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Every now and then I write something which I think is so funny that I have to pause my typing because I’m laughing so hard.

Generally speaking, however, I am the only person on the planet to find those things funny.

The other day, my husband (who, as some of you may remember, never laughs at my jokes) was spending some quality time tuning his Other Woman (also known as his motorbike) when I approached, chuckling heartily to myself.

Our subsequent conversation went something like this:

ME: I just wrote something really funny on facebook!

HIM: Really? That’s nice.

ME: Yeah it really was really really funny. No, really. You see, I wrote something about the humid weather in one of my status updates and [The Mild-Mannered Lawyer] made some reference to that Nelly song about  how it’s “getting hot in herre” and I was all, like, “so take off all your clothes”.

HIM: Yeah, that’s really funny.

ME: No, no, no, no. That’s not the funny bit! I haven’t got to it yet! Anyway, so then somebody else said something about how someone must have brought the weather from Sydney and, you see, that’s EXACTLY what Mr Justice accused me of that morning. Of taking the weather with me from Sydney. You know, because I just came back from Sydney.

HIM: Yep.

ME: And then The Mild-Mannered Lawyer – obviously in her capacity as my legal counsel – advised me that Mr Justice was plagiarising Crowded House lyrics…

HIM: (eyes glazing over) Uh huh.

ME: So I said – and this is the funny part right here – I said that Neil Finn should either sue or get together with Nelly and write a song called ‘Everywhere you go, you always take off all your clothes’ !!!!!

HIM: And?

ME: That’s the funny thing I wrote. ‘Everywhere you go, you always take off all your clothes!’.

HIM: (gives blank look)

ME: You know, because of that Crowded House song that goes ‘Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you’. And because Nelly tells everyone to take off all their clothes – although, technically, nobody actually does take off all their clothes in the film clip, just a few superfluous top layers. Although I expect ‘take off a few superfluous top layers’ didn’t scan quite as well. Not that ‘take off all your clothes’ scans that well anyway because, let’s face it, it doesn’t even rhyme and it should be something like ‘So take off all your gear’ or ‘Let’s drink our body weight in beer’. Although you’d have to spell ‘gear’ and ‘beer’ with a double RR, you know, to be consistent with his creative spelling of ‘herre’, which I’ve always thought could also be an alternative spelling of ‘hair’ and, for reasons I can’t quite explain right now, makes me think of a bunch of heavily bearded guys in leathers dancing around in a nightclub where the roof is on fire. And no, I don’t know why I’m telling you this, either.

[Long silence]

HIM:  Oh. Okay. I’m glad you had a nice time on your Facebook. [Turns back to his motorbike].

Look, if my husband just bothered to accept my facebook friendship request – or, indeed, even joined Facebook – he’d see just how funny I was, like, ALL THE TIME and he’d be writing “Good one! LOLZZZZ!!! :-D” all over my damn wall.  Don’t I know it.

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My husband once remarked that I was extremely good at making my own fun. He’s right.

Why, just the other day I realised I was approaching 400 ‘likers’ on Facebook so I decided to run another ‘give away’. Some readers may remember the last ‘giveaway’ I ran which resulted in me sending one lucky person a picture of a dog! Wearing a hat! Smoking a cigar!! (see ‘Picture Perfect’).

This time, I decided to go that little bit further. Inspired by a photo I found on my internet travels of a Japanese woman wearing a ‘Hair Protector’ while she ate a bowl of noodles, I got busy making a noodle hair protector for The Pixie’s ‘sister’ Abby. This, if you think about it, was a veritable Sara Lee Danish full of irony (“layer upon layer”) because A) Abby doesn’t actually have any hair to protect from noodles – or anything else for that matter – and B) Abby can’t even eat noodles because she’s a fucking plastic doll.

The kids watched with some small amount of awe while I was carefully folding paper and cutting strips of sticky tape.

“What are you doing?” one of them asked, after a while.

“I’m making a Noodle Hair Protector for Abby.”

“Why?”

“Uh… I really don’t know,” was the honest answer. After all, it was before seven o’clock in the morning and I hadn’t even had my coffee yet.

“But mark my words,” I assured the kids. “You are witnessing Genius In Action.”

Arguably, it was more “Genius Inaction” but what the hey, I took a photo of Abby wearing it and sent it off to my giveaway winner with some small sense of satisfaction. The NDM: changing the world one strange photograph at a time.

I waited and waited for the winner’s email reply. Nothing came. I grew despondent. It was hauntingly like that dark day I sent a bunch of people a picture of a watermelon cut into the shape of the Death Star and not a single one of them thanked me. Not a single one.

