Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Facebook Ruins Everything!" Part IV

My wife is a special woman, even by Vietnamese standards. She's urban, but she does not care what people think of her. She does not want expensive handbags or flowers or jewels. When she receives gifts, she gets mad because of the expense, or because it has a minute, acceptable flaw, or it's not the one she wants, or she accepts it but gives it away to friends. When we first met, I was temping and was in a bad way with money. She knew that, but she stuck with me anyway. We've been doing better and better, and she's still sticking with me. It's amazing.

But she's scanning hundreds of pictures and updates of people with $5,000 purses and yachts and vacations and houses and babies, babies, babies (hey facebook "friends," why do you have to take pictures and videos of your baby lying all alone as if it were your dinner on a plate? Why don't you show us the crying and tantrums so we know what to expect?". We'll laugh about the $5,000 purses together, but she does enough scanning in a day that slowly, subliminally, she gets depressed. And then she lashes out at me for about five minutes and then is fine. Until her next scanning session. So facebook does not make her happy, it makes her sad and she has to recover it. For that, I hate facebook on a personal level.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Facebook Ruins Everything" Part 1

This may bite the hand of my main demographic, but it has to be said. I'm sure the husbands will agree with me. There is entirely too much facebooking going on.

Before ratting out facebook, it should be noted that facebook is used in a variety of ways. Personally, I use it mainly to post cartoons. Otherwise, I spend time (arguably too much) scanning articles from liked pages like I Fucking Love Science and some friends/family with excellent posting etiquette. As you can see, I don't add friends or use facebook socially.

Other uses of facebook are under scrutiny by psychologists (too lazy to site, too easy to google). To sum up a bit, people mainly post or scan. Facebook seems to have a postive effect on active posters, though it enables their narcissism. People with low self esteem will post depressing news or vaguebook for soothing comments, and they will get more depressed by the negative feedback they deservedly get. Meanwhile, those who spend most of their time scanning their news feed will get unhappier, anxious, bored, and jealous.

So the narcissists are posting juicy snippets from their lives which causes envy from the passive scanners. Compulsive people get more compulsive, depressed people get more alienated, addictive people get addicted.

And the husbands are living with sonambulists. Guys, say it with me: "put down the damn phone before I throw it out the window!"

update: for those wary of foreign foods, banh rieu is a soup with lumps of crabmeat, plain rice noodles and a clear/reddish B.O. flavored broth severely lacking in salt but brimming with either cilantro or an unspeakably awful Vietnamese herb. I'm vouching that many Westerners can't eat it, and I severely doubt that any Westerner would knowingly order it or crave it like the Vietnamese. Let me know if I'm wrong!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Turning the Table

Even if it doesn't happen in real life, I have to make my character win sometimes. Was starting to feel sorry for myself.

I was pretty shocked when Kurt Vonnegut wrote himself into his book "Breakfast for Champions." He met with his character and said something to the effect of "Sorry things haven't been going well for you, but they are about to get much, much better." If only we had that sort of assurances in real life. I'm amazed my character can still hang in there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's Wrong With You???

This is a much abused phrase. We Westerners use this when a loved one at a restaurant gets up suddenly and starts throwing knives at random patrons: "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU???" The wife uses this to counter such mundane phrases as "honey, I can't find the scallions" to "honey, I've got a headache" and "wow, what a beautiful day!" It stings a bit, though she has no idea why--to her, it's a perfectly acceptable phrase, manic inflection and all.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

To go or not to go

Here's the hammer of "You never take me anywhere!" against the anvil of "we have no money!" Now, we do have money--that's just ridiculous. I don't know if there will ever be a cutoff point where she'll stop saying "we have no money"--even rich folk never seem to have enough. But I'm always down for a big trip. Then the "we have no money" comment stops our plans cold. This is not typical Vietnamese--I know plenty of VWWH couples who are always traveling around. However, planning among Vietnamese is a counterproductive exercise, and there were plenty of times when I was standing in a cloud of Vietnamese trying to figure out what to do--then we'd get in someone's car, drive in one direction, make a u-turn, and end up back at the house for some leftover durian and World Cup.

Today we did this again. "You never take me anywhere!" "So let's go." "We have no money!" I mentioned that even families who make less than us and have four kids manage to go to Disney World. She said they get lots of tax write-offs.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bakers everywhere are wrong.

This is how she cooks every time, and the vast majority of the time it's fantastic. The rest of the time it's a totally new invention, like cake cookies or banh xeo soup, and once or twice she accidentally cooked a living blob creature that chased us around the house.