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March 13, 2014

12:49
P.M.

Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Total Responses: 39

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Monica Hesse

Monica Hesse

Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

Read the The Web Hostess Archive .

About the topic

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.
Q.

Monica Hesse :

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Apologies that our chat last week got cut off early -- the free wireless in the Columbus Airport betrayed me, and by the time if was working again, I had to get on a plane. If you had any brilliant points that I didn't get to see, please submit them again. We'll get started at 2 today.

Q.

Monica Hesse :

For today:

Read this story about a man who is using Yelp reviews to piece together a digital memoir about the dissolution of his relationship.

 

Do you find the exercise...maudlin? Creepy? Lovely? An invasion of privacy? A lovely testament?

 

We'll talk about that and anything else you want to today.

Q.

Plumber butt

I'm not a fan of this guy. I am very, very glad that faces aren't' included in the pics. Side issue- a lot of people on Reddit thought this was hilarious, but I imagine the response would have been harsh and swift if the pics were of women with "muffin-tops." Side-side issue- Am I the only one that finds it super weird to put a period inside the quotes when it's not a direct quotation, as in the sentence above?

A.
Monica Hesse :

I see a period outside the quotes in any circumstance and it makes me skin crawl, like a child has wandered out of the yard and needs to be corralled back in.

 

Now. Onto plumber butts. I agree it's in poor taste. That being said, the progression of this guy's increasingly anguished face as he encounters more and more exposed derriere's -- I have to admit that I laughed.

As for your point about the double-standards with women's muffin-tops -- is it the same thing? I don't know. One is showing photos of women whose flesh has spilled over her jeans. Not a "naughty" part of flesh, just skin. The only point of displaying these photos would be to mock the woman for her shape.

The plumber butt pictures, on the other hand -- is he mocking the fact that they're overweight, or just the fact that the naughty parts of their butts are spilling out?

– March 13, 2014 2:00 PM
Q.

Forgetting your chat

Why was your chat not linked on the homepage nor in the weekly chat page until just recently?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Because it doesn't get linked until I build it every week, and today I forgot to build it until a few hours ago. Because I failed.

– March 13, 2014 2:00 PM
Q.

Veronica Mars

Are you a fan? Are you going to see the movie?
A.
Monica Hesse :

I'm a come-lately fan -- Only saw a handful of episodes when the show was actually on, but I blew through the whole series a few months ago. Am going to see the movie. Even though I don't think it will be very good, actually. I can't off-hand think of any television shows that have transitioned well to the big screen. Although the problem might be that the only TV-to-Movie productions I can currently think of are "Sex and the City" and "Dukes of Hazard."

 

And I'm deeply torn as to how I feel about fans ordering up their own entertainment, a la the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign, for reasons I can't yet articulate.

 

– March 13, 2014 2:02 PM
Q.

worlds colliding

I'm not sure this is actually the right forum for this, but it's on the net, so here goes:

A.
Monica Hesse :

Hmm. You sent a link and I couldn't get it to work. Try again?

– March 13, 2014 2:02 PM
Q.

If you had any brilliant points that I didn't get to see, please submit them again.

I can't remember a thought I had 7 minutes ago, what makes you think I can remember a thought I had 7 days ago? Now what was I going to say?
A.
Monica Hesse :

It's true. Who are all of you people?

– March 13, 2014 2:05 PM
Q.

I see a period outside the quotes in any circumstance and it makes me skin crawl, like a child has wandered out of the yard and needs to be corralled back in.

And yet you had your book published in the UK, where this is standard usage.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I thought about boycotting the whole country, but I do like their chocolate.

– March 13, 2014 2:09 PM
Q.

worlds colliding II

Here goes again. If it doesn't work, it's a 30 foot cross stitch tapestry depicting the entire Star Wars saga! Probably you could google "the Courscant Tapestry".

A.
Monica Hesse :

Lovely!

– March 13, 2014 2:10 PM
Q.

Relationship through Yelp

I find it creepy. I understand that he is heartbroken and am not dismissing his feelings, but aren't these are the kind of entries best saved in a journal (perhaps to later be read at Mortified http://www.getmortified.com/ ?!?) rather than on Yelp? However, I do find this preferable to overemotional FB updates a la "That moment at Dean and Deluca when you realize your dream is being lived by someone else."

A.
Monica Hesse :

I find myself wondering if the fact that the brokenhearted man is an artist makes a difference. After all, poets and songwriters have been making livings off of failed relationships for centuries. We accept that as a respectable art.

 

But I agree that it's somewhat creepy to watch a stranger or casual acquaintance be overly demonstrative about a breakup online.

 

So I guess I'm trying to figure out which takes precedence: the author or the medium. On the one hand, this author is a writer. On the other hand, he's doing this on Yelp.

