Sunday, December 29, 2013

How to rate your products so that I can benefit from your review

During this end-of-year shopping season, I went through very frustrating shopping experiences.
It would help a lot if people knew how to write product reviews. It is very frustrating when we are shopping for a product and we find all these bad reviews, then you go look at them, and they simply make no sense.

If you don't know how to write a review, I think I can help. Follow these very simple tips:

1- DOA, or broken parts on arrival, or broke after very short usage time:
If you have a product that is DOA, or arrived with broken parts, or broke after a week's usage, don't write a bad review about it. Every company will have its bad eggs. And every so often things go wrong with shipping safety. Go back to the store and exchange for a new one or a refund. Most online companies will let you return products that arrived broken for no shipping cost.
Once you get the new product - the new working product - use it and review it.

2- Container too small:
Electronics - If you buy a kitchen product (or any product meant to hold stuff) that says something like capacity - 3 cups, it is FREAKING 3 CUPS! Don't expect to fit the meal for a family of 5 and be mad about it when it doesn't. Give us a break and don't give the product a 1 or 2 star rating just because you didn't know that 3 cups would not fit the contents of that 5 quart vegetable puree you are trying to prepare. Anyway, if you usually cook for that large a battalion, buy an industrial size product.
Car- unless the manufacturer claims their car is big enough for your growing teenagers sports gear, your baby's 2-suitcase-load of toys, had plenty of leg room, and head room, don't be upset when you, a 7-foot-tall basketball player, can't fit inside your new subcompact, and your 2 children and their dates, take up all your rear window. It is the nature of the beast. When you are that big or have that big a group, you go for at least a compact.

3- Too noisy:
Unless you bought a blender, food processor (especially the manual choppers), paper shredder, pencil sharpener, vacuum cleaner, cheap/old car that claims to be quiet, don't give it a bad rating for the noise. It is the freaking nature of those products to be noisy.
If you bought a noisy computer or a set of speakers that crackle, that is a whole other story.

4- The item doesn't meet my needs ... because I didn't properly read the specs:
First of all - read the damn specs before you buy a product. Does it not specify what you are looking for? Talk to a salesperson (in person or by email). Don't buy a product unless you know for sure it is meant to do what you need it to do.

5- You want to alert people of typically overlooked specs. Maybe, you want to alert people in your review that the product indeed has a specific feature, that might be easily overlooked. Still, does that product deserve a low rating because it didn't have the particular characteristics you were looking for?


1- If you had to go to great lengths to find out the specs - for instance, you might have had to email the seller simply to find out whether your product will work with a 220 voltage. That is something that should be readily available.

2- If the product is unusually hard to use (i.e. must bang on the light fixture once or twice in order for it to come on)

3- If the product is unusually hard to figure out (counter intuitive) (i.e. the volume settings is hidden somewhere in the email settings)

4- If the product doesn't work to full (prescribed) potential or doesn't at all do what it is supposed to do (i.e. says it will keep water hot for 30 minutes, but water is cold after 5 minutes; noisy when it says quiet).

5- If the product has an unusual characteristic that makes its use a hassle (i.e. tablet dies after an hour of usage; hold down the lid during the whole process or else it won't work)

6- If the product was DOA or with broke parts and the company did not allow you an exchange - that means they don't stand behind their product. Give it a bad rating and tell all your friends on Facebook not to buy from that company - ever.

7- If the product you got for an exchange doesn't work as well. That means one of two things - (1) you are an extremely unlucky person who gets the only two bad products that company ever made, (2) chances are most of their products have issues.

8- If the product worked well until the day after the warranty expired. That to me says the company is setting you up for a long an tortuous live time of calling the maintenance man ... Wait! Maintenance man? Gee, in which century am I living? There are no more maintenance men? You buy a new one - that is called planned obsolescence and they really just want you to keep buying their next new product as soon as it becomes available - for lack of a better choice. That company does not deserve your trust. Give them a bad rating and tell all your friends on Facebook to not buy from them - ever.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Welcome back to the dark ages

We are not living in a world of tolerance. We are living in a world where no one is free to speak their minds, because that might offend someone. A famous main character of a TV is punished with suspension because he expressed his disagreeing with homosexual practice! A comedian apologized on his Twitter for making fun of people's accents! Meanwhile in our schools a 6-year-old child is charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate's hand!
We have lived in a civilized world for too long. We are now going back to tribal living. No one is allowed to disagree from the popular opinion - if that happens, we will kick this person out of our tribe, leave him up to die. Welcome back to a world in which free speech does not exist, comedy is not accepted, and disagreeing views are punished with social execration.
Welcome back to the dark ages.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bed time / Bad time?

