Saturday, 9 January 2010

Things That Piss Me The Fuck Off, Part 2

(Crossposted from Facebook)

Just before the start of last term, I wrote Things That Piss Me The Fuck Off, Part 1, which was a list of 10 things that annoy the hell out of me, with accompanying rants. It seemed to go down pretty well, so I figure that I might as well do another one, considering there are still plenty of other things that piss me the fuck off. So here goes:

11. Telemarketing

In my house, picking up the phone is almost always a pain in the arse. If I'm in the back room, the phone is at the other side of the conservatory, which has a floor that's slippy as fuck. Most of the time I won't hear it straight away, and by the time I do and walk over it's rung out. Or I run, slip over halfway to the phone, and by the time I get there it's rung out. We have three cordless phones, and three docking stations. And they all fucking ring. So even if I'm in the main part of the house it's still far from easy to track down which source of ringing is actually a phone. The obvious thing would be to go to a docking station, what with it being a known location for a phone, but with them being cordless and people wandering around while talking on the phone (I do that myself admittedly - it's hard to be on the phone and just stand motionless), is usually a bad idea because the phone won't be docked.

So, after all the bullshit of just trying to answer the phone in the fucking first place, it's insanely irritating to find it's actually just someone trying to sell me something. I always get caught in a weird rage that I can't really express. Every part of me wants to tell the person on the phone to fuck off and go bug someone else, except for the part that knows that the person on the other end is really just doing what must be an extremely shitty job. So I'll bottle it up and be polite and leave the anger for when I've hung up.

What's even worse are the recorded messages. Then there's absolutely fuck-all I can do. I don't shout to the real people trying to sell me stuff, but at least I have the option if I want to. At least if I'm feeling quirky I can have something of a conversation. With the recorded messages I have just wasted my time getting up to answer the phone only to put it straight back down again.

There was a really shit recorded phone call that would call our house roughly twice a week over the summer. Always in the fucking morning, when I was either still asleep or in bed with my laptop. Always when I was the only fucking person in the house. And always the same bullshit recorded message about how I've won a holiday or some bollocks.
The real pain in the arse is that I couldn't just let it ring out. It could be someone calling for some vaguely important reason (or one of my grandparents), so I'd feel like I had to answer it, even if it had just woken me up. Which made it so much more irritating when it wasn't important.

I should have to be rung to be offered stuff. If I wanted to fucking buy it I would. Companies should use proper advertising instead of annoying people in their own homes. Even if I like what they're trying to sell me, I always feel suspicious, especially if it's a foreign voice on the other end, because it could be a scam anyway. Mitchell & Webb have already done the joke, but I genuinely win a holiday or a yacht or something, I'm fucked if they try and inform me about it over the phone.

12. Doomsday Nutjobs

I guess this currently applies to the retards who think that 2012 is the day the world will end, but it extends past that. People who think the LHC is going to end the world. People who think the H1N1 flu shot is a government conspiracy to poison us all. (Creationists are on a similar level of stupidity, but they can get their own rant)

The internet is a great thing. It brings the likes of Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube and, most importantly, porn to our fingertips at lightning speed. However, the internet also gives people the ability to spread utter bullshit about how and why the world is going to end. It gives retards the ability to read these reasons and come to believe them. And, worst of all, it gives these retards the ability to come into contact with me. If it weren't for the internet, I would be oblivious to these crazy people. I could live my life happily. Instead I get brought a few clicks away from all these utter fucktards who would otherwise be several hours on a plane away from me (in Southern USA, usually).

The fact is that the Mayans just happened to develop a calendar system that isn't infinite. Out of all the ancient civilisations, it's probably just probability that one of them would lack the foresight to realise time might actually go on forever. If they were still around right now, they'd probably think of something to keep the calendar going on the spot. But they're not still around, which for one is a good argument that world probably isn't going to end in 2012. If they could see far enough into the future to know the world will end in 2012, then they could probably see that their civilisation would end and their calendar would become obsolete and unused, and really would have been better off just making their calendar end at that point, rather than centuries later.

Or maybe they knew something we don't, and just worked it out. Something that mankind of today, with all our combustion engines and quantum theory and space flight and aforementioned internets has failed to do. Which would be impressive, because they've given us the date and you'd think we'd at least be able to figure it out from that if we're so clever.

