April 23, 2009

Skype: The New Evil?

Don't say I didn't warn you. If this Skype phenomenon continues, it will be massively disruptive to society. (For those who do not know, Skype is basically a technology that allows you to talk to people via a small camera on your laptop without incurring long distance charges.) I was in a New York City hotel last week, and three different people were in the lobby talking out loud to their laptops at the same time. How fucking annoying.

And these weren't quiet, gentle little conversations, like what you would have on a cell phone. No, they were whooping it up, talking really loud and being really animated - because they were seeing each other on the screen. Watching this happen with three different people all at the same time made me realize the serious damage this technology could have on the peace and quiet in this world. They were so loud, and each was trying to move away from the other Skype users (because THEY were being loud). Ultimately, each Skype user ended up in their own individual corner of the lobby, so all the normal people were trapped in a triangle of people yelling at their laptops. Great. Just great.

It's a confusing product. I guess it's for people who are rich enough to own a laptop, but too poor to pay for a phone call? If you want to see their target demographic, check out the photo shown on the Skype home page. To me, it looks like two raggedy-dressed homeless girls who probably just stole your laptop at the train station and are trying to scrounge up enough change out of the one girl's shoes to catch the 2:20 pm to get-the-fuck-out-of-dodge so they can call their pot dealer for free using your computer. These are the people who are using Skype.

You can see where this is headed, can't you? Everyone will be talking out loud to their laptops everywhere. It's going to be so much worse than cell phones.

I'm confused why people would even want to use this technology - do you really want someone else to see you when you talk to them on the "phone"? Do you really want to see them?? That's a little much, isn't it? First of all, you have to be all dressed up and looking good when you use Skye. Imagine if you had to check to see if anything was in your teeth every time you answered the phone. You'd go insane.

The fact is that I'm either looking so bad and/or naked at home that I would basically never use Skype. How are you supposed to roll your eyes at the other person and watch TV on mute, if they can see you the whole time? This technology is not for me.

April 16, 2009

The "Plant Experience"

I know, I know - I took a full month off from blogging. Listen, it's hard to think of so many things to complain about every week. I will confess that I thought about retiring for a while... until someone gave me the shittiest present in the world. So here I am to tell you about it.

I moved into a new house recently - nothing fancy, just a nice row home in a quiet part of town. All the houses lined up along my street have a small yard in the back. Believe me, this was NOT a selling point for me. I don't want to mow grass or rake leaves or do any of that crap. In fact, it was in spite of the yard that I bought the house. However, the yard is really small and not that big of a deal.

I met my new next door neighbor a while back, a woman about 50 years of age and living with cats (I told you that it was a "quiet" part of town!), and she went on and on about how I have to grow plants in the backyard, and how great it is, and how she does it, etc. I pointedly told her that I grew up in the city, I don't have a Green Thumb, I don't want plants, it's too much work, and I'm too busy.

Well, she bought me a house warming gift today. Guess what it is? It's a giant fucking green planter filled with dirt and budding plants. Are you kidding me?? The thing is huge, it can't go anywhere but outside in my unmowed backyard. She manically beamed as she told me, "You said you didn't have much experience with plants... well, now you will have lots of experience!"

What?? Hey, lady... SCREW YOU! Did you ever think that I don't want "plant experience"?? Do you know what the definition of "plant experience" is to me?... It's "work". Why do you think I spent 20 years of my life pretending I had a stomach ache every Saturday morning so that my dad wouldn't make me rake leaves? Why do you think I bought the house with the smallest yard I could find? It wasn't an accident that I don't have plant experience - it was a well-crafted strategy I used to make sure that I enjoyed my weekends.

Do you believe this? So, of course, this giant planter has to go in my backyard, where this woman will see it every day out of her kitchen window. It's so big, I can't even throw it out if I wanted to (which I would have done, if she didn't live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to me). Now I have to water it every day, tend to it, and do the other bullshit gardening stuff to it - ("pruning"? is that what it is?) - because if I don't, then she will see it all die, and then I would have to face the botanical inquisition from her about why it died - or she would know that I killed it from neglect and her feelings would be all hurt, and I'll have an "angry neighbor situation" for the rest of my life (or the rest of her life, whichever ends or moves first). Jesus Christ.

Who gives this kind of present?? She basically saddled me with another chore to do every week. I told this woman from the beginning that I didn't want anything to do with plants or dirt. When she first saw the inside of my house, she remarked about how I had no "living green things" around. Yeah, that's right - that's by design. I don't have "living green things" around because I don't want "dead brown things" around. It's not that I would kill the plants accidentally because I don't know what I'm doing - I would kill them intentionally because I don't want to deal with it!

What is this lady going to do for my birthday?... gift wrap a baby and leave it at my doorstep so I can be burdened with taking care of that thing for the next 18 years?! Forget the plant experience, why not give me the parent experience instead??

I know some people get relaxation or satisfaction from doing gardening and lawn work, but I'm not one of them. And to give someone the "curse of chores" is not a gift. And I don't want to hear from all the altruistic women on The Knot.com that will tell me that "it's not the gift that counts, it's the thought" - because she DIDN'T think. She knew I wasn't interested in plants, and she's trying to force it on me, and now I have no choice. The planter is so big that I can't "accidentally drop it", I can't accidentally burn it, and no one would believe me if I said that someone stole it (plus I can't stage a theft because it's too heavy for me to move). So now I have to go through this whole charade of trying to care for the plants until I come up with some clever way to remove this albatross from around my neck. In the meantime, the planter is consuming 25% of the square footage of my backyard, and I was going to put a beer pong table back there now that the snow has thawed and it's warming up. Goddamnit.

April 2, 2009

Spring Break!!

Sorry, disciples of The Minister of Common Sense, but I must abandon common sense for a while and indulge in some irrational drinking and behavior! Stay tuned to future postings on this site soon! I hope you all are enjoying the return of warmer weather. In the meantime, check out the archives for good posts you may have missed!