Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

66. My lack of attention span when I try to work in the library

As a third year Anthropology student, I am currently writing a dissertation. For those of you who don't know what a dissertation is, it's basically a 10,000-12,000 sprawling diatribe about absolutely nothing. It is mind-numbing and pointless but in an attempt to actually get a degree, I've got to do it. And so it is with great dismay I drag myself to the university library everyday in an attempt to finish it (because if I sit at home and work, I end up playing that riff from 'Day Tripper' on guitar ad nauseum, briefly stopping to write entries for The List - take a guess at what I should be doing now!!). However, due to years of watching Ren & Stimpy, playing video-games that involve either shooting or punching things and a nasty coke habit*, I have the attention span of someone who doesn't have a very big attention span (what am I, the simile master?). To that end, working in the library is an extremely frustrating process for me, simply because I waste my time and never work efficiently. To demonstrate this point, here is a pie chart - click it to enlarge it, you knucklehead.

It will be a miracle if I end this year with a degree.

*This isn't what you think. I buy cans of regular Coke and, in an endeavour to avoid the horrific fuzzy teeth that come with drinking it, pour out lines of the caramelised liquid on a mirror and snort them through a bendy straw. Rock n' roll.

65. Flesh tunnels

^ If I saw one that big in real life, I might actually start weeping uncontrollably.
I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe. I can put my finger through your earlobe.


Monday, 25 April 2011

64. Jan Moir

^ A picture is worth a thousand words. Specifically "Ew" x 1000.

"Hi, I'm Jan Moir. When I'm not too busy spreading homophobic bile about dead pop-stars and their deviant lifestyles, making baseless assumptions about how Kate "snared" the "damaged and difficult" prince, pushing feminism back 50 years, callously treating a topic like teen pregancy with unhelpful vitriol, stereotypes and a misguided air of superiority or half-heartedly apologising for one of these acts, I like to relax by dropping kittens in a tub of sulphuric acid. And eating lots of pies. And kicking babies. With knifey-shoes."

What a cow.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

63. The romanticisation and lack of realism in modern media's portrayal of every day life

^ "It's these cards and movies and the pop songs - they're to blame for the lies and the heartache!" Hey, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, don't forget over the top, try-hard quirky romance films like '(500) Days of Summer'! You tit.

Being a fan of 1980s pop-culture especially, I've watched a lot of terrible films and television series. I've also read a lot of silly books in my not so vast time on this mortal coil. One thing that has always struck me is the complete lack of reality in everything. Especially in television. But especially in films.

Day to day life is generally a bit mundane with a couple of occasional flourishes of drama or excitement. However, if I were to believe Desperate Housewives or even Eastenders, every day would be a cavalcade of people being shot, multiple marriages and occasionally touching love stories, Tiffany being pushed down the stairs, murderers buying houses on my street, crack addiction related hijinks, women older than time itself bearing faces made purely from vacuum-formed plastic or the baby-stealing shenanigans of a psycho. Of course, that isn't life at all.

I'm happy to accept that life isn't all doom and gloom, but let's be realistic. Good things do happen every once in a while - of that we can be sure - but they never happen like they do in visual media. Life simply doesn't work like that. To demonstrate my point, what follows is a dispassionate list of a few instances of romanticised rubbish infused with a healthy dose of realism;

Ferris wouldn't get away with all that crap he pulled, for one he's using a computer to edit his attendance records before the internet existed. Ross and Rachel would probably not have stayed in such close proximity all the time considering their intense break up and their group of friends would have been fractured as a result. Charlie wouldn't find the golden ticket and would remain poverty stricken all his life. Girls like Zooey Deschanel don't listen to the Smiths. Marty McFly would have never been born because he decided to mess around with timelines. Indy would have been crushed horrifically by that giant boulder. Juno wouldn't own a hamburger phone. Carol Hathaway would have died in the first episode. Mia would have died from that overdose and Vincent would get killed by Marcellus. Ted never met your mother. Nicholas Cage wouldn't have hair. Morpheus was actually a very clever drug dealer and Neo became hooked on the red pill. Luke wouldn't have destroyed the Death Star because he turned off his targeting system. Judd Nelson would have been expelled from high school, Molly Ringwald wouldn't have talked to Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy would be seeking medical attention for all that dandruff and, most importantly, hot-boxing a room wouldn't give Emilio Estevez the super powers to shatter a glass door with the power of his voice.

