Category Archives: random WTF

A theory on assholes

The other day an asshole in a blue BMW couldn’t wait at the round about and zipped past us with his middle finger stuck out of his window. Not to be outdone, we responded with our middle fingers too. He then slowed down to a crawl, you know, to teach us a lesson. To show us the agony he must have experienced when he was behind us. To demonstrate the full extent of his assholishness. (If that’s not a word, I don’t care. You know what I mean).

I guess he forgot he was in a hurry.

My first thought was to follow him, find out where he lives, and test my death glare on him. But then I decided that stalking isn’t really my thing. Plus my death glare doesn’t guarantee death—at least not yet. Which is unfortunate in this case.

My second thought was – WTF is wrong with people? Why are there so many assholes running around? Assholes that shoot beautiful animals because they can pay someone to allow it; assholes that call immigrants rapists because they can pay someone to broadcast it; assholes that drive blue BMWs because… well, because they can pay to drive a BMW.

And then it dawned on me that there is a connection between the amount of money a douchecanoe has, the amount of power he* holds, and the level of assholishness he possesses. That isn’t to say that all rich people are assholes — but it is to say that the majority of assholes are definitely rich. Or, as in the case of ISIS, horny and drunk on power.

So now that you know what makes an asshole – watch out when you win that lottery. You don’t want to add to the ever-expanding pool of assholes.

* Yes, I am aware that women can be assholes too. But it’s my blog and I’ll use a he if I want to.

What-America-can-teach-others series: Part I

If you are expecting a highbrow narrative about freedom and democracy, you are reading the wrong blog (plus I’m not certain America’s earned the right to teach that***).

If you are expecting some wholesome land-of-entrepreneurs-and-visionaries bragging – again, wrong blog.

But if you are looking for a petty but brutal deconstruction of what drives me completely aghast while living abroad – welcome. You are in the right place.

(1) We start with double dipping. Really, Europe? You haven’t yet learned that ingesting someone else’s saliva with hummus doesn’t a good middle-eastern dip make?

(2) The planning. Not uniquely American thing for sure, but people? Don’t you think informing a presenter of what’s required of them earlier rather than later would make for a better presentation? R-e-s-p-o-n-d to my email with at least a few details. Soon. Now preferably. I cannot read your mind, you know.

(3) Please wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Just. Please.

(4) Those swimming caps have to go.

Part II is coming up sometime in the future.

If you need me, I’ll be at my desk obsessively refreshing e-mail in hopes that I am wrong about the above-mentioned #2.

*** Fox News aficionados: you now definitely know you are reading the wrong blog.

Things-I-don’t-understand-but-feel-ridiculous-to-ask-about series: winter attire

This series deserves its own blog, if not its own Internet. Because there are so many things I don’t understand but feel ridiculous asking about. Like quantum physics, for instance. It fascinates me to no end, I love reading about how it can explain everything from cosmos to bad luck, and yet whenever I get to the part where the writer attempts to clarify its most basic concepts, my brain decides to take an extended nap like the one induced by Kazakhstan’s mysterious sleeping illness.

Not from the same category but equally as puzzling is American football. Mr. Me has tried to enlighten me every year for the past 20+ and I still don’t get it. So a game that takes an hour yet lasts three-and-a-half, causes a human stampede every five seconds, and uses an oval object, which it stubbornly dubs a ball despite its obvious non ball-y shape, can actually qualify as sport? And be interesting to watch?

The latest, though, in this series is the phenomenon I’ve been observing the last three winters in Madrid, Spain. With temperatures hovering anywhere between 0C and 13C (about 33-55F) and everyone around wearing either pants, tights, leggings, or some other piece of clothing that covers the legs, little boys of 3 to 5 years of age are outside in shorts and socks. Yep. I am seeing this:

Winter shorts

And I am dying to know why. But until now I’ve stopped myself from accosting their fur-coat-clad mothers.

Because, obviously, I have far too many manners.

Name that file (and not in a creepy way)

I would like to begin by stating that I don’t buy Russian children. I don’t buy any children, in fact. And I am pointing this out in an event that a certain Carbonite Customer Service Representative is reading this post. Or if the FBI is already on the case.

Several days ago my Carbonite and the files it was supposed to have been backing had a disagreement. That resulted in the revolving beach ball on my screen—the same beach ball that appears whenever my Mac thinks it’s gone Windows and gets stuck. The beach ball situation lasted for a few days at which point I decided to contact the customer service support.

After I described the issue to a very helpful agent, she asked if she could take control of my computer to see what’s going on. I always hate when they ask that. Not because I am paranoid about someone I never met taking over my computer by Internet magic. But because I am concerned they might think I am paranoid about it. So I usually launch into a huge effort to prove that I am not. And that I am totally cool with it. And that I trust them. And that, really, they can have a key to my house and come over any time to fix my computer without me even being there.

So after giving the customer service agent access along with my house alarm code, my social security number, and the account information on all my investments, I sat back and stared at the little arrow that was my mouse, moving around now entirely on its own. All was going according to plan until the agent clicked on the finder and started looking for Carbonite files. And there it was, staring right at me – and probably right at that agent. A file name that should have never been born.

