animals, celebrities, complaints, condescending twatbags, social media

Wow! Who knew commenting on Facebook required sharing my resume?

The featured photo was taken in September 1988, right after my beloved Appaloosa pony, Rusty (Diamonds n’ Rust) and I won first place at the State 4H horse show in Richmond, Virginia. There were about seventy other ponies in that class. It was a great morning and a highly unexpected surprise to win first. Rusty bucked, but I guess the judge never saw it happen.

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I have a tendency to overshare sometimes. I often feel compelled to share the whole story, even if it’s not necessarily interesting or wise to do so. We all have lessons we could learn. I know I could use a few lessons in brevity. However, even someone who overshares, like I tend to do sometimes, can be surprised by other people’s expectations on social media platforms.

Before I get started, I will issue a half-hearted apology for the fact that my writing this week has been so much about stupid Facebook dramas. The good news is, I’m so annoyed by the responses I’ve gotten on recent comments I’ve made, that I now make a conscious effort to comment less. That could mean that I’ll move on to more hard-hitting or entertaining topics. One can only hope!

Anyway… on with today’s gripe.

A couple of days ago, Facebook suggested either a group or a page about Elizabeth Taylor. I honestly don’t know why it was suggested to me. I was never a big Liz Taylor fan. I mean, I certainly thought she was a beautiful woman, and as a horse crazy kid, I appreciated her performance in National Velvet. I do remember seeing her guest star on The Nanny, and I saw her in commercials for her perfumes and such, but I don’t know much about her acting career.

Liz Taylor was a little behind my era, and had done a lot of her most famous acting roles before I was born. I wasn’t into most old movies when I was growing up, aside from the major ones like Gone With The Wind, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz. When I was coming along, I heard more about her marriages, alcoholism, and celebrity activism, than anything else.

I think I was more familiar with her son, Michael Wilding Jr.’s, work as an actor. He was on Guiding Light and Dallas, back in the 80s, and I watched both of those shows.

Anyway, for some reason, Facebook suggested this Elizabeth Taylor page to me, along with a post about her love for horses. There was a picture of her, as an adolescent, with a horse– probably the one who starred with her in National Velvet. And there was a quote by her about how she’d learned to jump before making the movie, and had successfully jumped a six foot fence while riding bareback. She allegedly said it made her feel like she was flying.

As someone who literally spent a huge portion of my childhood in a barn, I find that story pretty hard to believe. Is it the truth? Maybe… but I still find it implausible. Not that many horses regularly jump six foot fences. Those that do tend to be very valuable jumpers. And, in all of my years around horses, I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone jumping at that height bareback… at least not on purpose! Could it have happened? I suppose. But I noticed a lot of people agreed with me that the story sounded a bit like bullshit. They were saying so in the comment section.

I added a casual comment to someone’s response, reminding everyone that National Velvet was made in 1944. So if she did try to jump six feet while bareback, it likely would have been extremely dangerous and foolish. She probably didn’t bother wearing a hat (helmet), and even if she did wear one, it was not as safe or effective as the ones that people wear today. If she tried such a stunt and was successful, she was damned lucky… and pretty stupid, in my opinion. But again… it’s just my opinion, and I realize I could be wrong.

“Velvet Brown, who do you think you ARE?”

When I left this comment, I was being totally casual. It was an offhand remark– the online equivalent of small talk. This is a very trivial issue to me, and not something I care to research or verify. Mainly, I was just gratified to see that I wasn’t the only one who was calling bullshit on the story’s veracity.

Naturally, people started tagging me in responses, reminding me that Liz Taylor allegedly started riding when she was three years old, so she wasn’t a “new” rider, as I wrongly assumed, based on what was written in the quote.

Again, Liz Taylor doesn’t really matter to me, so I didn’t look her up to see when her ass first landed on a horse’s back. If she really started riding at age 3, fair enough… although I doubt she was progressing that much in her skills at that age. I wouldn’t expect her to be good enough to be piloting talented jumpers over six foot fences, even if she did start riding at age 3. Certainly not bareback. That’s sheer lunacy to me. My opinion again. It was not something I really wanted to argue about. If it’s true, it’s true. I don’t really care one way or the other.

