The Obvious

monday spirits

Posted in rant by theobvious on February 14, 2011

If I were a complaints choir, I’d sing thusly:

It’s so cold that I may die, and nobody will care;
I have got no time to read and nothing  good to wear;
Even if I had nice clothes, they wouldn’t fit me well;
I’ve no dog that would fetch help if I fell down a well.

Chorus: My life is very tragic
And I am full of spite
And the neighbours are too noisy
At all hours of the night.

My skin’s both dry and oily, and creams are yet to help;
And rhymes are such a problem, humpty-tumpty-kelp?
Good people are so far apart, but idiots abound;
And hardly anyone adopts those kitties from the pound;

Chorus: My life is very tragic
And I am full of spite
And the neighbours are too noisy
At all hours of the night.

My Neopets are dying because my care is poor;
Instead of putting things away, I put them on the floor;
The world has gloomy prospects, and revolutions fail;
Good bread that costs the most to buy’s the quickest to go stale.

Chorus: My life is very tragic
And I am full of spite
And the neighbours are too noisy
At all hours of the night.

I can’t afford the movies, but piracy’s a crime;
Though buses come on schedule, I rarely am on time;
Everyone hates Israel and blames things on the Jews;
I buy expensive products that I never even use.

Chorus: My life is very tragic
And I am full of spite
And the neighbours are too noisy
At all hours of the night.

I get too many emails, but few of them are good;
People very rarely do what they have said they would;
This July I will, oh dear, turn twenty-five years old;
And does it really have to be so very very cold?

Chorus: My life is very tragic
And I am full of spite
And there should be a law against
Loud noises late at night.

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not sure this classifies as a rant

Posted in random, rant by theobvious on December 17, 2010

The weather makes me apply lip balm so often that I’m starting to regret that I don’t post photos of myself with the infamous duck-face. It’s just a waste of nice balmed-up lips, I say. And to get the weather topic out of the way, how much more difficult is it to walk on a snow-ice mixture than on good dry land? I feel like I’m walking to work twice as long and arriving twice as tired.

Anyway, what this was really meant to be about was television. It’s probably very funny and/or exasperating for normal TV-watching people to hear snobby intellectuals discussing their favourite shows. Of course, now, with the ascent of well-written series combined with on-line streaming, the stigma has been lifted somewhat, and yet sometimes those people find themselves drawn to a reality- or  talk-show, or something lowbrow like that, and then strict conversation rules and rituals come in.

1. Dissociation from the disgraceful habit:

A: You know what I saw on TV the other day? Not that I ever watch it, of course!
B: I don’t even own one.

2. Justification, at times betraying normal human reactions:

A: Neither do I, I was visiting someone who had it on. So anyway, this cooking competition was on, and normally I wouldn’t even— but this was educational! They bring in highly professional judges, and the process is portrayed in detail. You would love it, it’s like a backstage pass to the inner workings of the culinary world.
B: Do you mean Current Top Cooking Show? I know, it is such an enriching experience! Enthralling. Although they had no call eliminating that girl, her dish was perfectly sophisticated.

3. Pretentious term-dropping, because posing as a connoisseur helps rehabilitate self:

A: I know, right? It is all so completely staged. You see, my view is that they need to keep up their initial type-casting, so once they started giving that other girl the bitch-edit, they had to keep her on, even though her presentation was, like, entirely unremarkable.
B: Totally. And yet I wonder, perhaps some of the emotions they display are authentic after all. The show would just lose its value if it was all directing and editing, you know what I mean.

A: You said it.

And so on. This is a conversation I have personally had several times. All the while, normal people go: “Seen Cooking Show? What did you think?” “I was at my mother’s, so I TiVo’ed it, but I hear they kept the stupid bitch again, what’s up with that?” “I know, and they sent the nice girl home, I liked her a lot, she was pretty and friendly!” “She was. This show is going downhill.” Is that better or worse that vegging out with streaming Seinfeld every night and saying haughtily that you only watch series made by top directors and have never laid your hands on that dreaded contraption, the TV-set? I don’t even know.

