Category Archives: WTF

Advertisers acknowledge the primary purpose of the Facebook is indeed stalking…

… and adjust their strategies accordingly:

facebookad-booyfriend

It was creepy enough when companies annouced products for parents to keep tabs on their teenage children via GPS. This is just over the top….

Luckily, there’s one for reverse-stalking as well:

facebookad-reverse stalking

I know advertising models are falling apart at the seams, but do they really have to resort to giving people the willies to secure click-throughs? This image haunts my dreams.

Tampon scarcity in Brooklyn

I have been inspired recently by one Naomi MC of Vagina Dentata. Besides being an awesome writer in general, she chooses to tackle some topics that are somewhat hush hush, nay taboo, in the blogosphere and society at large. Namely, she has written one whomper of a post about periods, encouraging the discussion of them. Not the punctuation, but women’s monthly reminder of our fertility.

Right on, Naomi.

Now I’m going to tell you about a major problem* with the perception — specifically, the MALE perception — of periods as taboo: It makes things really bloody inconvenient for women when they have them.

Image 1: A man in a vagina with a tampon in it. This is symbolic of the way menstrual products are distributed in Brooklyn.

Image 1: A man in a vagina with a tampon in it. This is symbolic of the way menstrual products are distributed in Brooklyn.

You see, in Brooklyn, we have to deal with the problem of tampon scarcity. How, you may be wondering, can a product be scarce when it is a necessity of approximately half the population in any given area? Why wouldn’t a commodity always be readily available when it is something that this large consumer base will never NOT need — barring a Village-of-the-Damned style mass impregnation of women??

I have no idea, and but it is one of the most ridiculous things I have encountered living here.

In Brooklyn, there are no Walmart Superstores. No Targets, no K-Marts, no Meijer. Even major pharmacies are rare in the more recently gentrified areas. Where I live, in Williamsburg, the nearest Duane Read (the equivalent of a Rite Aide or Walgreens) is about 15 blocks from my apartment and just opened last month.

So we Brooklyn-dwellers get our necessities via bodegas. For those unfamiliar with the concept, they’re small, abundant corner stores fully-stocked with your typical New York necessities: Beer, snacks, toothbrushes, batteries, toilet paper – you name it. They have everything. EXCEPT TAMPONS.

Ok that’s not completely true. Some of them do have tampons. However, it is a complete crap shoot as to which bodegas they will be stocked in at any given time. And they only have one kind: Generic Tampax with CARDBOARD APPLICATORS. I’m going to go ahead and be graphic here and say that shoving a piece of cardboard up your vag is the opposite of comfortable. I’m pretty sure this brand is the absolute cheapest kind of tampon that Tampax has ever made, yet they are RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE. A pack of 20, which won’t even get me halfway through my cycle, is about $7. Furthermore, why someone ever thought a cardboard applicator was a good idea in the first place is FAR beyond me. It had to have been a man’s idea prompted by an attempt to cut costs. For the men out there who are reading this, baffled by the thought of what would be an appropriate vector of tampon insertion, I assure you that tampon technology has come a long way since the cardboard applicator: Plastic makes it possible — possible to not cringe every time you put a tampon in.

Aside from the lack of selection, perhaps the weirdest part of the Brooklyn tampon situation is that the tampons are always kept behind the counter. I DON’T GET IT. Is this some kind of highly shoplifted commodity?? Because of all the things a bodega sells, tampons are pretty low on the monetary value list. Yet they are kept securely behind the counter so that a customer must verbally request them from the clerks who are almost always Hispanic or Arabic males.

Is this because these men, the bodega clerks, want to discourage women from purchasing tampons by making us feel awkward asking them for them? Listen: If I’m on my rag, I am going to purchase tampons one way or another, and I guarantee you that of the two people involved in the transaction, *I* am not the one who is going to feel the most awkward. Furthermore, the fact that I had to ask to be handed one of the boxes of shitty generic tampons, and you didn’t understand that I said “Super” and gave me the regular ones, and I had to correct you, thereby revealing to you and everyone in line behind me that it is a heavy flow time, is just going to piss me off. It might even prompt me to start a conversation with you about tampons, which you probably won’t enjoy participating in. “Why is it, habeeb, that you keep these behind the counter if you can’t differentiate between the kinds?”

