10 Things I Hate Part 31


1 – I hate when I’m stopped in traffic and decide to be nice by letting someone in from a driveway or side street, only to have them twiddle their thumbs about it. When I decide to let you in, it’s a limited time offer. I’m not going to wait all day for you to mosey into traffic. I’m being nice here! Take advantage of it now or I’ll ram you! I actually get annoyed when people pantomime-ask if they can sneak in front of me when it’s obvious that was my intention. I tend to ruin any goodwill derived from being nice with my impatience.

2 – I hate when I pull into a parking lot to find a bunch of people parked over the lines like total assholes, then, when I come out from the store, all the other assholes are gone and I’m the only one parked like an asshole. I want to shout to anyone in earshot, “There were a bunch of assholes here who made me park like this when I got here! I swear, I’m not normally an asshole!” Then I quickly get in my car and leave in shame before I get any more “you’re an asshole” looks.

This is a picture of a former coworker‘s normal parking job, but it illustrates my point.

3 – I hate when the car behind me honks and the car in front of me thinks I was the one who did it. If I honk, you’ll know it. I don’t like being blamed for someone else’s actions, even if it is just a honk.

4 – Website pop up boxes on mobile phones. I hate visiting a site on my phone only to have a box pop up say, “sign up to our email list, get a free case of the herpes!” It’s annoying, but simple enough to click on the X when you’re on a computer. This easy task becomes nearly impossible on a phone. It takes a ton of scrolling and zooming just to find the X, let alone click the damn thing. By that time, I’ve forgotten why I even went to the website in the first place.

5 – Strangely labeled bathrooms. Ladies and gentlemen, men and women, even guys and gals, or simply this will work:

jTxErLpTEI don’t want to have to think about which room to use. I just want to pee. I can’t stand nonsense like this:

31barcelonast9 33petitpalaisth6

A full bladder tends to blot out my symbols knowledge, so I don’t know off-hand whether I’m an arrow or a cross. Neither of those is particularly intuitive of the female anatomy. Using logic, I’d say I’m a cross since that’s where the arrow would aim like a target, but I don’t want to have to use logic or think of my lady bits as a target just to pee. If you’re going to use a symbol, please, put words there, too.

6 – Vacuuming. I hate it. I also hate the word since it’s hard to spell. Does any word really need two Us in a row? Greedy. Anyway, with carpet, a dog and a cat, I have no choice but to vacuum every week. I probably should vacuum more than that, but once a week is standard. When I empty the canister–a task I find both disgusting and oddly satisfying–there’s enough fur in there to build another dog/cat from scratch every week.

7 – People who don’t understand how lines (or queues for my peeps over the pond) work. At convenience stores, 7‑Eleven in particular, it’s an unwritten rule that the queue goes along the counter away from the door. This is a diagram of the layout of your typical 7‑Eleven and the way the line is supposed to work with the black dots representing people:

Screen shot 2015-06-25 at 4.14.39 PM

Most of the time it works that way, but then comes the outlier who is somehow completely unfamiliar with the rules of convenience stores and lines up through the aisles like so:

Screen shot 2015-06-25 at 4.12.55 PM

Which of course causes everyone else to go into a panic thinking that maybe they’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. NO. I don’t care how gross those hot dogs on rollers look, you stand there. It’s the unwritten rule. Line up by the rolling hot dogs, dammit!

8 – Work meetings. I had forgotten how awful they are. At my old job, say I needed to go over something with my boss or vice versa, I would walk into his office and ask if he had a minute. If he said no, he’d call me when he did. If he said yes, I would sit down in one of the several chairs there, explain the situation and get a verdict. The whole process would take no more than a half an hour, usually 10-15 minutes.

At my current job, in addition to the process outlined above, we also have monthly production meetings, which are scheduled in advance, include everyone involved in production (that’s at least 8 regular and 4 or so rotating), take at least an hour, and accomplish precisely nothing except wasting an hour. But we all get typed up meeting minutes afterward so we can show how little we actually accomplished.

The worst is that instead of having the meeting in the conference room where there are plenty of chairs, the manager holds it in her office where there are only five chairs. If you don’t get their early or bring your own chair, you don’t sit.

9 – Extremely obtrusive panhandlers. I don’t mind if you ask me for change when I’m walking into a store, but do not come up to my car, knock on the window, and demand money from me like I owe you. No. You get nothing. Or worse, get indignant about it when I say no.

10 – Lists that claim to have 10 things on them, but then when you read them, there are only 9. It throws my mental calculations, such as they are, all off. Can’t you count or are you just lazy?

More Things I Hate

People Of The Dog Park Part 4


With the exception of terribly inclement weather or illness, I take my dog to the off-leash dog park every night. I do this because I don’t have a yard, and other than walking her five miles a day (which I’m not likely to do because I’m lazy and who has time for that?), it’s really the only way she gets any exercise. Plus, the social interaction is important, since dogs are pack animals. Also, I’m a total sucker. Around 5:30 pm on any given day, my dog starts pacing. She won’t stop pacing until we go to the dog park.

Below are the rules posted on the gate of my dog park. They might as well be in Sumerian for all they’re read and adhered to. Today’s list of dog park people deals with violators of these rules.


Rule #1


There are many people who break this rule since navigating the dog park is like navigating a mine field where the mines are piles of crap instead of incendiary devices. Sometimes, your dog poops and you don’t notice it. It happens. This is when the people I call the Poop Patrol step in. They will let you know all about your dog’s poop. There always seems to be one member of the Poop Patrol on duty at any given time.

There’s one Poop Patroller at my dog park who speaks with a thick eastern European accent of some sort; possibly German, but I don’t want to presume. It seems she spends most of her time scanning for pooping dogs. Mid-poop, she will let you know you need to clean up after your dog by saying “You dog take a crap.” It sounds a lot like “you dowg tik a crep,” and then she’ll point to where the offending pile is. If you don’t immediately move to clean it up, she’ll repeat “you dowg tik a crep” until you do.

Rule #2


This one is probably the single most broken rule on the list. About half of the dogs at the park at any given time don’t have collars on for whatever reason. Out of the ones who are wearing collars, over half of those don’t have ID tags or licenses on them. I reckon less than 10% of all dogs that go to the dog park actually wear collars with license tags. My dog is part of that 10%.

