Snark

Is it possible for people to admire someone for work they have done without being obsequious about it? Especially someone who has done work that is more famous than is common? It’s as if in an attempt to show respect, they become groveling fools.

I watched a video put out by an author/speaker whose work I admire. He is doing a series of them. I really enjoyed the video. It made me think about some heavy concepts in a new way. Good stuff, I thought. I thought to perhaps write a comment and express my gratitude to the author/speaker in the video. Then I read the other comments at the top of the thread and couldn’t do it. They were all so belly-baring submissive and unctuous, I couldn’t add my words to the list; I could not be so ingratiating and servile. Ick.

Another in the long line of perfect videos, FIRST NAME OF AUTHOR/SPEAKER! You just can’t say anything wrong! Your words are truly powerful! It’s too bad more people don’t agree with you and spread the word! The world would be a better place if everyone did! This is just awesome! Here’s a little anecdote from my own life to show how similar we are. Oh, and I hope you had a wonderful birthday back on December 8 (See? I know your birthday!). What would we do without you?

Find another victim?

The other part of these is the use of the first name of the author/speaker, as if the person is part of a first name relationship with them, and also to add a little story of their own to try and find such a connection. There is also the punctuating of every! single! sentence! with an EXCLAMATION POINT!! Because we are so EXCITED TOO!! A bouncing servility! That’s it.

I went back to the video that led to this diatribe and read through some of the comments for examples. I felt bad for the people writing them. For whatever reason they need to be this way. Who I am to rain on their parade? I realized I’m being snarky. I am. I’ll stop.

Advertisements

Dear Mr. Outside Magazine Editor

Dear Mr. Outside Editor,

Here’s a concept: Don’t put some teaser on the front of your magazine and then Oops! forget to put a table of contents into your magazine so the person reading the front of the magazine can’t find the article. Even going page by page, which was annoying and made me not want to read your magazine because it was so controlling, I still could not find the article teased on the front cover. Since the issue in question was an “Encyclopedia” I thought perhaps that I missed the point and that I was supposed to go to the “Encyclopedia” to find the article (this in spite of the fact that the article in question could not really have been about gear). Nope. Not there. The teaser in question was “Why Aren’t Millenials Buying Trail Mix.” Trail mix is not in the index to the encyclopedia. Millenials? Nope. (I suppose Millenials really aren’t gear, now are they? (Although I am pretty sure I could make the case that they are or that some of them could be.)) in any case, I still haven’t found it. Still annoyed.

As a reader, it is annoying to:

1. Read a magazine where the table of contents is 30 pages into the magazine, thereby requiring we page through 30 pages of ads and nonsense to get to the content;
2. Read a magazine that hides page numbers when they do bother to publish tables of contents so that again, we have to page through stupid ads to get to the content in the table of contents;
3. Read a teaser on the front of the magazine that is either a) not really there (which appears to be the case in this issue), or b) isn’t really what the teaser led us to believe it was (really annoying).

Since I am ranting about this and rather on a roll, I thought I would include all of these annoyances for you to consider when being a big shot editor. When these annoyances occur, I throw the magazine away (well, recycle it). I am not wasting my time paging through ads that thwart my effort to get to the content for which I bought the magazine. I will not let the advertisers win in this manner. You might have gotten me to purchase the magazine, but since the primary driver of budgets at magazines is ad content, and since advertisers choose magazines because those ads cause the readers to go buy their stuff, it follows that if I don’t read the ads and I don’t buy the stuff that eventually it will all trickle down and you won’t get any ad revenue when I throw my magazine away. SO…may I kindly suggest you make your magazine palatable to readers who actually like to READ your magazine (I happen to be one of those people who reads nearly every single article in a magazine when I am not so irritated by getting to the article that I can’t access it) and stop making your magazine mostly palatable to advertisers? Hmm? Do you think you can do this?