Incidentally, have you seen Project Runway? It’s a great show, and very educational. You really feel as though you’re learning something about the backstage of the fashion world. Top notch, although of course the biased editing does take its toll… Still, can’t wait for next season (not that I’ll be watching, or anything, we don’t even own a TV).

susan boyle

Posted in rant by theobvious on April 22, 2009

Y’all in on the brouhaha with Susan Boyle? Or, as most tabloids put it, ‘The Susan Boyle Phenomenon’? Can someone explain why all this is happening? The big deal is supposedly that being the underdog with her atrocious looks and her stigma of never having been loved, she can still sing. Shocker.

The never-been-kissed thing: why is it considered something special enough to flaunt like a proud banner of dirty laundry? Of course, it is medically proven that one sings better when getting laid on a regular basis. Something to do with exercising the vocal cords, I believe. Therefore, the fact that Ms. Boyle has not exchanged liquids with anyone and can still sing is mindboggling. Although, confidentially, the only improvement to my own vocal ability since the day of my first kiss is that I am gradually learning to sing less in public.

Also, why all the shocked faces about her being so good at what she does even though she is so ugly? Haven’t most previous Britain/America’s Got Talent winners been underdogs with way lesser chances of being kissed than Susan Boyle? One was eleven and therefore undesirable by law; some were overweight and thus pariahs (like Mariah); one even had bad teeth! *gasp* Honestly, this whole kalos kagathos thing seems a tad old-fashioned and unreasonable in a world that has seen Luciano Pavarotti and Christopher Lloyd.

I do believe the woman has a wonderful voice, but I also found her behaviour cringe-worthy, and the only thing surprising about the whole thing is that every self-respecting bad newspaper has printed a story with the words ‘Ugly Woman Captivates Hearts’ in the title, and every blog has featured a soppy confession that the author teared up while watching the show and was reminded that real beauty ‘hides in unexpected places’ or ‘is in the eye of the beholder’ or is ‘more than just the commercial crap invented by Mattel’.

I also believe that ‘rant’ is the most-used category on this blog. I am the Wicked Witch of the West, yay!

operatic grievances

Posted in rant by theobvious on April 5, 2009

One thing that bothers me when it comes to opera – or, rather, when I come to the opera – are the other people there. On the one hand, there is always a standing ovation. Every time. Honestly, you’d think this were La Scala or something, the way those crowds go on. How’s an actor supposed to tell when they really did good and when the spectators are just being polite? ‘Well, you went through all that trouble for us, the least we can do is praise you to high heavens and keep you coming out for encore bows for twenty minutes,’ is the reasoning, I guess.

On the other hand, right while most are standing there clapping their palms sore, some find it acceptable to start moving noisily and quite pushily towards the exits. Again, think of the mess this must cause in the heads of the troupe: ‘We did great, look at all those cheering people! But wait, many are heading out while the curtain’s still up – we must have sucked!’ I mean, what’s the big hurry? Do they think there’s an expiration hour on their coat checks? Or maybe they all have meetings? ‘Hey, how about a beer Saturday night around nine? – Nine? No, the ballet only ends at nine. How about nine oh two?’ Talk about rude.

The third hand (yeah, I got spares) goes to all those persons of non-traditional intellect who manage to keep their phones on after a loud recording says in a nice female voice to please switch them off. They are often the same persons who have not mastered the art of finding their phone in their seventeen-foot-deep handbags when it does, naturally, ring. And if it does not ring, they will compensate by talking animatedly among themselves. Today we observed a couple of women who had an agitated discussion in Russian whispers, which culminated in one of them saying in the middle of act one ‘Okay, so I’m going,’ and acting true to her word. The other followed.

If I were queen of the real world, not just the imaginary one in my head, people would need to pass exams for a number of functions in life. Having kids would be high on the list, riding means of public transportation right up next to it, then – using public bathrooms, followed closely by visits to the theatre and opera. Also, people who’d fail the examination would be obligated to wear sandwich boards with the word DUNCE on them in Comic Sans size 780.

