Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It's been a while, but I've kept busy with school and purchasing unfinished furniture. I also recently was kidnapped by a Colombian drug smuggler and he told me to update this with some of those year-end lists everyone does and I said, "But mine won't be just for this year, they'll be more general stuff," and he said, "No funny business, mistah Pistachio," which is what I told him my name was, "or those words will be your last." He later told me he was kidding about everything but I really did need to give him some kind of lists or he would kill my family. So here they are: one list of things that suck and one list of things I hate.

Things That Suck

1. Multi-part problems

It’s exciting to be assigned problems 31-32 for homework. It’s not exciting to find that each of those problems has parts a-j. It’s like expecting an easy day at your job of bagging groceries only to see the cast of Phat Girlz waddling through the door. That’s a lot of extra work.

2. Having homework in 5 classes, so you take home 5 notebooks and books, but each assignment will take less than 10 minutes
3. Turning the alarm back on on Sunday night
4. Noticing a lack of toilet paper after the dump

It’s a bad time no matter which route you take: screaming for mom or hobbling into the hallway, hoping nothing too big drips out.

5. Noticing a lack of shampoo once in the shower

The disappointing “pfff” and light spritz of goo from the bottle is far too similar to an old woman’s flatulence for my taste.

6. Getting out of the shower and there’s no towel

Lurking around nude is great, but doing it while dripping wet is awful.

7. Under-ripe bananas

Seriously, Del Monte, if I wanted to eat chalk I would have purchased it.

8. Over-ripe bananas

C’mon, Del Monte. Where was my reminder to eat it? It looked fine on the outside, but looked less like a Costa Rican banana and more like a Magic Johnson banana on the inside.

9. Hard pears
10. Hard peaches

It’s disappointing not only because they taste like tennis balls, but because you know it had the potential to be tasty if you had just waited two more days.

11. MTV.com

Just loading this site requires a $6,000 computer and two days. Then navigating it takes a team of 15th-century cartographers, all to watch The Hills. It’s still worth it, though.

12. Thinking you have a huge turd, but it’s just a series of farts

Perhaps the world’s ultimate disappointment. It is bittersweet, though, as the bowl provides excellent acoustics for said series of farts.

13. The Real World
14. People who summarize episodes of Family Guy or South Park
15. Having to download drivers for computer components
16. Crocs

Shoes made of Styrofoam? Yeah, that’s a good idea.

17. Teachers who justify assignments with, “This is an honors class”

That’s good to know, teach. If anyone actually cared they would probably have done the work in the first place.

18. Sitting on my testicles
19. Being asked to save the changes to document 1
20. When nothing good comes in the mail
21. Annoying girls who think they’re funny
22. Drivers who follow too closely
23. All-text pages in history books
24. Females with bangs

It’s never looked good on any woman. I have no idea why they try this.

25. Getting into an incredibly hot car that’s been in the sun all day
26. Writers born before 1900

Why am I discouraged from run-on sentences when those are the only kind of sentence these guys knew how to write?

27. People who aren’t good at Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Everyone’s been playing them since 1999. If you can't pull of a 100,000 point combo easily there’s something wrong with you.

28. When Microsoft Word asks me if I want to save changes to a document I haven’t altered
29. When someone orders a beverage other than water when splitting the check at a restaurant
30. Magazines wrapped in plastic at grocery stores

I’m not supposed to try it out before I buy it? What’s next, wrapping up food so I can’t eat it at the store?

31. Dane Cook
32. Double issues of magazines that mean next week’s issue doesn’t exist
33. Wide-ruled paper

Especially wide-ruled composition notebooks, which seem to be the only ones stores carry. Office Depot thinks I should be writing lab reports in crayon.

34. Amy Winehouse
35. When reading Newsweek, being assaulted guerilla-style by that ad with the kids with the screwed up lips
36. People under the age of 18 who care about politics or think they can make a difference in the world

Your school fundraiser will not solve anything and you’re wasting your time.

37. Hardcore liberals
38. When the mainstream media discusses videogames and has no idea what it’s talking about
39. The environmentalist fad
40. Teachers who take classroom games too seriously

I’m referring to the ones who make students say “What is…” in Jeopardy. They’re awful people.

