File Under Stuff I’ll Never Do

Today we went hiking at Apache Lake in the Tonto National Forest. On the way this morning, I saw two hanggliders off to the right. That sounds fun. Because I want to experience all the fun of a plane crash without any of the protection offered by a plane.

Visual Mute

Why is there no visual mute? I saw an ad today for a new show about OCD. In the spot, a woman with OCD cannot stop pulling her hair out. The hair that is attached to her head. And they show it, and she’s nearly freaking BALD. HOLY GOD

Unfiltered Thoughts: Teenagers

So tonight after work I had to go to traffic school to obliterate from my record a speeding ticket. The traffic school was from 6-11 p.m. No joke. My other choice was to go on a Saturday morning, and I’ll be damned if I’m sacrificing half a day of my freedom for the man. But I did get something out of it, which I thought I would share.

Teenagers SUCK. Which makes me Officially Old™. They have this cooler-than-thou attitude, even though they haven’t been around long enough to have developed critical thinking skills enough to distinguish That Which is Cool from That Which is a Fad. They have a totally obnoxious inability to listen and follow instructions. And their oblivious self-absorbed nature fails to recognize that adults might have feelings and thoughts too.

Dude next to me couldn’t have been more than 17, and first thing he says is “How long does this thing last?” I replied, “It’s supposed to go til 11, but from what I hear, if people don’t ask a lot of questions, the instructor might let us out after 10.” So starting at 9:40, he starts packing up all of his shit and sighing loudly and dramatically every 30 seconds in between glancing at his cell phone. By 9:50 when it’s obvious that the instructor still has stuff to say and we haven’t even done our test yet, dude stage whispers, “JESUS! I thought this was supposed to end at 10.” Yeah, buddy. Cuz you’re the only one in this whole room who wishes they were somewhere else and has better things to do. I know I was perfectly happy when the section on school crossings would not end:

Student: “So what you’re saying about school crossings is that we have to slow down?”

Instructor: “Yes because, see, here’s the thing, is that there might be kids,”

Student: “But the sign says stop if Children in crosswalk. What if it’s an adult? I mean, if it’s just the crossing guard, that’s not a child. THEN can we go?”

Student 2: “Yeah, I mean, what if it’s three kids, a teenager, and an adult?”

Student 3: “What if it’s a black kid?”

Instructor: “[Blah blabbity blah].” (Sorry, I couldn’t focus on anything other than how retarded my fellow citizens are.)

Instructor: “Okay. So we answered question number one. Let’s move on to Question Number Two. It’s about the left turn lane.”

Student: “Wait, I have a question. Can we go back to the school crossing for a minute?”

Jesus F-ing Christ, kill me now. But at least I’m not subjecting my neighbors to an obnoxious display of narcissism.

Unfiltered Thoughts: Bathrooms

How come nobody ever puts the sink outside of the bathroom in a public place? Not only would you then not have to touch the door after you’ve washed your hands, but you also get the shame factor forcing those who would not otherwise wash their hands to do so.

Unfiltered Thoughts: Architecture

So my new job is in a private art gallery in someone’s home. And by home, I mean overly designed architectural marvel. And by marvel, I mean that it’s, uh, special. Unique. Ok, it’s just straight-up fucked up, really. The building is shaped like a parallelogram. Well, actually, it’s a rhomboid, not just a parallelogram. So there are no 90 degree angles anywhere in the building, and everything, from the furnishings to the fixtures, is custom-made. It may sound pretty cool, but there are some pain-in-the-ass quirks about it for someone who works in such a contrived and unusual structure.

For starters, I work on the basement level. On the south end of the basement level, the ceiling (or the floor of the ground-floor level) is actually a series of plexiglass skylights that let in a lot of natural light. So much light, in fact, that they had to install custom sunscreens on all of them. Not only because of the light and resulting heat, but more importantly because the homeowners store their textiles on the south end, and textiles are easily damaged by light. Meanwhile, the north end of the basement level, where the offices and kitchen are, and where someone like me works 40 hours a week, has no windows or natural light of any kind. It’s a mind-boggling arrangement. Valuable textiles’ exposure to light should be minimized as much as possible, whereas natural light is good for a healthy work environment for people. So why they didn’t just flip the arrangement, and put offices on the south end and textiles on the dark north end, is beyond me. I would say it’s just a decision that the owners made after the architect left the scene, but I know how the owners work. They stay on their help employees, contractors, groundskeepers, and architects like a hawk. And there was a clear and conscious decision to place the office spaces on the north end. There are no rooms at the south end – the textiles are displayed along partitions, not walls or within interior rooms.

