Pet Peeve Blog
ben_pizzalord
I think the thing that irritates me quite possibly the most, is a lack of consideration. For some reason I get incredibly frustrated whenever I see people ignoring or forgetting about or belittling or even stupidly misinterpreting the feelings of others when it comes to their actions. I understand a lack of self awareness isn’t something one can entirely control (especially if one is not aware of it), but it still tends to really piss me off. It just says to me that the people aren’t willing to put in the minimal effort needed to take the feelings or desires of others into account, and to me that’s one of the most simple and valuable applications of effort. For example, people being pushy in crowds (which is very related to another situation that falls under the category of people being inconsiderate and pissing me off; when people ignore right of way and drive aggressively and nearly run over pedestrians trying to cross the street...I mean, if you waited for the ten seconds the pedestrian took, it would hardly inconvenience you, but if you just rush past, and the ten cars behind you do the same, and the ten cars behind them, and...wait, this was parenthetical wasn’t it?) and just shoving past people and refusing to let people past. People often assume that their business is more important than the business of people around them and take that as justification for shoving past everyone else, which ends up making the wait longer for everyone. The counterpart to this, which also pisses me off an inordinate amount, is people either walking slowly or stopping in a crowded area when everyone’s trying to be somewhere, right in the middle of the flow of people (for example in the ahs hallways when like 2-3 people just stand around in the middle and chat, or even on the stairs(!) sometimes, just entirely obstructing the flow of people), and delay everyone’s passage. And because of the nature of crowds, a couple of people standing still causes the people around them to have to slow down and go around, and limits the space so you have people trying to go around in two different directions, and then everyone around them is trying to go around, and eventually everything just stops. Or, when parents of a noisy child don’t realize that it’s considered a social obligation to have some semblance of control over a child in public; I understand a baby crying (although if it’s screaming than take it elsewhere please) but when children from 2-5 are just bawling their eyes out, and the parents are either making ineffectual efforts to silence them, or even no efforts, or, worst of all, start yelling back, it’s just unreasonable. If you can’t keep your child under control, it shouldn’t be in public, just like a dog. If you have a dog that just randomly starts barking incredibly loudly all the time, that you can’t silence, you’re not going to take it into a movie theater or grocery store, are you? But no, because it’s your precious child, and everyone should love them as you do, and other people just don’t understand, and should feel privileged to be graced by the shrill screams, you take them everywhere...A far more subtle irritation, but to me far more saddening (perhaps somewhat less irritating), is when people are clearly treating each other poorly. I hate it when I see friends, or family, or lovers, and one or the other clearly doesn’t seem to understand how much they’re hurting the other. Like when you see a couple disagreeing over something seemingly trivial, and you can tell that one of them considers the issue rather meaningful, and the other can’t, and you just have to watch (if you have another reason to be there, because interfering is almost always a terrible idea) as somebody gets more and more unnecessarily hurt. Or when it’s pretty clear how to quickly resolve a conflict, but the person with the power to do so is oblivious, and, often, overinvolved. Like, when  somebody unintentionally offends a friend, who then reacts sharply, and then even if the first friend apologizes, it’s usually pretty defensive (like “Well...sorry...”), causing the misunderstanding to erupt into a conflict, when it would be pretty easy to apologize far more sincerely without compromising their integrity by saying something they didn’t mean (something along the lines of “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you, I didn’t realize that would bother you” or “Oh, I didn’t mean that as a criticism, sorry if it came across that way.” ) and then the tension is defused and often they can even easily transition into a discussion about how to avoid pissing each other off. I don’t know, it’s frustrating knowing exactly how a major conflict could be avoided and not being able to do anything but watch as both parties feel their being reasonable and are under attack by the other and things just get worse and worse until one uneasily apologizes from fatigue, without really meaning it. Or when you see two strangers meet and you can tell that the mannerisms or attitude or idiosyncrasies of one come off as douchy or condescending to the other when that’s totally not how they’re intended or what they’re representing, and the other acts less pleasant than they perhaps would otherwise, and you can tell things will go worse than they need to. And yet again, there’s absolutely nothing to be done...all because a lot of people either struggle with figuring out what other people want and need and how they react to situations, or because they don’t think it’s worth the effort to be kind and flexible.

