June 2010

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How many of you, dear internet folks, have dipped your toes into that sorted menagerie of online dating?

I don’t remember off the top of my head (and don’t feel like reading back through my site to see), but I think I’ve mentioned on here that I’ve tried my hand it. It’s okay. A number of my friends have given it a go, and we’ve traded some entertaining stories about it.

Lately I haven’t even been using any of them (I’ve been too preoccupied with the house to take any nice young ladies out), but I have logged onto one or two where I have a profile still active. I guess just out of boredom. Or maybe I’m a creeper. Whatever.

So anyway, I got this email from one of the sites today. I won’t copy and paste it, but the site admins told me that I’ve been “selected” by their super high tech “selecting computer” as an attractive individual. Now this wasn’t a veiled offer for an account upgrade. It was telling me that their algorithms had determined that I am more attractive than average and that if I log into the site, my search results will now be filtered so that more attractive females will show up at the top of my search results.

I call bullshit.

I actually logged onto the site and took a peek, and it didn’t seem any different than normal. It was the same general mix of attractiveness that one always sees.

I think they’re performing an experiment. Seriously. Think about it. You run a dating site. It’s a website and matching service, so all you can really do is try to give it the smoothest interface and the most sophisticated matching technology. Once you achieve that, the rest is left up to the users. I mean, people still need to contact each other, and they still need to negotiate those social interactions on their own.

So how do you increase site use? Pay out some compliments.

Now, we’re Americans, we’re leery of advertising. We have a nose for platitudes (well, unless you’re a Sarah Palin supporter–then, apparently, you’re addicted to platitudes, but I digress…). So you have to make the compliment specific. Tell the user, for example, that your scientific algorithmic algorithmnator determined that the user is more attractive than average and that they’ll be nudged towards other more attractive users. The user gets a little more confident. Some of the ladies start looking a little cuter. More emails and winks are sent out, and presumably more dates are set.

I think that this is genius. Here are some of the encouraging, ego-fluffing emails that I’d send out to my dear dating site users if I were the admin of such a site.

Email 1

Dear Sir Winksalot,

We are pleased to inform you that you are one of our dating site’s most reliable winkers and emailers! Our scientific computer algorithm interface generator has determined that you send out more winks and emails to more people than almost anyone. The computer has assessed your dedication to meeting absolutely anyone possible, how carefully you have copied and pasted your form emails, and how quickly you are able to declare your infinite virtues as well as your desire for a commitment that is true, noble, and above all hasty. We also love your poetry!

Hang in there, Sir Winksalot. We’ve now tailored your search to respond to your sociopathic, phishing-like online behavior with the best results imaginable. Mrs Right is just a click away!

Email 2

Dear Duchess of Duck,

We love your duckface! And so do our users! Our advanced computer indexing search engine optimizerator (SEOerator) has determined that more users click on your dozen or so duckface pictures than most other pictures. Not so many users post pictures of themselves with so many people, always guzzling vodka and redbulls, and always making your indelible trademark face.

Take heart, Duches of Duck, we’ve optimized your search results to pair you with more fellas locked in permanent duck face than before. Your chance to start dancing bill to bill is just a click away!

Email 3

Dear ICLondonICFrance,

We sure do love your underpants! And so do the rest of our members! Our advanced holistic search optimization forum has determined that the click through rate on your underpants pics are through the roof. We like to think that the shirtless men showing off their abs and the top down bathroom mirror boob shot women of our dating site are what make it a sizzlin’ place to meet new singles. And we’d like to thank you by upgrading your status.

ICLondonICFrance, your searches just got even better. We’ve now filtered your content to bring you exclusive access to the most underpants-only singles the web has to offer. Your chance to woo the underpants off the person of your dreams is just a click away!

This is fun. My dating website is gonna be the best on the net!

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Generally speaking, I’m a fan of routines.  Regular, predictable events and actions that string days together easily and seamlessly.  They empower the imagination in an inverse sort of way: I can easily imagine, for example, what my next Monday will look like.

Perhaps that thought is a little disturbing: the looming specter of the Monday next.  But really, it’s only a negative if your days are negative.  Do your days routinely suck?  Then maybe you should make some changes.  Most of my days are good, or at the least, they definitely aren’t bad.  So I’ve few complaints.

That imagined visage of a comfortable, routine day is seldom as warm as when displaced.  I get this when I go on long vacations.  At a certain point I get homesick and long to return.  And I’ve felt a little bit of that in a strange way lately.  Moving, house shopping, packing, unpacking, and constantly working on the house have me so displaced from my usual self that I’ve been longing for some normality.  I can’t stand living out of boxes.  The other night, as I was crashing, I felt an aching desire to thumb through one of my books before I fell asleep, but the book was buried in any one of a dozen boxes.  What is the point of owning books if you don’t return to them on occasion to remember their treasures?

Still, though, I’ve managed to weird myself out a little.  One habit that I never wanted to become a habit is television.  If there’s one form of background noise that I positively can’t stand it’s television.  Whenever I’m at a parent’s house, the television is incessantly blaring.  At my father’s it’s always on in the background.  At my mother’s, she and her husband are interminably glued to it.  Either way, I hate it.  I never wanted to be a “tv person.”

But one of the most annoying things about my move was that I got behind on my shows.  “My shows” see there I said it.  I’m deliberate about what I watch, and I always DVR it so that I  can skip the commercials.  But still.  I feel that I’ve become a shade of my parents in this way.

Now this isn’t a new concern of mine, but what surprised me about the temporary interruption was the realization of how important these shows are to my relaxation.  I mean, they’ve really become my decompression routine.  When I get home from an eleven hour day at the office (or even a nine hour day), I queue up one of my shows and chill out.

