The Best Blog Post You’ll Ever Read. Period.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hyperbolic headlines. They plague even the most banal of stories these days.

I can’t scroll through nary a social media feed without reading grabbers similar to these (totally made up by me):

“This puppy walked by a church….and what this grandmother did next will blow your mind.”
“The Ten Most Amazing Habits You Should Always Do for the Rest of Your Life.”
“Five Post-It Note Colors You MUST Have in Your Office Drawer at Work RIGHT NOW.”

I wish I were exaggerating but here is a screen shot pulled from today’s headlines from one of the worst offenders:

upworthy-zoesays

Really? Things I should “NEVER, EVER” say to a teacher? There are “NO” jobs? You want to applaud “for days?”

Words like “always,” “never,” “only, “best,” worst,” and loads of other superlatives pepper hundreds of thousands of posts each and every day, all screaming for clicks and attention. At first, it was kind of novel. The too long headlines, reminiscent of people who write an entire email in the subject line, appeared quirky and stood out.

Then everyone in the free world caught on and instead of being funny or inviting me to click on the article, the tactic simply makes me hate reading anything on the internet. And that sucks, because I love reading, and I enjoy scanning headlines to see what’s actually going on in the world. Don’t make me want to quit you, interwebs. (Which we all know I can’t.)

Look, we all have to make a living, but the creation of these sensationalized headlines for mundane everyday occurrences has become telemarketing for our eyeballs. Can we leave yellow journalism where it belongs–a hundred years in the past?

There is a glimmer of hope. The folks at Google have begun working on this issue; a programmer has created a plugin for Chrome called Downworthy, which takes hyperbolic headlines and translates them into more realistic language.

Examples include “Will Blow Your Mind” converting to “Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment”, “Can’t Even Handle” becoming “Can Totally Handle Without Any Significant Issue”, “Literally” becoming “Figuratively” and “Right Now” becoming “Eventually”.

I can’t say I won’t be downloading that plugin. It’s one creative solution to this pervasive problem, short of authors (“authors”) actually coming up with headlines that are relevant and non-irritating. (You can read more about the plugin on CNET.)

On the other hand, if you’re not completely sick of clickbait, you can take part in this guy’s competition to create the best, most hyperbolic headline: see markpollard.net.

Since I am one of the ones who is completely worn out by the boy-who-cried-wolf compulsive-liar syndrome that is passing for journalism, my plea is simply….STOP IT!

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Heat Makes Me Crankypants

Um, yeah. Little fact about me. Having the Nordic genes that I do (despite being half Italian), I don’t “do well” in the sun and crazy heat.

It makes me irritable, tired, and not want to do anything. Including the acts of getting up, getting ready for work, schlepping to work, and then working all day.

An apt facial expression of mine that sums up how I feel about temps in the 90s with heat indeces in the 100s, which we’re experiencing this week here in the Plains State, is this:

Zoe Says ORLY

It’s not a current photo, so I’m putting that out there straight up. It’s probably about four years old. But it’s EXACTLY how I’m feeling this morning and every single day I have to wake up and endure being singed on my (delicate) skin by the intense rays of the sun.

This gal is READY for autumn.

Bring me chillier temps, where I can put on a fire, drink hot beverages, and start putting out my fall scented candles. BRING IT.

 

Bar Study Means Boredom

Allow me to set the mood by prefacing my whining post with this still from one of my most favorite movies, L.A. Story:

BBBAhhh, the stage is set.

It is Saturday night and I have been sitting at my computer for easily an hour or more. I honestly haven’t been keeping an eye on the clock. I gave up watching TV downstairs, since the Kevster is studying for the Bar exam and I grew tired of streaming inanity.

I’ve twirled in my chair; I’ve stared off into space; I’ve thought about how bored I am; I’ve thought about what a luxury it is to be bored; I’ve thought about how annoying it is that my right leg and foot have been tingling off and on every time I sit or lie down, rendering it impossible to laze around and do nothing; I’ve felt sorry for myself that I’ve been cooped up all day and now I’m bored and have nothing to do; I’ve thought about Stephen King, how he survived being hit by a car, picked himself up, struggled through excruciating pain during physical therapy, and he still manages to churn out lengthy novels; and I’ve thought about how normally I cherish being in my little nest on the weekends.

But something about this evening has me twitchy.

In between that last sentence and this one, I’ve browsed Amazon, Facebook, my email, completed most of a crossword puzzle, fiddled with my hair, read a quote by Geneen Roth (author of Women, Food, & God) to try and help me remember to embrace my life as it is now, I’ve thought about how cool it would be if there was a rollerskating rink JUST for adults that was open all night and played all my favorite kinds of music, and I even remembered to be grateful that at least as of this moment, Mr. and Mrs. S. aren’t blaring music like they were last night, which forced us to hole up in the guest room with a carpet picnic. We actually ended up streaming another Sebastian Maniscalco routine, so it wasn’t a bad time.

