Category Archives: Cantankerousness

Complain Like a Pirate Day

Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on DVD/Blu soon but apparently Amazon already offered the 3D version, much to the consternation of this fellow. In case Amazon removes that comment, I’ve capture it for posterity’s (and my own amusement’s) sake:

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Superb Blurb: Hyperbole and a Half

Love Allie Brosh’s stuff.  Have for years. Now I have her writings and atrocious drawingS in print. Love love love it. Here’s a blurb with which I most strongly identified. The scientist’s imaginary journal reads,

“An especially upsetting event occurred today: A garbage truck awakened the subject several hours before subject planned to be awake. Subject HATES garbage truck for what it has done. Hates it so much that had to get up and look at it. Stood at window looking at garbage truck and hating it.

[photo of subject angrily looking out the window: “wanted to SEE the garbage truck.”]

This behavior appears to be a sort of punishment. The subject dislikes the sound the garbage truck is making and is trying to hurt the garbage truck with its mind. This allows the subject to feel in control of the situation. Like justice is occurring.

[photo of subject even more angrily looking out the window: “subject attempting to punish garbage truck … The garbage truck does not appear to be affected.”]

Superb Blurb: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Cantankerous white boy meets literature-loving Desi girl … what’s not for me to love? This bit is from an amusing taste-testing scene at the Taj Mahal Palace restaurant in preparation for the Golf Club dance, themed “An Evening at the Mughal Court.”

The dishes came quickly, small bowls of steaming food, blurry with color and fragrant with spices that were familiar and yet could not be readily named. Grace nibbled her way through them all, pursing her lips in determination at some of the more dark and pungent offerings. The Major watched with amusement as she wrote them all down, her writing becoming more labored as the food and several servings of punch made her sleepy.

“How do you spell ‘gosht’?” she asked for the third time. “And this one is what meat?”

“Goat,” said Mr. Rasool. “It is the most traditional of ingredients.”

“Goat gosht?” Grace maneuvered her jaw around the words with difficulty. She blinked several times, as if she had just been told she was eating horse.

“But the chicken is very popular, too,” said Mrs. Rasool. “May we pour you another glass of lunch punch?”

The Major had detected the merest scent of juniper in the first glass of punch, which Mrs. Rasool had presented to them as a lightly alcoholic lunchtime refresher. It came in an elaborately scrolled glass pitcher garnished with cucumber slices, pineapple chunks, and pomegranate seeds. But a crook of her finger when she ordered the second round must have been a signal to lubricate the proceedings with a healthy dumping of gin. The cucumbers were positively translucent with shock and the Major himself felt a desire to fall asleep, bathed in the fragrance of the food and the iridescent light of the silk curtains. The Rasools and Mrs. Ali drank only water.

“My parents’ tradition is to serve this dish family style or buffet,” said Mr. Rasool. “A large clay platter with all the trimmings in little silver bowls around it—sunflower seeds, persimmon slices, and tamarind chutney.”

“I wonder if it might be a little spicy for the main course,” said Grace, cupping her hand around her mouth as if making a small megaphone. “What do you think, Major?”

“Anyone who doesn’t find this delicious is a fool,” said the Major. He nodded his head fiercely at Mrs. Rasool and Mrs. Ali. “However …” He was not sure how to express his firm conviction that the golf club crowd would throw a fit if served a rice-based main course instead of a hearty slab of congealing meat. Mrs. Rasool raised an eyebrow at him.

“However, it is perhaps not foolproof, so to speak?” she asked. The Major could only smile in vague apology.

“I understand perfectly,” said Mrs. Rasool. She waved her hand and a waiter hurried into the kitchen. The band stopped abruptly as if the wave included them. They followed the waiters out of the room.

“It’s certainly a very interesting flavor,” said Grace. “We don’t want to be difficult.”

“Of course not,” said Mrs. Rasool. “I’m sure you will approve of our more popular alternative.” The waiter returned at a run, with a silver salver that held a perfectly shaped individual Yorkshire pudding containing a fragrant slice of pinkish beef. It sat on a pool of burgundy gravy and was accompanied by a dollop of cumin-scented yellow potatoes and a lettuce leaf holding slices of tomato, red onion, and star fruit. A wisp of steam rose from the beef as they contemplated it in astonished silence.

“It’s quite perfect,” breathed Grace. “Are the potatoes spicy?” The elder Mr. Rasool muttered something to his son. Mrs. Rasool gave a sharp laugh that was almost a hiss.

