Facebook can now read your mind

So, I’ve decided to come out of my unexplained month-long solitary confinement because A) It’s about bloody time, and B) I just had to share this story.

Remember that I have, on several occasions, remarked on Facebook’s sneaky monitoring of my Internet activities and then feeding me relevant ads?

And not doing a very good job of it, I might add, like when it started showing me ads for eyelash curlers immediately after I bought one online? I don’t need to look at eyelash curlers anymore after I’ve bought one. I’m not interested! Or, like, showing me loads of ads targeted at teachers when my occupation is clearly listed as blogger?

 

Sheylara
Me with curled eyelashes, courtesy of an eyelash curler.

 

Well, I’m thinking that Facebook must have taken my complaints to heart because it has recently improved its stalking skills, not to mention telepathic ones.

That’s right. Facebook can now read your mind.

Even when you’re not on the Internet.

And here’s the proof.

Last night, Piers and I went to Sainsbury’s to buy breakfast stuff for the weekend. When we were at the bread aisle, and Piers was busy choosing a packet of bagels to bring home, I saw a product I’d never seen before (because we normally shop online so we miss stuff that way).

It was this product:

 

Warburtons Sandwich Thins
Warburtons Sandwich Thins

 

I thought it looked very tasty so I said to Piers, “Hey, this looks really nice. I’m going to try it next time.” (We’d already agreed on bagels this weekend.)

Piers didn’t hear me because he was still too busy mulling over bagel flavours.

But someone else heard me.

Someone sneaky by the name of Facebook.

UH HUH!

Because, this morning, when I went online and logged into Facebook, I was immediately greeted by this ad:

 

Facebook ad

 

In case you can’t read the small print, it says, “You like our Sandwich Thins, now like us on Facebook too!”

You like our Sandwich Thins…

 

WHAT MANNER OF SORCERY IS THIS, FACEBOOK?!?!?! HUH? HUH???

 

Last night was the first time I knew of the existence of these Sandwich Thins and I didn’t mention it to anyone apart from a selectively deaf husband, who was entirely focused on bagelry at that time, nor did I come home and google it or anything like that. The fact is that I forgot all about it the moment we left the bread aisle.

No one should know that I was showing any interest at all at Warburtons Sandwich Thins, okay, you hear me, Facebook?! Not a soul!

So there is only one thing left to do now.

We must all start wearing tin foil hats. And stat!

 

Britney Speares in a tin foil hat
Man, some people just look good in everything! Pfft.

Wow, I really needed another blog

Like I have so much to say that I’m flooding this blog with too many posts.

Like I have too much time on my hands.

Like I really need another platform to prove my existence.

NO.

But I’ve gone and jumped onto yet another social media micro blogging platform, anyway.

This:

 

Sheylara's profile on Dayre

Introducing my new blog on Dayre. Yay.

 

It’s all Nanny Wen’s fault. She showed me the stickers on Dayre and I was sold.

She said the sticker girl looks like me.

 

Stickers on Dayre

Does it really look like me? Okay, a bit.

 

Dayre is a phone app (iOS and Android) on which you post photos, videos, quotes, text or stickers, throughout the day. The app then puts the day’s posts together into one blog entry.

You can view posts on a browser but you can only update posts from your phone (like Instagram).

It’s new and quite buggy (especially the browser version) but fun and addictive when it’s working right.

The name is quite stupid, no matter how you read it. That’s probably the worst thing about this app.

But the stickers are cute, so that makes up for it. They need more stickers, though.

 

Sheylara's Dayre blog

Today’s post.

 

 

BUT.

 

WHY, OH, WHY,

SHEYLARA,

ARE YOU DOING THIS?!

 

you ask.

 

 

YOU DON’T BLOG HERE

OFTEN ENOUGH AS IT IS!

 

you say.

 

Yes, I hear you. Very valid argument. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself. I shall flagellate myself with a very fluffy pom pom on a stick.

Now hear me out.

