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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

One Hundred Things That Bug Me

SamuraiFrog did this, and I suppose it looks a little fun, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's one hundred things that bug me, annoy me, or fill me with rage. (Well, not so much rage.) And yes, as he did, I'll follow it up in a few days with 100 Things I Love. This is just a bunch of low-grade rants.

1. The notion that we need a whole new format for home video already. DVD is fine!

2. Potato salad that lacks flavor. It's not hard to make potato salad that's tangy and wonderful, so why make potato salad that tastes like nothing at all?

3. Non-winning lottery tickets. Not that I play the lottery, because I don't, but for some reason, lots of lottery-playing folks decide that their tickets, whether for the big drawings or the scratch-off ones, are so useless once they turn out to be non-winners that their owners don't even bother to throw them out, leaving me to do it. I find piles of those things at The Store on a regular basis.

4. Scrawny chicken wings. Not so much a problem in Buffalo, of course, but try ordering Buffalo wings outside of this area, and the wings may well turn out to be very scrawny. (Or they'll leave the tips on the wing section!)

5. Dust. The crap gets everywhere.

6. That Dyson vacuum cleaner guy. I know, I've complained about him before, but this is a new list, so here he is, too. If this guy's as smart as he acts in his commercials, you'd think he'd cure cancer or create world peace or figure out how to revitalize Buffalo or something.

7. The Fauxhawk hairstyle. It makes guys look like they have some kind of Star Trekesque ridge growing down the middle of their skulls.

8. Once and Again's third season is still not available on DVD.

9. That ability all cats have to summon up a bowel movement for the ages within minutes of the litter box being freshly changed.

10. Cigarette butts. A few months ago I had to put out a fire in one of the garbage cans outside the front door of The Store, because someone tossed a butt in there. They did this despite the presence of a receptacle for cigarette butts just five feet away. That, and the fact that the smokers just toss the spent butts everywhere, indiscriminately, bugs the hell out of me. If we're not supposed to toss drink cups or burger wrappers or whatever else randomly onto the ground, what makes tossing cigarette butts everywhere acceptable?

11. People who make a big deal about passing me on the road, only to turn off the road within a quarter mile of passing me.

12. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see somebody on Antiques Roadshow admit straight-up that they're going to sell the ugly gewgaw, inherited from Granpa Willard, that's just been appraised at $5000 as soon as they can get to a dealer willing to buy it? They always say "No, I'm keeping it forever out of respect to my Aunt Ginny." Nobody ever says, "Yowza, now I can afford that hot-tub!"

13. The guys at the gym who slam the weights around, grunt a lot, and who sit on the machines for upwards of three minutes between sets. Come on, guys.

14. When I buy a favorite food item...and then forget about it until it's gone moldy and nasty. That bugs me.

15. Plastic "clamshell" packaging. Mr. Utility Knife makes quick work of this stuff, but it's still a pain in the arse, especially when one can study the edges of the package and note that it would seem to be designed to open easily, before it's heat-sealed shut.

16. Wal-Mart wants to build a store near Casa Jaquandor, across the street from a gigantic new shopping center that already has a Target, a Borders, a Kohl's, a big furniture store, a PetCo, three full-service restaurants, and an eighteen-screen movie theater. Like we need another Wal-Mart, especially at that intersection, which is one of the busier intersections in the Southtowns. And recently Wal-Mart sent out in the mail little brochures encouraging people to step up their civic activism in order to get the Wal-Mart built! This brochure comes with a return-mail card where you can check items you're willing to do to help Wal-Mart out: Write a letter in support! Attend a meeting in support! Become involved in local Wal-Mart efforts! I found this whole thing a bit creepy.

17. People who buy sleek-looking sports cars, and then move into the fast lane and proceed to drive their snazzy sports cars, which are almost always bright red, as though they are, in reality, white Oldsmobiles.