15 minutes of me rambling on about how I want to spend my life because why not
ben_pizzalord
Ok I guess I should probably do this blog. It’s an interesting idea, but I have no idea how it will work considering I type pretty quickly and think incredibly inanely. Oh well. Ummmm...I can’t wait to get out of high school. From what I’ve heard college is much more tolerable in terms of the degree of challenge, as in everything in high school is either way too easy or way too hard, and often times you have to do things that take a lot of time and effort without really challenging you, and that gets really boring and hard to focus on. It gets really really hard to put out reasonable effort, and I really hope that college is going to be better. I finally decidded what I’m going to do in college, a lot of people I know have had it decided for a long time (some at the pushing of their parents), and even if I don’t actually believe that going into college with a set in stone plan is going to accomplish anything, I think that it’s a good idea to at least have some idea of the type of thing that you want to do. The problem for me was I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, or more that I couldn’t decide what I DIDN’T want to do. I find almost everything interesting if ti’s presented in the correct context, and I feel that college would do a good job of that. So, I decided on this: I’m gonna try to get some sort of liberal arts degree, major in something in English or history, and take a lot of English, History, and Philosophy courses. I’m gonna get a good all around liberal arts degree, because I want my college record to show that I can think. Than, I’ll minor/take random classes in things related to computer science, programming and developing and whatnot, and business/marketing/economics. I feel that that would prepare me for pretty much any job I’d want to take. I’d also probably want to be involved in art and sport related stuff, (music in particular), but I wouldn’t want it to be part of my academics, because I’m not going to try to support myself on such things. They would be entirely recreational. I figure that with a liberal arts degree, and classes in comp sci/engineering/whatever I’ll be able to show potential employers that I can think, and that I have skills applicable in a number of things. I guess I also kinda wanna take classes related to the hardware aspect of computers, electronics and whatnot. I wouldn’t mind supporting myself as an electrician for a while, it could be fun. I like those tricky little problem things, which don’t take a lot of repetition or continuous work and progress, but where you have to bend your mind in funny ways and try to visualize complicated systems and figure out where the problem is or where you could improve upon the system or random stuff like that. That is the kind of work that my mind enjoys. THe moment I start repeating something, it gets that much less interesting, and continually doing the same thing with no room for thinking and no efforts to optimize further just frustrates me (I can do it, and, for a good enough wage and good enough hours I would, but I’d prefer not to). I figure after that I’ll wanna travel for a while, explore the world, go random-ass places like Japan and France and shit, maybe hitchhike across eastern Europe because why the hell not. Explore the U.S. some too, New York, um...I don’t know, that’s all I really particularly want to see in the U.S. as of now. Spend some time on the British Isles, admiring the countryside and whatnot, I love the fields and meadows and stuff they have there. I know it’s because of all the rain, but in a locale like that rain doesn’t bother me. It’s worth it. Rolling hills, emerald plains, the works. I wouldn’t want to go there during the winter though, snow’s fine, but that’s not why I’d be there. Probably spring would be the prettiest, just hike around and shit, I don’t know. Stay at bed and breakfasts and whatnot, sounds sorta fun and quaint. I’d of course bring my girlfriend along because she’s badass/sweet/smart/fun and we’d have a great time together. Maybe periodically invite friends on individual adventures, but she’d stay with me throughout. I’d want to explore places, but I”d also wanna explore the people too. Like, there’s the punk club in Berkeley, the Gilman. Well, a couple of my friends and I have been going there for a while, because it’s entertaining and interesting. I don’t consider myself a punk, but I find it fascinating to observe the way people interact and think and the various groups and types of people, and the music isn’t bad. And moshing is surprisingly incredibly fun. I’d want to find all sorts of niche cultural things and stuff like that in the world, like an epic gay bar in France or some shit, or like a traditional dance to bring in the spring done by Russian sailors. I don’t know, jsut random cultural gatherings where people hang out and have fun. I also want to try as many random activities as possible. like my dad and I tried windsurfing for a while, and it was kinda fun but I got lazy and bored because I kinda sucked. I should start that up again, it could be fun if I tried some more and worked harder. Anyway, random crap like that, enjoying doing stuff, playing ultimate frisbee with people, bungee jumping because why not, dancing in random places, I don’t know, EXPERIENCING LIFE. And now I’m out of time.

