politics, religion, social media

When learning guitar becomes contentious…

A few weeks ago, I bought a guitar. I’ve been wanting to learn how to play guitar for ages now, and since we’ve been locked down, it seemed like a good time to give it an honest try. I say “honest” try because back in the mid 90s, when I lived in Armenia, I bought a used guitar for $30 and tried to learn how to play it. But I only managed a few chords, and then one of the gears on the headstock broke. I was never able to get it repaired, so that little learning project went by the wayside until now.

At this point, I’m just using Fender Play for instruction, although I hope at some point to hire a real time teacher. I’ve made some progress. Changing chords is a bit challenging at this point, but I’m able to eke out songs very slowly and somewhat accurately. I have developed calluses on my left hand, too.

To enhance my study, I joined the Fender Play Community Facebook group. At this writing, the Fender Play Community has 48,879 members in it. In order to join the group, I had to agree to some rules. One of the main ones was not to use profanity, which is sometimes a challenge for me. The rest are pictured here…

Reasonable enough…

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the group. People have been very nice and it’s reassuring to see that other new players are having as much trouble making clean C chords as I am. I’m on the “Folk” path, but since I paid for a year of instruction, I’ll probably continue to other paths once I’m finished with Folk. I just started level 3 today, although my playing is still probably more akin to level 1 or early level 2. People post videos of themselves playing. Sometimes it’s very inspirational.

I’ve also really enjoyed the virtual instructors, who really seem to know their stuff. I even have kind of a crush on a couple of the teachers. Fortunately for them, I’m old, happily married, and living thousands of miles away. But I will admit, I like a couple of the teachers more than others. And one teacher, in particular, is very inspiring. His name is Jen Trani. Jen, short for Jensen, is transgendered and recently underwent a double mastectomy as he transfers from female to male. He’s very talented and encouraging and often does live “office hours” to show off technique. I found a couple of cool YouTube videos about his journey and will add them to the end of this post for those who are interested.

But then today, someone decided to post this…

I have to admit, I’m kind of on the side of those who don’t necessarily want to see a post like this in a group about playing guitar. And fortunately, just after I took these screenshots, the post was removed. It had been up for about an hour. As you can see, a lot of folks were not happy to see it and some people are starting to become kind of ugly.

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve felt really saturated by social media posts about certain topics. We’ve all been hit with post after post about the pandemic, for instance, and the importance of social distancing and wearing masks. I’ve already bitched about that more than a few times. Now, the emphasis is on the terrible issue of racism and police brutality. There have been riots and protests, and lots of people are making their voices heard both literally and on the Internet. I’m all for that. But– there is a time and a place for everything. A group that is devoted to learning guitar is not the place for posts about current events.

I’ve actually enjoyed the Fender Play group because the posts are mostly about learning to play guitar. That’s something fun, challenging, and exciting. It’s positive, and everyone in that group is looking to become better at playing guitar. That is one thing that everyone has in common, and it’s something in which everyone can share solidarity. However, as you can see by the comments above, not everyone is in agreement about the protests. Comments quickly become disparaging, and the mood of the group gets very contentious.

Aside from that, posts about the protests are literally everywhere on Facebook right now, except in groups that are about specific topics. For instance, I run a group about wine and food and we have not been discussing current events in that group, unless it has something to do with food or wine. Makes for a much more peaceful and fun environment, and everyone needs that sometimes. We all need a place where we can escape stress and forget about our problems or issues that affect us.

I’m not sure if a moderator removed the post or the original poster did, but it was gone immediately after I took screen shots. It was starting to heat up, though. I didn’t get all of the posts within it, but people were getting pissed off. It wasn’t the first political post I’d seen in there, either. I guess it just goes to show you the politics are everywhere right now. Everyone wants to talk about the protests and Trump’s ridiculous antics. But some places really should be sacred, otherwise people become jaded and bitter. We all need a rest sometimes.