18. That little pool of spittle that's on my pillow when I wake up, once in a while. That really makes me cringe.

19. Film music shibboleths: The main theme from Star Wars is lifted from Korngold's King's Row! Rudy is a great filmscore! And the assorted tut-tuting that comes from "old-school" film music lovers whenever anyone praises a score that's less than ten years old: "Well, back in the day, we had real music written by giants like Miklos Rozsa and Max Steiner!" Yeah, so what?

20. The annoyingly persistent belief, out there in the world, that writing is a skill that most everybody has in equal amount, and that the only real difference between a published writer and someone else is that the published writer somehow "found" time to write something, and of course, if only we could free up some time, we'd turn out something so much better than what gets published. (And yes, I include myself in this, to a certain extent.)

21. Shouldn't the fat guy on LOST have dropped quite a bit of weight by now? Or did they find some hidden stash of high-calorie food somewhere when I wasn't watching? (I don't like the show, so....)

22. My freezer. It's small and awkward, so every attempt to reach in there and grab a single item results in a process akin to that "Jenga" game, but with frozen food that hurts when it falls on my foot or splashes water all over the place when it lands in the cats' water dish.

23. From my restaurant days: Basted eggs. I hated cooking those things. I couldn't do it without cheating an using a little oil.

24. I'm always disturbed by the fact that one of our cats just loves the smell of our feet when we return from a shift at work.

25. Marshmallow Peeps. Oh, how horrible.

26. All you want is a medium coffee, and all you have to do is pay for it and get your cup, at which point you'll go fill the cup yourself from the bank of vacuum pots across the way. From the time you begin your transaction, thirty seconds will elapse, at most, between that time and when you're taking your first sip of sweet, sweet coffee. So, of course the person just ahead of you in line is ordering some kind of super drink with four shots of espresso, three shots of flavoring, steamed milk, freshly grated nutmeg, and whipped cream on top.

27. If you want to be a Chicago Cubs fan, fine; every team's gotta have some fans. But do we really have to persist in this notion that somehow the whole experience of Cubs baseball represents some kind of Platonic ideal of everything that baseball should be? Yeesh.

28. John McCain. He's no more a "straight-talker" than anyone else, he thinks that the problems the world faces right now are to maintain the same policies from the previous eight years that enabled, exacerbated, or outright created those problems, and it strikes me as odd that people whose distaste for Hillary Clinton includes the notion that she's essentially been running for President since 2000 don't notice that McCain's been at it even longer.

29. I didn't come up with any kind of meaningful post for Shakespeare's birthday. I suck.

30. Gigi would be a really really really great movie, if not for Leslie Caron, whom I've never liked all that much.

31. All those idiots at the movie theaters when each Star Wars prequel came out. Look, if you decided that George Lucas sucked and that you hated him and his work, fine, but that doesn't excuse trying to turn a movie theater into your own personal MST3K forum. If you don't like a movie, shut up. If you like a movie, shut up. Just shut up.

32. Prediction: anything judged bad in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be held by geekdom to be the fault of George Lucas, and anything good about it will be credited to anyone else they can find.

33. There's a wonderful municipal soccer complex in West Seneca, NY. What's great about it is that it has something like twelve soccer fields (of varying size, I think, for different leagues and age-groups), and the whole place is ringed by a paved walking path that's about one mile in circumference. It's a great place to roller-blade - unless there's a big soccer tournament going on, in which case lots of stupid people will unfold their folding chairs and set up camp as spectators right on the walking path, despite the presence of lots of nice green grass on either side. And then, when I come roller-blading through, they give me scowls and skunk-eyes.

34. The Royal 'We'. A single person, referring to themselves in the plural? That's just pretentious, and We wish you'd all stop. We, that is, meaning Me.

35. Buffalo's persistent lack of a good Dim sum restaurant continues to grate on my nerves. I know there's a place in Rochester, but I don't drive there very often, and anyway, I want the real Dim sum experience, where you're not ordering at a counter but just picking stuff off the carts when it comes 'round. You have to go to Toronto for that.

