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15 May 2007 @ 08:43 pm
Post: They Are ALL Secretly Judging Me  
I just went to make an addition to our Netflix queue, and I was - okay. Does this happen to anyone else? You look at the movies/books/whatever that a given service (Netflix and Amazon are my two big offenders, here, as we don't have TiVo or even, you know, anything for a TiVo to record) suggests for you, and you think, "Have I injured this service in some way? Is this a deliberate insult? Or does Netflix [or whoever] really think I am this person?"

For me, that is usually followed, a microsecond later, by, "...Oh, god. Am I this person?"

The first blink of the day was caused by Netflix's showcased recommendation: The Founding Fathers: The Men Who Shaped Our Nation. There are several dozen reasons why I am extremely unlikely to watch this DVD, ever. But, fine, whatever, perhaps Netflix is just feeling unusually patriotic or something. Except, well, Netflix claims that we will enjoy this movie because we enjoyed The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Not the same thing, Netflix! Unless The Founding Fathers has a comedy bent that is very, very well hidden in the description.

So, fine. Apparently Netflix feels that I need to be a little more serious in my cultural consumption. Less humor, more history. All right. This is something I can hear and remain calm. I can handle constructive criticism. (I can. Really!)

It was in this mood - noble martyrdom, basically, with a side order of pretending not to be miffed - that I clicked on the Movies You'll tab. I have instinctively avoided this since they introduced it, on the grounds that that kind of imperative statement gets my back up. "Oh," I think. "I will this, will I? HAH. I FLATLY REFUSE TO ANYTHING. That will show them." This is not healthy behavior, and generally I try to suppress it. But since I was already fairly ruffled, plus violently hormonal, plus seriously short on sleep, I decided to click.

(You may, at this juncture, be questioning my decision. Feel free. It's just - sometimes you know you'll regret it, and you click anyway, and before you tell me you never do that, I want you to think about the time you clicked on goatse.)

So. The top movies I will (by order of Netflix) are:
  1. Brokeback Mountain
  2. Angels in America
  3. House, MD
  4. C.R.A.Z.Y.
  5. Street Fight
  6. The World According to Sesame Street
So, in order, we have:
  1. A gay-themed cowboy movie that I already specifically told Netflix I did not want to see. (You may indeed call me a bad fan AND a bad person of alternative sexual orientation AND a cultural boor, if you like. I don't care. I've read the short story, and that, frankly, was enough. See also: hormonal weepiness. When just the thought of the shirt scene makes me sniffly, I know to avoid the movie.)

  2. An AIDS-themed miniseries that I very much suspect is subject to the same hormonal weepiness ban.

  3. A show about two doctors in love. With lots of cancer in the background. Can I just - can I just have a quick word with Netflix, here? DEAR NETFLIX: I CRIED FIVE TIMES OVER AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. I CANNOT BE WATCHING THINGS WHERE PEOPLE DIE OF CANCER OR AIDS OR HATE CRIME. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PROMPT ATTENTION TO THIS MATTER.

  4. A movie that, going by the summary, is about growing up gay in Canada in the arms of David Bowie and Mick Jagger. I'll admit that Netflix has piqued my interest here, except after the first three, I suspect that this is about growing up gay in Montreal and, like, volunteering to work with terminally ill angels in Stetsons. See what happens when you aren't thoughtful with your suggestions, Netflix? My trust just isn't there anymore.

  5. A documentary about a mayoral election. In Newark, NJ. I mean, I'm sure it was a fascinating election, but there is a certain discontinuity, here.

  6. A documentary about a children's show I have never seen and know nothing about except that it has something to do with muppets and a large yellow bird.
But I will give Netflix credit for identifying at least one of my interests. I would call that interest "the gay." It's just that the accompanying message appears to be, "Enough with the gay, already. How about politics? Or, hell, how about the politics of children's programming? ANYTHING. SERIOUSLY. GET A LIFE. A MUCH STRAIGHTER ONE."

So. Fascinated, I pushed on to the individual genres section.

See, the way this works is, you tell them what genres you prefer to watch (in our family, this is documentaries for me, TV and anime for Best Beloved, and classics and SF/fantasy for both of us), and they give more weight to items in those genres. Which, fine. I wasn't particularly delighted with their selections in those areas, except for an animated series called The Amazing Screw-On Head, which I added to our queue on the grounds that a) that is a truly awesome title and b) Best Beloved will be watching it, not me, so awesomeness of title is more than enough reason to get it.