The evening wore on, and Bill and I went to bed. I spent all day blissfully unaware of that post and, in fact, had completely forgotten about it. Then, at about 5 PM, I got a tag from someone I didn’t know. Not knowing what she was referencing, I clicked to see what was up. And it was some twat who wrote something along the lines of, “Have you ever even been on a horse? Do you know *anything* about horses?” Then there was a long diatribe about how Liz Taylor certainly could have been jumping six foot fences bareback, and a link to some site that I didn’t bother checking. To tell you the truth, I didn’t read beyond her first two sentences, because I found them extremely insulting and irritating, and I was momentarily really pissed.

Weeee! Us again… probably in 1988.

You see, I spent years riding horses. I owned a very special Appaloosa pony for years. I took lessons, cleaned stalls, went to horse shows, showed hunt seat and Western, went on competitive trail rides, attended riding clinics given by fancy Frenchmen, fox hunted, completed 4 H horse projects, and I have a huge box full of over 200 ribbons, plaques, medals and such in storage in Texas. I even won a horse blanket one year. So yes, I do know my way around a horse, even though I gave up riding a long time ago.

Maybe I should have responded to the idiot with just a picture of my ribbons…

I realize this person doesn’t know me at all. I don’t know her at all. My guess, though, is that I was probably riding horses and shoveling manure when she was still a spark in her daddy’s testicles. I also suspect, like a lot of Facebook experts, she moseyed on over to my Facebook page to see if there was any evidence of my “expertise” with horses. When she saw no equine pics on the public version of my account, she wrongly assumed that I don’t have any experience with horses, hence her moronic challenging questions to me– a total stranger.

I was tempted to respond with indignance, but instead, I took a deep breath, and then sighed with a loud groan of utter annoyance. Then I posted something along the lines of this:

Yes, I have experience with horses. I grew up riding and showing my own horse. I still don’t believe this story. If you do, good for you. I really don’t care.

Then, just because I had a feeling it would inspire laughter from those who knew me when I was young, I posted this:

I was gratified when my former riding instructor wrote this…

A time or two?🀣🀣🀣. Try more years than I care to think about! πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ

I am honestly very indebted to my old riding instructor, because I certainly wasn’t the easiest person to teach… or even just to deal with, especially when I was going through puberty. And she was there to see me in all my moody, hormonal glory! Isn’t it awesome that I still know her as I’m now going through menopause! I’m not quite as moody these days… or, at least I cry less.

It’s because of her that I ever owned a horse of my very own. She taught me so much, and having unlimited access to her farm no doubt kept me out of trouble… and possibly even the psych ward. I had a tendency toward depression in those days (as well as today, but now I have booze).

The fact that I had a horse, and had to work to keep him, kept me productive and active, and helped stave off the darkest moods of depression. I spent hours riding my bike to and from her farm, cleaning the ten stalls in her barn, and doing the many horsey chores required when you have a horse. Even if you aren’t into showing, as I was in those days, there’s a lot of work to be done. I do miss it– and horses– very much. But I think the work might kill me these days. πŸ˜€

So yes, when some rando on Facebook asks me if I “know anything” about horses, simply because we disagree about a silly quote allegedly by Elizabeth Taylor– a dead actress I don’t even particularly care about– it does smart a bit. Was she really expecting me to post my horse experience resume on such a random comment between total strangers? Who’s got the time for it?

However, I was also gratified that my fellow horsey friend from those days, another of the many Jennifers born in the 70s, posted this in response to my peevish status update…

Ha! I was doubting that post from Liz too. I’ve never seen anyone do six feet bareback.

Jennifer and I were in 4 H together and enjoyed many a hot Saturday at horse shows when we were growing up in Gloucester, Virginia. She knows her way around horses, too. And anyone who knew me in those days, knows that horses were then my life. It’s almost hard to believe now. Seems like a dream.

I guess this incident can be filed away under yet another reason why Facebook sucks. But then, if it weren’t for Facebook, I couldn’t share a laugh with the people I knew when I was an avid horsewoman. It’s a testament to the specialness of that time that those people are still my friends so many years later.

Whether or not Liz Taylor ever jumped six foot fences while riding a horse bareback isn’t that important, at least not to me. She’s been dead for years, so it’s not like her feelings are going to be hurt if I don’t believe this alleged quote from her about her horseback riding skills. Maybe it is the truth, but I don’t feel like verifying it, one way or the other. Especially now.