41. Gamestop employees

I was there the other day to buy Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2 and an employee started talking to my brother and me about how he’s embarrassed for owning Outlaw Golf. He was a nice guy, but I didn’t really care about his videogame collection. The problem is with all the other employees, who collectively know less about videogames than the world’s oldest man knows about Webkinz.

42. Movie theaters that don’t show "The 20"
43. Non-stadium seating in movie theaters
44. When people leave the speakers on on school computers

Does everyone need to know that I have mail? Yes. Do they need to know I use AOL? No.

45. Rolling Stone magazine
46. People who hold up cell phones at concerts

It’s embarrassing to watch and will be embarrassing for whoever does it in a few years.

47. Getting out of the shower only to notice a patch of soapy skin left un-rinsed
48. People who use the acronym APUSH
49. Holly Hunter’s voice

Good god, please pick a gender.

50. People who think it’s funny to act gay

According to the almanacs it stopped being funny in elementary school.

51. The Secret
52. Raven Symone
53. Capri pants
54. The annual shortage of book covers
55. Freakonomics

Some startling statistics that were left out of the book: Most Americans own a television; ears are usually used for hearing; and serial killers are more likely than regular people to commit murder.

56. MAD Magazine
57. People who call other people “buddy”

If you’ve ever been called “buddy” by someone, you know that they’re not a friend of yours and never will be. If you’ve ever called someone “buddy,” realize now that you don’t have any real friends and you’re the only person who thinks you’re awesome.

58. When pockets get stuck on kitchen drawer knobs
59. Shirts that are supposed to be funny
60. Having a boner while doing the V-sit

I guess having a boner at any inopportune moment usually sucks. I recall sporting one at least before the V-sit, but it might have gone into hiding during the act. I also recall doing some presentation in 6th grade health class with a pelvis-stalagmite. That was the last time I ever wore athletic shorts to school.

61. Comedians who talk about Indians working tech support
62. Crappy chain restaurants

This includes Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and anywhere else that serves mozzarella sticks. Chili’s is excluded because it’s okay.

63. Peeing with an erection

A faulty grip while doing this once resulted in a bathroom floor covered in urine.

64. Capture the Football
65. Unwanted people who tag along
66. Paper crusties
67. Unintelligent kids who get mad at other students for doing well on tests
68. 0.5 pencil lead

It’s more brittle than Betty White’s bones.

69. Group members who want to present last

Anyone with a brain will tell you that going second is the best way to do it.

70. Red Lobster
71. iPod headphones
72. Math and science word problems that contain multiple sentences of completely unnecessary information.

Unless they’re silly, like most physics problems. Specifically those with curious kittens, the world’s largest salami, or a highly skilled and trained elephant named Sammi. I really like the ones written by Billy Rochester.

73. Hyphenated last names
74. Parents who give their children untraditional names
75. Bicyclists on the road
76. Awkward car rides with friends’ parents
77. Stuffy noses
78. Changing the channel to a good show right as it goes to commercial
79. When Microsoft Word randomly screws up the format of a document
80. Having to walk without the bike in Pokemon
81. Frequent random battles when trying to go somewhere quickly in Pokemon
82. Starbucks, specifically its customers, specifically the ones who drink it at school

Are we supposed to be impressed you went to Starbucks? Nothing impresses me more than someone waking up extra early to wait in line for expensive coffee that she finishes before first period but keeps the cup until the end of the day.

83. Holding in farts

Our society will reach its zenith when people can fart in public at their leisure.

84. People who say “Present” when a teacher calls role

These kids tend to expect a laugh afterwards and are usually met with rewarding silence.

85. Kids who correct substitutes or tell them their nicknames when she’s calling role

These kids tend to be the same ones who wear Crocs, put pencils behind their ears, and say “present” during role.

86. Being asked a question in class that you don’t know
87. Having to flip the page over to complete a problem on a worksheet or test
88. Non-pornographic websites that have pornographic ads
89. Most stop signs in Windward
90. Tests with fewer than 25 questions
91. Arriving at traffic lights just as they turn red
92. Multiple choice questions with more than one correct answer
93. When people do a trivial task for you, like picking up a pencil, and rudely say, “You’re welcome.”
94. When your calculator decides to not work at the beginning of a math test

Or when you type in a problem before noticing that it’s not on.

