Monday, 25 July 2011

Things That Piss Me The Fuck Off, Part Six

I was going to do this for my 200th post, but it turns out that that's almost certainly going to be while I'm in Europe, and I'd rather not stick it in the middle of my from-the-road blogging stuff, so it's getting done early as my 196th post. This series was actually the initial stuff that started this blog, though I've actually not done one since my 100th post. Clearly I need to be more whiny.

As a gift for people who can't be bothered using the search/tag function on here, here are links to parts one, two, three, four and five.

51. Passport Photo Booths

Every instance I've ever had of having to use one of these things has been shit. I had to use one a few months ago for my BRA membership card, and have had the displeasure of using them various times before that.

I mean, first off, you always need to get four photos, or if it's being a real bastard, six. When the fuck does anyone actually need more than one, maybe two? I have a driving license, passport, college ID card and my BRA membership photocard thing. That is four items that I need photos for, given, but what the hell are the chances that I'm going to have to renew all of them in the same few months? Am I just shit for only ever needing a single photo once a year, by which time I've either lost the three I had spare last time, or they look out of date, and I need to cough up around a fiver to get another photo plus three I don't actually want? Are other people actually badass enough to synchronise when everything needs renewing so they do genuinely want all four?

And half the time I've used one of these things, there's been some sort of fingerprints or other shitty smudge on the glass in front of the camera and screen, so there's a crappy blurry bit on the photos. Or, the absolute worst, you don't like either of the first two chances it gives you, but tough shit, that's all you get. Why? It's a fucking digital camera. If I'm prepared to stay in the booth and keep pressing the buttons in front of me, I should be able to have as many retakes as I want until I'm satisfied. I'm paying enough for the fucking privilege, so why the fuck do you get two shots at a decent photo and that's it? If this thing is going on some sort of photo ID for the next ten years, at least give me more than two chances to not blink or otherwise fuck up the photo. It's not like it's much extra effort for the machine, and it's not like I'm holding people up because there's never a queue for these things. It's fucking stupid.

52. Electric Stoves

Given that for the entire time I've been old enough to use a cooker, we've had gas hobs at home, I'm somewhat used to the way that they work. You turn gas on, you get fire and heat. You turn gas off, you stop getting said fire and heat. The thing is, at college they don't trust us with fire (which is probably not a bad thing), which means we're provided with electric hobs. And in my experience so far with various incarnations of these things, they're all absolutely shit.

The thing that's awesome with gas hobs is that you actually have decent control over how hot the thing is. With electric hobs you completely don't because there's so much fucking inertia in the plates. You turn it on, and it's going to be a good few minutes before it's actually hot, and it's the same when you turn it off. If something is burning or boiling over, the heat control for the plate does fuck-all - you have to physically lift the stuff off the stove. It turns cooking simple shit like scrambled eggs into a black art, where you either take forever because you're being careful with the heat, or it gets too hot and you burn the shit to the pan. I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a "low heat" on any of the electric stoves in Downing unless you're prepared to wait fifteen minutes for it to get there.

53. Tourists in Cambridge

I've already covered how these assholes wander all over the grass in Downing (people outside Cambridge probably wouldn't understand), but even outside that they're still a pain in the ass. Cambridge is already a pretty tight, congested city, and it's really not helped by huge groups of French and Spanish kids completely blocking up everywhere on school trips. During the summer vacation, fine, whatever, but during exam term it's fucking annoying.

What's really annoying with tourists is just how totally oblivious they seem to be of roads and cyclists. You get them standing in the middle of the road to take photos of the mathematical bridge at Queens', and it's like they're totally unaware that there are cars and cyclists trying to get through. So many times they just randomly step out in front of you to take a photo of something and they're completely not looking where they're going. Getting through the middle of town is even more of a nightmare than it already is.

