I have some complaints. Plus Mildred Pierce.

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We’ve been watching the 2011 Mildred Pierce HBO series. It’s wonderful, but I am really cheesed off at Amazon Instant Video and the terrible quality that I pay money for. I guess the $99 a year for Prime is technically for shipping, but I use Instant Video and the Kindle Lending Library and lots of other services offered “free” with Prime at least as much as I use the “free” shipping (all the quotes are because I pay $99 a year for this “free” stuff) and I think I should be able to actually USE the services I pay for.

BUT NO. On Tuesday, we watched on the PS3 and the video paused to buffer or some shit literally every 30 seconds, making it totally unwatchable. When we’d been watching for over 30 minutes and had seen less than 15 minutes of the episode (it’s a 5-part mini-series), we turned it off. We tried again on Thursday night and it played just fine, but the picture was weird and blurry–the way it sometimes looks for the first few seconds, but forever. We switched to Amazon on the WiiU and the picture quality improved dramatically, but Will says it is often super terrible on his work computer, where he will often put something on while he does paperwork. So it’s not necessarily a Sony vs. Nintendo issue.

ANYWAY. The series is A++++++++++++++++ and has reminded me how much I hate history fiction’s greatest monster, Veda Pierce. Evan Rachel Wood plays her in the final episode of the series (which we haven’t seen yet), but younger Veda is played brilliantly by Morgan Turner.

I’m having a hard time this week with feeling like my feelings don’t matter to anyone else, so it’s kind of hard to watch Veda being her monstrous self. Last night Grace sneered at the macaroni and cheese because “It’s homemade” (VEDA) and today Sam told me he’d rather wear a sweatshirt than a sweater I knitted, because sweaters “have holes.”

PITY, PARTY OF ONE.

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At least Grace will wear things I knitted. Too bad Sam hates cheese.

Customer Service, or something like it.

I took the children to a museum recently, and we shared a grilled cheese sandwich at the cafe. I found a bit of hair in the very last bite, and could see in the kitchen that everyone had short hair, but no head coverings. I brought the plate up to the counter and let them know, pointing out that bandannas would be helpful. (I think it’s against the law to have uncovered heads in a professional kitchen, but I’m not positive.) They didn’t seem at all interested in my feedback, but insisted on refunding me the price of the sandwich. Which was nice, and the right thing to do, but I hadn’t asked for it. I wanted change and they wanted an easy fix. I was disappointed.

On Saturday I ordered pizza for dinner from our local pizzeria, and when it arrived the pies were practically folded in half, clearly the result of being carried on end. I called the shop to let them know that they might want to tell the driver to be more careful. They immediately offered to send replacement pies. I refused, which shocked the young man on the phone. Like, he literally couldn’t understand that I didn’t want new pizza. Since only one slice out of 16 had lost its toppings, I thought replacing them was pointless and wasteful. I just wanted the driver to do his job. I wanted change and they wanted an easy fix.

Is this just how customer service is done now?

Fall Down

Autumn has always been my favorite season, so it’s been very confusing to feel discontent every fall since I moved to LA. But I finally realized–I just hate fall here. Northeast autumn is for me, southwest spring is the place to be. (Sorry, I saw the rhyme coming but I couldn’t do anything to stop it.)

It’s been 90+ degrees and hurt-your-eyes bright and sunny for the last week. I have hated every minute of it (driving is particularly painful). Today is is in the 60s and was a little rainy earlier and I feel SO MUCH BETTER.

I always call bullshit when someone tries to claim that SoCal has no seasons. We do. But this one kinda stinks.

Let’s talk about “gift,” baby.

Okay, first I have to get this out of the way: gift is not a verb. I don’t say “My in-laws gifted us with an Autry membership” because that makes me sound like a fucking tool. I say, “My in-laws gave us an Autry membership.” That is how words work. Do not argue with me.