36. Oh, and thanks a lot, you Homeland Security nitwits, for making it more annoying for us to go to Toronto. I'm sure that tons of stuff that would have been blown up by terrorists otherwise is still standing because you're all vigilantly giving people like me the skunk-eye when we try to come home.

37. Continuing with that theme, thanks a lot, you Homeland Security nitwits, for making flying even more of a complete pain in the ass than it already is, because there may be some flying in my future at some point. I can't wait. (Maybe Amtrak will be cheaper.)

38. When people use the saying "It's not rocket science!" a lot, and then get mad at NASA when they lose a probe or something, thus forgetting the fact that these guys actually are doing rocket science, and it's pretty hard stuff. So come on, folks.

39. But really, the space shuttle needs to go. And the International Space Station is just goofy. What are we trying to accomplish with this, again? Because we're seven years past 2001, and I don't see any base in Clavius yet. I'm just sayin'.

40. Another item I've complained about in the past, but here it is again: New York City pizza freaks. Everybody's got their favorite pizza and that's fine, but these people insist that theirs is the one true pizza because it's closest to what some city in Italy makes, that city having taken it upon themselves to pronounce themselves the birthplace of pizza. (They're not.)

41. I love showing my ID at the pharmacy counter and signing an official form every time I get sick and need to buy some Mucinex, and I'm sure this is turning around the crucial battle on the meth-heads.

42. I'm as skeptical as they come, but it bugs me that they haven't put Tom Brady on the cover of Madden, because if there is a curse, then....

43. This doesn't irritate me, actually, but it always makes me wonder: people who go to the gym and work out in jeans. How can that be comfortable for working out?

44. Political pie throwing. This is just lame, folks, and a waste of good pie, as the throwers rarely have good aim and they've been waiting so long that the pie's a melted, gooey mess anyway.

45. Shaving cream pies. If you're going to get someone messy against their will (or even with their consent), the thing should at least be edible, not sting the eyes, and not taste like soap because it is soap.

46. Film music fans who are incapable of processing the notion that maybe, just maybe, Jerry Goldsmith wrote a few scores that weren't that good. (And he did.)

47. People who think that the mere act of saying the words "Excuse me" confers upon them the right to just barrel through wherever they happen to be, without waiting for response or acknowledgment or for the people in front of them to just plain move.

48. It still bugs me that I was so wrong about the Dursleys being important to the plot of the last Harry Potter book. Maybe I should sue JK Rowling.

49. Driving pet peeve: I know I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating that the act of stopping behind a vehicle that is itself stopping at a Stop sign does not count as you stopping at the stop sign.

50. It annoys the hell out of me that Michael Kamen and Basil Poledouris both died while they should still have had years of music in them to come out. Stupid Grim Reaper.

51. About once a month I get cocky with the rechargeable batteries in my personal CD player and don't change them when I know that I should, and thus, at the gym, when I'm halfway through my treadmill or recumbent bike workout, and when I'm in the middle of a song I like a lot, the CD player dies.

52. And about once every other month I change the batteries, but forget to put the #&$*%!! CD in the player, so when I get to the Y, I've got an empty CD player with me. This invariably happens when I'm using the treadmill or recumbent bike whose nearest TV is tuned to FOX News.

53. Why is Survivor still on teevee? Why? Why why why?!

54. Why is Grey's Anatomy so compelling, when so many of its characters and ongoing storylines annoy me? Is it that I have a weak character or something?

55. I hate it when I'm cooking steak and I suddenly get this moment of self-doubt as to my instincts on when to take the meat off the grill, so I end up with overcooked steak. (I never use meat thermometers on steak. I hate piercing them and letting the juices run out all over the place. But I prefer my steak on the rare side of medium, which requires timing and self-trust.)

56. Several times I've purchased on eBay what was listed as a pair of Men's overalls, and had them turn out to be Women's overalls. This isn't hard, folks: if they have a fake fly, they're for Women.

57. Where the $&#^!! is my Wonder Woman movie!!!

58. Look, folks, of course it should have been left so that Greedo shot first. But the notion that this change somehow completely emasculates the Han Solo character is just silly. Get over it.

