Flat and Warm

“You’re just jealous cos you never got one.”

Oh yeah. That’s right. I want a Soda, that’s why I have an “I want a Soda” badge on my page. In fact, that’s why this page is up in the first place. I am hoping that Rus and Dave will look at it and think to themselves, “Goodness! She is “saying” some rather “unfresh” things about “us”. Let’s give her an award!!!!”

Yeah. Yeah, I can see it working out that way.

And anyway, they claim to have run out of ideas so they stopped doing it.

There’s this 5-times-a-week New Zealand page awards site called Soda. It’s dodgy.

I was having a perv through its archive and found one week’s theme was “grrls”. Not grrrls, not girls, but the curious hybrid “grrls”.

Monday’s winner was Princess Diana, because she’d just died the day before. Soda describe Princess Diana as “possibly the most famous “girl” of them all.”

I’m thinking maybe she was actually a “woman” rather than a “girl”.

Tuesday’s winner was Xtra’s “Stuff for Chicks”. An Xtra site gets a Soda. Gee. How rare. As a testament to Soda’s savvy for picking winners, the “Stuff for Chicks” site is no longer up.

The winner on Wednesday is Girls’ Brigade. Not Grrls Brigade. Their site behaves like a good Soda site should and is very non-threatening. Soda claims that it “contains many of the subtle tricks that we have been promoting through SODA.” Right-o, lads.

On Thursday the winner was “Jacqui’s Journey”. About a woman who rode the length of a country on a horse. Enough said, I think.

And finally Friday’s winner was “Webgrrls Aotearoa”. Excuse me while I hammer a sign to my forehead that says “Look at me! I’m a female!” Soda says, “We’d like to see the membership increase and the site become an even greater resource – why not drop in and have a look yourself… ” Damn. It didn’t happen.

Anyway, I happened to mention this all on the Aardvark forums, and I received an e-mail from Rus, one of the two Soda guys, that included this:

Oh – actually – maybe you can name five sites for a “decent” SODA theme about wimmin in NZ?

Just let us know….

Dripping with sarcasm. Challenging me. Like if he, the editor of a daily awards site can’t pick five decent sites, then what hope do I have? And what the hell is he on about with “wimmin”? Is that like “grrls”? And why put the word decent in quotes?

So I gave him eleven sites. They weren’t all classy. I kind of threw in a few sucky ones as a quality control measure.

Then about a month later it was “Attitude” week on Soda. Attitude week? I’ve given up trying to understand what that means.

But anyway, all five sites were from my list. Wow. I really can pick ’em.

Here are annotated excerpts from the week’s reviews.

Design is “fresh” – that’s “design of the site” not a reflection on the contributors.

Again, what is happening with all these quotation marks? Is “fresh” in quotes so we don’t mistakenly think he means a web site that’s been recently harvested from a garden?

I really dislike having to turn my head to read a line of text running across the entire screen width.

And they say the Internet causes people to be less physically active.

Having voyeuristic tendencies will probably increase the enjoyment factor.

And having masochistic tendencies will definitely increase the enjoyment factor of viewing Soda.

Graphics are – um – interesting to look at – and do load in your browser.

Graphics that load in your browser? And this would be opposed to graphics that load in your microwave oven or in your washing machine?

I could go on. I’d really like to, but I feel that Soda’s really gone and dug its own hole way better than I ever could.

A fitting conclusion to attitude week.

Domination

Something to file under Pre-Millennial Madness…

I was at work one afternoon, finishing up for the day, when I heard ICQ’s familiar “uh-oh” and found this message waiting for me:

I wonder if you would be interested ina gorwn man who believes in female superiority and girls power and would like to practice his believes by serving a young sophisticated strong personality Lady who will own him as a slave and treat him as such where he is inferioir to her, would that interest u

Oh yes. Yes, it would very much interest me. In the same way that “When Animals Attack” interests a great proportion of the population.

My immediate impulse was to fire off an angry email like, “You stupid dick arse wanker sad sad sad man. Piss off and go and play with your mother because she’s the only female who will ever like you.”

Then I thought about it and realised that that sort of thing would probably turn him on.

His vocabulary (not to mention his spelling) gave too much away. He refers to himself as a man, but his sought-after companion is referred to as a female, girl and lady – but never a woman.

So I fell back on one of my favourite insults. I replied:

Leave me alone, you patriarchal oppressor.

Then I put him on my ignore list.

Hotpants and Boredom

“Hey Robyn, we need people to work at the show next weekend. You’ll get a day off in lieu. Are you interested?”

“OK, sure. Sounds like fun!”

