Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crazy Christmas Drivers

I love Christmas. Who doesn't? I love the spirit, the music, the beautiful lights everywhere... But I hate (HATE!) all the crazy people driving around. I'm not sure if they only drive during the month of December and are out of practice, or if they are too busy belting out Christmas carols to check their blind spots, but it seems like Christmas and the associated shopping really brings out the worst in drivers. Parking lots become war zones, with every spot worth battling to the death for. Cars zoom out of side streets across two lanes of traffic. Every mall and shopping center entrance causes a traffic jam for a mile in advance. And if you think I'm exaggerating the last piece then you obviously were not driving through Connecticut yesterday. What a mess! Luckily I'm holed up inside today eating my mom's cookies and watching Christmas movies. Here's hoping we don't run out of hot cocoa, because there is no way I'm driving anywhere today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bags on Seats

I currently have a bad cold, which is terrible, obviously, because who likes being sick? Certainly not me. I worked from home yesterday, since I wasn't doing any experiments and had planned to spend the day working on chapter 1 of my dissertation.  This morning I managed to get myself to work (we're having a holiday party at lunch that I didn't want to miss out on!). I was a bit slow in the morning, as one often is while under the weather, so I took the train after rush hour had already finished. I was looking forward to grabbing a seat and listening to a podcast during the 25-minute ride. There were only 3 seats not occupied by human bottoms, but instead of being able to sit in them, they were being misappropriated by someone's bag. Look, lady. Your backpack is a cheep POS, and doesn't need to be on a seat by itself. I know it's only there instead of on your lap because you want to play a lame-o game on your phone. Why don't you look up from the screen for 2 seconds and notice the red-nosed sniffling girl in front of you and the elderly man to your left and move your giant bag to your lap or the floor where it belongs.
Yeah, yeah, I could have asked one of these individuals to move their stuff so I could sit down, but I'm not a particularly confrontational person, and also was seriously lacking the energy to do so due to the aforementioned cold. I feel like we need booklet listing the expected behaviors for public transit riders. Maybe the 10 commandments of public transportation: 1) Thou shalt never put thy bags on a seat. 2) Thou shalt always move as far into the bus/train/etc. as possible. 3) Thou shalt not roll thy eyes when asked to make room for another passenger. 4) Thou shalt not play music, sing, or be otherwise disruptive to fellow passengers. 5) Thou shalt always have thy pass ready, or else let prepared individuals enter the train or station ahead of thee. 

I'm sure there are others, and even others that I have written about here, but it's almost lunch time. It's a start at least.

Friday, December 14, 2012

People who Shoot Innocent People

WHAT THE FUCK?! Pardon my profanity but seriously, WHAT THE FUCK.  How are so many people in this country so messed up in the head that they take weapons into schools, malls, movie theaters, and other public places and just open fire on people they don't even know. Or even on people they do know!
I know both sides of the gun control debate will have arguments in light of the latest school shooting (on innocent CHILDREN!!!) and I know there will be many discussions on what can be done, but I think we can all agree, no matter what your stance, that something has to be done. I'll be honest in that I don't know what is best. More gun control? Arm teachers and other public workers? Police officers and metal detectors in every school? Better gun education? Changing the "gun culture" of the US?  Now that the elections are decided, I hope--no, beg Congress to please have a discussion about what we can do as a country to eliminate these horrible and repulsive shooting sprees. Sign this petition to let your voice be heard: http://wh.gov/RNew

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When People Don't Push in Their Chairs

I was at a seminar today and the room was set up with a bunch of long skinny tables in narrow rows, and chairs behind them for people to sit. After the seminar was over, we all got up to leave. However, my path was impeded by multiple chairs because people just stood up and didn't push in their chairs. Yeah, okay, it wasn't a huge deal for me to move the 4 chairs in so I could get by, but this happens all the time in other places (the library, restaurants, my office conference room [*coughcough* all my office-mates who read this]) and it pisses me off!  Maybe this is just one of those things that drives me bananas but it makes no sense at all, like my hatred for windshield wiper overuse. Except there it doesn't even impact me at all, and here there is a chair physically in my way. I'd like to say that today is just an especially cranky day for me since I have a lot going on at school and in life, but that would be a total lie; the chair non-pushing-in thing annoys me even on the best of days. In summary, be polite, and push in your chairs. Always.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flight Delays

Does this really need any explanation? Who likes inefficient airlines that put you off schedule and potentially cause you to miss connections? The answer is no one, and least of all me. I am currently waiting for a flight and every ~25 minutes they make an announcement that the flight is delayed another half hour (we're up to 1:30 now). Luckily we're on vacation with no further connections, and we're passing time at the bar. But really, I'd prefer to be at my final destination so I can drink a beer there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

That Not a Single Person in my Office Brought in Leftover Halloween Candy

The day after Halloween is essentially Grown-ups Eat Candy Day. Parents get to eat the "gross" candy their kids don't want (I'm looking at you Almond Joys. I used to give those all to my mom but now I love them) and all grown-ups everywhere wind up with two and a half pounds of extra trick-or-treat candy. Tradition states that if you have extra junk food you don't want in the house, you bring it to work. Duh. However, it seems that no one in my office got that memo this year. I don't believe that no one had any extra candy lying around, and I was very excited to eat some today. Fortunately, some kind souls in my building put out some bowls of candy last night and left them out, and I was smart enough to grab a few Fun Sized Snickers on the way out the door. I'll have to ration them to make them last all day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

When You Have an Idea for a Great Blog Post and Then You Forget It

Sometimes something happens to me, and I get angry and I think, "I should blog about this!" But then I don't write it down and I forget and you end up with crappy posts like this. #weaksauce

Friday, October 5, 2012

Checked Bag Fees

I hate checked bag fees. Yeah they're a rip off and annoy me for that reason, but actually, I hate them primarily because it means that everyone brings as much as they can as a carry on. This causes a huge back-up during boarding as people try to cram their too-large bags into the overhead bins. You have to wait in an excessively long and slow line in the jetway which is always either uncomfortably hot or cold, and you're lugging your heavy bag, and wishing you had just stayed seated in the waiting area. But, of course you couldn't do that because if you did, all the overhead bin space would be completely full, and like the other people who board toward the end, you'd have to check your bag at the gate despite that it is a normal size.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waiting While on the Phone with Tech Support

I'm going on a vacation in November (yay!) and I recently noticed that the price of my flight dropped by $250. Sweeeeeet! I called the airline for a price adjustment, and they gave it to me (although they subtracted a $150 "rebooking" fee, which I was so mad about but will not go into at the moment).  In order to confirm the amount of the price difference, the airline representative had to look up the flights on her computer. I don't know what was happening but it took foreverrrrrr. And it was so awkward on the phone sitting there in silence while her computer did it's thing.  Every 30 seconds or so she would say, "I'm not sure why it's taking so long" or "Sorry the computer seems to be very slow today" or "Still waiting for it to load." And every time I had to say, "It's ok" or "Don't worry about it" or "That's fine."