95. Awkward conversations with relatives you barely know
96. When people show you something they made or wrote, expecting a compliment, and it sucks

It’s an awkward spot that could have been avoided if that person didn’t write such an awful poem.

97. Opening PDFs without realizing they’re PDFs

Almost no PDF is worth the 15-minute wait.

98. Cars that speed up to pass you for no apparent reason
99. When the person sitting in front of you doesn’t pass back the worksheet
100. When your pen explodes while playing with it during a lecture
101. Spilling things

Especially food.

102. Teachers at lunch who yell at students for not throwing away their lunches
103. Being completely out of clean boxers or undershirts
104. Doing all the work on a group project
105. Forgetting things
106. Realizing you got a question wrong on a test immediately after turning it in
107. When the school blocks non-pornographic websites for pornography
108. Teachers who justify homework on weekends saying that you have more time

Yeah, more time for eating peanut butter sandwiches and watching America’s Next Top Model.

109. When cleaning people re-arrange all your stuff
110. Waiting at restaurants

Especially at crappy chain restaurants that hand out flashing coasters. Those are never worth it.

111. Accidentally shitting your pants
112. Waiting rooms
113. Blood tests

Why do they take so much? How many steaks do they have to marinate?

114. When the doctor asks your mom questions about you when you’re perfectly able to answer them
115. Sticky boxers after a wet fart
116. People who talk while the teacher is talking
117. Shorts without pockets
118. Frozen foods that melt way too fast

Especially DiGiorno pizzas.

119. Hearing a teacher say, “You don’t have to write that down,” immediately after you have
120. Typing entire URLs

It seems the USA Today and many teachers are unaware of Internet searches.

121. Food melting in a car or pocket
122. Realizing the note you just wrote down is completely useless
123. Braces
124. When the section of the newspaper you want is no where to be found
125. The “ae” combo in words like “Caesar” and “daemon”

I run into each of those words at least four times a day and I still have trouble.

126. When the Internet doesn’t work

In fact, as I write this, it currently does not. The next best thing to do with the Internet is down is play Xbox Live, but that doesn’t work either. So you’re left with newspapers, magazines, the phonograph, and Microsoft Word. Life without the Internet is terrible. I often wonder how people in the 19th century downloaded movies.

127. The school’s online databases

Librarians, it seems, are unaware of most things on the Internet. Those databases are about as useful to my research paper as a donut covered in barbed wire and deep fried in whale blood. What? I don’t know.

128. Stop signs or red lights at the bottom of steep hills
129. Long telephone conversations

30 seconds should be the universal limit. That’s all that’s ever necessary.

130. When girls you don’t particularly like instigate conversations that aren’t particularly interesting
131. Being instant messaged by someone you don’t like
132. Long instant messenger conversations

Everyone knows it’s just for reading away messages and finding MySpace and Facebook links.

133. When you can’t find the remote
134. Commercials that are much louder than the others
135. When you can’t hear the person on the other end of the phone
136. Microsoft Word’s incorrect grammar corrections
137. Waking up with a dry mouth
138. Being woken up by a ringing phone
139. Waiting at the bus stop
140. After getting your hopes up, the waiter carrying a big tray of food walks right past your table

Unless it’s at a crappy chain restaurant, in which case I can wait a few more minutes for my steak fajitas to be microwaved.

141. Squeezing a testicle when holding in a fart

Holding in farts is never a good idea. It leads to squeezed testicles, stomach aches, or a build-up of pressure that results in projectile diarrhea. Only one of those three things is desirable.

142. Stopping for school busses
143. When every channel is on a commercial at the same time
144. Unsatisfactory dumps

If there’s not at least three big cigars and a cup of beef stew in the bowl, I leave unfulfilled.

145. Having to move the TV to get to the inputs in the back
146. Hearing a sexual reference when watching TV with your parents
147. Having a really itchy cornhole in class
148. Sitting behind a desk that doesn’t have a footrest
149. Desks without armrests
150. Getting bits of food (specifically peach fibers) stuck in your teeth
151. Awkward nipple hairs
152. Noticing stains on clothing several hours into the day
153. When you rip off a piece of tape and it pulls some paper off with it
154. Staples that don’t go all the way through
155. Rug burns
156. When the phone rings while home alone and taking a dump

You have to either risk it not being important and ignore it or waddle to the phone and risk leaving a stained trail of drippings that will last a lifetime.