In my despair, I reached out to touch somebody. I decided to write to my new friend Mark Pollard of [advertising agency] McCann Australia. My email went something like this:

Dear Mark,

I expect I haven’t heard from you for a while because you’ve been busy briefing your legal team. Whether it’s for an employment contract, legal suit or a restraining order, time will tell.

In the meantime, I wanted to reassure you that I am totally fine with being flown to Sydney and put up at the Sheraton On The Park at McCann’s expense. You know, in case you were wondering.

Incidentally, my husband stayed at the Sheraton On The Park for work a few weeks ago and he bought me back the room service breakfast menu as a present because he’d spent all his money on his room service breakfast. We subsequently enjoyed many happy hours laughing at the exorbitant prices and making owl impressions by looking through those little holes you hang the menu on the door handle with. I would have sent you a photo of me making an owl impression except my husband appears to have put the menu in the recycling. I did, however, spend *at least* five minutes searching for it which should show you how serious I am about furthering our professional relationship.

Instead, I’ve attached a picture of my daughter’s ‘sister’ wearing a home-made Noodle Hair Protector.

I look forward to hearing from your legal team,

The NDM

PS. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve decided to bring that spunky Todd from ‘The Gruen Transfer’ in on our conversation.

cc. Todd Sampson, CEO of Leo Burnett, Australia

Happily, Mark replied within the hour. He began his email with the words “I think you need your own TV show”. There were some other minor details about not being able to pay me and (perhaps) some small hint about “email harassment” but basically, I think he’s definitely about to offer me my own Reality TV series…

See? I really can make my own fun and soon I’ll be making yours, too, on a small screen near you.

________________________________

Edited to add: Rest assured, the winner of my giveaway did respond –  Facebook just decided to fuck with my head and hide it from me.  She said: “Best prize I ever won. My eyes hurt.”

Edited to also add:  Somewhat surprisingly, that Spunky Todd from ‘The Gruen Transfer‘ has yet to respond, however. I expect he’s now in meetings with his lawyers, too.

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It recently came to my attention – I’m not sure quite how – that there was a page on Facebook called “If I knew you were coming I’d of baked a cake.. LOL jk I’d of locked the door 🙂” which 136,668 people had apparently ‘liked’ enough to click a button with the word ‘LIKE’ on it. I don’t know about you, but I put its success largely down to the inclusion of the smiley face at the end and the fact it LOLs in the face of grammar.

It also came to my attention that, in stark contrast, the number of people who purported to ‘like’ my own facebook page was 244.

The obvious thing to do to rectify this rather embarrassing situation was to change my page title to ‘Not Drowning LOL jk Mothering :)’ –  ‘LOL jk’ being something the Youth Of Today use to indicate they’re telling a joke instead of, say, actually being funny. (Oh, my! Did I just type that out loud?)

Anyway, I soon learnt it was a bit too late to jump aboard the ‘LOL jk’ wagon – a quick search on facebook yielded 132,000 results. That ship had well and truly sailed – it evidently being the kind of wagon that easily converts into a sail boat.

So I decided instead to run an Oprah-style giveaway to the 250th person to ‘like’ me on Facebook. Except, even as I announced it on Facebook, I realised that I really had no idea what I could possibly give away, with the exception, perhaps, of my dignity. The word ‘Special’ had been carelessly bandied around a lot. I was under pressure…

But then I found it – again, I’m not sure how. It was the perfect gift. It said all I wanted to say… and more! It was a photo… of a dog… wearing a jaunty-angled cap… SMOKING A CIGAR! It was exactly right for a forum like Facebook where I’m always being urged to ‘buy’ JPEGS of bull dogs wearing party hats for my friends’ birthdays. Except those official Facebook Party Bulldogs aren’t even smoking cigars. Sad, but true.

Anyway, I emailed the picture to my 250th person in the smug knowledge that I was enriching her life considerably. Later that day, however, I decided the picture was so very ‘special’ that it was my civic duty to share it with the rest of my Facebook ‘Likers’. I’m generous like that.

My 250th person, however, was devastated. In her words, her ‘special’ gift had been “cheapened”. But then, she’d had the picture for four hours more than everyone else. Four. Whole. Hours. As I wrote over on Facebook “Imagine the possibilities!”. I mean, if she hadn’t made the most of that four hour head start, (growls:) that was her fucking problem.