Is it just me, or clocks go by way too fast in the evening?
I don't know about you, but making it to bed on time is the number one challenge of my week. What happens between 7 o'clock and 11 o'clock - where those four hours go in the blink of an eye - that is a mystery to me.
Last Friday was Friday the 13, I was planning a nice, cozy, scary night, in bed with my baby. I rented the scary movie a week ahead of time, so that nothing could go wrong.
Just that it did.
We didn't make it to bed till well past 10 pm, which is earlier than what we usually do, but too late if you're trying to watch a movie! And if you know anything about my movie watching abilities, you know that anything after 9 pm is, well, too late for me to stay awake for any significant period of time.
The movie was The Conjuring - the kind of movie that literally scares the soul out of you. Yeah, I was asleep within 45 minutes.
But why, you may ask, did you not make it to bed any sooner?
Well, really how much can you fit into one evening? A trip to Walmart, a little something to eat, getting some searches done in the computer, and getting ready to bed rituals seem to take so much longer than what they should take?
Last night I figured I wouldn't write my blog. I wanted to make it to bed in time to watch an episode of the OC. Really? When I looked at the clock it was already 10pm?
I have a feeling my clocks skip a few hours in their evening marks. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

And you're outraged because...?

So, this lady had a baby and,4 days later, she posted a picture of her sculptural body on instagram, causing almost universal outrage.

To me the real issues are far from what's been freaking out people around the globe. The real issues are - "Is it possible?" followed by "Is it real or photoshop? Or an old picture?"

Now let's go to the issues that are outraging people, and see how senseless and pointless they are:

Issue #1:
"OMG, that will negatively affect young girls, who are already struggling with body and food issues."
So if I have a perfect body, I can't show it off, because this will affect people that already have issues with the belief that their body isn't perfect.
H'm ...
So, that turns out great for me. See, as a young girl my face was covered with acne, which forever scarred my skin. To this day I have issues with the way my face looks. I try covering it up with make up, and avoid having pictures taken at certain angles, but the scars are still there. I can't make them go away. I hate them. I hate them. I would love to have perfect skin. But that's impossible.
Does that mean that girls with perfect skin should be forced to cover up their faces with a burka so their heavenly perfect skin won't negatively affect me?
I didn't think so.
Also students who get straight A's shouldn't let anyone know about their grades, because that will negatively affect struggling students, right?
Yeah, I didn't think so either.
So, why should one have to hide her body because others feel bad about theirs?
(go ahead - shrug)

Issue #2:
"Oh, yeah? Here's a picture of my disgustingly huge tummy 2 months after giving birth! Check out the stretch marks! In your face, b***h!"
:/  again.
so, if a lady shows off her beautiful body,  I should go ahead and show off my shamefully ugly body to somehow get back at her - as if to say, "Hey, look, I am a normal person, and you're just a freak."
It is almost as hysterical as if, after Superman posts a video of himself saving a little boy from falling in the Niagara Falls, some Joe Shmoke posts a video of himself almost drowning while trying to unclog the toilet, as if to say, "Hey, Superman. I am normal, and you're just a freak."
Or, it is almost as hysterical as if, after the Beatles post a video of themselves performing Yesterday (oh, sorry that was Paul McCartney), some Joe Shmoke posts a video of himself going out of key on Happy Birthday to You, as if to say, "Hey, McCartney. I am normal, and you're just a freak."
Uh, no, honey, you're doing this wrong. ... In the end, by posting a picture of your ugly tummy, what you're really telling young girls is, "See what happens when you have a baby? Don't stop taking that birth control pill!" Don't worry. I got your message. I'm not stopping.