If all this seems angry and petty and stupidly worked up, it’s only because I am those things, and a number of other things, none of which begin with h- and end with -appy. No idea why, but you should just be glad that this post does not feature many words that begin with f- and end with -ucking and are not used in their direct meaning.

650 words about teeth

Posted in braces, rant, travel by theobvious on March 17, 2009

This post is supposed to be a reflection of my current condition, which is: overtired, under-healed from a cold, very cranky. Unfortunately, there are no adequate literary means for that in my possession, so if you usually need to read words to yourself quietly (no need to be embarrassed here), use a croaky voice and interject every second sentence with a mighty sniff. Otherwise, feel free to imagine me doing it for you. Now, on to the point.

Some relationships have what we may call a differentiation point. For example, that point in a conversation between two people who have so far been nothing but charmed by each other, when there comes the question of age and the reply is (a couple decades) short of the expected. Or when two people are conversing and one mentions casually that English is not his or her first language. From that point on, nothing is ever the same. The one is plagued by questions (God, did I just compliment her choice of entree? Does that make me a pedophile?? or, Was this a good joke or a bad mistake? How do I correct it and remain PC?) while the other is usually just thinking WHY DID I BLAB THAT! The past relationship is no more.

For me, this point is probably the braces and the reasons behind them. Despite my fairly evident tendency to overshare online, when it comes to real people I would rather their knowledge of the issue were directly proportionate to our closeness. That is, the vast majority of the people I encounter should remain completely ignorant. It is just that when you tell people that you are going through more or less what their grandparents went through just recently, it tends to cast a certain tinge on their further way of relating to you.

With that in mind, imagine my elation at the news that the route of our upcoming teaching trip to Ukraine will include every Jewish guesthouse from the capital onwards. A little insight into our millenia-old culture: a Jewish guesthouse means gender-based rooms of six or more, with shared bathrooms. What you are thinking if you are a healthy, octogenarian-health-issue-less person, is – how the Gehenna will this couple survive a week of separation without that taking a toll on their marriage and eventually leading to painful divorce?? Commendable care for our union which we appreciate, and why did I not think of that? Because all I heard was, shared bathrooms, ringing in my ears like ‘Next!’ at the executioner’s office.

In my view, there are two ways this could go. One, being forced to brush in public, letting people observe my hour-long mutant procedure with the teeth. Okay, who am I kidding, this stage is long past. Still, the sight of braces being brushed, however briefly, is blood-chilling and will certainly reveal more than desirable about me. The other way is to em-brace (oh, hilarious) the situation and avoid brushing my teeth altogether, which would result by the end of the trip in me smelling like the indigenous people of Ukraine – that meant in the best possible way, but having in mind that there are very few possible good ways of meaning that. A bonus option has been generously offered by A.; that is to use him as a bouncer to drive everyone out of the public bathroom and then guard me through my dental hygiene. If ever you wondered what true chivalry was, this is it.

All that said, one might suggest this is blown wildly out of proportion. One might insinuate even that this post is about nothing at all. One might be right, but then one is cordially invited to a) find other things for me to blog about; b) find another way for me to express my worries about everything and nothing, currently aggravated beyond crayzeee with threee eee’s; or c) kindly bugger off.

the girl with no waist at all (in a bad way)

Posted in exercise, rant, weight loss by theobvious on July 4, 2008

Hello from the nineteenth century, where no man has a computer except for my unbelievably lucky father. Things have been happening here, most of them – of a highly unpleasant persuasion. Words have been said and information has been relayed, and I have learned things that might seem quite amusing had they been said about someone else.

The last straw on the back of the sleeping dog, as it were, was today at the gym, where I dragged myself, or rather, was dragged by my enthusiastic friend, at 9.30 am, which is a very early time indeed for Body Sculpting of any sort. There will be some filming next week at our modified and martial-art-buffed-up Tae Bo class, for advertising purposes. The instructor has been asking certain people personally to be there, including my friend and myself. Today he stopped us after class to re-emphasize the invitation. And such words did he utter, as I live and breathe: ‘Some people come to this class to lose weight, get into shape, so your… er… (flowy hand gestures) full figures would be a good example, you know, for them to see how well you’re doing… okay?’