But that is not what I actually wanted to say. What I want to talk about is the difference between a gift and a sale. ONLINE RETAILERS, TAKE NOTE.

A sale is when you offer a discount on items that you sell. A gift is when you give someone something for free. It is acceptable to offer a “gift with purchase.” UNLESS you do this:

(From my email. The subject line is something about May birthdays–i.e., Sam’s birthday.)

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A gift with purchase is not a birthday gift. ESPECIALLY when I have ALREADY PURCHASED a subscription and you know that because THAT IS HOW I GOT ON YOUR MAILING LIST.

(Actually…the subscription was a gift.)

The List

Today’s drivers who made The List:

1. The asshole driving an oversized vehicle like a sports car. The most common offender in this category is the rental moving truck, which at least is understandable since one has to assume that the average person with a U-Haul has never driven something that big before. But today? I saw a DOUBLE DECKER BUS swerving in and out of lanes as though it were a Mustang.

2. The cuntface* who thinks right on red is a right. Gee, I’m so sorry that I came to a complete stop at the RED LIGHT and didn’t immediately turn right the instant there was a break in traffic. I assure you that I did this entirely to piss you off and not because, you know, I couldn’t see around the parked cars well enough to know if it was safe to turn. Oh and also because RIGHT ON RED IS A PRIVILEGE YOU TWAT.

*Her face was not actually a cunt.

Argh

Someone on FB posted a link to a list of “non-sexist gifts for girls.” I haven’t even looked at the list yet, but don’t worry! I’m already pissed off! Not at the person who made the list.

Someone commented that the list itself is sexist, that if it were truly non-sexist it wouldn’t specify that the gifts on the list are for girls.

Um, no. It doesn’t claim to be gender-free, it claims to be girl-positive. Something can be for girls without being sexist.

What the fucking hell? Has everyone gone crazy? Am I crazy?

SHUT UP.

Every year when we spring forward, I have to hear at least one person chide me for saying I hate the time change by cheerfully trilling, “I LOVE Daylight Saving Time!”

Listen, you jackass. I don’t care if you love it. I am actually just FINE with it. I hate CHANGING BACK AND FORTH. It fucks with our internal clocks and makes my children act like MONSTERS.

(Grace, for instance, has started the last two days by screaming her head off at 5:00 in the morning. Getting up earlier is the exact opposite of what is supposed to happen when we switch to DST. This is because she is now genetically 75% monster thanks to your IDIOTIC time change.)

So shut the fuck up.

Sour Grapes? Maybe, but oh well.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Art posts for some rambling. I’ve edited this a gazillion times because I’m having trouble making my point. I hope I succeeded.

I had a little bit of a hissy fit on Twitter yesterday. It started off with what I meant as an offhand joke–something to the effect of, “My invitation for Blogger Prom got lost in the mail AGAIN!” It’s true, last year I was really offended that I wasn’t invited. Last year I was also pregnant, so I assumed my response was hormonal. Actually, it wasn’t the lack of an invitation that offended me so much as the fact that they invited their friends and then said that anyone who hadn’t received an invite should ask for one.

Guys? You’re doing it wrong. Making people ask to be part of a popularity contest? Gross. It is my opinion that either a) EVERYONE should have had to ask for an invite–not just people who were not in the inner circle–or b) it should have been truly invite-only, or c) it should have been totally open.

Still, people that I knew attended and had fun, and it really did sound like a good event. But I had a bad taste in my mouth.

This year, they announced another prom and did not suggest requesting an invite. I ignored it–figuring I’d either get one or not–until my silly tweet. At least people weren’t expected to ask for an invite this year.

My friend Nina replied, suggesting in not as many words that I lose the sour grapes and ask for an invitation next time. She was totally right, sort of. Yes, I would have loved to attend. But it was barely on my radar. And I was not at all on the Prom Committee’s radar.

