All the Rage Wednesday (Thursday Edition): People Who Bring Stereos to the Gym

There’s a guy at my gym who blasts awful music at 5AM. I call him Shitty Shitty Bang Bang (on account of his shitty loud music, you see).

He not only plays hip hop, one of my least favorite genres, but he plays shitty second-rate hip hop at that. On blast. At 5 in the morning.

He makes me want to curb stomp his stereo.

This. John Kasawa/
John Kasawa/

See, I’m not what you’d call a morning person. I’m clumsy and grumpy when I wake up before dawn and I like silence to give my brain time to catch up to my body. What I don’t like are some guy’s terrible beats yelling at me through the speakers of a cheap stereo, telling me all about the bitches and other things, while I try to lift heavy things.

For some reason, everyone else who wants to listen to their own music at the gym has figured out to bring headphones and quietly listen to whatever cheesy ABBA song inspires them to do deeper squats. Continue reading


All the Rage Wednesday: People Who Take Up Bus Seats With Stuff

This post is dedicated to Jayne, who lives with this horror every day, and to Julia, who knows that this is an international epidemic.

Look guys, I think we need to have a fundraiser. We’re going to be raising awareness for elderly and disabled bags that clearly don’t get enough seats on the bus. Seats that are otherwise greedily taken up by elderly, pregnant, and disabled humans (eugh, humans).

These poor bags have to carry groceries from point A to point B and then suffer the disgrace and shame of being placed on the floor like some kind of objects. The humiliation and lack of empathy is astounding. Where’s the ACLU? Where’s Rosa Parks? WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?

Pictured: injustice.
Pictured: justice.

Continue reading

Confessions of an Ornery Bookseller

No one was surprised when I became a bookseller.

It makes a whole lot of sense, being that I pretty much grew up in bookstores and would always look on with envy at the folks pushing cartfuls of books from shelf to shelf. It must be awesome, I would think, being surrounded by all these books everyday. And then it makes even more sense once you take the classic personality profile of a bookseller – an introverted, socially awkward avid reader with a mild case of perma-scowl – and compare that to the fact that bookstores have always been one of the very few places in which I – an introverted, socially awkward avid reader with a (tastefully) tenuous grip on reality (I like to think it’s part of my charm) – feel completely comfortable. Books don’t judge, ridicule, or alienate; books don’t hold you to unrealistic expectations; books always end the same way, no matter how many times you read and reread them. And booksellers are their passionate, intelligent, often blundering and bumbling counterparts, eager to match the perfect set of binded pages with the perfect set of hands. The truth is, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

When I got my bookselling job, it was like the Mother Ship was calling me home, saving me from a world of subliterates. I was enamored with the rows upon rows of bursting shelves, shamelessly proud of my ever-growing section of staff reviews, and completely drunk on the fulfillment of sharing with the world something that mattered to me – literature and language.

Booksellers also tend to be just the slightest bit unhinged. But only slightly.
Booksellers also tend to be just the slightest bit unhinged. But only slightly.

And then one day at the bookstore, someone asked, “Is fiction real or not real?”; and after that, someone wanted to know if Anne Frank had written any subsequent “novels;” then after that, someone asked me for a book recommendation, stating plainly, “I don’t really read.” And it was at that point – that point when I was seconds away from grabbing a copy of A Series of Unfortunate Events and committing with it my own unfortunate events – when I suddenly realized why booksellers have a long-standing reputation for being kind of stand-offish, impatient, and sometimes just downright (justifiably! Am I right?!) rude.

Continue reading…