I had forgotten how much I used to enjoy TV before work crushed my soul and ate my, as of yet unborn, children.

Then I remembered that during the mid 2000’s, TV made a brief watchability comeback of sorts, though now I see that not only did we revert to square one, we’ve already packed away the pieces.

I started watching TV again… I mean really watching instead of leaving it on in the background while snorting emails and shaking my fist in delirium at the invisible code-monkey-demons hovering over my over-caffeinated head, secretly inserting bugs into my work. I finally thought about what it was that made me so irritated about TV and started paying attention to find the cause. This was only a slightly less traumatic and pointless experience than self-trepination.

Reality TV — otherwise known as a compendium of caustic, cacophonous, kaka — at first didn’t seem to be the boob tube equivalent of herpes that it has now become. Practically every channel short of the shopping channels and public/gov access have some variety of faux reality entertainment contracted, I imagine, due to the shuffling of execs from network to network and copycat behavior.

See kids? Always use a condom.

I couldn’t have had this realization about TV had I not been outside the country for a while, thereby completely extricating myself from loop. The damage we’re doing to ourselves by watching this drivel rarely makes itself obvious until you stop the unprotected channel to channel voyeuristic promiscuity and take a good hard look at yourself. And then it hits you :

Crap! Warts!!

What really grates me is not only the sheer breath and depth of damage done to sane entertainment by this invasive species, but the idea that blithering idiocy, conformity and mediocrity are now the food pyramid for the daily TV diet. We have actually been trained to expect entertainment in the same format over and over and over.

We have shows like Style TV’s (a channel I know painfully well thanks to my ex) How do I look; a show that, if you’re a viewer like me, would seem to declare in no uncertain terms that your uniqueness and individuality are verboten in civilized society with all the delicacy of a steel-toed boot to the testicles. I’m all for not looking like a freak in front of people, but there’s a limit to how much of a cookie-cutter-Barbie you can turn a women into.

Speaking of conformity (conspiracy hat on), I think the Barbies are eventually destined to be fed into the commercial machine to become money mills at some future date so the entertainment can continue. How else would we have a show like Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo exist? A show that makes me seriously consider whether I would really want to wake up next to some of the featured clients or rather have a steaming hot bowl of yak dung and vodka for breakfast.

BTW… I was told by a number of people that Bravo, which is now officially reality TV central and caters a sizable gay demographic, has a reputation for “converting” straight people to homosexuality and I say that’s a load of BS. I was visiting a friend who’s an avid fan of the network and he had it on the entire time I was there. The only time it would have even remotely turned me gay was when I briefly wondered if hemlock suppositories existed and whether they would be a less painful alternative to the slow suicide I was experiencing at the time. The only watchable show on the network now is Inside the Actors Studio, and even that’s a stretch considering some of the guests as of late.

I could go on to the Real Housewives of XXX or Jerseylicious but I’d rather not risk dying yet from the inevitable aneurism.

Then there’s the self-help malarkey : I.E. Supernanny. Here’s the gist of the Supernanny guide (this is basically every episode and I’m not even kidding) :

  • Calm assertive authority
  • Be consistent
  • Instill discipline
  • Employ manners
  • Avoid laziness

If not for the last two, this show could have essentially been re-titled the Child Whisperer, but that would have been creepy. Besides, I imagine the term would have already been copyrighted by now for Hollywood to tell the Jerry Sandusky story.

Reality TV should technically only be palatable if you’re suffering from a legitimate condition such as depression or OCD or as comfort food for morons or just schadenfreude. But thanks to the never-ending marathon assault on our sense of taste by constant exposure, it looks like we’re being mutated into target demographics.

I think that should cover my brief examination of what’s killing TV and our sanity for now; also it’s 5:45 AM and it’s time for me to go to bed.


Mondays: As an image

Seizure warning!

If you’re prone to dizziness, nausea or other symptoms of epilepsy, you should probably skip this post.

There seems to be a culture of institutionalized stupidity and incompetence that gets tolerated in many offices. Rather than blaming workers alone, I think this is only a symptom of a much more invasive problem. I.E. NASA being run by accountants.

When you’re forced to cope with a degree of ingrained obstinacy for one reason or another and the higher-ups are unable to dig out of their own cultural Grand Canyon or scale K2 scale egos, the end result is an exodus of  employees and some leftovers who are essentially apathetic enough to accept the proverbial boot between the buttocks.

If I had to put what Mondays are like for me at work these days into the form of an image, it would probably be like the following…

MY EYES!! BTW... This is what happens when I suddenly remember I have Adobe ImageReady installed on my laptop.


I don’t think I’ll be working here for very long…

My educational penis is bigger than yours!

It’s amazing how a comment on poor customer service can eventually boil down to something like this. Especially since several of the following comments were made by, seemingly, educated women.

The saga of this unholy mess begins with an unfortunate, but rather expected, encounter Laura had with a less than standard librarian.

Please note: Librarian.

It wouldn’t nearly be as bad if the commenters of that post had taken a second read or even fell back on their “years” of training as librarians (as in dealing with strangers) and had some restraint in their explanations. Instead, they revert to (pseudo)intellectual bullying. 

“madknits” writes :

As a knitter, and a librarian, who holds a couple of subject masters’ degrees, I know how to spell “definitely”.