59. For years, the touring production of Les Miserables would make almost an annual stop in Buffalo, but I never went, because the timing and money never lined up right. Well, two or three years ago I promised myself that this wouldn't happen again: next time, I was taking The Wife, because I've desperately wanted to see that show for years now. Just listening to the music can bring me to tears, and I've always wondered if "One More Day" is as overwhelming a show-stopper as I've always suspected. So a few weeks ago I learned that the touring production of Les Miz closed a couple of years ago, right about the same time that I made that promise to myself. Ugh! Ugh ugh ugh.

60. Guy Gavriel Kay just doesn't write fast enough. He's got to learn to step up the pace a bit.

61. The movie Dinosaur had a stunning opening sequence, tracking the improbable journey of a single dinosaur egg through many perils. But everything after that sequence was generically dull stuff.

62. I could, many times, do without red lights.

63. I could also do without that periodic article that someone writes every so often about blogging clich├ęs. If I want to use the interjection "Oy", or, citing an example of something that bugs me, write "I'm looking at you, Bill Belichick", I'll do just that, thank you very much. Heh indeed.

64. The only way that boiling is an acceptable means of cooking a hot dog is if you're a street vendor of the things. And really, I'd be happier if they didn't have to do it, either.

65. Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I enjoyed watching this show when it at least partially focused on construction stuff, but then it morphed into sappy human interest, Sears commercial, and generally annoying thing. I still want to see what happens two years later when the eight year old kid who loved monkeys at the time doesn't so much care about 'em anymore, and yet still has to live in the damned monkey bedroom.

66. And if the Extreme Makeover Home Edition people can take one week to build a house the size of a small Wal-Mart, why is Buffalo's Walden Galleria mall taking over a year to build a friggin' Barnes&Noble?

67. My sixth-grade English teacher, who was very nice and very well meaning, nevertheless gave me an awful piece of writing advice that it took me years to realize was full of crap. Referring to verbs of dialogue attribution, she sagely told us: "Said is dead." GAHHH! (he said.)

68. I've complained about this before too, but telling a kid of high school age that "These are the best years of your life" constitutes an act of nearly criminal nature.

69. Not enough places offer free WiFi.

70. I've become the kind of person who complains about places that don't offer free WiFi.

71. When people my age fail to recognize a quote from The Breakfast Club, I feel just a little more that the world has lost its way.

72. I can't stop reading For Better or For Worse, even though it's a massive bowl of suckitude now. Someone, please stage an intervention. (For me.)

73. Why is instant butterscotch pudding so hard to find in this area?!

74. I really shouldn't complain about WNED, Buffalo's classical music station, because they provide a fine service. But in the mornings, they play way too much Baroque music and classical guitar, neither of which trip my trigger.

75. Oh, there's something: I hate the phrase "trip my trigger". It doesn't ring my bell.

76. A few weeks ago I had a few extra pennies so I checked out the Graphic Novels section at Borders, and suffered my usual reaction of intense sticker shock. If comics really wants to become successfully mainstream as a medium, they've just got to start pricing their product in ways that make exploration feasible for people looking to get something to read.

77. Insert my usual rant about people who refuse to use their local library here. Reading! For free! Why wouldn't you do this?!

78. No more Don Pablo's in Buffalo. That, putting it frankly, sucks.

79. The NFL draft was just held, and while the Bills seem to have nabbed some talent at positions where they have needs, they yet again refused to do anything to upgrade their offensive line (unless you count drafting a single lineman in the seventh round, which is where you draft guys who will be lucky to make the roster at all and then will only do so either as special teamers or as "projects" as an upgrade). That will be my final complaint about that.

80. When does all the brilliant stuff happen on LOST? Because whenever I try watching that show, I only see a bunch of not-terribly-interesting people wandering around an island and brooding a lot.