RussianChildrenMarket.txt

I began to hyperventilate and break into a Bikram-yoga-worthy sweat simultaneously. Where the fuck did this file come from? I couldn’t remember naming it, making it, or even knowing what was inside. If I could take control of my mouse without arousing suspicion that I was some sort of sick pedophile or child trafficker, I would have. But I sat there paralyzed with fear that my friendly customer service agent was now suspecting me of horrendous deeds and maybe even speaking to the authorities as she fixes my back up system.

That paralysis lasted for the next twenty minutes as she worked on fixing whatever needed to be fixed and I worked on getting my mouth back into a working condition so that I could offer a somewhat coherent explanation to the police that was probably now on its way to my house. When I finally got the control of my mouse back, I immediately opened the offensive file and discovered that it had a list of Russia-based publishers of children’s books. Since several years ago I wrote four bi-lingual picture books, it was only fitting that I should have a list of publishers to sell them to.

What wasn’t fitting was the name of that file. So, people, watch your file names. Because sometimes technology is here to make us look like assholes (except for when it’s here to expose assholes such as racists, homophobes, and dick-pic-sending douchebags).

One crazy, two crazy

I thought I had successfully eliminated all the crazies from my Facebook feed by not friending people I don’t know in real life. And since I pride myself on never hanging out with anyone who seems weird in a serial-killer, Westboro Baptist Church, or David Duke-kind of way, I thought I could sit back, relax, and enjoy the cute toddler photos.

Okay, that sounded creepy. Let me re-phrase. I thought I could sit back and enjoy photos of my friends’ kids (kids that are mostly toddlers because once those kids reach the teen years, the adorability factor drops and there isn’t much to post except for the videos of shouting matches.)

But I digress. It turns out I thought wrong. It turns out I have two crazies on my newsfeed.

 Crazy #1

I’ve known Crazy #1 since the time we both obsessed over Wham and blackheads in our skin. Yes, the George Michael Wham. And now that I’ve just dated myself, let me go on. I haven’t spoken to this person in over fifteen years but since our past adolescent connection was too difficult for my inner adolescent to ignore, I sent her a friend request as soon as she joined Facebook a few years ago.

Now I am debating whether I should un-friend her or continue to enjoy the exercise my eyes get when I roll them reading her posts.

She is both very opinionated and  passionate about certain political issues. And most of her passion lies way to the right of mine. Yet that’s not what earned her the crazy label. It’s how she expresses that passion. The words in her posts – wait, even the letters! – alternate between caps and lowercase like they’ve been DRINking cachaça beFORE theY DEcided to FORM sentencES. See what I just did there?

It’s nauseating.

Crazy #2

This one is a recent acquaintance. I met him while on an expat assignment to a country that’s not proving to be the world’s darling at the moment. After I left that country I promptly forgot about Crazy #2 but when he sent me a friend request I agreed. Why not, I thought?

Now I know why not. For the past several months Crazy #2 has been weaving elaborate theories on how his ex-wife, her alleged lover, the CIA, the FBI, his wife’s country’s intelligence services, the Martians, and the little people who live under the roots of birch trees have all conspired to defraud him. He posts photos of women with whom he apparently had a lot of sex and then proceeds to describe that sex in 50-Shades-of-Grey details. He puts up pictures of both his friends and foes and then tells the world about how they amass capital, avoid taxes, and do drugs. And after he’s done all that, he tags his teenage son in those posts — while at the same time calling his ex-wife (and the mother of his son) a working girl.

WTF?

I know I should erase the guy from the list of my Facebook friends but I am hooked. This is like a storyline for a novel, inside into a character, and a thriller-in-the-making — all in one. How can I stop? It’s research.

A true story from the “this is totally f*$%#ed up, man” category

I was minding my own business, procrastinating as I often do on Facebook, when I saw a post from an acquaintance. “Friends,” it read, “is anyone planning to travel from City A to City B anytime soon? We forgot Justin’s iPad in City A and it’s a real tragedy.” ***

Justin is her son. He is two, maybe three.

If this post wasn’t enough to move me into a fully judgmental mode, the post that immediately followed it, did the trick. Right below this my-toddler-needs-his-iPad cry for help, was an article about the kidnapped Nigerian girls.

My first inclination was to comment with any of the following:

“Really? A forgotten iPad for a toddler is a tragedy?”

or

“Your 3-yr old has his own iPad????”

or

“Tragedy for him or for you?”

or

“#FirstWorldProblems”

or

“Define tragedy please.”

Cue in a snarky emoticon for each one.

My second inclination was to snicker, roll eyes, ignore, and repeat. Then go on a rant about it in a blog post.

As you can see I went with the second one. But not before I thought for a while about what would possess someone to post that particular information. Because, if you think about it, appealing for help in bringing a forgotten toy isn’t really from “this is totally f*$%#ed up, man” category. Appealing for help vis-à-vis an expensive electronic device owned by a three-year old while declaring its absence a “real tragedy” kind-of is – especially if followed by a photo of grief-stricken mothers holding signs “bring back our girls.”

So maybe it’s Facebook’s fault. If the article about the Nigerian kidnappings didn’t show up right under her post, I’d probably dismiss it as stuck-up, conceited, and vain. But now it sounds worse. Now it sounds dickish.

Which actually presents a dilemma. Should I delete her off my newsfeed, use her prototype as a character in one of my stories, or stop procrastinating on Facebook all together?

*** (All names are changed. Obviously.)