Some of the tour guides are fucking retarded too. I mean, there are plenty of stories about Cambridge that are well known but also not true, but then you get people who are just clearly making shit up. Stuff that is just blatantly not true, like King's College chapel being carved entirely from a single block of stone. I mean, seriously, how retarded would you have to be to think that could possibly be true? Or that Downing was built to look like a monastery, when any muppet could see clearly based on classical Roman/Greek architecture, what with all the pillars everywhere. This claim was questioned, and apparently backed up with the claim "it's post-modern", despite the fact post-modernism appeared over a century after the college was built. If you're going to make stories up, at least don't be a complete dumbass about it.

54. Dodgy Internet Connections

Having crappy internet is annoying in itself, but I swear that tenuous wifi signals have some sort of sentience that lets them fuck you over at the absolutely most inopportune moments. Just a somebody is about to tell you something fairly important, or when you're five minutes away from a fairly large upload/download finishing, it'll cut out. Or just when shit starts going down in a game of StarCraft. It'll be completely fine for hours, and then it'll decide to die right when you least want it to.

55. People Who Moan About Ryanair or Easyjet

This being a classic example of people taking shit for granted when they shouldn't do. I'm not the greatest fan of Ryanair, but I think Easyjet is fantastic, and people have the most self-centred and dumbass reasons for complaining on these companies. You had to wait an hour at the airport because your plane was late? How absolutely terrible. But didn't they then transport your ungrateful ass halfway across a continent in a mere couple of hours, for about the amount of money it would cost you to fill up your car?

I'd say you get what you pay for, but with Ryanair and Easyjet that wouldn't quite be doing them justice. It costs me around £50 to get to London on the train, one-way, and with a railcard. It cost me around £50 to get flown to Amsterdam and back, covering around twice the distance in half the time.

So what if you get delayed at the airport? Didn't you bother taking a book or something to keep you occupied? Was it that terrible? Appreciate the fact that even including the delay these companies are still taking you somewhere in a fraction of the time it would take using other means, and at a fraction of the price too. Louis CK has an amusing rant on the subject:

The beauty of this rant is that I'm flying with Ryanair tomorrow. I bet I'm delayed five hours.

56. Cyclists in Cambridge

With the roads in Cambridge being about as wide as an aisle in a supermarket, and generally being one-way, closed off, or full of traffic, pretty much the only way to get around Cambridge is on a bike, or on foot. But we're all too busy to waste time walking places, so pretty much everyone uses bikes. The issue with this is the number of people who clearly haven't really ridden a bike before. Or been given any sort of formal or informal instruction on how to ride a bike, or just how to use the roads in general. Or general highway code shit.

Traffic lights, for example, apply to cyclists. This isn't even highway code (which is more a set of guidelines than rules) - this is actual bona fide law. It doesn't matter if they're on the pedestrian cycle, you should bloody stop. It wouldn't bother me so much if these people were clearly in some sort of epic hurry, but they hardly ever fucking are. If you're going to run straight through a red light, at least have the decency to cycle faster than I could jog (and believe me, I don't run very fast). Those thirty seconds you just gained by totally disregarding the rules of the road could more than be made up for if you could just be bothered to press down a bit harder on the fucking pedals. Also people who don't ever give hand signals when turning, and who I give way to at T-junctions only for them to turn into the road I'm coming out of. Fuck you guys too.

You see plenty more reckless shit than merely running through lights on pedestrian cycles. Like, people on bikes who seem to assume that because they're on a bike cars are obliged to give way for them. And buses. Personally, I'm fucking cautious when it comes to buses, because buses are pretty frickin big, and I'm very sure that in a fight with a bus I'm not likely to come off very well. Generally if a bus is signalling that it's pulling out, I wait behind it. Apparently plenty of other people don't, and just assume that the bus is going to see them overtaking and not just wipe them out.