Look. I spent years putting myself out there (though not with any particular motivation). If I am not known as a local blogger by now there’s nothing I can do about it. Honestly, it is not worth trying. I wrote for Metblogs for two years and I’ve had this blog since I moved here eight years ago. I have commented on and linked to blogs both popular and not, I’ve gone to events. (I still do most of this, but less so because it conflicts with being a hermit.) You know what I’ve learned? Online–just like everywhere else–some people are popular and some people are not, and nothing you do will change which one you are.

I am TOO BUSY with my actual LIFE to worry about whether I am popular. Do I wish I was? Not exactly, though I think it’s fucking retarded that I’m not. I AM AWESOME! But I am certainly not going to beg for it. What would be the point? I’d much rather enjoy the genuine friendships I’ve made through blogging.

After my exchange with Nina, I got an invitation to Blogger Prom, because the committee had seen my rantings. So I had to decide whether I would rather go on short notice or continue living my life without Prom.

Did I mention that it is TOMORROW? And it’s 1940s themed, which means I’d need a new dress? Yeah. I am broke, my babysitter has plans tomorrow, and it’s just not happening. I know I’d have fun if I attended, but only if I had more than 48 hours to prepare. So I’m not going. Besides, if I went I’d have to deal with worrying about whether someone had taken pity on me.

It’s too bad, because–as you might guess from the URL of my website–I’m pretty into the 40s.

I do hope I get an invitation next year, but I kind of don’t expect to. I really do think, though, that they should ditch the invites and make people buy tickets. Like, you know, Prom-prom.

I would probably buy one. Prom was fun.

How To Be A Dick

The kids and K and I ran to Trader Joe’s today. The one at Santa Monica and Pointsettia, for locals keeping score. On the way in I noticed a man collecting money in a tin for some charity, standing right in front of the store. On the way out, K noticed him too. He was by then standing even closer to the store, directly in front of the large sign, put there by Trader Joe’s, that informs customers of their right to “Distraction-Free Shopping.” People who are canvasing for causes usually stand across the way from the store, so they are in the shared parking lot rather than on store property.

I couldn’t help myself. As we walked out I said to him, “You know, I am having a great deal of trouble taking you seriously when you’re standing in front of a sign that says you aren’t supposed to be here.”

Was that rude of me? Maybe a little, but I was being honest and I was right. His reaction? He YELLED at me that he is an American citizen and the law says he has a right to be there.

Um. Holy fucking shit do I ever not give a damn where he is a citizen. What does that have to do with anything? I didn’t question his right to be in the United States, just on Trader Joe’s private property. I had not given one single second’s thought to his nationality until he said that, when I noticed that he is Latino. Which, um, so what? Does my whiteness mean that I am discriminating against him by pointing out the amusing juxtaposition of someone soliciting next to a sign that says no solicitors?

He kept yelling at me as I walked toward my car, so I turned around and said, “Being a dick also makes me not want to talk to you.” He yelled something in reply and I wish I knew what it was but I couldn’t hear him. So I am choosing to believe that it was something filthy. Because really, why the hell not?

I just wish I’d noticed what charity he was representing so I could tell on him.

Your concern has been noted. Now fuck off.

The kids and I drove Will to work today and had breakfast with him. He showed off Gracie to several people, and most of them just had to share some variation on “It’s too cold for her!” One of them asked how old she is, and when I said, “Three and a half weeks,” she replied, “And you’re out already?” Will responded as though she meant that she was impressed that I was feeling recovered enough to be out, and it’s possible that’s what she meant. Except it isn’t. She was criticizing me for bringing the baby out. Not Will–she looked right at me when she said it.

PEOPLE. The idea that newborns must never leave the house and their mothers must stay with them is outdated and ridiculously sexist. KNOCK IT OFF. My daughter is healthy (premature babies and unwell babies probably should be kept at home). My baby has a hat and a sweater and oh by the way IT IS ONLY 50 DEGREES OUT, NOT SUB-ZERO. Also you should keep your opinions to your damn self.

There. I feel better, don’t you?