Still, I felt bad. I truly did. Bad enough to email her the picture of a My Little Pony dressed up as Princess Leia in a gold lamé bikini that my husband had once sent me to fuck with my head. I then reassured everyone back over on Facebook that I had made amends by sending her a photo of  My-Little-Pony-dressed-up-as-Princess-Leia-in-a-gold-lamé-bikini and then I attached the photo so they’d know what the hell I was talking about. 

“It’s like a knife to my heart. You are dead to me, you hear? Dead!” my 250th person said when she saw I’d shared yet another of her ‘special’ prizes with the masses.

Of course the only thing I could possibly do then was to email her a picture of a Lego figurine giving birth to an alien life through its stomach. And this time I didn’t post this picture on Facebook. No. I’d learnt my lesson. No, truly! Also, it was kind of creepy – unlike the capped dog smoking a cigar and the Slave Pony Princess Leia.

I mean, you judge for yourself:

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It was all a bit embarrassing, really. Facebook obviously wanted me to be friends with Hugh Jackman a helluva lot because every time I logged on, there he was, in my ‘Friend Suggestions’ feed. Every single time. No matter how many times I pressed the ‘Remove’ button, Facebook kept sending Hugh Jackman back to me.

After about a week of this, I finally thought “Fuck it! Maybe Facebook’s got it right this time! Maybe Hugh Jackman and I are meant to be friends!”. Also I was beginning to suspect that old Hugh must have been in a pretty lonely place if he was letting Facebook pimp him in this way.

So I sent Hugh Jackman a friendship request, along with the message that I was only asking to be his friend because Facebook was being so damn insistent about it and not because I loved him or anything because, quite frankly, the memory of his bare torso in the promos for Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ still gave me nightmares.

But no sooner had I clicked ‘Send Request’ than I received a message that Hugh had too many friends already.

Ha! It was like Facebook had deliberately set a trap to humiliate me. Or maybe the trap was set by Hugh, himself. He may even have been in league with the Literary Agent of International Renown. Yeah, that’d be right.

However, before I judged Hugh too harshly, I thought I should check if he was the real Hugh. After a quick search, I found myself faced with a grand total of 492 Hugh Jackmans. Now, either Hugh was spreading himself a little thin on Facebook OR only one was the Real Hugh and the rest were (gasp!) IMPOSTERS!

So I then did what any reasonable person would do. I decided to send friendship requests to all 492 Hughs because (and hear me out here) that way I’d be able to tell which one was the Real Hugh because he’d most certainly be the only one who didn’t accept my friendship request. Also I kind of fancied having 491 friends called Hugh Jackman. I don’t know why, but I did.

Anyway, I grew pretty bored with the whole thing after sending requests to only 18 of the Hughs. This was lucky because it also took me that long to realise I had just merrily given full access to my Facebook profile to at least 17 Hugh Jackman impersonators.

Of course, I immediately tried to retract my friendship requests but couldn’t find any way of doing this. It turns out celebrities (and celebrity impersonators) must have some kind of Special Status on Facebook because none of the obvious ways to retract my request would work. What’s up with that shit, Facebook? What if I’d put in a request to be a Jennifer Aniston impersonator’s friend and then she ran over my cat and refused to even apologised and I wanted to take the friendship request back because even to be friends with her for a second would be dishonour my cat’s memory? Sheesh!

Over on twitter, people were very quick to offer advice on how to retract a friendship request. They were so incredibly helpful and sympathetic. Many said they, too, had “been there”, no doubt thinking I was mourning my dead cat. I felt too embarrassed to tell them exactly where “there” was for me, having stupidly followed 18 Hugh Jackmans in less than five minutes without thinking of the consequences.

In the end, the only way I could get myself out of this pickle was by totally blocking each Hugh Jackman from my account to cancel out my friendship request (Thanks, McNazzle). Which means that I have now officially blocked a grand total of 18 Hugh Jackmans on Facebook. Result.

Of course, the chances are that one of those 18 will be the Real Hugh and I will have sabotaged all chances whatsoever of him and I ever being friends. And Facebook thought we’d be so good together…

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I recently remarked that all people ever seemed to do on facebook was take quizzes, most of which give grammatically-challenged and yet cutting insights into my personality such as “Your eyes always has a smile in them!! Your all about having fun and parting the night away…”. I’m still unsure how I might “part the night away”, unless, of course, there had been an outbreak of lice at the school and I was having to check the entire family’s heads with a fine tooth comb until after 9pm. In which case, I’m not sure where the “having fun” bit comes in. To be quite honest.  