Like, I have a rough general rule for cycling, which is that if the only thing stopping me from potentially getting killed is assumption that the driver can see me, I won't do it. Undertaking cars that are signalling to turn left is retarded. Overtaking cars that are signalling to turn right is also retarded. Signalling that you're going to turn right doesn't give you the right to pull out into the middle of the road right in front of a car about to pass you. You see so much stuff that's just completely stupid, and I can't count the number of times I've seen an idiot cyclist not be knocked down purely because the driver somehow saw or telepathically predicted what they were about to do. Which is basically just their own dumb luck, because pretty much anywhere outside of Cambridge you can't rely on road users to be that aware of cyclist, and there are plenty of retarded drivers in Cambridge as it is...

57. Drivers in Cambridge

This part mostly excludes taxi and bus drivers, because aside from a few assholes these guys seem to know what they're doing, but it's totally amazing how many drivers in Cambridge are completely retarded as well. You get idiots on the road anywhere, but the number of idiots in Cambridge just really seems to be ridiculously high compared to anywhere else I've been.

For example, whilst plenty of cyclists in Cambridge don't stop for red lights, plenty of drivers in Cambridge do the opposite, and do stop for green lights. Or apparently don't pay enough attention to see when they turn green, which I don't really get. There must have been a dozen times where I've seen cars just sat there at traffic lights, with the lights green for them, and they're just not doing anything. Sometimes it's because they apparently don't understand how filter lights work, but I've had one at the top of Castle hill where there literally wasn't a red light in sight and the guy didn't drive off until I yelled at him that he could.

The bollards by Queens' and on Regent St are pretty ridiculous for the number of people who attempt to go through them, despite the absolutely huge no entry signs and the fact that well, there's a massive bollard in the middle of the road. I don't really get how drivers can manage to get as far as the bollard itself, stop, and then wonder why it doesn't go down for them. Do they just think it's some sort of crazy traffic-calming measure, and don't realise that it's actually to stop anyone who isn't a taxi or bus? I'd go past the one at Queens' on my way back from lectures and about a third of the time I'd have to stop while some muppet did a three-point turn to go back the other way having been denied by the bollard.

58. Sleep & Tiredness

How I can feel tired all day, and then suddenly I'm wide awake when I bother to go to bed. Or that I can get a good nine or ten hours sleep and still wake up absolutely knackered.

But really, just the concept of sleep in general. This is somewhat going into the realm of shit that science doesn't understand, but really, why the fuck do we need sleep in the first place? I could do so much more shit (or waste so much more time) if I didn't have to spend a third of my life lying down and doing literally fuck-all. What exactly goes on while we're asleep that means we feel like absolute shit if we don't do it enough. Is it really that sodding necessary?

Imagine if other things worked like that. If your car, or computer, or microwave or whatever insisted on having eight hours a day where it would just refuse to function, or else be really crabby the rest of the time (OK, the analogy breaks down somewhat). You're driving down the motorway, and suddenly your car insists on pulling into the hard shoulder and stopping for a few hours. It doesn't appear to actually be doing anything at all, but it insists if it doesn't stop for a bit then it'll stop working properly for the rest of the trip.

I mean come on science, figure this shit out. If someone can crack a way to make sleep unnecessary without horrific side effects then they'd essentially be giving us another 25 years of being awake and alive in our current life expectancy. Because aside from the occasional epic dream, I'm currently getting jack-shit from those 25 years at the minute.

59. IRC Tennis

The general pattern of such tennis matches generally goes something along these lines:

<A> B, you there?
*five hours later*
<B> ah, sorry A, I wasn't, what did you want?
*three hours later*
<A> ah crap, I was out B, just wanted to ask you something. You around?
*eight hours later*
<B> I'm here now A, what was it?

And this generally goes on as long as is necessary until both A and B happen to be online at the same time. It's such a hilariously shit way for people to actually communicate. If you're going to bother to ask if someone is there, you might as well at least just ask whatever you're going to ask. Or send them a PM. It's like leaving an answer-phone message to tell somebody that you've rung, without actually giving them any inclination of the reason why. Or sending someone a text to ask if they're around to be asked something.