Blog Nine, Perfect Day Off
ben_pizzalord

I wake up at around nine o' clock (not too early to be annoying, but early enough that I still have the majority of the day before me). The smell of scrambled eggs fills the house, because for whatever crazy reason my mom has decided to make me breakfast for once. She serves them with a pile of fresh chopped dry-farm tomatoes on top and a glass of milk on the side. I gobble down the food, guzzle the milk, and sit around for a while reading Calvin and Hobbes. I then take a quick but refreshingly thorough shower, and get ready to face the world.


    For my first adventure, my friends Keenan, Reilly, and Maneck are invited. We tramp down to downtown Berkely together, and we wander Telegraph and Shattuck, buying random T-shirts and such (some random, some “ironic” to prove our “sophistication”, some just silly) and listening to random awesome music in various stores. Perhaps we join together in 4-part harmony on some Beatles song or something for fun, or pretend we think we’re really good at Parkour while jumping on and off benches and fire hydrants, I don’t know. A good time is had by all, and we end that section of our days (pluralized because there are multiple people involved, not because we’re dying) in Half Price Books buying whatever seems potentially entertaining and is cheap.

    I then pick up my girlfriend Brianna from BART (she lives sorta far) and we all take BART to San Fransisco where we wander various neighborhoods, explore the city, and encounter various street fairs and whatnot (almost guaranteed in San Fransisco...). We’d probably encounter some random awesome art on the street somewhere, stop to admire it, encounter various entertaining people, stop to admire them, etc...We’d probably stop for a bite (or two) to eat at this point, needing some sort of lunch. Probably something along the lines of sandwiches, pizza, burritos, some such thing. There is good, reasonably priced food in San Fransisco aplenty, and we’d all find something suited to our tastes.

    Eventually, probably after some pastries from a cafe somewhere, we’d tire of the city, and abscond, each finding something else to do for a while. Brianna and I would wander the Albany Bulb, enjoying the peculiar mix of beautiful flora and fauna with various interesting objects of refuse, with the make-shift art enhancing the aesthetic appeal of it all. We’d probably build some silly little tower of rocks or trash or construct some random shape out of driftwood or some such thing ourselves, solely for the pleasure it brought us. Perhaps skip some rocks in the one bay/lake (depending on the sea level) sheltered from the waves, I don’t know. Just explore the place some, enjoying the peace and beauty.

    By that time Brianna’s parents would probably call her home (it’s a longish trip back, and they worry if she’s out too late) and the rest of my friends and I would meet up again and wander our way over to The Gilman to enjoy whatever show would be playing (since it’s my ideal day I’m just going to assume it would be a good one, hopefully not too angry, and hopefully somewhat musical). Maneck and I would embarrass and entertain the rest with silly dancing (mostly disco, with a smidgen of square dancing and the Can Can) until a particularly exciting song came up, and we’d mosh for a while, because why not. At some point we’d probably take a break to grab some food at Picante, and some fresh air outside. Eventually the show would end, and we’d retire to our respective houses, the day finished.

