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Snapshots (Jewelry searches, candy stores, automatic flushing, autocorrect)

Curtailed commentary on current conditions: Drifting into contemplation on online jewelry storefronts, candy stores, automatic flushing, and autocorrect

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Print Edition: March 13, 2013

Dessa Bayrock

Vintage engagement rings and Zen

I was browsing Etsy and looking at postcards made by low-budget abstract artists in California, mostly just killing time, when I reached the end of the page, glanced over the other suggested Etsy searches, and there it was.

“Would you like to look at vintage engagement rings?”

Well now, Etsy, that’s a little bit of a trick question. I’m not looking to get engaged any time soon, but you’ve obviously figured out the chink in my tomboy armour. I love jewellery, even if I can’t actually remember the last time I wore any.

So I clicked the link, considering it a daydream vacation. Maybe one day I’ll be glamorous and learn how to wear jewellery, I argued to myself, in which case it’ll be useful to know that I hate princess-cut diamonds.

But it also connected me to the human whole in a way I didn’t expect. One little tag: layaway.

In an instant, I could pick out which rings other people had decided to buy, putting together monthly payments and trying to be patient. These were the rings that, with one little question, were destined to cement a lifelong relationship. I started imagining these couples. I was happy for them, and I was excited for them, and in the case of one particularly gorgeous ring I leaned a little toward violent jealousy.

That little word was enough to open a crack, and through it I caught a glimpse of another person’s life. Overall, it was an interesting—and unexpected—moment of Zen. We’re all connected, even if it’s just through a gallery of pretty rocks and metal.

DESSA BAYROCK

Nick Ubels

Pay-by-weight is a deal with the devil

I recently found myself scouring the well-stocked shelves of The Candy Aisle, a Vancouver candy shop specializing in nostalgic and international treats not otherwise available around these parts.

I apologize for any wall-punching jealousy I may have just caused, but I digress.

They also have this giant wall of bulk candy of the worst sort. We’re talking bananas, jawbreakers, sour cherries, jujubes, coke bottles, you name it. All along this diabetes-baiting wall are these innocuous little bags and tongs accompanied by a sign advertising price per 100 grams.

If you stop at 100 grams, two dollars isn’t all that much. But nobody stops there. Nobody.

Your mind tricks you into thinking the weight of the bag is much lower than it actually is. As you pass each new plastic bucket filled with sugary goodness, you think adding just one other variety couldn’t hurt. After all, you’d be kicking yourself later for neglecting to pick up a couple of gummy worms.

Finally, after several hours, you make your way to the till. It’s judgement day. Your sweet sins are weighed on the unsympathetic scale and you must pay the cost, both with your maxed out credit card and ever-expanding waist-line.

Fifteen dollars. You do the math.

NICK UBELS

Katie Stobbart

Automatic Flushing Toilets

Public bathrooms invariably drive me nuts.

Here’s why: you go in, you put your bag on the floor because you’ve chosen a stall that doesn’t have a hook, and you unbutton. You pull down your pants and sit.

The toilet flushes. It sprays water everywhere. It’s uncomfortable.

Then, after you have finished your business, so to speak, you stand up and…nothing happens. No flush. You pull up your pants and step toward the toilet, then back again, to trigger the motion sensor. Nothing.

With a long, suffering sigh, you bend down to press the tiny button above the motion sensor, and manually flush the toilet. It flushes – finally.

You collect your bags and leave the stall, only to hear the toilet flush again, as if to say: “Yeah, I could do it the whole time, I was just screwing with you.”

Long story short: it takes at least three times as long to flush an automatic toilet.

Do we really need them? Are we so incapable of flushing in public that we need it to be done for us? Do we not flush the toilet at home?

Automatic flushing toilets are supposed to solve that problem of me walking into the stall and seeing a non-flusher’s waste. Yet I see just as much of this as I did with manual toilets. All automatic flushing really teaches us is that it’s even more acceptable not to know how to flush.

KATIE STOBBART

Amy Van Veen

Damn you, autocorrect users

Is it that difficult to just turn the autocorrect option off?

Maybe it’s because I don’t actually have an iPhone, but when I receive messages from friends and the messages are nearly incomprehensible, I wonder if it’s such a luxury to even have autocorrect. Because almost immediately after I get a text message, I tend to immediately receive a second text with an asterisk correcting the previous message.

So my quandary is thus, does autocorrect actually save time? Certainly it has birthed an entire website and humorous trend of, “Look how awkward that text was. Ha-ha. Damn you, autocorrect.”

But even then, is it possible for Apple to autocorrect so many words to sexual references? What are these people texting 90 per cent of the time that their phone thinks “Cheerios” should be “cheery whores” or “sew” to “sex” or “pudding” to “pussy.” iPhone, as far as I know, isn’t a dirty bird in and of itself … is it?

Autocorrect, to me, is like an MTV reality show. I don’t get why it exists when it causes more confusion than explanation. I also don’t get why it’s so popular when it would make the world a better place if we all just turned it off.

AMY VAN VEEN

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