Friday, July 31, 2009

The Opposite of Love Letters

Stress + fasting = chocolate chip cookies as far as I am concerned. (And by that I mean there may be a large Ziploc bag of them hanging out on my kitchen counter and another one in my bag at work.) But it also equals grumpiness. Herein, a list of grievances from the past week:
Dear UPS,
I spent four hours waiting in my apartment for you to show up and pick up my packages, and you did not show until 20 minutes before Tisha B'Av, almost an hour and a half late, when I could not conceivably deal with sending packages. And every single person I spoke to that works for you told me something totally different about costs and about pick-up times and about where the driver was so that I still have no idea what I will actually be charged or when my packages will really show up there. And then your only offer to my complaint was that I can send my packages three-day shipping so that they get there on time—and by that you mean I can pay to upgrade my shipping to get there the day it was supposed to get there if you hadn't messed up. Next time I move cross-country, I am going with FedEx.
Dear Starbucks,
I bought a photo travel mug from you. I bought it from you because I have fabulous one a friend made me that I use every day and has, thus, gotten grungy, but it is a great mug and even when it ends up upside down in my bag, it doesn't leak. Now, I understood from the disclaimer that came inside said new mug that you could not promise me such stunning results again. That was OK. I could understand that. What I cannot understand is that the mug leaks when I drink from it, which makes it rather, um, unusable as a mug unless I want to redecorate my entire wardrobe with coffee stains down the front, which I do not. So, I went back to my local neighborhood Starbucks to get my money back, which hardly seems an unreasonable request, and they informed me they can't do anything for me unless I have a receipt. Except I don't have a receipt because I expected to use the mug; I did not think it would be defective. So, now I am stuck with a leaky mug. It's a good thing I am moving someplace with a better (all kosher!) alternative anyway.  
Dear dentist I went to once and decided never to go to again after you said you wanted to pull out and replace all the fillings in my mouth,
I had one appointment with you in February of 2008. So, why would you wait until July 2009 to bill me, I wondered when I received said bill. Also, I wondered why I was receiving a bill at all since my insurance (back then, in the days when I had insurance) was supposed to completely cover the appointment. The bill said that the insurance had sent the money to me. Was that true? Did I neglect to send said money? It was plausible, I supposed. I decided to check my bank statements just to make sure the insurance company had indeed sent me a check. It seemed so. I had deposited a check for that amount in the beginning of March. I was all set to write a check to you and apologize profusely for not forwarding on when I saw a check paid from my account for the same amount a few days later. To you. Thanks so much for not keeping good records.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Apparently, a Monkey Could Do My Job

Or so says a new study about how monkeys can learn grammar rules. As if copy editors needed one more reason for not getting any respect.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Which My Genius Baby Sister Teaches Me About Boys

My 9-year-old sister: I wish I had a twin so we would do everything together—like play Barbie together...
Me: You could play Barbie with [our 4-year-old brother].
My 9-year-old sister: Boys don't like Barbie. They like football and killing people.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Moon Landing Anniversary

This William Safire column from an older moon landing anniversary is worth the read. It, interestingly, notes that the anniversary of the moon landing is also the anniversary of Chappaquiddick. Who knew?
In the long reach of history, the moon landing will be a milestone and Chappaquiddick a footnote, but in the effect on this generation the reverse is true. The moon walk was a spike of triumph for mankind (we'd have to say humankind now), but the death of Senator Kennedy's passenger prevented him from being President of the United States from 1976 to 1984, with all the difference in national direction a Kennedy restoration would have meant.
And it even has a grammar element (read the article to find it). What more could you want?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

File This in 'Does the NYT Inhabit a Different Universe?'

Apparently, getting rid of your eyebrows is very fashionable. Where is this fashionable? I have no idea. Not anyplace I've been. Ever.
Says the article: "Could no eyebrows be a reflection of economic downturn? ... 'The economic troubles we are facing now open people up to be more daring and willing to don cutting-edge looks,' Ms. McGrath offered." That's right. This is the way my brain works: I'm worried about money. OK, I'll shave my eyebrows.
This is one of those times (much like the time the Times ran an article about how chipped nail polish is "part of a deliberate look") when I want to say that of course the NYT is going to die. It is going to die because it has an imaginary, eyebrow-shaving demographic.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wait, What? A Slurpee Story