The reason is that I’m so forgetful I’d forget my own name if I didn’t write it down. And that kind of condition is very inconvenient when you’re trying to remember random stuff on a daily basis. Important stuff.

For example: “What did we last order takeaway pizza?”

No, really. It’s very important. For instance, one day, I decided to write to Pizza Express to complain about them messing up our takeaway order (missing items and burnt dough balls). When filling in the online feedback form, I had to tell them which day, what time, and which restaurant we ordered from.

It took me 10 hours before I figured it out. And that was only because Piers came home and I asked him. And it took him only two hours to come up with an answer he couldn’t stake his life on.

Actually, we couldn’t even remember whether it was this week or last week.

 

The terror of forgetfulness

 

So, things like that happen in our household on a daily basis. We’re probably the most forgetful people in the universe, excepting Nanny Wen, who has been scientifically proven to be worse than us.

(By which I mean that I scientifically counted the number of times she forgot something, then scientifically counted the number of times Piers and I forgot something, then proceeded to forget all the counted numbers, finally producing a legitimate conclusion by guesstimation.)

So, anyway, long story short (although it ended up kinda long in retrospect), I’ve always thought about keeping a journal of daily happenings handy for times when I need to “remember” stuff.

And I’ve decided that Dayre seems like a fun way to do it.

 

Dayre on iPhone

What Dayre looks like on the iPhone.

 

I didn’t want to do it on my blog or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram because I have followers who will unceremoniously unfollow me if I start to spam their news feed with my boring daily life.

And I didn’t want to do it on a physical book with a physical pen because how boring, plus you can’t Google search physical journals for instant recall.

 

Dayre on iPhone

What Dayre looks like on the iPhone.

 

This all means that you probably don’t want to follow me on Dayre unless you’re a stalker, like Nanny Wen, who is my only stalker on the app.

In any case, while you can read someone’s blog through a regular browser, you can only “follow” them through the app, which you’ll need to install on your phone, which is too troublesome, so you probably won’t do it.

That’s fine.

But if you have to, for some incomprehensible reason, you can search for our usernames on the app (sheylara and davienne).

Happy stalking! Or not.

Life after marriage

Of course, I didn’t expect anything to change after marrying Piers. We’d already lived together as well as endured a long-distance relationship, over a period of two and a half years, and we’d established routines, both in England and in Singapore.

Nothing’s changed.

Five days after we were married, he went back to England and we were back to spending every possible moment on FaceTime.

 

Long distance marriage

 

Well, we do have slightly different things to bicker about now.

For example:

 

Piers: We should buy a three-bedroom house so we can have a gaming room.

Sheylara: Great idea! Then you can invite Jamie over often for gaming!

(Jamie’s his best friend and they play Xbox games together.)

Piers: Yes!

Sheylara: I can play MMORPGs on my PC while you two play Xbox!

Piers: No!!!!!

Sheylara: What?

Piers: No MMORPGs!! I’ll lose you forever!

(I’m an incorrigible MMORPG addict once I get started, so he’s understandably worried.)

Sheylara: Erm… I’ll be sensible this time! I’ve, uh, grown up since!

Piers: NO!

Sheylara: HMMMPH!!

 

Actually, even that isn’t very much different from our usual bickering.

Yep, nothing’s changed. I haven’t changed. He hasn’t changed.

We’re still counting down the minutes till we can see each other again.

He still gets jealous when he sees me on web cam eating something tasty that he can’t get in England.

He still hates grocery shopping so I have to shop for him online. From 6,820 miles (10,976 km) away.

He still hangs his neckties on the key rack.

 

Male logic

 

I’m still a compulsive iPad (because I’m not allowed MMORPGs) gamer.

And still a bit tardy at blogging.

And we still have stupid conversations like this:

 

The scene
Our web cams are on. He’s having dinner while watching TV. I’m (supposedly) playing on my iPad. He suddenly notices me watching him.

 

Piers: Stop watching me eat! Go play your game!

