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It’s Not You, It’s Your Aesthetic

Posted in Slack Off on August 13th, 2010 by RestaurantRefugee

You know what qualities will get posts highlighted in the DC Blogs Noted section: good writing, timely topics, interesting topics, great humor, good writing, tales of dates gone comically bad, a well picked fight, good writing, and better writing.

What you may not know is that there are certain things that will get a DC Blogs Contributing Editor to close their browser window as quickly as they can find a button to click. To be sure, exceptions (for truly spectacular writing, or puppies) are made but they are infrequent. Recently I, your friendly neighborhood Restaurant Refugee, was discussing this matter with fellow contributing editor, LiLu, and we decided that we would share our:

Completely Subjective, Unsanctioned by Other Editors, Reasons Why We Disqualify (even where we generally approve of the content) Your Blog”

Disclaimer: Yes we were both drinking when this gChat conversation took place

On Music & Eye-Painful Layouts

RR: so which is more offensive: music or white text on black background

LiLu: well wait, because honestly, I can beat white text on a black background; wait for it… PINK… or neon of any color on a black/dark background.

LiLu: while white is blinding and definitely migraine inducing on a black background, neon is just offensive.

RR: you should know that I really just said “eghewwwwwww” out loud

LiLu: did you spew wine? Be careful, that’s a nice shirt.

RR: never spewing wine, I got priorities and all

LiLu: I’ll break a nose before my wine glass.

RR: ok, so the bright text dark background trumps white against dark, however, I would still contend that music is more offensive and more likely to get me to ignore you

LiLu: Though the overall blasphemy against human eyes stands, I agree. Because while I groan when I come across an offensively decorated layout, auto music actually causes a knee jerk SHUT IT DOWN, GET AWAY, OMG SAVE ME JEEBUS reaction and I immediately “x” every tab I have open just to make it STOP.

LiLu: these aren’t thoughts… these are animalistic reactions… I also throw up a bit in my mouth out of fear

RR: Pavlovian

LiLu: exactly.

RR: and I am with you on closing every tab just to make it go away. ok, but we have to move along

LiLu: ok, ok

RR: and we should note that we are more sensitive to the eye-straining thing because we read 100s of blogs on the day we prepare

LiLu: when I’m scanning through a thousand blogs that day, a simple, clean aesthetic will win my heart in an instant, even if you write about the turkey sandwich you had for lunch.

Grammar & Structure Issues

RR: ok, for me number 3 would be grammar

LiLu: oh YES. I agree. And I’m not talking “your” and “you’re,” whatever. Not all of us graduated vocational school. I’m talking real disaster, run on sentences, scattered with “lols”, incomplete thoughts, incoherency… because there is SO MUCH OF IT.

RR: I mean if I come across something with offensive-to-my-sensibilities grammar in the first paragraph, I have just closed a tab.

RR: and I am glad that you made the distinction between the mistakes of copy editing and the misguided grammarians who think that using “your” instead of “you’re” makes you a bad person

LiLu: exactly… that’s still legible, albeit incorrect. I can still get the message you’re trying to convey

RR: but poor structure and the like are just frustrating

LiLu: or one whole block of text

RR: brain bleed kinda frustrating

LiLu: GIVE ME SPACE TO BREATHE. Literally, like between your paragraphs.

RR: a whole block of text is maddening

LiLu: more importantly, MAKE paragraphs. And use your “return” when you start a new thought.

Quick Aside

RR: we should also take a minute to note that we want to love every blog we read. Besides saving us time in the search for 5-8 noteworthy post, we just want to like them.

LiLu: we do! I really do! I am LOOKING to promote you, not to hate

RR: exactly

LiLu: but… some of them make it so hard. They should be saying something they want to say, not because you want to attract followers/etc; it should be genuine. Creative, honest, maybe even entertaining, or thought provoking… or are we getting too deep?

RR: that’s never what she said

LiLu: HA.

Another Quick Aside

LiLu: by the way, partial posts!!! That doesn’t affect us so much as we choose… but people HATE it like whoa.

RR: partial posts drive me nuts but I might include both if I cross it on the second day, the first day, forget about it

LiLu: agreed

RR: so let’s include it as a “by the by” kinda thing

LiLu: like “this does not affect OUR choosing, but it does not go unnoticed that… blah blah blah

RR: zackly… that’s perfect

Offensive Language

RR: ok, but what about offensive language; and for the record, [common euphemism for sex] is not offensive

LiLu: right, I would say it’s more like when it ventures towards SOCIALLY offensive like gay or racial or whatever. If a post says “negro” in it, I am probably not going to feel ok about linking to it

RR: zackly… so sayeth the white girl

LiLu: well exactly, I know my role, you can’t comment on something unless you ARE. It’s the unspoken rule.

RR: but you know even I, the socially conscious and aware black guy, am touchy about including some racially sensitive/charged things

LiLu: agreed

RR: it’s a careful line, but we both agree that generally socially offensive things are over that line

LiLu: right, unless you’re commenting that it’s socially offensive.

