“I just wish I could do the important things…”

October 28, 2007 at 3:51 pm | Posted in things that annoy | 1 Comment
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“…like make a souffle, or pick out a necktie, or choose paint for the bedroom.” — Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark (aka, Worst Movie Ever).

So, you know how there are film classics that seem to transcend time? Or plays that, because they examine universal themes, can be read and performed 400 years later without missing a beat? Or songs you listened to as a kid that you find yourself relating to as an adult?

Yeah, this movie has nothing in common with those films, plays, and songs.

Audrey Hepburn plays Susy, a blind NYC housewife who is home alone for the weekend when three men attempt to enter her apartment — separately — to find a doll that has drugs stashed in it. My friends and I first heard about this movie when we were at the cottage with her family this summer. Her parents and her aunt and uncle highly, highly recommended it, saying that it was one of the scariest movies they’d ever seen. And the way they described it, it did sound pretty scary. Then I mentioned it to a couple of my co-workers and they said it was terrifying, too. My mom said it was good. So, we were psyched to watch it last night.

And we found that it was just one of the most ridiculous movies we’d ever seen.

The acting was atrocious, staccatto and overwrought, and the “heroine” was so helpless and dependent on her husband, Sam, that it was actually pretty painful to watch. She had no life of her own. All she wanted to do was join Sam at his photography studio, and she wanted him to stay home from his business trip, and she was pretty upset about not being able to make a souffle or pick out a necktie or choose paint. It actually kind of nauseates me that women were reduced to that. And it would be one thing if she wanted to make a souffle cause it was something she actually WANTED to do, but she only wanted to do it because it was expected of her as a wife. I mean, are you fucking kidding me?

The cult of happiness

June 23, 2007 at 1:22 pm | Posted in life, things that annoy | 3 Comments

I was indulging in my favorite Saturday morning ritual — eating breakfast, drinking tea, and reading the newspaper which, come to think of it, is actually an everyday ritual but I suppose it’s made a little sweeter on Saturday by the fact that I don’t have to go to work — and I came across this piece on happiness in the Globe and Mail. It’s written by Leah McLaren, who’s generally not one of my favorite G&M writers, though I have to say that I find her grumpiness a little charming at times.

Anyway, McLaren points out that we are living in a time when happiness is a hot commodity — there are dozens upon dozens of self-help books devoted to the pursuit of happiness, and we are constantly being urged to take up yoga or journalling or meditation, activities that are apparently guaranteed to at least point us in the direction of our elusive goal — and then calls bullshit on it.

About fucking time, and thank fucking God.

No amount of pop psychology or gratitude journalling is going to change the fact that the president of my country has engaged young men and women and civilians from all over the world, but particularly those from Afghanistan and Iraq, in an endless, morally bankrupt war.

No amount of yoga or motivational speaking is going to change the fact that our actions and practices are causing global warming.

No amount of smiley faces is going to change the fact that children are being abused, women are being raped, and men are being tortured, all over the world, in every community and every country, often for nothing more than being gay or female or black or whatever.

In short, the world is a fucked up place, even in relatively decent North America, and I refuse to mask my anger and frustration and sorrow over all of the screwed up things that happen with a smile and a gratitude journal. (As McLaren writes, “While positive psychology points to rising levels of depression as a legitimate problem in our society (Prof. Ben-Shahar warns of a great “emotional bankruptcy”), its solutions are inward-looking and facile. Imagine, for a moment, where we’d be if Martin Luther King Jr. had decided to purge his negative emotions by keeping a gratitude journal?”)

But.

That’s not to say that I don’t experience happiness and contentment, often on a daily basis. I’m gainfully employed and I like my job and the people I work with. I have a comfortable apartment to come home to every evening. I live in a vibrant, healthy city. I have a group of awesome friends who make me laugh harder than I ever thought possible. I have a small container garden and the simple, lovely joy of watching plants grow makes my mornings and evenings a treat. I have a family who loves me. I have a bike and a camera. I know how to make things and I do, often. I read tons of books. My life is pretty much awesome.

Pessimist? Yes. Realist? Yes. Depressed? Yup. Cynical and sarcastic? Sure. Unapologetically pissed off about the state of the world at large? Abso-fucking-lutely.

In love with my life, as it stands, at this very moment? You better believe it.