Partly this is good.  I’m glad I’ve found an outlet.  But at the same time, I don’t like the feeling that television is necessary.  I’d like to think that I could cancel my cable subscription at any time and with few regrets.

So this is a goal for me to work on this summer.  I want some new routines.  Routines that feel a little more active.  It’s going to be tough.  Trueblood just started back up, as did Top Chef, and Louis CK’s new show starts soon.  Oh, and did we mention Entourage?  Oh and MadMen will be here before you know it.

You see what I mean?  You see!  It’s an endless spiral.

I’m hoping to get some major unpacking done this week, and once those things are settled, we need to focus on some new routines.  Even if they’re old ones revived.

Oh, but I am still planning a fitting Treme wrap-up post here.  Both Treme and the Tudors just wrapped up.  All I really have to say about the Tudors is “Henry VIII with a conscience” sounds more like a thought experiment than basis for a tv show, but the writers made it work.  Recommended.

Treme, now.  I’ve been thinking about Treme.  And you should be watching it.  I feel guilty even calling what David Simon does “tv” anymore.  It’s just so damned good.

But more on that later.

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So, apparently there’s some basketball game going on today or something?  I keep hearing people chattering about it, and it was even on NPR in the morning.  So I guess it must be significant.  All I can say is thank god we only hear about basketball a few days out of the year.  I’d much rather hear about the World Cup.

Both sports, basketball and soccer/football, have negative associations with me, actually.  My parents forced me to play soccer for years, and it was aweful.  I was never athletic.  Looking back, it still frustrates me that my parents made me play, although the dynamic of the frustration has evolved a little.  When I was younger, I just hated that they made me do something I sucked at.  They thought that, in order to be normal, I needed to be good at math and play sports.  Many years, lots of therapy, and tons of drinking later, it still bugs me a bit.  I just don’t understand how they didn’t understand their son.  But this is something I don’t understand about parents in general.  I guess I’m open minded, but if I have kids I look forward to encouraging them in whatever direction they go, rather than making them miserable to fit some preconceived notion of normal.  I think what gets me about it now, is that they kept pushing and pushing, and clearly I was not a normal child, and yet they just kept pushing.  Couldn’t they see it wasn’t working?  I digress.

Basketball.  I actually tried at basketball, briefly.  It didn’t go well, and anyway it was right before I got into music, so I don’t think of it much.  Except to say, fuck basketball.

Anyway.  I’m actually excited that Americans are paying the World Cup some mind, and I’m pretty annoyed at the xenophioc (mostly) conservative assholes who are trying to make a stink about it.  Guess what, America:  you could stand to be a little more worldly.  We don’t get all snotty about the olympics.  Why do we get snotty about the World Cup? 

I loaded up the FIFA site and tried to understand the brackets, but couldn’t make much sense of it, except to see that apparently Argentina is whooping some ass.  And the U.S. might be about to get our asses whooped in our next match.

Anyway, people, stop being so uptight and love the World Cup a little.  Soon enough we’ll be back to watching the Orioles suck, and in the fall, well the Ravens might have an amazing season this year if all goes well.

Don’t be like our friend Sad Keanu here.  Cheer up a bit.

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My home is starting to resemble a home.  I am no longer sleeping on a matress unceremoniously flopped onto the floor.  I have curtains.  I have started cooking dinner more often than getting carry out.

And yet, most of my stuff is still in boxes.  Grrr.  I’m simultaneously trying to work on the house, work long hours, and start having a social life again.  It’s rough.

I hate it when I go through lag periods on this page, so let me try to get back to regular posting.

In the meantime, here is a link that you may find amusing:

Artistic Statement Generator 2000

I’d paste mine in here, but I don’t want to ruin the joke.  It’s cute.  Enjoy.

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Paint in patches.

Overlap your patches.

Keep them even.

Keep painting.

Keep painting.

My mantra has been simple and arduous these past few days.  I’m doggedly determined to get several key rooms painted now rather than later.  It’s coming along, but WAY slower and WAY harder than I expected.  I don’t know if it’s the drywall in here or the paint that I bought (which wasn’t a cheap one), but it’s taking more coats than expected to get the colors right.  It doesn’t help that the seller painted everything this ass ugly bright yellow-beige.

Other than that I’ve been mentally wiped and just kind of holding it together.  The one thing I wasn’t expecting with my first house was the mental saturation.  At a number of points I’ve just gotten so that I can’t absorb anything else.  And all these decisions need to be made by me.  It’s my house.  I’ve had to make myself stop and rest at a few points just to keep it together.  But it’s been going well all in all.

So I’m finally starting to stabilize here and hope to have some insights posted in the next day or so.  I might post about a few of the projects I have going around the house, but I don’t want to get too focused on that here.  Blogs only about home projects are a little annoying.  This is a journal style blog, and I intend to keep it that way.

Mainly though, I am just pushing ahead, stroke stroke stroke, and looking forward to having a normal social life again in a couple of weeks.  Be back in the regular swing of things soon.

Supposedly, I’m going to have an internet connection at home tonight.  Supposedly.  I am counting on the Comcast guy.  Again.  So my hopes are less than 100%.

Things are going well with the house and I’m happy with things all in all, although physically I feel like I’ve spent the last three days fighting a kraken.  I’m wiped.  Luckily things are calm at work right now, so I’m off the hook from any serious duty.

Hopefully I’ll be back with a real post tonight from my finished, painted, furnished basement.  The first major hurdle will be mounted, and I can relax a little.

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