And then I got to their suggested genres. These are, apparently, the ones they think we might like that we haven't rated yet. What genre does Netflix think we should watch? What specific genre does it feel is lacking from our current rental line-up? Faith and Spirituality. ("Rate more Faith and Spirituality movies, so we can give you more recommendations," it advised. We can't. We haven't seen any of them. This is unlikely to change, Netflix.)

So now the message is: you love the gay, but we think you need to develop more wholesome interests, like politics, large yellow birds, and religion. In other words: NETFLIX IS JUDGING ME.

I seethed via email to Best Beloved for a bit.

So, once you've worked up a certain amount of righteous indignation, it's obviously time to continue in that vein, yes? Which meant heading over to see what Amazon wants me to buy.

What does Amazon want me to buy? I'm glad you asked.
  1. Every single yaoi manga ever published in the United States. Here's just a partial sampling: Love Mode, Yellow, Gravitation, Fake, Our Everlasting, La Esperanca, Shinobo Kokoro (seriously awesome slogan: "protecting the clan with some man-on-man" - that totally goes on my There Oughtta Be a Challenge manga tag lines list, which gets longer with every passing day), Gerard & Jacques (down, bandslashers!), The Art of Loving (not, as it sounds, one of those unfortunate '50s-era marital advice books), Wild Rock (the blurb says, in part: "can these star-crossed lovers get behind each other to stop the long-standing family feud?" - um, yes, we already GOT that it was yaoi, no need to include the gratuitous buttsex joke), Sweet Revolution (in which the seme possesses a "magical dagger" - that's yaoi for "healing cock," right?), Man's Best Friend (which does indeed involve gay sex with a magical transforming dog; this is why yaoi fandoms don't need crackfic, people), Lovely Sick - seriously, you would not believe the list of yaoi in my recommendations. Pages and pages. Some I'd never even heard of until today.

    And why am I supposed to consume this Time-Life Complete Yaoi Collection (attractively priced at only a bazillion dollars)? Because I bought a volume of Antique Bakery. Seriously. That's their whole reasoning behind this. This seems - I don't know. Disproportionate. I mean, okay, I love the gay as much as the next girl, but, but, but - one volume of Antique Bakery does not an entire library of yaoi manga make.

    And, really, if you're going to rec me yaoi manga, please don't just wholesale recommend the entire genre. Pick some especially solid ones and start there. Because, like - take Lovely Sick. Could be great, but it was apparently designed to hit every power imbalance squick I've ever had. Amazon, if you're going to rec me porn, at least pay attention to my particular porny needs!

  2. NINE separate cleaning books. Eight of them are on organic cleaning around the home, including one called Clean House, Clean Planet. I know these are probably great books. The yaoi's probably good, too, at least some of it. But I still feel judged. Are you calling my house dirty, Amazon?

    Why, yes. I think you are. Feelings = hurt.

    They also want me to purchase a book called Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun, and Frugal Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of. See, now, I'm willing to believe there are many uses for baking soda that have never crossed my mind. Actually, I'm kind of proud of how little time I've invested, over the course of my life, in the development of novel baking soda applications. However, the title of this book, in such close company with all the gay manga, is taking me to some strange mental places, and now I must never think about baking soda again ever. Seriously. It's - I - just - no. (And the sad part is, if I'm thinking of it, some mangaka has probably already written it. Hide me!)

  3. Science fiction and fantasy. This is entirely appropriate, and yet, taken in conjunction with everything else, is making me feel, um. A little pigeon-holed, typed, categorized, you know?

  4. The complete works of Henry Jenkins and the whole fandom studies crowd. Aaaand the pigeon-holing is complete. Look, I am sure Henry Jenkins is a marvelous and fascinating writer. I've certainly liked what I've read by him. And I'm equally sure he's a wonderful person; I'll bet he donates money to homeless war orphan puppies with tragic ailments and so on. However, every single book he has ever written - plus all other books with "media" or "fan" in the title - seems excessive. It's like you're saying I have no life, Amazon!

  5. Five books along the lines of Unforgettable Journeys to Take Before You Die.

    Yeah.

    Taken in conjunction with the previous items, I cannot help but interpret this as Amazon's gentle way of saying, "GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, YOU PORN-LOVING GEEKY FANNISH SLOBBO. For the love of little apples, at least do something besides sit at that computer. You're wasting your life! What's left of it! Because you're probably going to die pretty soon, since your house is a total pigsty. Heavens to Betsy, what will the neighbors think?"
In short, Amazon has decided that the role it should play in my life is "demented, over-involved, hypercritical mother with an unhealthy and profoundly traumatizing interest in me reading porn."

Thank you, Amazon. I appreciate the thought, I really do. But NO. No, we do not have that relationship.