One day, there was a dog loitering outside the gate without a human. Someone let him inside, because it was safer than having him wander the streets. He was wearing a collar and a leash, but there was no tag or license. What is the point of putting a collar on a dog if there’s no identifying information on it?

Almost an hour later, his owners showed up. They were moving from one apartment to another and had tied the dog to the fence, whereupon he Houdini’d his way loose.

If they had put an ID tag on him, we could have called and they would have had their dog back immediately. Instead, they drove around frantically looking for their dog for almost two hours.

Rule #6


I cannot even begin to tell you how many dog balls I’ve seen at the dog park. I’m sure there are a lot of female dogs who haven’t been spayed at the dog park, too, but they’re harder to spot what with the lack of dangly balls.

The reason for rule #6 is that a lot of times, spayed or neutered dogs don’t take kindly to dogs with balls. It riles them all up, and that’s how some dog fights start. Can you really blame them?

Anyway, bringing a dog with balls into the dog park is against the law, but people do it all the time. They don’t fix their dogs for any number of reasons. Often, it’s expense, laziness or ignorance. Sometimes, they intend to breed them, because we totally need more amateur breeders in the world.

A lot of times, they’re waiting for their dogs to get old enough to neuter them. The people in that last category think you shouldn’t neuter a dog until they’re at least a year old or older. I don’t know what the correct procedure for ball-choppage is, since it’s been a very long time since I had a male dog, but I know many male dogs who were neutered before a year old and their heads didn’t explode or anything. The animal shelter spayed my dog when she was a month old, which by all accounts is far too young, and she’s fine, too.

In any event, whatever your opinion on the right age to spay or neuter, please, do. Also, please, don’t bring your intact dog to the dog park, for his or her own safety, if nothing else.

Rule #7


Pffft. That’s funny.

My dog has a best friend who is almost her doppelgänger. Every time they’re there together, they play and they play hard. If you don’t know the dogs, you’d think they were actually trying to kill each other, but they’ve been playing like that for over two years and they love each other.

One day, my dog and her friend were playing when a stupid little Boston terrier decided he didn’t like their shenanigans and wanted to break it up. My dog is 70 lbs. Her best friend is over 80 lbs. The Boston terrier was small even for a Boston terrier. I’d say he wasn’t even 20 lbs. Derp.

So, this little shit went up to my much larger dog and bit her hind leg. My dog never starts a fight, but she’ll damn well finish one, so she went after the little shit. Look here, sir, I don’t appreciate you biting my leg when I’m playing with my friend. Kindly put your tiny head into my mouth, please.

In the process of trying to separate them, this happened:

One of these days, I'll figure out how to take a proper picture (not likely).
Like how the foreground is blurry while the background is in focus? I don’t even know how to do that on purpose. One of these days, I’ll figure out how to take a proper picture (not likely).

That’s the back of my ankle sporting a rather large bite wound from a little shit of a dog. That fucker bit me! That bite was through a pair of jeans. Thankfully, I was wearing jeans or it would have been a lot worse. He might have ripped my Achilles tendon instead of my pants.

Owner of little shit 1) didn’t even ask if I was alright, even though I was clearly bleeding 2) refused to exchange information with me 3) refused to prove that her dog was licensed and therefore, current on his vaccinations and rabies shot (of course, the dog wasn’t wearing a collar) and 4) ran the fuck away!

Quite literally, she scooped her dog up and ran away like the sissy girl with the sissy dog that she is. One of the dog park regulars ran after her and took a picture of her license plate. Ha!

Fortunately, my sister is a nurse, so she kept a close eye on it until it healed. It did leave a lovely scar. By the way, I was the only one injured in that fight.

Rule #8


This is the saddest rule that gets broken. I can think of at least three dogs who were found abandoned at the dog park.

One of the poor creatures had three broken legs. They figure someone dumped him on the street near the dog park–not even in, but near–and he got hit my a car. Fortunately for him, he was found by a really nice lady who fixed him up and kept him. He had to have major surgery and he will always walk with a limp, but he can walk, he’s still alive and he landed in the best possible home.

Two other dogs that I know of were adopted by dog park regulars who found them when inhuman scum dumped them there. I guess people are too afraid or lazy to drop animals at the shelter, so they leave them at the dog park. I suppose they reckon that people who come to the dog park are dog lovers, and therefore, they’re likely to take care of them, which as it turns out, is true, but that doesn’t make it right.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Awesome Arcane Words Part 4


This post is part of a series where I share words that shouldn’t have gone extinct. Whenever I run across a word that no one has heard since your grandpappy was a pup, I write it down and eventually, I share them with you in list form. Some of these words don’t even have synonyms.




  1. pathological indecisiveness
    Stanley’s abulomania makes him the worst manager ever.

Synonyms: none

Alternate forms: aboulomania

Etymology: from Latin abulo “without will,” mania “madness”




  1. bearded; bearing a beard; hairy
    Barbigerous hipsters have ruined the beard for everyone.

Synonyms: bearded.

Etymology: Latin barba “beard”




  1. divination by opening a book at random
    The swindler pretended to tell the future using bibliomancy and Ladies Home Journal.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: biblio- Latin from Ancient Greek βιβλίον biblíon, “small book,” mancy Ancient Greek μαντεία manteía “divination”



  1. to laugh loudly or inappropriately
    Everyone in class turned to find out who cachinnated.

Synonyms: cackle, guffaw

Derivatives:  noun: cachinnation ; noun: cachinnator ; adjective: cachinnatory

Etymology: 1815-25; Latin cachinnātus, past participle of cachinnāre “to laugh aloud, laugh immoderately”



  1. a warning cry
  2. (obsolete) Used by servants in medieval Scotland to warn passers-by of waste about to be thrown from a window into the street below. The phrase was still in use as late the 1930s and ’40s, when many people had no indoor toilets.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: English corruption of French garde à l’eau, translated means “beware of the water”




  1. To finish; to put an end to; to kill
    Are you going to napoo those fries?


  1. finished, worn out, dead
    My favorite shoes are napoo.