Every time a similar situation occurs, I think back to a previous roommate of mine who was trying to get her new wireless router to work with my ancient laptop. The computer was so slow and old that if it wasn't plugged in while I turned it on, the battery would be completely depleted from the effort. Anyway, my roomie was on the phone with tech support when the man on the other end of the line asked her to reboot my computer.  After a few minutes, he said, "When it's back on, open the Control Panel" to which she replied, "It's not even done turning off yet." About 8 minutes of awkward chit chat ensued. When I got home several hours later my roommate let me know I should get a new laptop and that I owed her big time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shopping Cart Chaos

(This post is for Amanda, who desires order in supermarket parking lots as much as I do.)

I hate when people leave their shopping carts in inappropriate locations, which means every place except for in specified shopping cart storage zones.  Here are some of the reasons why people don't follow this simple rule of society and my explanation of why those excuses are BS:
  1. "I'm in a rush."  Oh, and the person who arrives at the store 20 minutes from now and can't park because your shopping cart is blocking a spot, isn't in a rush?  That may be you next time, and let me tell you it is SO frustrating. Please, it takes maybe 20 seconds, if that, to return your shopping carts to where they belong.
  2. "I have children in the car." Lots of people have children, and lots of people still return their shopping carts.  Don't you want to set a good example for them? Teach your children respect for other human beings, and do what is right. Don't be a lazy jerkface and don't raise lazy jerkface children. Put your cart back.
  3. "I put them on a curb so they're not in the way." That's like saying that you throw your trash on the ground but not in a location where people will really see it so it's totally okay. No, it's still littering. I don't understand why you would take extra time to move the cart out of the way, but refuse to bring it back to its rightful location.
  4. "It is someone's job to collect the carts so I'm helping them keep their job."  Do you think that is someone's exclusive job, to collect carts? Doubtful. That person needs to stock shelves, straighten up the aisles, do inventory, etc. They are busy and don't need to trek outside in 20 degree rainy weather to collect your shopping cart because you used some lame excuse to justify your laziness. It's someone's job to give out tickets for running red lights, too.  Maybe you should use your "logic" and start supporting the jobs of police officers.
No matter what excuse you use it boils down to not having enough respect for your fellow people: For those who will have to put the carts in their rightful location, and for the other shoppers. I truly believe respect is one of the most important characteristics to have. Respect for people's property, life, religion, personal space, time.... Whatever it is, remember that the people around you are human beings, just like you, and they have feelings, just like you. So the next time you're at the grocery store, and you're "super busy and in a rush," think about the busy worker collecting your discarded cart, and how they are also busy and how much they hate you at that moment. Then put your cart away properly.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Text Message Spam

I don't get too many text messages, maybe 2 or 3 a day unless I start a little conversation with someone. So I get pretty psyched when my phone makes the little "bleep" noise that signifies a new text. It just happened like 3 minutes ago and I was like, "Ooooo I wonder who that is!!" It was SPAM. Bustoskarate@aol.com wanted to let me know that the "Back to Busto's" One Day Sale is TODAY! Also if I join BBC membership [whatever that is??] I will get get sparring gear FREE! OMG I AM SO EXCITED THAT I-- oh wait I'm not excited at all.  First of all I don't think I want to go to a karate place called "Busto's." I'm pretty much picturing Rex Kwan Do. Secondly, and more importantly, don't send me text message spam! My texts are a special place for my friends to make my day happier by 160 characters, or perhaps to quickly convey a small amount of information. I don't need to know about karate sales or any of the other things I have received spam text messages about (usually XXX sites, so actually this one was pretty tame by comparison). I don't like spam in general, whether by snail mail or email, but for some reason it seems more annoying by phone than any other way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tailgating

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat. This post is not about the pre-football game tradition of eating food and drinking beer in the parking lot. If that was your first reaction, then your opinion of me must be very low, because who doesn't love a good tailgate party with friends?

Instead this post is about the other type of tailgating -- when people attempt the world's record for smallest distance between moving cars. Tailgating is dangerous and irritating. Sometimes I wish I had an electronic scrolling sign on the back of my car so I could program it to say things like "Please stop tailgating me." (It would also useful for "Turn off your brights" or "Your left blinker has been on for 4 miles.")

Tailgating always annoys me, but it angers me the most when I am 1) not in the left lane and 2) there is no one in the lane next to me.  If I'm driving at or slightly over the speed limit, and I'm in the right-most lane, and no one is in the middle lane, why the &@%*^! are you riding my bumper?? Use your excessive need for speed, and go around me! The right lane is for the slow folks, and the lanes get progressively faster as you move to the left.  Look, I hate a slow driver in the left lane, just like you do, which is why I'm not driving there! UGH just writing this post is making me angry!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Difficulty Walking up Stairs

I don't mean to brag, but I'm in pretty good shape.  This past Saturday I did a 40 mile bike ride followed by a 4 mile run, then on Sunday I did a 12 mile hike and ran 3 hilly miles after.  I'm not saying this to make you feel bad that you spent the holiday weekend laying on the beach drinking beer or went to four barbecues and ate your weight in potato chips (I'm jealous, btw).  I'm telling you this because I just walked up three flights of stairs and I want to die.  I mean, I'm out of breath and my quads are burning and I do not understand it. What the heck! *gasp*

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Non-Bikes in the Bike Lane

I ride bikes, and also like to run, and also I drive, and actually I walk places, too.  Because I experience the city in multiple ways, I am hyperaware of when people are in the wrong place, like pedestrians crossing the street out of turn.  I commonly see people inappropriately using the bike lane and it really pisses me off. The bike lanes in this city are crappy enough without cars, pedestrians and other obstructions in the lanes. Since apparently it is a complicated thing for people to determine whether they should be in the bike lane, I put together a simple test to guide your decision making:

Question #1: Are you using your body to propel you forward?
--If you answered no, you might be in a car or truck, or potentially on a motorcycle or vespa. You could be double parked while you run to grab a mocha latte from Starbucks. Or maybe you're a taxi driver and want to pull over to chat with your cabbie friends without getting out of your vehicle. Or perhaps you are on a moped and want to get around traffic. All of these would require you to be in the bike lane and thus should not be done. Motor vehicles do not belong in the bike lane, with the exception of when you are making turns.  You actually should enter the bike lane when turning right, especially when stopped at a red light.  This way any approaching cyclists can determine your intentions when approaching the intersection.
--If you answered yes, continue to Question #2.

Question #2: Are you on a bicycle?
--If you answered no, but yes to Question #1, you might be a pedestrian. You could be walking or running, but in either case, you're not on a bicycle.  This means you should not be in the bike lane, since it was designed for people on bicycles. For some reason, many runners like to be in the bike lane, despite the presence of a sidewalk. This should not be done because as I said earlier, it is a bike lane, not a running lane.  If you want to run on road surfaces, there are a lot of side streets that you can run on. Typically these side streets don't even have bike lanes so you won't be confused.
--If you answered yes, continue to Question #3.

