Tag Archives: Internet

France: Turn Off, Tune Out, Enjoy Life!

Here’s a scenario that’s all too familiar in America: You come home from a 10-hour day at the office and are about to start dinner for the family.  All seems to be going well so far until…the phone vibrates on the table.  You turn your phone on to find an important email from your boss.  It’s an urgent email boss, saying that you have a work project that must get done by TOMORROW.  The project will take all night, so you cancel the dinner plans and end up ordering take-out while you complete MORE work at home.

If this scenario has happened to you, you’re not alone!  American employees read thousands of emails every day and some of those emails are read after they get out of work.  The constant ringing emails, text messages, and messages from work give us such a headache that we sometimes become so detached from our personal lives.  This digital drama has become so problematic that we become so stressed out about the company community we’re a part of.  That’s about to change this year for France.

Since January 1st, France enacted a new law that made it illegal for companies to expect employees to check work emails while out of the office.  Sacre bleu!  Any company with more than 50 employees must negotiate times when employees have the right to ignore any work-based communications (which include email, instant messages, and calls as well).  Known as the “right to disconnect”, its designed to ensure a better work/life balance for everyone.

France has a traditional work week of 35 hours, so this law would save employees hours of unpaid work.  Employees who are more rested and relaxed means they will reduce time off from work, thus saving money for companies in the long run.  Employees would also be able to get through larger workloads during office hours without the fear of working into the night.

What’s interesting is that several companies in Europe already adopted policies to diminish the ‘always-on’ culture in the workplace.  Large companies in Germany like Volkswagen and Daimler already took steps to limit out-of-hours messaging in order to reduce burnouts.  Some measures even involved cutting email connections in the evening/weekends or even destroying emails automatically that are sent while employees are celebrating a holiday.  Countries like Germany and France are leading the path to a better work/life balance culture for their employees.

America is one of the hardest-working countries of all time, with Americans working an average of 34.4-hour weeks (some full-time workers clock in an average of 47 hours per week!).  All of that hard work is burning us out faster than other countries and leading a spike in work-related stress.  That work-related stress causes symptoms such as discouragement, pessimism, anxiety, depression, cognitive difficulties, and being overwhelmed/unable to cope with decision-making.  The economy may be recovering, but the battle for a better work/life balance is far from over.

I definitely agree with France’s new “right to disconnect” law!  Digital drama shifts from the office to your home, causing friction between your professional life and personal life.  Those emails, text messages, and calls from your work community disperses you farther and farther from reality.  What once was your perfect family life has now become the American Dream you can’t seem to reach for.

This definitely rings true that America is one of the hardest working countries of all time.  It always boggles my mind hearing of friends that work 70-80 hour week shifts just to survive.  We seemed to have pulled ourselves out of the recession, but people are still struggling to find a comfortable work/life balance atmosphere.  More working hours means we’re missing out on more on so much of what life has to offer.

What do you want to remember about your work life in 30-40 years?  Do you really want to discuss tales of working 70-80 hours in the office until you retired?  Or do you want to be one of those people that exited the rat race here in America?  It’s your life you lead in the end, so it shouldn’t be swarmed by constant work emails every day.


Funny Search Result on Sunday FunDay!

Hello everyone!  No news to discuss, just wanted to turn your attention to something more interesting.  Yesterday I was surfing through my blog to see the status of it so far.  Everything seemed ordinary until I looked at the ‘Search Terms’ portion.

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Someone was searching ‘jesse jackman bottom’ and seemed to have discovered my blog on Google.  So yeah, apparently someone was searching for porn and they decided to check out my site through their search.  Well…I am certainly flattered!  It’s funny what kind of audience you get when writing about certain topics.

To the man/woman who was looking for ‘jesse jackman bottom’ videos…THANK YOU for discovering my work at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Always a pleasure to find random visitors who stumbled upon my blog (whether it was intentional or accidental!).  I hope you enjoyed your night with some amazing videos of Jesse Jackman.

These pictures are dedicated to that user who stumbled onto my blog:

Hope your Saturday night was memorable one!

American Horror Story: Sweet Dreams Teaser

It’s been a week now and I STILL can’t get over the season finale of American Horror Story: Roanoke.  After all of those twists and turns, I don’t know if my Wednesdays will be the same again.  Wednesdays at 10 PM were the only times I looked forward to watching cable television.  Now it’ll be back to binge-watching shows on Netflix and catching TV specials when I find them.

