Sunday, October 25, 2009

Merde du Jour

What a shit, shit week! Caught a virus, did my back in, lost money, discovered another old friend has cancer - that just about sums it up. Oh and the clocks went back, which officially makes today the shittiest of them all.

I hate GMT, it's stupid and outdated. I really don't give a shit that it doesn't get light until 9am in the morning, if it doesn't get dark until 5pm, that's a damned sight better than 4pm. If I had kids I'd rather they came home from school in the light rather than in the dark. Kids are going somewhere in the morning - school, so whether its dark or not is immaterial. Kids are meandering lost souls after school who can wander about aimlessly and take an hour to do a 15 minute journey. I'd rather they meandered in the light or twilight. Plus it's so fucking depressing and we don't get an extra hour in bed, we wake up an hour earlier! If we have to put the clocks back, lets do it it in December and put them forward again in January. That way the proper Christmas season can be all warm and snuggly and grim, like wot it was like in Victorian times...

I've been itching to write a column about social networking sites, but it really is a can of worms and continues to grow exponentially and, more importantly, I don't know if I can do it justice, especially as the areas of my invective are pretty much marginalised anyhow. However, that didn't stop me from jotting down some things wot I thought...

Facebook is something of a phenomenon, and I, like many others, have been swept up by its charmless mish-mash of applications, updates and self-importantisms*. It was started by Friends Reunited, which, of course, became more famous for elevating school romances into the realm of adulterous affairs than it did for how much it was sold for. FR was essentially a hag or shag site - were the girls/boys you used to know at school hags or shags? FB is far more sophisticated and was developed by Yanks, but it's still essentially a free form of dating site.

The concept of FB could be applied to other rip off sites, a short list of which I have compiled:
Hatebook - you don't make friends with people, you hate them. If the hate is mutual even better! Your status update is insults and all the applications are shoot'em ups.
Firstbook - a small selective SNG; you just become friends with the first person you had sex with, no one else. The interesting thing about this seeing how many other people had sex for the first time with the person you did!
Pervbook - got a perversion? Hook up with like-minded people and post photos of your own mutilated genitalia.
Arsebook - an SNG dedicated to pictures of your arse - this one's a winner! (There are obvious spin-offs from this; cockbook, cuntbook, boobbook, tonsilbook, elbowbook, nosebook... the list could almost be endless)

The other thing about SNGs (and virtual worlds, of which I have ventured nowhere near) that has me perplexed is this 'currency' that is creeping in. Recently in the Guardian there was an article about the economy of virtual worlds and how people use real money to buy virtual money to buy people virtual presents... I'm sorry, perhaps this is just me, but is that the most fucking stupid idea ever, ever? What did you get for your birthday then? Oh, I got some virtual flowers and a virtual box of virtual chocolates!

One of my current favourites is Zynga's Texas Hold'em Poker on FB. It's waaaay more popular than virtually any other application and its a free game playing with free chips. But, you can buy tokens to allow you to buy back into games which don't have actual prizes. Let me make this clear: There's a weekly poker tournament where you get 1000 virtual dollars; the aim is to stay in the tournament until the following Sunday night and accumulate the most chips. If you win V$1,000,000 by the end of the week, I get that V$1million plus a bonus of about 10%, so I get V$100k. The only place you can use these virtual dollars is in Zynga's poker game and as stakes or to buy more virtual gifts. If I get knocked out at any point during that week, I can pay $1.95 - actual money - to buy V$1k of chips to re-enter the tournament to try and win nothing! Zynga, allegedly, makes over $100k a year from this feature alone. Is this complete and utter insanity?

Another great one is FB's birthday gifts. You get half a dozen free ones and then the rest increase in cost. These are all NOT REAL and yet they want you to pay $5 for a bottle of virtual champagne!!!! You can buy Facebook credits to allow you to buy Facebook virtual gifts... perhaps Facebook should have been called GullibleTwatBook?

Anyhow, if people have no sense and enough disposable income they want to do this kind of unmitigated nonsense, then I can't stop them, but I know what they are and how to call them.

But, saying that, I remember when FB decided to change its entire look. Over a million people complained about the new look and begged for the old look to come back. I said at the time they can bleat and whine all they want, nothing will happen and guess what? Nothing happened and if anything the new Facebook is riddled with stuff that once upon a time would have had people fleeing for alternatives.

The internet is changing and if people want to fulfil the self-fulfilling prophecy that one day they would spend more time in cyberspace than on terra firma, then it's entirely up to them. Personally, I'd rather own real estate than unreal estate; I'd rather have sex with a real person than have a glorified wank in front of a monitor and most of all, I'd like to buy someone something they can hold in their hands - love it or hate it - rather than buy them a virtual gift that is utterly worthless because it doesn't exist.

Moving on...

Overheard in Tesco about an hour ago: "Oh, I'll be so happy when Halloween is out of the way; then it's just Bonfire Night and Christmas!" This is a woman who should have been sealed up pre-puberty!!! For fuck's sake, and this means you, Halloween is a purely American invention, created not in the spirit (if you'll excuse the pun) but to make MONEY out of YOU!!! It has little or nothing to do with Britain and if a kid knocks on my door next Saturday trick or treating, I will explain to him that doorstep begging died out during the Victorian era when it was made illegal, so if they don't get off my property I'll set the fucking dogs on them!

I came up with a perfect way of celebrating Christmas! Change the date to February 29th and celebrate it every 4 years! That way it would become special again and would give us all four years to forget just how awful it is and how we intend to enjoy ourselves, but always end up spending it with all the people we'd rather lock in the cellar of a flood compromised housing estate.

Did I mention I was having a bad week?

* I am aware this is a made up word

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