Question #3: Are you obeying traffic laws?
--If you answered no, but yes to Questions #1 and #2, you are in fact on a bicycle, but you are riding illegally.  You should immediately dismount your bike, and walk beside it on the sidewalk. Cyclists are required to ride with the flow of traffic, stop at red lights, yield to pedestrians and follow other traffic laws. And take off your freakin headphones because that is dangerous and it pisses me off when you can't hear me say, "On your left" and you get all freaked out when I pass you.
--If you answered yes to all three questions then CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are appropriately using the bike lane!  Thank you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Post: Messing up the Morning Routine and Forgetting to Brush your Teeth

Everyone has certain routines, especially surrounding getting up or going to sleep.  For example, in the shower I always do things in the same order and if I get out of order for some reason, I forget what has already happened. I will condition my hair without shampooing, or wash my face twice and forget the whole soaping process.  Apparently my friend Eric has similar problems, as evidenced by the guest post he wrote:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
I'm a guy with routines. If something comes along that breaks up one of my established routines, it takes extra brainpower on my part to keep everything in the original routine from falling out of place. One of my most frequent and engrained of these routines is how I get myself ready for work and out the door in the morning. Ready? Here it is: wake up, roll out of bed, shower, dry off, eat breakfast, make lunch, put on work clothes, brush my teeth, check that I have wallet/phone/keys/sunglasses (in that order), and boom, I'm out the door. Monday mornings I put on a pot of water to boil a week's worth of eggs as a mid-morning snack, and that comes in between roll out of bed and shower. Other than that, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year (2 weeks of vacation when anything is possible), that's what my morning routine is.

Unfortunately during a recent shower I remembered that my softball league started that night and I hadn't packed my bag before going to bed. For the rest of my shower I was writing a mental checklist of all the things I needed to pack and where they were located around the apartment so I could be as efficient as possible. I made it through the first six and a half steps of the routine when I got sidetracked into looking for my cleats. "Are they in the front closet with the sports gear and jackets, or on the bottom of the shoe pile in my bedroom closet? Hmm, better check now before I forget!" So with my tie half knotted around my neck, I went in search of my cleats, glove, hat, and everything else on my mental list. Eventually I found everything I needed, threw it in a bag that no longer zippers shut, grabbed my pocket stuffers (keys, phone, etc.), and out the door I went, just in time to hear the USS Constitution cannon go off to signal 8am. KAAABOOOOM! I was on time.

About halfway to North Station it hit me - my mouth tasted awful and my teeth felt like they were
covered in a wooly mammoth hair. Twice I slowed my stride and debated whether or not I should turn
around to go home and brush my teeth, but twice I decided that since I was on time and already halfway to the T that I would just do it when I got to the office. Then I got mad that I had forgotten to brush them in the first place, that I had packed my softball bag instead of brushing my pearly whites, and now I was stuck with demon breath for nine T-stops and a quarter mile walk to my office. (Hopefully I didn't offend anyone on my train, and I consciously kept my mouth shut.) Worst of all, as I walked in the building I realized I didn't have a tooth brush in my desk drawer anymore. Crap. But wait, I do have Listerine! At least I can do an alcohol-fueled (21.6% by volume), scorched-earth style rinse and gargle before talking to my coworkers face to face.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of Work After a Vacation

UUUUGGGGHHHH!  Your inbox is full of emails asking you to do things, your desk is piled high with notes, and people run up to you and in the same breath ask how your vacation was and then ask you to do something for them. Also, why do crazy things always happen while you're away?  You go through weeks on end of nothingness, and then as soon as you step away from your computer for an extended period of time, all sorts of you-know-what hits the fan.  It seems like everyone needs something different from you but they all need it at the same time. And you can't even really complain because you just got back from a vacation.  Except if you have a blog dedicated to complaining, and then you can say whatever you like.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

When Other People Go on Vacation and You Don't

Everyone loves a great vacation. They're totally awesome.  But it stinks when that fabulous vacation is being taken my someone else. I mean, let's be honest. When someone tells you they are going somewhere ridiculously cool, you are primarily jealous, and then remind yourself to rub it in the next time you get away. It's so easy nowadays with Facebook, Twitter and other social media, you can post photos while you're vacationing just to make people extra aware about how sad their lives are at that moment.

When someone posts online that they're on their way to some place amazing, you secretly wish that it rains the whole time. Don't deny it. You do. We all do. In the winter I like to check the weather and see if it's going to be uncharacteristically cold at the intended destination. I guess it's kind of mean, and I'm sorry, but I think it's just human nature.

Anyway, sucks to be all of you because I'm off on a cruise to Bermuda with my family! Don't be too mad though; it's going to rain.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Billboard Advertising Massachusetts, in Massachusetts

There is a billboard in a suburb-y neighborhood of Boston that has a picture of a sunset over a lake in a forest, and the words "Massachusetts.  A Great Place to Live and Work." I apologize for not taking a picture for you.  Thing is... I do not understand the advertising goals or target demographic of this billboard.

You might think it is targeting tourists, and trying to convince them they should move to Massachusetts. However, this particular sign is not located in an area frequented by tourists. It also seems unlikely that many visitors would be swayed by the bland slogan and generic image. "Honey, I know we really like living in Phoenix, and both of our families are there, and we have great jobs, but just look at that billboard." "Oh Darling, you're right.  That sunset is simply deevine."

It also crossed by mind that maybe it's trying to get people to stay in Massachusetts.  But again, it seems like a poorly chosen location.  Is Brighton known for its high turnover?  Do people take one look at the traffic down Washington St at rush hour and think, "Well that is IT. I'm moving to Vermont!" (this part is true--I say it all the time) and then drive one more block and say, "Oh actually, that sign says it's great to live and work here so on second thought, I'll stay." (That part is not true and seems highly unlikely.)

There are a lot of college students and recent grads in the area, because it's not too expensive in terms of rent.  Is the MA government (or whoever is shelling out the dough for this monstrosity) trying to convince econ major frat boys to stay in town? Anyone at Faneuil Hall on a Saturday night will tell you there are enough of those here already. Can we please instead start an advertising campaign for people who won't start a sing-a-long on the drunk train?

Maybe it is designed to boost MA pride, to remind us all while we're sitting in Red Sox traffic that we're happy here.  Or perhaps to brainwash us?  "You will like living here. You will like working here."

In conclusion, I think it's stupid dumb and should be replaced with a photo of Ryan Lochte. That would definitely improve the traffic delay.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stopping at the Top of the Escalator/Just Inside a Door

Escalators are nice. They are especially great when you're carrying a suitcase or are just too dang lazy for the stairs. They're also funny because they can never really break, they just become stairs. Escalators are fairly ubiquitous, from train stations to airports to malls to hotels. Since they are so common, you might assume that people would have a general comprehension of how they function. But you'd be wrong. So very very wrong.

There is something about the top of an escalator that makes people want to stop. Maybe it's the transition from being moved to having to propel yourself again, or potentially the change in altitude causes some people to become disorientated, or the change in scenery becomes overwhelming. I don't know what it is, but people (especially those traveling in groups) tend to stop right at the top of the escalator and just form a clump of people. Do they not realize that other people also use escalators and are also being carried to the top and are also going to want to get off the moving staircase and that by standing right at the top of the escalator they are impeding progress and potentially endangering the lives of all other escalator users!??!?!? Okay, perhaps I'm being a touch dramatic, but serious injuries do happen on escalators including amputation of digits.  In fact there is a whole foundation dedicated to educating people on how to ride escalators safely and I'm pretty sure moving clear upon exiting is an essential part of the experience.