So, Netflix thinks I'm a gay moral degenerate (true!) who needs to take up an interest in politics and religion and the Amazing Screw-On Head. Amazon thinks I'm a fannish moral degenerate (also true!) who needs to for Christ's sake clean something and go somewhere already. I'm fine with them thinking I'm a porn-obsessed lesbian whore of Babylon - complimented by it, in fact. But the judgment, that is going too far.

It could just be the hormones. It really could. But my feelings are very, very hurt.

Which got me to thinking - yes, yes, there's a point to this entry! - am I the only one who reacts this way?

Poll time!

Is this a normal problem?

Yes. It happens to us all - one drunken night of TiVoing, and you spend the next ten years trying to convince TiVo you aren't really into naked John Travolta.
143(60.9%)
Well. I wouldn't say normal, exactly, but it certainly does happen.
43(18.3%)
It does happen, yes, but only to CRAZY PEOPLE. (Who have bad taste in movies and books and TV.)
3(1.3%)
TFV, I view this whole poll as a cry for help.
13(5.5%)
TFV, I am defriending you right now - Amazon and Netflix have convinced me that you are a bad person.
2(0.9%)
You'll feel much better when the hormones have calmed down. In the meantime, read a nice book. (Not one Amazon has suggested, either.)
31(13.2%)

I have felt judged by:

Netflix, those bastard disc-pushers.
5(2.4%)
Amazon and its so-called "recommendations," which are nothing more than thinly veiled insults.
81(39.3%)
TiVo's lies, lies, lies about what I really want from television.
13(6.3%)
Something other inanimate suggestion service I'll tell you about below.
15(7.3%)

What other services are secretly judging you?

In hopes of persuading recommendations services that I am a decent, intelligent person deserving of quality recommendations, I have:

Added items to my cart/queue/whatever that I really do not want to see or read.
1(0.5%)
Rated items that I have not, technically, seen or read.
31(14.3%)
Pretended to be interested in the items suggested, in hopes of making the service like me again.
0(0.0%)
Pretended to be interested in the items suggested, just to get them off my recommendations list so I can see what replaces them.
12(5.5%)
Purchased or rented items for friends with taste, and pretended they were for me.
1(0.5%)
Created an entirely new account.
4(1.8%)
Actually attempted to become the person my inanimate recommendations services believe I should be.
2(0.9%)
I am such a tasteful person that I never have this problem.
7(3.2%)
I am sane and thus don't care what recommendations services think of me.
77(35.5%)
Tags: [poll]
 
 
 
Wyoming Knott: WTF (whiskey tango foxtrot) by karitawyomingnot on May 16th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
Okay... I've not read all the way through yet because I have to boggle...

YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN SESAME STREET?!?

WTF? Isn't it some kind of law?
tried to eat the safe banana: Cute but poutythefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
My parents tell the story thusly:

My first TV exposure was, in fact, Sesame Street. They tried, when I was of Sesame Street age, to get me to watch it. They plopped me down in front of the TV and waited for whatever that show is about to work its magic. I did not seem to notice the TV was on. After a few minutes, I was observed stealthily crawling from the room to pursue my own activities.

This was repeated three times. The third time, I hid in a closet so I could not be dragged back to the TV.

They did not try again.

I pretty much believe all subsequent problems arose from this. THEY SHOULD HAVE TRIED HARDER TO MAKE ME NORMAL, DAMN IT. Because, yes, there IS a Sesame Street law - at least going by the fact that every other American person has seen it - and my parents FLOUTED it.
(no subject) - wyomingnot on May 16th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - holli on May 16th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - out_there on May 16th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - feochadn on May 16th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jmtorres on May 16th, 2007 06:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
Feonixriftfeonixrift on May 16th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
I've heard of some really mean TiVo pranks based around that concept.
tried to eat the safe banana: I've been badthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 04:40 am (UTC)
I long to hear more details.

*fascinated*
(no subject) - feonixrift on May 16th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
minnowminnow1212 on May 16th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
Oh, Amazon recommendations.