Anyway, a couple of people told me that I wasn’t being very fair about facebook. People do plenty of other things there, they claimed. For example, they join groups (did you know that I counted 27 separate groups called “Stupid” and seven of them have only one member… now that’s stupid!) and they also become “fans” of things (my favourite ever was the invitation to become a fan of “I Hate Waking Up In The Morning!” because it laughed brazenly in the face of grammar and logic). People also like to circulate lists of things about themselves – “25 Random Things About Me” was a popular one a couple of months back, which was shortly followed by “25 Random Things About Myself That You Probably Don’t Want To Know” and then “25 Random Things I Wish I’d Never Read”.

People kept asking me “Oh, NDM. When are you going to do your ‘25 Things’?” but personally, I couldn’t think of 25 things about myself that would even be worth sharing (she says as she publishes her 231st blog post). I decided I should create my own facebook list meme such as “25 things I could have done differently to have avoided a Late Pass this morning” or “25 recipes that take over 30 minutes to prepare that my daughter will dismiss out of hand as bisgusting” or even “25 unidentifiable things found under my son’s bed” (a hard one to do since the things are unidentifiable). But in the end, I felt they all lacked a certain universality…

And then, some four long months after the “25 random things” craze that swept the Facebook nation, I finally compiled the following list:

25 RANDOM THINGS MOTHERHOOD HAS TAUGHT ME (SO FAR)
  1. The school run is a called a “run” for a reason. As in “Run! Run! RUNNNNNNNN! WE’RE SHITTING-FUCKING LATE!!!”
  2. Never feed the children something saturated in sugar and food colouring shortly before doing the grocery shopping or having them interviewed on national television. 
  3. The parenting motto “Be persistent and consistent” only works when you can actually remember what you’re being persistent about. Damn that short-term memory-loss-due-to-long-term-sleep-depriv… What was I saying again?
  4. Those Japanese women were onto something by wearing kimonos: the tiny steps they have to take is all good training for pushing the pram with one of those toddler skateboards attached and/or moving about the house with a small child wrapped around both your legs. 
  5. Being a mother means that both hot and cold drinks will always be drunk as luke-warm drinks and any sentence conveying vital information will never be fini
  6. Never do the school run on foot in your ugg boots: your feet get hotter than the sun and you look Like A Fool. 
  7. Children snacking on sultanas (known as “raisins” to my US reader) may give you that warm fuzzy Good Mother Feeling about them having actually eaten something from the Health Foods aisle of the supermarket but do not be fooled: those sultanas will reappear entirely intact out the other end. Just think re-hydrated grapes. 
  8. Follow your instincts, except when your instinct is to run naked and screaming from the house. 
  9. Once you’ve had children, you will never be able to remember a time before them – and not just because “they change your life” (etc) but also because you really won’t be able to remember. Something to do with long-term-sleep-depriv…whatever.
  10. Adjust your expectations of yourself and what you are able to achieve with small children around. A 5 minute errand without kids will be a 45 minute errand with kids. And a 25 Random Things List will become a 10 Random Things List. For example.

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It’s no secret that my mind likes to go on the occasional mini-break. I’d like to think it’s because I’m basically an “Ideas Person” but, in reality, it’s mostly because I’m so very very bored.  

Just recently I found myself thinking how people working on the front counter at a fast-food joint could always supplement their income by working as a “civil process server” on the side. And then, when they serve people hamburgers and fries, they can also serve them with legal documents such as divorce papers or writs. See? It’s so obvious, I don’t know why more people don’t do it. 

Same could apply to working in a 1970s-style department store, such as “Grace Brothers”, where you can flounce about gaily saying “Are you being served?” to the customers and then, when they say “No, I’m not”, you can suddenly turn all serious and, handing them their divorce papers, say “Well, you are now.”

Of course there’s that small problem of ensuring that the person you need to serve important legal documents to will come to your primary place of employment. You could be waiting a long time, perhaps even decades, if you work in a big city. I guess you could always mail them a “50% discount voucher” for your store, only to be redeemed during the hours of your next shift. But the effort and cost of printing and mailing these might somewhat detract from the simple elegance of the “double serve” as I first presented it.

Also, there would be that legal hurdle of getting them to confirm that they are, in fact, the Right Person before you serve them. I expect your employer might not take kindly to you breaking protocol by saying “Are you [insert name]?” to every woman who came to your register instead of “Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order please?”. For example. McDonalds are very particular about these things, as a rule. Except at the McDonalds near my doctor’s where the guy on the drive-thru calls me “champ” and says stuff like “Too easy.” Well, it might be “too easy” for him but not for me, okay? Not. For. Me. 