A similar phenomenon occurs in doorways. For example, after a movie ends people will congregate immediately outside the door to the theater, obstructing the main exit. Although not as dangerous as blocking an escalator, I suppose there is still an opportunity to be trampled. Mainly I hate it because it's just plain inefficient and I really really hate inefficiency (see here and here and here, and many others). The movie is over, my bladder is full, and you are in my way having a conversation with your friend about how you can't believe you ate the whole box of Jujubes. Instead of blocking the door, why don't you start working off those candy calories and move out of the way. And while you're on your way out, consider taking the stairs. I don't want to get stuck behind you on the escalator. I know your type.

Monday, July 23, 2012

People who Want to Move to Canada Because of "ObamaCare"

For Wes. Happy now???

My friend lives in New York City, and overheard two people recently discussing how the US has taken a turn for the worse, chiefly because of "ObamaCare" (aka PPACA or the ACA).  They finally concluded that the only solution is to move to Canada.  Actually, these two gentlemen are not the only ones hoping to move to Canada because the United States is going to guarantee access to healthcare for everyone. There are indeed plenty of great reasons to move to Canada: hockey, low crime rate, Tim Horton's, a fantastically singable national anthem, and more hockey, just to name a few.  However, moving in order to "avoid socialized healthcare" is not one of them because--I'm sorry to break it to you--Canada has that, too.  In fact, Canada has provided its citizens with healthcare since 1966.  If you would like to continue to live in a country without universal access to healthcare might I suggest moving to Haiti or any country in Africa, or perhaps Mexico if you want to stay close to home. Just don't bother moving to any developed nations because the vast majority of them also offer their citizens access to medicine. 

I'm not here to say that PPACA is (or isn't) the answer to all of our healthcare problems, or that the Canadian system is perfect (or not).  However, at least learn the facts before you criticize something, and definitely don't threaten to move to a country that has the issue you're trying to avoid. That's like me talking about how much I hate the winter and snow and then moving to Alaska (or Canada, I suppose). 

(As a side note here are some fantastic tweets in response to people wanting to move north. My two favorites are: "obama passes law replacing american football with hockey, citizens threaten to move to canada." and "Saying you're moving to Canada cause you're upset about Obamacare is like saying you're moving to Hogwarts cause you're upset about magic.")


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sudden Bad Realizations

Like, for example, when you're halfway through your commute, and you see yourself in the window of the subway car, and you simultaneously realize that you 1) forgot your lunch, and 2) wore the same outfit two days earlier.  Sigh.... Please don't judge me.

There are other bad realizations to have, like remembering something that's been on the stove for too long and is now burned onto the pot. Or that you forgot to call your grandmother on her birthday, or that you accidentally sent an email to someone you should not have, or that you have a dentist appointment in 30 minutes.  All of these things have happened to me, and it's usually a random moment of sudden clarity instantly followed by horror, shame and/or panic.  Why is it that I can remember lyrics to a song I haven't heard in 8 years, but I can't remember to take the rice pilaf off the stove?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Office Kitchen

What is it about the office kitchen that makes people behave like 15-year old boys? On a regular basis, people leave dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter, fail to put trash in the garbage, abandon spills on the counter, and leave leftovers in the fridge for weeks on end. I know this is not specific to where I work.  There is something special about the office kitchen that seems to give permission for people to not clean up after themselves.  Is it the "someone else will do it" mentality? Is it the "I do this at home so why should I do it here" thought process?  Or maybe people assume the cleaning staff will wash the dishes at the end of the day.  I understand that once in a while you might put a dish in the sink to soak and then forget about it, or accidentally forget about an apple, but this happens all the time!  It makes me so angry to arrive at work and be unable to fit my lunch in the fridge because there is a 3-week old pizza box that someone is too lazy to toss.  I work in a small office (~10 people) so I can't imagine what it's like at larger places.  If you use the office kitchen, do all your colleagues a favor.  Wash your own dishes, check the fridge at the end of the week to make sure you didn't leave anything there, clean up any messes you make, volunteer every-so-often to scrub the fridge or microwave, and never ever ever steal someone else's food.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Getting Stung By a Wasp, On the Face, On Your Bike, Far from Home

Yes this happened to me this weekend.  I was almost exactly halfway through a 54-mile ride when I felt a bug crash into the side of my head between my helmet at sunglasses.  I quickly tried to brush it away since it seemed to be stuck and making a lot of stressful-sounding bzzzing noises. I felt two sharp pinches, freaked out a bit more, started swerving my bike all over the luckily empty road, and finally freed the trespasser all while cursing intensely. I pulled into a driveway, and tried to assess the damage using the camera on my phone.  Although painful, I luckily experienced no swelling of the area, and while ready to call for an emergency pick-up, I was totally okay.  It was still a terrible experience, and of course as these things go, it happened when I was at the point in my ride that is farthest from home.  I couldn't even take a short-cut since my route was nearly out-and-back.  The salt in my sweat rolling over the stings served as a painful reminder that I had been viciously attacked by some sort of wasp.
Conversations with other cyclists revealed that this is actually a somewhat common phenomenon, but I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse.  Better because I'm not alone in this experience, but worse because it's likely to happen again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest Post: A Compilation of Submitted Hates

Since starting this blog over two years ago, I have become a sounding board for my friends who are annoyed with various things. Sometimes I also hate what they complain to me about, but often I don't have the same hatred. Other times, people tell me they have a good idea for a post, but I realize it would be too short to make a really engaging post. So what I decided to do is provide a compilation of some things that people have told me.
  • Unmixed Cereal- When you get to the bottom of the cereal box and all the marshmallows or dried strawberries are gone and you just have the boring stuff left. Or potentially when your spouse/roommate/child eats all the fun stuff.
  • Berets- I didn't think too much of this, to be honest, because berets never bothered me.  And then I saw an older gentleman wearing a beret walking around Boston and I realized how terrible and pompous he looked.  If you're a man, unless you're in the military or wearing one for a Halloween costume, it's probably wise to stay away from berets.
  • Having to Walk All The Way Around the Grocery Store to Find a Bag for Your Produce- This definitely should not happen. So annoying when you have 3 apples in your hand and go to reach for a little plastic bag and all the rolls nearby are empty.  I have bruised many an apple in this fashion.  Yeah yeah I suppose I could plan ahead and get a plastic bag before picking up some apples, but somedays I just can't spare that much brain power.
  • Packing- Whether you're going away for one night or moving across the country, packing sucks.  Between forgetting something important, or losing something along the way (like when I moved before grad school and lost one rain boot somehow) or just having to fit all your possessions in as few boxes as possible, it's a dreaded experience. 
  • Home Depot- I always get lost at Home Depot and I wind up angry and wondering why I ever came.  I can almost never find what I need, which is usually a store employee to help me.  I know I'm not the only one who hates going to Home Depot, and I do know a lot of people who actually enjoy it (masochists, the lot of 'em).
  • No Toilet Paper in the Stall- Usually more of a problem for females, but also for males in certain situations. This is irritating at all times, but the absolute worst is when someone comes out of the stall and sees you walk in, and doesn't think to say, "Oh that one is out of toilet paper, just FYI."  
That's all I have for now.  Leave a comment and tell me what else you hate!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How All Radio Stations Go to Commercial at the Exact Same Time