I have had moments where I feel vaguely guilty because they recommend something I recently bought--but not from them. I'm all, "Yes, amazon, that was great, spot-on recommending! Except I already read it. ...well, no, you wouldn't know about it. I don't keep you in the loop on every book-related decision, amazon! I have other sources! Oh, don't give me the puppy eyes."
Cristin Anneladysorka on May 16th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC)
I do that one all the time. And I feel vague guilt, and don't actually tell Amazon that I already own it. Because it might hurt its non-existant feelings, or something.
(no subject) - minnow1212 on May 18th, 2007 12:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Bettybrown_betty on May 16th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
aaahaa yes. And I'm too lazy to figure out how to turn off those email notifications so they keep on emailing me to tell me they have a new crochet book out that they're sure I'll find fascinating.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pedanther on May 17th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 17th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lynnmonsterlynnmonster on May 16th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
This may or may not help, but I'm pretty sure the manga thing is because most of the people who buy one yaoi manga buy a heck of a lot of the other ones, too! (When I was doing order fulfillment, every time a new one came out, the same set of people bought it right away, often through amazon.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Sea vinesthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:08 am (UTC)
But then how do I find the good manga? Because while that makes sense, it means the system is not, you know, especially helpful in telling the good stuff from the stuff that will make me want to remove whole chunks of my brain in a desperate attempt to forget.

Oh, right. I harass you for recommendations.

*harasses*
(no subject) - lynnmonster on May 16th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 08:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - delurker on May 16th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
idiasm: peculiarity: omyldidiasm on May 16th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
I've bought all my schoolbooks through amazon for several years, and really, I don't need any more books about Latin, thanks. But alas, amazon does not agree with me on that. Also sometimes I read... chick lit... but only by this one author, okay, and I don't want any other authors.

But I did discover that you can go into settings somewhere and tell amazon what to use when recommending you things, which has helped somewhat. Only a little bit, but a couple persistent things have disappeared off my list now.
tried to eat the safe banana: Black umbrellathefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:12 am (UTC)
*nods*

This makes sense. I never purchased textbooks through Amazon - or, okay, I have, but only for continuing interests that one of us would sincerely like recommendations for. But if I had, I can see myself going, "That was ONE CLASS, and I was really glad when it was over, so could we not do this anymore?"

Only a little bit, but a couple persistent things have disappeared off my list now.

I don't get the persistence. There are some items that seem to have incredible sway over the recs - hello, Antique Bakery! - and some items that, no matter how many I buy, never seem to have much influence.

I want TOTAL TRANSPARENCE in my recs systems, obviously.

*schemes*
(no subject) - idiasm on May 17th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 17th, 2007 08:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
margarksmargarks on May 16th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
hahaha! this was the funniest rant I've ever read! But, yeah, I never look at Amazon's suggestions anymore because they go a little insane with keywords.

tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:14 am (UTC)
Thank you!

And, you know, despite my obsessive love of recs systems, it's been a while since I checked out Amazon's recommendations, too, because, you know, crazy and useless. Which is why I was stunned by the Cavalcade of Yaoi. Apparently that one Antique Bakery volume changed Amazon's whole view of me.
Tafadhali: [SPN] Johnhandstafadhali on May 16th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
I'm just drifting by via friends friends, but I occasionally work for a recommendations/personalization software company and ALL WE DO is make fun of Netflix and Amazon's recommendation systems. (Okay, we also work on improving other companies' recommendations, but Netflix only wants help if the help comes from people willing to publish their software on the internet and to be paid in, like, hugs, so Netflix is basically sending us an engraved invitation to make fun of it.)

I suppose you could say my Amazon recommendations are pretty good, in that I own a quarter of the things they recommend. But it took me three years to get them to start recommending me actual literature, and then I ruined it by buying a Batman comic.
tried to eat the safe banana: Batgirl in glassesthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
That company you work for? Oh my god, that is the coolest company in the whole world. I am sick with envy.

Netflix only wants help if the help comes from people willing to publish their software on the internet and to be paid in, like, hugs

This explains a great deal about their recommendations. I feel much, much better now.

Do they not understand the importance of a really quality recs system? *shakes fist*

But it took me three years to get them to start recommending me actual literature, and then I ruined it by buying a Batman comic.

See, yes! Exactly! I finally had them trained to give me recs for, you know, books I wanted to read. And then that one volume of Antique Bakery just changed everything. Surely these items should not have that much weight. *grumps*
Susan the Neon Nurseneonnurse on May 16th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Maybe the Sesame Street rec was added because of the well-known pop culture fact that two of the most popular, long-term characters, Bert and Ernie, are considered by those in the know to be a couple. I mean, sure, try to pull the wool over our eyes with that story they're just best friends. Might work with the kiddies, but SOME of us know what's up!
tried to eat the safe banana: Happypigthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
Maybe the Sesame Street rec was added because of the well-known pop culture fact that two of the most popular, long-term characters, Bert and Ernie, are considered by those in the know to be a couple.

Really? Wow. If only I'd watched, I could've been slashing in my toddler years, instead of having to wait until I was, you know, 10. Damn my parents. Why did they not strap me down and force me to watch Sesame Street? Clearly, they abdicated their parental responsibilities. *shakes fist*

I mean, sure, try to pull the wool over our eyes with that story they're just best friends. Might work with the kiddies, but SOME of us know what's up!