Yeah. I think that will do for now.

62. Listening to people talk about their dreams

^ Nothing evokes the realism of a dream like Tommy Wiseau's disjointed mode of conversation.

This is a massively easy target, so I'll keep it short (also, I think I might have stolen the thrust of this from something I saw, but I can't for the life of me remember what - answers on a postcard, folks). Unless the dream involved any combination of the following a) awkward sex with people you know, b) sex with awkward people you know, c) manning a ginormous Japanese fighting robot, d) something funny involving people we mutually know and enjoy laughing at or e) all of the above*, it is not worth discussing with me or anyone else.

No one cares if you have a dream about someone they don't know doing something dull like playing checkers and then he suddenly transformed in to a moose but in the dream it seemed normal and you weren't surprised he had transformed in to a moose so you just accepted the fact he was now a moose and then you were in a classroom, but it made sense in the dream yada yada etc. etc. Dreams are nonsensical and for the most part, awfully monotonous. They can be entertaining / emotive / scary or whatever to the person who has them, but don't inflict them on anyone else. To people outside of the frightening mental scatter that is your mind, your monologued recollection of last night's dreams will make about as much sense as 'The Room' except without the entertainment factor of laughing at someone else's inability to act / direct / pace dialogue.

*Just to put a pleasant image in your head, 'all of the above' would consist of you in a Japanese fighting robot having awkward sex with your socially awkward friend whilst everyone else you both know points and laughs. Probably shouldn't share that dream with people, otherwise you will get sectioned.

61. Inappropriately loud music in pubs

^ Apparently this is from the Cross Keys in Bedworth. Absolutely genius marketing, almost makes me want to go to Bedworth. Almost.

Picture this: you're in a pub with some good company, you've all just got yourselves a casual pint of whatever and you all sit down to have a nice little chat about everything and nothing. As the drinks effortlessly flow (wallet permitting), so does the conversation. It begins to span new depths of inaneity and pointlessness, but you're conversing in good company so who's to care what the subject is? Bliss. Ah, I do enjoy a nice little pub session. And then it happens.

Suddenly, you notice that every line of conversation is suffixed with a "Sorry, what?". Instead of new threads of chatter unraveling, repetition of previous statements has become the lion's share of what's spoken. And in-between each utterance, there's often a pause of mild confusion followed by the listeners leaning in towards the speaker in order to decipher what they were saying. There are a lot of self-dismissive 'It doesn't matters' being thrown about, as the effort involved in perfectly reiterating what you've just stated isn't worth the pay off. What the hell has happened? Has everyone gone collectively deaf? Have you all just got a bit sick of each other's company? Did everyone drink too much and now every sentence is a group exercise in trying to figure out what order words go in sentences?

Nope. Someone turned the music up. Really, really loud (although all those other things could have happened too, but that's not the point!!). Now, keep in mind - you're all sitting down. Everyone else in the establishment is sitting down. There is no "dance floor" or whatever you kids call it. You're in a pub. For all intents and purposes, this is a vicinity intended for preching or occasionally standing awkwardly by the bar. And yet the music is as loud as some grotty club.

Apparently, loud music makes people buy more drinks - presumably, the logic is that if you can't capably talk to your company, you're all going to need a drink to sheepishly nurse in the conversational downtime. However, in my case at least and, granted, I am a massive old man at heart, I'm just inclined to leave a pub if I have to compete with the background music. If I'm in a pub, I want to hear things at a reasonable volume and not to have to shout every sentence - if I want music at 11, I'll listen to Spial Tap or go to a club.

