Posts Tagged i am a curmudgeon
Mmmm, yeah. I don’t want to hear anything about how everyone’s an asshole at age 16. If I hear you say that, I assume YOU were an asshole at that age, you hung out with assholes, and you brought out the assholery in everyone around you. These kids here? Better than we expect of adults.
Two Norwegian teens returned 467,200 kroner (some 62,000 euros, $81,500) they found left on a train by an elderly passenger, Norwegian media reported Thursday.
The pair found the treasure Wednesday in a bag left on the seat of a train running between Oslo and a small town in southeastern Norway.
“When I opened the bag, the first thing I saw were these wads and wads of bills,” one of the teens, identified as 16-year-old Bendik, told local daily Vestby Avis.
“My first thought was to call the police,” he said.
After looking in the bag more closely, the good samaritans found the passport of its owner, a man in his 70s who was expected to pick up his money from the police on Thursday.
Police said they did not suspect any foul play behind the man’s huge quantity of cash, and said they did not know if the two teenagers had been rewarded for their honesty.
I dropped my wallet on Sunday and got it back from the police that evening. I assumed that whoever picked it up would give it back, and they did. However, there was no cash in my wallet at the time. To come upon a huge sack of money in these circumstances, and turn it straight over to the authorities with the assumption that it will get back to its owner, is to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing.
Personally, I was a much nicer person at 16 than I am now. If someone left a huge sack of cash on the DC Metro, it probably wouldn’t get stolen by another passenger because we’d assume there was a bomb in the bag and be afraid to look inside. The bomb squad might consider it their lucky day, however.
We’ve basically had non-winter in the DC area this year. Today, it is snowing. And not just a few flurries, not just a pathetic little slurry on the ground, I mean there is major accumulation and it’s still coming down. All that, and I am still at work.
This reminds me of an experience I had in teaching a class during my second year in the Peace Corps. I had this one class of seniors which proved that small classes do not always mean an easier teaching experience. There were a few good students and several shitty students, and the group overall was mainly just counting the days until they graduated. I had this one girl in the class, who was firmly in the camp of “shitty students.” We’ll call her Aria. My entire second year was an exercise in struggling, vainly, to get my students (all the students, not just the one class) to buy their textbooks, or at least get pages photocopied from the few of their classmates who had bought their textbooks. If you’re thinking I must have had an awfully difficult time teaching ANYTHING AT ALL to these kids if they didn’t even have textbooks, why, you’d be right!
Anyway, one day I was teaching the small apathetic class of seniors, and I decided that I would write the lesson’s vocabulary on the blackboard and let them copy it before moving on to an exercise that actually required them to use brain cells. That’s it: I wrote a bunch of English words on the blackboard and told the students to write the words in their notebooks. No translating. No grammar. Just some new words.
Most of my students got right to it. A few of them just sat there and acted like they usually did, e.g., like they would rather die than learn anything from a 20-something foreigner. So I kept telling them, look, just copy down these words before we move on with the lesson! Slowly, even the most jaded students took down the vocabulary.
Except Aria. Just sat there and giggled at…nothing. It wasn’t just that day; giggling at nothing in particular was what she did in my class, when she wasn’t yelling out the window at her friends in the courtyard. (In my less charitable moments, I assume she was laughing at me for being stupid enough to set foot in her school.) Anyway, even while her friends finally got around to the simple matter in front of them, Aria was still sitting around and wasting time, so I figured she just wasn’t going to do it, and I began to erase the vocabulary words from the board so that I could write out the next part of the lesson.
And that is when Aria stood up and said the Albanian equivalent of, “But, teacher, I didn’t get a chance to write down the words!”
The less said about what happened after that, the better. Let’s just say the lesson was fortunately at the end of the day, so I was able to go home and get drunk.
The point is that this weather reminds me of Aria during that lesson. It’s almost like it’s actively trying to prevent you from getting on with your business.
I’ve been planning to make a video with my thoughts on victim-blaming in the Infamous Rape Case, but the Rant Mistress went and stole one of my most treasured lines:
2. Do you think that women should expect to get raped if they are drunk? Should drunk men also expect to get raped? Or should men simply expect to wake up with something stupid drawn on their face with a Magic Marker if they pass out after too much alcohol? Is it too much to expect that if someone is drunk and incoherent, regardless of gender, that others will look after them, make sure they can get home safely and tuck them into bed to sleep it off without raping them?
I snooze, I lose.
While you all were watching the Oscars last night, I was attempting to force Fractal Architect into submission. The point of contention was in the Final Transform settings. I was trying to recreate this fierce cave-like shape I’d somehow achieved before, and eventually, I succeeded.
Since it appears that the 2013 Oscars were an occasion for Seth MacFarlane to confuse his white male heterosexual privilege with a sense of humor and broadcast it on national television, I think my evening was better spent.
The fractal effect in question is potential book cover material, so I won’t put it on display here just yet. HOWEVER, if you’re a new Fractal Architect (or Serendipity) user, I suggest you go into Final Transform and find the following shapes: bubble, butterfly, cross, loonie and scry. Apply them in different combinations. See what comes out.
My morning commute today included a walk through a sizeable portion of DC because my train was offloaded on the Green Line after this happened:
In what is appearing to be another WMATA suicide, a man was fatally struck by a train at the Gallery Place Chinatown Metro station earlier this morning forcing many trains to single-track between stations on the Green and Yellow lines. The suicide and necessary work to extricate the man from the tracks has created residual delays in both directions for the green and yellow line.
