Man, the Republican National Convention this week was a tough one. It was nearly impossible to watch without losing your goddamned mind at all the hypocrisy, jingoism and outright lies. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. I didn’t watch that shit, because I enjoy what tiny scrap of sanity I have left. Here are the top ten things I did this week instead of watching the festival of mendacity (ooh, ten-dollar word!) that made me happier than if I had watched it.
10. Beat Skyrim
“Beat” isn’t exactly the right word. When you finish the main quest in Skyrim the game just keeps on going, staring at you as if to say “psh, you’ve still got like seven hundred side-quests to finish, bitch”. The reward for victory? A trophy and a spell that lets you call dead guys to fight for you. I was hoping to at least get a little victory dance or be able to mount that fucking dragon’s head on a plaque to put on the wall of my house. But no. Kind of a huge let-down. Still better than Mittens’ acceptance speech.
9. Jump-started my girlfriend’s car like fifty times
Sarah’s car battery is dead. I jumped it, car started. Turned car off, car wouldn’t start. Jumped it, drove it around, turned it off, car wouldn’t start. Rinse, repeat. I got car grease and that red goo they put on your battery terminals to keep them from corroding all over my hands, sweated in the late-summer Cleveland heat (“heat” being an extremely relative term) and was generally frustrated. But I didn’t have to watch Clint Eastwood talk to a chair. Advantage: Nienaber.
8. Nursed a wicked hangover
One evening this week we went out for happy hour drinks and snacks with a friend. I had several pickletinis – gin and pickle juice, don’t you dare fucking judge me – then we came home and had beers because why the fuck not? Also, we stayed up until like 2am arguing about the value of considering an artist’s history and intent when criticizing their work, because we’re nerds like that. The next day – the opening day of the convention – I had a headache that probably would have killed a lesser man. But I didn’t witness delegates chant “USA! USA!” at the Puerto Rican delegate, so really I suffered way less than I could have.
7. Had my brains rattled by sonic booms
The Cleveland air show is this weekend. Yesterday, in what I guess was a really ill-conceived attempt to drum up excitement, the Blue Angels flew circles around the city. For three fucking hours. Our house happened to be right under the apex of one of their turn-arounds, so I managed to get the full force of the sound of a Mach-1 180-degree turn. It rattled the windows in the house. It drowned out the TV. It made me scream in anger. It beat the fuck out of Chris Christie’s diatribe about his and Romney’s great accomplishments running blue states.
6. Filed for unemployment
If you’ve never gone through this humiliation, I hope you never have to. It’s a long, painful process made even longer and more painful by working, as I do, in an industry where I am employed by many different organizations in a year. Also, I filed in one state and was told that I would have to file in another state instead, so I had to go through the whole process twice. It was excruciating, but not as excruciating as Ann Romney pretending that she has ever undergone any sort of financial hardship in her entire life.
5. Suffered a continuing back injury
So a few weeks ago I hurt my back somehow. I just woke up one morning and POW! It was so bad at first that I could barely stand or walk. I moved 250 miles from Cincinnati to Cleveland, largely on my own (though my dad helped me load up the U-Haul trailer) with that injured back. I made the 4-hour drive with it, when sitting in the car is one of the worst things for aggravating the injury. Then I unpacked and rearranged the new apartment. This week my back is still in a fair amount of pain. But I can’t complain – I didn’t have to see Condoleeza Rice’s smug fucking face all week.
4. Fought with Sarah’s computer to get it to work
So a few months ago, in an effort to streamline the Fatal Downflaw writing process, Zac donated an old computer to Sarah, who previously had not owned one. We set it up, and it worked fine, and everyone was happy. Last week, it decided it wasn’t happy anymore and that we could all go fuck ourselves. After spending several hours trying to get it to work, I finally had to reformat the hard drive and reinstall everything she uses, including LiveWriter, the program we use to write our posts here. LiveWriter has this function where it detects the formatting of your website and fixes itself to match. Theoretically, anyway. Turns out, it doesn’t like the theme we use, and it refuses to download the formatting information correctly if you don’t stick your hands in the guts of the website and fuck a lot of things up for a few minutes. Because I have the memory of a gas-huffing fruit fly, I spent hours mucking about in the theme options trying to remember what the fuck it was that Zac told me I had to do to make the goddamned thing work. I never did. Eventually Zac called and we fixed the thing in about three minutes over the phone. It was demoralizing, infuriating and an enormous waste of time. But still more productive and less humiliating than John McCain’s “I coulda been a contender!” speech.
3. Cut hot peppers with my bare hands
Over the weekend, Sarah’s mom gave us a bunch of peppers she’d grown. We decided to make a sort of deconstructed chile relleno casserole thing where we cut the peppers up, removed the seeds, and baked them in a dish with beans, rice and cheese. I volunteered to cut up the peppers, and when Sarah offered me rubber gloves to do so, I declined because I am a fucking man and I don’t need your fucking wuss-safety. Of course, as one does when one has hot pepper juice on one’s hands, I touched pretty much every part of my body that has sensitive skin. Then I washed the dishes which, I surmise, had the effect of opening up the pores on my hands in order to more effectively imbue my skin with pepper oil. It took two days for the dull ache to stop. During those two days I was mortally terrified of peeing, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons. But that constant burn was infinitely preferable to Reince Priebus. Like, any part of Reince Priebus.
2. Drove in Cleveland
Here’s the thing: I have lived in Miami, so I no longer fear death while driving. Because, honestly, death could only be a sweet release compared to the terrifying free-for-all that roads become in South Florida. As guide on a tour of the art deco hotels in South Beach once said to me, “Miami is a lovely place where people from all over the world gather, bringing their culture, their music, their food and their insane traffic rules”. Aggressive, self-centered or lunatic drivers do not bother me in the least anymore. But people in Cleveland drive stupid. Not too fast, not too scary, just fucking stupid. They do shit like pull over to wait for someone right in front of a stop sign, then look at you like you’re the fucking moron for pulling up behind them. Or come to a complete, dead stop to rubberneck an accident on a busy, backed up street. Or put on their left turn signal to turn right. Stupid shit that absolutely drives me batshit fucking crazy. I drove all around Cleveland this week, screaming at people out the window of my truck. But I didn’t watch Paul Ryan tell lie after lie after lie, so I think I came out on top.
1. Took approximately 9 shits
That’s right. Some were silky-smooth and delightful. Some – for reasons that I think should be obvious from #3 above – were far, far less pleasant. But my bowel movements were more productive, less vile and infinitely more palatable than the woman-hating, gay-bashing, aristocrat-blowing parade of lies, misdirection and flag-waving brain-death that was the Republican National Convention. At least I had the good sense to flush every time.