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Archive for the ‘Pet Peeve of the Day’ Category

Yes, I am writing a Pet Peeve today. It’s mostly because when sad things happen that are unexplainable, I need a distraction of something silly and pointless and inconsequential. So I’m going to rant about something dumb because looking anywhere else on the internet is just making me too damn sad.

For some reason, I work with a lot of young women who spend an inordinate amount of time in the Ladies Room primping.  At first I noticed this when people would brush their teeth. Which is good hygiene.  I mean, I don’t bother because I chew an excessive amount of sugar-free gum all day (incidentally, my dentist is always really thrilled with the cleanliness of my teeth – thanks Orbit!).  But I understand that people want to wash their lunch off their teeth and have fresh breath all afternoon.  There are a few girls who are even in there with floss. Maybe if you eat corn on the cob or ribs for lunch (and why would you?) this would be necessary, but it seems a little bit much.

Beyond that, there are a few girls who walk in there with a make up bag and spend forever re-applying make up (I swear I saw one girl wash her face and re-apply all of her make one day).  It’s super annoying to me, but I’m not sure why.  Maybe because if you’re ever hoping for a little privacy in the bathroom, you’ll never get it because there are people hanging out in there for approximately eternity while they preform a routine that is best left for the privacy of their own bathroom.  This is not a runway, it’s an office.  You’re not getting ready for a photo shoot, you’re sitting at your desk goofing off on Facebook all day. Get over yourself and get out of the bathroom.

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I’m not sure if it’s always been this way, but it seems like in the past 10-20 years or so, people let themselves be defined by their jobs.  More than that, they think that if they are important at work, they are important in life.  Hence all these people who run around from work meeting to work meeting, checking their email remotely from anywhere at any time of day like the world will end if they are not responding to messages.

A few of my posts lately (i.e., the two I wrote yesterday) mention work/life balance.  Clearly, it’s something that’s been on my mind (not least of all because I have to work all weekend).  But I remember when I was new to this job, in the first year or two.  We had a big movie coming out and about twelve partners. I was overseeing the production of at least six TV spots. It was nuts and I was averaging 10-12 hours a day.  Our department was a lot smaller back then (when I started there were four of us – now there are fifteen of us), so I just had a lot more on my plate.  Part of it was the need because there was legitimately a lot of work to be done, but looking back, I think I let my job define me because I was unhappy outside of my job.  My marriage had its problems and we were constantly worried about money, so I think focusing on work was an outlet and distraction from what was happening at home.  Then I ended up in the hospital with an ITP flare up and was on disability for a month.  And a funny thing happened – the world didn’t fall apart. My job happened without me. It was sort of disconcerting, but also a relief and much-needed dose of perspective.  It is completely insane to let your health fall apart because you’re working so much.  Ridiculous, really.

As you may be able to tell from the frequency with which I have been posting lately, I am not busy at work.  Even though I hate meetings and brand them as ridiculous time wasters, the days when I don’t have any are the worst.  The time goes by so slowly it practically feels like it’s moving backwards.  Just now, I looked at the clock and thought, “2:40?! Good God!”  It will be a long afternoon.

Because I am bored and with little to do, I am perhaps more sensitive to the people running around like chickens sans heads and how obnoxious they are.  How can anyone in this department be that busy?  I don’t buy it.  Earlier today, I was in the kitchen making myself some tea and I bumped into a girl from my department who has worked here for 6 months or so.  She’s very nice, but a little bit too corporate cheerleadery to be someone who I would actually consider having more than a shallow conversation with.  We exchanged pleasantries, and I asked how she was. Her reply was: “Very very very very very busy. I added an extra ‘very’ in there because it’s so busy.”  Who says stuff like that?  And again, I know what we have going on as a department for the next few years – she really shouldn’t be that busy.  When she was hired, I actually questioned the need for her position (rich, I know, coming from someone who blogs and reads stupid stories on the internet all day).  But it seemed like she was proud to say it, like she was almost bragging.