Part of me wants to go for a drive. But since the city I live in is on the petite side, I’d just end up going in a circle (well, a square) and it wouldn’t be as mindless as I would really prefer it to be.

I’m not what you would call a “drinker,” so going out is off the table, especially alone. Going to a movie might be fun but then I’d have to go by myself (see above with “Bar study” being at the top of Kevin’s To Do List until August 1) and I don’t really feel like being around lots of people, either. I know, I’m being all, FEEL SORRY FOR ME. Sheesh, someone get me to White Whine already.

What this town is missing is an all-night coffee house that has soft (live) jazz playing, a place where I can sit and sip, while interchangeably staring off into space and watching people.

About the only things I haven’t resorted to doing are baking and doing any kind of craft. It’s too warm out to bake and quite frankly, the nihilism has taken over my mind and body–I’m past the point of no return.

I’ve reached the stage of ennui where all I can actually do is complain about how bored I am.

Bored
Beyond
Belief!

Kevin and I have made it through four years of his prepping for and completing law school, and now we’re rounding out the journey with his studying for the Bar exam, which will happen at the end of July.

I know I’m not the one who has to cram all of this knowledge into my brain so I can pursue my dream career. My job is to be supportive and to stand by my man and even to help him study, if need be, while I sit idly by and figure out what the heck to do with myself, since studying doesn’t brake for weekends, no siree Bob.

When one person in a relationship has to study for the Bar for two months straight, the other person gets to spend all kinds of time with herself on her own, to the point where she’s bored doing her usual introverted activities. Even watching whatever I want on TV lost its appeal.

I need my fairy godmother to come along and fast forward time to August, when the studying and the exam are behind us and we can move on with our lives.

(Speaking of fairies, did you know there is something called “fairy gardening?” I just learned about it the other day. It’s a seriously for real thing. Google it!)

Look at that, I’ve managed to make it to 10 p.m. I’m going to see if I can’t go bore myself to sleep.

Bored-Cat

Trapped

Remember when I wrote not very long ago about fighting my urges to research new places to live for one reason or another?

It’s a peaceful, quiet Friday evening. While most people go out to do something social on a Friday night, I have always veered towards home after work or school. Perhaps in my younger years, I had a handful of evenings where I went out after work and added to the stimulation of a long week.

But ninety-nine times out of a hundred (nine times out of ten didn’t really seem to convey the proper percentage), I head to my home after forty-five hours of time spent in the office, longing for solitude, quiet, and relaxation.

I crave unwinding on my own couch with the knowledge that I don’t have to set the alarm for the next day. Out of everything I may do at home–hold a conversation, sit and stare out the window, get on my computer, stream something on Netflix, read a book–it’s the SILENCE I need the most. One of the big reasons we chose to live where we do is it is a lovely apartment community that supports quiet. Our apartment faces a pond (retention basin), with fish and geese and ducks and other flora and fauna. It is still.

Basin_Zoe Says

Feel the stillness?

My partying neighbors, whose energy for seamy nightlife activities knows no bounds, are the perfect Achilles heel to my introverted plans. I think they have some kind of radar that alerts them as to when I need to relax the most, unless their urges to party just neatly coincide with my desire to relax each weekend, which is likely the case.

Drinking and smoking don’t really make any noise, though. If all these people did was have a quiet cigarette or two with a brandy, we’d have no problems. Perhaps we’d even feel like giving them a friendly wave.

But no; what makes noise are drunken belligerent fools who listen to really terrible (bass-y) music every…single…weekend evening, preceding and during the imbibing of God only knows what substances, whilst also whooping. (How I Met Your Mother fans–I have a “woo” girl living right next door to me! Except she’s in her mid-thirties and it’s called “alcoholism!”)

What makes it worse is that the music is not only turned up to an unreasonable volume for living in a shared-walls community, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they have their stereo system set up near the back wall of their apartment, which contains the utility closet, which abuts our utility closet on the back wall of our apartment, and is not well insulated and thus emits noise quite well. The folding metal door on the utility closet doesn’t help.

Apartments

Based solely on my imagination, because it’s hard for me to fathom how loud they’d have to play the music if the stereo wasn’t right next to the shared wall.

At first I thought it was all the husband’s fault. He seemed like an easy target to blame. He chain smokes outside on the patio (our patios are adjacent to one another) and he’s a tight-lipped, unpleasant sort of fellow. Loves his cell phone and his minivan. (Red flag, anyone?)

Their habits have been pretty predictable up until lately. Usually it’s dead silent up until nine or ten o’clock at night and then…cue the stereo and some honky tonk or other terrible genre of songs. I did say it was bad, didn’t I?

