Four hundred eighty one…

As I was fiddling around with last night’s post, I did some tangentially related digging in the archive. I was somewhat absentmindedly thinking about the overall premise for Thursday night’s regular edition of What Annoys Jeff this Week and how out of character it would be to have simply one thing standing on its own. That, inevitably, sent me scurrying down my own internet rabbit hole.

I’ve always thought of WAJTH as a static item. A blast of three very short form topics showing up each and every Thursday nearly without fail. That it consistently shows up on Thursday is true enough, but for the rest, well, memory isn’t always the best guide to what actually happened in the past.

As it turns out, over the last 481 weeks – yes, that’s nine and one quarter years of being annoyed – WAJTW has apparently evolved. The first post, way back on September 1st, 2011 covered four topics. After that, for almost a year, posts swung between four and five topics. It wasn’t until August 2012 that I seem to have adopted the standard three topic format that has dominated Thursdays ever since. Maybe it took me that long to figure out how to condense the week into the three most annoying – or at least the three most easily set to print – things that happened.

I’ve been filling up pages of this blog for so long now, that it’s easy to forget that there really is an evolution of style over time. Looking back at some of those early editions of WAJTW, I like to think I’ve made some stylistic improvements in how I get my points across. Even if they are better written, I was a little impressed with how many of the topics from those first few weeks are still things that annoy the hell out of me on a regular basis. Some things, it turns out, really are eternal.

My own little greatest show on earth…

I spent more of the day applying some academic rigor to food trucks, cake cuttings, and feel good opportunities that one might think was strictly reasonable under normal circumstances. 

Personally, if I were making decisions on who should be involved in this kind of information gathering, I wouldn’t pick me. I’m not in any way sure what would make someone look at me, a guy who by nature loathes parties, events, or large gatherings of people, and decide that he’s the one who needs to play a significant role in party planning writ large. It’s a skill set to be sure, but I have to think that you’d be far better off giving the role to someone who has better instincts for what people might enjoy.

Believe me when I tell you that what sounds perfectly nice to me generally doesn’t come close to passing muster as being good enough for the gods of Olympus. It’s just a difference of tastes and perspective. To me, a good party mostly involves a fire pit, a half dozen or fewer people, and plenty of liquid refreshment. Once we cross into the realm of crab puffs, linen tablecloths, and mood lighting I’m 100% making shit up as I go along.

My best time imaginable is finding somewhere comfortable to sit, cracking open a book about the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic era, and enjoying a well-made whiskey drink. Trying to convert me into a producer of something that feels like it could give the Ice Capades a run for its money seems like square pegs and round holes territory, really.

On days like this it really is helpful to remind myself that no matter what happens, whether the final product is loved or loathed, the clock is ticking and this iteration of the greatest show on earth will be here and over sooner rather than later.

Begin rant…

The problem with wanting to think of yourself as a writer, or a blogger for that matter, is that you actually at some point need to do some writing. You have to write when you don’t feel like it. You have to write when you have nothing particularly interesting to say. You know to write when you’re tired or have a dozen other things that need to get done. You have to write when it snows, when it rains, and when it’s sunny. You can’t be full of excuses about why you’ll get to it tomorrow or the next day or the next week. That might be why writing in its many forms is, is a hobby. There are nights when all I want to do is bash my fists against the keyboard because words just will not come out of the tips of my fingers no matter how many times they smack the keys. If it weren’t for then needing to replace the computer, there are days I’m sorely tempted to find out of this four year old laptop will blend. But I don’t. I walk away. I leave it sit. I stew about a problematic passage for a day or two and then I come back. All the how-to-be-a-writer books say write. Write every day. Write no matter what. You know what? Some days I just dont have it in me… not three hundred words or a dozen. They’re just not there. Sometimes they come out so fast that my modified version of typing just can’t keep up. That’s the way it goes. Well, it’s the way it goes for me at least. Maybe someone out there is having good luck with the write every day no matter what approach, but I can guaran-damn-tee that it’s not doing a thing for me. Some days, some week, some months are just going to have to be better than others. And if some fancy pants wrote-a-book-about-writing expert on the subject, well, he can just suck it.


What Annoys Jeff this Week?

Wannabe Wordsmiths. The written word is a subjective thing. Just because something isn’t written using the same style and manner you would use doesn’t necessarily make it bad, it just makes it different. There are plenty of other legitimate reasons for writing being bad, so let’s focus on stamping those out before we start getting hung up on the stylistic differences, shall we?

Wood Floors. Yep. That one was a surprise to me too. I’ve always wanted them. I wanted to like them. But the truth is they’re cold as blue hell at 5:30 in the morning no matter how warm the rest of the room is, and even worse now that the weather has taken what’s probably it’s final turn towards chilly for the year. And don’t get me started on the enormous hairballs wood floors seem to generate by magic. At least with carpet, the dirt has the common decency to hide until I was ready to do something about it.

Alec Baldwin. Even when I was a smoker, I somehow managed to rein in my addiction for the couple of hours it took to get the jet across the continent. That fact that this asshat was too engrossed in his game of Words with Friends to turn off his phone, well that’s not addiction, that’s just flat out stupidity. If I was king of homeland security, I’d put him on a watch list and never let him within spitting distance of any vehicle that travels faster than Greyhound.

Cell phone cases. How the hell can we launch a probe to the outer edge of the solar system, but can’t seem to come up with a cell phone holder that I don’t destroy in a matter of weeks. I’ve spent more on these damned things than I did on the phone. Then again, that’s probably the point. And that annoys me even more.

Grumble, grumble, grumble.