Friday, October 31, 2008

This Week's Rage List

Okay, so perhaps I'm not feeling my ragiest. After all, it's a beautiful Friday and Halloween. However, I am supposed to be working on a presentation, which means that I can of course think of everything but my presentation. Here's hoping that some rageolicious writing helps get me back into work mode. Oh, in case you're worried, I was filled with extreme rage at least twice over the last week.

5) The US postal service
Or at least the postal service in Brighton/Boston. Before I moved to London I requested to have all of my mail forwarded to me here. For the most part it's worked out okay. Until I received someone else's mail. This would happen from time to time while I lived in Brighton and I thought, okay fine, we do live on the same street, I can just leave it here and the mail person will take it to the right place or drop it off later. When the mail man/woman is in a rush, he or she might not stop to go "oh, whoops, this says building 19, but this is 15!" Plus the mail box only had our last names on it, how would he or she know that no Bridgett lived in building 15, apartment 6? A simple enough mistake. But, when mail gets forwarded, the post office has to put a sticker on the envelope, with the forwardee's name and address. This happens before the mail ever makes it to the building. The mail wasn't even meant for anyone in my former apartment and my name is certainly not Bridgett. So thanks post office, for inconveniencing myself and Bridgett. Plus the post office is then supposed to notify the sender that the recipient has moved, which just isn't true in Bridgett's case! And if this Bridgett has moved, she certainly hasn't moved to my house. If you can take time to put a sticker on an envelope, you can take a second to check the name.

4) People who take their cigarettes out before getting outside
This didn't use to bother me or phase me in anyway. Perhaps I just hadn't noticed people doing it. But recently I have noticed several people, either in cafes or shops taking out a cigarette before leaving. I even saw a student at my university's library take one out while at the self-issue station, which isn't even near the exit. They don't take out the cigarette pack but just one cigarette. I find this acceptable only when it is raining or extremely cold outside, which it is not today. This bothers me in the same way that people drinking crappy beer out of a can on a sidewalk at 2:00pm alone does. I understand that most people find some sort of relief/enjoyment/satisfaction from smoking, or at least they must have at some point or else they wouldn't have started in the first place (I don't know, maybe some people say 'mm delicious, I'll have the cancer please, followed by a slice of crappy skin/voice/lungs). But by taking a cigarette out of its pack well before stepping outside, when you know that it'll be a few minutes before you get to smoke it, shows that you have long since passed the enjoyment stage and have moved completely into the "I need it now" phase. Why should this bother me? Mostly because I don't like being bowled over by people who "need" their smoke and manage to then smoke their cigarette in the doorway. I would really prefer to make it out of the cafe/library without getting your fumes all over my coat.

3) Inconsiderate pedestrians
There are two types of inconsiderate pedestrians. The first category involves the "in a complete" rush type. They cut you off at every opportunity even if it means they wind up only passing one person on the escalator. For the most part, at Tube stations people who don't want to walk stand on the right of the escalator and people who do move up the left. Sometimes an obnoxious French person will stand on the left (believe me, it's almost always a French person), or someone with a small child will stand on the left. They will obligingly move over if you ask them nicely. However, if someone does not move, there is usually a good reason. The other day I saw a crowd of people asking this one woman and man to move so they could all get by. They all looked rather impatient. What perplexed me by these people was that the man blocking the way clearly had a white cane and was holding on to the woman. He was obviously blind and yet people continued to show their impatience at not being able to move up the escalator. There is no way that you can be such a hurry that you can't wait 30 seconds for a blind man to make it to the top of the escalator. 

The second category includes the "Oh, this looks interesting" category. Usually these people are lost, tourists, lost in conversation, or just stupid. I will forgive these people on weekends or in less busy areas of the city. But if it is Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6:00-20:00, then please don't clog the sidewalk. They get into a daze and stare into shop windows or realize they're going the wrong way and come to a quick halt with their luggage in tow. I have often come to similar realizations, but I try my best to move to the side before stopping and then turning around. Don't read your map at the top of the stairs of the Notting Hill Gate station. Just don't. There is so much sidewalk to the side that you can easily move over. If you need help, ask me. I will be happy to help you figure out where Portabello Road is. But please, don't stop your whole family in the center of pedestrian traffic. If you are on vacation you have earned your right to walk slowly, but remember that most of us still need to go to work or class. Please walk slowly on the side of the sidewalk. Or if you must take up the whole sidewalk, please be willing to move to the side when people come from the opposite direction. I don't know how many times I have almost crashed into people because they have refused to make even a small amount of space for other people. I have a heavy backpack filled with library books, don't think that I'm afraid to swing it into you if I need to.

