Why Today Sucks: A List

  • As you may know, the hard drive on my MacBook died. Last night, Ben installed a new hard drive and now the computer doesn’t work at all because it has a kernel panic every time it’s turned on.
  • I hadn’t backed anything up since January because I’m a lazy, irresponsible dumbass.
  • The passion with which I miss my functional MacBook (namedropping Apple again because I have a clunky work laptop at home but can’t bear the thought of recreational PC use) possibly indicates a serious deficiency in my character.
  • My iPhone (have you gotten the point that I like Apple products) is out of storage space, so I can’t even take pictures unless I delete stuff and I have no functional computer onto which to transfer things and thereby free up space.
  • I have the complexion of a stereotypical 13-year-old boy who brings audio/visual equipment to your classroom.
  • While running around outside like a total nutball this morning, Soren wiped out and scraped the hell out of his elbow.
  • Eventually when all other methods of soothing him proved unfruitful, I resorted to giving him a popsicle, thereby teaching him that food is an effective coping mechanism when dealing with pain or other unpleasantness.
  • I think everyone in Soren’s classroom hates me because I (accidentally!) step on children.
  • Who in the hell gains weight after being almost entirely vegan for over a week?
  • Except for the time I forgot there are eggs in fried rice and ate some anyway.
  • Homemade artisan vegan sharp cheddar is disappointing.
  • I’m quite honesty losing steam with respect to this whole vegan thing and want a big fat greasy pizza.
  • The book I’m reading about veganism has me convinced that I’m going to get cancer because I have more than one beer a day. I mean, some days I have zero beers and some days I have three or four. It averages out to more than 7 a week.
  • The dogs can’t really coexist with the chickens in the yard.
  • Sadie, in particular, does nothing all day but pant and obsess over the chickens. She has to be heavily bribed to even get her in the house.
  • My work evaluations are due today and I hate work evaluations.
  • Ugh.

I still don’t want to read your sponsored posts.

Let’s say you have a friend and she invites you over for drinks and dinner. When you get to her house, your friend announces that, before drinking and eating can commence, she would like to take a few minutes to talk to you about, say, her religion, or the Amway products she sells.

You’re probably annoyed. You don’t enjoy being invited to someone’s house for fun only to have to suffer through hearing about something that doesn’t interest you. Right? That would be my response, for sure. I’d be annoyed and offended. I probably wouldn’t hang out with this person again because I don’t have time for people who want to talk at me in an effort to promote something I don’t care about.

I feel the same way about sponsored content on blogs and on Twitter. (I’m seeing more and more of it on Twitter, with posts hashtagged #ad showing up in my stream every day.) (And now it’s on Pinterest, too! I just had to unfollow an entire board that was sponsored by Clorox. WTF is this shit?) As a blogger, you’ve invited me into your world and I think it’s going to be cool but then you bore me with sponsored content, giveaways, or product reviews. I scroll through this crap waiting to get to the fun part, but when I do, I’m not all that excited to be there any more. You’ve bored me, and you’ve made me feel like your desire to make money overrides my desire to read interesting content. (My strongly held belief is that sponsored content can never be interesting.)

Here’s the other thing. I see commercials on tv (although I only watch commercials during live sporting events — I record everything else and fast forward through the commercials). I see ads in magazines and hear them on the radio. I see them on buses and billboards and on the walls of the baseball stadium. I experience advertising pretty much everywhere I go.

I like blogs that are a respite from the constant barrage of “brands,” as I guess we’re calling companies and corporations now, trying to sell me shit. I like blogs that are real, that are written by someone who blogs just because he or she likes to write. These blogs are different from the ones whose authors are trying to make a buck. They’re authentic and interesting (and, more often than not, very small).

I don’t begrudge you your “right” to make a living or supplement your income by blogging. But I don’t have to read it. I don’t have to participate in the endless cycle of people trying to make money by advertising and promoting stuff. Honestly, I find it pretty gross that so many of our online interactions with each other are peppered with crap content designed to make money for someone. So much of what people are putting out on the internet contains the message:

Hey you! Your life would be better and more awesome if you just bought this thing!

Well no, it wouldn’t. My life has gotten better since I’ve stopped buying so many things, since I’ve realized that true happiness comes from (among other things) rejecting the constant push to buy more and have more.

It all makes me nostalgic for the old days of LiveJournal, where people blogged just because they wanted to blog. Now we have bloggers who say shit like, “Sponsored content on my blog makes writing here possible!” No. You know what makes writing on your blog possible? Sitting your ass down and writing on your blog. It’s entirely possible to do even if you don’t make money doing it.