Awesome Party
ben_pizzalord
Too my awesome party, I would invite
Terry Pratchett

I would invite Terry Pratchett because he’s an intelligent clever and humorous man with a rather unique view of the world to which many people can still relate. Judging by his books and public statements, he seems like the type of guy that knows how to have a good time. I feel that he would add life to any party and would get along well with the other guests.
Douglas Adams
I would invite Douglas Adams to the party for similar reasons to Terry Pratchett; he has a unique sense of humour and judging by his books has a very good idea of how to have a good time no matter the circumstances. I feel that he too would get along well with the other guests and come up with great ideas for entertainment.  
Jick & Skullhead
Jick & Skullhead are actually two different people, but I would want to invite them for the same reasons and I feel that inviting one and not the other wouldn’t make sense. These two men are the creators of the only MMORPG I can stand to play for any great length, by the name of the Kingdom of Loathing. There are a good deal of questions I would like to ask them about how they manage such a venture (it’s still an independent construction) and I again feel that their tongue in cheek manor and appreciation of grammar would ingratiate them with the other guests.
Plato
I feel that Plato’s view of the world and intellectual attitude would make him a good addition to the party, he’d contribute well to any interesting discussion between the others. He was also an ancient Greek, and they, by all accounts, knew how to party hard. Besides, he’d be an excuse to make it a toga party.
Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut is another classic example of oddball humor and unexpected cleverness. Also, judging by his books, he has experienced much of human life, and would have some pretty interesting ideas for how we could entertain ourselves once we got bored of just talking.
The Most Interesting Man in the World
This is pretty simple. He (by all accounts) has pretty good taste in alcohol, and, well, he’s interesting. I don’t know, I feel like he’d keep up fairly well with the others and help provide entertainment while we figured out what to do. I don’t know, I feel like he, by definition, would be a great addition to a party.
Chef from Southpark
Chef is an interesting character who clearly know how to have a good time but isn’t too obnoxious or selfish or anything. He’s not one of those annoying morally righteous guys (like me), but he’s friendly and reasonably kind, and pretty easy to get along with. Besides, I doubt any of the other attendees would be as good at cooking, seeing as it’s not their job.
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is supposedly a very intelligent man, so I feel he would be able to contribute well to the conversation. He could entertain us all by analyzing our lifestyles and recent activities from the status of our clothes and hygiene, and he too knows how to have a good time (which for him means smoke a disgusting smelling cigar and play hauntingly melancholy violin music.
GLaDOS
GLaDoS is pretty clear to me. Her manner would be quite entertaining, and she could provide any number of delicious baked goods. She could help teach the other guests how to think with portals, which would provide hours of entertainment. Hopefully she wouldn’t form an unhealthy attachment to one of the guests and try to kill them.

Lucifer
It seems to me that if anybody knows how to have a good time, it would be Lucifer. He also has a practically unique understanding of the human psyche which would be fascinating to me and many of my guests. He could tell us his personal feelings and point of view about creation and whatnot (like paradise lost, but without the whole work of fiction part) and I feel like he’d be a very interesting character while drunk. He’d of course be on a strict vow (enforced by more than his word because, well, prince of lies) not to try to tempt, kill, or destroy the minds of anyone else present.

Inspiration
ben_pizzalord
Perhaps the most influential person in my life, excepting my parents, is the
author Terry Pratchett. His books tend to focus on comedy and
entertainment, but a good number of the characters represent or at least
present ideals which I have come to embrace. As I’ve read his books
over the years I’ve gradually changed who I was into what I personally
feel is a better person. Samuel Vimes and Granny Weatherwax have taught
me the importance of self control and discipline (something I still
struggle with, but at least I make the effort) at all costs. If you cede
control to your emotions life becomes much much more challenging. I’ve
learned to avoid being ruled by my emotions, and to try to apply thought
to all situations. Captain Carrot has taught me the import of taking an
interest and treating people kindly regardless of how they treat me or
other people, and how natural goodwill doesn’t have to translate into
emotional weakness (just because you’re willing to make many minor
concessions doesn’t mean that you can’t make a stand on things that are
important to you, and the less often you challenge other people the more
seriously your challenge is taken.) I realized the importance of being
pleasant, that most people are willing to reciprocate to friendliness,
and that it’s much much easier to be on good terms with most people than
I used to think. A lot of people I considered dire enemies changed
their attitudes towards me impressively quickly when I approached them
courteously. I learned that you should treat people based on their
current emotional state, not yours. I also learned gradually through
this process how much easier it is to be happy around people that are
happy. Being a moral person for the sake of morality is all very fine
and well, and very satisfying, but it helps that I can find reasons
involving selfish self-interest. It makes complete sense to try to keep
those around you happy, because then happiness is much easier to
achieve. I feel like I’ve learned from these characters the importance
of emotional maturity which I now value above intellectual and
behavioral maturity, and they’ve given me some examples of how to BE
emotionally mature. I’ve learned specific behaviors from them, but more
importantly I’ve gained a desire for improvement, and the ability to
admit to my many flaws.


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