RR: zackly, if you write a post condemning the inherent misogyny of PUA blogs, that’s commentary; if you write a PUA blog, go [expletive deleted] yourself

LiLu: yeah [all kinds of words deleted]

Self Important Blogging

RR: ok – anything else that really drives you nuts and will make you quickly ignore a post for inclusion?

LiLu: people who apologize for having not blogged, it’s so self important. This is BLOGGING, not rocket surgery.

RR: yup

LiLu: no one cares. Just write or don’t write. There’s no boss watching over you.

RR: when the first thing I read is “sorry I haven’t posted in a while” I close that tab faster than [way inside joke about a shrill voiced harpy]

LiLu: HAHAHAHHAHAHA, I just peed a little

Stop Your Sobbing

Posted in Blogging, Slack Off on February 24th, 2008 by Foilwoman

As an actively practising heterosexual woman (I date), I read what women and men have to say about dating.  Craig’s List’s Rants and Raves section is either highly entertaining or deeply depressing, depending on your perspective.  So are the personal listings sections.  I read M4W and W4M, not the gay, miscellaneous, or casual sections, mainly because that’s what interests me.  I may be missing more sane stuff on the M4M and W4W sections, but since they aren’t interested in me that way and vice-versa, it’s just not that entertaining.

 But I’ll say this now:  those of you who are straight (or bisexual, but currently seeking a straight relationship) in DC using the Internet (as exemplified by Craig’s List, but not limited thereto), listen to the great Chrissie Hynde (and she dedicated a performance of this to Ray Davies when she dumped him:  Stop Your Sobbing.*

 Why?  Because singles in DC are a bunch of whiners.  What do I mean?  The universal complaint is “Why is it so hard to meet people?”  This question presumes that the questioner is entitled to easy-to-enter relationships.  Let’s look at that assumption.  Most people have some sense of self-protection when seeking relationships with other people.  If we assume that the people we meet have similar self-protective needs to our own, unless our own level of self-protection is abysmally low**

 Here are some examples of whiners and some examples of whiners to be (I think these men and women will have future posts saying:  “Why didn’t any nice man/woman respond!  Why is everyone so shallow?”  Oh, I don’t know.  Why do you think?

 “Nice gentleman . . . . PLEASE! ONLY RESPOND WITH RECENT PHOTO/S AND INFO or no response from me. Looking for a great single lady. . . .”  But apparently not one with any need for privacy.  Yes, all women are thrilled to send their pictures to whoever on the Internet.  Yes, he posted his picture for all of us to see.  That just shows that he doesn’t have much sense of privacy.  I just hope when the women with pictures ask him to visit their websites, he doesn’t get all bent out of shape.

And doesn’t this one just grab you?  “This is hard dude.
I am almost giving up to this.. just hit me any other resigned one so we will feel some companionship hahah..
”   Dude, I’m sure you’re going to get tons of emails from resigned women who feel they have so much in common with you.  Like what?

 Another person about to give up here: “I feel like giving up because of the responses I’ve received in my previous postings. I really wonder if there could possibly be a Gentleman out there that can read this ad, understand it, and respond appropriately?”  Look, if they can’t read and respond they way that you’d like, it isn’t a conspiracy, and you don’t need to give up.  That’s the damn search process.  You’re supposedly in your fifties.  Just delete the inappropriate responses and move on.  Whining about it just makes you sound, well, whiny.

Bored – Need Help! – 40 makes you wonder.  Why would anyone respond to all the people who say they’re bored?  Read a darn book.  We’re not here to give your life interest.  If you bore yourself, what will you do to us?  It’s hard enough to get away from that boring guy at the party.  No need to approach him on the Internet.  The other thing that totally fails to impress is the whole looking for a date for Saturday night at, uh, 7:39 on Saturday night.  Your interesting date is already out doing something interesting, bored man.  Also, you don’t need a date to go to a movie (although Juno is a good pick).  Movies are pretty darn solitary.

Actually, a search for “bored” on the M4W list came up with 85 hits, over 18 (too boring to count, yes, that’s ironic) with “bored” in the headline.  On the W4M list it came up with 16 hits, 4 with the word “bored” in the headline.  Is boredom really something that draws people to you?  I never knew that.  Why not say “irritable” or “syphlitic”?  I’d imagine that would work as well.

And here is someone who isn’t in business, no sirree: “Hi,
I am an attractive young blonde, with blue eyes that would like to go out for a drink but I am flat broke. I am looking for a nice guy who would like to meet me for drinks(on you) and help me with my financial situation (a donation). I am in Fairfax and would like to meet around here or nearby Fairfax. Please be the night in shining armor that will help undepress me because I am severely down and out.
!”  And someone needs to tell here it’s already night.  What she’s looking for is a knight.  Or more honestly, a john.  I think vice squad action is ludicrous, but please.  Just say:  “Let’s make a deal.  Your money for my acquiesence.”

 Now, I hope all of these people find what they want, safely and satisfactorily.  Someone who will unbore them.  Someone who will pay them.  Someone who will give them exactly what they want.  But everybody:  making connections is not easy.  People don’t want to meet uninteresting people.  People don’t want to reveal too much until they know you.  So stop acting as though you have some entitlement to meet the perfect person and anything other than perfection and ease in reaching that perfection is an affront.  Your boredom, loneliness, neediness, anxiety, anger, and defensiveness aren’t going to draw people to you.  Put some effort into evolving a vertebral structure and the ability to do the things you want whether or not you have someone accompanying you.  Go to see Juno alone, you know?  Whenever someone you like connects, appreciate it, and know, you’re just starting to get to know him or her.