Okay it was certainly not. Now, I have no illusions about myself. This is an Advanced class, so most of the people who come are either stick-figures or just in really good shape. And we are, in fact, doing really well. But I will not be the proverbial ‘fat girl who does well nevertheless’! There will be no nevertheless in my life story. I will not be used as an exemplary full figure. I am not fat, not as such, though I am what you might call curvy. Still, I take an S to M size! My friend is somewhat heavier than I am, and she took this to mean that her considerable weight loss in the past months has not gone unnoticed. She is actually pleased and does not understand my sulking.

But honestly, on top of everything I’ve heard this week, this was too much. Especially considering the enormous amount of effort I’m putting into working out. This is the exact sort of thing that makes me say ‘What’s the use? I’ll be fat whatever I do!’ and stuff half a cake into my mouth. Although of course I would never eat half a cake. Not even a quarter of a cake. I have my full figure to watch!

tested and testy

Posted in rant, the thrilling goings-on, travel by theobvious on June 17, 2008

Good thing nobody reads this blog, because otherwise I would have to apologize for being N/A all the time these days. Partly, time is to blame – I am finally starting to lose the momentum I gained by taking part in NaBloPoMo last year. But largely it’s like this lyric (points if you can identify it without using Google):

So, take this down:
I just feel so beat
and I think it’s time
to admit defeat
I thought I got mine
but that uphill climbing
is never through.

I think the song is about relationships and suchlike, but I am taking the liberty to apply it to matters more mundane, id est, the end of term. Ten exams, people. Ten freaking exams which, I’ll have you know, I’ve been acing so far, and that made me exhausted enough to fail my driving test. You heard it here first.

I am devastated about the driving, and have been falling asleep and/or bursting in tears at random times for a while now, which behaviour is usually restricted to times of severe PMS, but evidently, exams have the same effect on me. (Soon they should be issuing a governmental ban on whining on blogs, have faith.)

There is only one exam left tomorrow, after which, no matter the result, I am packing up and taking a train to glorious St. Petersburg where some of the most fabulous people I know happen to reside. The shop called today to say that my lens has been fixed – just in time and free of charge. So photos shall abound forsooth.

blogging in the language of cool

Posted in language, rant by theobvious on May 26, 2008

For some reason, the English language is considered wildly attractive, even exotic, in this part of the world. Anything Anglo-Saxon equals ‘much better than anything our own culture has ever produced’. So much so that it is often used as the following:

1) A marketing trick. Heed my word, merchants of the world: if instead of ‘New Donuts’ you write, say, ‘Nouveaux Donuts’ in the window of your greasy food and watered-down coffee joint, the clientèle will double overnight, and the sales will go through the roof.

Sales increase also guaranteed in shoes, cosmetics, hairdressing services, freshly butchered meat, yachts, and bears. Words you can use include: New (Nouveau, Neue, Nuovo), Free (Gratuit, Kostenlos, Gratis), Great (Exquis, Herrlich, Eccelente), and others to that effect.

2) A way to become instantly cool. This goes out to every teenager in the former Eastern Bloc: brush up your English. It gives you access to levels of awesomeness previously unheard of. Such gems as Whatever, Really, Like, BTW, and so on enrich your language and make you gloriously aloof.

Similarly, if you just use English words instead of those bland things they call words in your country, you will come across as independent (sorry, I mean indie), artistic, maybe even mysterious. I also recommend you put random English phrases in sharpie on all your hoodies. And sneakers.

3) A literary device. Because really, who wants to read stories and poems in those boring old Slavic languages? They all sound the same anyway. However, if your writing is full of English words or even sentences, it becomes so much more sophisticated.

Who needs metaphors, allusions and alliterations! Give me a story stuffed full of gratuitous foreign language insertions any day. I love reading with a dictionary. Finishing a short story in under four hours is just lame, I’d much rather spend a day on it, looking up words.

