Wednesday, March 18, 2009


In September 2008, Facebook — which has effectively taken the place of MySpace as the medium of choice for groups, activists, and students, having risen from obscurity as an exclusive college network — imposed what would be the first of two highly controversial page design changes. Last month, it had added to its résumé of customer service mishaps by releasing a set of terms and conditions that, by stating that any material would remain on the servers even if the person who posted them withdrew them from the social networking site, gave the impression that Facebook was taking as property everything its users said or displayed on the site; these terms were later suspended and, after a user referendum, discarded entirely.

Now, the issue lies in a drastic change made to the page layouts, mainly the home page, which no longer offers a simplified feed of what your friends are doing, instead relying on photos and wall posts for fodder. (Facebook for iPhone, at last update, still offers a simplified feed.) In the bid to perfect the site to make it more attractive or engaging than, say, MySpace or Twitter, the development team seems to have forgotten that the only reason people stayed there was because it wasn't MySpace or Twitter. To me, the fact that its prohibition of website layout and colour changes by the user qualifies it as better than MySpace on any occasion, but with only 25,000 members approving the change against 333,000 against the change (and more hype in the previous, wholesale makeover) as of writing, Facebook ought to learn from the 4chan message boards and change only when the community clearly benefits from it (4chan had a new home page go live in 2007, but the thread format, which remains its distinguishing feature for its quick-and-dirtiness, has never changed).

To allay the assumption that I'm wholeheartedly joining an asinine bandwagon, there are two points I need to make. The first is that I approved of the previous design change. The design it bore when it first went public was clunky and bore the marks of early attempts at dynamic effects on television (closing logos, anyone?). The second is that change is human and natural, but only when moderated. There are people out there, like me, who will resist widespread or otherwise perceptible change, and there are others who believe that change is an adventure.

In Web design, the quandaries are new W3C regulations, popular demand, the addition of new features, and — this is the big one — time. Despite its roaring success, Facebook has only been public for three years, having spent two in restriction to college and university students and staff, so in Web terms it's still an infant., on the other hand, was on the Web for eight years without drastic design change before a new design went live; the members mutinied. Personally, I forgive both — for Facebook, nobody gets it right the first time; for Fark...come on, the three-column quick-and-dirty is for the...well...quick-and-dirty.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Behind me are bags of shirts that came from Pac-Sun, American Eagle, and Old Navy. Yes, they're my shirts, and it was at my father's behest that my cousin, Jen, take me up to Toms River to get them.

As a male, I find it hard to fathom why women like to shop. There's the argument that dressing up dolls has manifested itself in them after ten or so years, which for the sake of this entry I am going to assume. Indeed, it was with no regard to the clothes I recently washed after a two-week laundry cycle and wear when I'm not working, and that the shirts I wear to work are given to me by Acme corporate. In the winter months, I have no use for more clothes unless some have torn apart or gotten too small. Yesterday's expenditure of over $200 on clothes from the three aforementioned stores more than makes up for these shortcomings — a waste of money and an example of horrible timing.

The day before began innocuously enough — I went to visit Jen in the hopes of meeting some of her friends, which I did at the Applebee's in Manahawkin. The next day we were supposed to go there again at the same time, but due to some people falling ill or not being allowed to go, it ended up being me alone with Jen and her friend at the Ocean County Mall, trying to guess which clothes would suit me best:

  • The stores I went to, with the exception of Pac-Sun, have a habit of acknowledging themselves on their clothes, which is a decent thing to wear if you're a girl but a warning sign to the community if you're of the opposite gender. I met one guy over the summer who happened to be gay and leant heavily toward Aéropostale — to be fair, this brand is associated more with girls whilst American Eagle and Old Navy lend themselves enough to rustic atmospheres. This aside, I hate having writing on my clothes — I don't intend on being a billboard for a company; much less do I like having symbols or cult designs on them.
  • I got a lot of thermals. They work, since the heat in this room is being controlled to conserve energy, so they at least are practical. The brand-name shirts I got, though, were purely to appease the gods.

If there's anything I need right now, though, they are twelve hours of precious sleep, a pair of better work slacks, and a washer and dryer for my room instead of queuing for the ones that exist for the other five members of my family. I don't need to stave it off by buying more clothes, and it seems that that's all that happened.

Or I could just use my own money to root out summer clothes on my own and throw what I have accumulated on the top wire shelf out. I have two other trash bags to go, too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where's the candid camera?

Yes, I'm still a cashier.

No, I'm not going to mark down your candy bar to one cent. Acme, which acquired the store I worked for in January, brought in a more demanding atmosphere. I don't know if it was the management changing or the quality of the store going steadily downhill, but I feel different. A lot different.

