Monday, August 31, 2009

the BCCing blues

Every once in a while, I'll admit it, I'll BCC someone on an e-mail. BCCing -- sort of like pretending you're listening when you're actually not, or making up believable excuses -- is the kind of thing that's a pretty useful skill to have, but that totally backfires if you get found out. Sure, BCCing has its noble purposes (like for, uh... party invitations when you don't want it known how many people you invited?) but generally it's kind of a shady practice. Like, if you're BCCing someone on an e-mail, there's probably a nefarious reason for it about 60% of the time. (FYI, the last math class I took was in high school...)

Anyway, a week ago or so I e-mailed my two roommates... and BCCed my brother. It just seemed like the easiest way for me to communicate the content of the e-mail to him without my roommates knowing I was doing so. Sure, I could have forwarded him the sent message (ugh, e-mail terminology really bogs down a post, huh?) but that seemed like an excessive amount of effort at the time. I bet you can see where this tale is headin'...

My brother responded to the e-mail "reply all" (!!) with some innocuous/short response, not having noticed that pivotal "B" and thereby revealing my deception. Of course, the back of my neck began sweating immediately when I saw his e-mail, my entire being stunted with indecision over how to react: should I respond to the e-mail as if my brother had been CCed hoping my roommates wouldn't notice, or write something back just acknowledging the awkwardness (generally a dicey proposition) or write nothing back at all? I literally couldn't think about anything else for 180 straight seconds and then suddenly my hands took over and typed and sent ("reply all"): "Hah, you were BCCed, weirdo!" And as if that wasn't a bizarre/uncomfortable enough response, I immediately followed with a second "reply all" e-mail: "Now the secret is out."

I know, I know... I really am a pro at freaking out to the point of utter dysfunction and making a situation that really isn't that big of a deal into a completely awkward mess. And that's a skill you really hope never gets found out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


This marks my 300th post, ladies & gents, which makes me feel older than, like, college bros, but still younger than, like, Matthew Perry... so pretty much how I always feel. If you haven't been able to figure it out by now, I'm into lists, so please indulge me as I share a dense list and then some facts with y'all. Because if there's anything I like more than a dense list, it's a dense list followed by "fun" facts!

Top Five Most-Read TxtMsgBtl Posts:

1) "things people say that do not need to be said" (706 page views, Feb. 2008) Not going to lie, this surprised me. I really have no clue why this particular post sits in the top perch, though it does feature one of my favorite comments ever (see the fifth comment).

2) "articles of clothing that people wear but that just never look right" (621 page views, Feb. 2008) Another list! And an especially snarky/judge-y one at that! (And, intriguingly, also from Feb. 2008...) Some of my wannabe-Blake Lively girl friends still give me smack for the first point on this list.

3) "channel your inner megan fox!" (464 page views, Jun. 2009) Happy to report that "Friendly Flora" and I have not spoken since the "book" incident.

4) "how to leave the perfect voicemail" (374 page views, Nov. 2007) This one was from early on in the BlogGame ("Let's have some fun / this... blog looks like it was made by a 5th grader"). This is one of my no-longer-in-production faux-instructional posts.

5) "weird things that are commonplace in vegas" (352 page views, Mar. 2008) I guess it's fitting that four of these five top posts are lists?

Now for the promised "fun" facts!

1:47 The amount of time the average person spends on the blog. I guess this is about half the length of a typical pop song (i.e. the units I use for life)? ... Statistics are weird.

The top five countries in terms of hits are: U.S., U.K., Germany, Canada and.... in a surprise fifth-place showing: SINGAPORE!

149 Number of people who have gotten to the blog by searching for "gross text messages"
106 Number of people who have gotten to the blog by searching for "is it weird to facebook stalk"
22 Number of people who have gotten to the blog by searching for "i hate pretzels"

17,869 "Absolute unique visitors" since txtmsgbtl's birth on 10/8/07

16.73% The percentage of people who have visited the blog using Safari as their browser. (And now that you know that, there is really nothing left to know.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

things i love about vacations in hotels

1. I love how housekeeping always does things slightly differently each time they clean your room. It’s like this fun little game when you get back from dinner: how did they arrange my shoes this time? Is the radio on or off? (And if on: POP MUSIC OR CLASSICAL?!?!?) Did they mysteriously stack all the pillows on one bed? Did they decide to have a laugh and place like 15 mini-shampoos on the mirror? (Despite the use of my typical sarcastic tone here, I’m actually deathly serious: I really enjoy this “little game.")

2. I love seeing the same people over and over again. There’s always this one time when you're at the pool or at breakfast or waiting at the front desk when you totally zone out of whatever is going on and focus intently on another group of people. You make furtive glances (blatantly stare) and sorta pay attention (plainly eavesdrop) until you know their basic deets. “So the boy's going to Emory, I'm pretty sure, and that father just retired,” I’ll report back to my mom. (“That one?” she’ll point.) “Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re going to that Chinese restaurant tonight that we were gonna go to.” (She’ll nod in approval.) But unlike when you observe strangers on a train or at a baseball game, chances are good you'll see these folks again – at the pool, seated next to you at dinner, in the parking lot. “Oh, wow," you'll say three days later, "Looks like Emory got sunburned.”