So, all this advice – absolutely kostenlos. Don’t you find this just eccelente? Tune in next week for the next installment of Linguistic Rants: ‘Your Music Is Better Than Ours, Sulk Sulk’.

several conversations

Posted in rant, thoughts, writing by theobvious on May 10, 2008

Just now, my mother handed me, having found it in a book, a chunk of my past. I feel winded. So here’s a text I wrote in Jerusalem, following some of the same past creeping up on me on the one hand, and, on the other, several conversations with friends.

Why do things need to be so goddamn complicated? We look at each other and see, in effect, complications. How can I sleep with her, she’s my best friend – how can I buy this, I earn too little money – how will I graduate, I have no motivation to study – how how how does the world not end when everything is so hard on me – and how, not unsimilarly, do things end so quickly when I want them to go on forever?

Quoth Rufus Wainwright ‘everything I like is just a little bit harmful, a little bit deadly for me’. The human race is inclined to self-mutilate by contemplation. We reflect, and deliberate, and consider, and binge-think – all to our own and everyone else’s damage. Each and every one of us is at some point prepared to hurt another, to hunt them down and eat their fucking heart out (instead of heart, I subconsciously type ‘hurt’), all in the metaphorical sense which, of course, is always worse than the physical.

I, too, have a destructive purpose in life. There can be no happiness, no stability whatsoever, for fear of unbalancing my whole loose rickety construction which holds my life as together as possible ever on the brink of falling apart. This is why I am always so scared; so angry. For this reason I exclude myself from exciting things that could easily determine the rest of my life: I am not ready for the rest of my life to be determined. In fact, I am determined to prevent it at all cost.

Missed calls. Have you ever thought about them in the sense of karma and the noosphere? How every missed call is actually an un-happened conversation; un-happied too. They aggregate just above the space that we humans occupy with our houses and our phones, and eat on our bestial id like everything else that hasn’t happened to us, but could have. Visits count as well. I wonder why we keep calling.

Consider also our promises. How is it that we always promise each other only material, futile things? Gifts and stuff and items and love eternal and fruitful co-operation are all pointless. We never promise each other that we shall speak before we think and say hurtful things and this is going to be the main way we ever express our love and respect for each other, and to be ready. Whereas this is about the only promise we could make with all honesty and respect.

Some people take pride in their truthfulness. They take pictures of themselves without make-up (I never wear any, does that make me especially honest?), and don’t eat meat, and obey orders, and raise their children to be good citizens. Watch me now insult every single person in the whole Western civilization: all this is not honesty. Honesty is admitting that you think your morning face cute; you never liked meat in the first place; you hate initiative – but your children are all your own merit. Honesty is indeed saying it like it is, and not the correct way you think it ought to sound.

God, I hate myself so much now I should go on and kick myself in the nuts. Consider preachers if you will. Their main job is to tell people what to do while they sit in their own shabby fucking hermitage and have no chance whatsoever of committing any wrongdoings. Because they don’t do anything. All they occupy themselves with is talking to people without even the chance to hurt their feelings as everyone could care less what they’re saying.

I am a preacher. I’ll go sit in my hermitage and kick myself in the nuts with such a vengeance that I just might kick myself out into the open. See what I do then, the git.

i wish i could punch ’em

Posted in bad, rant, silly by theobvious on December 14, 2007

I have been in deep and meaningful conversation with the support desk of my webmail provider all day. They seem to be a fine, fine office. Our conversation was as follows (name of webmail changed to avoid a lawsuit):

Me (through their support interface): Hi, please help, Yee-haw won’t send my emails. [technical description of problem, including an exact description of the error messages I’m getting]

Them (through email): Hi, we want to help you. We need to know what error messages you are getting. For that purpose, please send us screenshots of you not being able to send your messages through Yee-haw. Please use the Yee-haw account you’re having problems with.

Me (through my other major webmail account): Hi, I can’t use my Yee-haw, that’s kind of the whole problem. Here are the screenshots, please solve my case.

Them: Hi, thanks for replying. We aren’t sure who you are. Please prove you’re the same person (and not just someone trying to steal the answers to someone else’s vital question and sell them on eBay for $3,000,000,000) by telling us your date of birth.

Me: Hi, here is my very secret information. I was born on July 18th. I’m sure no villain would have been able to obtain that knowledge. Now you know it’s me, please help.

