I Hate Summer and Other Pointless Gripes

Perhaps I’m just a bit miffed that vacation just turned into a road trip into the desert. With wood ticks. Perhaps it is that I’ve been reading too much news or thinking about the impending apocalypse of incompetence that will be raining down on our heads. Perhaps it is that I have gone astray on so many personal intentions that I have decided to externalize my anger. Whatever the reason, I’m blowing the gunk out of my pipes so that I can think clearly again. Welcome to my rants – they’re all the rage.

Shaking My Old Lady Fist in the Air

Memes, Emojis, and GIFs

canstockphoto26595566I ignore/loathe them. Personal preference. I like it when grownups use their words and in the world of social media, those shortcuts to communication are repetitive and pointless.  And some of them are very badly done – with misspellings, bad photo editing, and ofttimes, completely and utterly devoid of anything meaningful or useful. Because of their ubiquitous use, they’re simply no longer original, novel, or amusing.

False Idols and Bad Fashion Choices

I don’t care if it’s Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, treating other very flawed humans like they’re unassailable saints is creepy. If you are wearing clothing with their likenesses or names, I don’t trust your judgment. While we have been conditioned to be billboards for all manner of advertising, this adulation for other humans versus policy is off the rails. Don’t become a billboard unless the rental space of your head, chest, ass, whatever, is being paid for. And then I can trust your judgement even less.

Faking Patriotism

canstockphoto48494235The same people who gripe about football players not standing during the anthem are also the ones who kept their beers cold by wrapping them in stars and stripes flag cozies yesterday. If they really wanted to be patriotic, they should have demanded that the government let us know just how many troops are living and dying in Afghanistan, NW Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Libya and what the plan is there. It’s almost like there isn’t one.


Politics, As Usual

Congressional Traitors and Media Enablers

I canceled my New York Times subscription this morning. It was a hard decision. Much canstockphoto4438515.jpgof their in-depth reporting is very good. However, their front page might as well be covered in Trump tweets if they are not reporting on the seven Republican senators who chose to spend America’s day of independence in Moscow. The Moscow Times reported it with glee. Who needs peeing prostitutes when we have Republican senators openly fawning over and courting the government of a murderer and human rights abuser?

I’m not waiting on Mueller time. It is quite clear that we are in deep with Russia and these are some of the stooges who are dragging us there. While I’m pretty sure that the financial entanglements of Trump et al. are fairly damning, the extortion would not be complete without the complicit behavior of Republican sycophants. We’re in deep shit. I need to brush up on my Russian, because apparently if I want news about what representatives of my government are up to, I’ll be reading it in Cyrillic.

Here is some actual news:

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, July 3, 2018 Report on the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference and influence on our elections.

How anyone could read this bipartisan report and not wonder if our Republican Moscow tourists are not compromised is beyond reason.

Mid-terms and Celebrities

canstockphoto10803271Forget about 2020 elections. Keep your eye on the ball. Besides, the way things are going, there won’t be an election in 2020. I’ve heard enough about Oprah and Michael Avenatti to know that some of the electorate have lost their ever-loving minds to the Trump philosophy that winning is everything and that being a TV celebrity is winning. I have a stick up my ass and think most TV is pretty stupid, ergo people who are in that business are not intellectual giants with vision. They just have a job on TV with no relevant political experience.

Stop looking at the shiny objects. Make sure you are registered to vote prior to the midterm elections. I mean it. The way some states are purging their voter rolls, you might not be eligible to vote and not know it. You can verify your voter status and register using Voter.org’s tools.


Onto Writing and Other Truths

While my vacation did nothing to boost my energy, refresh my perspective, or even allow me a decent night’s sleep (did I mention it was 102°F?), it did make me grateful to come home and anxious to get back into the groove.

It was a reminder that no matter what is going on in the world, no matter how dire the news is, there is work to be done at home. I am useless to movements, protests, action without sleep and self-care. The world will not be a better place if I deteriorate or neglect my family and friends.

Writing has been a slog, but I should at least celebrate that I have been writing every canstockphoto42901280.jpgsingle day since late November. Even on vacation, I pulled out my laptop and got writing done. This strikes me as a small miracle and is a testament to the power of daily habits. I started off making myself write 250 words the minute I logged into my computer. Now I write anywhere from 700-1200 words in a sitting, something I could not have imagined before.

Earlier this week, I sat down and watched Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette”. I usually don’t watch anything current, but I like standup. Her special was so much more than that – it felt like a call out to humanity. It has me thinking a lot about the nature of personal truth – what we leave out or put in and why we make the choices we do. And how those choices can crush us or lift us up. Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected places.