I’m going to give this issue one more chance. I’ll thumb through it one more time in search of the elusive article on why Millenials do not eat trail mix, and if I am not able to find it on this perusal I shall dump this issue in the trash (recycling). Too bad for me, I won’t get to find out what gear you got paid the most to say is the greatest…er, what gear you think I should go buy.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lara Gardner

Post Script: After sending this letter to Outside Magazine, I received a response back from the editors asking if they could use a line or two from my letter in their online letters. (I gave them permission, but I have no control over whether they will make me look like an ass in their choice of words from my letter.)

In any case, I asked where in the magazine I could find why Millenials don’t buy trail mix, because I had not been able to find it. The editor responded that it was in the encyclopedia under “Y – Youth: The Young and the Tentless” (Outside Magazine, Aug 2015, p. 92). As a commenter to this blog post noted, “the entry explains that very few people under 35 are participating in outdoor sports, beyond a day hike or pitching a tent in the backyard. There is, however, no mention of trail mix whatsoever, nor is there mention of food of any type in the entry.”

Yep. The teaser on the front of the magazine is just that, a teaser, and it is therefore even more annoying.

Toilet Needs a New Home

I posted this ad on Craigslist a few years ago. A friend of mine asked me to repost it on the blog, so here it is:

It is time that Toilet parted ways with our family. It has been in this house for longer than we’ve been here. When we arrived, the home inspector informed us that this toilet was “top of the line” in Europe and ordered by all the best home designers in the US. “Pozzi Gnorri,” he said. “Go look them up on the internet. They’re one of the best companies in the world for bathroom fixtures.” So I did and was duly impressed. However, I had to wonder what a toilet of this caliber was doing in my little bungalow in Portland. But hey, some of us get riches to rags instead of the other way around, so who was I to question things or to remind Toilet of its brilliant beginnings? I could make Toilet sad thinking that way.

Toilet was lovely; a deep, thoughtful blue, with a white lid. And the flusher was in its top! My 8 year old loved that. Look Mom, you pull this button on top rather than pushing down on a handle! Fancy! Toilet matched the deep blue sink base.

To keep reading, click HERE.

This Punitive Society

I want to be on the stand and say to them: What did she do? What did she do wrong? She chose the wrong men, and for this you want to punish her, as our society punishes women who let men abuse them, as if it was a choice. We forgive the wrongdoer and attack the victim, because we hate victims, even as we are victims. You should have known better! You should have made a better choice! Your choice was wrong, and we as judges, juries, and executioners know this! You should not have made these mistakes and for this, we judge you. For this, we sentence you and punish you for your sins, for your flaws. You were a good mother, but that is not good enough because you never would have been a mother if you had not chosen men who would abuse you. Of course, this line of reasoning falls apart because she could very well have been a mother if she had not chosen these men. But of course she would not have these children. These children will be harmed because of her choices. These children will be harmed too because of their abusive fathers, but we don’t hold the fathers accountable, only the mothers. These abusive men didn’t know any better, but she did. She knew and she chose wrong and for this, she shall pay with their loss. Their pains are her pains. She will suffer for her sins and so will they.

This society is so fucking fucked and fucked up. I can hardly bear it. We are so punitive, so judgmental, so holier-than-thou, such critics.  Critics. We all sit and judge. Our whole culture. We love to annihilate victims for having been victims. In doing so we can ignore the victims in ourselves. We get to be the rescuer in our judiciousness. I will save you from your victimhood, you fool.

It all just makes me want to scream.

The only time I will use staples will be in a stapler.

I have been very busy lately. I have to use a PC for work because the software I use in my job is only windows-based. As is the case with PCs, the damn thing started running really sluggy and slow. I knew it needed a cleanup and defrag and all that crap, but I just didn’t have time to sit around and stare at it while it wound its way through all that stuff.