What's stupid is that half the time it really is just something that could be resolved in the first iteration if A left the question, and allowed B to leave an answer. One of the features of IRC is that it lets you leave highlights and messages for people which they'll get even if they're not necessarily around (which, to be fair, pretty much all IM clients do too).

60. Shitty Packaging

In the mood for some bourbon cremes, go to open a new pack, pull the "tear here" tab, and the fucker just rips off after the first centimetre and doesn't get me into the packet whatsoever. It happens all the damn time. Same goes for the shitty tabs on the top of plastic milk bottles:

Also the bags that you get rice and pasta in, which you have to open like a crisp packet (and with a reasonable amount of force) and yet the plastic they're made from is utterly shit, and it's so ridiculously easy to split the bag and everything goes everywhere. If you're going to make packaging out of weak-ass plastic, then at least have the courtesy to make it easy to get into it.

Or, even worse, it's made out of super-strong plastic. I mean, fuck absolutely everything about this shit:

I fucking hate anything being in that stuff. It's completely impossible to get into without powertools. When "pull here" tabs break off, you can at least get in with scissors or a knife, but that sort of tough plastic crap they use for electronics is just stupidly hard to open. It can require a good five minutes of fucking about with scissors, and that stuff is bloody sharp when it's been cut too. Plus it's usually used for electronics stuff, meaning whatever is inside is usually either something I'm quite eager to get at, or is something that's fairly fragile and I don't really want to use a chainsaw to liberate.

Also packing peanuts. These assholes(d'aww kitten):

If I order something fairly fragile, then fair enough, but I get these things in boxes that contain perfectly robust items, and they're a pain in the ass. You end up having to go routing through them to find whatever is in the box that you actually want, and these things get fricking everywhere. Why can't people just use jiffy bags, or scrunched up paper like sensible online retailers (Amazon) do?

Some packaging is awesome. Cathedral City comes in resealable bags (and proper ones with a plastic fasten, not the shitty ones where you have to use a not-very-sticky sticker. Except then my dad goes somewhat nuts with the scissors or tearing or whatever the hell he managed to do and it ends up a complete wreck, but at least that was human error. Other packaging almost seems designed to be irritating, frustrating and generally a pain in the ass.

And there, part six of Things That Piss Me The Fuck Off. Maybe in another hundred posts or so there'll be a part seven. Who knows.


  1. All this ranting is simply down to a poor take on life.

    Photo booths. Look at it like this. What you get is one seriously expensive photo and at least 3 free ones. Buy one get three free. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    Tourists in Cambridge. It's not just tourists that don't watch out for cyclists in Cambridge - it's EVERYONE VISITING CAMBRIDGE. We visitors are the norm, Cambridge is NOT NORMAL, not in ANY repsect (cycling being just one respect). So here's my message to all Cambridge cyclists. Watch out for normal people and stop riding like knobs.

  2. More comments...

    Dodgy wifi signals - that would be MY dodgy wifi signal. Let's see how your late night Starcraft games go when I decide to switch the router off when I go to bed.

    Cyclists in Cambridge - ABSOLUTELY... We should organise a selective cull...

    Drivers in Cambridge - maybe it's just residents of Cambridge in general? People whoi don't thinbk normal rules apply to them or maybe just adhere to one of my tenets of life - you don't have to be stupid to be an idiot...

    Packaging - OK, but at least I owned up to wrecking the cheese packaging - it was because I used a knife. But... I only did it once and now I use scissors. Anyway it wasn't such a problem because there's only one person in the house, namely the blog author, who eats much cheese. I'd add packs of Morrisons bacon to that list - a totally useless tab means that you always need scissors or a knife to open.

    My own rants.

    People who use lots of unecessary expletives in their rant blogs...

    People who assume they know all about tech even when they don't - e.g. taking a completely useless charger away with them leaving the camera battery charger at home... Have a good hol dude.