My Kindle thinks I’m a woman

I have an e-ink Kindle with the “special offers” function turned on (which means that I was too cheap to pay $15 to turn it off). When the Kindle is off, it displays advertisements. Usually, the advertisements are for books.

Amazon is a retailer, which means that their marketing department is a crucial factor to their success. The company’s business model focuses on promoting products to consumers. They make money when I buy stuff from them, so it’s in their interest to promote products that I want to buy. They supposedly pay close attention to everything that I buy, and make recommendations for products that the company thinks I would also want to buy. Usually, they are spot on. But in the case of the book promotions on my Kindle, somebody is screwing up in a big way.

For some reason, the books that my Kindle promotes are books that I think would appeal mainly to a female audience. I don’t know why I get these recommendations. For some reason, my Kindle thinks that these books are something that I would want to buy.

This is a recent recommendation:

“A sexy suiter. An Irish castle. Her cynic’s heart doesn’t stand a chance.”


There is simply no way in hell that I would ever buy this book.

Or this one:


“When Ella falls ill, can her perfectionist husband and atypical son keep the family together?”

Ella, I’m sure you’re a nice gal, and I wish your tight-assed husband and special needs child all the luck in the world, but I don’t care whether your family stays together or not, and I’m not going to waste my time reading about your agonizing experience. Nothing personal.

This one is really special:


“These operatives aren’t afraid to put their lives on the line. Can they put their hearts on the line, too?”

The first sentence looked kind of interesting, but the second sentence just screams “girl book” to me.

This one bugs me on several levels, beginning with the grammatical.

“In a world at war, can three sisters find peace?”

The title of this book is really messed up. It’s like the joke about the camel is a horse that was designed by committee. I’m wishing you luck as I’m waving you goodbye? I don’t “wave” anyone goodbye. I “wave goodbye to” people, though. Is that what you meant? If so, then why didn’t you write it like that?!

As far as the topic of the book, the war aspect is appealing, and the juxtaposition of “war” and “peace” in the tag line is clever, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass if the sisters find peace or not. I have enough problems of my own, I don’t want to waste my time reading about other people’s problems. Especially imaginary people’s. Reading about the imaginary problems of  imaginary people just means “waste of time” to me. Not something that I want to spend my time reading.

I’m sure these are fine books, but they really don’t appeal to me, and I’m not sure why Amazon thinks that I’d be interested in them. I certainly won’t purchase them. Amazon, why do you think that I’m a woman?!

Put the pee where it should be!

Urinals in a department store bathroom have these signs posted above, at eye level. Apparently there is a problem with accuracy, so these signs are an attempt to direct the pee to its intended destination.

You can lean in a little. Really, it's no problem, you can lean in closer.

You can lean in a little. Really, it’s no problem, you can lean in closer.

Even though you are full of self-confidence, please take a step forward.

Even though you are full of self-confidence, please take a step forward.

Earthquake Damage

The earthquake that hit Taiwan last week caused some pretty horrific damage to a few buildings in the city of Tainan, where Stacy’s parents live.

We went for a walk, and could see a collapsed building off in the distance.


Pile of dirt was dumped in front of the building to stablize it, and to allow a crane to work on it.

Good thing the building fell at the angle that it did. If it had fallen to the other side, it could have hit the gas station and caused a fire.

What does a crowded train sound like?

One way to discover the strength of a society is to see how its people act when things go wrong.

The day before the new year holiday, we traveled down to the city of Tainan. Because of the big earthquake, the high-speed train was not running. Everyone who had tickets on the high-speed train (us) had the option of standing on the regular train. It was crowded and hot, and standing on the train was tiring. Nevertheless, all of the passengers behaved like civilized people. Passengers with seats gave them to women carrying babies.

We couldn’t believe how quiet everyone was. I shot a short video clip of inside the train car to show how civilized people behave under inconvenient circumstances. Turn up your speakers, because it’s hard to hear anything at all.

Now imagine what it would sound like in a similar train if this were shot on a train in a different country.