Anyway… about Jen Trani. He came out as transgendered in 2018. Here are a couple of videos about his transition to becoming a man, and here’s a link to his official Web site. The first time I saw Jen, I was sure he was a “she”. In the videos on Fender, Jen appears to be a woman. Then, when I saw him playing guitar in a live office hours post, it was obvious Jen was transgendered. But I wasn’t sure if Jen was transitioning to female or male. Then I saw the mastectomy scars in a photo and found these videos about the transformation. They’re very interesting, so if this is a topic that intrigues you, I would recommend watching them.

Jen is already very much respected for playing a mean guitar and being a good teacher…
This is a very brave story, though, and I think he deserves a lot of respect for sharing it.

I’ve been enjoying learning how to play guitar, even if I still suck at it. Singing is a lot easier for me than playing instruments is. But I have always regretted not sticking with piano and I’ve been wanting to play guitar for a long time. I’ve even got Bill interested. He’s thinking about picking up a guitar, too. If he does, maybe I’ll learn bass or something.


BDSM pants…

Last week, I wrote a post about depressing Facebook ads. It was inspired by the many strange ads that wind up on my social media. Sometimes, I wonder why in the hell certain products are targeted to me. But my eyebrows really raised when I got the ad below yesterday…

Seriously? What the fuck! I saw this on my timeline and immediately felt even bitchier than usual. In what world would someone my age want to wear these things, with the bubble-like ass? They would look completely cringeworthy!

Even though my first instinct was bitchiness, something about that ad was also hilarious, so I decided to share it with the caption, “I don’t think I need to see this fucking ad anymore.” Several friends laughed with me on this, because we’re all around the same age and none of us would wear these pants. In fact, I think even when I was in my teens and early 20s, these would have looked ridiculous on me. I used to be able to rock riding pants, which are kind of tight fitting, but they aren’t all shiny and fake leathery like these. I feel like all this model needs to complete her ensemble is a bullwhip and a bottle of gin!

Why advertisers are directing these pants at me, a short, fat, almost 47 year old woman, is beyond me. Since it’s Facebook, they probably throw that ad at anyone who might be deluded enough to think they’d look good in those pants. It’s all about making money, regardless of good taste and common sense. These “yoga pants” come in a range of sizes, from XXS to 3XL. If you order two pairs, they send you a free “secret” gift. What kind of secret gift? Anal beads? Nipple clamps? How about Astro Glide?

I wonder if these BDSM “yoga pants” are on YouTube… Lemme see…

Oh my Lord, they are. Jesus Christ!

So the model is wearing sky high stiletto heels. She’s not going to be doing yoga in these. Why are they being marketed by a “yoga” store? These aren’t the same ones that were on my Facebook page, but they are made by the same company. I’m no Olivia Newton-John circa 1978.

Thinking about trying to fit my lumpy ass in these “pants” just depresses me. Apparently, “faux”, vegan, leather leggings are popular now. Or, at least they were in 2017, when this lady reviewed a range of them to everyone on YouTube.

This lady is crowing about Forever 21’s $13 fake leather leggings… made of lots of synthetic material. I’m just sitting here looking like Ted Cruz, because the idea of wearing these things in hot weather just makes me think of this classic South Park episode…
All she ever does is work! The poor minge just wants freedom from stuffy pantsuits.

Actually, having now sat through the 13 minute video on “faux, vegan, leather leggings”, I’m feeling kind of non-plussed. YouTuber Milabu reviewed leggings ranging from $13 to $188 in cost, and the most expensive ones are pretty tacky looking. She said she had to size up for the $188 Hugo Boss leggings because they didn’t have her size in stock. But the $13 Forever 21 leggings are clearly better looking than Hugo Boss’s ugly $188 ones. I guess it just goes to show that paying more doesn’t always mean you’ll get more.

I won’t be buying any faux leather leggings or yoga pants. I might buy sweat pants, but lately I don’t even want to wear those. I’ve been enjoying the nice, modest, long sleeved cotton nighties being sold by Land’s End. In fact, maybe it’s time I shopped for a couple more in a lighter color or with short sleeves.