It's the exact same fucking thing as the Y2K glitch, which was the exact same lack of foresight but by people designing computers instead of an ancient civilisation. And unless I'm very much mistaken, the world didn't end then either.

As for the HLC bullshit, it's basically people who nothing about particle physics saying that it will destroy the world, compared to the people who know shit about particle physics saying it won't. Which really, is a fucking stupid debate. The media don't help either, with their articles saying that "experts" and "scientists" claim it could create the black hole that will engulf us all. What the headlines don't say is that these people are experts in history, and the scientists have PhDs in the likes of microbiology. Their opinions ultimately don't mean shit.

But retards are retards, and believe all the garbage, and I am me, and I can't just let the opinions of the retards be left voiced but unanswered. And so begin forum threads spanning pages of idiocy arguing with reason.

13. Web Adverts That Make Noise

There are two types of these ads. There are the noisy ones (usually for emoticons) that are on the page and are loud as fuck and usually scare the absolute shit out of me when my laptop randomly screams "HELLO!!?" when I'm surfing the web. The other kind are the ones that autoplay videos. They're not as loud, but they create a weird constant background noise that usually just makes whatever music I'm playing at the time sound strange. They quite often are placed in pop-ups that actually pop up behind the main window of my browser so I don't notice and wonder where the fuck the extra noise is coming from.

Fact is that I believe that any web-page that contains sound or music that I do not have to initiate is a shitty page. This also applies to myspace and forum profile pages where people stick fucking audio players in them which automatically start playing music (usually shite) when I open the page. No song is good enough that every single fucking person who visits the page should hear it every single fucking time they do. Unless I'm watching some sort of video on RedYouTube, I want my internet to be a silent experience.

14. xkcd

I figure this is going to be a reasonably controversial one, because I know a shitload of people who adore xkcd. Which is actually what pisses me off.

xkcd is a standard webcomic. It has a name that deliberately doesn't stand for anything, or is something that can be pronounced (how witty!). It has some quite funny moments, and a fair bit of stuff that isn't that funny. It is, again, a standard webcomic, and yet it gets a ridiculous amount of attention, mostly from people who really shouldn't find it all that funny.

The fact is that xkcd does not consistently have outstanding humour. It does not display any real artistic talent for the eye. There's really nothing special about it, and most the comics could be made in MS Paint by most people studying a science subject at University.

You do not need to post an xkcd comic in every single fucking blog entry you write. You do not need to link to a comic if the situation vaguely relates to it. This is the fucking internet, most discussion is going to be nerdy and therefore most discussion is going to have an appropriate xkcd comic. And if that comic is funny and worth the link, the chances are I've already seen it anyway. The real source of the irritation is that I'm pretty sure that most people who wax lyrical about xkcd and link to it constantly have never seen any other webcomics, except for maybe Penny Arcade or Cyanide & Happiness.

To fans of xkcd, I tell you that xkcd is not the only webcomic on the internet that contains humour, or even nerdy humour. There's an absolute fuckload of webcomics out there to be read. Some of them are shite, admittedly, but there are a fair few out there which are as funny if not funnier than xkcd, and a lot better drawn. Or, like Questionable Content, are maybe not consistently funny but have quite a nice story to them.

My point is that to me, xkcd is to webcomics what, I don't know, The Killers is to rock music. It's not necessarily bad, but it's definitely not the best you can do. It just happens to be stupidly popular and mainstream and most people don't bother looking at anything else. Webcomic polygamy is not frowned upon, and people should play the field a little more before they settle down with xkcd, because it's really not that good overall.

15. People Who Think Cambridge Should Have 10-Week Terms

You guys are fucking idiots. Stop getting Cambridge confused with some other University that isn't Cambridge. I mean, how fucking naïve can you be? How the hell can anyone genuinely think that they could possibly extend the length of terms from 8 weeks to 10 weeks and yet keep the same total amount of work? It's fucking Cambridge. If we get 10 weeks of term, we'll be getting 10 weeks of work, and you're a fucking idiot if you think that it would somehow stay at 8 weeks of work.