*nods thoughtfully*

People have tried that particular story many times. LIES. ALL LIES. WE KNOW THE TRUTH.

...Now I'm wondering if there's Bert/Ernie fan fiction, but, um. I'd probably need to know more about the characters to read it.
(no subject) - neonnurse on May 16th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on May 24th, 2007 04:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neonnurse on June 20th, 2007 08:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
KRIM: brain on drugsbitter_crimson on May 16th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
I'm surprised you left off the thing I totally do all the time for the last question... That is, go through EVERY. SINGLE. RECOMMENDATION. Amazon has for me and madly click "I AM NOT INTERESTED!" on about 70% of them. Then I get mad when my recommendation list isn't long enough and go gallivanting around trying to find random things I own so I can rate them, get MORE recommendations, and start the process all over again. =D
Mal: daniel question mark (by jr_moon)malnpudl on May 16th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
You mean... that's not normal? *blinks*
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bitter_crimson on May 16th, 2007 12:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
inappropriately bibliophilic: hikaru!raucousraven on May 16th, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
*insert flying bison here*
In terms of the manga, well... Yeah, silly amazon certainly seems like it's all about the typecasting. I plot my vengeance along the lines of a) looking up my theory texts and import music and lots of Hikago, and b) reading my manga in the big-box stores while mentally thumbing my nose at the system. I do support the manga I love, though. (Ooh, and just fyi -- Saiyuki has wonderful characters and ridiculously pretty art. And I just read a random volume each of, respectively, Mushishi (elementals spirits! who invade bodies/forests/etc. and need to be chased out by a, a, dunno, weirdly laid-back demon-wrangler or something, it's all so gloriously strange!) and Kurogane (boy made of METAL. already hitting all my FMA kinks) and lo, they were excellent.

That jacket scene in the Proulx short story choked me up so bad. So bad. *sniffle*

Lastly, this: I CRIED FIVE TIMES OVER AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER.

THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU SO. NEVER CHANGE.

tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:34 am (UTC)
You know what I like best about Appa? His sense of humor.
Feel free to pimp manga and anime extensively! As long as you accept in your heart that I will never, ever watch FMA, at least until I am no longer prone to hormonal weepiness.

That jacket scene in the Proulx short story choked me up so bad.

*whimpers*

I read it some years before the movie came out - when the book came out, basically - and when I heard they were making a movie, my reaction was, "OMG they are putting that ON FILM? Noooooo! My tear ducts can only take so much!"

THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU SO. NEVER CHANGE.

Thank you! See, you love me for who I am - a hormonal, deranged Appa-adorer. This is what I want from Amazon and Netflix, and instead what do I get? Judgment. Attempts to change me. UNKINDNESS.

From now on, you should rec me things instead of them.
Re: *insert flying bison here* - lynnmonster on May 16th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *insert flying bison here* - raucousraven on May 17th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Annieraisintorte on May 16th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
My husband I lived two hours apart at one point, and I would visit him every weekend. Before I left I would always add a few random shows to his Tivo, (this is before he started compulsively checking his to do list). Mostly religious shows (mostly stuff with nuns), cooking shows (the Naked Chef), Walker, Texas Ranger (sadly, we usually ended up watching those), and a few home improvement shows because he hates those.

It still screws with our Tivo suggestions :-)

I think Amazon is still trying to figure out why I bought Hong Kong 97 (Robert Patrick is naked and shooting a gun, and I wanted to terrorize smittywing).
tried to eat the safe banana: Batgirl in glassesthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:36 am (UTC)
Before I left I would always add a few random shows to his Tivo, (this is before he started compulsively checking his to do list). Mostly religious shows (mostly stuff with nuns), cooking shows (the Naked Chef), Walker, Texas Ranger (sadly, we usually ended up watching those), and a few home improvement shows because he hates those.

This is the most awesome use of TiVo ever in the whole history of the universe. <3!

Robert Patrick is naked and shooting a gun, and I wanted to terrorize smittywing

I believe you mean "tantalize smittywing." She seems to be, shall we say, a very willing victim. Complicit, even. *eyes you both VERY STERNLY*
(no subject) - raisintorte on May 16th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
laurajacquez on May 16th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
Rated items that I have not, technically, seen or read.