Synonyms: end, finish, kill, terminate, cease, etc.

Etymology: World War I British and ANZAC army slang, probably a corruption of French il n′y a plus meaning “there is no more”




  1. a pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
  2. the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil
    Other than the petrichor, you’d never know that it rained this morning.

Synonyms: none

Etymology:  Greek, petra, “stone,” ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.




  1. a scent that lingers in the air after the source is removed; typically of perfume
    Sylvia had gone, but her sillage was a painful reminder.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: French, literally “wake, trail”



noun (pejorative)

  1. an idle, ragged person
    Stanley didn’t get the job because he looked like a ragabash.

Synonyms: riffraff, rabble, scum, lowlife

Alternate forms: ragabrash

Etymology: unknown, probably a contraction of ragged and brash.



noun (pejorative)

  1. feeble or worthless person or animal
  2. runt of the litter
    Don’t bother feeding that wallydrag.

Synonyms: runt, reckling

Alternate forms: walligrag, wallydrieg

Etymology: Scottish



  1. to bark; yelp
  2. to bark like a snarling dog
    Sylvia yaffed when Stanley honked her behind.

Synonyms: yelp, yip, howl, bark, bay

etymology: 1600-10; perhaps blend of dialect waff, bark and yap or yawp

More awesome arcaneness:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The Pros & Cons Of Cat Ownership


A while ago, I wrote a post on The Pros & Cons Of Dog Ownership. Well, I left felines off the list, so today, we’re going to talk about the best and worst parts of having a cat.

Let’s start with the bad parts first.


1. Poop

Just like the pros and cons of dogs, poop is number one on the cat list. Cats poop, it’s really stinky, and unlike dogs, they do it in your house. If you are uncomfortable with poop anywhere in your house but the toilet, don’t get a pet.

You don’t have to house train cats; they instinctively want to poop in a litter box, which is nice. Unfortunately, this also means you have to clean a litter box. It’s one of my least favorite chores since cat pee smells like ammonia. I’d almost rather clean up my dog’s poop over cleaning out the litter box. Actually, I’d rather not clean up poop at all, thanks.

2. Claws

Cats have them and they are so very painfully sharp. If you do something that a cat doesn’t appreciate, it will have no qualms about scratching you unmercifully.

Even though your cat might scratch you or the things in your house, please, do not de-claw a cat. It is painful for them (like removing your toenails) and takes away their natural defenses, particularly if your cat ever goes outside.

Even though they will never stop scratching (not even if you de-claw them), there are plenty of things you can do to encourage a cat to scratch where you want them to, i.e. a scratching post. Most cats naturally take to a scratching post pretty easily.

Also, clipping their claws is really simple. If you get a cat, start doing this pretty much immediately and they’ll get used to it. I’ve been clipping my cat’s razor talons since he was a kitten and he’s cool with it (for a cat) as long as he gets his treat afterwards.

3. They’re pretty willful

Unlike a dog, a cat will not listen to commands. You can call them to come all day and they’ll just look at you like, “What’s your problem? Can’t you see I’m in the middle of my mid-morning partial sun nap? After this, I have my post-mid-morning shade nap to attend to. I’m very busy. Go away.”

Somehow, they instinctively know when you intend to take them to the vet and they’ll find the best hiding spot ever when it’s time to go.

4. Predator instincts

Even living in your lap of luxury, a cat never forgets its wild ways. Their prey drive never entirely goes away. No matter how long they’ve lived in a nice, safe environment, if they see a mouse, they’ll hunt it. If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, you can probably expect to find half a mouse on your doorstep at least once. It’s a present.

5. Shedding

Cats shed. Some shed more than others, particularly long-haired cats like mine, but they all do it (with the exception of the completely hairless varieties). Cat fur is very soft and it has a way of weaving itself through any material. And since they live most of their lives in your home, most of the fur will end up there. I recommend a good brush and a pet vacuum attachment.

6. Vomit

For whatever reason, it seems that cats throw up more than most animals. It’s not necessarily a sign of illness; it’s just part of being a cat. Sometimes, it’s food. Sometimes, it’s a hairball from swallowing all that hair when they groom themselves.

In addition to cleaning poop from a box, you can expect to clean up the occasional vomit pile that’s almost always right in the middle of your good rug. Fingers crossed that you don’t notice it by stepping on it.


1. Cats are low maintenance

Make sure their littler box is clean, and they have plenty of food and fresh water, and you can easily stay away from home for a night or two without them being too bothered by it. If you go away for longer than that, you’ll want someone to check in on them, since they have a tendency to not drink water that has food in it (that they dropped there) or not eat food from the floor (that they knocked over).

Cats are fans of routines and they hate change. Most would rather stay at home than go gallivanting about with you anyway.

From The Differences Between Dog & Cat Part 3

Cats are fastidious animals. Like a good oven, they clean themselves. This is excellent, since you really do not want to have to give a cat a bath. Trust me on that (see 2. Claws under Cons).

From The Differences Between Dog & Cat Part 2

2. You probably won’t have a pest problem for long

I’ve never worried about creepy crawlers with a cat around. They’re excellent hunters and will take care of most rodent or insect problems without having to call an exterminator.

I moved to an apartment that had a mouse problem for about a week before my cat took care of it. I guess the remaining mice decided to move somewhere less cat-infested.

Even my current lazy feline–who really only moves to eat or because vacuum cleaners are terrifying–hunted an errant locust that found its way into my house. Have you seen those things? They’re huge and icky. Thanks, cat.

3. They do very well in apartments

Most cats don’t even need to be outdoor cats. They’re typically happy indoors, especially if they have a good window to survey the surrounding kingdom (which, of course, is theirs, too).

My cat hates being outside. He’s an indoor only cat and he’s quite happy that way. He’s nearly ten years old, and besides the four days he went missing when he thought that outside might be fun, he has no interest in being out there. It’s better for both of us that way.

4. They can be very affectionate

When a cat doesn’t like someone, it’s pretty obvious. The flip side is that, when a cat likes you, it also shows. They have bad poker faces. Cats don’t like you just because you feed them like a dog. You have to earn their trust and affection.

