Tag Archives: rant

The Scary Big City

I have a mostly rural background. I grew up on a farm at the end of nowhere (that’s half again as remote as the middle of nowhere), I graduated from a small town high school, and I’ve never lived anywhere particularly pedestrian-friendly. My big-city-living experience is limited to the year I lived in Medford, where I pretty much avoided going anywhere except my job right down the road.

I’ve always been fascinated with metropolises; in fact, when I was but a wee sprat I thought I wanted to live in New York City. I’m pretty sure I just wanted to get far away from the delightful farm aromas to which I was accustomed. Then I realized I’d probably just be trading cow shit in the barn for human shit in the alley.

Anyway, I was excited to experience the great! big! city! of Corvallis when I rented a studio downtown. I was also–as Illidan would say–totally not prepared. (That joke probably makes no sense to most of you, but the two readers who play WoW are rolling on the floor.) I’ve rarely been so bewildered by an environment. There are SO MANY people. That may seem obvious, but the sheer number of bodies roaming around didn’t sink in until I was wading through them every day. I felt like I’d just stepped off the train in my straw hat and overalls muttering, “Reckon I’ll make my fortune off these here city slickers just as soon as I find me some heifers to wrangle.” (“Wrangle” is a technical farm term meaning “wander around the field hoping that you are somehow convincing the stupid livestock to go the correct direction.” It is a futile hope.) During the day, my neighborhood is a solid wall of humans in search of coffee. At night, it’s an overwhelming mess of lights and traffic, at least to me when I’m trying to drive home.

I’m very slowly getting used to it. However, I have a few questions for you folks that are comfortable in such places:

1.) Why the fuck do cities need so many one-way streets? Do city people enjoy driving around the block seventy times to find a road going the right way?

2.) On days when I’m feeling particularly antisocial, is there a way to keep people from looking at me? Sometimes I just can’t handle the risk that some friendly stranger might try to interact with me (the poor fools).

3.) What really happens when you accidentally put your trash in the wrong dumpster? Judging by the signs, the world ends in an explosion of cosmic wrath. Ditto with parking.

4.) Is it normal to be easily distracted by window-shopping? Because it takes me 20 minutes to walk one block due to looking at all the pretty colors. Apparently I will admire your broken plumbing if you put it in a front window with an interesting sign.

5.) If a car stops in the middle of a crosswalk I’m trying to use, is it permissible to set them on fire? If not, do you know a good lawyer?

Honestly, I’m really enjoying exploring my new surroundings. I grumble and snark, but my city experiences have been mostly positive. I have been assured that someday I will feel less overwhelmed. In the meantime, feel free to say hi if you see me out and about. You can recognize me by the flamethrower I’ll be carrying.

Ingrates on Etsy

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on the internet lately.  I saw a disparaging comment on Twitter about people who favorite a tweet but don’t re-tweet it.   Occasionally you’ll come across a blog that calls out “lurkers” who visit the website without leaving a comment.  Almost daily there is a topic on the Etsy forums griping about people who put items on their favorite lists without intending to buy them. Let’s talk about that last one, because it’s the one I have the most personal experience with.

I, along with many others, mark Etsy items as favorites because they are my favorites.  It’s me supporting an artist I love.  It’s a way of bookmarking a product I might buy later.  It’s how I say, “OMG, that is the coolest thing I’ve seen today, but there’s no way I could ever afford it.”  It’s the way I brainstorm gifts that would be perfect for people I know.  It never occurred to me that I was obligated to buy whatever I favorited, or that my compliment would be resented.

This if-it’s-not-a-sale-it’s-worthless attitude is kind of offensive.  Shouldn’t we be happy about favorites?  A favorite is proof that someone thinks you’re neat.  Complaining about being favorited without a sale is like saying, “You said I look hot, but I’m mad because you didn’t rip off my clothes and fuck me silly.”  Ungracious much?

While we’re ranting, how about those jerks who think prefacing an insult with “I’m sorry, but…” is an adequate substitute for manners?  Do they really think we can’t tell that they’re assholes if they cleverly camouflage their assholery by apologizing in advance?  Pro tip: A comment you know you’ll have to apologize for is hardly ever worth saying.  And here’s a newsflash for people who don’t ever tip at restaurants: Everyone hates you. Everyone. I just got off the phone with your mother, and she hates you, too.   And kids these days!  Why can’t they stay off my lawn?!  AND ANOTHER THING…


Ahem.  Sorry about that.  I got a bit carried away.

Seriously, though.  A “like” in any context is someone saying they think you’re cool.  It’s a compliment.  Would it be super awesome if they bought something?  Of course.  But it’s still a little bit awesome when someone marks your stuff as a favorite, and the world can use as much awesome as it can get.

Partnership for a Glitter-Free America

© Cbeckwith | Dreamstime.com - Glitter Photo

© Cbeckwith | Dreamstime.com – Glitter Photo

UPDATE: I just found out about ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com, and it is possibly one of the most magnificently evil things I’ve ever seen.

I can’t be the only person who hates glitter, right?  And when I say “glitter,” I’m referring to those loose sparkly flecks that crazy people  certain crafters slather over everything to make it pretty.  Normally I love shiny, blingy (that’s a word, yes?) stuff, but glitter makes me want to curl up in a ball and whimper.

When I was but a wee sprat, I had a bit part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as one of Titania’s fairy attendants.  My name was Mustardseed or Peapod or Moonshine or Snotrocket or something, and I actually had a line, which made me so much cooler than all the other little kids. (I don’t remember what the line was—probably “Yo, fairy queen!  What’s up with you dating this donkey dude, anyway?”)

There were a couple of older kids with the enviable job of herding us munchkins while we waited offstage.  We were all dressed in tutus and wings.  One of our chaperones decided that we needed just a little something extra to make us so cute that people in the audience would say “Awww” and possibly vomit from a surfeit of sweetness.  The final touch on our outfits was…dun dun dun…glitter in our hair.

Let me tell you something about glitter:  That shit will cling to your scalp FOREVER.  This is especially distressing because it itches like a son of a bitch.  You think your kids having lice is bad?  Listen.  You can kill lice with special shampoo.  Glitter will just laugh at your toxic chemicals and twinkle even more merrily.  On the plus side, I learned lots of swear words when my mom tried to wash it out of my hair every day.

Glitter is marketed as a crafting tool, like paint and stickers.  To use it, you have to first put glue (which is messy all by itself) everywhere and then pour the glitter over the glue.  This is not a task that requires precision.  A single line can require half a jar of glitter to make sure the glue is covered.  In theory, you can then shake the excess back into the jar, but scientific studies have proven that it is impossible to achieve this without triggering what is technically termed “Glittergeddon.” You’re even more screwed if your floor is carpeted, as there is no vacuum on earth with enough power to clean it up.

Fun fact: you aren’t supposed to send greeting cards with glitter on them to soldiers.  Apparently, even a single stray speck is visible to night-vision goggles.  That means that if you use glitter, THE TERRORISTS WIN.

Parents, talk to your kids about the perils of glitter.  They will be exposed to glitter at school.  All their friends will be doing it. It is easily obtainable from sinister glitter dealers in alleys.  It’s important that children know how to resist the peer pressure.  If your kids DO become addicted, they can be weaned off of it with glitter glue and sparkly embossing powder.  12-step programs are available.

Don’t let glitter addiction ruin your life (or your scalp).