Monday, August 31, 2015

Algorithms Are Terrible Bankers

No matter how many times (587 to be exact) I tell my bank that I have moved (because we are in the military a.k.a vagabonds and this is never going to change so get used to it) my credit card STILL gets declined!

Today, I spoke with a cards services representative and he told me that the real problem lies within the algorithms. "Your bank has almost no control over your card being declined. There exists an algorithm that tracts what countries or states commit the most credit card fraud and that data can change day by day or even hour to hour. The computer system then flags your card for suspicious activity and the bank immediately declines all further purchases until they hear from the consumer"

Computers are finally running our lives. If this is the case then shouldn't I at least get a jet-pack or something out of the deal? Machines take away my freedom of choice and humanity but in return I gain a jet-pack. I was promised jet-packs by the Jetsons. We have been lied to. An infinite series of zeros and ones controls my money and I don't even get any cool glasses like La Forge from Star Trek. Can I get a protocol droid like C-3P0? I would even settle for a cool beverage that is electric green, smokes and contains a live lizard. Seriously, you could buy me off with weird futuristic cocktails, I don't ask for much people! (I mean ROBOTIC OVERLORDS)

Somewhere in cyberspace lies the debris of declined purchases. Nothing can stand in the way of this mathematical juggernaut, the Algorithm.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nevermore! Quoth the Amazon

There was a time, long ago, when customers walked into a store, bought a 12 pack of white socks and NO ONE asked them to review the item purchased! No humans, no phone calls, no emails and no ad placements on social media ever asked the customer to review their purchase of a 12 pack of white socks and their shopping experience. The questions of, "Did this item meet your needs?", "Describe your shopping experience" and "Would you recommend a 12 pack of white socks to other customers?" were ever even proposed.

Now, I can only imagine a blissful utopia where I quietly purchase my econo size bag of socks. No one will know the shame of my poverty stricken feet. Facebook does not exist to proclaim to the world that I just purchased socks that were probably made by modern day slaves in China. I would not receive at least 4 emails a day from this horrid sock company asking me to leave a nice review.

The hounding never ends. Beep, beep, beep goes my infernal phone as update after update roll into the tiny computer like waves announcing and now, demanding that I critique my shopping experience and the quality of products that I have bought. There is no rest for the wicked. The incessant noise becomes a pulse of not just sound but also of light on my desk top; a constant reminder of my forgetfulness and moderately priced sock addiction. Neither the cover of night nor the deliverance of daybreak can cleanse me of this succubus. Beep, beep, beep goes the device.

Sleep comes slowly as dreams are rated by stars. One star dreams or four star dreams? Thumbs up or thumbs down on going in to work today? I cannot afford the luxury of ignorance. I  know for a fact whether or not this atrocious sock company has met my needs or not. In this story, the truth most certainly does not set you free. To give an honest opinion is to be harassed even more! The beast comes to me thru the amazonian internet jungle. "Remove your tainted evaluation and a gilded donation will await you!", the beast hisses.

Truly I say to you, there is no rest for the wicked. Beware the deals. Beware the socks and be free of the immutable beep, beep, beep.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


My mom had a good friend in the mid to late 90's who would wake up every morning to go for a 'jog' at 6 am. This man had calves of steel and was very committed to his walk-man and knee high white socks because it was the 90's, after all. I cannot remember the last time I heard the word 'jog'. Apparently, no one jogs anymore. We run.

At some point in the early 2000's 'jogging' was re-branded as 'running'. In the 90's I always envisioned 'jogging' and 'running' as two completely different entities. Jogging was a light trot, if you will, while running was going balls out, if you will. At least, these were the definitions that existed in my mind. Around this time period Tiger Woods was turning golf into front page news and Lance Armstrong made riding a bike thru France a sport that mattered. The wide, wide world of sports was expanding faster than the DVD section at Block Buster. We were starting to root for the underdog sports and the nation was gearing up for the Olympics where running, not jogging, often takes center stage...or track.

There are a few sports that could use some PR help, by way of a marketing reboot. My first submission is cricket. Here is a sport that needs to appeal to American audiences. As a nation, we like our lemonade 'Hard', our music loud and heavy and our sports Xtreme! Crickets might be the least offensive insects next to the lady bug. Jiminy Cricket immediately comes to mind. He sings, he dances and most importantly this beloved Disney arthropod wants you to be a loyal and honest mouseketeer. How about Scorpion in place of the term Cricket? Way more extreme,venomous and not featured on over-priced brick-a-brack at Disney World/Land.

Next up, softball....seriously?! First, you don't let women play baseball then you give them a 'pity' sport and call it SOFTBALL?! This is just archaic and misogynistic. Here's a suggestion, how about 'bigball' because the balls are BIGGER. DEAL WITH IT. These ladies have bigger's just science.

Finally, tennis. What does that word even mean?! When french royalty decided to create tennis, they also thought they could just make up words too. So, I am giving myself the same liberty and re-naming tennis, 'Dravex', why? I don't know. I'm French royalty and I make the rules PEASANTS!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Let's Go Ice Skating, Covered in Mud!