Now, let's get down to what really matters, people.

Issue #1 - Is her picture real and current? Or is it old or photoshopped? if it is real and current, let her show it off. She deserves it. And it is her body, for crying out loud. If it is old or photoshopped, let her freaking show it. Wishful thinking never killed anyone. The problem will be (and I don't know if that is the case)  if she is using that fake picture to somehow promote a product or a lifestyle that is unrealistic. I can agree with anyone that criticizes her on these grounds.

Issue #2 - Is it possible? If it is, "Dang, lady! How do you do that? I can have a baby if you can teach me how to like that 4 days later." I mean, wow. Let me cancel that surrogate mother ad I posted this morning.

Here is a the news piece I read to write this post:

Soccer Player’s Wife Sparks Outrage In Norway After Posting A Sexy Selfie Three Days After Giving Birth

Caroline Berg Eriksen, a 26-year-old Norwegian fitness blogger, ignited a heated debate about body image after posting a selfie picture on Instagram three days after giving birth.
Berg Eriksen is married to Norwegian Premier League player Lars-Kristian Eriksen. They had a baby daughter on November 25th.
Three days later, she posted this picture on Instagram with the caption, “I feel so empty and not 4 days after birth.”
caroline berg eriksen
The backlash was swift.
Norwegian writer Suzanne Aabel responded with a takedown of the picture for the publication Dagbladet, with the headline, “I feel fat because Soccer Lady has given birth.”
Aabel’s argument is that the picture sets unrealistic expectations for the young women who read Berg Eriksen’s popular “Soccer Lady” website.
She wrote:
“I think it is dangerous. I work with 16 year old girls. They struggle with body and food at some level all together. And they look up to famous people, as adults we almost forgot that we did as teenagers.”
“Over 70 percent of young women are struggling with low self-esteem and body contempt because only people who look like that here like posting pictures of themselves half naked four days after birth.”
Norwegian politician Gry Larsen spoke out as well, posting a picture of her own stomach on her Facebook with the caption, “Two months after birth #NormalLady.”
gry larsen stomach
She wrote a column for Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, explaining that she wanted to bring “balance” the way the girls should view the post-baby body.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Real life terrors

Last week one of the topics discussed by one of my college groups was horror movies and why we watched them ( or not ) .
I never remember how to begin our discussions , but they always end up being fun.
One of my students said her daughter loves to watch horror movies, but then has nightmares .
I like horror movies too. But I rarely have nightmares. What happens to me is a little different . The movies stay in my head and whenever a similar situation happens I get paranoid. It's not fear. Like, who's afraid of the dark? Of course I'm not afraid of the dark . But after spending an hour and a half seeing ghosts appear out of nowhere in the dark , a trip to the washing machine (which is in the basement ) after sunset, is a little freaky. And when I have to leave home to teach at the college! I go out the back door and have to walk along the side of the house in the dark until I get to my car, which is parked in front of house. "It's just a movie, Vikinha, it's just a movie, " I keep saying to myself.
Now that I have a normal teaching job and I can come home at 3 in the afternoon, I spend my afternoon planning classes with Netflix on horror movies. I need the background noise so I can work, but the side effect is an overdose of terrifying images that are impregnated in my head. A day doesn't go by in which I don't have a fright .
Lately I've seen some movies of people get stuck in elevators. In my building , in Brazil , we had an elevator . The elevator was stuck frequently, and I have stayed stuck several times, but nobody ever got stuck for hours . Pretty soon someone from maintenance came to get us out. But I always heard stories of children who died with the severed head or cut in half,
because they tried to leave on their own.
The truth is that in many elevators around the world people get stuck for hours or days. The stories I've seen in movies have much of these elevator terrors, but with the aggravating factor that someone always has a terrible secret. I'll never get into an elevator with a peace of mind again.

And although I always remember that everything is just a movie , suddenly a terrible accident like what happened with Paul Walker yesterday reminds me that not everything is just a movie. Real life is really full of terrors. And we are all just too lucky to make it to the end of the day alive. We're just beating the odds, aren't we?