Life's annoyances and irritations, large and small

We do this periodically, but it’s fun and can be cathartic. And every once in a while, someone comes up with a new one.

It’s all just opinion, so mention anything you want: large or small, trivial or earth-shattering, purest evil or just part of life’s minor annoyances. Vent, rant and whine if you want, or just add to the list.

Join in and come back often!

‘Clamshell’ packaging.

Call centres.

Telemarketing in all its incarnations.

‘Card handling fee’ ‘Processing charge’ and other imaginary bits that get added on, transforming a small, reasonable fee into way more thay you were expecting.

Spam and particularly the practice of backscattering (putting an innocent person’s email address as the ‘Reply to’ address). I seriously think this should carry a ten year prison term or amputation of the hands, given how much trouble it can cause. At the moment it’s a crime that carries no penalty.

Ann Coulter. Surely one of Mengele’s experiments gone horribly wrong?

People who just cannot, will not, turn up on time for anything, no matter how important it is, or how much it inconveniences everyone.

Saturation-level crud clogging up the internet. At the moment it’s that ‘Mom / white teeth’ thing and that online medieval ‘free forever’ game that isn’t. I’m amazed that it’s actually financially viable for anyone to spend this much on ads.

Rap music. It’s just my opinion, so no need to flame.

Leafblowers. So loud, so annoying, so unnecessary.

Postal strikes. We’re having lots of these here in the UK at the moment. They just don’t make sense, even from the strikers’ point of view.

Astrology. That anyone still believes this nonsense, in this day and age, is just mindblowing, and has disturbing implications for democracy. How shall we best govern ourselves and determine how we organise our society? I know, let everyone have a say, including this person who believes that the position of Neptune is actually relevant to whether she should go for that job interview.

Rock stars and politicians who urge us all to live in a more ecologically aware way and to be more frugal, while living in 26 room mansions and being chauffeured around in limousines.

Films of live performances in which the production people want to show off their creativity at the expense of those on stage. Wonderfully choreographed music/dance performances become so chopped up, it is impossible to admire the skill of the performer(s) because the camera angle changes too often to see anything properly.

Finally got that off my chest!

my heels are dry and cracked.

does that count?

Dressing rooms with locked doors and no attendant to unlock them.

I was at Victoria’s Secret today and thought about trying a third trip to the dressing room to try something on and then decided it wasn’t worth it. I don’t like standing around waiting forever or chasing down employees all the time to let me try on the damn clothing. Either unlock the doors or have somebody nearby to unlock them. Christ!

People who show me pictures of their kids. I don’t care about your kids. I don’t want to see pictures of them. I don’t think they’re cute. I have nothing to say. This also applies to pictures of vacations. Seriously. Put 'em on Facebook and if I give a rat’s ass I’ll click on them.

People who smack their lips when they eat, or eat with their mouth open, or do both. Extra bad karma points for slobs wandering through buffets picking off their plates and licking fingers and then reaching down to pick through other food.

People who can afford to eat in a nice restaurant, but apparently cannot afford to pay two hours for a babysitter for their screeching, obnoxious brats running around the room unattended.

Drivers who will attempt to pass a truck on a freeway, but then drive the same speed as the truck for 30 miles, causing a huge back up behind them. Usually the driver is wearing a straw hat and his wife is knitting in the seat next to him and giving dirty looks to the hundred of drivers giving her the finger when they can finally squeeze by.

Texting…seriously, exactly how important is it that you have to stop whatever you are doing and immediately text back? Are you on call at the Mayo Clinic? If not, finish the sentence you were uttering first…

Vampires and Zombies…I hate to break the news, but they are not real, even if some look hot without shirts. Please - somebody give me a silver bullet or wooden stake and let me kill off this stupid fad in movies/books/TV shows.

Who the fuck is Kate and Jon? I don’t know anything about them, and don’t care if they are eaten by wolves. Stop reporting on them.

Is it mandatory that every Country singer wear a cowboy hat? Even on stage in NYC or LA? Expecting a big storm to hit? Or do you really think we believe you rode here on a horse and didn’t fly in on a Lear Jet?

And every bad-ass rap/hip hop/gangsta asshole - pointing to the sky and praising Jesus when you win some dumbass music award doesn’t make up for the fact that you are still ignorant, sexist, homophobic dickwads. BTW, the 37 pounds of jewelry isn’t “bling”, it makes you look like a novice drag queen.

Sarah Palin. She is the perfect example of what happens when education is no longer a priority in the USA. It scares me to think how close she got - and it doesn’t bode well for the future. The fact that so many felt, and some still feel, that she has the qualifications and brains to lead a girl scout troop, let alone a country, is scary, depressing and mind-boggling.

