How to make me feel old (Lenovo edition)

I like my Thinkpad X1 Carbon. The finish has this weirdly soothing texture, the keyboard is like everything Apple would never do (a good thing) and it generally runs well.

I am always keeping my eye on laptops because I am in the market for a new one this year, so I am subscribed to Lenovo’s newsletter.

It is a total coincidence that I am writing about newsletters two days in a row, I assure you.

Today I get this:

Basically, Lenovo is telling me I am old. A senior.

Hmph.

This day

Today was not a good day.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Also, here’s a quote from someone on Broken Forum:

On another topic, people have been stealing toilet paper out of the hospital bathrooms, because apparently humanity is beyond redemption, and also desperate enough to steal the single-ply industrial sandpaper they use there.

Why stock photos still mostly suck

Because you get lazy stuff like this. Or maybe this man is staring at the blank screen of his laptop sitting off-camera, and the notepad is simply what he uses for doing dickbutt doodles.

Blah-ck Friday

The incessant promotions for Black Friday leave me weary. I know it’s hardly novel to complain about rampant consumerism, but it’s just so relentless, with a big, odious emphasis (say that three times fast) on FOMO (fear of missing out).

I subscribe to a number of newsletters to keep up on occasional deals and to see if stuff I normally buy is on sale, and also to sometimes find interesting new things. Black Friday basically turns my inbox into BLACK FRIDAY BLACK FRIDAY BLACK FRIDAY BLACK FRIDAY BLACK FRIDAY.

I now just automatically delete every newsletter until Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Black Week/Month/Year is over.

At least we have less than a month left of Christmas music being piped into every public space 24/7.

Achingly stupid

I am nearly convinced that after our current civilization crumbles away and is (maybe) rebuilt some time in the far future, those far future historians will look back at the unfettered commentary made on the internet by the “every person” and their ability to reach an audience of millions of like-minded people, will be cited as one of the key factors in our downfall.

Go to the CBC News website and find any story on politics, then read the comments and you will marvel at how achingly stupid, how willfully ignorant, how blindly loyal, how in love with their own malformed thoughts the general public is. People who know so little, yet are so confident in sharing their ignorance with as wide an audience as possible. People who fundamentally lack the understanding of how the world works. It’s a complex thing–there’s no way one person can know everything. And that’s okay. Educate yourself, make informed decisions, take the time to learn what you need to know.

But it feels like so few people do this. We live in an age that celebrates ignorance and stupidity, abetted by mass media that regularly turns away from thoughtful reporting in favor of not just the sensational–which has always been the case–but in perpetuating “both sides” nonsense and has helped to normalize the aberrant politics we endure, that give platforms without consequence to those who deny climate change, to anti-vaxxers, to people who still honestly seem to believe the world is flat, for the love of Pete.

It’s all depressing and it makes me angry in a low-level, simmering sort of way. It’s 2019 and the world should be better than this, but instead it feels like we are regressing. Maybe we are meant to be doomed and another species will take over when we’ve eradicated ourselves.

Bonus material: People who answer questions about products on sites like Amazon with “I don’t know.” WHY DO YOU DO THAT?

This rant brought to you by the flu.

Angry on glass: A SkyTrain station message by Author Unknown

A few days ago during The Rains I trod to the Sapperton SkyTrain station to begin my morning commute and I discovered this message finger-painted onto the glass near where I usually stand on the platform.

“fuck you ya you fuck head” – a possibly aggrieved passenger or urban poet

One might quibble about the lack of proper punctuation but the message is nonetheless unambiguous. What I find most intriguing is what would prompt someone to:

  1. Feel this angry while standing on the platform of a commuter train very early in the morning (before 6:30 a.m.)
  2. Be moved to transfer the anger into a message written via finger on a rain-slicked sheet of glass

This leads to other questions, such as:

  1. What did the person feel later, when they were presumably on the train. Remorse? Regret? Catharsis? Ongoing anger?
  2. Would I be able to pick this person out if I suddenly found myself on the car on which the angry scribe was riding?
  3. Has this person written similar messages before?
  4. Is this act usually a one-off or just one in a series?
  5. Is the person–almost certainly a guy (sorry, guys, you know we’re mostly jerks) an otherwise nice fellow, entirely reasonable, and just found himself in a foul mood due perhaps to an unexpected and unpleasant event?

I am slightly sad I will never know the answers to these questions, though I’m not sure what I would do with the answers, anyway. Maybe one day I’ll make the answers up and turn it into a story called “The Messenger.”

(Probably not, though.)