157. When guests don’t get the hint that you want them out of your house
158. Noticing a good TV show is on and it’s got 2 minutes left
159. Walking with an open backpack
160. The unclean feeling from being outside for a long time

I mean when you don’t do anything physical; you’re just outside for a few hours and feel dirty. I don’t like that.

161. Briefly feeling like you’re the only person who doesn’t know what’s going on in math class
162. Thinking a woman is attractive from afar, but upon closer inspection she’s either very young or very old
163. Spilling water everywhere when filling a cup and eating out of the fridge at the same time

The left hand is on the cup, the right hand is in the fruit bowl in the fridge, and your focus is on the tasty fruit. This can result in disaster.

164. How the most interesting pieces on the news are shown last
165. Waiting for things to arrive in the mail
166. Eating a sandwich and thinking you’re half done, then opening your lunch bag to discover both halves have been eaten
167. When your locker doesn’t open
168. Getting a long string of the same answer on a multiple choice test
169. Hard taco shells

Eating out of a vessel that will shatter after the first bite doesn’t seem like a good idea.

170. Half-sheets of paper towels

Our culture has adapted to the standard size of paper towels. When a roll of half-sheets suddenly appears, it confuses everyone and causes a lot of spills to go half-dry.

171. Holidays that we don’t get off from school, but the mail doesn’t come
172. Flies
173. Most bands whose names start with “the”
174. Pleasantries
175. Bumping into people and then juking each other in the halls
176. Timers on lamps

When you’re trying to go to sleep they stay on too long and when you’re staying up they go off too soon. They shouldn’t exist.

177. People who sit completely upright in theater seats

It’s not even comfortable, so they’re just doing it to piss everyone off.

178. When the toilet flush is really loud at night and lasts for a while making it difficult to hear the TV
179. Emergency alerts that interrupt television
180. People who assume you always have gum
181. Crumbs
182. Double-sided worksheets
183. Going past the desired input on your TV, forcing you to click through them all again
184. Sunburns
185. Seeing people you vaguely know from school at their workplace
186. When people start to say something then stop and refuse to say what they were about to

Man, that’s annoying. When they do eventually reveal it, it’s always a let-down.

187. Awkward stopping and starting with another car at a four-way stop
188. Burps that feel like there’s vomit following
189. Commercials with doorbell noises

How is it any different from that amendment about shouting “fire” in a theater?

190. Accidentally tearing a sheet out of your binder
191. Car accidents
192. Buying a car
193. Car salesmen
194. When your mom cooks bacon in the microwave and it smells like bacon all day
195. Driving with your parents in the car after you have been awarded a license
196. Pears that seem fine until you bite into them and find that they’re completely rotten
197. Interviewers who go out of their way to note that the subject laughed at one of the questions
198. Misplacing your glasses
199. The obsession with the term “fresh” in food marketing

Do they think I assume all food that isn’t labeled as such is spoiled?

200. When people offer you food that you don’t want or you aren’t hungry and they make a big deal about it
201. People who dart out of classrooms without looking to see if anyone is about to run directly into them
202. Realizing your calculator is in radians after re-doing a problem ten times
203. Answers.com
204. When your parents talk loudly on the phone in the same room in which you’ve been watching TV for 20 minutes
205. Family gatherings
206. Interviewers who think they’re funny, especially when interviewing a comedian and forcing him or her to give a pity laugh
207. Websites that expect you to pay for content

There are few things in the world worth $4.95, and a 117-word New York Times article from 1971 isn’t one of them.

208. How clothing stores only carry pants in circus tent sizes
209. Extra dumps

The standard one per morning routine seems to work fine six days a week, but there’s always that extra day when my body feels like bothering me and I have to get rid of any left-overs in a second round.

210. Running a banana peel through the disposal

If you’ve never done this before, don’t. It’s the most horrible noise there is. It’s like Satan is laughing at you while playing Sounds of the Holocaust, Volume II.

211. The overtype feature in Word

I can’t think of a single time when this would be useful.