When a cat lies belly up, it means they’re very comfortable with you. Just beware the claw trap:

From The Differences Between Dog & Cat Part 2

5. They’re highly entertaining

All cats do this thing once in a while that I call “crazy kitty” where they just run around the house like they’re on fire. Why? I have no idea. They are incredibly strange creatures and sometimes, I look at mine and wonder how this weirdo wormed his way into my house.

Almost every single day though, he does something that makes me laugh. Like falling off of things, running face first into doors or sitting in this position for a few minutes–long enough for me to go get a camera and take a picture:


Laughter is worth all the vomit.

6. They purr

Purring is the cat’s neatest trick. It’s a sign of contentment, and dare I say, affection. My cat is an instant purrer. I pet him and he starts purring immediately. He loooooves me. Nothing is better for your mental health after a crappy day than cat purrs. When you’re sick, they always know and they’ll curl up with you.

Cats are also excellent snugglers. Unlike my dog who growls at me if I try to snuggle, I wake up with my cat snuggled up next to me every morning. It’s a very nice way to wake up.

From The Differences Between Dog & Cat Part 3

If you do decide to get a cat, please, adopt one from your local shelter, and don’t forget to spay or neuter!

How Quickly We Forget


I often catch myself complaining about things that wouldn’t even have been possible a few short decades or even a few years ago, either because the technology didn’t exist or because I was in a very different place in life.

This is a list of things I’ve caught myself saying and a reminder of how things were at one point. We all need a step back sometimes to realize how good we have it.


I don’t have reception.

We’ve all been on that hill somewhere or visiting Hitler’s bunker only to find we have no cell phone reception. It’s funny that most of my life was spent without a tiny computer in my pocket, yet I’ve become so used to having it there in just a few years that I complain if it doesn’t work exactly like I want it to.


I have to sit around all night waiting for that call.

Back when I was a kid, cell phones didn’t exist. If you wanted to make or receive a call from outside of your home, you went to one of these:


If you were waiting for a call, you literally sat by the phone and waited for a call, because if you missed it, you missed it forever. Voice mail didn’t exist, so they couldn’t even leave you a message.


Someone with a private number keeps calling and hanging up.

Unless I’m expecting a random call, I don’t answer calls if I don’t recognize the number. Leave a voice mail and I might call you back.



When I was growing up, caller ID didn’t exist. When the phone rang, you answered it, because it could be a telemarketer or it could be that cute boy from History class.


My navigation lies.

I’m still not convinced that Google maps isn’t a giant practical joke. 99% of the time, GPS will get you where you’re going with no fuss, but every once in a while, it takes you on a ridiculous route.


The directions my friend gave me are terrible.

Way back in the early 00s, we didn’t have navigation. If you wanted directions somewhere, you either looked at a map or asked someone.



I wish I had a yard.

Having a dog without having a yard is a tremendous pain in the ass.


I wish I had a home.

Yep, at one point, I was homeless in the middle of winter.


I’ll never be able to have another car without a sunroof. I’ve gotten so used to it.

The last two cars I’ve owned have had a sunroof and I’m quite fond of having one. I use it all the time.


I would love to have a car with power locks and windows.

Until two cars ago, I’d never even had one of these:


I got my first clicky thing in 2009. I drove a car from the late 90s to mid 00s that didn’t have power windows, power door locks or really power anything.


I’ll never be able to quit smoking.

I’m one of those idiot smokers. I’ve tried quitting a few times, but I’ve never made it longer than a few months. Someday, I intend to quit for good.


I’ll never be able to quit smoking crack.

I quit drugs all on my own. No rehab. No support groups. No support at all.


I can’t afford sushi.

And this makes me sad since I would eat it several times a week if I could.


I can’t afford ramen noodles.

I remember scrounging for change to buy a 25 cent package of these:


And sometimes failing.


It’s freezing in here!

My house is two stories. Upstairs is warmer than downstairs (heat rises). In the winter, if I want a reasonably warm living room downstairs, I end up with an extremely warm bedroom upstairs. Reverse in the summertime.

I live in southern California where the coldest it gets is somewhere in the 20’s (-7 C).


I wish I had heat.

When I was eighteen, I lived in an apartment with no heat in Detroit during winter. The coldest it gets in Michigan is somewhere below zero.

Find your own state here.
Find your own state’s record here.

I used to turn on the gas oven and open the door for heat. Not the safest form of heating. How did I not die of either frostbite or gas inhalation?


There’s nothing on Netflix that I want to watch.

Even with thousands of titles at my fingertips, I’ve actually thought this more than a few times.


There’s nothing to watch on channels 2, 4, 7, 11 or 50.

Those were our only options. And we had to get up to change the channel. The remote control wasn’t a thing until the late 80s.


This torrent has Portuguese subtitles and I can’t turn them off.

I hate when I download something only to find that the format can’t be played on my PS3, or it has no subtitles or the wrong ones.


The video store is out of that new release we wanted to see.

Time was, when you wanted to watch a new release, you went to the video store and rented it. Usually, a bunch of people had gotten there before you and already rented the fifteen copies they had.


I don’t want to listen to any of the 10,000 songs in my pocket.

I’ve driven around hitting skip fifteen or so times before I find a song that is good enough.


I don’t want to listen to any of the 20 CDs in my CD book.

If you really wanted to hear David Bowie, but you left your David Bowie CDs at home, too bad.


The picture is blurry. Line up again.

We do not realize or remember how lucky we are to take multiple shots of something as it’s happening and use only the best one.


The pictures we took yesterday are all blurry. Oh well.

Before digital cameras, you took multiple shots of an image as it was happening, took the film to the photomat that processed it and gave you prints 24 hours later. If they were all blurry, too bad. That’s so yesterday.


I’m trying to remember the capital city of Zimbabwe and my phone isn’t cooperating.

I actually get annoyed when I can’t find information in the top five search results.


I’m trying to remember the capital city of Zimbabwe. I guess I’ll go to the library.

Before we had computers in our pockets, we had to find things out the hard way. Many pointless arguments were had over which was the right answer.

The capital of Zimbabwe is Harare, by the way.


I can’t find the lyrics to this song on the internet.

Once in a while, I’ll look up the lyrics to a song and find no results.