– March 13, 2014 2:13 PM
Q.

Bacon

One of the many topics that reappears in my life is bacon, I don't know why, that is.I have tried to no longer discuss bacon. Yet each time I do so, someone like you comes along and states "we'll talk about anything" right after I learn something interesting about bacon. I heard on the radio that bacon tastes great baked in an oven. Now, I am a vegetarian and I don;t actually eat bacon, which is one of the reasons I find it weird I am always drawn into conversations about bacon. I have to admit I didn't know people did not cook in an oven, and now they do. Are there any' bacon cooked in oven' experts out there who could enlighten us?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Is this what happens when I say we can talk about everything? Bacon happens?

 

I'm a vegetarian too, but I was at a brunch the other week where the hostess cooked the bacon in the oven, and all the meat eaters seemed to like it.

 

I find it disturbing that anyone would be drawn to discussing bacon to such an extent that they would have to actively try to limit their bacon discussion.

– March 13, 2014 2:15 PM
Q.

TV to Movies

I loved Firefly, but if you're not a Buffy or Sci-Fi fan it may not register. I thought The Adams Family movies were fun and in the spirit of the TV show.
A.
Monica Hesse :

The Addams Family movies -- I wonderif those worked in part because it was rebooting something that hadn't been on the air for 25 years at that point. It was a work of nostalgia as much as a work of art.

– March 13, 2014 2:16 PM
Q.

The plumber butts and the Yelper

- that would make a great band name, now that I think about it. Anyway- plumber butts: I am a lady who plays Magic and has done so at tournaments - albeit not with nearly this many people - and that series of photographs made me laugh very, very hard because it's true. It's oh so true, and the increased anguish made it even funnier. Yet I also found it sad because it confirms a stereotype of Magic players who are male: many are overweight, with poor sartorial awareness, and questionable hygiene choices. But (butt?), I like to think that if my rear end had ended up in that picture, I would have laughed, and immediately invested in a belt or pants that fit. - or, at least remembered to take a jacket with me next time to drape over the back of the chair.

A.
Monica Hesse :

Thank you for this insider explanation and reaction. Oddly, the series of photos mostly just made me wish that I played Magic, or some other elaboriate game for which I would have a reason to attend a big tournament. That looked like fun.

– March 13, 2014 2:20 PM
Q.

Yelper

Yeah - not what I'm looking for when I'm trying to determine the quality of that sushi place I keep driving by. Also, seems a little too high-schooly to me. Maybe best on a Livejournal?
A.
Monica Hesse :

I don't know if it would work on LiveJournal. I'd imagine the success of a project like this would have to be its unexpectedness -- the fact that you would be trying to find a good peanut butter milkshake, and before you knew it you were reading about a small tidbit of a relationship. I don't know. I think in that setting it could be kind of moving, and you could wonder where and when you would stumble on the next piece.

 

In short: I don't know if the project works at all. But if it does, I think it has to work in that context, on Yelp, rather than on a site like LiveJournal.

– March 13, 2014 2:22 PM
Q.

The Yelper

Now, the Yelper! I do not find it charming, and I am a hopeless romantic. It reads a little creepy, like this guy can't let go of the relationship. If I were his ex, and read those Yelp posts, I would feel squicky as all get-out, because - to me - that's the sort of thing you keep to yourself, or write in a diary that you give to that person while you're dating. I mean, yeah, I have my moments with all sorts of food establishments for current and former SOs, but no one aside from me and them needs to know about those moments. Whew. OK, I'm pausing for a breath now...
A.
Monica Hesse :

 I'd like to see a series of response posts from the ex: "Actually, Todd, I wasn't gazing lovingly into your eyes at that Thai restaurant. I was gazing lovingly at the exit door behind you."

– March 13, 2014 2:24 PM
Q.

jaded much?

I don't believe the Yelp relationship guy is real. I think he's writing this generation's version of an epistolary novel. I'm not sure if it's better or worse if I'm wrong. If I am wrong, no one's trying to fool us into believing something that isn't true AGAIN, but some dude got his heart broken. :(
A.
Monica Hesse :

Oh, it's worse if you're wrong. I mean, if you think it's cringe-worthy and juvenile now, fine -- but at least you give the guy a bit of a break because his heart is broken. If it's just a fake literary exercise, then he doesn't have the real emotions in his corner.

– March 13, 2014 2:26 PM
Q.

Yelper

Is he going backwards in time and writing these reviews? If so, I don't like it. Or, is he just going back to Yelp to get reviews that he wrote while in the relationship? If so, I guess it's okay. I'm thinking it's the former which is just weird. I don't want to read some love story when looking for a restaurant.
A.
Monica Hesse :

It was my impression that he was revisiting places that he'd visited in his relationship, and writing reviews based on the memories that the re-visits awoke in him. Sort of like Proust eating a Madeleine cookie and then getting lost for seven thousand pages.