3. I love how it's totally acceptable to be totally helpless. In a hotel, the most trivial difficulties are rarely met with a frustrated growl and a shrug (i.e. how I deal with all things trivial and difficult) but are instead met with a “Why don’t you just call the front desk?" response. The lamp isn't turning on? Call the front desk. The shower water's too hot? Call the front desk. You can’t find the remote? Call the front desk. Whereas in Normal Life you would just give up on searching for the remote and chow on some Doritos, in Hotel Life all solutions are just a phone call away.

4. I love how your standards are dramatically lowered. When you're on vacay, there's all this time to kill "relaxing" during which you (I) need stimuli. Unlike in Normal Life, in which I decide I don't have time to waste away a day watching "Definitely, Maybe" or reading some mediocre novel, I'll watch/read pretty much anything on vacation. It’s like “OK, sure, let’s watch four straight episodes of America’s Best Dance Crew.” Or "OK, yeah, of course, let's start in on New Moon. WHY NOT?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

cape cod views

I'm on vacation with my family on Cape Cod for the week; below, the highlights of my vacay so far:

This is some new water fountain situation they installed in the center of our hotel. We were informed that someone apparently "spiked" the fountain with bubble bath Saturday night, to which I asked, "Do you think it was done... intentionally?" (perhaps not my finest moment).

"It's a spoof," my brother Sam explained.
"Of what?"
"... convention."

I spent a good four minutes by the beach Monday contemplating why this flashy gum called "Flame" (which my dad offered me and which I had never seen before) has a "5" emblazoned on it. (It remains a burning question.)

OK, you guys. get ready: this is the demonic rabbit LAMP that greeted us in the room I'm sharing with my brothers. I named it "Donnie Light-o."

Yep, this is what I was reading at the pool today. In case you can't make out the words here, this interview with the luminous Hayden Panettiere promises dish on her "favorite things: driving, pickles and 'bad good boys.'"

When I showed this picture to my 10-year-old cousin he gasped, "One person ate that all?" followed by "What is that gross thing?" (referencing the chili dog).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

9s on the meter

Even in a Life of Continual Awkwardness such as my own in which everything sorta blends together into one congealed awkward mess, I have become aware of two distinct scenarios that keep recurring, both of which come in at around 9 on the "Duboffian Awkward Meter" (scale: 1-11):

1) I keep finding myself in situations in which someone asks me and a friend (let's call her Rose) something to the effect of: "So, how often do you guys hang out?" or "So do you guys see each other a lot in the city?" It's this weird thing because it's this ostensibly innocuous question but - in the seconds after it is asked - I find that I'm (in a "life flashing before your eyes" kind of way) all of a sudden evaluating my WHOLE FRIENDSHIP with Rose, like I am thinking about that dinner we had in Soho and the time she flaked out on movie plans and the long e-mail exchange we had about "True Blood." And then it's awkward because you have to, all at once, try to a) read what Rose is thinking about the whole thing and b) determine who is going to respond, all while you are thinking analytically about the friendship! It's even more awkward (we're talking blatant stammering and eye contact aversion zone) when you don't WANT the person asking the question to know how tight you and Rose are. You do the little "flashes before your eyes" evaluation, share a coy knowing smile with Rose and then you just both kind of mutter something or look away. "Oh, yeah, every now and then...," Rose says, "Josh is just so busy, you know?"

2) E-mail chains: so fun, right? So fun. But lately I have found that like, about once a week, my e-mail chains get gum stuck to their soles (work with me here) as someone unintentionally responds in the chain just to me (intending to write to the whole group). I NEVER KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THIS.

Do I...:
a) forward the e-mail to the other people originally on it, CCing the sender (Tyler) and writing something like "Tyler, looks like you were dozing off at the mouse again?" (that classic question)
b) respond directly to Tyler with a trying-so-hard-to-be-casual "Oh hey, think you sent that just to me, um...?"
c) do nothing and wait for Tyler to either realize it or not realize it while I nervously click on the chain over and over again as I bite my nails?

Usually I am too stunted with indecision/anxiety to do anything other than option c.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

when :-/ just isn't enough...

I have tired of the traditional emoticons. There simply are not enough to convey the specific and subtle range of emotions I find myself yearning for on a daily gchatting/gmailing/texting basis. I've developed a few though that I am hoping will pull a Pattinson and advance from dwelling in Goblet of Fire-style semi-obscurity to HITTING IT BIG:

:-? = anxious/self-conscious

Ex.: Why hasn't she accepted my friend request yet :-? It's been five days!!

%-) = rolling eyes (Note: This is not the way I want this one to be represented. GOOGLE, QUIT TOOLIN' AROUND AND MAKE A PROPER "ROLLING EYES" EMOTICON!)

it's just that i have such booked days
i'm going to *try* to see her soon i guess
she emails me about seeing movies and stuff
i just literally haven't had a day free
Me: %-)

:-} = condescending smirk

Ex.: :-} I don't know which is worse: that you saw "The Ugly Truth" or that you tweeted that you saw it...

:-@ = STFU

Me: :-@

Thursday, August 6, 2009

shaky standing

I've realized that whenever I work up the courage to write a somewhat confrontational/bitchy/formal e-mail to a friend about something that's bothering me, and then he or she responds with something nice and understanding (if not exactly what I was looking for), I immediately feel the impulse to write something back that overcompensates in the other direction: jokey, cute, casual.

No one, I've noticed, is particularly good at standing his or her ground.