When I was a kid, these were advertised on TV all the time. I see we’re still being pressured to wear clothes that look like shit. I love the plump lady at the end of the ad who seriously thinks she’s going to be wearing the designer jeans painted on the model. I don’t think so, Granny. Even back in the 80s, I don’t remember people walking around in this space suit.

I’m kind of surprised it’s already Friday. The week went by fast. I’m going to spend today searching for lodging in Sweden, Denmark, and northern Germany. Why? Because we’re taking a quick trip to Sweden to pick up our new Volvo. Since it’s our first Swedish car, we’re going to do the factory tour. If we were buying the car from the States, Volvo would help us plan a vacation. Alas, U.S. customers in Germany going for the military sales deal don’t get the same love. We have to buy our own plane tickets.

Volvo will put us up in a hotel for one night and pick us up at the airport, but since we have only spent a few hours in Sweden (after our very first cruise in 2009, when we disembarked in Stockholm), I wanted to stay two nights. For two nights, we’re on our own. So I’m trying to decide where to go… I’m thinking stops in Rostock and Copenhagen might work out fine. Gotta research it. I found an amazing hotel in Gothenburg that I’m dying to try. It’s very pricey, though, and I’m not sure we want to spend that much. Especially since we’re about to have car payments again.

Well, at least I won’t be spending any money on “BDSM pants”. I prefer natural fibers and a camel toe free existence. My minge likes to breathe and be free. Bill likes the fluffy version of me, anyway.

Song parodies

Just because I’m still feeling inappropriate…

On my original Overeducated Housewife blog, I once had a post called “Big Pink Dildo”. It was inspired by a minor drama that erupted in the Stuttgart Yard Sales Facebook group. As a joke, one of the “wives” decided to put her used pink dildo up for sale. She asked $5 for it, and, as the picture revealed, it came “equipped with pubes”. Naturally, a lot of people got their panties in a wad over the “joke”, and one extremely uptight group member demanded that the jokester take down her inappropriate, unprofessional post, lest someone’s child see a pink rubber replica of a man’s genitalia.

The lady who had put the sex toy up for sale had evidently long ago stopped using it for its intended purpose. It appeared to me that the toy was repurposed as a dog toy. It looked like it had teeth marks on it, as well as some kind of hair. Maybe it was pubes… but it was more likely dog hair. I have included a photo at the end of this post.

I was so tickled by this drama that I decided to write a blog post about it. I also made up a parody song set to Joni Mitchell’s hit song, “Big Yellow Taxi”. I changed the words to “Big Pink Dildo”, and even made a video. For over a year, that public post sat undisturbed on my Blogger account. But then one fateful day, I got a message from Google, telling me that my content had been “flagged” for being “inappropriate”. The person who flagged it was a Google staffer in India. I noticed he haunted my blogs for weeks after that report. It was almost as bad as when I wrote a negative post about USAA and got haunted by their PR people for weeks. I am happy to report that I’ve mostly kept my nose clean since– at least when it comes to big companies like Google and USAA.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been a problem to write such a post and include a photo of a chewed up sex toy, but I was running ads on Blogger and lacked the technological savvy to prevent the ads from running on that post. Advertisers don’t like it when their products are advertised on posts that have anything sexually explicit or pornographic in them, even if the post is just a joke and not actually pornographic, like mine was.

For over two years, I kept that post in draft mode, thinking I might eventually repost it. But then I did a purging of some stuff and decided to toss that post along with some others that had given me trouble. Now that I have my blog on my own domain and am not running ads, I figure it’s time I shared “Big Pink Dildo”, the hit song, again for my intrepid readers. I think it’s pretty good, even if I do say so myself. I sure had fun with the lyrics. Maybe I missed my calling. Sorry about the picture, but we all have to get our thrills somewhere, right?

I didn’t add pictures until the very end because, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I could do so without being overly crass…
You know, it almost doesn’t look like a dildo… It’s like a pink stick with clown shoes… or something. I’m not sure if the seller ever managed to unload it. Looks like her dog enjoyed it, anyway.

Anyway, that’s my outrageous and inappropriate posting for today. We also went car shopping, which I detailed on ye olde travel blog.