Oh, Netflix!

Silly, silly Netflix! I want to love you, but sometimes you make it so difficult. First there was the price-hike. I wasn’t happy about it, but it also wasn’t difficult to simply cancel the DVD portion of my family’s membership. We mostly stream stuff anyway, and DVDs would sit here for weeks and months without being watched. But then you started enforcing your policy (which was news to me, but that’s another rant) of only allowing accounts to stream on one device at a time. Come on! You know that some nights my husband watches something on the TV downstairs, and I want to watch something else on my iPad or PC. What’s wrong with that? I pay you! But no, you gotta make things all complicated.

Then you say you’re going to split off the DVD stuff into Qwikster (seriously – WORST. COMPANY. NAME. EVER.). Then — oh no, wait! You’re not going to do that after all. I went from thinking “oh well, here comes the greedy part as they get ready to sell off the DVD side of the business” to just plain thinking you’re off your meds. Crikey!

But mostly I’m just getting kind of annoyed at you because the streaming selection seems like it’s getting WORSE, not better. You keep touting all these deals for new content, so how come nothing that I want to watch is ever available? Here’s just a sample of the things I’ve searched for, and been disappointed by the lack of, on Netflix Streaming in the past few months:

– The Harvey Girls
– Singin’ in the Rain
– The Black Cat
– Poltergeist
– Night of the Living Dead (1990)
– Alien or Aliens or Alien 3 or Alien: Resurrection
– The Muppet Show
– Vertigo or Rope or North by Northwest or The Birds or The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) or The Trouble with Harry
– Scooby-Doo movies and tv shows (You have ONE currently. My daughter loves these. What happened to the others you used to offer?)
– Fargo
– Return to Oz
– Stephen King’s IT
– The Shawshank Redemption
– The Shining (original OR mini-series remake)
–  The Seventh Seal
– Rashomon
– Kung Fu Hustle
– The Royal Tenenbaums
– Rushmore
– The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
– Any opera or classical music performances or ballet
– The Man Who Laughs

Don’t get me wrong, I do like some of the stuff you’ve made available recently (I love being able to re-watch all those old seasons of “Dark Shadows,” for example), but more and more I can’t find what I want when I want it. And I often end up using Amazon VOD instead. Sometimes even when I have to pay per title! Yes, THANK YOU for making The Big Lebowski continuously available so that I can watch it once a month without digging for my DVD. But come on – no Wes Anderson available at all? And thank you for having Jackie Brown, which I love, but what about Pulp Fiction? Inglorious Basterds? Kill Bill?


Do People Really Suck So Much? (hint: “YES.”)

I have a piece to say today, and I’m gonna say it briefly. But first read these two posts:

1. Anne Helen Peterson muses on whether it’s acceptable to criticize fashion bloggers, and where do you draw the line between “private” and “public” personas?

2. gluten-free girl shares some rather horrifying stories about hateful comments, tweets, and so on; in reaction to her blog.

I just have a few reactions to these. First of all, what they both point out to me is that when people are anonymous, they feel free to expose the worst of themselves to the world. As much as I firmly believe in the importance of being able to post anonymously, it’s also true that nothing brings out trolls like anonymity. People will say things that they would NEVER say if they were a.) face to face with the target or b.) forced to use their real names. Notice in Anne’s article, she’s having a real crisis of conscience. She has a certain amount of irritation about a particular “fashion blogger,” and wonders if it’s OK to state it publicly. Pretty mild, really. But also notice that she uses her real name. It tends to make a difference.

For the record, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with criticizing a person who has chosen to make themselves a public figure via a blog or other means. It kind of goes with the territory. But there’s a world of difference between “criticizing” or even “mocking,” and pure, hateful vitriol like gluten-free girl has to endure.

And that brings me to that second post. My God. What is WRONG with people? Well, I’ll tell you exactly what is wrong with them:

Given the opportunity, some people will troll anonymously because it gets them off.

Do any of the hateful people mentioned by gluten-free girl REALLY wish her dead? I don’t think so. I think they get off on the ability to send emails, make posts, post comments, or send out tweets that upset the blogger in question, or anybody else for that matter. These people have base instincts, and they follow them because they can.