I guess that’s the difference. Many people are very busy these days.  Lots of companies have downsized, so you often have one person doing the work of two or three. Many families have both parents working, and if there are kids, their school commitments, extra-curricular activities and social lives only add to an already daunting list of things-to-do.  But when you ask many people how they are, and they say, “I’m so busy!”, it is often said with an air of regret, or even complaint. Which I don’t mind. They should be complaining. Who wants to be that busy all the time? When would you get to read stupid stuff on the internet or watch TV?  It’s the braggers who annoy me.  But then, maybe I should feel a little bad for them. When your job defines who you are in that way, and when your level of work busy-ness is tied into your self-worth, that means there can’t be a lot of fun stuff happening outside of work. If there was, then that is where you would focus your time and energy.

I am grateful for my job and appreciative to have it – especially in this economy. I’m not trying to be a brat. Working is great. But living is better.

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Hi, it’s nice to meet you. I’m a huge nerd who enjoyed the grammar part of English classes in high school, and spent more of my childhood with my nose stuck in a book than outside playing with normal kids.  As such, I have a lot of pet peeves about how people write and speak.  Since I acknowledge my own nerdiness and am self aware enough to know that not many people care about these stupid things as much as I do, I generally keep my mouth shut. Also, I don’t want to be seen as pretentious and academically snotty by correcting people, which is part of my reason for holding it in.  Except now, it’s all coming out.  Here is my latest list, in no particular order:

* Acrosst/Acrossed instead of “Across”:  What the hell is this?  Strangely, it is just something I have become aware of from people who I’ve worked with for over six years.  I’m going to chalk it up to a regional thing, since most people I know who do it are from the Midwest or middle of the country.

* I’m not sure how to type it out, but I’ve also noticed people from this same section of the country say the word “saw” (as in the past tense of “see”) as though there is an “L” either in the middle or at the end.

* My boss is famous for using the wrong words when she speaks.  Often this is in business meetings, and it’s as embarrassing to have this happen in front of clients with your boss as it is to have your parents say something stupid in front of your friends.  There are two standouts. The first is when she says something is a “mute point” instead of “moot point.”  I’ve known the difference ever since I heard Rick Springfield’s song “Jessie’s Girl” in the 80s and looked up the word “moot.”  The other makes me cringe and I might actually have to start correcting her because it is just too mortifying.  Whenever any of the girls wear wedge-like sandals, in an effort to be fashionably hip and with it, she’ll say something like, “Cute wedgies!!”  I might need to break it to her that a “wedgie” is what happens when your underwear is lodged up your ass, not a type of shoe.

* Of course I have the they’re/there/their and you’re/your pet peeves that many people do. I’d like to add its/it’s to this equation.

* Superfluous abbreviations.  An abbreviation is used to denote possession or a contraction. Not plural.  I once had an email from a colleague that had about four abbreviations that were entirely unnecessary.  It took all the self-restraint I had not to correct it with red font and send it back to her.

* I’ve griped about this before, but I’m bringing it up again. “AS”  It is sooooo overused as a contraction instead of “since” or “because”.  I feel like the Brits can do this because it’s actually how they talk. When people stateside do it, it bugs me because it makes it feel like they’re trying to sound smart or snooty. If you wouldn’t speak that way, don’t write that way.

Sometimes venting in “Pet Peeve” post makes me feel better, but this one hasn’t yet. I think there are some that I am forgetting at the moment, so I may keep adding to this one.

Author’s Note: I thought of something else to add here. It drives me bonkers when people use the word “genius” as an adjective. It has become 100% socially acceptable to do so, but using Mike’s “forte” example, I just can’t get on board with it (although I don’t correct people like he does).  I much prefer “brilliant,” like the Brits.  I think some people have the same issue with the word “fail” being used as a noun, which is also very popular right now. I get their point, but that one doesn’t bug me as much for some reason. I guess everyone has their thing.

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It’s been a while since I’ve vented about driving around LA.  A few weeks ago on my way to work, I was beeping so much that my horn gave out, mid-beep.  So, it seems like it’s time to exercise a different outlet for that frustration.

LA traffic sucks.  I love when people from other cities are all like, “Traffic here is terrible, too!”  No  dice.  I guarantee, we have you beat.  It’s not just the gazillion 10-lane freeways that get grid-locked; inter-city driving is brutal too.   Come 6 PM, when all the studios let their employees/slaves go home for the day, every major road in this city is jammed. If they’re not, then you’re probably driving head-first into the apocalypse.