Liz’s alleged quote kind of reminds me of that ghastly video of Alan Osmond, when he talked about how he was the best marksman in his Army basic training unit, yet he never saw a single day in Vietnam. Instead, he stayed behind at Fort Ord, where he served as a typist. Now, I absolutely respect Alan for serving in the Army, but I think his claims about his military badassery are probably hyperbolic bullshit. And this quote by Elizabeth Taylor is probably similarly hyperbolic. I base that on my experiences with horses, even as I acknowledge that I’m not an expert and I quit riding some time ago. I never claimed to be an expert. I just know what bullshit smells like.

So no, I don’t feel like qualifying myself with a rundown of my equine experience and expertise, just to be allowed to leave a comment on a random Facebook post about horses. I shouldn’t be expected to do that. I’ve got more important things to do, like manscaping Bill’s chest hair.

On another note… I notice that a lot of horse people really can be insufferable jerks. I don’t miss that.

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Duggars, family, history, lessons learned

Embracing my “unpopularity”… and a Duggar named “True”…

Hello to everyone. I am now back in Germany, ready to plunge back into my pseudo occupation of writing. Bill and I got home from our vacation yesterday afternoon. We were confronted by piles of dirty laundry in our luggage and high grass in the backyard. It must have rained a lot while we were out of town. I had to turn on the lawn mowing robot three times and use the weed whacker to get the backyard back to a reasonable state. I still need to let the mower run again, but it’s raining today. It’s kind of satisfying to see the grass cut. I wish all chores were like that.

After I write this post, I will move to my travel blog and write about our latest travel adventures in Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. My travel blog used to be somewhat popular, but it’s not so much anymore. After this latest trip, I realize that maybe not being popular is a good thing. There was a time when I cared more about getting people to read my stuff. Now, I think it might be better that I stay anonymous. It’s easier to be honest when I’m less “popular”.

This morning, I was looking at my Facebook memories. I found a post from 2014 that I wrote one night when I was feeling despondent and alone. We were living in Texas at the time, and Bill was visiting his dad in Tennessee. I had stayed home from that trip for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I stayed in Texas because we lived in a rental with a pool, and a pipe had busted. I had to be there to turn the water off when the automatic pool system came on. At the time, Texas was in the middle of a terrible drought, so we couldn’t waste the water. As far as I know, Texas is still in a drought situation today. But there were other reasons why I stayed home.

Bill was also about to retire from the military, and we had to save money. Going to Tennessee with Bill meant more expenses for us at a time when we weren’t sure about his future employment prospects. As it turned out, he got a job offer a month later… on my birthday, no less. Within a couple of months, we’d moved to Germany, where I came face to face with the military community. Ironically, when we lived in Stuttgart, I had more exposure to the military than I ever did as an actual “Army wife”. That includes the time we lived in Army housing on Fort Belvoir. But at the time Bill visited his dad, we didn’t know what the future would hold. It was a pretty scary time, actually.

The final reason I didn’t go is because I know my husband’s stepmother doesn’t like me. I don’t think we trust each other, either. Not that I blame her for not liking me. A lot of people don’t. But I don’t like to be in places where I’m not welcome, and I don’t like to interact with people who are simply tolerating me and my admittedly unconventional personality. I’d rather be at home. So I stayed home, and Bill visited his dad in May 2014. It turned out that was their last visit, as Bill’s dad passed away in November 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, Bill wasn’t able to go to his funeral.

In any case, in May 2014, I was obviously feeling kind of sad. I became one of those attention seeking “insufferable posters” I wrote about the other day, and posted this… which was probably a plea for attention from my own family of origin. I suspect I was drinking wine that night.

I think a lot of my family members disapprove of me… because I am a little on the odd side. But just so everyone knows, I will be weird until I croak. So if you hope I will change because you shun me, rest assured I don’t give much more than half a fuck. I’m weird and profane and will be that way until I kick the bucket… which honestly, I hope happens sooner rather than later. With friends and family like that, who needs enemies?