212. Being stuck walking behind someone you don’t want to talk to while knowing that if you walk in front of them they will spring a conversation on you
213. Websites that split one article onto multiple pages
214. Learning about bills that never went into effect in History

Things I Hate

1. The word “comedienne”

Why is this necessary? There are, what, eight female comedians who actually turn a profit? (Nine if counting Paula Poundstone) Why have this word? At least the only time it’s ever used is in magazine articles written by someone who had obviously never heard of comedy before being assigned the article.

2. Viral marketing

Since the entertainment industry recently found out people use the Internet, they decided to make a bunch of fake crappy websites that are supposed to be cool or something, but usually only hold the viewer’s interest for six seconds. I guess the term viral makes sense because they’re really annoying.

3. Gears of War

What a terrible videogame. If there’s anything I like more than Halo it’s a worse version of it that has two playable online maps.

4. “Dani California”

It was cool the first three hundred times.

5. People who don’t understand basic concepts in on-level science classes

I suppose this category could be extended to include all stupid people, but these ones are particularly obnoxious.

6. People who put pencils behind their ears

These people are usually really stupid and need the pencil behind their ears to either attempt to appear intelligent or they just missed when trying to stab themselves when trying an on-level science worksheet.

7. Mischa Barton

Eh, not for me.

8. People who use Comic Sans

I think the comic it’s referring to is something out of Highlights for Children. Choosing this font tends to be the most creative things its users have done in the last decade.

9. When USA Today italicizes song titles

Students are taught these rules almost every year and they aren’t challenging in the first place. I should also include the Associated Press’s policy of listing series as: thing 1, thing 2 and thing 3; instead of: thing 1, thing 2, and thing 3. If thing 2 and 3 are as separate as thing 1 and 2 are, why aren’t they separated with a comma? It doesn’t make any sense.

10. Laptop keyboards

Some people prefer these, but some people also eat hair for a living. It you like typing on a flat surface, you should make a computer out of floor.

11. Crankshaft

Not the comic strip; the art is good. Just the character Ed Crankshaft. That guy is a prick.

12. Apple fans

I think everyone hates them. Supporting Apple is like supporting a 5” black and white analog TV that costs $15,000 because it’s expensive.

13. The Big Lebowski

It’s not a very good movie.

14. The Big Lebowski fans

It’s really not funny at all.

15. Having my glasses fog up when stepping outside on a humid day

Of all the bad things humidity is responsible for, this is the worst. Seriously, water, I’ve got things to see.

16. People who dislike an entire genre of music without a good reason

You never hear someone say, “No, I don’t like comedies,” when talking about movies. At least have a reason for hating a genre of music. Personally, I hate country music. Because it’s annoying.

17. Sarcastic sentences than start with “I love how” or “I love it when”

These are a simple way for a very stupid girl to think she’s funny and force pity laughs out of her friends. It benefits no one and wastes a few seconds of everyone’s time. These are usually the same girls who say, “Just kidding” after getting a question embarrassingly wrong in class.

18. People who misuse apostrophes

At least it’s a quick indicator of that person’s intellect.

19. Jewel’s snaggletooth

Good god, that thing is disgusting. A moderately famous singer should be able to have that thing tamed, caged, and sent far away. Instead of having a piece of spinach stuck in her teeth, it’s like she’s got a head of lettuce permanently crammed in there.

20. The verb “to bogart”

I heard it on a TV show and it infuriated me. I think it means “to keep for oneself” but it’s much hipper. Because Humphrey Bogart used to keep stuff? I don’t know.

21. The term “fro-yo”

I’ve only seen this used once, but that was plenty. Why not abbreviate other trendy foods? Grilled chicken will be “grill chick,” pizza will be “piz,” and baked Alaska will be “bakal,” which sounds just like bagel and will confuse everyone.

22. People who misuse “ironic”

People tend to use it to describe coincidences, which are not ironic. At least it’s a quick indicator of whether or not someone is as smart as they think they are.

23. Unrealistic Christmas gift recommendations that pop up in magazines and newspapers every year.

The USA Today has been running a series of these guides all through December. Now, USA Today is a very common newspaper that costs 75 cents; it is by no means an expensive publication. But its writers are still under the impression that the paper’s main audience is a club of oil tycoons and antebellum aristocrats. Let’s take a look at their recommendations for a gift for a grandson. I fall into this category, and I have received Christmas gifts from my grandparents for multiple years, but I have never been given a $230 crappy iPod portable media player. According to the industrialists at the paper, $230 is a mid-range gift. The bargain gift, to me, implies something purchased at CVS for less than $10, but to the Today it is a $30 Transformers chess set, an easy way to make a grandchild quickly lose the few friends he had. The expensive gift is a $625 tweed blazer. The problem with that is that any kid who would enjoy that is already such a spoiled idiot that he probably already has one.