The route I take to and from work is a popular route that most people who work at the Burbank/Glendale-based studios take to get to Hollywood and West Hollywood.  As with many popular routes and heavily traveled roads, these get backed up such that when a light turns green, sometimes only a car or two can make it through before the light turns red again.  If you are taking a left and at an intersection that does not have a left-turn arrow** (i.e., most of Los Angeles), you are even more screwed.  At one particular intersection on my way to work, drivers taking Cahuenga West from Hollywood who are turning right onto Barham going into Burbank have an exceptionally long right arrow. Once the arrow goes away, they are still able to turn right on red.

Without fail, every morning, their light will turn red and some a-hole driver doesn’t even so much as pause before flying through the light to turn right.  Since I am in the line of traffic that should get to go straight through the intersection when their light is red and mine is green, it pisses me off every single time.  It’s monstrously unsafe to not even hesitate when you have a red light like that. Not to mention that traffic often gets backed up in that intersection and even if my light is green, I’m not able to move right away. I have to wait for traffic beyond the light to start moving.  The people turning right take this as an invitation to sneak in.  Turning right on red is a privilege, not a right.  There is a time when you get to turn without question and have the right of way, and it’s when you have a green light.  I am a few days away from making a sign to that extent and standing on the corner where they turn.

I would probably get egged. Or shot.

** I have another turning pet peeve, and this is related to the rare and elusive left-turn signal in Los Angeles.  Almost every intersection needs one.  Only about 5% have them.  Opposing traffic never stops long enough for you to actually turn. So, there is an unspoken rule in all of LA, which is that, when the light turns yellow, hopefully opposing traffic isn’t being a bunch of d-bags and actually stops, and then 2-3 cars get to turn as the light transitions from yellow to red. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only way anyone will ever get anywhere.  Because of this, when I am at an intersection that offers a left arrow, I am laser-focused on that light changing, and once it turns green, I hammer the gas to get through so that as many cars as possible behind me can turn left before the arrow goes away.  I cannot stand when the person at the front is snoozing and lets precious seconds tick by without turning. Worse is when everyone takes the turn as slowly as possible and only a few cars can get through the light. This is LA! A left arrow is like  a gift from God! When that light turns, you have a responsibility to yourself, the cars behind you, all of Los Angeles, and civilization at large to hustle through that light like your life depends on it.  Do not squander the gift.

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Yesterday morning I was headed to a baby shower that took place in Costa Mesa, leaving from my apartment which is just about in the center of Los Angeles.  The shower began at 11 AM. According to Google Maps, the drive should take about 54 minutes.  Knowing what I know about traffic around these parts, I usually add about 20 minutes on to the suggested travel time because nothing stresses me out more than being late* and I know how crappy the roads can get here.  Yes, even on a Sunday.

My morning started out well, but then I had the brilliant idea to curl my hair.  This, as always, took longer than I would have expected (I’m Italian, and I have a lot of hair), so I left at about 10:08 rather than 10, already a bad sign.  The drive started out easily enough on the 101 through downtown, which is always dicey, so that seemed to bode well. And then, of course, it all fell apart on the 5.  I have never been on the 5 and not experienced an unexplained back up almost the moment I hit the absurdly-named City of Commerce. This is also where the Citadel Outlets are, which can be seen from the freeway. Also seen from the freeway – very bright electronic, changing billboards for the Outlets, which I swear transfix people and are the cause for the slowing.  Honestly.  Everything will stop dead, then everyone speeds up to a normal pace and you would be hard pressed to find any reason for the gridlock of the previous 8 seconds. And then, just when you are lulled into a false sense of hope, it will be gridlocked again.  More than once, I have thought horrible things, like, “If this is because there’s an accident, someone better be dead!”

Once I got past the stupidity of the Citadel Outlets, we were free flowing, and then backed up again. This was because the right lane ends and Thru Traffic needs to merge left.  Yesterday, this was made worse by the fact that some construction guys were just ambling up to a spot in the left lane to do…work, I guess. They had two trucks, each with those blinking arrows warning people that the lane is closed and that they’ll need to merge right. So, at the same time, you have an overcrowded highway with the folks on the right merging left, and the folks on the left merging right.  Traffic was funneled into two middle lanes. When I drove by the guys with the arrows, they were just sitting there, not doing anything.  Which led me to think, “Aren’t my tax dollars paying for this?  Did I just, in a sense, pay to sit in traffic for no good reason?”