Beyond the appropriation of space on the basement level, there’s also an issue with the furnishings. Every single furnishing is a built-in. While my office is beautiful – sleek glass and dark black countertops – there are some problems. My desk is also a rhomboid to remain parallel to the interior and exterior walls. Have you ever tried to cut a perfect 90 degree angle on a surface that’s a rhomboid? Give it a go and tell me how that works out for you. And everything is fixed. Also, the surfaces are all at a fixed height (which is exactly the wrong height for me), so I’m developing carpal tunnel. When I adjust my chair height so that the seat has me at the appropriate spot, there’s only a couple inches clearance under the table. And try as I might, my thighs are not a mere 2″. Finally, there are some major oversights in terms of accommodating basic needs. Because all storage is also built-in, there are no wall hooks, no closets. Where am I supposed to hang my jacket or put my wet umbrella?

It’s utterly baffling, because I’m left to think that either the architect missed some key details in terms of thinking about how people would work in and use the space (as this level was specifically designed for the homeowners’ hired help), or that the architect’s attempts to incorporate such improvements was entirely overridden by the homeowners.

Please to Explain, NYC Edition

Can someone please enlighten me as to why NYC is so great? Maybe it’s awesome for people with money, but for me?

It took me over 2 hours to go from JFK to my hotel in Manhattan by subway.

It smells.

It’s so, so dirty. I’ve seen piss, vomit, and all kinds of bullshit on the streets. Everywhere I go, all I can think of is of all the filthy nasty hands that have also touched the door handle I have to touch.

For $250 a night, I expect a goddamn coffeemaker in my hotel room. Or at least free coffee in the lobby. Assholes. And a shower with hot water.

It just cost me $9 to get a bottle of water & an iced coffee.

The world does not revolve around you, NYC, as you clearly believe it does.

$23 for lunch?! Seriously??

I can’t even breathe. There’s so many people, there’s no space to spread out, no space to carve out for your self. Like at cafes, bookstores, restaurants, it’s just stools at counters or sharing a table with complete strangers.

Must. Escape.

Unfiltered Thoughts: Reality TV

Do people get paid to analyze tv? I mean, clearly, tv critics do, but there can’t be many openings in that field. I wonder because I devote a lot of thought and analysis to tv. The shows, the ads, the trends, they all fascinate me.

I find that as my days day off run few and far between, they descend into nothing more than sleep and lazing in front of the tv. I’ve been drained of the energy and ability to do much of anything besides watch tv and watch the clock turn to happy hour. It’s the escapism that tv offers — when I have so little time to relax and can’t get away, it helps transport me to somewhere else, even if just for a while. Maybe it’s the rum talking, but I don’t think tv is bad. I think bad tv is awesome.

Specifically bad reality tv. There is just something about watching the trainwreck of undeserving confidence propel tone deaf teens to trying out for American Idol or watching teams self-destruct and implode in front of millions on The Amazing Race. I like a lot about this sort of crap. It helps my too-tired-to-think self suppress my thinking, overanalytical, doubting self. I get wrapped up in looking at the background details — the marketing of a show, how the producers manipulate the contestants, or the various personalities that get cast as contestants, hosts, and judges. People say things like “It’s not real” with respect to reality tv. DUH! I never was under the impression that Laguna Beach was an unscripted snapshot of real teenage life or that the contestants on Project Runway don’t deliberately manufacture their personas to market themselves for viewer consumption. I watch it because it isn’t real, because I am fascinated by how these shows are cast, how the weekly contests are rigged to keep on talentless contestants simply because they provide high entertainment value.