My computer is low on space. I guess I’ll have to get another external.

This has happened since I tend to save things I’m actively working on to the internal hard drive. When I run out of room, I move it to an external drive. I currently have one 1T and one 2T drive attached to this computer.


I can’t save this on one floppy disc. The file is too big.

I remember trying to save a file in the 90s only to find out that there wasn’t enough room on a 1.44MB floppy disc:


A lot of you have never even seen one of those in person, yet it’s still the universal icon for “Save” in most applications.

What ridiculous complaints do you have that you wouldn’t have had back in the day?

Instant Biases


I’m Homo sapiens. As such, like all others of my species, I am judgmental as all get out. Humans are exceptionally fond of judging everything, including ourselves.

There is an evolutionary reason for it though! Way back when we had large jaws and bad posture, we needed to know in an instant whether an approaching figure was a threat or just Bobo from the neighboring tribe come to borrow some sugar. Real imminent danger and possibility of death as a consequence of a poorly done first impression is why we’re such judgmental assholes with fancy full-color vision.

Unfortunately, even though we don’t have to worry quite so much about giant death-inducing kittycats in the brush, we’ve held on to this instantaneous discrimination. Also, our pinky toes.

Probably not a threat. (jaytorborg.com)
Probably not an immediate threat unless you rub his belly.

Maybe someday, evolution will rid us of this persnickety appraisal skill, but for now, we’re stuck with first impressions. So, I’ve decided to provide you with some of the criteria I use in summarily evaluating people. This is a list of biases that will badly reflect on my impression of you should I discover any of these things on first meeting.

Disclaimer: This post is chock full of stereotypes and I’m not a fan of those. I do not imply “all” to any of this. Also, this is not to say that these things color my opinion of people forever. We’re only talking about first impressions here.

Bad grammar users

They finally hired someone to help me with website stuff at work since the owner of the company yelled at them for making me do things that were not my job. Unfortunately, they gave me zero input on who to hire and just foisted someone on me.

The guy they hired seems to be vaguely competent, but his grammar is awful. He uses double negatives. He says “is” when he means “are.” He uses the word “ain’t” in a work environment. I have no choice but to think of him as a slack-jawed yokel.

Prius drivers

2008 Toyota Prius (en.wikipedia.org)
2008 Toyota Prius

Ugh. I’ve discussed my hatred for this vehicle a number of times on this blog. I am totally biased against people who drive them, and Los Angeles is swarming with the things. There are more Priuses here than bicycles.

The reason I hate Priuses is because they generally drive ten miles an hour slower than any other car on the road, they never use turn signals (I’m not even sure Priuses come equipped with them), and they will just straight-up stop in the middle of the road with no warning.

One of my neighbors is a lovely woman. Her eldest daughter graduated from high school this past summer and I gave her some money. The next day, there was a thank you card on my doorstep. That’s manners. For Christmas, she gave me a plant and some homemade dog cookies that my dog loved. She’s really an excellent neighbor, but she drives a Prius, and what’s more, she drives her Prius like a Prius driver. The other day, she backed out of her garage and nearly hit me because she didn’t look behind her when she pulled out.

Small fluffy white dog owners

I’ve written about this one before, too. I am not a fan of small fluffy white dogs and there are as many in Los Angeles as there are Priuses. The reason I hate small fluffy white dog is because it hates my dog and reacts to her like so:


But, with more barking and lunging. Last weekend, I went to the pet store to buy dog food. I took my dog with me. There was a small fluffy white dog in the pet store that barked its fool head off at everything and everyone. Why on earth would you take a dog who hates everything to a pet store?

Which brings me to why I don’t like small fluffy white’s owner. They seem to feel that, because their dog is only ten pounds, their bad behavior is acceptable. No, it’s not.

Affliction wearers

This is typically a man thing since you don’t see too many women walking around in their ugly clothes.

Affliction is a clothing company based in Seal Beach, California. I sincerely hope that southern California didn’t export this awful trend to the rest of the world. About five or so years ago, they were super popular, but you still see people walking around in their overpriced garbage clothing obliterated with awful designs. Affliction shirts use every spare inch of material to vomit messy graphics like so:


Front and back covered with crap. It looks like you gave a marker to someone in the middle of a psychotic break. From a graphic designer’s standpoint, that shit is ugly and not worth $58. Seriously, $58 for a t-shirt.

I tend to refer to anyone wearing one of these as “douche” in my head.

Corporate shills

I am automatically biased against anyone who advertises corporate products for free. For example, this:


Or this:

9201 °×É« M L XL (30)

You paid money to buy a product with a brand all over it and now you’re advertising their product for free. They should be paying you. Why are you walking or driving around as a billboard?

And, by the way, Abercrombie doesn’t have an athletic department; they’re a corporation.

Water wasters

California is in a serious drought and we have been for years. Yet people around here act like we’re not. They use water to clean their sidewalks instead of a broom. They water their non-indigenous grass several days a week and most of it ends up in the gutter.

The other day at the dog park, there was a woman with a dog who apparently wouldn’t drink from a bowl. No, her special little princess had to have running water, so she stood there for a few minutes running the hose for her precious snowflake to drink from. Meanwhile, a rather large and completely unnecessary mud puddle formed at her feet, which my dog proceeded to wallow in like the piggy that she is.

Ayn Rand touters

Ugh. Has anyone who says they like Ayn Rand even read any Ayn Rand? If it’s the only book you’ve ever seen in your life, you might not think it’s bad, but in comparison to practically every other novel ever written, it’s just bad writing.

I forget which book it is (and yes, I’ve read them all, including her first, We, The Living), but there’s a 90-plus-page soliloquy in one of them. The character is supposed to be talking to another character. Have you ever in your life sat and listened to someone for however long it takes to hear 90 pages worth of speech without at least interjecting an “uh huh” now and again? No, because no one has, except for the poor unfortunate characters in Rand’s books.

I find it incredibly suspect that anyone who’s read more than five novels could consider her a great or groundbreaking author. It’s kind of like saying James Joyce’s Ulysses is your favorite book. Not bloody likely.