Thank you, Leah McLaren, for reminding us that one does not need to be either happy or unhappy, positive or negative; that rose-colored glasses don’t change the fact that the world is fucked up; that pessimism and happiness are not mutually exclusive.

Kill closet rock stars

June 21, 2007 at 11:59 pm | Posted in boys, things that annoy | 1 Comment

Ok, I like music as much as the next girl, which means:

–I listen to lots of the music I was raised on, including the eternally uncool Billy Joel and the Beach Boys’ surf songs (not just the hipster-approved Pet Sounds);

–I also listen to pop artists and indie bands and folk and classic rock and grunge and sometimes classical and never, ever, EVER country or techno or Celine Dion; and

–I even went through my own rock star phase when I was 14, wherein I decided that my dream in life was to play the guitar, so I took lessons and went to a rock ‘n’ roll “camp” over the summer (two weeks at the University of Miami; it wasn’t super elaborate or anything and there were lots of cute boys); I wore band t-shirts and Converse and torn jeans and flannel; and I shopped at the now-defunct Y & T Records in Miami, where I longed to buy the Don’t Suck Corporate Cock shirt but figured it might not be the best idea to ask my mom to buy it for me (shut up).

However.

I grew out of my music snob phase quite a while ago, and even though I still enjoy teasing Lorien for her taste in music , I just do not give a shit about my friends’, my coworkers’, the boys I date’s, taste in music. (Sorry for that awkward sentence construction there.)

Sometimes, I think I might be the only one.

Has anyone else had the unfortunate combination of being a single girl in a large, hip city; being attracted to tall, thin nerdy types; and also not giving a flying fuck about anyone’s band? I mean, hello, I barely even know the names of the musicians in the bands I like. But, I fear that I should just resign myself to dating pretentious music snobs and closet rock stars, people who consider knowledge of obscure bands — most of them local — to be the pinnacle of knowledge and the only thing worth discussing.

I’ve dated musicians before and have found that this always, always, becomes a point of contention, partly due, I’m sure, to my own attitude towards their obsession with music and their band. Talking about music doesn’t bother me, actually, and I like being exposed to new stuff; it’s when music becomes the only topic of conversation that I start to get pissy and irritated. Why do people, urban boys in particular, become so obsessed with music? Why is it used as a platform of cool? Is it because it’s something we all have in common? I mean, everyone listens to some kind of music, so I suppose knowing more about it than most other people has a certain kind of attraction, if you’re a certain kind of douchebag. It’s just bothersome that we can never discuss things about which I am knowledgeable, like literature or knitting or photography. Or even things that neither of us know anything about, like woodworking, or kites, or whatever. I mean, I don’t care what the fuck we talk about, as long as it’s not (often and incessantly):
–your band,
–your friend’s band,
–[insert name of obscure local band here], or
–the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones (similarly: Pet Sounds versus Revolver; how country music influenced rock ‘n’ roll; why early the Who is better than late the Who).

The impetus for this post is that I’ve been browsing through some ads on Lavalife (online dating, for the uninitiated), and I swear to you, nine times out of ten, if I happen upon a profile that isn’t littered with exclamation marks or cheesy, pseudo-romantic catchphrases (Am I the 1 4 U? and similar), the dude is a musician. Some even mention it in their LL “name” (e.g., GuitrLovr). I feel like just throwing in the towel and dating an accountant or something. After all, OkCupid’s dating persona quiz told me, a Window Shopper, that “Even though you might be attracted to them, avoid artists at all costs.” Clearly, there is only room for one artsy snob in a relationship, and that’s sure as hell going to be me.

May furries

April 5, 2007 at 8:27 am | Posted in random, things that annoy | Leave a comment

It snowed last night. I woke up this morning and looked out the window, and there was suspicious-looking white stuff on the neighbors’ houses. A quick glance out of another window confirmed it. Snow. Uh, weather? I believe that the saying is, April showers bring May flowers. Not April flurries bring May… furries? Hurries? Worries? Scurries? See, it doesn’t work. Showers, ok?

My trip to space

April 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Posted in things that annoy | 2 Comments

I discovered my least favorite kind of music last night.