The ugly truth about most bullies is that they themselves have also been bullied. They make themselves feel better by turning around and bullying someone who can’t hurt them back, whether it’s a younger kid at school, a less-powerful co-worker, or a blogger who will read their anonymous comments or emails and get upset by them.

I say this with all humility, but seriously: I count myself SO LUCKY not to be one of those people. Because if you’re the type of person who gets off on causing others pain or fear or sadness, how can you live with yourself? Do you just pretend that someone else did it? That it wasn’t you at the keyboard? That your anonymous persona is really a different person all together? Maybe there’s some real pathology in there, I don’t know.

Here’s an example of how I handle someone who irritates me. There’s a fashion/lifestyle/mommy type blogger who used to drive me INSANE. The pictures she posted of herself were always posed and flawless, and she had perfected that sort of duck-face pout that all the starlets are so good at. Her family seemingly had unlimited income and resources, or at least she made it SEEM like they did. Her children? Utterly perfect, adorable, well-behaved and always stylishly-attired. In short, she was a smug twat. In fact, she probably is STILL a smug twat, but I wouldn’t know, because here’s how I handled my irritation: I unsubscribed from her feed, un-followed her on Twitter, and pretty much forgot that she existed (until I dredged up the memory for this post). I didn’t post vitriolic anonymous comments on her irritating blog, I STOPPED READING IT.

If more people would stop reading the things that annoy them, there would be a hell of a lot less ugly comments and emails that have to be screened by bloggers. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to happen, because (obviously) people tend to lack self-control. And that is why the answer to the question (do people REALLY suck so much?) is a resounding: “YES. People suck. SO much.”


A Few Quick Links

Yes, it’s true: another two weeks has passed since my last (pathetic) update to the blog. You know what my problem is? I self-censor. I think interesting stuff all the time, but most of it is so judgmental, opinionated, and frankly inflammatory that I feel like it would be personal and professional suicide for me to post it here. I guess I need to start a more anonymous blog somewhere if I want to really rant.


Some things that I find really amusing lately…

1. People still don’t “get” Twitter. Come on, Luddites, it’s not THAT hard. Micro-blog? Sort of. Non-platform-specific status update tool? Sort of. An updated version of AIM designed for attention whores? Sort of. But confusing? No. It is not confusing, just go to twitter.com and look at it, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Most hilarious strain of this “Tweet what?” stuff (which usually is on display in mainstream media and rants by old farts like Andy Rooney) is the whole “the olds don’t get Twitter” meme. And, shockingly, guess who’s learning about Twitter now? MARY FREAKING WORTH. If an old biddy like Mary Worth (and her creators) can get on board with Twitter, ANYONE can.

2. Bank of America sucks. It’s been rumored for weeks now that the next dump that’s going to come out of WikiLeaks is going to expose wrongdoing (what a shock) by America’s largest, most loathsome bank. I’ve always felt they were skeevy, and the day that I paid off my BoA credit card and closed the account for good was one of the happiest of my life. They’re getting some attention from the law now; can’t wait to see what happens.

3. Douchebags being douchey. Tangentially related to the above, this firm called HBGary Federal got in some trouble recently when it was exposed that they were working with two other companies to come up with a strategy for targeting, discrediting, and otherwise victimizing people and organizations who are sympathetic to WikiLeaks. This summary is as good as any, but I really enjoyed this article, describing how “Anonymous” infiltrated HBGary’s systems. CEO of supposed “security” company uses (and RE-uses) an easily crackable password! Same company doesn’t install latest updates to their server OS! Uses a custom CMS with security flaw that allows one of the simplest hacks of all: SQL injection! I think the whole story is just hilarious, although I do feel sorry for the rank and file employees who probably didn’t know what a douchebag they were going to report to when they went to work for Aaron Barr. And as far as Mr. Barr: hubris, dude. Look it up.

There’s Cool Stuff on the Internetz!