(Except I wouldn't go to a club, because clubs are Hell on earth. They're the equivalent to being trapped in the gorilla enclosure during mating season, except somehow the big apes have got expensive clothes and acquired a massive PA system that plays nothing but a relentless drum and bass thud. And they're sweating a lot. And the floor is really sticky.)

60. Fans of a band who are outraged by cover versions

^ Without question, this is the greatest cover version of anything ever. Shatner really gets Pulp.

There are certain bands and musicians that I have discovered in my life that I value so highly, I will relentlessly devour any piece of music that has some tenuous link to them. For instance, I am probably one of the very few people in Britain who has nearly every single Andrew W.K. release, include such rarities such as his pre-I Get Wet EP, Party Til You Puke. On vinyl.

Suffice to say, I am a disgusting nerd and fan-boy of the utmost degree. And yes, I agree, I should probably be ashamed of myself. But I'm not the worst of the fan-boys. Oh no (though I'm probably up there, next to those who constantly bother their idols on Twitter with desperate pleas for a retweet). There are some fans who consider their band's music so sacred, that for another band to cover it would be sacrilege. This is a mindset I don't think I can ever understand for several reasons.

1) Covers can breathe new life in to a song that you might have played to death and rekindle your love for it if it had become somewhat stale.

2) There's nothing more fascinating than seeing how another group of individuals interpreted a song you hold dear. What nuances they picked up on and what they think are the main focuses of the song are exceptionally subjective and covers can give you a unique insight in to something you may have missed before.

3) They're (usually) a labour of love. You're hardly going to cover a song you dislike. Hell, most covers recorded by a band will be of someone they love. Like you, they're a fan of the band being covered. They even like that band's music so much that they're willing to take the time to learn how to play it and attempt to recreate it. All you can be arsed to do is sit there and listen to it, caustically passing judgement on those who engage with it in a different way.

4) This is probably the most important one. I'm not going to pretend all covers are good, because they certainly aren't. There are a wealth of terrible covers out there. Far too many to count. But you know what? They don't affect the original song. You can hear a terrible cover and then you can forget all about it and go back to the definitive version. No reason to get high and mighty and claim your band of choice has been done a dishonour - their music still remains 100% in tact. Get over it.

If you shut yourself off to cover versions of your favourite bands, you'll never discover the other musicians who also share your audial affections. And for all you know, you could be preventing yourself from discovering another group that you will come to love.

N.B. There isn't enough "insulting the reader" in this article, so just pretend every paragraph ended with "You elitist plonker."

Monday, 4 April 2011

59. The constant assault of passwords

^ This is pretty much what happens when I use the wrong password three times on my Visa security checker thing and get my card locked.

Having spent my childhood years playing too many video-games and my adult years drinking, the only time my brain wasn't being rotted on a regular basis was between the ages of 15-16. As such, my memory is shot to pieces with the only permanent fixture being things learnt in that one year of mental stimulation. Unfortunately, I squandered my chance to learn something valuable and instead the only things I properly remember are regarding Metallica from 1981-1992. Essential information, I'm sure you'll all agree.

With my premature senility in mind (well, as "in mind" as memory loss can be), it is with great disdain and reluctance I sign myself up to anything online nowadays. Not because I have to come up with a username, words are actually relatively easy to remember having learnt to speak at some point earlier in life. No, it's because of passwords that I fear making new accounts. Security is apparently always at risk on the internet and so online purveyors of banal accounts want to make sure your account is particularly secure. That's all well and good, but when the websites in question then reject your first twelve passwords because they either use actual words, don't contain random enough digits like 7 or π, dOn'T cOnStantLY cHANGe CasE or, God-forbid, don't alter the font, then it becomes a chore. The mighty internet tells me this is a good password;

Do you realise how long it takes me to type that? The mini-Sonic takes at least 15 minutes to draw and the upside question mark requires 40 minutes scouring the computer's character map and crying. But at least my Gmail account is secure!!