“La arif, habeebee,” I don’t know my dear. “That’s how we do it.”

It also sucks because I like my bodega guys. I like speaking Arabic with them and going in at night to buy beer and cigarettes from them and having pleasant conversations. I don’t want to make them feel awkward by forcing them to think about the current state of my menstrual cycle. But there is no other way. Even the local grocery store keeps their tampons — the same two crappy kinds — behind the counter of the express checkout lane, creating an even more awkward scenario. That is, if you’re at the grocery store to buy groceries (more than 12 of them), and you need tampons, the message must be relayed across however many lanes you are away from the express lane, where the box is then transported to you, clerk to clerk, like a hot potato.

Another weird thing about this set-up is that there are always pads on the shelves. Dozens of different kinds of pads. WHO WEARS PADS ALL THE TIME???????? Let me tell you: NO ONE DOES. Maybe Amish people do. It feels squishy, and you can’t do anything athletic or wear tight clothing. Sorry, but I think women are entitled to still work out and dress hot when they are on their periods. I just don’t understand why pads would be readily available for selection, but tampons are stowed away with the Stackers and blunt wraps.

Let me just state for the record – I have very little shame. Acquiring tampons is rarely awkward for me, personally. But I’m sure there are PLENTY of women who this situation is extremely awkward for. For example, there is a high concentration of Puerto Ricans in my neighborhood and it is a very tight-knit community. Just speculation here, but I think there are plenty of women who actually regularly pay $5 to commute back and forth to Manhattan so they can go to the Duane Read in Union Square and buy a nice multi-pack of plastic applicator tampons so they don’t have to inform everyone they know that they’re vaginally bleeding.

Actually, searching “Why do they only sell tampons behind the counter in Brooklyn” returned this forum post on the Brooklynian:

I went to no less than 6 bodegas and a grocery store (the Bravo on bedford) yesterday looking for tampons and NO ONE carried as much as a small travel box. there were always pads ALL OVER the damn place, but not a single crappy generic tampon was anywhere to be found.

WHY IS THIS?! Am I missing something? Was there a PSA about TSS running rampant in the newly gentrified neighborhoods of brooklyn?

I had to take the damn train to walgreens. Am i delirious?

And so I conclude by saying: WHAT THE FUCK BROOKLYN??? If someone can make some sense out of this practice to me, I would really appreciate the explanation. Maybe I’ll go and conduct a survey, both to contribute to the public knowledge back and out of spite, to make bodega-owners feel like chauvinist assholes. Until then, I will assume that, like medicalized childbirth and sex, this is just another example of men controlling female processes to control the females who have them.

_______________________________________

Image1 from TamponFrank.com.

*FYI – this complaint has been internally festering since July 2008.

No dental insurance? No problem [FOUND @ the IG]

dentalThis was found on the Wall of Flyers at the Internet Garage. I looked up from my laptop to see a customer standing on the back of the couch examining this. “Hey can I take this poster down?” he asked. I squinted to read it. “Uh, why? Do you have something against cheap dental care?” I asked. “No, it’s hilarious, look at it,” he responded. And I got up to go examine it. So I told him he could have the poster if I could scan it first.

I’m actually extremely curious about this — assuming this is not legit, what would motivate someone to go to the trouble of designing and printing out this poster and placing it in a public computer lab in Williamsburg? I guess the way to find out would be to call the number…

Any volunteers? No, I dare you to call the number and ask whoever picks up if they are aware they spelled “courteous” wrong on their dental poster. First to post the outcome in the comments below might possibly get a prize.

R.I.P. Zanzibar

I am in serious mourning right now. Earlier tonight, one of my best friends from college (you might call him my partner in crime) sent me a g-talk message to deliver “urgent, terrible news.” It is with great sadness and regret I must announce, that Zanzibar, the pan South American bistro in Ann Arbor that hosts my absolute, #1, hands-down FAVORITE happy hour in the entire world is CLOSING — for EVER!!!!!

TO which I responded,

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

You will always be open for happy hour in my heart, Zanzibar.

You will always be open for happy hour in my heart, Zanzibar.

You see, Zanzibar is where I developed my refined palate for fine cocktails. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 after my Philosophy of Science course, I would walk from down State Street, my mind spiraling with thoughts on demarcation criteria and evidence and predictive power, and I would collapse into my favorite booth, ready for one hour of beverage bliss. Never fail, my partner in crime would saunter in five minutes later with an expression of bored pretension and sit down across from me, ready to gossip about the dramatics of being editors at our college newspaper.