Talking of “too easy”, I can only conclude that it would really would be much easier for civil process servers to serve papers to people working in the service industry because they tend to wear name-tags (and thus are more readily identifiable). Also, the “service” aspect of their job means they should be generally more receptive to strangers approaching them unexpectedly – even those cheerlessly waving summonses under their noses.

Anyway, I guess now that you can serve notices over facebook (really rooly truly in Australia and New Zealand), a more tech-savvy Civic Process Server probably would never bother with my double serve solution ANYWAY.

Except I’m still trying to get trying to get my head around how that’s even possible on facebook? Would you send an anonymous invitation to do “The Bestest Facebook Quiz Ever?” to the person you’re trying to serve? And then, when they take that Bestest Quiz Ever (which they definitely would because taking quizzes is about the only thing that anyone ever does on facebook), it consists of one question and one question only: “Are you [insert their full name]?”. And when they answer “Yes”, another screen pops up with the words “Consider yourself served!” and one of those animated smiley faces blowing a raspberry. And then the summons will be automatically downloaded onto their computer, perhaps even with a few megabytes of hard-core porn just in case the charges you’ve got them up against don’t stick and you’ll have something else to get them with.

At least, that’s how I’d do it. What did I say again? “Ideas person”.

Oh, and just mind-numbingly and most desperately bored.

.

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It’s no secret that I play a lot of online scrabble and often with strangers. Yes, strangers. Go on, ask me about it. I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ve even got two facebook friends who I have only ever met across a online Scrabble board. In both cases, they evenly matched me as players, took their turns in a timely manner, saw the games through to completion and never once tried to engage me in sordid scrabble sex talk. What’s not to like?

“Now, hang on a minute, NDM,” I can hear Those People asking. “What’s all this about sordid scrabble sex talk?”

Honestly, do I have to explain everything?

Okay, so anyone who has ever done the scrabble thing via facebook may remember the good old days of “Scrabulous” before their makers got made Hasbro’s bitch in a copyright wrangle. 

For those who haven’t and/or don’t, Scrabulous was a popular version of the Scrabble format with a user-friendly interface and an extremely seedy underbelly. If you ever dared venture into the “Join Table” section to peruse the games on offer from other players, it was just a little like putting your carkeys in a bowl at a swinger’s party. Every second game request was from guys specifically requesting games with girls with “big norks” (and other such delightful attributes) or looking for a “XXX good time”.

Now, while I feel Scrabble is a word game with many fine qualities, I could never quite reconcile the desire to use it as a forum for sex chat. And I always wondered (without bothering to find out, mind you) whether there was any expectation for players who accepted those kind of games to put down words like TITTY and SIXTYNINER (which would be quite a high scoring word if you think about it, but that’s the Scrabble nerd in me coming out again). 

Anyway, let’s just say it was an absolute minefield for a Happily-Married-Thank-You-Very-Much Woman with three children whose personal motto was “A Quick Clean Game is a Good Game”. So you can therefore appreciate it that when I found some people who would play quickly and cleanly, I clung to them like a drowning sailor.

Since Scrabulous’ untimely demise, I’ve since found myself occasionally playing the Hasbro-endorsed and heavily trademarked SCRABBLE™ game on the Book of Face.  In stark comparison to the Scrabulous miscreants, the players on SCRABBLE™ are an earnest clean-living lot, especially since there is no capacity to advertise “particulars” when posting a game request. In the SCRABBLE™ world, you are either a Beginner, Casual, Serious or Expert. And this player, ladies and gentleman, is Serious. 

So you can imagine my surprise and horror the other day, when a young man burst into one of my Serious game requests, all chatty and friendly-like. Our conversation went a little like this: 

HIM: Hi! 

ME: Er, hello. 

HIM: How’s life today?

ME: Um, I’m doing the bloody dishes.

By this time he was already losing considerably in the game.

HIM: I can bet you are really worried you’re going to lose this game. 

ME: You might still surprise me with a BINGO.

(For non-Scrabblers, this is a seven-word move that earns you mega-points)

HIM: I like small words that get me no points at all.

ME: Evidently.

HIM: I like people to think, shit, he looks like a smart guy and then be pleasantly surprised by their enormous win.

I went and looked at his profile pic and saw it showed him up close and personal with someone who looked a lot like Paris Hilton – i.e. a blonde man in drag. Yep, real smart. 

ME: Interesting tactic. It must lose you many games. 

HIM: Yes, but I think I win the respect of strangers. And friendship is worth much more than scrabble points.

ME: I am too used to letting my six-year old son win too many UNO games to let any strangers beat me at Scrabble. 

ME: Hello?

ME: Are you going to do your move?

ME: Hello??

Was it something I said? Clearly, it was.

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