The week before last, the wife was gone for an entire week. Not a single note emitted from their apartment from Monday to Friday. I wondered if God had granted me the gift of going deaf at will; perhaps someone had died; did they suddenly develop a collective conscience?

We got our answer when the wife returned home on Friday and the musical habits returned with her. I was seriously stunned. I had made a serious and sexist judgment call, believing that the surly husband and his musical whims were the bane of my existence, when the whole time it was the wife.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself if I have talked to them about the music. Yes. I confronted the banshee herself one early morning before work, when she was still bleary-eyed and hungover. She even told me they would try to “watch it” around ten o’clock with regard to the music, when the complex’s “quiet hours” start. That lasted about a week.

Perhaps you are wondering if we’ve had to call the police. Yep. Did it work? No. In fact, they rebelled by playing the music louder and screaming at us through the walls. Classy all the way.

Maybe you’re wondering if management has stepped in. Yes! They have been banned from renewing a lease and are on warning about their violations of Quiet Hours and the section of the lease regarding use of premises. We still have to live next to them until they leave, however.

As I mentioned in the other post, Mr. and Mrs. Shithead are moving between now and the end of July. Their actual move date is a mystery but we find ourselves praying we’ll come home to a moving truck every single day at this point. (We were given the false hope that they would “go out of town on weekends” until their lease was up. So far, it has yet to happen and I think that was just a whimsical lie Mrs. S. thought would sound good when talking to the manager.)

Here are the strategies we utilize while we wait for the hours and minutes on the clock to painstakingly pass until our fun-loving partiers alcoholics vacate the premises:

  • Retire upstairs in the nine o’clock hour every night (unless by some miracle the music isn’t on.)
  • Turn the Blizzard fan in our room to high, drowning out most of the noise that inevitably emanates from downstairs.
  • Put on noise-canceling headphones when doing anything quiet, like reading, checking email, or attempting to fall asleep.
  • Sit in the upstairs computer room, which is unattached to any part of their apartment, with the door shut and quiet music on, and blog to get my mind off the anxiety that wells up inside of me every second of every minute that they play their vile cacophony downstairs, and wait for them to pass out.
  • Put on headphones and listen to guided meditation; take deep breaths.
  • All of the above.

I guess you figured out which one I’m doing now. The problem tonight is, they opted for Music Hour(s) far earlier than usual. We hadn’t even figured out our dinner plans yet. What all of those options above have in common is that they all involve our being trapped in our own apartment – the place that is supposed to be our (QUIET) sanctuary.

I wouldn’t allow myself to even look at my comfy couch–I just made a beeline for the upstairs. While my dude decided on an evening nap (with fan on!), I chose to hole up in the computer room, staring out at the peaceful scene beyond my windows, making me envious with the knowledge that it would be quieter if I camped out in a tent with the geese and insects around me than if I slept in my own comfortable bed with two human beings one wall away.

And with that….

It’s time for a late supper. It means I have to brave going downstairs and leave my safe little space in front of the computer.

Here goes nothing.

No. You didn’t SEEN anything.

Um, can we talk about something serious for a moment?

There is an epidemic in this country – an epidemic of extremely, extremely ignorant grammar, speaking, and writing skills. I understand colloquialisms. I do! I say ’em, too. But when you write these things out as your actual manner of speaking, it just puts the nail in my tightass coffin.

I don’t like to preach a lot about grammar here and if I can help it, I won’t write another one of these for a long time, if ever again. But I can’t help it this time. No, it’s not the You’re vs. Your thing; which is appalling, by the way. “Your welcome” always makes me want to say, “But is it my welcome?”

The issue at hand is the misuse of the word “seen.”

Seen is a conjugation of the verb “to see,” which means that if you want to use it, you may do so in the present, past and future perfect voice. Which also means that there is always another verb in between subject and the word “seen.”

Examples:

  • You have seen
  • I had seen
  • We will have seen
  • They had seen

and so forth. There is absolutely NO conjugation that has subject + seen. None. Zip. Really! If you say, “I seen with my own eyes” or ask, “You seen it?” I strongly but gently advise you or your friend who does this to go back to elementary school grammar and brush up on this verb. (I won’t comment on, “You done seen it, too?”) I don’t know why this one thing in particular motivated me to write a post about it. I mean, yes, I can write bitchy rants, and I know that many people frown on those who take time to write stuff like this, but it just cooks my cactus – whatever that means.

It gives us, as Americans who speak English, an even worse reputation than we already have for being (proud) uneducated morons.

I am not without humor – clearly – so I am also posting one of my all-time favorite Friends scenes here with Ross and Rachel having yet another one of their epic fights, in which Ross corrects Rachel’s grammar in the letter she wrote to him. If for some reason you have never seen this, you’re welcome.

Thank you for reading my rant when you could have been doing any number of other things on this lovely Sunday afternoon.