Sheylara: Why can’t I watch my husband? (Ick! Word!)

Piers: Ah… husband! Haha. Oh yeah. Hmm… I don’t feel like a husband! So weird.

Sheylara: (lol)

 

Nothing’s changed. He’s still a big goofy bear.

 

Big goofy bear

 

Although nothing’s changed, life is definitely moving in an exciting new direction. We’re definitely going to get a much bigger place. Then we can have a gaming room! I can buy a piano and take lessons! Maybe drums! (We’ll probably have to bicker over that first.)

Since I’ll be living in the UK permanently, I will have a new occupation. Won’t talk about that now because I’m not fully decided yet. (Still trying to talk Piers into letting me be a stay-at-home gamer.)

Children will probably come next. That will turn our entire lives upside down so I’m really looking forward to it. Yes.

 

Little ones

 

But, other than those big changes, everything is still the same.

And I’m guessing that’s standard for most marriages.

So, nothing wrong, life is grand, all we need now is my UK visa and Bob’s our uncle.

The marriage post

So, the reason I haven’t blogged for weeks is that a lot has happened.

It sounds a bit ironic because lifestyle bloggers tend to have more to blog about when more things happen but, for me, I just get overwhelmed.

 

duck face

I haven’t done duck face in years, honest. So it’s totally time for one!

 

After barely recovering from severe jet lag, I got hit by a cold. At the same time, Piers and I were frantically scraping my UK visa application together. It’s a hair-yanking, eyeball-exploding task for the hundreds of documents we have to scrounge up from every hidden corner of earth and the amount of history I have to dredge up from the dimmest recesses of my cobwebbed memory bank.

And, to top that all off, Piers and I decided to add to our overflowing cauldron of stress by getting married.

 

Piers and Sheylara

 

Uh huh.

I won’t talk about it in detail because we got married without fuss in Singapore in order to strengthen my case for a UK visa. The visa costs $1,787 (£892) so there is a lot invested to justify the extreme lengths we had to go to to ensure a positive result.

Of course, it also felt right. We’ve already been dating (living together) for two and a half years and can’t imagine life without each other. Aww.

We’ll have a proper wedding in England next year so I’ll blog about that instead, if I haven’t died from stress then.

But it’s all good and relaxed now, apart from the fact that my newly-made husband had to go back to England five days after our marriage, while I stay in Singapore to wait for my visa.

Okay, I really hate the word husband. It’s such an unwieldy, ugly word. Someone ought to come up with a better word for it. Something easy on the lips, like, I dunno, man?

They always say “I now pronounce you man and wife” anyway, which is possibly a bit sexist (or illogical?) but I’m not a feminist so I don’t care.

 

Man and wife

 

Hubs and hubby are equally stupid words so I refuse to use them. Spouse is just as bad.

The Chinese versions are even worse: “Lao gong” and “lao po”, meaning literally “old grandfather” and “old grandmother”. Those are kind of colloquial, but the formal words (“zhang fu” and “qi zi”) actually sound more yucky.

Maybe there’s something wrong with me; a subconscious rebellion against the institution of marriage. But I tend to be very sensitive to the way words sound so it is more likely just coincidence that all the words in the marriage category offend me.

I mean, I don’t like many other random words too, for example, “poignant” and “tonsure”, so it’s not a selective discrimination.

 

Sticks and stones etc.

 

So, after I receive my visa, which could be months from now, I will fly back to England to get all stressed up again with house-hunting and wedding-planning.

Yay. Can’t wait.

In the meantime, I suppose I can relax a bit, play a lot of stupid iPad games, eat a lot of seaweed shaker fries, and think of names for our future children, who will, hopefully, not inherit my stupid sensitivity to word sounds.

My life will be as unexciting as a bricked iPad in the next couple of months but I will try and pretend that it’s exciting by digging up old stuff to blog about.

Or not. Depends on my mood.

Now, your comments can influence my mood, so comment away! :)

The mascara-ed flying wonder in my kitchen

I didn’t really want to write this post because my skin itches whenever I look at insect photos, even photos that I took myself.

