Things that bug me (but probably shouldn’t)

Bugs meDon’t know if it’s just that I’m getting old and crusty, or I’ve been reading too much of ‘Ben’s Bitter Blog’, but there’s a bunch of stuff that drives me nuts.  Stuff that really shouldn’t:

  • People who call water heaters ‘hot water heaters’….you don’t need to heat hot water!
  • Running out of soap in the soap dispenser and pumping the thing like crazy and finally giving up but not going and refilling it and doing it again later
  • Opening the door to let the dog out and having a swarm of flies come buzzing into the house like they’ve been waiting there all along
  • Cars blocking the right turn lane at an intersection because they’re going straight even though it’s a right turn lane and the 6 cars turning right behind it have to wait until the light turns green…
  • People who don’t have any spacial awareness with their shopping carts and block the aisles in the stores while reading the ingredients on a soup can and no one can go around them and they don’t even notice or don’t care 
  • That smudge on my glasses that I can’t get rid of and it’s dead center in my line of sight
  • Having the coffee maker shut off half way through making a pot
  • Filling the car with gas an hour before the price drops
  • People who mis-dial you and leave a message for someone else even though you clearly identify yourself on the outgoing message
  • People who leave an outgoing message on their answering machine by only providing their phone number – the one you just dialed!
  • Putting your garbage out on a really windy day and by the time the garbage truck comes, the recycling box has blown down the street then you have to go on a search mission to get your recycling boxes back
  • Nose hair….on anyone
  • Dog owners who let their pets ‘go’ on my lawn
  • E-bikes, mopeds or scooters that go too slow to follow, but are on streets that don’t allow you to pass
  • Cars parked directly across from each other on narrow streets, making it nearly impossible to navigate
  • ‘Continental Breakfasts’….bring me bacon!
  • Button-fly jeans.  I’m over 50…buttons are for shirts, not pants
  • 3 ring binders – I’m left-handed.

Ahh!  Now that feels better….

Anything bugging you?

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Design Flaw

You can stand in a field, holding a small electronic device and have a ‘real-time’ video conversation with someone halfway around the globe, but the kitchen appliance companies can’t make that stupid drawer at the bottom of the stove stay on its tracks when you pull it out.

Sometimes we simply put up with lousy design like it’s too hard for the builders of such things to make them work properly.

We can tunnel from two different points, miles apart, and have them meet up perfectly in the middle, but the lighter on the barbeque quits after about 3 months.  Instead of insisting on better design, we usually get one of those butane lighters or turn on the gas and throw matches in, hoping to not blow ourselves up.  Heck, even the stupid lighters don’t work properly.  I have one in the drawer that’s half-full but won’t spark.

Shopping carts with one wheel that won’t turn properly!  Aaargh!!  It’s a wheel, for Pete’s sake!  They’ve been around since the stone age.

How about that packaging that you can’t get in to?  Well, a company made a nifty little device that will cut right through it with ease.  The problem?  It comes in the same bullet-proof packaging that you can’t get into in the first place.  Brilliant!

My biggest complaint has to be about windshield wipers.  How is it that we’ve had cars on the road for more than 100 years, that now have the technology to see around corners, park themselves, control the climate, talk to you, give directions, heat your bum on cold mornings, but the crappy wipers are frozen to the windshield,

making the only really important thing about driving – being able to see where you’re going – nearly impossible!

I don’t get it.  Why can car makers not get this figured out? There are after-market washer fluid heaters you can install so those little jets don’t clam up with ice.  Okay, that’s a good start, but it still won’t make the frozen wipers squeegee the glass properly.  And, why does that have to be an after-market item?

Many cars have heaters that warm up the windshield, but usually it doesn’t heat the wiper blades, so they just flop back and forth, smearing the snow-yuck around instead of clearing it from view.

Maybe the car engineers are being paid off by the windshield washer fluid companies.  When the wipers don’t work properly, your only option is to keep hitting the wash button until you’ve spent the entire jug.

Where is Ralph Nader when we need him?  Why doesn’t Consumer Report mention this problem?

I made a deal with my son, who is in school to become an engineer, that his first task once he’s done, is to come up with a way to keep the wipers warm and nimble in any weather condition.

Is that the real key here?  Is it an ignorance of the northern climates by the big auto makers?  Do they think everyone lives in California?  All that advertizing showing their vehicles crashing happily through snowbanks would suggest not, but what’s the deal?

Hey, GM and Ford, Chrysler and Toyota…you gotta have about 20,000 well-trained professionals figuring out how to get the car to say ‘Good Morning’ to you when you step onto your driveway.  How about you put a couple of them on the wiper issue, eh?

That’d be swell…and just in time for summer.

Road rage; my old friend

There must be a special place in heaven for commuters.