2) The Royal Mail Service
In the US, people tend to put return addresses on the top left corner of the envelope. It's a pretty sensible thing to do, unless you're sending hate mail. In the UK, if someone does put a return address on the envelope, they usually put it on the back of the envelope. However, it has typically been acceptable to put the return address on the top left side of the envelope, it's just not extremely common. Apparently, this has become a recent problem. Mail carriers get confused and wind up returning mail to the sender instead of to the intended recipient. Last week I sent my absentee ballot. I went to the post office and purchased the correct amount of postage. As it is an official envelope, I am not able to change any of the info on it. The send to address is a bit confusing, but still says Boston, MA on it. My return address was printed on the top left corner. The postage clearly shows that the envelope should be leaving the UK (why would I attach British stamps to an envelope from the US?). However, a few days later, the envelope was returned with no note. The only reason I could think of was that the postman was confused and had seen the return address and sent it there. So I wrote on the envelope, indicating which was the return address and which was the mail to address. Several days passed and the envelope wasn't returned so I was pretty happy. But when I'd almost forgotten about the incident, it came back with a note: "Could not be delivered." No explanation was provided. It had correct postage and an address. So now it's been Fed Exed. Thanks Royal Mail. That's just stupid. Why not just send it to Boston and let them figure it out from there? If the envelope's so confusing, let me blame them for it being lost than you. But that won't happen now that they returned it to me twice.

1) Nicholas Cage
He's stupid, ugly, and balding. Oh, and he can't act either. Stop showing your stupid face on buses because I don't want to see it. It makes me angry every time I see an ad with him on it. All of your movies suck, except for Raising Arizona. Adaptation was one of the worst movies ever because he played twins, meaning that I had to see him twice as much. Yuck. Why are you famous? 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So MUCH Rage!

I have been incredibly busy. I have moved to a different continent and started school again, which makes me think that I am partially insane. Being so busy means that the rage must remain held deep within until I can release it all at once. Tonight I will discuss several different things that get my blood going. These are ranked in according to mildly awful to outrageously terrible.

7. Professors who refuse to use the internet
If you are 50 and under you have no excuse for not using the internet as much as possible. My mom is in her 50s and she could work at the freakin' Apple genius bar so anyone younger than she is has no excuse. The London School of Economics has the cool intranet thing going on called Moodle. It's similar to Blackboard but way more awesome. Professors can post reading lists and articles directly to the site. Plus students can create profiles and discuss the readings with other students. When the school will set this up for you, why the hell would you not use it? Thanks for the badly organized reading list buddy. I'm glad to see that you recently mastered the art of the word processor. 

6. Odeon movie theaters
Odeon is one of the main theater chains in London. I am sure that other movie theaters in London suck as well, but since I haven't been to them, I'll give them a chance. Odeon charges you something like £10 for a basic ticket, £13 for a premier ticket. That's right, there are different levels of ticket for a movie theater. Oh, did I mention that the theater screen is barely wider than my laptop's 13.5 inch screen? Oh, and seats are assigned so you have no idea if you're not going to be able to switch seats even though you've wound up with the ADHD German girl with high hair sitting in front of you? Awesome. Plus the floor isn't slanted that much and the seat backs are high so good luck actually seeing the screen. I'm happy with most things in the UK, but America wins the movie theater prize.

5. People getting all huffy about "If x number of people join, I'll tattoo my face/donate to charity/contemplate possibly changing my name to!" Facebook groups
If you don't believe in them, then don't join! A lot of the time I tend to roll my eyes when I receive these invites and wind up just ignoring them. But occasionally I'll feel minimally moved and will feel inclined to join. Then the message boards and walls become filled with hateful messages about how crappy the Facebook group is. Have you ever participated in some sort of charity fundraising event? Ever? Before the internet was invented even? Don't they all function in similar manners? I mean, what does walking around a race track all night really do to raise cancer awareness? You've typically raised all of your money before the walk/run event begins, so why bother? Because they help to pull people together and raise even a small amount of awareness and that's how fundraising works people. If you don't want to be aware, then disable your Facebook profile and shut down your email account because people are going to be sending you these invitations until the end of time. In some cases, these groups will enlighten you as to how stupid people really are. Like this girl, who changed her name to cutout because she opposes animal dissection in classrooms. Who doesn't love dissecting animals? I have to give it to her, she did manage to get her point across. Plus she managed to show how meaningless names and identities can really be. I can't wait until next week, when she changes her name to breast (milk) is best! 

