Archive for the ‘Rants/Tips’ Category

Facebook needs a Bozo Filter

Hey, you know that person you’re friends with on Facebook? The one who you kinda-sorta know because you went to the same high school/university/clown college, but who you’ve never had an actual conversation with? The one who, despite not really knowing you, finds it necessary to comment on Every. Single. Thing. you post?

Yeah, that guy. Don’t you wish you could make him stop doing that without having to block him from seeing your posts, because, well, he seems like a perfectly nice guy, just with some FB boundary issues, and you really have no interest in hurting his feelers?

Well, I have just the solution: Bozo Filter for Facebook.

Resident bozo/clown college graduate

“’Bozo Filter’?” you inquire. “Squirrel, just what is this ‘Bozo Filter’ you speak of?”

Well, I’m glad you asked! The Bozo Filter (at least the one I’m speaking of) is an amazing tool many media outlets use to control unruly users on their comment boards.

See, sometimes people have absolutely nothing better to do other than troll their local newspaper’s website and post obnoxious comments that manage to insult people of every race, creed, nationality, gender, political belief, sexual orientation, dog vs. cat preference, dancing ability, etc. He or she also manages to do this in the most obnoxious way possible by CAPITALIZING random WORDS and LetTeRS, blatantly mispeling werds over and over again, not knowing the difference between “you’re” and “your” and launching personal attacks at other users that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

For example, when I worked at the Great Falls Tribune, there was a guy who posted under the moniker “RedneckHippie.” As you can tell by his username, he was a real charmer. He disagreed with just about everything anyone ever said in any Tribune article and also with just about every other poster on the forum. Basically, if it  didn’t come out of his mouth, it was wrong.

When someone didn’t agree with RedneckHippie, he’d reply using his comeback of choice: calling them a moron. Except he spelled it “maroon.” And capitalized and elongated it, so the published result usually looked something like this: “You don’T agree wIth ME, so your such a stoopid MAROOOOOOOOOON!”

Now, what can you do about someone like this, who basically ruins any semblance of civil conversation possible in these comment forums? Apply the Bozo Filter to him, of course!

When applied, the Bozo Filter still allows the offensive user to post, but – and here’s the absolutely genius part – only he can see that post; no one else need be bothered by such nonsense. Basically, he’s under the impression he’s still posting and people simply aren’t responding, which no longer provides the fuel needed to feed his fire of obnoxiousness.  Ta-da — problem solved!

Now, imagine how you could apply this mechanism on Facebook. That guy you went to clown college with who happens to think Glenn Beck is the greatest philosopher of our time? BOZO’D! The girl you barely remember from middle school who apparently only knows how to communicate via acronyms and emoticons? BOZO’D! The possibilities are endless!

I’m sure we can all agree the Bozo Filter would be an invaluable addition to Facebook, and much more useful and less creepy than the “poke” feature. Are you paying attention, Marky Z.?

Squirrel rant: ‘Reply all.’ Oy.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of an occasional series on Squirrel Thoughts in which Squirrel effectively, and hopefully humorously as well, blows her top about some inconsequential matter. Enjoy.)

All right, party people. The Internets have been around long enough that we should all know the difference between “reply” and “reply all” across the various means of communication (e-mail, Facebook, YouTwitFace, etc.), and when it’s appropriate to use one or the other. But, sigh, we don’t. So many of us don’t. Approximately 92 percent, according to my estimations.

Like when someone sends out a mass Facebook message asking for people’s addresses because they want to send them Christmas cards/invite them to their wedding/generally stalk them. Five minutes later, I have 600 messages containing the addresses of people I’ve never met, nor ever care to meet because, frankly, their lack of technological savvy/social awareness frightens me.

And, because I’ve unwillingly acquired all these addresses, I’m seriously tempted to snail-mail handwritten directions on how to simply “reply” to the individual who sent the message, who is, in fact, the sole person who wants them to.

It would probably look something like this:

I want to make it clear that I don’t blame the senders of mass messages for this epidemic. They have every right to simplify and save time by sending them. And, obviously, “reply all” can be very handy when you need to keep many people in the loop about something.

I also don’t mean to patronize reply-all-ers. But let’s say you had your pants on backward at work. You’d want someone to tell you, right? You wouldn’t just want to walk around all day with your pants on backward, with people snickering behind your back, would you? No. So you’re welcome, reply-all-ers.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me so I can run to the restroom. Someone just told me I have my pants on backward.