Preachy vegans

I’m not going to sit here and say I’m right, you’re wrong, eat meat. I completely understand not eating meat. In fact, in grade school, I became a vegetarian myself for a while after a slide show on trichinosis. It’s a personal choice not to eat meat and I fully support your right to eat whatever you want, provided that it’s legal.

That said, I have the right to eat whatever I want, too. I am not a big meat-eater, but I do enjoy a nice steak from time to time, and I eat fish and poultry. I don’t try to disguise it as something else. I am fully aware of what I’m eating and where it came from. I don’t need you telling me what to eat any more than you’d want me to tell you all about the benefits of meat (#1-It’s delicious…). I say, live and let live. Do your thing and I’ll do mine.

Open mouth chewers

With the exception of head cold sufferers and three-year olds, I tend to view anyone who can’t manage the tricky act of breathing through their nose while masticating with their mouth as a slack-jawed yokel. And with that, I was able to use the phrase “slack-jawed yokel” twice in the same post. WIN.

The oblivious

I have an hypothesis that most of the oblivious are actually Prius drivers out of their cars. These are the people who live in their own little worlds. They are the people who don’t move forward in line leaving a huge gap. They are the ones who don’t notice the cross walk says go, so they wait until the last minute and hold everything up. They are the ones who will slowly walk right down the middle of a store aisle, oblivious to the fact that you’re trying to get around them. They leave their shopping carts right in the middle, too. They don’t pay attention to anything surrounding them.

The unwashed

Ewwww, the unwashed. Specifically, I mean the unwashed after using a bathroom. I hate to think how many times I’ve been in a public restroom to see women walking out of the stalls without washing their hands. Gross.

I know that most hand washing is pretty useless since we grab the filthy door on the way out, and really, you need to clean your hands for a full minute like a surgeon to have it be even remotely useful at getting rid of germs. Still, it’s just polite to wash your hands after using the bathroom.

Fad followers

This applies to pretty much anything from global warming deniers to anti-vaccination parents to whatever fad diet is popular these days. I call these folks the “But I read it on the internet” types.

Speaker phone aficionados

We’ve all see the guy outside the store or restaurant talking on a cellphone by holding it in front of his face instead of to his ear. Why?

I have a coworker who refuses to pick up the handset EVER. Every call he makes or receives is on a speakerphone. My favorite is when he calls the guy on the other side of me so that I’m in the middle. Not only can I hear them speaking in real life, but I can hear the conversation echoing through a speakerphone. He could probably just yell at him at it would be less obtrusive.

What kind of instant biases do you have?

A Fortnight in Dollars


Friday was payday and as I do every payday, I pay my bills and look through my bank charges to see what I spent my money on in the past two weeks. I thought I’d share some of the charges with you.

$205.99 in cash withdrawal and ATM fees in Las Vegas, because like a moron, I forgot to get any cash before I went. It cost $5.99 to withdraw cash in Vegas. Though I came home with $1 in cash (simply because none of the machines would take that mangled dollar), I didn’t blow it all on gambling. I spent about $50 of it on food, gasoline and sundries.

$2.50 in charges from my bank for withdrawing money from some sketchy ATM in Vegas, because l’m the idiot who went to Vegas with no cash. So, I spent almost ten dollars on money.

$37.86 in gasoline for my automobile. This is the least amount I’ve spend on gas in a few years. Usually, it’s about $50-60 to fill my tank.

$48.55 for dinner. I treated my family to Chinese food on New Year’s Day. For some reason, our family has a tradition of having Chinese food on the first day of the year. It’s also my dad’s birthday.

$1.00 in Etsy seller fees, because I added the Pegasus, Phoenix, Jackalope and other such assorted nonsense.

$5.53 for daytime cold medicine that I’ve been taking twice a day since I bought it on January 2nd. My dear old papa gave me a stubborn head cold for Christmas and it refuses to go away. Thanks, Dad.

A deposit of $52.88 from Redbubble. That’s my second highest sales month yet.

$23.96 for an Endeavour reusable shopping bag and space monkey. I find it kind of ridiculous that she gave me a shopping bag for my reusable shopping bag.


$247.44 to my mechanic. On Tuesday, my transmission went boom. First gear was playing hide and seek. It wouldn’t come out to play at all. So, I dropped it at my mechanic and said a little incantation that it was an easy fix and not deader than dead.

I had no idea what I was going to do if my car needed a new transmission since I don’t have that kind of money lying around, especially not a few days before payday when I already spent my folding money on gambling and space monkeys. Why do these things always happen right after you blow your wad in Vegas? I set a cap of $1,000 on it. If it was more than that, I’d sell the car and buy another.

It turns out that, of all the things that could go wrong with a transmission, mine was the easiest and cheapest fix. Flushing out the transmission fluid and giving it a new filter did the trick.

Unfortunately, like everything on BMWs, even doing that is more expensive than on other cars. BMWs have a closed system, which means there’s not even a dipstick to tell if you need transmission fluid. The only way to find out is to open the whole transmission. Damn, German engineering. They’re excellent cars when they’re working, but when they’re not, they’re exceptionally expensive paperweights.

Six liters of special BMW transmission fluid, a special BMW transmission filter and gasket, and the labor involved set me back $250. Yet, I was insanely happy about spending it since it was a quarter of the cost I had expected. In my experience, cars never come out of the shop for less money than you expect, so I literally gave my car a hug. Since cars are awkward huggers, I hugged the steering wheel.

What did you spend your money on?

10 Ways To Tell If Your Job Sucks


If any of the following are true, your job sucks.

  1. Coming in to work on January 5th (after taking a “vacation” day for January 2nd), you realize that your next paid holiday is Memorial Day at the end of May, 138 days from now.
  2. Your former boss still acts like he’s your boss, even though he isn’t. The company I work for now bought both the company that has employed me for three years and the company I worked for before that (that laid me off when they were bought). This means that I work with a lot of former coworkers. One of them is my former boss. We are equals now–we’re both art directors–but you’d never guess by the way he and the company treat me. He has an office and a parking spot. I have a cubicle. He critiques my work. He gives me unasked design advice, which isn’t even all that good. He acts like my boss, but HE IS NOT MY BOSS. One of these days, I’m going to go off on him and it won’t be pretty.