Black Friday now starts on Wednesday

It should come as no surprise in a world where Christmas ads start showing up in October (or September) that Black Friday, officially the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday (this year that would be Friday, November 24) now starts on Wednesday or just whenever. Every sale right now (and ads for such are overflowing at the moment) is either a Black Friday Already Sale or a Pre-Black Friday Sale. It is now and shall continue to be Black Friday. Which actually sounds a little ominous when you think about it.

I mean, I like sales. I want to buy that new fry pan that promises to never ever let food stick to it for real, and I’m glad that I’ll have a chance to get it at a really good price. But is it worth the relentless barrage of ads and yet another lengthening of the time frame in which we need to endure the things? I even had an obnoxious banner ad show up in the WordPress dashboard of this blog for one of the plugins I had installed.

Had, because I’ve since uninstalled it and sent the company behind it a brief note explaining how I don’t care for obnoxious banner ads on my WordPress dashboard. Perhaps they didn’t know. Now they do!

Anyway, I should try to focus on the positive rather than just carp and be negative, so let me conclude by saying that I’m really looking forward to getting that magic fry pan. If they haven’t sold out of it before I can get to the store.

Five inanimate objects that would be better presidents than Trump

In no particular order as I feel all would perform equally well at the task, while also being superior to the person who actually, regrettably, holds the title:

  • a bowling ball
  • a toilet plunger
  • a smooth, round rock
  • a 25 year old Twinkie
  • a piece of lint

This is actually a trick list because it could include every inanimate object in existence, including those from other dimensions.

I don’t know why I picked today to take a vague potshot at the worst modern U.S. president (and, I would argue, the least qualified president ever). Perhaps The Rains have made me cranky.

Pumpkin spice eggnog Valentine whatever

It’s that time of year again.

Not even halfway through September, with it still officially summer and me still dressed in shorts, Safeway begans selling eggnog.

Save On Foods had already started selling pumpkins before that, and every place that has a “pumpkin spice” drink like Tim Hortons and Starbucks rolled them out to officially start this year’s blurring together of all holidays.

It has happened slightly earlier this year compared to previous years, so retailers are still testing how far they can push this nonsense. I predict we’ll have August eggnog within a few years.

I kind of hate everything right now because of this.

Bah humbug, you might say.

(By the way, if this all sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote a similar rant last year, when eggnog appeared in October. How we have progressed!)

News*: Trump is still a boorish, vulgar idiot

This is the President of the United States. You know, the person more than 62 million people voted for. The bar for acceptable, respectable behavior by a president is now so low it is below ground. It will be generations before the presidency recovers from this thin-skinned, dull-witted infantile blowhard, if it ever recovers at all. I’m not sure it will.

And good job, too, to the Republicans who will stand by and say nothing–or even defend him–as they go about their work of dismantling the United States to better serve the rich few at the top.

I used to think this lazy, ignorant man might resign because the presidency is hard work. I never imagined he’d just not do the work (and what little he actually does is borderline incompetent most of the time. The rest of the time it’s just plain incompetent).

* haha, not really news

Good news: We are still here

It is difficult to summarize all the stupid, awful things Trump has done since taking office since there are so many stupid, awful things to catalog–and it’s barely been over four months since he was sworn in (I’ve been swearing the last four months, too).

The good news is that he still hasn’t blown up the world. Yet.

As of today, his Gallup disapproval rating is 53%. That’s actually below peak disapproval of 59%. Bafflingly, 41% approve. This number astonishes me. It means that, on average, four out of every ten Americans will tell you that they approve of the job Trump is doing.

This is the same Trump who has been a reckless, racist, blithering, embarrassing, narcissistic disaster of a president. He has bumbled more in four months than the worst presidents could manage over eight years. He makes dumb little kids seem smart.

What is wrong with America?

Still, the world hasn’t blown up yet.

April Fools’ Day is dumb and I agree with Elizabeth Lopatto

Today is April 1 and thus April Fools’ Day. Elizabeth Lopatto has a nice article on The Verge titled Everyone hates April Fools’ Day — so why does it endure?

It has some history on the origins of this dubious “holiday” but rightly focuses on how dumb and annoying it is. It’s basically a day to be a mean liar like Donald Trump or that guy who tells a joke that everyone politely laughs at in an obligatory way.

A lot of internet sites and companies that take part seem to be going through the motions now so maybe it is finally starting to die out. Blizzard is phoning it in through lazy fake patch notes, Google has recycled a Pac-Man gag in their maps. Here’s hoping the time and effort invested in these fitfully amusing stunts are put into something more useful, like providing hair brushes for cats.