Mostly, this is me rating books by particular authors that I hate very low when Amazon recommends them to me. (For example, Amazon decided -- quite reasonably -- that I wanted to read Terry Pratchett. Except I hate Pratchett with a burning fire of hate. Telling it "not interested" was not getting me anywhere, so I started rating the books really low. Shortly thereafter, it stopped recommending me Pratchett.)

I also go in & tell Amazon not to use certain things for recommendations, because HELLO, I buy GIFTS for people from Amazon, and while my father-in-law is going to love his birthday present of a Really Pretty Golf Courses coffeetable book, NO I DO NOT WANT STUFF ABOUT GOLF OMGSTFU.
tried to eat the safe banana: Black umbrellathefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
*nods*

The rating authors I hate thing makes a good deal of sense; during my long and happy experiment with alexlit.com, which had the best fiction suggestion system ever (but I think is now sadly defunct), my only major frustration was that I'd give a low rating to, say, three of an author's books, and sometimes it would suggest a fourth by that person. And I'd be all, I didn't like the first three, and now you want me to read a fourth? But that was how alexlit worked: you really, really were not supposed to rate anything you hadn't actually read. It was a conundrum.

With Amazon, I don't feel bad about rating books I haven't read if I know for sure I'll hate them, because I'm not actually screwing up a decent recommendations system. An advantage to, well, a pretty sucky recommending tool!

HELLO, I buy GIFTS for people from Amazon

Oh, god, yes. And for me, sometimes one gift - which I would not have purchased for myself! - ends up spawning a lot more recommendations than any ten things I did buy for myself. If I didn't click the "gift, don't consider for recommendations" button with consistency - well, I'm guessing my recommendations would look even weirder than they do.
Zigismunda formosa: archeologymelannen on May 16th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
The only place with enough data on me to give me recs is LibraryThing. Unfortunately, it has *too much* data on me, and has started basically just saying, "Yo! Finish the series you already have 75% of before you go starting on completely new stuff!"

Which is probably fairly sane advice, but not helpful in showing me new things I didn't know I wanted.
Zigismunda formosa: archeologymelannen on May 16th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
...although looking deeper, apparently with the corollary: Get knocked up, stat! And find spiritual enlightenment!

...which worries me. Especially when the pregnancy books are sandwiched in among Conan the Barbarian and Star Trek books.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 10:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on May 16th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Her Head Exploded! How Cool Is That?: bluesithzee on May 16th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
This rant has 1) made my evening and 2) caused a wheezing fit. And now I have to go find out how Amazon and Netflix are currently judging me.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 10:55 am (UTC)
And the verdict is? I am all agog to hear if other people are as harshly judged by Amazon and Netflix as I am!
The Alpha Betadiluvian on May 16th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Man, I buy *one* book for my boss, back in the dark ages when I was considered techno-savvy for even *using* Amazon, and I'm strafed with accountancy and tax books FOR THE REST OF TIME.

I feel like writing Amazon: "Dear Robits, my boss reimbursed me including shipping, so it doesn't count. Please keep your sicko-wrongo number-juggler books away from my nice gay porn."
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
You can tell Amazon it was a gift and get it out of your recommendations set forever, you know. Better that than Chicken Soup for the Tax Attorney's Soul or whatever. *shivers* (Although, hey, if you could combine accountancy and gay porn - am I the only one who thinks that would be hot? Okay, yes. Clearly I am.)
(no subject) - puddingcat on May 16th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sally_maria on May 16th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - diluvian on May 16th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
not Dean Winchester, CPA - eileenlufkin on May 21st, 2007 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - puddingcat on May 16th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
LunarDreamedlunardreamed on May 16th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
I mostly ignore the recommendation unless something catches my eye before I switch webpages. It's mostly using the patterns of the people who bought before you, so maybe you should rant about the idiocy of your fellow consumers. I love what you do with these things and can't wait to see that rant. :D Honestly, I think that these services assume that people are much more single-minded than anyone I know. Eh. You'll laugh about their ridiculousness later.
tried to eat the safe banana: Cute but poutythefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
maybe you should rant about the idiocy of your fellow consumers.

That rant would never end; just the junk mail I get alone proves that. (Although, actually, I've never heard of anyone taking out a home equity loan solely because she got a piece of third-class mail addressed to "Dear Homeowner," so possibly that is, again, not about consumer idiocy.)

Honestly, I think that these services assume that people are much more single-minded than anyone I know.

This is one of the big problems, yeah - there's no, you know, hollistic or canonical (in the statistical sense) analysis, so you get weird clusters of recommendations built around single items you've purchased or whatever. There has to be a better way. (And, actually, I've found sites with better ways. Just, Netflix and Amazon don't seem to have heard of them.)
Anoel: house love by born_butterflyanoel on May 16th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
My recommendations usually come down to: YES I'm planning to watch that, no need to recommend or no I've heard of it but have no interest. But mostly I remember that the service usually zeroes in on one thing you liked and then goes from there and to not take it seriously.