  3. Nobody has to take any holiday decorations down because no one put any up. There was no holiday lunch, no year-end bonus, and no extra time off. There was a notice that the unsanctioned Secret Santa coordinated by employees should take place only during breaks or lunch so as to not disrupt work.

  4. Even though you’re a salaried employee, you have to clock in and out, even at lunch. And, even though you’re salaried, you have to earn all of your vacation time. At this rate, I’ll have a week of vacation sometime around March of 2016.

  5. When walking out the front door, even at lunch, you have to show the contents of your bag to a camera in the ceiling manned by someone on the other side of the country.

  6. You don’t even care enough to find out the names of most of your coworkers, because anyone who’s worked here longer than a year is obviously insane and about to go postal.

  7. You have brought zero personal effects in to work and your cubicle walls are as bare as day one when you had to clean out someone else’s personal effects, because the company couldn’t even be arsed to provide a clean desk for you. And they didn’t even give you cleaning supplies.

  8. You begin to pine for your old crappy job where you were severely underpaid, but at least you got a modicum of respect and had an office.

  9. You’ve been counting the days until the holidays are over and you can look for a new job since November.

  10. You walk around angry at everything and resentful of almost everyone (particularly, management) all the time and you’ve only worked there five months.


5 Favorite Things


I was talking to a coworker about cars and I mentioned my favorite car that I’ve ever owned. His jaw dropped and rightly so. This conversation got me thinking about other favorite things, so I thought I’d do a list of them (or for those countries inordinately fond of sticking extra Us in things that don’t need them: favourite).

Favorite Car

The best car I ever owned was a 1970 Buick Skylark GS 455. When I bought her, she was already thirty some years old and not in the best aesthetic condition, but mechanically sound. All I had to do was replace some belts, and give her a tune up and oil change. She ran like a brand new car.

I named her Tank, because that’s just what she was. Tank is now featured in my fictional series The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton.

I don’t have any pictures of her here, but she looked very similar to this one, but my hood and wheels were different:


And this was the drawing I did of her rear end:


I loved the hell out of that car. Even in her primer gray, imperfect state, she was a beauty. She had a massive engine with that low rumbly sound that classic American muscle cars of her era have that set off car alarms.

People always tried to race me at red lights. I’d look over and laugh. Not even trying, Tank was faster off the line than any car I encountered. Off the line, she beat everyone. I didn’t race any farther than that, because red light racing is for people with something to prove and neither Tank nor I had anything to prove.

It pissed off all those dudes in Porsches and Mercedes that tried to race me. They’d catch me up and go roaring past after about five to ten seconds. Whatever, jackhat. I wasn’t even trying to race you, because it wouldn’t be fair to compare the biggest (455 cu. in.) and most powerful (510 pounds per foot of torque at a mere 2800 rpm) big block V8 engine produced during the classic muscle car era to whatever puny thing you’re hiding in your widdle European sports car. Puh-lease. Just the sound of my engine could vibrate your car to pieces.

Yes, mine’s bigger than yours… and I’m a girl. Deal.

For those of you who have no idea what a pound foot of torque means, here are the stats for my current car, a BMW 3 series: 153 cubic inch V6 engine with 175 lb/ft. at 3500 rpm.

And for shits and giggles, the Ferrari 458: 270 cu. in. V8 engine, 398 lb/ft. at 6,000 rpm. My GS engine was 40% bigger with 112 more lb/ft of torque available at less than half of the revolutions per minute than a Ferrari.

The GS is bigger and heavier than a Ferrari or BMW, yes, but also more way powerful. Give me classic American muscle over a tiny European sports car any day. I suppose you could call my current car a widdle European sports car, but I think of it more as a mid-sized European sedan that has enough power to get out of its own way.

Eventually, I sold Tank because she deserved an owner who had more money to sink into her than I could, which was no money. Basically, I sold her because I wanted to give her a better home. Every once in a while, I get an email from the guy I sold her to showing me what improvements he’s done. Fortunately, he loves her as much as I did. He even kept the name Tank.

Favorite House

This honor goes to the house I grew up in. I lived there for the first fifteen years of my life. Even though one of those years involved sexual abuse at the hands of a sadistic pedophile, it wasn’t the house’s fault.

Originally, it was a three bedroom, one and a half bathroom house. When my grandfather died, my parents built a two-story addition on the back with two more bedrooms, another full bath, a full living room and a kitchen.

My parents optimistically thought that my grandmother would live a separate life in her own separate living quarters. It didn’t quite turn out that way. The doors between the two residences were never closed and it just became one massive house with two kitchens, two living rooms, five bedrooms, and two and a half baths.

You could start in one room and go around in a huge circle up and down stairs to make it right back where you started. For a kid, tearing around all that space with all those stairs was absolute heaven. I was very sad when we finally moved.

Favorite Pet

I’ve been very lucky to have some awesome pets in my life, but the best pet I ever had was my first cat. He was the most chill, laid back cat I’ve ever met. I named him Tigger, because at five years old, I was brilliantly creative and obviously not at all a fan of Winnie The Pooh:

Being Tigger is what do what Tiggers do best.
Being Tigger is what do what Tiggers do best. (Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne)

He used to let my sister and me do anything to him. We have pictures of him lying on his back in a baby stroller dressed up in baby clothes complete with a bonnet. What other cat would let you do that? My current cat would maybe tolerate that for all of ten seconds. Good luck having a cat stay like that long enough to take a picture.

Not Tig though. Tig would let us do anything to him. Fortunately, other than dressing him up, my sister and I weren’t maniacal animal torturers, still he was the most patient cat ever. He lived about twenty years. I cried like mad when he died. I still miss that cat.

He ruined me on the concept of cats by making me think they are all as cool as he was.

 Favorite Book

I don’t necessarily mean best book or my favorite book as in what’s in it, but favorite book as in a physical object that I move from place to place with me.

On or in my bedside table, you will find a dog eared, worn copy of this book:

This one’s in much better condition than mine. (itsnicethat.com)

It lives there. I don’t read it all the time, but every once in a while, when I don’t feel like reading whatever book I’m reading, I’ll pick it up and flip around in it, reading it for the nth time.