81. Baseball caps worn off-center. What is that about?!

82. In fact, baseball caps in general. I think that our headgear these days leaves a lot to be desired. People used to wear cool hats, like three-cornered hats, those ones with the giant feathers that they wore in The Three Musketeers, even the simple fedora. Now we have baseball caps. (Although they're OK for women. I love a woman with long, thick hair, pulled through the back of a baseball cap. But generally, I'm not a big fan of ball caps.)

83. It doesn't help the cause of shopping for a copy of The Bible when so many of them are shrinkwrapped. It's not like the book is going to spoil, folks. I can see why "gift Bibles", the kind you give a child at confirmation or whatever, is skrinkwrapped, since you want to keep the book beautiful until the giving, but when I was looking for a decent study Bible, I was shocked that lots of them are shrinkwrapped.

84. I don't like it when the rum bottle goes empty three days before payday.

85. Iceberg lettuce. Why do we still cultivate this stuff? It serves no useful purpose whatsoever. It's not particularly vitamin-filled, it's lacking in flavor, it's just plain icky.

86. The Family Guy. An occasional laugh, but for the most part, the show isn't funny.

87. Countries that still insist on whaling.

88. Is it just me, or does Cracker Jack not taste at all as good as it used to, when I was a kid?

89. I still don't own Spirited Away on DVD. I have no good reason for this.

90. High fructose corn syrup. Destroying us from within, this stuff is the Satan of foodstuffs.

91. I've found a certain law of nature at any gym I've ever been a member of. I've always found that it's pretty much impossible to do a complete circuit of a given exercise program in a specific order each time out, because there will be other people present who are using the machines and equipment too, so I have to hop around from station to station. This is really not a problem at all; in fact, I like it in that I try to rotate the machines I use first so that I'm not consistently getting to a particular machine when the muscles that machine works are pretty tired from the entire preceding workout. So what's the law of nature, then? Simply that no matter which machine you save for last, that machine will be occupied when you reach that last exercise, no matter how sparse the population of the gym happens to be on that particular day.

92. Help me out, readers: is it a bad thing that I'm starting to genuinely like the BeeGees? "Stayin' Alive" is a fun song, and damned if I don't think that "How Deep Is Your Love" is just a really good song. Stupid Saturday Night Fever; I knew I shouldn't have watched that movie a while back.

93. Waking up in the morning, stumbling to the kitchen, turning on the light to start breakfast prep – and only then discovering that I'd never put the previous night's leftovers away. Even when food was a lot cheaper than it is now, I hated having to throw out half a tuna noodle casserole because I forgot to put the thing in the fridge.

94. My habit of staring at people I think I know when I see them outside of the context in which I know them. I have a bad feeling I can seem pretty creepy when I'm trying to figure out just where I know someone from. Especially when the person is a woman. This tends to happen to me a lot.

95. As a Democrat, it will forever disturb me that in 2004, John Kerry was the best we could come up with.

96. Does this happen in every city nowadays, or is it just a Buffalo thing: when a store someplace is going out of business, they'll actually station people at various busy intersections in the general vicinity of that store to hold up placards notifying motorists of the store's impending demise. Are these folks employees of the store who are given this duty as one last hurrah before their jobs disappear? Or are they actually hired for the express purpose of holding up the "Going out of business" sign? And if the latter, are they on official payroll, or is this under-the-table kind of stuff?

97. The US Postal Service's online package tracking thingie could use a little help. Last week I mailed two packages on the same day. While one was tracked nicely on its journey from Orchard Park to a town in Florida, the other was reported as having left the shipping center in Warrendale, PA for six days, until the notice online was finally changed to reflect that the package had been delivered at its destination address in Texas. Am I really to believe that there were zero intermediary steps between PA and TX?

98. I've got a stack of computer games here that I haven't played yet, because I've been waiting until we upgrade our computer chair and table so it's actually comfortable to sit there for the duration of a gaming session. We've been saying we were going to do this for six months. So far, it's the same crappy table and chair. Ugh. And Galactic Civilizations really looks fun, too.