 Take either a Buddhist or Stoic approach.  The good is hard to find, can’t be chased, and is impermanent.  Appreciate it when you have it, but know the constants in this life are pain and suffering.  Dating, like everything else in life, is no guarantee of anything coming your way.

*Rather mean of her, since he wrote the damn song, but hey, Chrissie Hynde can kick anyone’s ass and they should probably just say “Thank you” to her, just for making Brass in Pocket the song it is and was. 

 **”Oh, stranger I just met in a bar/at the library/over the Internet, sure you can have my work, cell, and home phone numbers.  Here’s my address as well.  Here’s where I work.  Call any time.  And here are pictures of me in revealing or no clothes.  I can tell I can trust you.  You told me I could.”  If that doesn’t sound realistic to you, then why would making a connection be easy?

Monday Morning Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on January 14th, 2008 by naechstehaltestelle

Behold, the triumphant return of the MMSOR! Forgive the long absence. The holidays were rough on us.

  • Got a flight in your future? Get a taste of what culinary delights await you on your trip. Now you can look at real photos of airline meals, sorted by airline, including user reviews. Mmm… gooey pasta and cold rolls…

More after the jump…

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Monday Morning Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on November 19th, 2007 by naechstehaltestelle

  • According to this quiz, I am average at life. Ok, I probably didn’t need to take this to know that, but it’s still enlightening. Rate My Life.

More after the jump…

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Monday Morning Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on November 13th, 2007 by naechstehaltestelle

The MMSOR is back from its business trip, ready to waste some more time!!  Also, this column has been moved this week to Tuesday in respect of Veterans’ Day.

  • Use your power of vocabulary for something good. Take this quiz, pick the right definition, and for each word you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to the UN to end world hunger. As if the magnanimity of helping out your fellow man weren’t enough, you can also improve your personal lexicon. FreeRice.

More after the jump…

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Monday Morning Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on October 29th, 2007 by naechstehaltestelle

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Monday Morning Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on October 22nd, 2007 by naechstehaltestelle

When you come in on Monday, and you’re not feelin’ real well, does anyone ever say to you, ‘Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays’?

  • Earwax, type A blood, skin color, malaria… a short essay on the failure of current racial classifications and explanations for why humans have developed into such a varied species. For instance, why is it that those of African/Asian descent tend to have darker eyes? Is there a biological reason for it? This was an essay that was published in my anthropology textbook in college and I find it fascinating still. A Racial Odyssey by Boyce Rensberger. For all the knowledge junkies out there.

More after the jump…

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Monday Morning Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on October 15th, 2007 by naechstehaltestelle

Only one more hour to go before lunch!! Here are some links to whittle the time away.

  • Police blotters can be so depressing; stabbings, shootings, and robberies. Every now and then, I like to read the local police blotter from Durango, Colorado. It always brings a smile to my face because I can actually hear the police calls in my head. If only the DC police blotter could be this quaint. Maybe we should all move to Durango. Or maybe not. Durango Herald Police Blotter, Best of 2006. Here’s an excerpt:

11:25 a.m. A hot tub was in a man’s front yard on La Plata Place, and it did not belong to him.

12:42 a.m. Horses were in the road in the 2200 block of County Road 228, northeast of Elmore’s Corner.

8:57 a.m. A man was locked in the men’s bathroom at Whalen Gymnasium.

3:06 p.m. A man was selling fake pizzas at Hampton Inn, 3777 Main Ave.

5:59 p.m. A man said he felt threatened by a street sweeper near the Conoco in the 900 block of Camino del Rio.

More after the jump…

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Mugging About

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on October 11th, 2007 by Madame M.

Let me start this post off by saying this: I have never been mugged.


This is an important assertion to get out of the way, because when people have been through a harrowing experience they tend to look at the world through the filter of what they’ve seen and felt firsthand, which can both be an asset –i.e. they know what they are talking about more than an armchair theorist– and a bias –i.e. they tend to whine incessantly about their experience and tend to think that everything that happens happens their way.

This is the reason why people who are mothers are annoying and like talking about their kids and poop and how their vaginas and/or abdominal walls stretched out a long time ago and sometimes will.not.quit. Being a mother, I just had to get that in there, you see. I also like to make people squirm.

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Monday Slack Off Report

Posted in DC Blogs Noted, Slack Off on October 8th, 2007 by naechstehaltestelle

Another Monday, another day to put off dealing with Bill in Accounting. Seriously, what do we have to do to get some expense reports finalized?!

  • My last and final great accomplishment in life came when I was the only person in my 5th grade class to finish the Glendale Elementary Geography Challenge. Never mind it actually took me three tries. Seventeen years later, I find my geography skills worsening. Try the great Mental Floss Geography Challenge, and remember where the heck St. Vincent and the Grenadines is (are?).

More after the jump…

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