Note on House: people barely ever die on it. It maybe happened 3 times. I've only cried a few times on it because of big happenings to the main characters. I would only not watch it if you can't stand House and/or procedurals.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
YES I'm planning to watch that, no need to recommend or no I've heard of it but have no interest.

See, yes, that's the problem. I want a service that recommends to me awesome things I've never heard of. (AlexLit was such a service, but it is gone now, sadly.) And I definitely don't want any more of these "GET A LIFE" recs from Netflix and Amazon.

Note on House: people barely ever die on it. It maybe happened 3 times.

At another time in my life, House probably would've been more of a fandom for me, but I have oncology issues (My father died of brain cancer a year and a half ago, and I still - um. Let's just say that we all got way more experience with oncologists and affiliated things than anyone should ever have to have.), and I know that for me, I'd end up missing the character interaction and either crying or ranting about the inaccuracies of it all. (Ranting about inaccuracies happens all the damn time with me, anyway; I spent an entire episode of Dead Zone shrieking, "THAT'S NOT HOW THE LEGAL SYSTEM WORKS, Y'ALL," and another one giggling hysterically because it was about a rave apparently organized by Disney without reference to, you know, actual drug effects. You can't show me anything, really.) Anyway, with House, I tend to stick to fan fiction by writers I trust. Which is sad, because House is totally my kind of character.
(Deleted comment)
Laura Stone: computer says no [ngicns]stoney321 on May 16th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
...I refuse to do the "friends sharing" dealy on Netflix because I do not want anyone to see how long I've had "Blown Away" and other bad Corey Feldman/Corey Haim movies in my possession, when I should have things like Italian films that make me yawn.

DAMN YOU, NETFLIX. (And just because I delight in cheese doesn't mean I want to rent any Tony Danza movies, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.)
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, I never even CONSIDERED doing the "friends sharing" thing, which is a sure recipe for humiliation. ("She's watching a documentary about...Tupperware. Um. Oh, and one about chickens. And she's had The History Boys for a full month. WTF?")

Although, actually, I have online friends with mostly awesome taste, and I'd probably get better recs that way. But I'd also end up being encouraged to watch the entire back catalogs of David Hewlett, Joe Flanigan, Richard Dean Anderson, Richard Burgi, Robert Patrick, and about a hundred other actors who have very dodgy things in their pasts. So, hmmm. Possibly not the best idea. But I would be deeply amused by those recs, at any rate, and not insulted. (Like when Amazon insists that, no, really, no matter what I personally believe, I want to own Serenity and Magnificent 7; I look at that and think, fondly, "Fangirls have been here.")

And just because I delight in cheese doesn't mean I want to rent any Tony Danza movies, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

I will have you know that this comment led to an hour of conversation and intensive googling, because I asked Best Beloved who Tony Danza was, and learned about Taxi and Who's Your Boss and lots of fascinating things. (Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman were on TV, on the same show! Who would have dreamed? The '70s were a strange, strange time.) Having had said conversation and studied Danza's filmography in IMDb, I think I can say with some surety that I, at any rate, do not want to see any Tony Danza movies. OMG. There is such a things as Too Much Cheese, and I believe Danza has found the motherlode of it.
(no subject) - stoney321 on May 16th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - entrenous88 on May 17th, 2007 07:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Jain: domestic dragonjain on May 16th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
Word on the manga thing. I've bought a high proportion of good manga (Antique Bakery, Saiyuki, Wild Adapter, Off*Beat, etc.), and one would hope that this would correspond to being given recommendations for other good manga titles. Um...not so much. About the only thing that can be said for the recommendations that Amazon gives me is that there's a good chance that it's yaoi. More discriminating standards would be a godsend, but I've given up hope that this will come to pass.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
I've bought a high proportion of good manga (Antique Bakery, Saiyuki, Wild Adapter, Off*Beat, etc.)

Ooo. And you like Hikaru no Go, too, don't you? (Which I love with a passion bordering on, um, the truly ridiculous.) Obviously you have good taste. Perhaps you should rec me some manga. *transparently hopeful look*

More discriminating standards would be a godsend, but I've given up hope that this will come to pass.