Every morning – sometimes as early as 5:30 – numb, sleep-deprived working stiffs like me stagger out to our cars, cabs, buses, trains, or whatever else drags us to our places of work.

I spent a long time commuting with a co-worker.  Our drives could go for extensive stretches without a word.  Probably because I was half-asleep behind the wheel, or after enough time traveling together, we just ran out of stuff to talk about.

Like she had some sort of commuter turrets syndrome, she’d break the silence by randomly blurting out the deciphered code to a personalized license plate, or make a comment on a topic we stalled on a week ago, snapping me out of my driver coma.  It was good, because I’m pretty sure I was in a full trance most of the time behind the wheel.

There was also an entertainment factor in it for me, trying to figure out what the heck she was talking about – kind of like ‘Jeopardy’ but without that condescending Alex Trebek telling me that I’m wrong.

Regardless of our conversation, or lack thereof, it kept my mind off the stupid drivers around me.  I was so into my zen driving that I would even let in that jerk who just drove down the shoulder of the highway for the past 300 yards because his time was clearly more important than the rest of us.  Oohhhhmmmmm… be tranquil.

Now that I’m back in the workforce, I’m left to my own dark thoughts as I traverse vast expanses of gridlock every morning alone.

It’s surprising how quickly that little red devil, ‘Rage’, plops it’s smoldering butt into the passenger seat and convinces me that I’m the only one on the road who deserves a license.

“Come on! The left lane is for passing!” I’d mumble, hoping that it somehow telepathically reaches the inept driver ahead of me.

I get annoyed with all the typical stuff.  People not signalling, driving in the dark with their lights off, going too slow/fast based on what I believe is the exact right speed at that moment, cutting in – the usual driving sins.

Lately though, because of the distance I now have to travel, I’ve had a new little evil one join my invisible passengers.  He’s the gas station grump.

This nasty little dude is way less accepting and patient than normal old road rage.  He doesn’t even wait until a car is moving.

‘Gus’, as I’ve come to call him, appeared a couple of weeks ago while I was on my way home after a really long day.  The gas station was particularly busy, and with the lousy weather, most cars were in need of a top up of windshield washer fluid and maybe even a quick washing.

This made for a long wait for my turn at the pump.

You assume a level of etiquette with things like pumping gas.  For example, if a car is waiting to use the pump after you’re done, you need to expedite the refueling process as much as possible.  Don’t use those squeegees to wash the entire vehicle once you’re done filling up.  If the car is that dirty, go get in line at the car wash, for Pete’s sake!

When they invented ‘pay at the pump’, it was designed to speed up the refueling work so that drivers didn’t have to then leave their cars and wait in line inside the building to pay.  It was also designed to reduce gas and dash incidents.

I don’t know if it’s the demographics of this particular gas station neighbourhood, but it seems like every driver, instead of opting to the quick and efficient way to pay, fills up, then heads into the little building to chat with the attendant.

Gus doesn’t like this one bit!

The other night, the cars were 4 deep, waiting to be fed.  One gentleman filled his tank, then slowing started digging around the front seat of his car.  He emerged with what I assume was his wallet, then sauntered slowly towards the attendant kiosk. Picture light gray smoke coming out of my ears…

When he got inside, instead of promptly making is payment, he wandered around the little store.  He picked up some lottery tickets and a coffee, then to my amazement, grabbed the washroom key!  Gus was FUMING by this point.

Of course, while this was going on, all the other ‘old-school’ customers started to form a huge line to pay by cash, which meant that my wait was getting longer by the second.

And that’s what it comes down to now.  Seconds.  We used to talk about the ‘New York Minute’, which I’ve been told, is the time after the light turns green, before the car behind you honks his horn at you because you haven’t gone yet.

Now, it’s like milliseconds before we loose our cool.  We’ve become conditioned to instant response to things.  Computers that lag more than an brief moment are called ‘slow’.  Lunches are piping hot in a minute from the microwave.

Maybe that’s why we’ve become so impatient on the roads.  There’s some sort of inverse effect on us.  The quicker things get, the less patience we have.

People run red lights like it’s expected, especially when they’re making a left turn.  I guess they figure that they’ve been there long enough, so to heck with everyone else, they’re going!

I think I’m worried about Gus.  You expect to react to bad driving at times, especially when someone causes you to take drastic actions on the road to avoid an accident.  Maybe we all have a bit of that angry rage inside us from time to time, but this new passenger who shows up even when I’m not moving is a problem.

Maybe if I fill the passenger seat with real, live people who have a calming effect on me, there won’t be room for Gus or road rage any more.  At the very least, these nasty little guys might not be heard over the conversations about personalized license plates or half-finished discussions from a week ago.

Then, I might turn back into the ‘zen’ driver who is happy to let the other guy in ahead of me….as long as he’s using his signal indicator.