However, remembering one unrelentingly unguessable password simply isn't enough. Apparently, having a "global password" is mind-numbingly stupid and basically equivalent to wearing a sign that says "INTERNET HACKERS, PRETEND TO BE ME PRETTY PLEASE". The only solution is to have hordes of unique passwords - one for every account you may have. This means that every time you try to log in to your Amazon account, you have to cycle through each and every password you've ever thought of in an attempt to eventually find the correct one. And don't you dare write these passwords down. The hackers will still find it. Even if you encode the passwords and hide them under your bed, they'll find a way.

Similarly, some accounts will even require you to change your password every few months, just for that extra. Secure. Edge. Whilst you clutch at straws to think of something new that you won't forget in the next few minutes, the password-checking program will mock you and repeatedly tell you that your new password is too similar to your previous one or that you can't re-use an old password. I can only remember so many things. A random assortment of numbers, digits and dated cartoon characters is not one of them!

Please Internet, I know no one is going to hack any of my accounts. I have no money to steal and the only emails I've received since 2007 are about Russian women who allegedly can't wait to meet me (turns out they were lying). Just let me have something simple like "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" as a global password.


UPDATE: I don't usually do this, but this is utterly karmic payback for writing this entry. I got my online banking password wrong twice and now my account is locked. GEE THANKS NATWEST.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

58. The bitter realisation you have peaked physically

^ The most depressing thing about The Cure isn't the music, but rather the fact that most of us will spend our adult life gradually transforming in to modern day Robert Smith.

Chances are, if you're reading this, you're not a child. You're possibly an adolescent or, seeing as most the viewers of this blog seem to be vague acquaintances of mine, you're probably 20+. If you're not, stop reading now before I instill you with fear and depression regarding your inevitable future.

So old folks, do you remember what it was like being 18? Yeah, you may have got a few spots every once in a while but other than that, you were invincible. You could eat deep-fried lard encased in bacon grease and be stick thin, you could guzzle down ten thousand pints in a night and not get a hangover, you had so much energy that you didn't need to drink coffee (but you did drink coffee and lots of it because it's the best drink), you never exercised but remained fit enough to fight seven bears who were convinced you had wronged their mother, knives snapped when they came in contact with your skin and bullets bounced right off. It could only be described as "jawesome" (similar to "awesome", but infused with the coolness of Jaws the shark).

19 was alright, but there was a downhill trend making itself apparent. Your belly was starting to wobble a bit, you felt a bit ropey after a heavy night, the bears were starting to graze slightly and you were once or twice admitted to the hospital for bullet wounds. For the most part though, you were doing well. Nothing to worry about.

Then 20 happened and your body couldn't take it any more. All that delicious refried lard was giving you seven chins, a casual ten beers would lead to waking up the next day with your brain pounding the inside of your skull for mercy, you couldn't function without a coffee drip hooked to your veins and the bears, knives and guns were leaving you missing limbs, riddled with bullets and so many exit wounds that you began to resemble swiss cheese.

It's at this point you start to try and turn things around. You start to consume in moderation, pretending that the saved money makes it worth it. You begin exercising on a regular basis, spending your new found spare money on a worthless gym membership. Also, you learn to stay away from the forests where the armed bears seem to live (I'm running with this bear joke - deal with it, this entry doesn't get any better than that). But it's simply not working. You're in the worst shape of your life. Thanks to Facebook and its ilk, it's all too easy to compare photos of yourself now with ones from a couple of years ago. Your face is haggard, there's flab everywhere, you haven't shaved in years, you're emotionally crippled and you're so dependent on coffee that if you don't have at least four cups a day, you'll fall asleep on the bus home and wake up leaning and drooling on a complete stranger. Twice. In a week. As soon as all this physical degradation clicks, it's official. You're no longer youthful and you've squandered your best years without truly appreciating them. Nice going, turtlegobbler.

N.B. I used to fight bears.