And Then It Got Ugly

I used to be able to count on spammers to tell me what a marvelous writer I am.  Every day I’d get dozens of compliments about my wonderful colour schemes, my mastery of writing, and my expertise in the subject area. To the spammers, I was a demigod.

In fact, I was so good I even got compliments from beyond the grave:  “You are an excellent wrteir even if I have thought your writing seems sad sometimes! I am so glad you are honest! The truth will set you free, is true! I love you and I am so blessed to be your Mom!”

Wow, thanks, Mom.  I’m amazed at your mastery of the keyboard even after you’ve been dead for thirty years.  Does this mean you’re coming for Sunday dinner?

Okay, so I was pretty sure that last one was from a spammer, but still.  It’s flattery, right?  It’s all good.

Only lately I’ve noticed a subtle and disturbing change.  I mean, I still get “an amazing article dude” and “This really designed my day” and “Wow, fantastic blog fmroat!”.  That’s all fine and dandy.  But some of the comments are veering into ambiguity:  “This blog is just as well cool to become missed”.

Um, thanks… I think…

Or how about this one:  A hilariously complex write-up”.  Is “hilariously complex” a good thing or a bad thing?

But a couple of weeks ago, the comments took a turn for the worse: “My brother suggested I might like this website. He used to be entirely right.”

So what are you trying to say?  He was always right before, but this time he was wrong and you hated my website?

And then it got ugly:

“I have to say that Im really unpisresmed with this. I mean, sure, youve got some very interesting points. But this blog is just really lacking in something. Maybe its content, maybe its just the design. I dont know. But its almost like you wrote this because everybodys doing it. No passion at all.”


“Hello, you used to write magnificent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring”


“of course like your website however you have to test the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome”


“why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?”

Wow, what a tumble from my previous exalted position.  I guess that’s just the price of fame.  Sooner or later, your fans turn on you.

Spammers never fail to make me laugh.  It’s fine if commenters respectfully disagree with me, but I can’t believe these idiots think I’d leave gratuitous insults posted, or (even more improbable) that I’d click on a link attached to an insult.

Isn’t spamming all about getting people to click on your links?

Repeat after me:  S-T-U-P-I-D; stupid.

But despite the chuckles, I must say I’m unpisresmed with the trend.  Someday it’ll be “Click on this link or we’ll send Guido and Luigi over with the baseball bats”.

The day I get that comment, I’m outta here.

Is anybody else still getting spam love?  Or are the spammers turning on you, too?

I’m Not An Idiot. Really.

93% of people who drive believe they’re better-than-average drivers.

Anybody else see the math problem here?

This came to mind yesterday, as I swore at the bone-headed stunts of other Calgary drivers.

I just spent three weeks in small-town Manitoba, and I did most of my driving on the wide-open four-lane TransCanada Highway.  Traffic is light in the winter, so the statistical probability of encountering an idiot driver is satisfyingly low.

Unless of course, I’m the idiot I’m trying to avoid.  More on that later.

The idiosyncrasies of small-town drivers don’t bother me.  There, I expect people to double- and triple-park, turn without signalling, and brake to a halt in the middle of the street for a visit with the driver of an oncoming vehicle.

What the heck, it’s a small town.  They don’t need to signal; everybody knows where they’re going.  On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, they’re going for coffee at the bake shop.  Saturday mornings, it’s breakfast at the café.  The last Friday of every month is pizza night at Joe’s.  No problem.

So I was shocked when I was forced to call somebody a butthead within two minutes of leaving my driveway here in Calgary.  I’d gotten out of the habit of muttering verbal abuse at other drivers.  But by the time I’d completed my one-hour trip, the habit was firmly reestablished.  Apparently Calgary has an extremely high population density of idiot drivers.

Hey, that sounds like a collective noun: a murder of crows; a density of idiots…

Anyway, when I went looking for driving statistics, I discovered this wiki on illusory superiority.  To grossly oversimplify the article:  the stupider you are, the more likely you are to believe you’re smart.  And the worse you are at a specific skill (like driving), the more likely you are to believe you’re good at it.

That explains a lot.  And it makes me nervous.

Despite my one-time nickname, “Fender Bender“, I’ve always thought I’m a pretty good driver.  I took a motorcycle safety course back in the 80s, and I’ve never lost those defensive driving habits.  Alert caution is a good idea when you can be effortlessly wiped off the road by anything, including a renegade Canada goose.  (True story – happened to a guy my husband knew.  The goose hit him in the chest and knocked him right off his bike.)

I won’t pretend I’ve never pulled a dumb move like signalling a turn and then changing my mind, or heading for a parking space only to find it’s occupied and I’m now at a ridiculous angle that requires an embarrassing 3-point turn to escape.

But on the whole, I think I’m okay.  I’ve been driving for more than 30 years.  I can’t remember the last time anybody honked at me.  My passengers don’t scream, lose sphincter control, and/or fling themselves out of the car.  I’ve never caused an accident.  (Well, except for last fall.  But that wasn’t because of my driving.)

So, really, I’m a good driver.

Or maybe that’s just wishful illusory superiority…