If I can sound like an old hippie for a minute (if I didn’t already), I’m worried about the ridiculous consumerist, materialist culture in which we are living. I think it’ll be pretty cool when more people get sick of it and reject it. Hey you! Your life would be better and more awesome if you stopped listening to people who want to sell you shit you don’t need!

Bad Weather & The Drought

We Coloradans never object to the perpetuation of the misconception that it’s always cold and snowy here, because it’s generally understood to be the only reason everybody in the world doesn’t move to our glorious state. But now this shit is happening. I’m not even complaining about the rain, because we need it. But what’s up with Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? Shit, that’s what.

No. This shit makes me feel kind of depressed and then angry, the kind of angry normally reserved for people who drive like assholes. Hey 25-degree Wednesday in mid April! How about you use your goddamn turn signal?!

I like winter, more or less, when it actually is winter.  But now it’s spring and we had a few nice, sit-outside-with-no-jacket-well-into-the-evening days but apparently those were just a tease and now it’s back to winter and covering up the poor little vegetables who have had the misfortune to start growing already. (Let’s not even talk about the poor little vegetables still inside or the gigantic edamame beanstalk that’s about to take over the house.) My skin is so dry my hands have those awful cuts you get when your skin is way too dry despite copious lotioning and I just want to be outside, enjoying life. I want to be outside! I want it to be nice! This unreasonably cold weather has gone on for too long! I’m sad like Margarita from The Master and Margarita (currently re-reading, which is why I’m obsessed) before she applied the cream and became a naked witch, flying on her broom in the moonlight outside Moscow.

Speaking of needing rain, we’re in a Stage 2 drought and there’s going to be some pretty hard-core enforcement of watering restrictions this summer. (More info. here.) (FYI: It’s okay to water annuals and vegetables any time with a hand-held hose or drip irrigation.) Can I be blunt? I’m already judging everybody who lives in the area and has a green lawn this summer. If you want a green lawn, you probably shouldn’t live in Colorado. It’s such a waste of water and I hope green lawns become totally unfashionable and widely regarded as a symbol of the kind of me-first-screw-everybody-else mentality good and enlightened people hope to avoid. Xeriscape! Grow food not lawns! I’m gonna have to write a Wesley Willis style song about conserving water! Rock over London! Rock on Chicago!

Old

Sometimes I see something and I have a strong, immediate, negative reaction. Take this picture of Sky Ferreira from Terry Richardson’s Tumblr. Sky Ferreira

So I’m scrolling through Tumblr, which for me is mostly pictures of tattoos and animals with or without ALLCAPS and people who live in sheds in the woods and it used to be one of those simplicity blogs that ends up being thinly veiled consumerist references to shit you should buy until I unsubscribed when she made the wrong its/it’s determination and mentioned God (not that there’s anything wrong with God if that’s what you’re into but I don’t want to hear about it and when you mention it in your blog I recognize that we are on very different wavelengths), and I saw this and was all what is this shit some reject from a Don’t Do Meth campaign from the Ad Council, which is responsible for the most horrifying ads of all time. (Holy shit have you seen that Feed the Pig thing? I admit to having a perhaps slightly unreasonable fear of people dressed up as animals but that is goddamn terrifying.)

I almost tweeted something making fun of Sky Ferreira, whoever she is, but then I realized doing so is the internet equivalent of get-off-my-lawning neighborhood children. Have you ever done that? I had this friend in college who wore a top hat all the time (of course I did) and one time we actually sat on our front porch and yelled at the kids to get off our lawn and at the time, because we were like 20, it was hilarious (not really). But now that I’m actually an age where I could be that lady yelling at kids it’s not even remotely funny.

The thing with getting older is that eventually you realize that you don’t have the time, interest, or inclination to give a shit about a good part of what goes on in popular culture, and you’re secure enough with yourself and your identity to not give a shit when situations arise where you have no idea what the fuck people are talking about. And that’s cool. Awesome, even. But it’s never good to be the old fart on the internet talking about kids these days or proudly proclaiming your ignorance of vast swathes of what’s going on in the world. I mean really, there are things that are popular in our society I know nothing about and am in fact proud to know nothing about, but the thing is, that sort of willful ignorance is absolutely never interesting to other people.

Anyway, I think the proper response here is to figure out what about Sky Ferreira bothers me so much and see what I can learn from her. One thing I figured out a long time ago is that sometimes, the people who provoke the strongest negative reactions in us have the most to teach us, and often we end up liking them once we get past whatever it is that bothers us.  So whenever I encounter a negative reaction in the wild I want to figure out what it’s up to.