It’s my favorite book, not just because I love the words, but also because it’s symbolic. You see, I’ve never been a big fan of poetry, and at one point, I was a book snob, meaning I wouldn’t read anything unless it was about 100 years old or older. I figured that anything that had stuck around that long had to be worth reading.

A boyfriend gave my some Bukowski prose. I fell in love with Bukowski’s style and got all of his other prose, but I still had no interest in the poetry books.

A friend of mine, knowing I’m a Buk fan, gave this book (not this book, but the copy I had before the one I currently have) to me as a housewarming present over ten years ago. I was smitten. Since then, I’ve tracked down a lot of other Buk poetry.

I keep The Last Night of The Earth Poems close to me as a reminder that sometimes your favorite things come in unexpected packages. Also, don’t judge a book by its cover. Also, I happen to love the hell out of this book. It’s my favorite of his poetry.

Show Biz, Last Night Of The Earth Poems, Charles Bukowski.


Favorite Place

I’ve written about this in the post Seeing Stars, so I’m just going to quote myself:

Where my parents live, in rural, northern Michigan, it seems as though you can even see into neighboring galaxies. There are so many stars, and they all shine so brightly, that it’s hard to tell one constellation from another. The night sky actually looks three-dimensional; you can almost tell which are closer and which are father away. The stars are so visible that you don’t even have to crane your head upward as they peek right over the horizon. It makes you feel as if you’ve been thrown back in time to an era before science.

I used to spend every summer there at that cottage on the lake. To this day, my favorite place to be in the whole world is lying horizontally on the end of the dock, outstretched over the clear, freshwater lake. If the water level is high enough, you can lie on your back and lazily drag your hand through the tranquil night water as it gently laps beneath you. As you breathe deeply of the clean, summer night air that smacks of pine and cedar, the only sounds you will hear are the distant chirping of crickets and twittering of birds. Overhead, there is a circus of stars, all performing at their twinkling best for your benefit. There is nothing that will make you realize the vastness of the universe and your own irrelevance to it all better than that.

What are your favorites?

The Best & Worst Of Los Angeles

Sunrise over Los Angeles. Image from shutterstock.com

Most people I know from back east wonder why it is that I live in Los Angeles of all places. LA has a lot of preconceived notions about it. More than a lot of other cities since a lot of it is on film.

Where my parents live in conservative northern Michigan, it’s called the land of fruits and nuts. This is a not very clever double entendre on the fact that California exports a lot of fruits and nuts. Fruits and nuts also refers to people who are not conservative.

When people outside of Los Angeles think of Los Angeles, they think of beaches or the film industry or fake, superficial people. All of that can be found here if that’s what you’re looking for, but there’s so much more to this city.

So, this is a personal list of the best and worst parts of living in Los Angeles. Let’s start with the bad parts first.

The Worst

The constant teeming masses

Los Angeles in the largest city on the west coast of the United States, both in population and geographical size. Because it is so vast, it is also very populous. As of 2013, there are 3.884 million people within 503 sq. miles (1,302 km²). That’s just the city of Los Angeles proper. The Greater Los Angeles Area has an estimated population of over 18 million. That’s 18 million people milling about in my way, and those are just the residents. That’s not including tourists.

The film industry

There was a time when I thought the film industry was neat. They make movies here! Cool! Most new residents of LA think that way until the first film shoot inconveniences them personally.

Film crews take up a lot of space. They park trailers not quite on the side of the road so it’s hard to get around them. They close streets and freeways at will. Their awards shows effectively shut down all of Hollywood.

While the film industry is LA’s bread and butter, non-industry people who’ve lived here longer than a month, like me, are generally more annoyed by the inconvenience than wowed by movie magic.

The traffic

Los Angeles traffic is world famous. Lucky us. I used to have to commute to the valley from downtown LA (DTLA) every day, from one black star to the other and back, about 30 miles one way.

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 10.26.21 AM

It doesn’t look that bad of a commute until you realize that it essentially takes you through all of Los Angeles north of downtown, including Hollywood. It sucked. The longest it ever took me was 2 hours and 45 minutes. That commute is the main reason I moved away from DTLA. I couldn’t take it anymore.

The Best

The culture

People don’t generally think of LA as a cultural hub, at least, not like they do New York or some other large cities, but they’re wrong. There are a ton of museums here, and a billion little independent art galleries and theaters. LA is still not only the film industry capital of the world, but it’s also the music capital.

Bands still flock to LA in the hopes of being discovered. This means that there are multitudes of amazing artists and musicians performing here all the time. If you’re very lucky, you might even catch the next big thing before it happens.

Because LA is so populous, we’re always included on tours. Right now, there are a few art exhibits that are only touring for a short while and LA is one of only one or two stops in the whole of the US. I never miss anything here.

Plus, we have our own space shuttle.


The food

People come to LA from all over the world and they bring their culture with them. You could probably get food in Los Angeles from every single culture on earth. There are restaurants here from countries most people have never heard of.

It’s two in the morning and you have a craving for sushi? No problem. You could probably even get it delivered. Sometimes, all you have to do is walk outside to find a gourmet food truck. You can walk outside your house in any direction and find amazing Mexican food within a few hundred yards.

The weather

The lack of real winter is what brought me here. I absolutely adore Los Angeles winters. It’s chilly enough to wear a coat and boots, but rarely does it ever get cold enough to snow, not that it ever does (except in the mountains). And our winters are almost always sunny. About one or two nights a winter, it might get down to 20°F (-6°C), but that’s as cold as it ever gets.

The summers, on the other hand, can be brutally hot with several days in the neighborhood of 110°F (43°C), but even that doesn’t last long. If I had the money, I would buy a house on the ocean where it rarely ever gets above 90°F (32°C).

The best part about Los Angeles though is that, if it’s really unbearably hot or cold where you live, if you drive only an hour or two, you will find entirely different environs. From where I currently sit, depending on which direction I chose, in an hour, I could be at the beach or in the mountains. Within the month or so, there will be snow-capped peaks.

Really, the best part of LA is that no matter what you’re looking for, whether it be stereotypes, movies stars, multicultural offerings or pristine sandy beaches, you can find it here.

What’s it like where you live? What do you love and hate about it?