After I realized the USA Today’s unreasonable obsession with wealth, I decided to read this week’s Newsweek, a fine magazine. It was a good issue (Mike Luckovich hit another home run!) until I got to a certain Ms. Linda Stern’s article. Entitled “De-Stressing Christmas,” it paints Ms. Stern as Cathy from the comic strip, a stereotypically obese 30-something who freaks out when she realizes she just downed her sixth sleeve of Oreos. Linda Stern seems like she often grabs her hair and shouts frazzled exclamations like “Oh my gosh!” when it’s completely unnecessary.

The first section of the article is “Give time, not things.” It recommends “taking nieces or nephews on an outing to a museum or skating rink, with an ice-cream or cocoa stop.” Wow, what a horrible idea. It seems Ms. Stern never had a childhood, because if she did she’d know that unwrapping a trip to a museum on Christmas morning would be awful, mainly because it isn’t possible. A museum? Maybe if the tour ended with a Toys R Us shopping spree or something, but otherwise we have field trips for that kind of thing, Aunt Linda. I’d rather sit at home crying about not getting a real gift from you than go to the museum.

The next section recommends “skipping gifts for adults.” Nothing cements a friendship like ignoring kindness and tradition. She reminds us we can donate to a charity in someone’s name, which is a good idea, but she also suggests taking a day trip, which is what I guess 30-year old friends who don’t really know each other but just hang out because they don’t have anyone else call hanging out.

Next up is “Make a game of giving,” where Linda essentially summarizes Secret Santa. She says, “Set a $5 or $10 limit and see how creative everyone can get.” What kind of person would unwrap a dollar store figurine with some pipe cleaners and googly eyes on it and appreciate the creativity?

Finally, Linda tells us to “pick and choose” activities instead of getting bogged down and crying like Ms. Stern seems to do. She recommends eliminating the harsh burdens of the holidays with fun, like a “multi-generation photo labeling session.” Incredible. I would rather have Linda Stern read me more of her zany ideas for an hour while a polar bear eats off my face and my genitalia is attached to a medieval stretching device in a room full of rotting animal carcasses during the Spanish Inquisition than that.

The December 12th edition of the USA Today featured perhaps the most illogical gift recommendation ever written. Here’s the question:

I have an 18-year-old granddaughter who lives more than 300 miles away, so I don’t get to see her much. She plays and views all sports. Since sports are not my bag, I have no idea what to get her. Can you suggest something between $20 and $40?
-Dot Hanson, Skippack, Pa.

It’s a pretty standard question and most of the five suggestions make sense. But Amy Tara Koch apparently isn’t much of a reader. She’s the style and beauty editor of iVillage.com, a site you know is hip because it starts with a lower-case I (she’s listed as a “gift expert” in the article, a title that applies to anybody who can form opinions and look at stuff). Here’s her answer:

Buy your daughter four tickets to a University of Pennsylvania basketball game. Package the tickets with $10 worth of snack to eat at the game. Tickets are $5.

So let’s tally that up. Four tickets at $5 each is $20. $10 of snacks takes the total to $30, which is right in Dot’s zone. Now let’s just factor in four 300 mile plane tickets to take the granddaughter to Pennsylvania, and the grand total is a Christmas bargain at $1446, practically a stocking stuffer.

Okay, Mr. Escobar, is that sufficient? You said you wanted it long, right?

"Like a dong."

Long like a dong?

"Is that so wrong?"

As wrong as playing Pong in a thong, Mr. Escobar.

"Enough with the funny business. For that, you owe me three New Year's resolutions."

Okay, okay, just please put the knife away. Here are three New Year's resolutions for you, sir:

1. I pledge to grow at least six inches taller. People could save a lot of time if they just grew taller instead of trying to lose weight.

2. I'll try, no, I will eat an airplane in one bite.

3. A thousand more wishes. This genie severely underestimated my smarts.

That's all for now.