Halloween Costume Ideas

Here are some ideas for your Halloween costume:

  • sexy librarian (for the people googling “DIY sexy librarian costume,” here you go: hair up, glasses, books, boobs)
  • sexy teacher
  • sexy schoolgirl
  • sexy angel
  • sexy devil
  • sexy Cerberus, the 3-headed watchdog of hell
  • sexy prisoner
  • sexy bounty hunter
  • sexy maid
  • sexy nurse
  • sexy doctor
  • sexy dentist
  • sexy election worker
  • sexy DMV employee
  • sexy bartender
  • sexy flight attendant
  • sexy detective
  • sexy ladybug
  • sexy cat
  • sexy catwoman
  • sexy dogwoman
  • sexy Rosie the Riveter
  • sexy angry rollerderby woman
  • sexy pirate
  • sexy zombie
  • sexy former raver
  • sexy trucker
  • sexy oil rig worker
  • sexy cowgirl
  • sexy animal rights advocate
  • sexy witch
  • sexy Mormon
  • .************sexy Christian singles************.
  • sexy Buddhist
  • sexy Amish woman
  • sexy Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran
  • sexy person who sells slushees at the Rockies game
  • sexy soft-porn author
  • sexy vaguely bondage-related thing
  • sexy woman in leather
  • sexy 18th century literature professor
  • sexy rejected Bachelor contestant who did the ugly cry in the limo
  • sexy rabbit
  • sexy Broncos fan
  • sexy elephant
  • sexy earthworm
  • sexy watermelon.

I think that just about covers all possible options.

My big idea is Gloria Steinem as Playboy Bunny, which is a big improvement over the time I went as T.J. Hoochmandzadeh (seriously — I still have a Cincinnati Bengals jersey) but I suspect that’s too esoteric for anybody to get in addition to being too sexy. Take my word for it: Unsexy Halloween costumes are the new sexy Halloween costumes.

Like my business that has no relevance to your life or we can’t be friends.

A few weeks ago, someone I was sort-of friends with in college (I remember watching The Brave Little Toaster at her cool place above Bruegger’s a few times) added me as a friend on Facebook. I was all okay, cool, and accepted. The one thing I like about Facebook is that it allows me to, if I feel like it, keep up with what people from my past I don’t care about enough to email are doing without actually having to interact with them. (Wait, I’m being uncharitable. I also like that it allows me to easily schedule social events without having to touch a telephone.)

So okay cool, we’re Facebook friends. Only then I see that she posts updates all the time and they’re all about Irish dance and libertarian politics. I’m trying to think of two things in the world I care less about than Irish dance and libertarian politics. Trying. Still trying. Giving up now. There are no things I care less about than Irish dance and libertarian politics.

Then today she posted something, and damn I wish I’d copied and pasted it because it was so great. It was something like this:

I’m going to be using Facebook primarily for my business. If I unfriend you here it’s because you haven’t liked my business page. We can always keep in touch by email.

Her business is a small Irish dance school located 1,000 miles away from where I live.

I generally don’t unfriend people on Facebook. I don’t know why. If you annoy me, I’ll hide your updates and forget you exist, but chances are I won’t unfriend you. And I’m still smarting from the time the most boring person in the entire universe — whose updates I kept hidden because they were all “I’m at Walmart!” and “I love my husband!” and “My kids are great!” and “No fucking duh!” — had the gall to unfriend me. I haven’t unfriended anyone on Facebook since the mail carrier I didn’t even know in real life who posted something about how Barack Obama’s birth certificate was signed by Dr. Al Qaeda and why was I even friends with this person in the first place.

But damn if I didn’t unfriend this “like my irrelevant business or I’m gonna unfriend you” hooch. I mean, what? Was I supposed to wait for her to unfriend me because I didn’t like her business? Why did she friend me in the first place? It would be one thing if she friended me because she wanted to see how hot and awesome I am now, but obviously she’s just looking for bodies to like her stupid business that chances are is not relevant to their interests or locations.

The other thing I don’t get is a libertarian engaging in this sort of behavior. As a hippie liberal, I’m no libertarian scholar or anything, but even Wikipedia tells me that libertarianism is based on concepts like “voluntary associations of free individuals” and “protecting individuals from coercion and violence.” Dude, if your little dancey dance business is worthy of liking, free individuals will voluntarily like it. They should be free from coercion when doing so. Damn, girl. The political party you openly support advocates “a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.” Don’t ask me to sacrifice my values, which include but are not limited to not liking your stupid business on Facebook, for the benefit of you.