TGS Writers’ Book Club Reminder: The August Selection is a writer’s how-to, Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (and Really Getting It) by Janice Hardy. Follow the blog for updated selections, writer-reader guidelines, and discussions. The July 15th-31st discussion forum is about There are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry (Short Stories).

32 thoughts on “I Hate Summer and Other Pointless Gripes

  1. Ranting about politics Is something that would make me more upset, but good for you that it helps. So when you sit down and write what do you write? Do you know ahead of time? That is the part of writing everyday I don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try hard to limit my rants about politics and to make a point – like being very careful about curating news and ensuring that one votes. Beyond that, I’m not sure if it helps, but I can’t seem to move on to other subjects when I’m choking back anger.

      Lately, my focus has been working on short stories and a second novel. It’s funny to discover that I write like I read – I like to have several things going at once, so I have some choices depending on mood and time. If I’m well and truly intransigent about getting work done, I’ll start something entirely new and see where it leads.

      Because I like planning, I’ll start off with an idea of what I want to do and then something else entirely emerges and I’ll go with that. I have learned not to be rigidly wed to a particular idea. It means that it takes longer for me to bring any one project to completion, but I’m learning to be patient.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, yes, I need to plan, too. If I was to turn on the computer and insist on writing 250 words, I would be flummoxed. What would I write? Start a poem? Start a story? Work on my memoir? And then would I just write and have it be “crap” I don’t need? I guess I am bewildering myself with too many options.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I write crap I may not possibly need every single morning. Some days I write poetry, other days it’s just a whiny journal entry about how I didn’t get any sleep and everything hurts. It’s not good at all. But I’ve found that out of those writing sessions, seeds of ideas emerge. I just let myself ramble until something comes up.
          My perfectionism, need to plan, need to prepare, was really getting in the way of creating. I’m still learning this concept and there are days when I spend the whole writing session just grimacing at what I write, but there is definitely an alchemy that is starting to happen.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’m not sure I could do that. I always feel pressed for time, though. Maybe if I didn’t blog and just spent the time writing-writing. Good luck with it. It sounds like it is working great for you, Michelle!


  2. Memes and gifs are often for pointing out the humor in the reality of a situation, which I’d say isn’t pointless at all. Images and captions humor us, and I don’t think that’s necessarily immature or simple minded of us, despite the perhaps instant gratification of it (but if we’re going to talk about that then we have to be honest about all internet usage and social media being about instant gratification).


    1. As I said, it’s a personal preference. I don’t like them and I tend to ignore communication that involves them. Sometimes I just give into my cranky-word-snob-old-lady-self and say out loud what I’ve been thinking for years. Usually, I try to be more respectful in understanding that other people appreciate and enjoy things that I don’t. Give me a few more years and I’ll be waving my cane at people on the street calling them whippersnappers and saying “back in my day.”


        1. Probably years ago, before they became so ubiquitous. Maybe I’ve been on the internet too damned long. I’m beginning to think it’s time for a break. I just got back from vacation, but I’m so cranky, I wonder if I shouldn’t have made it longer!


  3. I have that same stick up my ass Michelle. Television has gotten so damned stupid. There is so little real content. And I agree, celebrity in no way equates to good leadership or governing skills. I cannot for the life of me envision what the 2020 ticket might look like and it’s pretty disheartening. I do know that the Bernie crowd that refused to vote for Hillary did the rest of us a huge disservice. I still don’t see that they get it though. UGH.


    1. I think we have to look back for precedence. Barack Obama wasn’t even on the radar as a candidate until a year or two out. It’s simply too early to start wringing our hands about 2020, when we have a critical midterm election ahead of us. I’m pretty fed up with these politicians who are simply too long in the tooth and have been publicly visible for too long – I don’t want to see Bernies or Bidens running. All of these things are very much like the other. “Old, white men in charge” is a tired scenario I’d like to see upended.

      And the idea that somebody mouthy like Trump (Avenatti) and busy stroking his media ego should be effective as a politician is ludicrous. And Oprah? Liberals need to get a grip. I know we’re desperate, but do we really need to continue this celebrity worship nonsense? That’s how we ended up with this latest gold-plated turd.

