales, now -- motherf#@kers." Aside from that, my wife likes the workout videos, and I'm trying to watch Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned 100 times so I can submit that to Guinness and see if they'll credit me with some kind of world record. Everyone needs a dream, and I figure if there's room for the world's fastest knitter (118 stitches in 1 minute) and the world's fastest person to husk a coconut with his teeth (28 seconds), there's room for me and my ability to tolerate an exceptionally bad movie an insufferable number of times.
After setting a Guinness record for the world's largest technology company to make the most social media applications ignored by the general population, it looks like Google finally got it right with Google+, which is essentially Facebook without all of the stuff you don't like (eg, being notified every four seconds that someone wants to sell you moldy zucchini bread in CafeWorld) and more of the stuff you actually want (eg, the ability to act like your friends with someone but then put them in a circle where you can safely ignore them -- just like in real life). But I haven't figured out if this is how it will always be, or if it's just this way until Zynga finds a way to plant it's crappy seeds in the Google ecosystem. I can't help but feel like it's only a matter of time before some prick I don't actually like, who I know can't cook, is asking me to buy fake space cakes from some other jerk off I don't even know so he can afford to feed his cattle in FarmVille so they don't die so he can trade those cattle for guns in Mafia Wars so he can amass a pretend fortune that he will gamble away playing Zynga Poker. Right now, Google+ looks like Alcoholics Anonymous for Facebook game addicts. I can already envision a guy in a Google+ hangout room clinging to a token saying, "Hi. My name is Will, and I haven't spammed anyone for 1 year asking them to buy my crappy pretend cookies."
At least I don't have to deal with the porn spam bots that are running the show at Twitter. A few days ago I started getting excited because I was attracting a lot of followers. Stupid me. I thought somebody actually cared about the drivel I've been cluttering the Interwebs with. So I started looking through the profiles of my minions and, low and behold, almost every single one of them worked for the equivalent of Paul's Porn Palace. I probably would've kept them around if I weren't afraid that my mother would read some of their profiles that all read something to the effect of, "Hey! My name's Nadia! Visit my site and watch me ____ this ________ in my ____ on a _________ WHILE running through hoops of fire with a midget on my back WHILE playing a _______ with a ____! Act quick and I'll also _______ a donkey while doing all of that! See you soon in Utah!" It's like reading a dirty version of the script for Old Spice's original "The Man Your Man Can Smell Like" commercial. Some of the things these people say is stuff that the horniest little Japanese anime geek couldn't dream up if given Absinthe and acid, then locked him in a padded room for 12 hours with a dull pencil and a notepad. Actually, scratch that. That's probably how The Toxic Avenger came about.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Epic Twitter Fail
To revise a line from the wise and sage-like Hunter S. Thompson, I feel the same way about Twitter as I do about herpes.
Last week I finally caved in and signed up for a Twitter account. Ever since then I've been glued to my computer monitor, refreshing the screen and waiting for either a gateway to the magical Kingdom of Narnia to open up or message to pop up asking me to resign. I would also like to clear the air right now about my willing/unwilling participation in a real/fake sex scandal that did/sadly didn't happen. Don't cry for former Representative Anthony Weiner; he brought that on himself. The only way it could have been more obvious where that picture was going to go is if the button he clicked to post it said, "Click here to show your d**k to the world." Moron.
I've boycotted Twitter since it started ruining people's lives in 2006, because in case you can't tell, I'm not one for brevity. I can't write about a fart, opening a can of Pringles or brushing my teeth in less than 140 characters, and I was doing just fine without that kind of pressure -- until I started my blog.
There are few things as exciting as starting a blog where you can share all of your world-changing, witty insights. On the flip side, there's equally nothing as depressing as realizing that more people watched and liked the movie Battlefield Earth or would confess in public to thinking Casey Anthony was innocent than read your blog on a weekly basis. So, in an effort to drive traffic to my blog, I decided to follow that little blue bastard bird icon everyone seems to love so much straight down the rabbit hole and into the vortex of weirdness that is Twitter. Charlie Sheen has inhaled more white powder than a guy working on the bagging line at a flour factory and he's got 4.3 million followers. Sure, his Bob Dylan-esque mumbling with the occasional coherent rant about trolls, warlocks and Tiger Blood combined with the when's-he-gonna-OD-and-die factor accounted for most of it, but I can't help but feel like I offer people a little more substance. Not much, but a little.