One day while in Staples purchasing my latest round of toner and paper, I saw a circular advertising PC tuneup services for $9.99. Ah, I thought. Good deal. I’ll let them stare at the stupid thing for two hours. It would be worth it not to have to. I called and was told that if I dropped it off on Wednesday I could pick it up on Thursday morning. Even better. Wednesday after work I headed on over to leave my non-trusty-computer at the store.

It should have been clue one to me that there would be problems when, contrary to the information I had been given over the phone, I was informed nearly immediately that it would be three days to get the computer back. Oh no, that won’t work, I told them. If it was going to take three days, I was going to have to do this another time.  The salesman hemmed for a moment then said it could be done the next day.

Clue one, Lara.  Clue one.  You weren’t paying attention…

I then said I had to get going because I had an appointment.

Clue two, Lara. Clue two.  Mr. Computer Fixit guy kind of sauntered over to look at something else another Computer Fixit guy was doing, then went behind the counter and got a little widget to insert into my computer. He inserted it and stood there talking to me, telling me how my computer was the nicest he had seen come through the tune-up station in a while. He looked like Napoleon Dynamite, only without glasses. He kind of sounded like him too. In the end I spent a half an hour in there, in spite of my constant assertions that I needed to get going.

I explained that my computer had been running slowly. I explained that on vacation, my colleague had used the computer and claimed it had been infected with malware, but our office computer guy and she had removed this malware with some program from the web.  I explained that in spite of this, the thing seemed to be running slowly.

Do you use Norton?  No, I don’t like Norton. I have BitDefender. Bit Defender? Never heard of it.  Well, it was top-rated on PC Magazine’s choice for virus protection, and I bought it based on that review, and I haven’t had any problems with it. (Incidentally, since all this went down, I perused the web and saw that PC Magazine had again rated it in their top three.)

Well, I have never heard of it.  Okay, so that makes you a superstar.  Can you just take my computer and let me go now?

They told me they would call me when my computer was done and sent me on my way.  I wasn’t kidding that I needed the thing the next day for work.  It is all I have for work and all my work is on it.  Without it, I can’t do 99% of my job.  Well, more like 85%, but you get the idea.

The next day, Staples had not called me by 7:30 p.m.  I was beginning to worry, because I had a big response due on a file in less than five days and could not afford to be without my computer.

I called Staples and was patched to the computer center. The guy on the phone informed me that he hadn’t been able to get it to update. He had tried two times and it failed at the end each time. Okay, yeah well, I need my computer. I don’t care about the updates. I’ll get to them later. I need my machine. He said I could come pick it up.  It was late and baby was going to bed, so I said it would likely be in the morning. Okay, fine.

The next day I got busy with a bunch of other things and since I didn’t have the computer, I waited to pick it up until after picking Milla up for school. When I went in, I was told it had three viruses, and that if I wanted them removed, I would have to pay $200.  I asked what the viruses were and was told that they didn’t know, but it would cost $200 to have them fixed. The guy told me that the Staples tuneup hadn’t even detected BitDefender (See?  It’s such a horrible program!) He said I should have gotten the Norton antivirus software, and was told that Norton had picked up the three viruses on my computer.

At this point I began to believe this was all a scam to get me to pay Staples 200 more dollars. Whatever, I said to the guy.  I needed my computer yesterday so can I have it now? It was frozen in update land because, in spite of the fact I told them the night before that I was going to come and get it and to forget about the updates, apparently they had tried again multiple times anyway.
That evening I sat down to work. The computer had seemingly passed through its updates, although this proved false. Later when I had to shut down because of the other issues that arose, it turned out the thing still wanted to keep updating. I finally had to go in and manually choose updates, leaving off the last one. It’s still screwed up and every time the thing shuts down, it tries to install the last update and fails, freezing and requiring a hard reboot.
The machine ran slower than it ever had before I took it to Staples. Frustrated and worried I wasn’t going to be able to finish my work, I did something I should have done this in the first place, and called Costco support. Remember though, I was up against a deadline and out of time, so it did not occur to me to call them sooner. In this, please cut me slack for my lack of foresight.
After 45 minutes on the phone, the computer was running speedily again. However, there was one problem that the tech could not figure out.  I now have to log into my wireless by going through the control panel, going into network preferences, and re-entering my security key every single time I log on. I used to be able to right click on the now disabled icon on my taskbar, click my network, and voila!  Logged on. Not any more.