Clearly, seeing her frequent libertarian propaganda posts was causing resentment to build, something I didn’t even notice until she pulled this like-my-stupid-business shit. If I weren’t already seething to some extent, I wouldn’t be writing this whole bitchy post now.

Maybe I need to be more proactive about unfriending and unfollowing people who annoy me. What’s the point of being annoyed on the internet and why do I insist on doing it?

I’m just not a movie person.

Tonight, somebody asked me what my favorite movie was. My first response was something like, dude, I don’t have a favorite movie. Then I thought about it and the best I could come up with was Vernon, Florida, an Errol Morris documentary I watched for the first time when I was high as shit in college. It’s pretty much random diatribes from old people who live in a small town in the Florida panhandle. (There’s a guy in the movie who’s really into hunting turkeys. I think hunting is totally gross, but my love of this movie was so great I was willing to overlook this travesty.)

I think saying that Vernon, Florida is your favorite movie means one of two things (maybe both): (1) you’re a pretentious asshole; or (2) you’re just not that into movies.

Not being that into movies only becomes a problem when you’re in a situation that reflects the fact that movies are a huge cultural reference point in our society. If there’s a discussion going on where people are referencing movies everybody in the world has seen, like The Notebook or Clueless or Legally Blonde or whatever, I’m all “. . . ?” because I haven’t seen those movies. I used to envision a game that would be fun only for me, where people would ask me, “Have you seen [insert name of movie here]?” and 9 times out of 10, I’d be all, “No.”

The movie discussion tonight moved on to Inception, and I said I think I saw that but it pissed me off and then I fell asleep. I’m not sure. I hated Trainspotting a lot. I watched Super 8 one night when I was really bored and Ben was ignoring me to work on music, and I really liked it until I totally hated it at the end when it became goddamn ET Part II. I don’t want to work hard for my movies and I don’t want them to make me feel bad in a hopeless way and I don’t want to be obviously emotionally manipulated. I think special effects are boring. I want movies to entertain me and present situations and people I might encounter and not totally hate in real life and keep me awake, which is not a tall order considering that I generally don’t fall asleep, ever, unless I happen to be watching a boring-ass movie. (Hey, I guess we need a tv in our bedroom so I can do just that. Only I don’t really want a tv in our bedroom because I kind of think that’s weird. We really don’t need more than one tv in our house.)

Speaking of tv, that’s another problem because I don’t watch any of the shows people talk about all the time, current or past. This problem manifests itself in many ways, most of which are really annoying. For example, I’ve started watching the show Longmire because it’s summer and the pickings are slim so I might as well try what appears to be a western. Turns out, I really like it. Realizing I really enjoy the female lead, I looked her up on the internet and ended up on a message board thread purporting to discuss Longmire but that really discussed how awesome this woman was on Battlestar Gallactica. I’ve never watched Battlestar Gallactica. I don’t even know if I’m spelling that right and I don’t give a shit enough to google it because for the love of all that is holy, stop talking about Battlestar Gallactica on a thread about a goddamn quasi-western about an old sheriff in small-town Wyoming, the square-jawed dude who’s banging his daughter and trying to take his job, Matt Saracen’s grandmother (see, it’s totally okay to reference Friday Night Lights, which I totally watched), and the cute blonde woman who kind of sounds like she might be from Minnesota (I love people from Minnesota). And people who are always bringing up Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Generally, if a show is watched by people who fancy themselves intellectual, I have no interest in it. So I’ve never watched Mad Men. If you talk about Mad Men, I am bored. I also don’t watch any reality shows other than the Amazing Race and the Bachelor (I know) and one version of Teen Mom. I don’t watch anything that involves music in any way, food, or Grey’s Anatomy. And goddamn it, I tried watching a few episodes of The Wire once and it was the most boring, awful thing I’ve ever seen in my life and every time somebody refers to The Wire, which believe it or not people do all the time, I mentally take a 10% discount off everything he or she ever says for the rest of time. (I thought Oz, on the other hand, was phenomenal.)

Basically, I watch shit like Burn Notice (holy hell I love that show) and The First 48, which, now that I’m thinking about it, might mean I’m old. Is Burn Notice the current-day equivalent of The Rockford Files? I remember my grandparents watching that show. Oh man.

It’s weird because I feel like I’m trying to straddle the line between knowing what people talk about when they talk about popular culture and just not giving a shit. I’m totally okay about not giving a shit aside from the fact that I think the main message it conveys is that I’m old. But I don’t think I’m really old. It’s just that I don’t give a shit, unless you’re talking about music. In that case, I’m more interested in what people are talking about. Unless it sucks, which I guess is a subject for another post.