– March 13, 2014 2:28 PM
Q.

My annual crusade

It is time to point out that there is no St. Patricia, and that next Monday is in fact St. PaDDy's Day, not St. Patty's. http://paddynotpatty.com/
A.
Monica Hesse :

Thank you.

– March 13, 2014 2:28 PM
Q.

Bacon in the oven

I always cook my bacon in the oven (unless it's the first step in a larger recipe), and it is the best way to go. I like to put it on a rack set over a cookie sheet and cook at 400 for 20-25 minutes (check it at the end). It tastes exactly the same as fried in a pan, but doesn't sit in the grease and makes the house stink a little less. The best part is you can do other things while the bacon is cooking. Being both lazy and a lover of bacon, it is the only way to cook it.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Okay, there are a surprising (not surprising) number of bacon responders, most of whom seem to parallel this person's becon experiences. I am posting this representative bacon experience, and we do not need to post any more. Agreed?

– March 13, 2014 2:29 PM
Q.

BACON!

Since we're talking about Bacon, I'm morally obliged to draw attention to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09q04Dlh7r8 I guess it's time for us middle-aged folk to finally give in and start talking about how we walked to school up hill both ways in the snow when we were kids....

A.
Monica Hesse :

Don't worry, guys, I didn't break my "no more bacon" vow. This is KEVIN Bacon.

– March 13, 2014 2:31 PM
Q.

Plumber butt

That's why ballerinas wear tutus, so you're not all hanging out.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Something tells me that if all of these men wore tutus, they would not look like ballerinas.

– March 13, 2014 2:31 PM
Q.

Yelp breakup

I don't have any problems with what he's doing, in theory, but reading the reviews is making my eyes roll so hard they hurt. I can't imagine how I'd react if I just wanted to know how the food was at a place.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I can't trust Yelp reviews anyway. They're too all over the place, with one person saying, "Five stars! There was a mouse in my food but whatever!" and another person saying, "I wish I could give this place zero stars. I didn't like the font on the menu."

 

 

– March 13, 2014 2:36 PM
Q.

Plumber butting

As a, ahem, hefty guy, I wish suspenders didn't look so dorky. I live in constant fear of PB.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Suspenders are not dorky. Not unless you're wearing them ironically -- that's dorky. Suspenders worn functionally is fine. Or should be.

– March 13, 2014 2:38 PM
Q.

I loved Firefly, but if you're not a Buffy or Sci-Fi fan it may not register.

I don't know, I think the whole Joss Whedon MO works very well. You can enjoy "The Avengers" just as much for the Whedon style without having seen Buffy.
A.
Monica Hesse :

We're in a big gaping knowledge hole for me. Was Firefly a movie or a TV series? I thought I knew but now am confused.

– March 13, 2014 2:39 PM
Q.

Plumber's Butt

Too bad the photographer wasn't a fan of Community, or The Butt Crack Bandit might have made a comeback!
A.
Monica Hesse :

Or maybe it's a really excellent thing that the photographer wasnt' a fan of community.

– March 13, 2014 2:40 PM
Q.

As I'm sitting in the hair salon ...

I am so grateful to have a day off work *AND* also to have remembered my tablet. I have soooo missed this chat! Thank you.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Oh, excellent work, you!

– March 13, 2014 2:41 PM
Q.

Fashion

There are (used to be?) women's jeans specially designed to give women that feminine "plumber's butt" effect. (Does that even sound right? Yet you know what I mean, right: Same result, but on purpose.) Now, plumbers often state their effect is not intentional. They have a lot of weight on their tool belts. Yet, what do we think when the effect is an intentional part of fashion?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Trust me. No women's jeans were ever -- EVER -- supposed to give the plumbers butt effect (PBE). Low-rise jeans were supposed to show off the curve of hips, and maybe expose some skin between the top and the pants. If you ever saw PBE on a woman, it was an error that she would have been deeply embarrassed by, had she been aware of it.

– March 13, 2014 2:43 PM
Q.

Firefly

Firefly - quickly canceled Whedon sci-fi TV show (11 eps, I think) Serenity - feature movie based on the It is a really good show if you like Whedon or sci-fi. Easy to burn through the whole thing in a few days. It's good. Seriously, watch it.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Thank you to the many people who immediately wrote in to give me both a description of Firefly and a defense of why it is the best show in the world.

– March 13, 2014 2:44 PM
Q.

Equal Rights

why don't we laugh at whale-tail like we do at PB?
A.
Monica Hesse :

Because that actually *is* intentional sometimes.

– March 13, 2014 2:45 PM
Q.