I still kind of feel like this, although I’ve kind of come to terms with it. After eight years in Germany, I kind of miss Virginia and some of my family members. But, in reality, I’m surprised by how much I don’t miss them. I feel like I’m completely out of touch with most of them. Living abroad can really change one’s perspectives. I used to be proud to be southern. I used to identify as a Republican. I was never a pro-lifer, but I had more sympathy for that view. But now, most of my opinions have changed, and I don’t think it’s wrong that they’ve changed. I have a hard time being around some of the more militant Trump supporters in my family, especially the ones who also claim to be Christians… which includes most of them.

The older I get, the more I find that I am who I am, and I’m not going to change into what other people want me to be. If that means people think I’m “insufferable”, and that makes me “unpopular”, so be it. With all of this talk about pro-life vs. pro-choice, one would think we’d have more regard for people’s differences. So many people seem to think that every potential life should be given a chance. But it seems that a lot of people really don’t… they want conformity and “niceness”, even if the niceness isn’t genuine. When you don’t conform to norms, sometimes you will experience pain in the form of rejection. I’ve been rejected by a lot of people… and for a long time, it made me pretty sad. It was saddest to me when my own family rejected me. In fact, one of the main reasons why I am so pro-choice is because I was repeatedly told that I was a “mistake” when I was a child. It would have been less hurtful to me if my mom had just aborted me, though that wasn’t legal at the time.

Of course, my mom doesn’t say stuff like that to me anymore, and my father is dead. I know my mom is glad I’m here now, since I don’t demand anything of her anymore. I also turned out reasonably okay. I just have a personality that people tend to love or hate. But I really think growing up unwanted had a big effect on my personality. It’s made me stubborn and contrary, and maybe some people think I’m an asshole for any number of reasons. Whatever… I’m going to be 50 soon, so I don’t think I’m going to change. It’s probably best to just lay low and enjoy being unpopular… It’s been my experience that the least popular people tend to be the most interesting. They don’t go with the flow. They don’t follow the crowd. They don’t go along to get along. πŸ˜‰ What could be more interesting than that?

Moving on…

I noticed yesterday that I had a bunch of hits on a post I wrote last fall, when Jed and Katey Duggar shared their pregnancy announcement… apparently five minutes after they conceived. It turns out they were looking at that post because Jed and Katey’s son, Truett Oliver Duggar, was born on Monday, May 2. I heard that Katey had to be induced, so she gave birth in a hospital. May 2 was also Katey’s due date.

The bouncing baby boy was named Truett (which according to them, means “warrior for Christ”) and Oliver (which they said means “peace”)– and his initials are TOD, which someone in the Duggar Family News Facebook group noticed that those are the same initials for “time of death”. Some people were commenting that the baby’s name was the same as Chick Fil-A’s founder’s name. My only comment is that the names seem to be in conflict… and I’m also wondering if perhaps Jed and Katey aren’t promoting “fractured facts” in their explanation of what the names Truett and Oliver mean.

But anyway… the boy is here and he has a name, and he looks healthy and strong. Good for them! Obviously, he is very much wanted and loved. I like the name Truett, or even True, more than “Spurgeon”, anyway.

Katie Joy’s commentary on the new arrival.

What’s really creepy is that Jedidiah Duggar’s voice sounds so much like big brother Josh’s… and Josh, as we all know, is currently sitting in jail, awaiting his prison sentence for possessing and receiving child pornography. But at least Jed didn’t nap while his wife was in labor, and she didn’t give birth to him on a toilet. These are things that happened on Josh’s watch as his wife, Anna, was giving birth. And, as far as I know, Jed hasn’t been engaging in any illegal activities, although I am not at all in agreement with his political or religious views. Still, the world would be a dull place if we all agreed on everything. So congratulations to this particular branch of the Duggar family. I hope they enjoy this special time.

Well… now it’s time to get going on my travel blog. I hope someone will enjoy my efforts, but even if they don’t, that blog series will serve as a reminder of some of the great stuff Bill and I have managed to do, in spite of my “unpopularity” among the masses…

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musings, social media

My thoughts on so-called “insufferable posters” on Facebook…

Our vacation is winding down… we are now in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. It took several hours to get here from Florence, which gave me plenty of time to look at Facebook. One of my friends shared a post from 2015. It was from qz.com and was titled “There is a good chance that you are the ‘friend’ that everyone finds insufferable on Facebook”.