Them: Hi, thanks for sticking with us. In order for us to help you, we need you to send us screenshots of the problem you get when trying to send email. We’d rather you did this through your Yee-haw account.

Me: OMFG ARE YOU SERIOUS YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS PLEASE SAY YOU’RE KIDDING ME AAARGH (head explodes)

Still waiting for the answer. I can’t shake the feeling I’m standing at a helpdesk with a stereotypically blonde attendant. I’m here to see Mr. Jones. No, Jones. Not Smith. J-o-n-e-s. How many bosses do you have named Jones? Listen, there’s no call for this kind of language. Okay, do you wanna take this outside?

Do you, Yee-haw?

the time-internet continuum

Posted in nablopomo, rant by theobvious on November 16, 2007

– Well. There has been no internet all day. I am writing this at 1.26 am, which means that technically I haven’t posted on the 15th day of NaBloPoMo.

– However, for all it’s worth, I’m still living in November 15th, so that must mean I’m still in the game.

– Still, seeing as there’s already been much meddling when the wrong time zone was set in my blog options, and I had to manually reset the times on two of my posts so they would actually look posted on the day they were posted, which resulted in my having two backdated posts, I should be disqualified.

– On the other hand (do I have four hands?), I do post every day, even if it sometimes is past midnight when I do it.

– Nevertheless, I am breaking the formal rules, and that must have ramifications: i.e., I should be kicked out.

This could go on forever. Point is, I’m blog-deprived, sleep-deprived, TV-overdosed, and seem to be cheating. I just hope against all odds that the god of connection will let me post this, so all of internet can follow my fascinating guilt-trip.

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the sound of everything

Posted in rant by theobvious on October 28, 2007

Living in a big household with not many doors can be tough. The total lack of privacy or personal space gets old with time. What bugs me most about it is the inability to control what I’m listening to.

Think about it – if there is an unpleasant smell coming from the kitchen, you can open a window or block your nose. If there is an unspeakable sight unveiling before your eyes – look away or squint, maybe it’ll look like a squirrel. But noise – there’s no blocking that out.

Every conversation in this house goes directly into my head. Every bark, growl, or meow from the pets scratches on my eardrums. Every error message on every one of the four simultaneously working computers, every click of a mouse, every clink of the dishes – I hear them all.

Oh, how I long for a sound-proof room! I would revel in total silence, then put on some music and enjoy its clear, undisturbed properties. I could read books, work, or watch movies in absolute privacy, without anyone listening to see what I’m up to.

And most importantly – I would never have to hear another word of ‘María y José se aman mucho’ or whatever it’s called ever again! Gee, I hope Santa Claus is reading my blog.

we’re back

Posted in places, rant, the thrilling goings-on, uncategorized by theobvious on October 14, 2007

Our vacation was incredible. I brought lots of photos and notes.

However, the trip home was thirteen hours on a bus, and here’s a curious tidbit: when you board a bus in the middle of its route, your journey is bound to be hellishly uncomfortable, the air – cold as ice, and your fellow travelers – horrid and inconsiderate. All in all – not much of a good night’s sleep.

So, I have been half asleep all day, but we still went on a long shopping trip (another bit of travel trivia: when you come back home, your fridge will most likely be empty, and you might be in need of a new couch), and then I had to catch up on my blogroll, and then there were photos to edit…

And then I uploaded the photos to Flickr, which promptly notified me that as a free user I only get 200 pictures on view, so it is going to hide the rest until I delete some or pay up. Needless to say, my money (Visa card) is no good there, even though I am willing to purchase a Pro account here and now.

Then, after some fuming, I opened my notebook in the hopes of at least doing some comfort blogging, and discovered enough notes for something like fifteen blog posts on existential subjects, and close to none – about the trip. There is a mention of kangaroos in there, though, but it’s going to need some work.

In short, it is now 1.48 a.m., and I am still not ready for bed. I am drowsy, crabby, and whiny – what, does it show? You must agree that it will be better for all of us if I get some sleep now and post more tomorrow.

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