At the time, the train operators and station managers were telling us that someone was hit by a train at Gallery Place, but we didn’t know whether it was a homicide, a suicide, or an accident, or even whether this person was still alive. Fortunately, I was not one of those poor devils stuck in NoVa and trying to head north; I got offloaded at U Street, which is well into the city, and I’m strong and able-bodied enough to walk to the Blue Line. However, there’s something about riding the Metro that brings out the less-charming aspects of my disposition, so as I was leaving the station, my main thoughts were that it was extremely annoying to have the train operator give us the same rambling, inarticulate monologue every three minutes. On the other side of a walk from 11th and U to 12th and G, and in the middle of my morning coffee, I visited WTOP and found that the incident was a suicide.
Now I feel shitty about being so pissed off about the delay and its associated annoyances. Dude killed himself, while I am getting on with my day. A person reaching such depths of misery that he throws himself in front of a commuter train is a bigger deal than my dealing with inconvenience.
Never mind. The issue was confusion from Amazon’s notification system. I got the parcel today.
I still haven’t forgiven UPS for failing to deliver my mom’s birthday present last year.
There is not enough booze in the world to deal with this.
Y’all had better appreciate this video; I was up until midnight filming, editing and uploading it. This morning was a shit show because I was so short on sleep.
Here are the selected highlights. Someone actually put these words together, and someone else actually decided to run them in a magazine and pay Ms. Wurtzel for her troubles.
Still working on the rubbernecking at the latest Elizabeth Wurtzel display of look-at-me. It’s in video form and taking a very long time to upload. I’m already up past my bedtime. We’ll just play it by ear.
Buzzfeed shows us The 20 Most Unforgivable Spelling Mistakes of the Year gleaned from Twitter, and there are some real gems on that list. It is because of errors like these that I give grammar advice and tear at my hair over spelling mistakes. This is why grammar nerds exist and why we want you to be aware of when you’ve spelled, punctuated or conjugated something incorrectly and how to do it correctly in the future. It’s because we want to prevent you from becoming one of those typists. It’s because we want you to communicate clearly.
To communicate clearly, you need to be aware of how a spelling error can change the whole meaning of a sentence, and usually not for the better. Some errors merely make the user look sloppy or uninformed, but some actually render the message incomprehensible. For clear communication, one should know the difference between COLON and COLOGNE. One should know that OVERREACT is a single word and OVARY has no place in that sentence. If you put EAGLE where you want EGO, I might not catch your meaning. If you’re going to use the expression “time heals all wounds,” you should know what it means, and if you don’t know the difference between WOUND and WOMB, you probably don’t understand the expression.
If you think there is an O in GENIUS, you are not a genius at anything that involves language. If you think there is an A in COLLEGE, you will not do very well in a lot of college courses.
If you have Internet access, you can find an online dictionary, which will show you that SILHOUETTE is not two words. Yes, I see that it’s a tricky word. If you can’t remember whether it’s one word or two, try using SHADOW instead. In this case, the meaning is close enough. I know that AMBIANCE is also difficult, so if you’ve never seen the word in writing, try using ATMOSPHERE to get the same meaning across. You might misspell atmosphere, too, but you’ll probably get the first letter right, and that will make the sentence much clearer.
Look up VICARIOUS in the dictionary. Now, look up BI-CURIOUS. Not synonymous, are they?
If you can type HIPPOCRATES with perfect spelling, you should know that a HYPOCRITE is something else.
Yes, I am aware that English is a non-phonetic, idiom-heavy language full of exceptions that only weirdos like me ever manage to learn. Except, actually? No, I won’t take the excuse that English is so incredibly hard. I’ve learned and spoken Spanish and Albanian, and let me tell you: there is a lot of shit that we English-speakers don’t need to worry about. We hardly conjugate our verbs at all, our plurals are nearly effortless, we don’t adjust our adjectives for number or gender, and in fact our nouns are all gender-neutral. If you don’t need to worry about hitting the right form of the imperfect tense for an irregular verb, or how to decline a masculine plural noun in the accusative case, you should know the difference between ORGASM and ORGANISM before you try to use either word in a sentence.
My apartment building is not very well equipped to deal with cold weather, and these inadequacies are taking up my not-abundant spare time.
1. The apartment is super-cold in the morning when I wake up, which means it takes me an extra-long time to wake up. When getting out of bed means feeling the winter air through your pajamas, your body sends that signal to the brain that of course you’ll be much better off if you just get five more minutes of sleep. I’m frequently late to work this winter because I keep missing the bus.
(And if you think I should get around that by running the heaters all night long: no. Even putting aside the electric bill, the situation would be untenable. On most nights, when the weather isn’t super-cold, running the heater for more than a couple hours at a time makes the room too hot. In order to sleep, I must turn off the heater.)
2. However, when the weather is super-cold, it takes hours for the heater to get the room even acceptably warm. My feet get cold very easily, and when my feet are cold, I am uncomfortable and cannot concentrate on doing something other than getting my feet warmed up. Ergo, I got nothing done yesterday evening when we had cold rain. In order to work on a book, or do anything creative, I need to be comfortable.
3. If you’re thinking I should “just” warm up by taking a hot bath, that’s another problem. The water pipes struggle to warm up, and there isn’t adequate hot water to take a shower. The water takes a long time to warm up (running purely from the hot tap) and goes cold again in only a few minutes. This means I waste a lot of time and water to run enough for a warm bath. It doesn’t help that there is no heat in the bathroom, so it takes a certain amount of hot water just to neutralize the coldness of the porcelain. There’s a little baseboard heater that keeps the towels warm and dry, which helps a little once I’m out, but meanwhile the walls are sending my body heat outside.
There’s at least one family in my building with small children. How do you get small children to take baths in these conditions? I sure wouldn’t have cooperated with such an ordeal when I was little.
It’s also chilly here at the workplace. I have a heating pad for my feet, but my hands are not enjoying the climate.