Picture this: you're driving down an open road, singing along to a catchy tune on the radio.  Suddenly the station goes to commercial, so you reach over and press one of the preset buttons to switch to a new station.  Yet you hear commercials again.  On to preset 3 for more commercials, preset 4 commercials, presets 5 and 6 COMMERCIALS!!!!  This happens on TV a lot but that seems more acceptable since in general most shows start and stop on the hour, and thus follow a relatively predictable pattern of advertising (also with DVR it is much easier to skip around).  I do not understand how this phenomenon occurs on the radio, however, since it's not like radio shows follow such a strict format.  Various stations will say "40 minutes of rock, coming your way" or "55 straight minutes of uninterrupted smooth jazz" and so their commercial breaks should not line up.  AND YET! They do.  How does it happen??  Maybe radio DJs text each other and say, "Hey, it's 11:30am now, wanna do commercials in 5 minutes? I gotta piss."

I actually found a 43 page paper and subsequent economics PhD dissertation that describes the financial incentives for doing this (I'll save you some time and summarize: commercial timing discourages channel changing and advertisements are more likely to be heard).  I guess I understand why it happens, but that doesn't mean I don't hate it.  I guess there's always NPR...

Monday, June 18, 2012

When You Don't Ask for Fresh Towels and Get Them Anyway

There is a fantastic trend at hotels right now to not change the towels and linens on a daily basis.  This saves the hotel money, but also prevents the release of excessive detergents into the environment as well as decreases the amount of water used.  Hotels which offer this service have signs in the bathroom or elsewhere in the room that state if you desire fresh towels, to please leave them on the floor.  Otherwise, by hanging up your towel, you make known that you are okay using the same towels for multiple days.  What I have noticed, however, is that this is not the case.  I always hang up my towels, and yet I still come back to fresh ones at the end of the day. I'm not sure why this happens at pretty much every hotel I go to, and I am certainly not the only one bothered by it (see here and here).  It makes me angry because I go through the extra trouble to hang up my towels, something I don't even always get to in the mornings at home, and still come back to zero return for my effort.  I know it's not always cost-effective to be environmentally friendly but in this case I believe it is.  The hotel would save money on water, laundry detergent, the time of the maid, the time of the person doing the laundry, and on new towels due to reduced wear and tear.  It just makes sense, doesn't it?  So why does this not happen??

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Large Groups on the Subway

Complaining about this makes me feel mean, but whatever, here goes. I was commuting this morning on the subway at the peak of rush hour (8:15-8:45am here in Boston). The trains are always packed and it's a struggle to get on and off the crowded cars. Trains here are not like those in other cities. The Green Line trains have only 2 (or every once in a while 3) cars so sometimes you physically cannot even get on the train because it is chock full of people.  So this morning when I shoved my way into a tiny space under some guy's stinky armpit I was kinda TO'd to see approximately 30 6th graders packed onto the train practically screaming at each other across the car.  First of all I wanted to yell at them all to be quiet so I could listen to my NPR podcast in peace, but secondly who brings a large group of people, of any age, onto the train at rush hour?!?!?  Get a bus or wait until 9:30 when the trains are much less full and I don't have to be smacked every 11 seconds by a giant L.L. Bean backpack. And please, no loud noises on the morning commute.

In other news yesterday I saw two college kids attempt to bring a couch onto the train (not at rush hour).  That was hilarious and they did not get far.


UPDATE 6/15/12: Large loud (especially drunk) groups on airplanes.  UUUGGGGH.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Failure to Yield on the Sidewalk

I get really annoyed when I'm walking on the sidewalk and 3 people are walking toward me on the same sidewalk and they don't yield so I am forced to either step into the street or squish myself against a building.  It's SO rude and I hate it.  Yeah, I know it's awkward to be that third person who has to keep moving back to let people walk by, but really it's just proper sidewalk etiquette.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Daytime TV

Sick days are no good when you're really really ill and can barely open your eyes, but sometimes you have a sick day where it's just a bad cold you don't want to spread around the office. Those days it is nice to relax in front of the TV all day eating soup. You start flipping channels and pretty soon you realize, everything on daytime TV is horrible. I mean, wtf. Do TV stations think everyone at home at 1pm on a weekday has an IQ of 63? That in our state of weakened immunity we can't handle much more than two people publicly fighting about whose baby it is? Please for the love of Pete, someone show something worth watching!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bug Bites

I was in the woods, mountains and other rural locales for the long Memorial Day weekend, and I had a blast with my awesome friends.  However, we were pretty much eaten alive by various types of bugs.  I estimate I have 25-30 bites and they are so insanely itchy.  The worst!  But it feels soooo good to scratch them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Being in Elevators with People I Don't Know

Elevators are pretty useful things. I'm glad they exist because I work on the 9th floor. I have taken the stairs before and I am mightily out of breath and a bit sweaty by the top. There are a few things I hate about elevators though. Another to add to the list is being in them with strangers. It is SO awkward. Whether you chat about the weather, stare at the wall, or pretend to read email on your phone, riding for any length of time with a stranger is uncomfortable. Think about it. You're basically locked in a tiny box with someone else who may have had Mexican for lunch, or who takes a phone call and discusses their new rash that appeared that morning. Perhaps even worse that riding with strangers is riding with someone who you know just a little. Then you need to fake a conversation with them until one of you gets to your floor.

I remember a long time ago, back when everyone's email addresses ended "@aol.com" an email went around with funny things you can do in elevators. They included things like bringing a chair and sitting in the elevator reading a book or smiling widely at everyone and proclaiming, "I'm wearing new socks!" Sometimes when I'm in one of these awkward moments I remember this email and wonder if that would help break the tension.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Post: Finding a Seat on the Commuter Rail

Today I bring to you the first ever guest post! Several others of you have offered, but Tim is the first person to actually follow through. I posted a few months ago about something similar and am happy to know it's not just me. I'm overly excited about the first guest post, so without further ado....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Everyday my wife and I take the train from our home in the South Shore to South Station. The ~40 min trip on the commuter rail is a breeze compared to driving (trust me we've done it a number of times and the Train is always faster and cheaper!). The train is full of working professionals, heading into the city to start their day. Ages and educational backgrounds vary, but pretty much everybody on the train is an adult. Few people act like one.

The train cars are set up with a two seater, aisle, and a three seater. So that means 5 people should be able to sit in each row. Wrong. For some reason people don't like to be the one stuck in the middle (I get it). But when the train is packed, I really don't care about you not wanting to cozy up to your train mate. Move over three seaters are made for three. What bugs me is the attitude people give you when you ask them to move over. They look at you like, "really you want to sit three people in a seat that was designed only for three?" Well yes, as a matter of fact I do. I'd rather sit with you, than stand needlessly while you cross your legs and have a nice place to put your coffee. Move the F over.