My attempts to join a new PbP Dungeons and Dragons game. All I wanted was to play a class of below-average power, using a race of below-average power that the DM wasn’t initially familiar with. But apparently this was too scary for the DM, who decided I would only be allowed to use the race if the only benefit to playing the race and the only reason why I wanted to play the race was removed, sending it from “under-powered” to “put it out of its misery”.

Toilet cubicles that are so small you have to straddle the toilet in order to close the door.

When you’re reading a guide to some physical activity, say skiing or guitar playing, and they say things like “your forearm should be parallel to the ground”. That is not specific, guys. This is basic geometry-- your forearm is a line, the ground is a plane. A line parallel to a given plane can still point in an infinite number of directions. You need to specify another line that it is parallel to, or a plane + direction. Or they say “keep the pole [a line] perpendicular to your arm [another line]”. But a line perpendicular to another line can have any orientation.

I seem to read/watch a lot of this kind of stuff, and they almost all do this. I think in their mind it is perfectly clear what they mean, and they are entirely unaware of how vague they’re being.

Ximenean - good call. We can file this under the broader category of directions/instructions that only work if you already know what you’re doing. There’s a lot of this around. My job used to be information transfer/documentation, so I know that it can be hard to cover all the bases. But still, some people just don’t make the effort.

A friend of mine recently had a little social get-together and I wanted to support it so I went along, or at least I tried to. The problem was that the guy had recently moved to a new apartment, and his emailed ‘directions’ about how to find his new place only made sense if you already knew the area perfectly and knew where to go. His directions included phrases like ‘go to the end of Name Street’, which could steer people either in the correct direction or the exact opposite. He was literally taking calls all evening from people on their cell phones asking ‘How do we find you?’.

Software is a special case. Some of it comes with great documentation that really helps you find your way. Most of it does not. I spent a large part of this year learning how to use Pro Tools music equipment. The software is great. Trying to learn how to use it genuinely stressful and painful. There are hundreds of pages of documentation, and pretty much all of it just sends you round in circles, saying ‘To learn more about X, see Y on page Z’, and when you get to that page, it signposts you on to another page. Even with an expert friend who kindly spent two sessions showing me the basics, it took me months to get the hang of the system, and I’m a quick learner when it comes to software.

DirecTV - I called to find out about canceling our service. First call - specifically told there would be no fee (contrary to my suspicions); second call, when we decided to actually cancel - $300 fee. Wha? Third call, later that week - $120 fee. WTF is going on over there?

Related but broader: call center people who seem to think it’s a great idea to wear their headset microphone oriented toward their forehead or something. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been mashing my phone into my ear, struggling to hear these tools, and when I say I can’t hear them, suddenly they become crystal clear and loud: “Is this better?” If you knew instantly how to make it better, why don’t you just do that in the first place?!

Second on the leaf blowers. It’s called a rake - look into it. Doesn’t make you deaf, wake the whole neighborhood, and simply randomly distribute the leaves in a slightly different pattern.

Well, I understand the leaf blower concept - you have landscaping companies that service dozen of homes per day, they ain’t gonna be fooling around w/ a rake - in my area it’s fine, as the crews blow the leaves into the curb, and then sweep up the leaves from the curb (I guess in other areas the leaves get left in the curb, but I’ve never seen that in watching crews service lawns in the area hundreds of times). I rake my own lawn, but again, the landscapers don’t start particularly early and don’t end particularly late.

The construction downtown. Hurry up and put the streets back together, I want my goddamn bus stop back!

Chaperones at work. I know watching ten kids at once is hard, but for God’s sake, at least TRY. Don’t just stand 20 yards away gabbing with other adults, while the kids are running around and getting hurt. We had one group today that didn’t actually have assigned chaperones, and the kids (while well-behaved) didn’t know where to go. Come on, guys. This isn’t freaking rocket science. This is a large building with lots of places to get lost in. WORK WITH US.

The Chipotle nearby that doesn’t stay open past 4:00 PM. What the hell?

When the dryer doesn’t dry my clothes all the way. Dangit, I need these clothes DRY, not slightly damp!

People who just stare at me when I tell them something. I’m not a signboard, stop treating me like one.

The slightest breeze making my umbrella useless. What’s the point in even having one?

You know, don’t you, that keeping the barriers high to valuable skills is often all that assures their continued value? 90% of the world runs on bullshit, and the 10% that doesn’t depends on the 90% that does.