As I reported in an old entry, I was a cashier at a supermarket called Shop 'n Bag (an alter ego of Thriftway, which a customer referred it to today). Up until the summer of 2007, I did very little else than work the cash register and fold up paper-and-plastic bags, due to my runaway attachment to one task and one task only. From then until the ultimate takeover by Supervalu, which was supplying food to us from May 2006 to December 2006 (during which time we were known as Brigantine Supermarket), I got to push carts and put away unwanted items. I initially got into these side tasks thinking, on my father's advice, that I needed to 'broaden my horizons', and expected little more than what I was doing now when I signed on as a cashier when Acme had us reapply.

The truth is, however, I'm doing a lot more. And I actually like cleaning, doing maintenance, and pushing carts more than I like working the register. There are two reasons I can think of:

  • I do not like change. Because the store is much more active and the stores are encouraged to keep everyone busy whilst the lines are short, cashiers are sent off to do scrubbing or trash removal. For me in particular, being sent back to register during a customer surge is horrible. I started the task in the hopes of finishing it and commending myself on a job well done, and I expected to finish it, and my frustration at never getting the chance shows in my communication with the customer; what would have been a lively 'hello' in the aisles when a customer approached to learn where to find an item became a meagre grunt in acknowledgement when asking for their loyalty card or announcing their coupons. I've also taken my anger out on a manager once over this fact; it took a full day to recover.
  • Under the management preceding Acme, the store was dirty. There were not as many people cleaning as there were under Acme (since there were no dedicated carryout or bagger positions, the holders of said posts being available for menial tasks). As a bagger, which I was for the past few weeks, I actually got to clean up the store and make things look nice for customers. When a customer is happy to find something on the shelf or have the terms of a sale explained, I'm happy.
Matt, the manager of the store who also runs Acme's Somers Point location, can be a demanding person, although he means well. If there's any inspiration for me to go anywhere in the company, provided I stay there long enough, I'll have to credit him. I feel bad, though, that for all he's had me do with the physical upkeep, my room is still a mess with wires, cables, magazines and union newsletters on the floor and my clothes unfolded. I'm glad he's never over at my house, at the very least.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hi again

It's been ages since I last posted, and those who remember this old place are wondering, 'Why didn't you keep doing what you used to love, CW?' You're in luck. I found out that a friend I'd recently made courtesy of some old Pokémon Community friends has a Blogger account, and that drove me to start up again. It's probably also due to the fact that I'm better off writing my thoughts down instead of bottling them up and dwelling. That's basically what happened over the last year.

So I leave you with this note, as well as the promise that the blog will become active once more, this time shunning the Internet drama it became famous for, and the link to this friend's blog.

Note: The LiveJournal might not be updated anymore.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

BACK TO WORK SPECIAL: Sharia law in the UK?

Yep, back to blogging, I guess.

No doubt queasy after a car bomb hitting an airport and a crazy cleric now being extradited to the US for inciting violence, the Archbishop of Canterbury has now suggested that the UK would benefit from having a rudimentary Sharia law system by which Muslims could abide. Theoretically, a Muslim could petition for divorce in a Sharia court in the UK if his or her spouse hasn't been faithful, or custody could be granted as per the religion of the parents.

I admire the decision — but it's a step in the wrong direction. The only ones who would benefit from the existence of an Islamic legal system to sit side-by-side with a universal law system would be the extremists.

Even in Islamic countries, Sharia law is nearing its shelf life; the only ones benefiting from such systems are the politicians, clerics, and radicals. In Iran, where homosexuality is a capital crime, there has been legislation to insure sex change surgery. In Jordan, even the queen doesn't wear a headscarf. And the presidential administration of Abdullah Gül and his AKP party has thus far yielded none of the religious reform in Turkey that the military feared would happen. Even among Muslims I have met here in the US, religion is a private matter and nothing to shove down the hatch. For most civilian Muslims, it seems that even Sharia law would not work out very well, and for the rest it would only be a show of bigotry no matter who looks at it.

And what is the point of having two legal systems in a country? It could be easy to switch affiliation if you're homophobic and want your gay son cut off from the rest of the family, even if you're not Muslim; you could (at risk of being charged with fraud) take it out in a Sharia court without anybody batting an eye. Most of the Muslims who enter the UK (or the US) and apply for citizenship know that everything will fall apart for them at first, as the laws in their home country, no doubt bearing the remnants of religion, will probably no longer apply. If you immigrate, you follow the rules of your new home. If it's something that borders on humanitarian question, you might have a case, but if it is a religion that you believe supersedes the law of the land, you will have to adapt. (This isn't exclusively for immigrants, for that matter; I still have my eye on the holy-rollers.)

Not bad for a few months of being away from the blog, but damn it, it's good to be back.