As well, at the library where I work, all the librarians speak at least one foreign language, sometimes two or three. One woman has Russian, Hebrew and French. I have Italian and Hebrew. Plus damn near fluent ASL for dealing with our Deaf patrons. So I reckon we’re pretty well educated.

Congratulations! You are special! I don’t have any master’s degrees, nor am I a knitter. But I am highly trained in the fine art of BS detection. Apparently your master’s degrees didn’t prepare you for the real world where libraries are staffed by people like Laura’s bane. They didn’t instill any common sense in you either, apparently, since we all know know for a fact that all libraries are staffed with multilingual librarians with multiple master’s degrees. Shouldn’t you be working for the U.N. or something? Seems like you’re wasting your time trying to push around some poor woman on a random blog.

If this blithering idiot had actually worked at a library (any library) for longer than a year, she would have known how spectacular Thomas Jefferson’s misspellings and poor punctuation were. Did his words carry any less weight? Granted Jefferson didn’t have the best of luck as a young lad in the educational department, but what the devil does perfect spelling have to do with someone’s intelligence?

Some of the smartest people I’ve met were outright illiterate.

Colleen writes :

A librarian’s job is to try and figure out all the ways it might be in the catalog

Look… Up in the sky!
It’s a bird… It’s a plane… No! It’s Captain Obvious!!

when she asked you if it was one word or two, that was one way to do it. Her next question may well have been how you were spelling it. Save the snark.

If you hadn’t explained that to us, Colleen, we would have never known. Mind you, Laura goes into detail explaining what she said and what she heard albeit paraphrased. Alas, I see your love affair with words has not improved your reading comprehension.

Here is Laura’s conversation as she posted it :

me: Hi. I’m looking for a knitting book. I’m not sure who wrote it, but it’s called Wrap Style.

Librarian: Ok. I’ll take a look and see if we carry that.

librarian putters on her computer, clicking through various options…

Librarian: Umm..that’s not a book that exists. I can’t even find it on Amazon.

I’m willing to venture a guess that anyone with an IQ above room temperature would have looked for the word “knitting” somewhere there in addition to both “rap” and “rap style” since this person didn’t know anything about knitting hence didn’t know how to spell it. And before she started bobbing for apples on Amazon she should have looked up at least one result on Google to not look foolish…

Morandia writes :

I’m a knitter, but someone with absolutely no background in knitting might not get it right the first time. You have no idea how many times we get “I need a book – I can’t remember the title and author, but the book is red”.

Lookie here!
Wrap knitting

Spelling mystery solved with a 0.21-second query. And I’m not a librarian or even an assistant… I’m a bloody programmer!

And Abby writes :

But thank you oh so kindly for judging an entire profession by one experience.

Yes, Abby, she judges every profession by one experience.
Perhaps I should judge you by this one sentence… “I learned a little bit about CSS, which makes a lot of sense; it’s like normal HTML but with different symbols.”

Since I am to HTML and CSS what Laura is to knitting, I think I’m qualified to say… that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about either syntax. Even though I don’t know you, your history or personality, from that sentence alone, I’d say you are incredibly stupid. There! Judgement made. Nice “MySpace” angle on your photo BTW. I’m sure that makes you very “hip”.

Some of the comments were respectful and understanding. Several others, as you can see, were not and, in fact, were very thinly veiled assaults on Laura’s intelligence. I think Renee was the only librarian who gave a carefully considered, respectful, and detailed response. Thank you Renee!

Laura has since disabled commenting on the post (naturally).

For the record… This post is meant to be snarky.

Jump through hoops? Let’s not

Perhaps my job is starting to influence my behavior outside the work environment.

As it is highly unlikely that I will need or want to engage in any physically demanding activity unless one considers sitting in a chair for countless hours, upright, a physical activity, my health-conscious colleagues enjoy repeating themselves and doing unnecessarily stress inducing activities.

If I have a method or means of doing a simple job and simple work will suffice, why am I asked to build complex scaffolding for features and improvements that are never needed?

Let’s switch back to English…

Say an individual needs a simple method of creating content (text for example).
And a means of categorizing it so it may be organized.
A method of searching said content.
And a method of commenting on said content by visitors…

Most of you will jump to suggest WordPress.

But say the individual is 5 years old and does not wish to share the same, simple, method as his/her other 5 year old siblings because, after all, children are chronically selfish creatures. This is the dilemma faced by many of my fellow programmers today. We sure have the means to quickly and efficiently deliver a customized, existing, product, but if it is being used by someone else, it is spoiled goods.

I don’t understand this logic. I do understand that in certain circumstances something unique is required, however, these 5 year olds seem to have a lot of cash to throw around. So on every occasion something unique, different, all the while serving the same purpose will be created. The loyal lap-dogs… er… I mean programmers will reinvent the wheel at great financial cost to please them.

What are the priorities? Aren’t the content and the visitors the priorities? Isn’t presentation a priority? Isn’t management the same?
Haven’t all these concerns already been met?

Hooray for 5 year olds!
You keep us in business, while ruining our sandboxes with the same urine and vomit!

I’m not saying WordPress is the solution to every situation, on the contrary. I am saying all this has been done before. Many, many, many times over!

Innovation is being stifled by decade old regurgitated methods of content management (that term in itself has become a cliché). It’s been done, the concept is old, it’s not new in any guise. Time to move on already! Stop adding minor features here and there and calling it all brand new. And stop encouraging your patrons to buy the same products. Create new ones! New concepts! Prove your worth!