The worst thing though, did not appear until I sat down to finish drafting the response due in five days. My Adobe Acrobat did not work. Every time I opened it I received an error message letting me know the registration had been corrupted and I needed to uninstall and reinstall. I ran an uninstall repair, but this did not fix the problem.

Frantic, I called my office to see if they had a serial number.  The only serial number they had for me was one for Adobe Standard. I had Pro and needed Pro. The Standard would not work. I kept trying to do my job around the error, but it wouldn’t work. I optimize scanned text. I insert and delete pages. I enter in text boxes and rectangles. I used Acrobat. A lot. No more. Finally today, up against the deadline and sobbing in frustration, I uninstalled and reinstalled a trial version. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow the user to do any of the functions I use. In tears, I called my friend Debbie. She took my documents, made them into PDFs, stuck in the Exhibit words, and bundled them all together, then emailed it back to me to file.  I wasted so much time on this problem, the response wasn’t nearly as tight and good as it could have been, and I filed it near 4 in the afternoon.

During this, I called Staples. I have a salesperson online who helps me with purchases. I had written him an email on Sunday after wasting two hours slogging through computer problems. He called me Monday. We played phone tag until today. He said the store had told him I said the computer had viruses. No, I never said that. He wanted to three-way call with the store to get this straightened out, so we made an appointment for tomorrow, after the big monster response was turned in.

Today, during my frustration, I called the store and asked to speak to the manager. He knew my case. He said the techs told him I said the computer had a virus. I never said that. He said my computer was “riddled with viruses.” That’s funny, because that’s not what they said and if their “tune-up” was supposed to clean viruses, why didn’t they do it? Why did they say it would be $200 to do that or give me any information at all? He said the “tune-up” had failed. That’s interesting, because my receipt says it worked just fine, that only one update failed. Well, your computer is riddled with viruses. So you’re telling me that my computer, which worked just fine and dandy until the day I got my computer back from Staples, magically developed viruses that only affected Adobe after I got it back from you? No answer? And are the viruses the reason the internet hookup icon on my taskbar is disabled and that no amount of tech support with Costco will bring it back? Yes, it must be. No apology, only an offer to bring the computer back and let the trolls get their hands on it again. Not on your life. Kick me once, shame on you. Kick me twice, shame on me. I’m not G.W.

What a load of horse pucky. Seriously. These yahoos want me to believe that my computer was riddled with viruses and that these viruses worked their magic only after my computer was left in their store. That, my friends, is a pile of steaming poo, a lie, a foulness, a thing most unclean.

I decided then and there to tell my story. My hope is that even one other person will read my words and decide that staples are for staplers, not a place to shop in. Take your business elsewhere. I’m going to. Office Depot is right across the parking lot.

Rick Santelli is an Idiot…Still

I posted this a while back.  See it here.  I was responding to this moron the first time he opened his idiot face and let venom spew.   Of course, since he’s still slithering around out there, the post continues to garner hits, over two years later.  I reread what I wrote, and I can’t really improve on it.  All I said is still true.  So I’m posting it again.

Rick Santelli is an Idiot

I can’t believe this guy.  I heard him spouting off about how Americans shouldn’t pay for their neighbor to have one more bathroom.  I wanted to reach into the screen and slap his ugly head.  What an idiot.