If terms get extended to 10 weeks, we're getting the same level of workload but with the duration extended by an extra 25%. People would end up committing suicide. If you want 10 week terms, then just fucking stay in Cambridge a bit longer before and after lectures. It's not that fucking difficult.

16. iPods

I could really extend this to just Apple in general, but it's 2am and I want to go to bed at some point in the next few days.

From one perspective, I sort of have to tip my hat to Apple. They've basically proven what's wrong with modern society in that if you make something pretty enough, and market it right, then that's all that really affects sales. It doesn't matter if it's shit, or massively overpriced compared to it's market rivals. Tell people they should want one, and they want one. It's genius really.

At the time when they suddenly became popular, before the ads, before all non-Apple mp3 players also started being referred to as "iPods", iPods were actually shit compared to the rest of the market. Creative Labs had a range of mp3 players that were superior technically, were cheaper, but were a bit bulky. Sony had their HD range which completely and utterly kicked ass compared to everything else at the time, and even Panasonic and Phillips had their own mp3 players that were at least on a par with iPods. And yet iPods were the ones that became popular, which annoys the shit out of me (mostly because I really hate Apple).

Popular because they were fashionable, not because they were good. Because the general public is retarded and will pay anything for something if they're told they really need to have it, and that the better models cost more. I even knew a girl who had an iPod with the largest hard-drive available at the time, despite the fact that she didn't even have more than like 100 songs. Despite the fact that she could have gotten by with a cheap CD player (good times, eh Taff?), let alone a £300 iPod. But expensive is better, right? I've heard they're apparently more intuitive or something, but I really don't buy that. I could work my mp3 player completely without a manual. I'd have no fucking clue how to turn an iPod off without someone telling me, or me just randomly pressing shit. And I fail to see how a touch wheel is any more intuitive for navigating a menu than a click wheel or up/down buttons.

So now my sister and mother both have iPods, because they're the trendy things to get, and they don't have the technological mind to try and get something better. If it's fashionable and they've heard of it, and it roughly works, then what's the problem. Price doesn't mean shit. And my mother is a bit of a technophobe when it's anything past MS Word, Excel or a web browser, so I'm the one that has to put the music on.

Which is where Apple are especially evil and cunning. They make everyone get iPods, and they make iPods fucking require iTunes to actually do anything. Then they make iTunes utterly shite on Windows, so that all Windows users have to go through hell to put music on their iPods. And then they all have to buy Macs so that they can use non-shit iTunes (plus Macs are also really, really shiny). I'm onto you Apple, you tricksy bastards.

Seriously though, would it be that hard for Apple to not be dicks and to let me use Windows Explorer to drag-drop music files onto it like every other non-shit mp3 player has done ever? My phone comes with software to put music on it, but at least I'm not forced to use it (and I usually don't). I'd overlook them being stupidly overpriced if I didn't have to fucking use iTunes every time my mum gets a new CD.

Or, I guess I could just make my mum do it herself, which brings me to my next thing that pisses me the fuck off:

17. People Who Won't Work Technology


It does represent what I'm talking about though. I'm not really referring to grandparents and pensioners here. They have problems operating doors sometimes (though so do I - STOP PUTTING HANDLES ON DOORS YOU HAVE TO PUSH) so I feel it's a bit harsh to expect them to work out how to use the VCR. This is more people who still have enough of their IQ left to be able to do shit like that. It's so fucking annoying when supposedly full-grown adults assume they can't use something electronic just because you have to go through more than a single menu screen to actually use it.

It's so annoying that there's this notion that just because I'm a teenager I have inherent knowledge of all things electronical. I mean, they're completely right to think that, but it's not because I'm a teenager. It's because I'm not a fucking retard and I don't assume that the fucking thing is going to implode or do something else similarly awful if I press the wrong button. I've yet to come across anything that has a "completely delete/break everything" button (this isn't actually true, the web-based file manager on my webserver has one, but it at least has a confirmation screen first).

It really pisses me off to get assigned things to do which the adult could basically do themselves if they actually fucking tried. You don't need to read the entire manual, and you don't need to know what you're doing. I don't fucking know what I'm doing - how the fuck would I know in advance when it's a piece of technology I've never seen before? I'm just figuring it out as I go, and there's no reason why any non-senile adult can't do that as well. Companies have people who are fucking paid to make these things user-friendly. Sometimes they fail, admittedly, but most of the time it's pretty self-explanatory.