99. McMansions annoy me, especially when they're packed so closely together. I'm no hermit, but why on Earth would you want to live within twenty feet of the people next door if you didn't have to?

100. I must be getting soft. It took me more than a week to come up with all these.

OK, so there are one hundred things that annoy me. Soon I'll do the opposite: one hundred things that make me happy. (No tagging, here. If you're inclined, have at it.)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amusing list, and I share many of your gripes. Two things:

On item #21: in show time, the LOST folks have only been on the island for about six weeks, and they did in fact find a cache of processed junk food fairly early in the show's run (second season maybe... can't recall). So, while Hurley should've dropped some weight simply though sweating, his girth is not as unrealistic as it might seem to non-regular viewers.

Item #58 (and you knew I'd respond to this one, didn't you?): um, I respectfully disagree. And we'll leave it at that. :)

Finally, re: item #80, the thing with LOST is that it works like a really fat, really dense novel. You can't start in the middle and you can't just watch an ep at random, or you don't get the effect. The "brilliance" (and for the record, I don't think it's brilliant, but I do think it's very good) is kind of a cumulative effect. But then I'm a big believer in the "different strokes" theory, and if something doesn't work for you, it doesn't work. For example, I've never gotten the fuss over Ron Moore's take on Galactica, which I find unrelentingly gloomy and populated with unlikable pricks...

Erin said...

I agree with Jason, RE his comments on LOST. I'm a fan, and it is definitely a cumulative thing. I was hooked from the first episode, though, so...yeah. :)

And I'm with you on Family Guy. I don't understand its unrelenting popularity.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jaquandor on Lost. I think. I liked it at first but they kept having these six week hiatuses and when it was on nothing much seemed to happen so I gave up sometime in the second season.

I agree with Jason on Galactica but I still can't quit watching it.

Kelly Sedinger said...

I didn't realize that so little time had elapsed on the show, so I'll cop on that one. As for the show in its entirety, I watched the first six or seven episodes when they aired, and I quickly got bored. I have yet to be really impressed by anything JJ Abrams writes, so that's probably the major factor.

Anonymous said...

Well, like I said, stuff either works for you or it doesn't. C'est la vie. :)

Oh, and I just realized I actually made three points instead of two, as I said at first. Doh! How embarrassing...

Anonymous said...

Count me as another one waiting with ever-less-patience for the Wonder Woman movie. When, guys, when?

Also, what you said about Family Guy, which Cartoon Network shows at a time which, here in the Central Time Zone, is often before my sons' bedtime, especially in summer. I'd just as soon not try to explain "ass-crack" to a six year old.

Becky said...

#77 - I like taking my time to read a book. A 7-day deadline for best sellers or 3 weeks for regular is pressure to do nothing but read, instead of at my leisure.

Matt said...

What a surprise that right off the bat, at #1, I'm going to have to completely disagree. I am guessing you don't have a HD TV an HD feed, which would illuminate the difference. The crispness that you get with HD is extraordinary, and Blu-Ray reproduces that on DVD. Regular DVD's look woeful by comparison.

In regular terms, it is like watching hockey on HD and then going back to analog. The difference in quality is just striking. If you want to keep your opinion about the new format, I suggest never experiencing HD.

That all said, I will be very discriminating when it comes to upgrading my library when I get a Blu-Ray player. Blu-Ray players, by the way, are supposed to increase the quality of your existing DVD's to a degree, so it won't be all for nothing.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Well, I didn't say that HD or BluRay aren't superior; I've watched demos, and boy howdy, they sure are, unless one is blind. I just don't think they're necessary, and I'm not thrilled that a new format seems to be coming round every ten years now. Eventually we'll go HD because we'll have to (especially with analog TV disappearing next year), and we'll go BluRay eventually for the same reason. But I doubt I'll be particularly thrilled about the shift, as I was when I switched from VHS to DVD.

Kelly Sedinger said...

(Although I didn't know that BluRay players make DVDs look better too, so that'll soften the blow.)

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