Missoula schoolchildren are a bunch of sissies

OK, maybe it’s a little unfair to blame the kids … they’re not the ones who canceled school, after all. But whoever did is a huge wimp.

I get that it’s cold and snowy outside, but this is nothing abnormal for Montana. Growing up in Helena, I never had one snow day during my 12 years in the system. Not ONE. And trust me, there were plenty of days that would have qualified in just about any other state.

I once dug my 1987 Honda Civic out of nearly three feet of snow and drove it uphill (both ways, mind you) to get to school. Took me the six hours that school was in session, but I made it, because I’m a Montanan, damnit. And we don’t freak out or come to a standstill or cancel school because of a little snow or sub-zero temperatures, like a g.d. Texan or something.

Until the Missoula County Public Schools decided to lead the way in the wussification of our state, anyway.

In fact, Helena has just as much snow today as Missoula (if not more), but the wind chill there is almost -30 (the actual temperature is -9), and they didn’t wimp out and cancel school.

The actual temperature in Missoula is a balmy 3 degrees above zero, for crying out loud! It only feels like it’s -16! And there’s what, maybe, maybe six inches of snow on the ground? Since when does that cause everyone to freak out and cancel life as we know it? This isn’t Seattle; we know how to drive in a few inches of the fluffy stuff.

That being the case, I have just one thing to say to the small to medium-sized children of Missoula: Buck up.

Slip on your little snow boots, your mitties, your fuzzy hats with the puffs on top, and deal with it. Like a real Montanan.

This dog can handle it, Missoula, so why can’t you? (NOTE: I’ve been told this is actually a North Dakota dog. They’re pretty tough, too.)

Squirrel Rant: A plea for Missoulians to stop driving like jackasses

(Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series on Squirrel Thoughts in which Allison effectively — and hopefully humorously, as well — blows her top about some inconsequential matter. Enjoy.)

Designed specifically with me in mind.

At the risk of coming off as an incredibly self-righteous jerk, I’m going to sound off on one of my biggest pet peeves: bad drivers.

I’m not going to claim to be an awesome driver who’s never made a mistake on the road. (Actually, I just don’t want to jinx myself by mentioning I’ve never been in/caused an accident or even received a traffic ticket. But so much for that, I guess.) It’s just that I apparently have a lot of pent-up aggression that only comes out in the form of road rage.

When people do stupid shit while driving, it irks me to the core. I yell. I honk, sometimes incessantly. I occasionally use less-than-appropriate hand gestures. I’m not an overly angry person, but you wouldn’t know that from riding in my car.

The fact that I’m a stickler to the rules of the road probably doesn’t help. But come on, we are living in a SOCIETY, people! We all (supposedly) passed the same (or very similar) driver’s test, so can we at least try to use our blinkers? You know, before you’re actually turning, when it’s already quite apparent that’s what you intend to do?  Or how about when you’re changing lanes? Seriously, I’d be more than happy to let you in, green Chevy Tahoe driving next to me on North Reserve during 5 o’clock traffic – it’s just that I have no idea that’s what you want since you refuse to use your f#*@ing signal. So please do not curse at me when I nearly sideswipe you because you decided to swerve into the lane sans blinker. I’m the only one reasonably allowed to curse in this situation.

Also, whatever happened to turning into the lane closest to you? Do people even realize you’re supposed to do that? I would say about 90 percent of drivers (in Missoula, at least) do not. Which is why I refuse to turn right on red when the traffic across from me has a left-turn arrow, even if there are multiple lanes, and I should, theoretically, be able to turn into the one closest to me without getting tangled up in a fender-bender. But since the person turning left in the silver Dodge Ram is probably clueless, and most likely talking – or worse, texting (which is illegal in Missoula, FYI!) – on his phone, I just can’t trust he’ll do the right thing.

And don’t even get me started on drivers who apparently can’t comprehend the premise of a four-way stop. It’s a pretty simple concept: It basically works on a first-come, first-served basis. (Unless you both get there at the same time, then the car on the right goes first. Obvi.) Just because you’re going straight and the other person is turning left doesn’t give you the right-of-way, especially when the car turning left already waited for two other cars to go before you even got to the stop sign. This is why I obnoxiously honked at you when you did this, jackass in the dark blue Accord. And then again when you didn’t seem to understand that I was honking at you.

Trust me — I could go on and on (and on and on and on … ) with this topic, but that’s probably enough smugness for one post. Good thing I usually take the bus.

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