I think Lynn made a good call: there's a cluster of people who buy every yaoi manga that comes out, and Amazon can't distinguish between those completists and people with discriminating taste. I expect better of you, Amazon!
(no subject) - pedanther on May 17th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Traviskyuuketsukirui on May 16th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
LOL! I've actually found quite a few good things through recommendations, but 90% of the time I don't even look at them.
tried to eat the safe banana: Flying umbrellathefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
*nods*

Obviously, I haven't looked at my recommendations for quite a while. For good reason, apparently. I just - do these recs work for anyone? There should be a way to do this that doesn't result in me getting rec'd Lovely Sick!
Annie: Reading Rodney by Celliout_there on May 16th, 2007 05:17 am (UTC)
Mind you, for "I am such a tasteful person that I never have this problem." I actually meant "I am such a complete cheapskate that I never used these services and thus have not suffered this problem."

Which is almost the same thing.

As for avoiding Brokeback Mountain, fair enough. The short story nearly made me cry and the movie did. It's not an uplifting happy-go-lucky tale, and no amount of cute boys cuddling near an open fire is going to make up for the teariness -- if you're not in the mood to be teary.

Meanwhile, House MD might deserve a look. It's really not a weepy, oh-so-sad-people-are-dying kind of show. (okay, it is if you're Cameron. But she gets mightily mocked for her sympathy, so it doesn't really count.) It's more of a grrr-this-is-annoying, people-should-get-better-and-stop-being-idiots-because-I-say-so type of show. No, really, it is. It's snarky and fun, and if you watch too much you can get sick of the formulaic, detective stuff (otherwise known as the "it's only twenty minutes into the episode, so clearly that's not the cure" syndrome, which isn't as prevalent in later seasons, I must admit).

It's dialogue heavy and snarky and Hugh Laurie. And mocking of stupid people. And the rather (very) gay vibe between House and Wilson.

I'm not sure if it'll appeal to you or not (given that you're not as much of a TV-Head as I am; and, man, I'm loving the hyphens today. I feel like I should apologise or something), but I'd suggest giving it shot.

And Netflix and Amazon are both flawed. And their judgements are completely invalid. And recommendations based on what other people liked are bound to be a bit faulty. And they have stupid hair.
cadencecascadecadencecascade on May 16th, 2007 11:21 am (UTC)
"And they have stupid hair"

And their skin is patchy orange from way too much badly applied fake tanner was used. And they need braces and they wear mom jeans. acid wash mom jeans.

*nods* *g*
(no subject) - thefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - out_there on May 16th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I feel so much better, knowing that I'm not the only one whining, "Whyyyyyy do you think I would want thaaaaaat?" This is what the internets are for, teaching us that we are not alone in our fierce resentment of the technically inanimate! *pleased*
Seperisseperis on May 16th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
A gay-themed cowboy movie that I already specifically told Netflix I did not want to see. (You may indeed call me a bad fan AND a bad person of alternative sexual orientation AND a cultural boor, if you like. I don't care. I've read the short story, and that, frankly, was enough. See also: hormonal weepiness. When just the thought of the shirt scene makes me sniffly, I know to avoid the movie.)

With you. I GOT WEEPY DURING THE TRAILER. I got weepy watching people discuss it.

I am confident in my stance of avoiding things that lead to very swollen eyes and my son tugging and asking worriedly if someone died.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
I am confident in my stance of avoiding things that lead to very swollen eyes and my son tugging and asking worriedly if someone died.

YES. Precisely. When there is an entertainment item that is likely to make me weep helplessly on the couch to the point that one of our dogs decides the couch causes crying and tries to keep me away from it for weeks to come - and, seriously, that happened; she was just like, well, if she never sits on the couch, we won't have ALL THAT CRYING with associated total loss of ability to breathe - then that is an item that should not be entertaining me, thanks.

*comfortable in her place of emotional shallowness*
Spectacles H. Decolonizing: homelolaraincoat on May 16th, 2007 05:28 am (UTC)
I am not sane and I have a note from my doctor to prove it. And yet, I don't care what Amazon thinks of me. Is that so wrong?

You might like C.R.A.Z.Y. though. It's sort of magical-realist and sort of heartwarming family drama and it's awfully damn Catholic, but it's brilliant and nothing too awful happens to Our Hero. I mean, I didn't cry, and I cry at everything. Plus, it's Canadian!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on May 16th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
And yet, I don't care what Amazon thinks of me. Is that so wrong?

No, it's totally right! You might wish to point this out to your doctor. "You are entirely wrong; I am in fact sane, and the proof is that I don't care what Amazon thinks of me. Okay, technically that's just proof that I hang out with people crazier than I am, but - um, why are you suddenly writing a real lot of notes?"

Plus, it's Canadian!

Always a bonus, and your recommendation means a lot more to me than Netflix's does. *adds to queue*