I've even been given a pill dispenser by my mum once, from her boss, for me to program it so that her boss's dad can have his pills dispensed however. For one, this woman is the head of a company, so really should be a little more qualified to do stuff than myself, a 17 year old at the time. For two, what the FUCK do I know about fucking pill dispensers? I basically read through the manual, poked some buttons, and set it up in about two minutes. And I have no fucking clue why a middle-aged woman who is presumably pretty intelligent couldn't have done that herself.

Aside from the fact she didn't fucking try to. That's the really annoying bit (aside from me having to waste my time doing shit I don't want to for no benefit). Teenagers of the world should refuse to do things like that for parents, relatives and family friends. If they spent five minutes figuring it out themselves instead of already assuming that they can't do it without even trying. I mean, who is meant to be the adult here?

18. People Who Take Forever To Get To The Point

There's a rough equation for anecdotes. Something along the lines of:

Enjoyment = Quality/Length

Basically, keep stuff as short as possible and get to the punchline. I find it so annoying when people spend ten minutes telling me stuff I don't care about to tell me a few seconds worth listening to. People who go off on a tangent at any opportunity to explain something irrelevant to the main point.

This is something that tends to be specific to certain people. Certain people who tell me all the details about the day, from what they had to breakfast, just to get to the point at which someone said something mildly amusing. Usually not even that funny, or it's taken so long I've lost interest anyway. Usually it'll be followed with a "oh, you had to be there", which is the standard excuse for an anecdote that hasn't quite hit home with the laughter in the way that you were hoping it might.

19. People Who Make People Take Forever To Get To The Point

Not going to lie, they're usually women. Or other nosey people. My mum does it all the fucking time when someone is trying to tell a story of something that happened earlier in the day. Whenever any name gets mentioned, she feels obliged to probe and ask questions until we know all the possible details about whoever's name it was. It's annoying when listening to a story, it's annoying when telling a story.

If it's important to know who a person is for the story to make sense, then whoever is telling it will probably clarify that it's so-and-so's brother or whatever. Otherwise people should be content to leave it just as a name, because they're basically a bit-part extra to the tale, and don't need an extensive backstory.

They've usually never met the person anyway, which sort of makes the whole thing pointless to start with. It doesn't matter who the fuck "Mark" is, or what subject he does, or what his surname is, or where he lives, or how I know him, or how much he weighed when he was born, or if he has a fucking AGA (ahh, Matt the twat). You've never met him, it's not relevant to the story, I wish I'd never fucking mentioned him now, and the story has gotten so long that it's length is going to overwhelm the quality and reduce the ultimate enjoyment of the anecdote.

20. Christmas Cards

This one is relevant right now, because today I bought a Christmas card for my sister, my mum, and my dad. That's three cards. Three fancy pieces of paper and three envelopes in which to put them. And it cost me fucking £8.65, which is fucking utterly ridiculous. I so nearly just stopped at the till and said "actually, I think I'd rather keep the money and just live with having not given my family cards". It's fucking ridiculous how much they cost for what they actually are.

They're bastards in the shops as well, because most of the cards have a code on instead of a price. Usually these codes are displayed somewhere to convert them to prices, but half the time it's hard to find where, so you really have no fucking idea how much you're paying until you get to the till and find you're being ripped off. I don't really care much for the whole commercial aspect of Christmas, but fuck you society for making me feel obliged to pay obscene amounts for pieces of paper to give to people.

Because who really gives a shit about cards anyway? It's nice to get cards from people you don't expect, and I understand that, but I really don't care that much about my family giving me cards. They're meant to love me unconditionally, so the purchased piece of fancy paper reinforcing that isn't really required. And it's the cards for family members that are the expensive ones as well. The ones that you buy individually instead of a pack of 20, and that get selectively hand picked in a shop. Plus it takes forever because all the designs are all shit and sappy and you don't like any of them.

Next year, people getting me a card, take the amount you would have spent on a card, halve it, then just give it to me in cash. I'll probably get more appreciation from it, and you'll save some money, so happy all round.

Merry Christmas

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