Now, once the initial rude request has been made, 'Excuse me would you mind if I take a seat", and the rolling of the eyes, "Awwwww I can't believe he wants to sit here" is complete, then comes the most strange behavior. Instead of sliding in, the person on the outside gets up, stops the flow of people into the train, grabs their bag and motions for me to sit in the middle. Well ok fine! I get it, I do. Nobody likes to be monkey in the middle, but when you slow down the boarding of the train just so you can have 3 extra inches of elbow room.... grow up, move over, and let the efficiency of public transportation shine.

So that's a normal day on the train. Sometimes, I share a seat with somebody who is SO important, that they need to work on their laptop on the train. But sometimes I sit next to even more important folks than these people. These ultra elites have a 3G card plugged into their USB port, and a folder of materials they need to review as the update their spreadsheets and ppts. And they do not like having a buddy to sit next to on the train. The thing I hate about these people is that they think, because of their fancy job title, and demanding schedule that they deserve the extra seat for their $400 briefcase, and their SBUX coffee to sit while they type away. When I ask to sit next to them, I get this look that says, "Can't you see I'm working here, and I have a tie on! I'm important and I need 2 seats. You should stand." Well I have news for you. Public transportation is the great equalizer, and everyone is the same on a PUBLIC train. Move over and give me a seat. Please.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

That Blogger Emails Me When I Comment on My Own Blog

Dear Blogger,
I appreciate that you email me when someone new comments on my blog. It happens so rarely* that it's a nice surprise when it happens. I like to respond to the comments so people know I'm listening and to encourage more commenting. However, as soon as I reply to a comment, you, Blogger, email me to let me know I commented. DUH! Can't you see that the Google profiles are the same?? I do not need an email letting me know what I just did. Thanks for nothing.
Sincerely,
Stephanie

*HINT HINT!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

That You Can't Un-Push Elevator Buttons

Sometimes you get into an elevator and you accidentally push the wrong button. Maybe you're used to going to 4, but today you have an appointment on 5. You push the button for the fourth floor before remembering that's not where you're going that day. Don't you wish you could just un-select 4? Or sometimes I push the down button to leave for the day, and then realize I left my cell phone on my desk, so I need to run back and grab it. I wish I could undo my elevator call so that people don't have to stop at my floor and wonder what happened. Of course, I would not always use this feature for good. If anyone ever got in to go one floor I'd probably unpush their floor's button because they should really be taking the stairs.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Being Unable to Open a Childproof Bottle

I just got a new bottle of vitamins. They are basically candy with calcium and vitamin D added in which is why these are the first vitamins I have taken with any consistency. But because children would probably be tempted to eat the whole bottle in one sitting (I know I am) the bottle has a childproof lid. Seems fair to me. Except that I can't open it. I just spent 5 unsuccessful minutes trying to open it. My hand hurts from trying to "push down and turn."

A three and a half year old recently told me I wasn't a grown up "because [I'm] not done growing yet" so perhaps this is one of those things I am just not ready for. Also here's hoping the toddler is right and that I have a few more inches left to grow. 5'5" here I come!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mustard and Ketchup Juice

I made up the term for this, but I think you know what I mean. It's the weird liquid that sometimes escapes the squeezable ketchup or mustard bottle before the real condiment comes out. First off, what is that stuff? It freaks me out. Secondly, why is it that no matter if the bottle is stored right-side up or upside-down or sideways or whatever, it this liquid is always present? It can ruin a perfectly good [veggie] burger and must be stopped!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Know How to Use Self Checkout Lanes

I think the self-checkout lanes are fun. I enjoy scanning my items and there is usually less of a line than at the normal checkout lanes. What I hate about the self-checkout lanes is the people who use them but actually have no idea how to use them. It's fine if you find them confusing; just use the other lanes where someone can do all the work for you. You don't actually need to know the 4-digit code for bananas (It's 4011. I buy them a lot). The store hires people to know that kind of thing, so put them to good use and pay them a visit. Otherwise you risk standing at the self-checkout line, desperately looking for "ginger" in the produce list, while I glare at the back of your head.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Water in my Ears

I swim once a week, and while I have several other pet peeves about pools, this one is about getting water in my ears that just will not leave. I really hate when you jump up and down to clear the water from one ear, and it just forces the water deeper into the opposite ear. I know there are several methods for attacking this critical problem, but it seems like a bad design that water can get stuck in there so easily.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rubbernecking/Curiosity Delay

Once a week I have been taking an awesome cycling class at a local store that has a big studio. It's a really fantastic workout and approximately one million times better than riding at home alone on my trainer watching reruns of "19 Kids and Counting." The downside of the class is that it is a 15-minute drive to get to the 7am class, and takes 30-35 minutes to get back home after it ends at 8am. As it goes I really hate traffic so I was already frustrated on the drive home a few weeks ago because traffic seemed worse than normal. Turns out, there was a fender bender on the other side of the divided highway. Let me repeat: Not the direction I was going, but the OTHER side. No lanes were closed in the direction I was heading, no police vehicles were stopped with their lights on, signaling us to slow down. All accident-related activity was occurring on the other side of a concrete divider. Yet here we were, hundreds of cars, slowed down to a near crawl just so creepy passers-by could take a gander at the minor wreckage. Therefore, the traffic jam that resulted in a 55-minute trip home should never have happened! I mean really! What is there to see? NOTHING.

Rubbernecking is not only irritating for everyone involved, it is also responsible for its fare share of accidents, exacerbating the problem. Here's some free advice (you're welcome). When you're in the car, look at the road. Pay attention to the drivers around you. Do not look at your cell phone, or the passing trees, or an accident on the other side of the road. Focus on driving, and driving alone, and it will keep you and those around you safe, and create less hassle for me. I mean... for everyone. Cause you're all important, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Trader Joe's at Rush Hour

I love Trader Joe's. From their inexpensive wines to the amazing frozen appetizers to the dried fruit selection, I'm a Trader Joe's gal. In fact, I don't think I've ever met anyone who disliked Trader Joe's. Therein lies the problem. EVERYONE LOVES TRADER JOE'S. And when everyone tries to go shopping from 5-7pm on weekdays or at all on weekends, it is pretty much impossible to go there, especially when all you need is a package of dried cherries. TJs was so ridiculously crowded when I went in there that a woman actually ran me over with her food-laden shopping cart as I bent down to figure out which cherries I wanted. All she said was, "Oh I didn't see you." Yeah no kidding, Lady, because you just ran over my foot! @#&%$*! I wound up leaving and going to an alternate grocery store because there was no way I was waiting in line for 25 minutes for one bag of dried cherries (although they and the granola I made with them were both delicious).