Yeah, it sounded like a fun thing to do. There was an trade show exhibiting things that men are supposed to be into. Cars, stereos and other things that do things. The company I work for had a stand with its new thing that does stuff and needed people to make it seem REALLY EXCITING. So I volunteered.

The first sign that things were about to go horribly wrong was the t-shirts. Some had been printed up for the show, unfortunately they were fitted mens t-shirts and were very very snug-fitting. I tried on an XL-sized one and was shocked and terrified by what I saw. It fit, it just fit too well. The phrase “ample-bosomed” came to mind.

The alternative was a black XXL-sized Beefy-T, which I was instructed to wear with black jeans. It looked like a metaller maternity wear. All that was needed was “Metallica… and justice for all” to be printed on the back of the t-shirt. I would have probably looked more glamourous in a pink muu-muu.

I arrived at the show and discovered the following. Because I was female, it was deemed that I knew nothing about anything even vaguely technical and therefore would be spending the day handing out bags with a trial CD in them.

So I stood there with a bundle of bags, looking like a metaller chick saying “Would you like a bag?” to anyone who walked past. Unfortunately the girls in mini skirts on another stand were getting more attention and the predominantly male attendees were ignoring me.

The guy who was in charge of the stand decided that I wasn’t working hard enough and came over to show me “how it’s done.” He thrust a bag towards a startled man and said “Here! It’s free!” the man continued to be startled and walked on. He would have had more luck if he was in hot pants. After a few more attempts he finally got someone to take one and told me to do the same. Right-o.

Then disaster struck. We were running out of bags! I seized this opportunity to grab some CDs, bags and free trial stickers and ran up to the exhibitors lounge to make them up.

The exhibitors lounge was an enclosed area on a sort of mezzanine level that overlooked the exhibition hall. From there a most disturbing thing could be heard. There was a stand somewhere that was playing a Fleetwood Mac greatest hits CD over and over again. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow when I’d be at home!

I sat at a table stickering CDs then putting the CDs into bags. Behind me were two models dressed in hot pants and tank tops who were working for a tyre shop’s stand.

They appeared to have only met the day before, and I sat listening to one of them say stuff like, “When I was 17 I got pregnant and I really wanted to keep the baby, and my boyfriend did too, but we decided to adopt it so we did. I’ve been trying now to have a baby with my partner, but we haven’t had much luck. I think I might stick with modelling for a few more years…”

I brought a couple of boxes of filled bags down and was afforded half an hour for a lunch break. I wandered around looking at the other stands. Cars. Stereos. Boats. Televisions. Motorbikes. Disposable razors. Oh, it was all there.

Then it was back to the bags. This time a man and a woman who hadn’t seen each other for a few years were catching up.

“I’m operating a franchise for motorcycle parts and maintenance. It’ll take a few years to break even, but as we are operating a quality operation, we’ll be there in no time.”

“I’m a rep for a company that sells high-quality audio and video cabling. You know, people don’t realise that the quality of the cables can really make the difference.”

“I know what you man. I was at another stand here and the bloke there offered me a 10% exhibitors discount, but I said, “Mate, I don’t expect a discount.” I wouldn’t give him one, and I don’t expect him to give me one. Guys come in and say “Can I get 10% off for cash?” No, you bloody well can not. What they don’t realise is that they are paying for quality and if I give them a discount, the quality suffers.”

“I know what you mean. People think we are wholesale, but we’re not. We’re retail and because of that we can’t give discounts.”

“That’s bloody right!”

Then a guy from the stand that was playing the Fleetwood Mac album continuously came in. Someone asked him about it and he explained that they had brought a large selection of CDs to the show, but whenever they played the Fleetwood Mac CD, it attracted lots of people.

I stickered more. I bagged more.

The husband and wife owners of the tyre shop were taking a break and talking with the models. “We were originally going to have you girls in mini-skirts, but we thought, if you’re going to actually be doing things with tyres, you’d be better off in hot pants.” The models agreed.

Finally, finally, it all came to an end, and I got to go home.

I had learned a number of valuable lessons:

1. Do not participate in anything that requires you to dress like a pregnant metaller.

2. If you are unable to muster up enthusiasm towards complete strangers about things you feel ambivalent about, go upstairs.

3. Avoid companies that employ people dressed in hot pants.

4. Playing Fleetwood Mac continuously is not a sign of a healthy mind.

5. If you’re feeling really dorky dressed like a metaller, and people are ignoring you in favour of girls in hot pants, being yelled at by the man in charge is does not do wonders for self-confidence.

6. But going around getting free stuff is cool.

I shall chalk it up to experience.