Season 6 ended and now we all have to wait until next October for what’s in stores next.  It’s only been MERE minutes after the finale and Ryan Murphy already entrapped us with some hints about next season.  As a matter of fact, a quick teaser was released after the season finale.

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A teaser was posted on the American Horror Story Twitter Page at 11:01 PM last week.  The title card read ‘SWEET DREAMS’ with a few seconds of waves moving around the ocean.  Half-way through the clip, we see quick clips of the stick figures while the picture flickers in black and white.  The title card ends with the sea waves moving among the ocean again.  That is the only teaser we have seen so far.

But wait, there’s MORE!  Remember that moment when the Spirit Chasers run into Lee at the Roanoke House?  At one point, a huge crash spurs everyone into another room.  The cast then find a dusty, wooden model ship that fell on the floor.  Just like everyone else, I thought that it was just an innocent scene…. but we were WRONG!

What’s the real meaning behind the wooden ship?  Is the next season going to take us for a life at sea?  Why were those creepy stick figure dolls popping up in the teaser?  WHERE…is this show… GOING?

One speculation hints that the next season will be related to one of the various subplots within American Horror Story: Roanoke.  Lady Gaga guest starred as Scáthach this season (that crazy witch who took The Butcher and Matt to the dark side!).  For those that do not know, Scáthach was an Englishwoman with a Druid lineage that traveled by boat to America.  Later on, that sea voyage becomes deadly as the colonists who were hunting her traveled by sea as well.  The ship that we saw crashing on the floor could be a major part of the story next season!

Keep in mind that NOTHING has been set in stone so far.  Ryan Murphy also teased that fans could expect more in-depth story lines of the characters from American Horror Story: Freak Show for next season.  They are just “exploring” this plot, so there is no definitive answer yet.  Our only ideas we have to go on are the hint from the season finale and the teaser clip released on the Twitter page.

The teaser clip was suspenseful to watch!  I don’t know how I missed this clip last week after the season finale.  Teasers were always released mere months after the season finale, but hints are already being dropped this year.  It sucks that I have to sit back and make educated guesses about the next chapter.  All I have for clues are the big, wooden ship that fell on the floor and the teaser clip to go on for my speculations.  Until then, we’ll have to see where the waves sweep us next in the American Horror Story universe.

The Shiny/Painted Legs Optical Illusion

Last February people caught wind of a shocking internet sensation that was known as ‘The Dress’.  The Dress was viral meme where viewers disagreed whether the color of the dress was black and blue or white and gold.  Over 10 million tweets mentioned The Dress with hashtags such as #thedress, #blackandblue, and #whiteandgold.  It was the shocking photo that made millions of people ask the question, “what color is the dress?”.

That meme was SO 2015.  What’s the newest internet meme illusion this time?  The Shiny Legs.  It’s ALL about the shiny legs this year!  For those who are just peeking out from under the rock, the shiny legs meme started after Twitter user @msbreeezyyy posted a photo of shiny legs yesterday afternoon.  The photo was released with the caption, ‘Once you see it you can’t unsee it’.

Millions of viewers are now debating whether they see shiny legs or painted legs.  So what’s the verdict?  Shiny or painted legs?  At first glance, it seemed like they were shiny legs on the photo.  After viewing it a few times, you’ll notice that the white is basically blotches of white paint on the legs.  It may seem like a silly optical illusion trick, but this photo has gone viral in less than 24 hours.

This wasn’t the first popular optical illusion image to have gone viral on social media.  Let’s go back to the time of The Dress – a black and blue/white and gold dress that had everyone scratching their heads.  A washed-out photograph of a dress was posted on Tumblr on February 26th, 2016.  This dress prompted millions of users to discuss what colors they saw and were confused by the other colors people were seeing.  It led to heated arguments about what the colors of the dress were.

So what’s going on here?  Why are people on social media so obsessed with these confusing photos?  These photos are just great examples of optical illusions.  Optical illusions are unique works of visual art that plays tricks on our brains.  Our brain sends messages that the photo is one thing, but then the brain discovers another image within the photo.