One time my TJs was so crowded and such a cluster-you-know-what that upon entering a departing customer wished me good luck. And I needed it. I understand that stores get crowded near holidays, and on weekend afternoons as people stock up for the week, but this Trader Joe's seems to be insane most of the time. It's difficult to navigate the aisles full of shopping carts, the lines wrap around the store, and the free samples disappear within seconds.

If you are brave and patient enough to visit this Trader Joe's when it's busy--so, anytime, really--under no circumstances should you drive. Both of their parking lots are completely full at nearly all occasions. I didn't see this happen but an employee got pinned between two cars when someone was trying to get into the parking lot. There is even a dedicated traffic director in the main lot and I'm not kidding when I estimate there are only around 30 spots. It is not a large parking lot, hence the problem.

Before you think I'm getting all down on your beloved TJs, remember how much I love it as well. Their vegetable gyoza, the already-sliced watermellon, the frozen palak paneer dish and their roasted unsalted almonds fill my kitchen and my stomach. I just don't like my grocery shopping to be a full-contact sport.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Vent Blowing Directly At My Desk

Even in the dead of winter, the air conditioning seems to be on in my lab. I am not sure why, because I have gone around and turned every air conditioning switch to "off" and raised the thermostats as high as they go. The air isn't just your generic cold air slowly seeping from a vent. Not even close. Here, the vents expel air at gale force for about 10 seconds, and then shut off for 10 seconds. The wind is so strong it actually creates a breeze. I'm not exaggerating. Okay, not exaggerating that much. It is enough that it is unpleasant to sit at my desk no matter the time of year. I have a sweater, a fleece and a sweatshirt in the lab at all times, and I am often found wearing two of them, with the third on my lap as a blanket. I understand we have freezers and other equipment that generate some amount of heat, but is it really necessary to have this much wind blowing through the lab? Trust me, the old windows are leaky enough to let in "fresh" air (I use quotations because here in Boston's Chinatown the air isn't exactly of the best quality. It smells like a combination of roasting chicken and rotting garbage). Adding insult to injury is the fact that because it's a laboratory, we can't eat or drink anything in here, so the hot cup of tea I'd love to have to warm me up, needs to stay out in the office area. Gah. I'd make this post longer but my fingers are going numb.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lines at Redbox

(Dedicated to Tim who loves Mic-Ultra)

The other day I was at the grocery store and needed to return a movie to Redbox, plus pick one up I had reserved at home. There was a line, starting with a couple at the machine searching through every movie, debating what they wanted. Fortunately they turned around at one point and said, "Whoa, there's a big line! Why don't you go ahead if you already know what you want." Finally it was my turn and as I was swiping my credit card to pick up my rental, the couple said, "You can book them online?" Then an older woman (probably in her 60s) who had joined the line said, "Even I know that!"

So for any of you out there that use Redbox, here is a simple guideline for how to use it properly: 1. Before you leave the house go to Redbox.com or download the Redbox app on your smartphone. 2. Look for the closest Redbox to your location. 3. Search for a movie you want from the comfort of your couch. 4. Book said movie(s) with your credit card. 5. Go to actual Redbox, touch the button that says "Redbox.com Pickup" and swipe your credit card. 6. Get movie and leave store in less than 2 minutes, without holding up any line. If you get to the Redbox, and you encounter people searching through every movie, feel free to educate them about the joys of reserving movies at home. Slowly we can spread the word and reduce the lines at Redbox, and thus make the world a better and less hateful place.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hate

This is post #100 on this blog (!) so I figured I should make it a good one.

I was traveling a few weeks ago, as you may have been able to tell from my recent posts. Since I had many hours to waste in airports and on airplanes, I read the Hunger Games trilogy. The books were incredible, by the way. In the first book there is a character named Rue, a 12-year old girl, who befriends main character Katniss. I don't want to give away too much, but you as the reader are supposed to (and do) fall in love with Rue. Unless you've been living under a rock, you also know that the Hunger Games movie just opened in theaters about a week ago. Apparently, when fans went to see the movie, they were surprised that several of the characters, including Rue, are played by Black actors. I have to admit I also missed the two lines in the book that reference Rue's and another character's skin tones. But some movie goers weren't just surprised--they were appalled. In fact, they publicly admitted that they no longer liked Rue.

Since I'm not a writer, or a philosopher or an ethicist and certainly not a specialist on "-isms", I'm not going to make this a long treatise on equality in America and beyond. I simply want to force you to think about how despite portrayal as a country based on freedom, the American society is biased. Women still make less money than men in the same jobs. Minorities are stereotyped constantly in the news and by the public. In this video from ABC news, a White actor, a Black actor, and a White actress all pretend to be stealing a bike in the same area. A camera crew secretly captures the responses of the public. If the results of this short experiment aren't proof that racism is prolific in this country, I don't know what is. Other examples include racial steering in housing, discriminatory mortgage lending, harsher punishments for students of color than white students who commit the same offenses, and racial bias in hiring practices.

Most of this is not overt hatred, and not the typical images that the words "racism" and "sexism" bring to mind, but that's what all those examples are. Just because it's not intentional, doesn't mean it's not racism. What I'm trying to say is I hate hate, and I'm writing this post to bring awareness to the issue. The more people thinking about and discussing the problem, the more likely it will be fixed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Whoever Did This

Ok that bag isn't even close to being all the way in the overhead. What the heck were you thinking? You can't just leave it there! That is rude and inconsiderate. I hate people.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Windshield Wiper Overuse

I have no idea why this annoys me, but I get mad when someone has their windshield wipers on high and it's barely a drizzle. It seems like such a waste of energy. If cars could talk, I imagine cars in this situation saying things like, "Dude, really? This is exhausting and I know you can see fine because there are only 3 raindrops on my headlights. Look at Frank over there! His wipers are on 'intermittent.' Can't you at least turn it to 'low'???"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting at the Baggage Claim

Is there anything worse than waiting for your bags to appear on the baggage claim? The suspense while you wait to figure out if your clothes and toiletrees made it, or if you're going to have to spend the next day and a half in your plane clothes with grimy teeth?
Woohoo there's my suitcase! Phew...


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"There Are No Stupid Questions."

Do you remember back in elementary school when your teacher would encourage the students to ask questions by saying "There are no stupid questions"? And then teachers and professors saying the same thing throughout all of your education? I've spent pretty much my entire life in school, so I remember this very clearly. Sometimes students will even say, "This might be a stupid question, but..." and the professor will interrupt by saying, "There are no stupid questions."

I'm no teacher, and I may get flack from teachers for this post, but I'm here to tell you that there ARE stupid questions. Maybe not in elementary and middle school, but at some point (let's say, if you're working towards an advanced degree) there do become stupid questions. I've asked them, too, so don't be ashamed. Like the time I asked if an X-linked disease could be responsible for symptoms seen in a father and son pair. "Well, no," the genetics professor explained, "because fathers do not pass their X chromosomes to their sons." Or even outside of school I often say dumb things. For example, I was running along a path by a creek that was lined with a 6 inch barrier made of rolled hay. I turned to my running companion and said, "Do you think that's to keep geese out of the creek?" [awkward pause] "The geese could probably fly over it." "Right. Duh."