Saturday was July 11. Otherwise known as Free Slurpee Day. This is a big deal. So, after Shabbat, I called up the nearest neighborhood 7-Eleven to find out if they were participating in the promotion, because there's nothing worse than trudging all the way to a 7-Eleven only to find out that they're not actually giving away free Slurpees and then being forced to pay for a Slurpee. (It is physically impossible to go into a 7-Eleven and not get a Slurpee.)
Me: Hi. I just wanted to know if you're participating in the free Slurpee promotion.
7-Eleven worker: We did it yesterday.
Me: But today is July 11.
7-Eleven worker: I know. But we did it yesterday.
That makes zero sense, I would just like to note. Instead, we ate ice cream and watched The American President and we maybe just maybe added a Slurpee-finding clue to our scavenger hunt for the next day so we would have to get Slurpees then.
(Also, I just discovered that a 7-Eleven in Seattle sells the most Slurpees in the world. Between that and their coffee proclivities, it is clear that the good people of Seattle know how to have a good time.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Because worrying about bedding is seriously less stressful than worrying about everything else I have to worry about.
For the past six years, I have had pink-and-orange-striped bedding. And by that, I mean, my entire room has been pink, orange, and yellow. I have an orange butterfly chair; pink-andorange-striped curtains; pink, orange, and yellow ribbons to hang my pictures from; a pink and orange bulletin board ... It's very pink and orange.
It is time for a bedding change. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that my pink-and-orange blanket is, um, actually hole-y (Lesson: Bed Bath & Beyond linens do not have an infinite lifespan) and the fact that getting said linens to L.A. would not be the easiest or cheapest endeavour.
So, new bedding. This is not a huge decision and one I am not sure any of you have any interest in being privy to, but like I said, it's way easier to worry about this than about an apartment, a car, furniture, a new city, and school. So, vote for your favorite. If you're still reading this inane post.
I  have been eyeing this set for a long time. I sort of like red sheets with black and white, but a friend pointed out that was inadvisable as I would be a life-size newspaper joke—black and white and red all over.
I am sort of in love with this set, which has the added bonus that I could use my old sheets with it. Problem: It doesn't come in twin. Which means I'd have to get a full bed, which seems like a large expense just for bedding. Plus, then I couldn't use my sheets with it at all since my sheets are all for a twin bed. But it's pretty.
I could always go the school spirit route, but a friend said she might have to stop being friends with me if I did. 

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Novel Way to Save Journalism: Buy a Newspaper

Because it's going to take me five years of schooling to figure out how to do it, and these journalists don't have that much time. Save that copy editor from Nebraska!

(I have no idea why the formatting of this video is off nor do I have any idea how to fix it, so you're just going to have to suck it up. It's worth watching anyway.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dear Washington Post Ombudsman, I Love You

Somebody at a newspaper has finally figured out that firing copy editors is probably a bad idea.

This from the Washington Post ombudsman (a job that I may or may not lust after):

Copy editors are the unsung heroes of newsrooms. Unknown to the public, and often underappreciated by their colleagues, they're the last line of defense against a correction or, worse, a libel suit.

They're skeptics who revel in the arcane. They know the difference between median and mean, and can speak knowledgeably about topics from Methuselah to the Milky Way. They write headlines, design some pages, check facts and make sure assertions are supported. They spend entire careers working horrible night-shift hours.

Monday, July 06, 2009

On a Scale of One to Awkward

I'm recovering from a fabulous weekend, but some awkward moments to tide you over until I have anything intellectual, funny, or shoe-related to say:

  • Let's say, hypothetically, you're standing in Key Food with just an avocado in your basket (i.e., you have barely even started grocery shopping). And a girl you sort of—sort of!—know pulls you over and asks if she can talk to you. Then, she tells you, while you're standing in front of the cashiers at Key Food: "I was trying to set up these people, but then the girl was sort of busy, but I feel OK about that because the truth is she's probably not pretty enough for him, but I feel sort of bad because I was setting him up and all. So, I was thinking, maybe for you ..."
  • Or let's say you're walking into your building, on the phone, and a guy you dated very recently happens to be at the moment moving into said building. You do the right thing and say hi. He looks as if he has something to tell you, so you tell your friend on the phone to hold on for a minute, and the boy tells you, "I think I have a guy for you, he seemed OK with the whole moving to L.A. thing, but actually he's dating someone ..."
  • Being asked if you're Jewish three times over the course of 24 hours on the streets of Manhattan.
  • Passing sketchy Chassidish guys on the Brooklyn Bridge at 2 a.m. who not so subtly put their hands up to cover their faces or deliberately look down when your friend tries to subtly take their picture.