I was about 20 minutes late to the shower, which really wasn’t a big deal, but the most irritating part was that the curls had completely fallen out of my hair, rendering my reason for running late in the first place as ultimately useless and a big, fat waste of time.  On the bright side, the shower was lovely, they served Mimosas, and I did not hit nearly the same amount of traffic on my way home (of course not, I didn’t have to be there at a certain time).  But if I could have summed up my emotions on my drive down into one word, it would have been: “AAARRRGGGHHH.”  Yes, I’m aware that’s not a real word.

* This obsession with punctuality might be a little part of my (undiagnosed but almost certain) OCD.  Whenever I am due somewhere at a particular time, I calculate drive time, add a buffer, and then work backwards to determine when that means I should leave my apartment, after I add the requisite amount of time needed to get myself ready.  It’s gotten so bad, that when I go to visit one of my closest friends on the other side of town, I cannot be late. Even if I were to try.  I’ll say, “Ok, I’ll be there around 2.”  And no matter what, I am ringing her doorbell at 2 on the button. It’s uncanny, and she always laughs at me. More than once, I have contemplated driving around the block to kill some time so I’m at least a tad off schedule, so as not to seem freakishly punctual and out myself as the nerd that I am. Then I remember, gas is expensive here, and she already knows I’m a nerd and is my friend anyway, so I may as well just park.

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This morning on the Kevin & Bean Show in Ralph Garmin’s “Movie Beat” segment, he mentioned that movie-goers should sit through the credits of Iron Man 2 because there is bonus footage after the credits are done rolling.

Nothing pisses me off more than this ploy. First, because of my general feeling that movies today are just way too long. There’s no need to make a movie longer than 90 minutes.  If your movie is exceptionally excellent and  compelling, like The Hurt Locker, you are allowed to make it to the 2 hour mark. But movies that are 2.5 or 3 hours long? That’s just lazy editing.  I’ve never sat through a movie that long without looking at my watch and thinking, “When is this bullshit over? The plot stopped making sense 20 minutes ago. I have shit to do, and I really have to pee.”

Second, because it’s incredibly self-indulgent and ego-centric on the part of the filmmakers. You’re so amazing you get to steal an extra 10 minutes out of my day while I sit here like a drone listlessly staring at names fly up the screen until you give me some lame-ass 2 extra minutes of footage?  In my experience, these after-the-credit segments are either not funny/worth the wait, or they are some pathetic and obvious attempt to set up a sequel. 

So, if it’s essential to the plot, put it in your 90-120 minute movie. Otherwise, stop wasting my time.

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Nothing bugs me more than seeing a total clusterf* of traffic caused by some fool when no one is beeping their horn.  If you are driving like an idiot or causing other people strife because you don’t know what you’re doing, then you deserve to be startled by someone else’s horn.  I’ve been beeped at many times in my life and I am willing to admit that at least 90% of the time, it was because I had done something dumb.  It is a reminder that a) you are not the only person on the road and b) you are being stupid and inconveniencing others. 

Example: the other day I was on my way home from work and in the right lane, which is always a pain because it’s the most congested lane in this particular intersection and people make it worse by cutting you off at the last minute. On this night, the light turned green and no one moved. This was because the first car in the lane was just sitting there, apparently trying to decide whether to turn right or go straight.  I was about four cars back in the line of traffic and kept waiting for someone closer in to beep (it is an unwritten rule that if you are immediately behind said idiot driver, it is your responsibility to beep; the further back you are, the more confusing it becomes and the target of the beep can be questioned).  In the end, the guy finally turned and I missed the light.  I was less enraged by the missing of the light and more annoyed because no one ever beeped at the guy. 

What else is a horn for if not for alerting other people that they are screwing up?  In my experience, people don’t seem to care about being polite anymore, so what is holding them back from beeping and shaking their fist?  Your horn is pretty much the only voice you have when in your car – sticking your head out the window and yelling is dangerous and generally doesn’t work, especially on the freeway.

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