What I'm trying to say, is that even though stupid questions really annoy me, what annoys me more is people denying that stupid questions exist. I think it's okay when you're young, in the spirit of encouraging engagement in education, but we really need to start acknowledging the presence of stupid questions. If you're 25 years old, and at a seminar about a computer program, and you ask, "How did you close that window?" and the answer is "The X at the top of the window" that is a stupid question. Let's all recognize it, and move on.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Buying Bananas

I hate buying bananas. I'm not sure how grocery stores buy their bananas, but they seem to only sell two types: totally green, or totally yellow. And they never have both types at once. In an ideal world I would like to buy 2 green bananas (for later in the week), one almost ripe banana (for mid-week) and two ripe bananas (to be enjoyed in the next two days). That is the best. But when you go to the store, it's either a shelf full of green bananas or a shelf full of yellow bananas.

If you buy the green bananas, you can't enjoy your bananas for 4-5 more days. I love to eat a banana before I exercise (not in public though), since they are each to digest and contain lots of good things, but if there are only green bananas, I have to wait. But then, all of a sudden at the end of the week you have like 6 ripe bananas that you have to eat all day long to avoid wasting them, or you have to invite all your friends over for a banana-eating party, or you have to make 4 loaves of banana bread, or freeze the bananas for smoothies, or future use in banana bread. It's a panic-inducing time to say the least.

However, the other situation isn't much better. If you show up to find only yellow bananas, you can't have bananas later in the week, or you have to make a second grocery store run later in the week to buy more bananas, but then you risk showing up and only finding green bananas! It's so stressful! Why are all the bananas the same?? Can't they stagger their shipments or something so there is good banana variety? I hate it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hate Something?

Readers of this blog often say to me, "You know what I hate?" and proceed to tell me things that annoy them. most of the times I agree, but sometimes I don't (a rare occurrence). If you hate something, and want to tell the world about it, let me know and you can write a guest post! Just remember, it should be something that people can relate to, and should not be about one specific person. That would just be mean.

Happy hating!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

People who Don't Move in on the Subway (or Bus)

(Thank you to Melissa for inspiring this post)

I take public transportation in the mornings to get to school. It's great because I can zone out while reading a book, or listening to NPR podcasts or potentially scrambling to read something required for an early class. Because of where my stop is on the line, the train is fairly crowded by the time I get on. Sometimes I physically can't even get on the train. It's irritating, to say the least, but the WORST is when the train is only 75% full but you can't get on because people refuse to move back into the train to let new people on.

Look, I know it's a pain to move. You finally found a good holding place where people aren't jabbing you in the arm with giant backpacks so you don't want to give that up. I've been there, too. But I've also been the person stuck in the cold, windy rain, running late for a meeting and desperate to get on the train. And don't pretend you can't hear the announcements to "Move all the way in" or can't see the people stuck outside. Please, be courteous and move all the way into the train so that others can get on. Someday, it will be you on the other side of the closing doors.

I'm not sure if it makes me feel better or worse that this problem isn't unique to the Boston subway system. Melissa, the inspiration for this post, lives on the west coast and complained about buses. I'm not sure if it's a problem in Japan but they have people whose profession is getting people to move into the train. It seems to be a an innate human condition.

The next time you are taking public transportation, be it a bus, or a train or just one of those airport shuttles that travels between terminals, please remember this post. Be considerate to those boarding after you and move all the way in. Because if it's me stuck on the platform, you can be sure I'll be thinking how much I hate you.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Putting on Lotion and then Having to Wash Your Hands

Yeah yeah it's such a minor thing and doesn't make me angry per se, but I really dislike when I've just put lotion on my hands and then I have to wash them. It's like "Ugh, what a waste of lotion!"

Monday, February 27, 2012

When the Grocery Store Stops Carrying One of Your Favorites

This morning my office had a little brunch during our weekly Monday morning meeting. I planned to make homemade smoothies, because there is always a plethora of fat-laden carbohydrates at these things (read: donuts, croissants, bagels, pastries, etc) and I wanted something slightly healthier. One of my favorite smoothies is peach/banana/mango with fat free plain Greek yogurt. I usually use canned peaches (in pear syrup), bananas that got super ripe and I couldn't eat and thus froze, and frozen mango chunks. By using some frozen fruit I don't have to add ice, and I like that. I went to the grocery store before work in order to get some more mango since my supply was seriously compromised, and apparently the store no longer has frozen mango. Sometimes on Monday mornings the shelves are empty because of the weekend rush, but the frozen fruit was well-stocked with Dole mixed berries and store-brand mixed berries and frozen pineapple, but alas, no mango. I was totally bummed. I found some mango in a can, which turned out to be delicious, but I had to add ice to the smoothie.

A similar incidence happened a few months ago when they stopped selling my favorite brand of vegetarian chicken. I was devastated. I put that stuff in salads, on sandwiches, in pasta, on the side with quinoa and veggies... Not to mention the Cranberry and Goat Cheese-stuffed "chick'n" cutlet. Absolutely amazing. Needless to say I was really sad when they stopped carrying it because it means an additional trip to a different grocery store for my chick'n fix. Today I noticed some of the products have been returned to the freezer section, and they had the audacity to label them as "New Product!" WTF??! It's not new! It's something you carried and bailed on and then brought back! Such liars. Hopefully my veggie hot dogs won't disappear any time soon. They disappeared two years ago (due to the manufacturer) and just came back. I don't know what I'll do if they leave me again! What would I have for breakfast???

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blue and Yellow PowerPoint Theme

You know to what I am referring. It's the blue background with yellow text that inexplicably became popular at some point early in PPT history. It's not even a good color scheme so I have no idea why it became so popular, but if you see 10-15 year old slides, they are often in this style. That means you can tell when people steal old slides from Google Images or else haven't updated their slides for a decade. I went to a seminar today that used this color scheme for the whole presentation. She was a young presenter so I don't think it's a case of not updating slides, and the whole lecture was that way, and I don't think she borrowed them all, so why in the heck would she pick that color scheme? Did she want to look like she hasn't made new slides for years?

This cartoon might explain it:

Unnecessary Emails

Although I do hate spam emails about Viagra and fake Rolexes, that is not what I am addressing here. I hate unnecessary useless emails that essentially convey no information. For example, an email from a coworker letting us know that she is going to move the microwave from its usual spot because of a lunch meeting. Or emails from school officials telling us that a seminar title has changed. Or emails about other people's vacations that are already posted on a giant calendar on the wall. Or 6 emails in one day about a broken lightswitch. Or emails about our office's DOORBELL. (Not a joke, though I wish it were.)

Before you send an email, think to yourself, "Would omission of the information conveyed in this email significantly alter the recipient's life?" Also important to ask: "Is this information duplicated elsewhere that is easily accessible to the recipient?" Additional criterion: "Will I see the recipient in 5 seconds and ask them the same question, thus negating the necessity of this email?"

With the ease of sending emails from computers and phones, it is easy to quickly send an email that really has no purpose, is redundant, or is not pertinent to all recipients. Remember that we're all busy people and would rather not spend precious seconds every day to delete pointless emails. Please, spare us all.