And then Julie would walk up and smile at me. She was tall and sultry with a no-nonsense attitude, and she took every one of my classic cocktail v-cards. She was my first gin martini, up, with blue cheese olives; my first side car with finely-ground cane sugar on the rim, of which I would lick every particle while my friend grimaced and told me I needed to get laid; my first Caipirinha, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge and Smoky Martini – which will kick your ass and make you feel like you could breath fire if you had a match. And best of all, Julie made me dozens of the most amazing mojitos in the world. They were swampy with mint, pieces of which I would carefully extract with two straws as if they were chopsticks and eat. No bartender in New York City has ever even come close to replicating Julie’s mojito to my liking but I present an open challange if any would like to try ;)

But the most amazing thing about Zanzibar’s happy hour was that ALL of the drinks on the menu were half off. It was none of this $15 a cocktail bullshit. They were $4 a piece, max. I can honestly say that if it was not for Zanzibar, I would probably still be drinking Vodka Redbull and Sex on the Beach.

After happy hour, my friend would stumble off to his 5:30 English course to critique documentaries and I would head to Edit Board and deliver choice opinionated remarks that would eventually be transformed into “The voice of the Daily”. Zanzibar was a place that transformed inspiration into influence. We always planned to go back there when we were in our ’30s and reminisce, but now we never will.

So you see what a true tragedy this is.

Rest in peace, Zanzibar. Every time I think of you, it will be happy hour in my heart.

In which The Millikan will journey to meet her maker

In grade school, when we had activities where we had to draw or describe our families, I only had two people to draw: my mom and me. I would finish first and get creative, including my parakeets and fire-bellied newt, but I remember feeling a sense of lacking when the other kids’ pictures were filled with people and I had to clarify that that black and red blob’s name was Scooter and he was part of my family, too. No siblings, no father — just us two ladies holding down the Millikan household.

All my life I’ve identified as an only child. So you can bet I was surprised when two months ago, I got an email from my sister. I scanned past it in my inbox at first. I get a lot of newsletters and notifications and stuff and might not have even recognized it as important with the subject “It’s about time we meet.” But I did a double take when I recognized the last name as my father’s.

I guess you know you’re really living in the Internet Age when the sister you didn’t know existed finds you on the Facebook and contacts you.

Continue reading

#goodsex trending thread indicates humanity is DOOMED

A few days ago I was sitting around, being unemployed and surfing the web, and I noticed a trending topic called #goodsex rising to the top of the ranks on Twitter. I’ve been thinking a lot about sex and how it is perceived and practiced in the U.S. lately, as I’ve been developing a website to aggregate the posts related to the Silence Is The Enemy project. With all the horrendous acts of sexual violence going on in Liberia in mind, I was already in a bit of a cynical state before I started reading the #goodsex thread. After reading Tweets like this, my WTF-dar went into High Alert mode:

Harmonygirl30 #goodsex is when you don’t even care if you might of gotten pregnant cause you feel like you got a story to tell them when they older…

I_am_delo: @BscoTT26 #goodsex is when u don’t pull out!

InspiredByTrue: #goodsex when the kids walk in or wake up but you don’t care… U just gotta finish!

BabeHound #goodsex when u pray there’s no condoms

Sorry, BabeHound, but I pray to historical figures in science that there WERE condoms around, for the sake of your future illegitimate offspring. These are just a few examples, but there were hundreds, if not thousands of Tweets about having reckless, unprotected sex written by people who make egregious typos and grammatical errors. Who knew that Twitter would be the tool to give us confirmation that humanity is DOOMED?

Ironically, shortly after #goodsex rose to the top of the trending ranks, #”China bans Twitter” followed as people circulate news of China’s recent decision to ban access to a number of social networking sites including Twitter, hotmail, and flickr. China, I do not approve of your censorship tactics, but seeing as your motivation for doing this was probably based on the #goodsex thread, I will cut you a little slack. I mean, you have population control problems. You don’t want your people getting any ideas from the sleazy Americans. I also think I understand your motivations behind hotmail… it is a really crappy interface. But what did flickr ever do to you?? That is just going too far.

china_twitter