The first installment of this series appeared at Vent #739, and its working title had been "Things that need to die"; I scrapped that, reasoning that (1) these were things and didn't have a life to be snuffed out, and (2) doesn't that sound a trifle overwrought? Well, maybe. And I ended up with a two-episode (so far) series about people who needed to die — see Vents #721 and #752 — which is probably harsh enough, especially if it goes to a Part Three, which at this point in my life I'm almost certain it will. So: more minor irritants. I don't lose sleep over these, but if I do, I reserve the right to take greater umbrage.

MILF and similar terms:
This has nothing to do with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a militant group in the Philippines. Rather, it's a term invented by guys to describe women of proven fertility — they've already given birth — with whom they'd desire a sexual liaison; the implication, and it's not a particularly subtle one, is that he'd take her despite the fact that she's, um, already been taken before. For some reason, this rubs me the wrong way, and I'm not entirely sure why, since I seem to fixate on the same individuals; perhaps I'm reading a proprietary interest into this declaration, and whatever else my reaction to [name of babe], you can safely assume that I consider her forever out of reach. (This stance notwithstanding, I happily endorse "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne, not so much for the subject matter as for the fact that it's the best Cars song the Cars never did.)

Greed over the smallest things:
And I'm talking small. Singer Rebecca Black, asked about her Tumblr theme, icily informed the asker that "I don't give out the code to anyone so to get it, you should buy it, like I did." Obviously she'd been hit with requests before. So I looked up that theme: the developer was asking $3.49 for it. Now I've seen people asking for pirated versions of WordPress themes, at price points ranging from $40 to well beyond, but three forty-nine? This is a level of pathetic I'd never imagined.

Weird changes in grocery products:
This past weekend, I bought a jug of second-line laundry detergent. (There are basically two classes of second-line detergents: big names that aren't big anymore and are now being sold as budget brands, and off-brands trying to make a name for themselves. This was one of the former.) As I shoved the jug onto the shelf above the washing machine, I noticed a number I hadn't seen before in one corner of the label: 27. As in "27 loads per bottle." Twenty-seven? Didn't this used to be thirty-two? Seeing a blog post materializing (think "Grocery Shrink Ray"), I fished the empty bottle — same brand, different scent, more or less the same shape and dimensions — out of the wastebasket. Twenty-five loads. Evidently "Lavender Unicorn" weighs more than "Santa Cruz Hipster." (Note: Not actual scent names.)

Uninformative user manuals:
I have read the manual for my somewhat-less-than-smartphone — it's a little clamshell model by Samsung — at least a dozen times, and nowhere in it does it recommend any dimensions for images used as wallpaper, nor does it disclose the algorithm used to make your chosen image not quite fit, first time, every time. (Screen resolution is 240 x 320, which I had to find out from a CNet review.) Nor, for that matter, does it mention what video formats it supports; I did try it with an MP4, which it rejected, not for incompatible format, but for excessive size. (It's about a 35-MB file; admittedly, the phone carries only 80 MB of memory, but there's an SD card shoved into its side.) Now maybe I'm finicky, especially about a phone that cost me only $70 and two years of bondage, but somewhere this stuff needs to be documented. (What's that? Ask T-Mobile? Are you nuts?)

Will there be more of these? Almost certainly.

The Vent

  23 July 2013

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