Have you ever checked out this site, Instapaper? It is SO COOL. It lets you save web pages to read later. You can add a bookmarklet to your browser to automatically save stuff to Instapaper, or do it manually. Then you can go there to read your articles later, or you can download them to a file, or have them sent to your Kindle. I am LOVING THIS. I think I first heard about Instapaper from the surprisingly curmudgeonly Merlin Mann. (Surprising because I know he’s about the same age as me, but seems like he’s about 100 times crabbier most of the time. Maybe that’s his schtick. In any case, he’s worth following on his blog and twitter because he totally turns me onto some cool tools like Instapaper!)

So that’s been happening, and what else? Um…I thought for a few minutes, very seriously, about buying an iPad. Then I said “naw!” Because really, why do I need one at this point? I already have all of the following:

1. several PCs
2. a Macbook Pro
3. several iPods
4. an iPhone
5. a Kindle
6. a netbook

Seriously, why would I need an iPad at this point? I’m not ruling out suddenly deciding that I have to have one later. But I think I’ve learned my lesson after being an early adopter of the iPhone: I’ll wait for the second generation at least. That way some of the bugs will be addressed, features will be added, and prices will come down.

Speaking of my Kindle, I LOVE IT. See the Instapaper stuff above, plus I have lots of books on there and since I buy almost all of my books and stuff from Amazon, the Kindle just works out great for me. It’s lightweight, easy on the eyes, hold a charge for-freaking-ever, and makes me super happy. Best gift I ever got (thanks, spousal unit!). And, not surprisingly – the one I have is the second gen. NOTICE A TREND?

Ouch my wrist hurts so freaking much. I’m driving myself much harder than any physical therapist ever could. More on that in another post. Right now I need IBUPROFEN! Is it possible to become addicted to Ibuprofen?

Why I Unsubbed From Your Feed

Groovymarlin (that’s me!) is a Google Reader fanatic! As of right now, I subscribe to about 300 different feeds, and read nearly 500 individual posts per day. I subscribe to a variety of feeds: parenting blogs, humor blogs, daily deals, Jezebel, political stuff, etc.

With that many feeds to look at, not to mention the few more that seem to get added every week, thoughtful maintenance of my subscriptions is a must, otherwise I’d get completely overwhelmed. Here are the main reasons why I unsubscribe from feeds:

1. You post too much quantity with too little quality: your feed has 50+ posts a day, most of which are meaningless or banal. Edit thyself, blogger!

2. You’re full of shit: there was one “mommy blogger” that I completely unsubscribed from recently because I got fed up with how insanely perfect she made her life seem. Listen sister, I’m a mom too, I know that nobody’s life is all perfect and sunshine all the time. You and your perfect wardrobe and your perfect hair and your perfect husband and your perfect kids and your perfect shopping suggestions and your perfect internet-famous friends MAKE ME SICK.

3. You insult your readers: there’s a guy who used to blog quite a bit, and was pretty interesting, but recently he’s eased up on the blogging and done a lot more tweeting instead. Eventually, I unsubscribed from his Twitter feed because it seemed to bring out the mean side in him. What was snarky and amusing on his blogs turned into real vitriol on Twitter. Maybe because of the lack of context? Whatever, he just seemed to hate on everyone and everything, and I couldn’t take it anymore.

4. Your feed is full of garbage: you have nary a thoughtful, original post in a week’s time. Instead, your [insert hobby or interest here] blog merely reproduces every stupid press release and promotional blurb you receive. Or worse, you steal ideas and content from other, more talented writers. For shame, blogger.

5. You decided to be annoying: by only publishing a headline, and forcing me to click through to read EVERY WORD OF ACTUAL CONTENT, in a desperate ploy for blog traffic. Sorry, page hit whore, not gonna happen.

Sounds bitchy? You’ll live. 🙂

So I’m guessing that my blogging will be pretty light (ha ha, when isn’t it?) over the next few days as we celebrate Christmas 2009, or what I will always remember as the BARBIE PINK GLAMOUR CAMPER HOLOCAUST OF 2009. However, since the company I work for wisely shuts down completely between Christmas and New Year’s, I will have some down time next week and maybe, just maybe, I’ll write some blog posts! Won’t that be fun? And bitchy as hell, I promise!