The Deliberate Blog

I’m starting to see a pattern with my blogs.  At least, I see a pattern of viewer feedback, or lack thereof, depending on my topics.  (ROB FORD)

I want to try something a bit different this time, and cover a bunch of topics that I’ve had collecting dust on my thought shelf.  (GUN CONTROL)

You see, I think that some subjects resonate more than others, so even when you think you’ve got a totally awesome blog written, you sometimes come up empty on ‘likes’, comments, and site hits.  (STEROIDS)

This blog will contain very subtle subliminal messages, that you won’t see, but that will trigger a subconscious reaction you will want to act upon.  This has been tried with laboratory rats, but unfortunately they can’t read, so the results were inconclusive.  The good news is only 3 of the 5 rats died – something about a gas leak in the lab.  (DISCRIMINATION)

With that little nugget of information, you can understand why I’m writing a blog that covers a myriad of topics.  I need feedback! (MILEY CYRUS)

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I was watching one of those home video shows, where people submit things like Grandpa blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, and instead, launching his dentures into the now ruined dessert.  There was a brief video of a little kid in a karate Gi, kicking his father where a father shouldn’t be kicked.  (UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE)

That happened to me.  My daughter was about 4 (probably older, but the memory is the first to……..what was I saying?), and we had her in karate lessons.  The Gi was so big on her, that my wife had to hem the pants completely in half just to make them short enough.  She was adorable!  (SYRIA)

We were in the kitchen, and I was helping her to practice breaking out of a hold.  She was to use her wrist to hit mine, getting me to let go of her, then she was to kick me ‘in the nuggets’ to try to knock me down, then run away.  Of course, we were doing this all in pretend, and in slow motion so she could remember what to do.  (ASSISTED SUICIDE)

We were both laughing while she gingerly moved her hand down to break my grip.  I let go of her, then asked her what came next.  She said ‘Oh yeah’, then like some miniature ninja, sprung up, and swung her little foot as high and as hard as she could, connecting with the ‘nuggets’ perfectly. (CHINA)

I hit the ground like a bag of hammers, the wind knocked out of my lungs.  As I hit the floor, she then completed the move by kicking me once more then running away.  Once I came to, I couldn’t decide if I was more proud or in pain.  All I could do was squeak out ‘go get your mother’.  (CRACK COCAINE)

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I read an article once, where a business leader was tasked with opening a new office.  After looking at some best practices, consulting with other professionals, and digging into what new employees want, he came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t open any office at all.  (CREATIONISM)

Instead, he set up the new business completely as a ‘tele-commute’ operation.  Every employee would work from their own homes, and connect through the cloud to conduct their business or hold meetings.  (WORLD HUNGER)

I’m starting to wonder if some schools and other institutions should try to follow the same model.  I live in an area of rapid growth.  The elementary school, which is less than 10 years old, has had to split it’s higher grade students into the local high school because of overcrowding.  Bad planning?  Maybe.  The trouble is, we invest in these static, very expensive structures that can’t mold with the changing demographics.  In other areas of the same school board, classrooms sit empty because the school-aged population has moved away.  (DISTRACTED DRIVING)

We need to take a different approach to urban/suburban development so that we can grow and shrink with the needs of the community.  Perhaps this business leader can be the genesis of a completely new way of blueprinting community development.  (CLIMATE CHANGE)

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Last weekend, our son was home from university to visit my father.  We took him and his girlfriend back right around supper time (how convenient!).  We decided to hit a restaurant near the school.  When we got there, the hostess said we could choose to sit in the restaurant side or the lounge side, where all those giant flat screen TV’s are blasting sporting events. (GAMBLING)

Just as the overly friendly hostess grabbed a stack of menus, a small herd of screaming kids trampled past us at 150 decibels in the restaurant side.  The lounge won.  I can learn to like cricket!  (OBESITY)

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There must be a universal force that overrides peoples brains when they park.  In our neighbourhood, the streets are the perfect size for cars to pass each other, going in opposite directions.  That’s what they were built for.  Sometimes cars will park on the street, making it a bit of a tight squeeze when cars pass at the same time.  (CULTS)

Here’s what I don’t understand.  When there is a car parked on one side of these narrow streets, what cosmic force tells another driver to park EXACTLY across from them on the other side of the street?  It happens all the time, and virtually grinds local traffic to a standstill.  (ABORTION)

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I hope you enjoyed my little ‘kitchen sink’ blog of random topics, and I want to thank you for participating in my subliminal messaging experiment on the responses to blogs.  (GAY MARRIAGE)

As an FYI, I have now found work, so this may be my last blog since I’ll be so busy.  Hope you had as much fun reading them as I’ve had writing them.   (BACON)