4. Which leads me to...bad advertising campaigns
I won't go into this too much because there are endless amounts of examples. Do you ever notice how once you've stopped using a website as much you'll get emails saying "Come back to us!!!" or "We miss you!!!"? Well I have and it's stupid. Websites should subtly try to lure me back with special savings, without mentioning the whole "we need you" whine aspect. Sure they want to make the customer feel special, but mostly it makes the company seem desperate. Amazon knows how to play the game. They send emails saying, "Oh remember that time you bought this really awesome video game? Well, guess what? LEGO Batman is now here!!" Okay, so they don't say it quite like that, but they know how to get me. Borders will send emails to me as though we are separated friends, who once got into a terrible argument, but can no longer remember why. I remember why: Amazon pwned them. 

3. The idea of changing your middle name on Facebook to Hussein
I get the gist of it. Yes, we all know that Obama's middle name is Hussein, which gives him not one, but two slightly terrorist sounding names. Hussein seems to be a pretty common name, although not as much in the United States. I used to know a kid who's name sounded like Saddam Hussein and thought, wow that's really unfortunate, until I realized his name was probably not so far off from being a John Smith or what have you. We get it, you shouldn't not vote for someone because his or her middle name is scary. But aren't the majority of your Facebook friends registered democrats anyways? While the idea sounds like a good one, it comes off as kind of cultish.

2. Sarah Palin
Of course she angers me for all of the usual reasons: she's not a real female, she's not qualified, blah blah blah. But one thing that really annoyed the hell out of me was her saying during the VP debates (and I'm going from memory here so it won't be exact), "As Reagan so beautifully put it, America shall be like a city on a hill." Okay, so maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that Palin does not think that Reagan was the first person to say this. But the fact that she said "so beautifully put it" leads me to believe that she did. In fact, Reagan did say it, but Reagan was quoting John Winthrop from a few centuries ago. And John Winthrop was quoting someone else. And um, how can America be a shining beacon for freedom and democracy when books are banned from libraries? Maybe instead of trying to censor the knowledge seeking Joe Four Eyes, Palin should go check out a few American history books.

1. Spaceballs the Animated Series
Ever since the age of about 10, Spaceballs has been my favorite movie. It's completely daft and cheezy, but I can't stop myself from loving it. When I heard about the cartoon I got incredibly excited. The iTunes store was offering the pilot episode for free so I downloaded it hoping for some mild entertainment. Instead, I got the same jokes used in the movie paired with terrible, terrible voice acting and timing. I only made it through about 10 minutes before I had to stop. So thanks for ruining my favorite movie and my dream of one day being able to see Spaceballs the Sequel: The Search for More Money. And they don't even use the Spaceballs song for the theme song! Come on! 

And now for a bonus: 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hugh Laurie Saves Wallstreet

I'm sorry I have not posted for quite the while, I have been in a coma for a few weeks. The last thing I can remember is hearing some weird name... Sarah Palin or something like that. Apparently I had a brain hemorrhage and almost died. But I'm alive, and not brain damaged enough to be able to post to this blog!

I came to today to see the following headline: Bush Signs Rescue Bill After House Votes. I don't read actual articles, because journalism make me mad... I don't believe in journals. Apparently Dr. House, hopped on his motorcycle and rode down to Washington to have an emergency summit with President Bush.

"At first I thought that the financial crisis was caused by lupus, but then I realized that Wallstreet just needed a money enema." Said Dr House when approached by reporters.

According to unnamed sources, Bush was reluctant to agree to Greg's radical treatment regiment, but was swayed by a combination of his maverick spirit and tight jeans. Also, John McCain, feeling the mavericism, suspended his campaign for an unprecedented seventh time since he hit the trail (in 1832). McCain arrived just in time to see House speed off on his motorcycle.

Upon returning to New York, House delivered the money to Wallstreet, stopping briefly to slap Warren Buffet with a stack of 100-dollar bills.