My friends and I went to the Horseshoe Tavern to see some bands, none which I’d ever heard of. I’m not a huge live music freak, but if it’s rock I can usually get into it. The first band that played was your typical indie rock emo group, and their lyrics kind of sucked, but they played well. We were drinking pitchers and talking about our most embarrassing moments, which was kind of hilarious, and none of us was really that into the music. After the first band, there was a half hour break, at the end of which the worst band I’ve ever seen started performing.

Here’s the thing — I hate electronic music. With a passion. Back when raves were cool, in the ’90s, I just couldn’t get into it — the glowsticks, the pills, the god awful repetitive music, the horrendous dancing; I hated all of those things and the people that went along with them. I was so happy when techno became uncool. I mean, I’d rather listen to country music than electronica, that’s how much I hate it. So, anyway, this “band” (group? ensemble? I don’t know what to call them) played some kind of wacky electronic funk music. There were, like, seven members. The lead “singer” had two microphones, one that was normal and one that distorted everything that he said into completely unintelligible rumbling. There was a tambourine player. There was a cowbell. There was some kind of keyboard thing. There were the worst lyrics on earth (any guy who thinks that girls like to be called “mama” are insane, and also, I think that “jock,” the slang expression for penis, as in, “She wants my jock,” went out of style several years ago). There were instrumental pieces that the lead douchebag singer referred to as “space flights,” making the songs 10 minutes long. I HATE super long jam-band-esque songs. I like two songs by the Grateful Dead — Uncle John’s Band and Scarlet Begonias — because they are under 5 minutes long. I mean, my attention span is not long enough to accommodate some moron’s idea of his own 10 minutes of “genius.”

The night was actually pretty fun despite the music, as the many idiots in the bar were entertaining. Still, though, I will never get that half hour space flight back.

Scalpers suck

March 4, 2007 at 11:52 am | Posted in things that annoy | 3 Comments

So, I was too slow on the uptake to get Shins tickets, and now the show is sold out. I started looking around online for tickets the weekend after they went on sale (and keep in mind the show isn’t until March 17th), and found that some douchebags out there are scalping them for up to $150 each. For tickets that cost $27.50.

Scalpers, fuck off. You’re not making a quick buck on a bunch of rich people who are trying to see the Police or the Stones or something; you’re not taking advantage of ex-hipsters trying to relive their youth. (Even then, I object to the practice of buying tickets when you have no intention of going to the show, when you’re just trying to make some money.) No, in this case, by jacking up ticket prices from 30 bucks to 150, you’re just trying to rip off teenagers and students and young people. Fucking douchebags.

Dear iPod battery,

February 7, 2007 at 12:21 pm | Posted in things that annoy | 2 Comments

Stop sucking.

Love,

Tasha

Learn how to freakin’ spell already!

February 6, 2007 at 10:40 pm | Posted in things that annoy | 8 Comments

This is going to a long and rather vicious tirade about grammar and spelling and the general inattention paid to both, particularly on the internet. (Aundra: I am in no way judging you for your spelling. I accepted it a long time ago.)

I check out a lot of crafting blogs and forums, and I am forever coming across atrocious grammar and spelling. This stuff exists in real life, too — shop signs, notices to employees, and students’ papers are all fraught with errors.

So, let’s go back to 7th grade, shall we? (Or, we could go back to my sophomore [second] year in college, and my junior-level Shakespeare class. After we turned in our first papers, our professor had to give us a mini-lesson on contractions [“it’s”] and the proper use of dashes [“broken-looking-glass eyes”]. I hope that other people were as embarrassed as I was to be receiving a lecture on the difference between “its” and “it’s” at the age of 20.) Anyway. There is a difference between “your” and “you’re,” “it’s” and “its.” Think about it — “your shoes”? Is another way of saying “the shoes belonging to you.” “You’re shoes”? Equals “you are shoes.” Does that make sense? I thought not. That little apostrophe means something, damn it!

Obviously, not everyone has an innate understanding of English grammar, just as I do not have an innate understanding of math. But we communicate with words, not numbers. Every day, we write, even if it’s just a bunch of emails to our friends. How will someone be taken seriously if they cannot construct a basic sentence, if they never use contractions or plural possessives properly? Case in point: I worked in a deli for a while, and we always had a pile of dirty dishes in the break room. One day, the store manager posted a note that read, “Please do not leave you’re dirty dishes. It is rude to see them in the morning.” Aside from being grammatically incorrect (“you are dirty dishes”? Oh, really? I am? That’s news to me!), it sounds idiotic. (I’d always suspected that I was more intelligent than my manager, but that confirmed it.) Also, I just got an assignment that asks us to practice certain exercises until we are “confidant” that our answers are correct. So, you’re saying that you’d like me to bond with my answers until we can trust each other? The problem with spell check is that it doesn’t catch homo…homo…not homonyms…not homographs…not homophones. Well, I was going to say that perhaps my professor thought that “confident” and “confidant” were pronounced the same way, which means that they would be homophones, but they’re not, so really, it was just an error. Anyway, my point is that it’s hard to take someone seriously if they write like a second-grader.