I think I read this article some time ago, but I was reminded of it anew today as we sped north toward Modena. The post, which was written by a guy named Tim Urban, was originally shared in November 2015. It was all about how people on Facebook annoy their friends, family members, and acquaintances because they indulge their egos, seek attention, or try to make people jealous.

The friend who shared this post wrote that she thought it was a great read, as did some of her friends. A few others, myself among them, thought the writer was an asshole. I know I do my fair share of complaining about Facebook comments. Actually, it’s really mainly comments that annoy me, not status updates, or things that people mostly share on their own pages. I don’t like it when people go on other people’s pages and act like jerks. They can do whatever they want on their own pages. If it really bugs me, I’ll unfriend or unfollow. But I don’t think of those people as “insufferable”. If I did, I would probably go ahead and disassociate myself. I know I’m not everyone’s shot of tequila or whatever…

Mr. Urban’s post consisted of a list of seven types of posts people share that tend to be annoying… to him, I guess, but maybe to others, too. In Urban’s view, to “not” be annoying, a status update must either be interesting or informative, or it has to be entertaining somehow. All other posts– to include any about one’s blessings in life, “cries for help” (from loneliness), meaningful quotes from well-known sages, or humble bragging– are apparently irritating by Mr. Urban’s yardstick.

I’ll admit that I can see some of his points. I do have a few current and former Facebook friends who share quotes. It makes me wonder if they talk to their friends that way offline. Do they go up to their pals and say things like “laugh and the whole world laughs with you”? Somehow, I doubt it… but hell, it’s their Facebook page. I don’t have to respond to it.

And some people probably hate that I share my blog. As a matter of fact, during our Italy trip, I met a few people who live in Stuttgart. One was a couple who had been there since 2015, and the female half knew about my blog. I had a feeling she didn’t like it, or me, and that was before she’d ever met me. Whatever… c’est la vie. Lots of people don’t like me after never having read my writing, just as some people think they know (and don’t like) me after reading a couple of posts. I think that’s a pretty limited way to go through life, especially since I’m not really so bad once you get to know me.

I know there are a lot of people– especially in the military community– who HATE that I have the nerve to call myself “overeducated” and think I’m an asshole for my blog title alone. But I also realize that some people actually enjoy the blog, and don’t think I’m a pretentious asshole. Later, after I parted company with those folks, Bill and I went to another hotel, and met a couple of really nice American couples who were excited to be in Italy. We had a very pleasant conversation, unmarred by any preconceived thoughts about my activities on social media or this blog. πŸ˜‰

Mostly, though, Tim Urban’s post made me think that I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with HIM. I like sharing my friends’ joy. When they share their proud parenting moments, news about their achievements, pictures of their trips, or even mushy posts about their spouses or other family members, I’m genuinely happy for them. I think anyone who would find those kinds of posts offensive, obnoxious, or annoying, probably aren’t much fun at parties. I would also like to know who make Tim Urban judge and jury for what people ought to post on Facebook. Especially since he’s not one of MY friends. πŸ˜‰

Personally, there are a lot of days when I’m sorry I signed up for Facebook. However, I realize that it’s pretty hard not to be on some kind of social media, if you’re not in your 80s and completely removed from the Internet, like my mom is. I do hope a better alternative will come along, though. Or, maybe I’ll just lose interest in it, like I do most things.

Anyway… I gotta be me. Part of who I am may come off as profane, vulgar, and obnoxious. I own it. But I can’t be someone else, especially for people who don’t even care enough to try to get to know me before they pass judgment. For most users, Facebook isn’t a place for developing real relationships, even though I know some have developed there. And so, I think people ought to post what they want to, on their own pages. It’s when they’re shitty on other people’s pages and posts that I take notice and feel negative. I think people who are rude to strangers on news sites are the most insufferable Facebook posters of all.

Well, tomorrow, we will enjoy Vaduz, and then Wednesday morning, we’ll make our way home to Wiesbaden. I am looking forward to it, to be very honest. I look forward to doing laundry and seeing the dogs, and writing up all of these adventures… and I’m even more hopeful that the swelling in my ankles will go down. We had a very busy vacation and it was a lot of fun, but it’s time to get back to business.

Still… it will be hard to leave this view from our current hotel… and if that’s bragging, so be it.

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