Butt cleavage

No, there was definitely a butt cleavage trend in women's jeans. Wikipedia says so, too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttock_cleavage
A.
Monica Hesse :

I stand firm that 99% of the practitioners of butt cleavage had no idea they were participating in this trend, and would have been mortified by it.

– March 13, 2014 2:47 PM
Q.

poets and songwriters have been making livings off of failed relationships for centuries. We accept that as a respectable art.

It certainly worked for Adele. But Taylor Swift has the potential to kill the genre.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Eh, I was thinking more like Shakespeare.

– March 13, 2014 2:48 PM
Q.

Tomnod - Crowdsourcing a Search?

I'm probably a little late to the discussion today, but I was wondering what people thought about crowd-sourcing the search for MH 370 using Tomnod. I tried it out during lunch and probably only identified a bunch of waves. It was a pretty interesting exercise. I feel terrible for those people and their families, and hope that we have news (hopefully good) soon.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Here's an article describing what this poster is talking about.

I think this is the equivalent of all of the people who turn up to donate blood after tragedies, even when the Red Cross doesn't need anymore. We just want to feel useful. And the authorities probably don't mind because it keeps everyone out of their hair. They'd much rather we be scanning Tomnod at home alone than calling them and saying, "I had a psychic vision that the plane is off the coast of the Seychelles."

– March 13, 2014 2:51 PM
Q.

Plumber butt

Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) did one of her most hilarious trademark rants against Plumber Butt on "Designing Women."
A.
Monica Hesse :

I went looking for it on YouTube just now and instead came back with this list -- the first list being Julia's fantastic take-down of a beauty queen.

– March 13, 2014 2:54 PM
Q.

Re: Suspenders worn functionally is fine. Or should be

A fb friend once posted that belts should NEVER be used to actually hold up your pants. I was suprised by how many people agreed with her! Isn't holding up pants the point of belts?
A.
Monica Hesse :

No idea. I think I own only one belt, and it's decorative. But yes, in general, that is the point of belts. No?

– March 13, 2014 2:55 PM
Q.

Yelp Reviews

Agreed that Yelp reviews are all over the place. I once read a three- or four-star review of one of my city's best and most expensive restaurants, and the reviewer noted that the food was delicious, the room was gorgeous, and the perks (free chocolates! waitstaff who bid farewell to you by name!) were fantastic. Why not five stars? Well, because the reviewer was miffed that for THAT kind of money, the food still tasted like normal-people food rather than the transcendental heavenly experience she had been expecting it to be, and she couldn't summon up the exact taste a week later. FAIL!
A.
Monica Hesse :

Poor soul. That sounds like a personality destined to be constantly disappointed.

– March 13, 2014 2:57 PM
Q.

"I had a psychic vision that the plane is off the coast of the Seychelles."

Oooh, if it turns up off the coast of the Seychelles...
A.
Monica Hesse :

Do you think I should call the FAA and let them know it's a possibility?

– March 13, 2014 2:58 PM
Q.

point of belts

Holding up one's pants is not the only point of a belt. I have a waist that's a ridiculous ten inches less than my hips, and use belts to hold my pants TO my waist. Otherwise, there's enough room to shove an entire fruit basket down the back.
A.
Monica Hesse :

What about a bacon basket?

– March 13, 2014 2:59 PM
Q.

Shakespeare eats Bacon?

It can't be Donne.
A.
Monica Hesse :

I'm not sure whether we're getting really funny here, or really sad.

– March 13, 2014 3:00 PM
Q.

That sounds like a personality destined to be constantly disappointed.

Peter Mayle, of "A Year in Provence" fame, once wrote a piece on such a restaurant, fantastically expensive, populated by the richest people around, and said that he'd never in his life seen so many disappointed-looking people. He said the restaurant, to him, was all it was cracked up to be, but these millionaires were so used to having everything be perfect for them that they were alert to the tiniest missing detail.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Sigh.

– March 13, 2014 3:04 PM
Q.

5-star Yelp reviews

If a person is paying 5-star prices at a restaurant, the food had better not taste like over-priced 3-star food.
A.
Monica Hesse :

What I'd want to know is whether the reviewer had experience eating at 5 star restaurants. If they did, and this place wasn't up to snuff when it came to food, then fine, give it three stars. But it sounded to me like the poster in question didn't have  5-star dining experience, and was just rating the restaurant because it didn't match up to her imagination, which might have been totally unrealistic.

– March 13, 2014 3:06 PM
Q.

Re: Question

Is this chat not about the web any more? I have some great bacon stories. And one great Bacon story.
A.
Monica Hesse :

Unfortunately. It is time to go. I don't know what happened this week. We went completely out of control.

Be back again next week, although I might be chatting from an airport again, in which case we'll have to brave the whims of the wireless signal again. GSTQ.

– March 13, 2014 3:07 PM
Q.

 

A.
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