Moving on to spelling. Misspelled words don’t bother me as much as improperly used contractions or plural possessives, and I can understand the difficulties inherent in spelling English-language words. Our language is not governed by logic when it comes to spelling. Still, there are some words that are fairly commonly used that are also fairly frequently misspelled, and it kind of drives me nuts after a while.

Let’s put these to rest, ok?
1. Blatant. Not “blatent.”
2. Tomorrow. Not “tamorrow,” “tommorrow,” or “tomorow.”
3. Tattoo. Not “tatoo.”
4. Embarrassed. Not “embarassed” or “embarrased.” Two r’s, two s’s.
5. Definite. Not “definate.”

And, I’m done. I would imagine that approximately zero people are still reading this, but that’s ok. I just had to get it off my chest.

(But before I go, let me share with you one of my best and worst academic experiences, which occurred in the same Shakespeare class as the grammar lesson. I got back a paper that had received a C+. The professor wrote some comment on it, the gist of which was, “It’s been a long time since I’ve read a paper with so few grammatical and stylistic errors. You are a good writer. The content of this paper, however, leaves something to be desired.” Basically, I saved myself from failing the paper entirely by knowing how to string words together. I was both proud and ashamed of myself for that.)

I seriously hate television

January 30, 2007 at 5:45 pm | Posted in things that annoy | 5 Comments

We all know that the above statement is not true. While I wasn’t really allowed to watch tv as a child, and therefore missed out on a lot of late ’80s/early ’90s gems, my love affair with prime time soaps was signed, sealed, and delivered in 5th grade, when I was finally allowed to watch 90210.

I’ve had lots of television love affairs in my young life — my best friend Jessica and I even spearheaded a Save My So-Called Life campaign. (It didn’t work, and that may have been my only foray into the world of active activism, but I could at least rest easy, knowing I did my part.)  I have no problem admitting that I choose to watch lots of serialized television. But I also like to think that I have standards. I’ve already mentioned how much I hate reality shows (once and for all, what is the fucking point?). I also hate shows that judge (7th Heaven, I’m looking in your direction. I once watched an episode of that show in which a cigarette smoker [clearly, a demon in disguise] burned down a house with a cigarette carelessly left burning. And then exhibited no remorse. Because cigarette smokers have no souls, obviously).

But nothing gets my panties in a bunch more than well-written shows with believable characters, not to mention (usually) sweet soundtracks, getting cancelled because the television-watching public is too stupid to understand them of low ratings . Exhibits A, B, and C: My So-Called Life, Family Guy, and Arrested Development (ok, so maybe that last one didn’t necessarily have believable characters, but it was hilarious). Yes, I know that Family Guy has returned to Fox after several years on cable (and despite their “fair and balanced” news reporting I do have to commend the network for taking chances on several unknown kids [that was a Clueless reference]), but that is the exception rather than the rule.

So, I heard that Veronica Mars, which may be one of the most intelligent shows on network television, was getting cancelled going on hiatus so that the Pussycat Dolls (does anyone even know — or care — who these bitches are?) could do some wimpy reality mini-series. You have got to be kidding. Replacing Veronica Mars, with its snappy dialogue; endless pop-culture references, some obscure and some obvious and all of them dissected weekly on numerous discussion boards; and intriguing plotlines; with some stupid made-up girl-group whose have less talent in their fake tits than Veronica does in her entire body? Bring it on, CW, cause you and me are gonna have to take this one outside.

WordPress, don’t fail me now

January 30, 2007 at 8:30 am | Posted in things that annoy | Leave a comment

What the hell? Why don’t any of my pages appear? That whole “404 file error” thing? Not so much working for me. Blogging software, heal thyself.

Fixed! I updated Shiny Things if anyone’s interested.

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