Here’s a clue, Mr. Smarty Pants:  People who are in foreclosure are in foreclosure because the system is a mess, not because they are “deadbeats” and want a free ride from the government or their neighbors.  Want to point fingers, idiot?  Point them at the banks that overvalued properties in the first place to get people into questionable loans so brokers could collect bigger fees.  Point those fingers at the lenders for telling consumers that their ARM loan wouldn’t be a problem because they would be able to refinance in three years when the rates change (and hey, rates have been going down forever, so  why shouldn’t this continue? Your payment will be lower!) while simultaneously neglecting to point out there would be no way in hell any traditional lender would refinance property that is mortgaged for more than it is worth.  And oh, be sure to keep it a secret from the borrower that refinancing will not be an option if you lose your job.  How about pointing the fingers at lenders who convinced people to take out that second mortgage or a HELOC to “consolidate their debt” without pointing out that trading unsecured debt for secured debt would make bankruptcy pointless should the need arise?  How about pointing fingers at the pathetic and useless Bush administration who drove us into an economic crisis and higher unemployment than we have seen in decades?  Let’s just blame the victim for losing their job.  They should have known to move to China or India ten years ago so they would be there when their jobs were shipped overseas.

I heard the jerk in an interview claim that buyers should have hired lawyers.  Guess what?  Lawyers aren’t free.  And assuming someone could afford $225 an hour to hire one, a lawyer wouldn’t hire an appraiser to know that the bank overvalued the property.  Plus hiring an attorney when you buy a house is theoretically unnecessary anyway.  Mortgage brokers and lenders have a fiduciary duty of care to their clients.  This means they are held to a higher standard of care in dealing with the public.  They are expected to act EXTRA honest because it is expected that they have greater knowledge about the mortgage industry than consumers.  How does this work, Mr. Santelli?  Are the consumers supposed to suddenly educate themselves so they can catch dishonest bankers and brokers?  Would you hold a patient to the same duty before going to a doctor?  Am I supposed to go get an MBA before I go to a financial expert to ensure they are upholding their fiduciary duty?  Should I get an MD before going to the doctor?

I can’t stand the mentality that we are not obligated to help one another.  Guess what?  We are all in this together.  We can sit in our foreclosed bunkers with our guns aimed at our neighbors and barbed wire wrapped around our hearts to protect us from the enemy, ensuring we keep that property because, hell, it belongs to us, right?  We don’t need to share.  Or we can grow up and realize that society at its heart means social.  It means taking responsibility for one another.  It means what we do for each other we do for ourselves. It means we care for and protect one another and when someone is down, we offer them a hand up.  Taking care of one another is the stuff life is made of.  The alternate choice is to live like Rick Santelli, cold and alone with his gun pointed at everyone, dragging his loot into the afterlife.  Good luck with that, Buddy.

P.S. Being a stock-broker might be a high risk financially, but it is not hard work.

Oh for Cryin’ Out Loud

I’m a bankruptcy attorney so I am often in contact with collection agencies and whatnot.  I have been doing it long enough that I have also seen a bunch of financial institutions come and go.  It is amazing how many bottom-feeder, rotten-ass lenders turn around and change their name because they are such scum, even people with the worst credit ratings won’t touch them.

One of these is GMAC.  They are now Ally!  They announce it with an exclamation point on their envelopes and return addresses.  Guess what?  We changed our name so now you can pretend we aren’t the same law-breaking, loan sharks we have always been!  Sorry GMAC, or Ally, or whatever.  You still suck.

Another is American General Finance.  Total loan sharks.  Total bottom-feeder scumbags.  Now they are Springleaf!  Ah, how fresh!  How springlike!  How green and new!  No.  The only thing green about them is their diarrhea color. When I saw that they had become Springleaf, I actually exclaimed, “Oh, for cryin’ out loud!”  Hence the name of this post.

People out there in America, if you happen to read this, don’t borrow money.  If you do borrow money, only do it for a home loan.  If you do that, don’t borrow it from a bottom-feeder loan shark. If you are borrowing from a bottom-feeder loan shark, you can’t afford what you are getting the loan for.   Leave them all alone.  They’re horrible and they don’t deserve your business.