Why are all activities now covered in mud? Mud runs, mud zumba, mud soccer, mud ultimate Frisbee, mud kickball, mud, mud, mud, mud! The obsession with mud is totally lost on me. I like to be clean and am kind of a germophobe. It is difficult to understand the mentality behind the family of four getting together one evening and discussing the possibility of waking up at 7am, on a Sunday, to run for 3.5 miles in 95 degree weather all while covered in sticky, hot, wet, earth. THE PERFECT SUNDAY!!!! The real insanity here is that you have to PAY MONEY in order to participate in this navy seal level of fun. Have these people never heard of Netflix? Or brunch? Or Mimosas? Not to mention the fact that before said mud (insert activity) you will also have to purchase brand new clothes for the purpose of being totally destroyed after this mud exercise.

So, in short, here is the break down:

Pay money to participate in mud activity
Buy new clothes to ruin during your mud activity
Wake up at 7am, on a Sunday
Run in mud
In crippling heat
Spend rest of day cleaning wet dirt out of EVERY orifice your body has to offer

I just don't understand the appeal.

Therefore, I would like to start the first annual "White Linen Suit Run (In air-conditioned building)". All proceeds will go to Germophobes Anonymous and our sponsors will include Lysol, Swiffer, Clorox and Dove. Refreshingly cool mimosas will be served directly after the finish line.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Feminism in the Age of Ultron

Seriously, I think I have written no less than 5 different posts on the Avengers and I don't know why? It was a dumb movie and yet here we are, again. There has recently been a lot of chatter on social media and amongst, comic book fans and movie critics about the lack of female super heroes who go beyond the role of side-kick or femme fatale. The outcry is demanding a strong female lead. A stand-alone character who is smart, funny, self-deprecating and of course, kick-ass is what feminism needs in the Marvel movie franchise. We will just have to wait for Wonder Woman to hit the box office in order to discover this Amazonian utopia but, in the mean time, I am settling for a much smaller yet significant victory.

There is a scene in Avengers:Age of Ultron that has been overlooked by the masses for it's super hero suffrage. The scene takes place at a lively party in Tony Stark's lavish mansion. Thor and Tony are both at the bar, enjoying some adult beverages and discussing the notable absence of both of their significant others, namely Pepper Potts and Jane Foster. An argument soon erupts between the two dashing super heroes over who has the most powerful, intelligent, decorated and successful girlfriend. Words like "Nobel Peace Prize" and "CEO" are thrown around and neither one of our two protagonists ever mentions the physical aspects of either woman. There is absolutely no talk of "who has the prettier girlfriend", "the youngest girlfriend", "the nastiest girlfriend", "the wildest girlfriend", "the biggest boobs"....I could go on forever. I think you get the idea.

This scene says something quite drastic and incredible to young women of today. If you choose to become a bad-ass, take no prisoners CEO and dominate the business world then you can also have a bad-ass dude to go along with your already bad-ass lifestyle. Don't be a princess. Be a motherfucking SCIENTIST, discover another dimension and receive super hot, altruistic, demi-god/alien boyfriend. Because guys are into that sorta thing. Keep in mind you also have to look like Natalie Portman...I didn't say we won the fight just yet. I said this has been a small victory, ladies.

I like to think that my husband is also at a luxury mansion party (WHY DIDN'T HE INVITE ME?!!!) somewhere, defending my honor and bragging about how intelligent I am and how many awards I have earned. The reality is I haven't really done anything. One time I got a "Participant" ribbon in a 2nd grade bike rodeo. I still don't know what a "Bike Rodeo" is?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Some of you may use an App called DuoLingo. This is language learning software that rewards daily tasks with "idioms". An example of an English idiom would be, "It's raining cats and dogs." The more lessons that you complete in DuoLingo, the more idioms become unlocked to the learner. These idioms should be statements or questions that might come up in day to day conversations with a native speaker of whatever language it is that the student is trying to learn.

I recently met a Berber man who was trying to learn English and Italian thru a similar App on his smart phone. Under his English idioms, that he had unlocked, was the phrase "fag hag". As if, "fag hag" is going to come up in a typical English conversation.

Here is an example of a normal English language conversation: Q: "How are you today?" A: "I am fine but I wish this fag hag would back up off my grill". See! Totally normal situation.

Unfortunately, I had to describe, to the best of my abilities, what a "fag hag" is to this poor gentleman. A lot was lost in translation but some things supersede language such as math, music and the arts. Sadly, the term "fag hag" supersedes nothing, if anything, I'm pretty sure it hinders language skills and might get you knocked out in a bar fight. Language skills should build bridges; not tear them down with a Molotov cocktail and hate speech.

Here are my suggestions for English idioms to any language learning software companies out there:

"Those kicks are dope"

"You be lookin' fly today!"

"Would you care for some chronic?"

"News team assemble!"

"I think I might have restless leg syndrome"

"Will you be on my squad?"

"You do you."

"Those beats are illmatic"

"Swiggity swooty I'm comin' for that booty!"

"Will you be my battle buddy in World of Warcraft?"

"What is World of Warcraft?"

Do you see how positive all those idioms were? Or at least neutral? Let's build some bridges people! What idiom do you suggest I add to this AMAZING roster?