1/23/2008

Way To Buck Those Stereotypes (And Why Facebook Sucks)

If you were to guess what the top ten musical interests would be for a Facebook network consisting of students at an all-female liberal arts college, who would be some of the artists you might guess? Ani DiFranco, naturally. Le Tigre, Ladytron, maybe Jill Sobule, right? Maybe the grad students would be into Sleater-Kinney, because they are older. Or perhaps you think that because this is 2007, the ladies would be all post-feminist, and therefore they'd be into pop icons like Pink and Kelly Clarkson, whose supposedly-but-yeah-not-really empowering tunes we analyzed in a previous post.

Well, you would be wrong.



Sting? Moby? Duran Duran? STING??? I have never encountered a more appropriate situation in which to say: WTF.

Lest you think the small sample size of the Mills College Facebook crowd is to blame, perhaps skewing the results, allow me to inform you that the Mills network has some 1,343 members, and that the college has a student body of 1,454. Even taking into account the small numbers of alumni, faculty and staff who are in the Facebook network, this is a pretty decent representation.

Perhaps perusing another "what's popular" list from Facebook can shed some light on this apparent anomaly. To wit, the top ten "interests" among my classmates:



Well, nothing wrong with that. After all, who doesn't like Delicious Cuisine, or American Sign Language, or Anatomy? I for one have always been a big fan of 24-hour Yak Parties, "And Stuff." It's like they're reading my mind.

But what it's more like is that Facebook and all social networking sites are basically useless when it comes to gathering information in a useful sense. Despite a few interesting findings in the world of social network research, the reality is you can't really trust any of this info, because it's all bullshit. There are countless examples, but again, this is my blog, so let's focus on me for a second. I can't seem to join the UCLA network on Facebook, despite being a duly approved alumni of said institution. I can't add "friends" who aren't on Facebook, so my friends network is woefully incomplete. I can't trust any photos I see of people, particularly girls, because they are usually taken from angles that accentuate their breasts or make them look skinnier than they really are. In fact, I can't trust anything on Facebook because I have to rely on self-reported info actually being true, and who knows if that's the case.

On the other hand, I can use Facebook for all sorts of pointless baloney, as one apparently precocious classmate demonstrates here:



Wow, man. The future is now.

1/16/2008

No, You Cannot Be An Informed Voter

No smart-assed intro to this bullshit. Just take a gander at what the post office decided was not important enough to deliver today.



Yes, those are sample ballots, your official documentation of what is on the Feb. 5 ballot, what the local measures mean, etc. This is an important document! And it's just tossed on the shelf unit next to our elevator like a stack of coupons (which you can see on the top shelf).

Is this legal? I'm pretty sure that mail is supposed to be delivered to the mailbox. It's one thing for junk mail to be piled a few feet from the mailbox, where people can grab it if they want. But this is addressed to specific individual voters. And it's probably one of the most important things you'll ever get in the mail -- that is, if you care about stuff like the government, and voting rights. You know, all that crap.

And, to add insult to injury ...



They're delivering them to the wrong address! I don't live at 265 Jayne Ave. I live at 265 of another street. Well, tough shit for Miss Jade Sasser. I guess she won't be knowing anything about the election, will she?

Way to go, Oakland post office. You are setting the bar high.

1/06/2008

What You Missed

Oh, dear blog readers, how long has it been since I regaled you with my wit and insight! Far too long, I fear. Tonight, we shall make amends.



I hate Caltrans.



I am a big nerd and asked for a translation of the Prose Edda for Christmas, and I got it. (Note also the Bartok CD; total dweebness.) But hey, my good pal Brian is thanked by the translator on the acknowledgements page. Way to go, BTO!



For Christmas, I got a $25 iTunes gift card for the daughter of my father's fiancée. Guess what she got me. Yup, a $25 iTunes gift card.



We had some of this for New Year's. Absinthe is not the easiest drink to get in the United States; in fact, only one distillery stateside is licensed to produce it. The distillery is here in the Bay Area, but there were thousands of people in line the day their absinthe went on sale (goes to show where our priorities are) so I bought this French stuff at BevMo. It wasn't the vilest thing we've ever consumed, but I think the VPC (vileness-plus-cost, kind of like OPS) is pretty high compared to most drinks. Since there was a bunch leftover, I will be experimenting with cocktails and will let you know how it turns out.



If you have been to Ikea lately, you may have noticed they pack things in oddly shaped boxes now. This is so they stack better. Hmm, has Ikea been taken over by the Russians?