I know I'm one of the last people in the United States to get a Twitter account because my wife has one. My wife is like some kind of weird Technology Devil. Everything technological she touches wilts and dies. She's in her early 30's, but in tech time she's on par with Andy Rooney, and I'm pretty sure that old buzzard still winds up both his car and his radio, and if you gave him an iPhone he'd probably throw it back at you, yell "Grenade!" and waddle away seeking cover. She finally traded in her mid-90's, bulletproof, Zach Morris-style cell phone for an iPhone 4 a few weeks ago. She's still adjusting to some of the more modern amenities like the lack of an antenna, the relatively light weight, the lack of a bag and physical buttons, and that she doesn't have to chisel the words into the screen like it was a rock tablet and then mail the phone to someone to send a text message.
So I signed up for Twitter, posted the annoying "Follow Me" banner on the side of my blog and waited for the magic to happen. Nothing. I gave it a few hours. Still nothing. I went to bed, woke up the next morning and logged into Twitter, certain the Twitter Fairy would leave me a few followers, only to find nary a digital fart on my page. Depression was setting in. It's one thing to suck in real life but it's something completely different to be told you suck by a pixelated blue bird.
It's been nearly two weeks since I sold my soul to the Twitter Devil, and the little blue bastard bird has yet to pay out. I realize I'm not terribly exciting and I probably need to Tweet more, but I only have a meager three followers, one of whom is a spam bot.
I don't plan on bailing on Twitter anytime soon, but if it continues to give me the cold shoulder I'll just have my wife make a trek through the company's headquarters -- chisel in hand.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dr Simple Man or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate the Debt Bomb
If the government insists on dragging out cracking the debt conundrum, we're gonna need to expedite the legalization of pot, because that's the only way I'm gonna be able to focus long enough to learn one of the 14 Chinese languages.
Whenever all of the news about this impending debt bomb that we're on the brink of becomes too much for me, I go to a place in my mind where there's a monkey humping a coconut for a few minutes to clear my thoughts, and then I smile and go on to read about a different subject -- like the mating turtles who shut down the runway at JFK airport.
The political pandering over what to do about our mounting debt makes me sick, but at least I've been making an attempt to learn more about this sad subject, which is more than I can say for Vice President Joe Biden, who fell asleep a few months ago during the president's speech on the crisis. If I were the second man in line to push the red button, I'd be awake. I bet Democrats breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the shot of him snoozing away, because when Joe's awake he has a bad habit of talking. Listening to Biden speak is like reading the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies mashup novel. Remember when he called "jobs" a three-letter word? Remember when he told Senator Chuck Graham from Missouri (who is in a wheelchair) to stand up? And let's not forget when he called Candidate Obama "Barack America." It takes me back to when President George W. Bush waved at Stevie Wonder. You don't remember that? Neither does Stevie Wonder.
And who in the Hell thought President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were going to reach some kind of decision over a game of golf a few weeks ago? Give me a break. Maybe the yuppies in Martha's Vineyard who spent the whole day wearing sweater vests, racing sailboats and sipping Henri IV Dudognon Heritage cognac were waiting with baited breath, but the other 99.999 percent of us knew it was just a smoke grenade. If they really wanted to reach some kind of resolution, they would have traded in their golf clubs for 4-ounce gloves and gone for three 5-minute rounds in the Octagon. Herb Dean would make them throw punches, and if they both refused, he would choke them both out.
Sadly, Congressman Ron Paul may be the smartest one of all. Last night it finally dawned on me why he wants to get his grubby old man hands on the gold in Fort Knox: He wants to make sure there's enough there for the government to buy 1 share of Facebook stock on the secondary market and then sell it into the IPO to help pay down our country's debt. But as fast as the secondary market prices for Facebook are rising, I don't know if $160 billion dollars will cut it. I can already feel some people reading this and thinking, "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard." I'll concede, his audit of our gold stash is a bit ridiculous, as it would cost $15 million, and even if we sold all of our gold reserves and not just what was in Fort Knox we'd only rake in roughly $390 billion, which still leaves us with just under $14 trillion dollars in debt that will probably grow to $20 trillion by the time someone reads this crappy column. Perhaps Paul should be beat with a rolled-up version of the president's long-form birth certificate by Donald Trump while The Don is screaming, "Look how this worked out for me, you idiot!", but are you going to tell me it's a worse idea than investing in Citigroup or AIG when we did that? Sure, we can feed a family of four off the Dollar Menu at McDonald's with what we made on Citigroup, but at last check I think we're losing money on our investment in AIG, and if you've been watching tech stocks on IPO day lately (ie, Renren, LinkedIn and Pandora), you'd almost be stupid not to buy shares of them in advance if you can get them and if you can stomach it, and you'd be really stupid not to sell them on the pop within the first two hours and take a nice little gain before the bottom drops out.
But what do I know, I'm just a Simple Man -- who needs to brush up on his Mandarin.