      Well, Ilona, I think you stuck a quarter in me. I’m all wound up this morning. This is starting to be a problem. It’s really interfering with my ability to write about anything else!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I understand how you feel, Michelle. I still struggle with anger and all that, but not with the news as much as how it is reported. I’m certain I am older than are you, but I would still like to recommend something to you that I have found helpful. It’s a discipline that is often reserved for retirement, but I think it would be helpful for all. It is simply to look at things at their core. Not the illusory surface, the bright colors and surnames, the flash and panic, but the more permanent world, those things that inch back and forth like a sloth or find their creation after centuries and centuries and centuries of restful observation.


    1. It’s a tough field to plow, sorting out what is substantial versus a hyperactive media. And perhaps that is one of the goals – to keep us working so hard to sort out what is important that we really miss the big picture. But even in the long view of history, what is happening here presages some very bad consequences for a lot of people.

      I find it incredibly challenging to achieve any sort of balance. I’m either angry or detached these days. The only thing we can do is try and turn anger into useful action. And not look away.


  5. My guess as to the main rant culprit is that you’re saturated with the *news* and perhaps, like many of us, suffering its real divisions. Few of us can unplug, but the infuriatingly juvenile and/or hair-raising stuff never stops. Hard to avoid, and it has an effect. If so, I can only borrow (and paraphrase) some good advice: Do your best, where you are, with what you have. It seems you are doing that, so, try adding a bit of good wine. 🙂 And plan a mini-vacation you know you’ll love.


    1. I have to make a deliberate move to limit my news. And I’ve kept telling myself this over the last couple of years, but I usually get sucked back in. Part of it is that in order to make those phone calls, and take timely action, I have to pay attention. I’m still going to make an effort to limit my news and focus on life in front of me, but it is a challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It most certainly is. I tried hard to avoid much malarkey until, in our name, little children were abducted from parents with few if any resources for help. And this egregious more-than-politics was defended by his followers, most shockingly of all by some people I raised to be decent if not also thinkers. For once, I gave back more than my own malarkey to the blind and sometimes blond Trumpeters — with reality facts. That requires listening and watching, and a hyper-alert outrage just consumed me, something I’d seen take down a number of family guys who could speak of nothing else but war. One has to turn it into change-worthy action, even if by increments, or be consumed. (And perhaps alone at picnics!) Thank you for doing what you’re doing. You’re making your difference in it all. Lighting your candle in the darkness — it is appreciated.


  6. I feel you, oh, how I feel you. [shaking my old lady fist]
    This summer has been overwhelming, I’m feeling all sorts of emotions, extreme anger and outrage being two of them. (I won’t go into the immigration separation policy) But for me, it’s good to feel it and own it. And express it, don’t let it fester.

    What drives me batty are news articles which are basically just a list of tweets. Or how serious stories are slicked up and cut down to bite-sized bullshit because we all have the attention span of a gnat. Or how Trumps is actually our president. That didn’t REALLY happen did it? I often wake up in a cold sweat and see his face on my TV and think….”No! It can’t be! Seriously? The Apprentice? The former owner of Miss America?” It’s perfect though. I mean, with reality TV basically taking over our culture, it’s the fitting conclusion to our sad state of politics. What’s next? President Snooki?


    1. That trend of using Tweets in reporting started even before Trump, but it’s grown immeasurably worse. I don’t like to go off on “mainstream media” rants, because I’ll end up sounding like some of those whackadoodle conspiracy theorists. But clickbait-driven news is really screwing us. I have the time to dig deeper, find sources, etc. But most Americans don’t (something about having jobs and lives, etc.), so we end up being this very unevenly informed public.
      The celebrity culture has always been part of our American culture, but with more crap TV, more people are confusing entertainment with reality. This is why when people started talking about Oprah for president, I wanted to punch Twitter. We’ve lost our collective minds. Trump has moved the bar so low that our expectations are now someone who can read. One hopes we’d reach a little higher.
      I have to put a limit on my political opining, because with all the noise, it likely serves no purpose. However, every time I assume others know the basic facts in evidence, something ignorant gets promoted as truth. It’s hard to let ignorant go.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for saying so eloquently what I can only sputter at the best of times. And cannot manage to write. And the rage has hampered my writing. I will try your routine to find that discipline again. I appreciate the inspiration and I’m with you.


    1. I don’t think rage has improved my writing – I get a little embarrassed when I gripe and rant a bit. It doesn’t seem thoughtful, nor do I feel relieved when it’s “out”. I almost pulled down this post, because I’d like to think what I write can be useful or at least entertaining. When I’m kvetching, it is neither. Except to say, “yeah, this shit is getting me down, too”. Maybe that’s enough.


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