Take the classic vase illusion for example.  At first, you see a white vase in the photo.  After viewing the image for a few seconds, you’ll notice two faces in the background between the vase.  You now see that two images are created within the photo that your brain sees.  Optical illusion is a unique art form that interacts with what you see and your brain plays tricks on you, seeing images that aren’t really there.  Similarly, both the vase and the shiny legs internet sensation is an optical illusion where your brain is being fooled by what you are seeing.

It was interesting to see another optical illusion become viral.  Optical illusions were always so fun to look at as a kid and I loved the kind of tricks my brain was playing at the time.  This kind of visual art has a funny way of toying with your mind, conjuring up something that seems to be there.

While everyone is tweeting about whether the legs are shiny or painted, everyone’s brain is playing tricks on them and socializing about it.  Social media acts as a guiding point for people to discuss the art they found earlier.  Who knows, maybe it isn’t even white paint on the woman’s legs.  All we do is sit back and watch the slew of comments roll through social media platforms.

2nd Presidential Debate Highlight

The 2nd presidential debate aired on Sunday night, with tensions rising as election day comes close.  It’s the never-ending battle between democrat Hillary Clinton and republican Donald Trump for the chance to become president of the United States.  Who will reign champion as the next president?  There were lots of interesting points brought up from both parties, but only one candidate will be able to win the seat in November.

But while everyone was glued to Hillary and Trump’s ideas for America, there were a few highlights that occurred during the debate.  One involved a random fashion faux pas while another guy looked fashionably incredible when he asked his question for the presidents.  It was these two highlights that broke the internet worldwide just hours after the debate.  Here are some moments that broke social media the next day:

Melania Trump ‘Pussy Bow’ Fasion Faux Pas

Everyone looked amazing with their snazzy suits and formal dresses during the debate.  The Donald had on his formal suit with his signature over combed hair while Hilary donned her black blouse with a white V-neck collar.  Both the presidents looked fabulous, but all eyes turned to Melania Trump when she came out on stage.  Melania donned what was known as the ‘pussy bow’ blouse while watching the candidates.

The ‘pussy bow’ blouse was created by Gucci and is named as ‘Pussy-bow silk crepe de chine shirt’.  This fuchsia style blouse is made from Italy and was cut from silk crepe de chine for that languid drape, costing $1,100 to purchase.  It would be a chic way for elevating an office or weekend look.  Earlier this blouse caught fire over the name ‘pussy bow’ due to Trump and Billy Bush’s misogynistic conversation about women, but the price itself for the dress is simply outrageous.

But wait just a minute!  Haven’t we seen this kind of fashion faux pas earlier this year?  Oh wait that’s right…Hillary’s infamous lambskin jacket that was made by Giorgio Armani!

Remember back in April when Hillary gave a speech about equal pay in the workforce?  It was the Giorgio Armani jacket that stole the whole show, not the actual speech!  Since when did we establish a red-carpet type premises for our political agenda?  First it was the lambskin jacket, now the hip new fashion piece is the ‘pussy bow’ blouse that Melania wore (which she shelled out $1,100 for!).  All humor aside, it seems clear why our audiences have become so lost in terms of connecting with our potential candidates.

Ken Bone: The Average American, The Myth, The Internet Legacy

During the debate, audiences are encouraged to ask their burning questions to Hillary or Trump.  People are anxious about how the candidates will tackle some of the most complicated issues in the world, so this is the chance for them to have their questions answered.  One man stood up to ask his question and became an internet sensation the very next day.

Meet Ken Bone, an operator at a coal plant in Illinois who was undecided about which candidate to choose from.  He asked a question regarding the steps their energy policy will take to meet the energy needs while at the same time minimizing the job layoffs and remaining environmentally friendly.  But it wasn’t the question that had all eyes on him – it was his outfit that has everyone losing their shit on social media.  Bone donned a red cardigan sweater, a white tie, and wore black-rimmed glasses.

The best part about Ken Bone?  He took some photos of the set after the debate…with a disposable camera!  Taking photos of the set with a disposable camera…it’s just TOO much!  I just CAN’T EVEN with this social media gold.

Is there some way we can throw out all candidate nominations and just elect Ken Bone for president?  He is everything that America needs right now in a time of anxiety and confusion.  Ken Bone isn’t just a regular operator at an Illinois coal plant – he has become the newest social media sensation this week.  Kudos to the new internet legacy that will be Ken Bone.  Just for the record, Ken Bone sounds like some badass name you hear on a blockbuster super hero film.  Ken Bone: the man, the myth, the new internet hero.