But I have to because I can’t get over my curiosity; it is quite a remarkable creature.

If you don’t like looking at insect photos, this is a warning to stop reading and flee for your life now, because I will be sharing many close-ups of this mascara-ed winged wonder.

 

Here's a photo of a bug to scare you silly.

 

Okay.

I first posted the following photo on Facebook and Twitter after I discovered this insect in my kitchen, trying to eat my dish cloth.

My first priority, of course, was to rescue the dish cloth. I placed Piers’ bug cup over the insect and then slid the dish cloth away.

Then I noticed that it wasn’t flying around in the cup like the usual panicked insect does, and it was walking all wobbly.

Also, it appeared to have heavily mascara-ed eyelashes.

So I risked quicky lifting the cup just enough to stick my camera lens in and take a photo. This photo.

 

First photo of the mascara-ed flying wonder

 

None of my Facebook and Twitter friends were able to identify the insect.

Piers wanted me to release it outside.

And this conversation happened.

 

Evidence of my boyfriend being a bug lover

 

That’s my darling boyfriend for you, defender of bugs, holy crusader against bug abuse.

In the past, I would have flushed it down the toilet without a further thought. But you don’t live with someone for more than two years and not pick up a few noble habits (as well as a few naughty ones, such as drinking orange juice out of the carton).

So, out of love for my bug-loving beloved, I actually attempted to feed the silly creature.

I had decided by this time that it was harmless to me since it wasn’t even able to walk properly, much less fly into my eyes and poke my eyeballs out, so I removed the cup prison from it.

And then I took a load of close-up photos because the first one, taken hurriedly in fear, was a bit blurred.

 

Free at last! says the bug

 

Dammit, I can't walk, says the bug

 

Help me!! says the bug

 

Oh, man, that was stupid, says the bug

 

After studying these photos, I realise now why it wasn’t able to walk properly. If you look at the right hind leg, you can see that it’s missing a foot there. (Well, it’s probably technically not a foot but you can see it’s missing something, anyway.)

Poor bug!

I’m sorry if the post title is a bit misleading since this bug did not at any time demonstrate the ability to fly, but I’m sure it used to fly just fine in its heyday so let’s not be too judgmental now.

So, anyway, I offered it a bit of coriander leaf, a drop of water and a stale cake crumb (from the remains of my breakfast). Just in case it likes cake.

 

Oh, hooray, food, says the bug

 

Not, says the bug

 

In the above photo, it looks like it might be drinking the water, but it wasn’t. It was still floundering about unsteadily, acting very bewildered and upset, even though it’s gotten itself a free lunch.

It totally didn’t accept my offering and turned away. What did it want, a posh three-course French dinner?

 

Stupid human, says the bug

 

Maybe it just doesn’t like coriander. And stale cake.

It continued to stagger about drunkenly.

 

Nothing to see here, says the bug

 

So I left it alone the rest of the afternoon and waited for Piers to come home. It didn’t move much from that general spot.

When Piers came home, he got the bug to hop onto the bug cup, then took it downstairs to the communal garden and set it loose on our dying (or dead, I dunno) chilli plant.

I hope it likes chilli leaves and that it grows a new foot soon.

Oh, wait, I don’t suppose insects can regenerate limbs and appendages anymore than humans can. Can they?

But the more pertinent questions are:

What the heck is this insect and where did it buy those amazing fake lashes?

 

UPDATE (2/9/13):

Piers posted my photos in a couple of forums and has received a definite answer! This insect is a wasp nest beetle (or metoecus paradoxus) and it’s a paraside!

The adult lays eggs on rotting wood in the hope that a wasp will visit to harvest wood fibre for its nest. If one does, the beetle larva tries to climb onto the back of the wasp and is transported to the nest. It then seeks out a wasp grub and parasitises it. The beetle grows and pupates and emerges as an adult just after the time the wasp would have done.

More details here.