Dear Vegans:

We know you’re vegan, and that you don’t consume any animal products. That’s difficult, and it’s impressive that you put effort into a moral conviction.

However, please do not announce each time you eat food that it is vegan and delicious.

We know you enjoy your food, and that you choose to eat vegan food. That’s great. However, it’s a dog-bites-man story. It can be assumed that the food you eat conforms to your values.

If you should happen to eat a pound of steak or a stick of butter or an entire dachshund or a wheel of Double Gloucester Cheese, let us know; that would be news.

Otherwise it’s kind of annoying in ways you could figure out with a moment’s thought.

Best wishes,

The lesser breed without the Law

It can be done, so it must be done?

Yes, you can ship your twitter updates daily to Livejournal. But why? What is being accomplished? Tweets are ephemeral by design. If you said “my boyfriend’s bringing me cake” at 1300 and “anyone at UCLA know if Parking Log 3B is full?” at 1500 and “Goddamnit I forgot to buy beets” at 1800, why should everyone know about all of these at once the next day?

Can anyone explain why you’d want to post your list of tweets to your Livejournal?

Talk Radio Nation: TURN IT OFF

I have become hyper-sensitive to a particular kind of bullshit: repeated broadcasting of some organization’s talking points.

I don’t listen to right-wing talk radio or watch FOX News, or deal with any of the “news personalities” on CNN or MSNBC. I don’t even listen to the Bland Liberals on NPR. All of those things frustrate me, and yelling back at broadcast media does no good.

But I don’t have to read or listen to or watch any of this crap because my regular Internet reading will turn up ten in a row of the things those organizations have instructed their followers to repeat. It’s like that phenomenon where a row of magazines at a newsstand will all have the same actor on the cover, because the publicity machine works so well.

It’s worse than pyramid schemes or spam or religion, even. None of these things make any sense, and they’re all dispensed by people who don’t care about anything, least of all you! Don’t repeat everything. If you haven’t got something of your own to say, just be quiet.

And if you’re going to rebroadcast your clan’s speeches, at least apply a dab of critical thinking first. Intelligent people cut-and-pasting bullshit make us sad.

These four simple words

Federal Court Jury Summons

I hope I don’t get on a jury. Some of those federal ones go forever, especially financial crimes. But I have actually no possible excuse; I’m their ideal juror.

At least it’s a call-in thing. Unless I get called I won’t have to spend too much time in the airless Santa Ana Federal District Court Building.

Waaah! I don’t want to join this Justice League!

Dear Hipster Bicyclists

Bicycles are a fine mode of transportation, excellent exercise, and an absorbing hobby. As such trends go, the current fashion for bicycling among the children of the rich is laudable. I greet you from my own bike as we pedal along! Ting ting!

However, I do have some nuggets of truth to share with you, in bullet point format:

  • Use a real bicycle. The fete champĂȘtre use of imitation 30-year-old bicycles is painfully precious. Good bicycles with more than three gears are available cheaply on the used market. The esthetic distinction between “retro” and “broke down rusty-ass old” eludes the Mexican gentleman pedaling to work on his 15-year-old Huffy. Conspicious consumption is for tools.
  • Use a helmet. If you manage to survive a severe head injury, you’ll wish you hadn’t.
  • Stop at stop signs. It’s totally uncool to do so. You lose your momentum, it feels way less Easy Rider, and you feel like your mom. However, when you blow through an intersection at full tilt out of my left blind spot as I’m pulling forward, I’ll hit you with my car, changing our lives forever for the worse.
  • Use lights. This is, again, uncool. Big dorky flashing lights on your messenger bag, headline in front, light in rear: christ, it’s like wearing black socks with shorts! Except that you get killed otherwise. Just do it.
  • If you are unwilling to follow rules 2, 3, and 4 above, stop already with the activism. Yes, cars hit bicyclists. It’s awful. Drivers should pay more attention, and better bike lanes and education are necessary. But if you’re gonna head out on Saturday night with no helmet, no lights, and no sense of traffic safety, your Paul Frank Tinkerbell Spanglebutt Special Cruisy Cruiser is gonna get wrapped around a Camry.

Things that are apparently hard

  1. Keeping an accurate “new voicemail” flag on a mobile phone. (See Note 1)
  2. Sending a text message from a phone. (See Note 2)
  3. Monitoring the temperature at a data center and keeping the A/C running. (See Note 3)
  4. Receive and file paperwork, first entering it on a computer database. (See Note 4)
  5. Render a web page. (See Note 5)

Note #1: This has been true since the first mobile phone I used. Voicemail flags stick for days, or never appear. The flag will pop up two days after a message is left. Sometimes the victim must reset the new voicemail flag by leaving voicemail for him or herself and then deleting it. How can this be?

Note #2: As long as I’ve been using SMS, it has failed to send about half the time. The signal bar will show full strength! yay! Then, when an SMS is sent, the phone will tell me that the message in fact cannot be sent. A few minutes later, caught in a lie, the phone admits to having no signal at all and starts trying to find one.

Note #3: Thermometers are cheap. So are loud bells. Summer happens every year! So why is it always the customer who discovers it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit inside? Isn’t this job #3 after “not on fire” and “power on”?

Note #4: You’re an insurance company. What is it you do there, exactly?

Note #5: When the page causes a browser to look up DNS for five or six ad services, and won’t render the page until this is done, DNS then blocks and the viewer either never sees the page at all or gives up in disgust after a minute or two. I can’t see how this benefits the advertiser or the website owner or anyone, really. Why even use hostnames? Why a duck? Why not a chicken?

rhinoceros

Behind me two women talk about their “awesome” pastor. In front of me another woman reads with the Life Application Bible and a Josh McDowell apologetics text called “A Ready Defense” stacked next to her. The parking lot is full of ichthyomobiles.

The groupthink is dreary. I feel like the last one in Orange County who’s not an evangelical Protestant Konservative Kristian Klone.