“Not at all. I will give you pictures to take back with you,” she said. “I think we have agreed on the chicken skewers, samosas, and chicken wings as passed hors d’oeuvres, and then the beef, and I suggest trifle for dessert.”

“Trifle?” said the Major. He had been hoping for some samples of dessert.

“One of the more agreeable traditions that you left us,” said Mrs. Rasool. “We spice ours with tamarind jam.”

“Roast beef and trifle,” said Grace in a daze of food and punch. “And all authentically Mughal, you say?”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Rasool. “Everyone will be very happy to dine like the Emperor Shah Jehan and no one will find it too spicy.”


Superb Blurb: Heads in Beds

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality
by Jacob Tomsky

Although chock full of clever witticisms, helpful tactics, and stark (and often pretty disgusting) observations, as a tribute to the ”comeuppance” tag and “cantankerousness” theme of the blog, here’s the Superb Blurb from this book:

Threatening a front desk agent gets you nowhere. Well, that’s not true. It gets you into a worse room. I have broken blocks, taken rooms from people who even pre-reged into a gorgeous room just because their attitude was off. They never even knew they were originally set to see Central Park in one of the corner rooms with the big bathroom. I took it from them just because they yelled at their wife and manhandled her elbow in a way I didn’t appreciate.

It might not be pretty but it’s important we cover this topic. Because that’s just the beginning of the ways I can and will punish guests. I am a god of instant karma. Instant. No waiting for it to kick in. No four to six weeks for delivery. If a guest makes a racist comment about a cab driver the backlash comes now. If some ignorant guest thinks it’s at all appropriate to make homophobic comments to anyone around me, much less directly to me, I dispense justice: Harsh. Instantaneous. Justice.

In Which TP Speaks! Well, Edits Anyway.

Saturday 12.22.12 travelogue – TP

Woke up to find myself sharing the plush king-sized bed with AP who clambered from her pile of blankets on the floor to settle herself next to me.  I didn’t feel it was decent to go out while it was still pitch black but Baji had other ideas and was long gone. Left to my own devices, when the kids finally made me turn the lights on, I switched the digital babysitter on (Nick Jr.), brewed some Kauai coffee in the bathroom (in a coffee pot, don’t worry), and caught up with the news online.

After the sun came up, we breakfasted and killed time waiting for the Kauai Plantation Railway to open. We took a short little jaunt through the ex-sugar plantation which now features many varieties of fruit trees. I wished we could have hiked through the orchard to taste them but didn’t want to pay the $75 fee to do so. The kids were very excited to get off the train to feed bagels to fenced-in dirty feral pigs and mountain goats. A mutant rooster with a humming bird beak tried to muscle in. As one reviewer accurately described it, the ride was “semi-enjoyable for adults”.

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We had lunch at Tiki Taco and I was unsure how anyone could mess up Mexican. Long wait and not good food. At least the Thai place we went to the night before had okay food even if the waitress was dour.  If we had a kitchen, I could just cook what I wanted as I did in Barcelona – good times. We drove along the coast to take the kids to a combo beachfront and playground spot at Lydgate Beach Park before returning to the resort for more beach and pool time. The water was really much too cold to swim in but Aunty C volunteered to take AP swimming so that we could just sit on the lounge chair and relax while ZP occupied himself in the kiddie pool.

In the late afternoon (i.e., supper time), Baji and I went in search of poke and found Fish Express down the street.  Alas, the poke was unavailable just as they were about to close so she grabbed some ahi tuna sushi and ate it in the car as I drowned my sorrows in some taro pie from McDonalds. Pretty darn good, filled with sweet purple stuff.  Worth it to break my “no wheat” diet. Needing a bit more dinner than that, we met up with LB, KG, BSG, and Aunty C at Kalapaki Beach Hut for some burgers and taro fries.


Pretty island. Big waves. Roads were really good. The next day, we found a good spot for whale watching from the shore (which helps avoid the nausea guaranteed by boats) but that’s someone else’s turn.

It Is What It Is

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “it is what it is,” I’d have eleventy hundred dollars. I’m sure people said it before but I just don’t remember hearing it until this summer and now it makes me flinch. The seller of the house while pointing out potential flaws (after the deal was done, natch). The real estate agent when the first two contracts fell through. The characters on television shows.  The imam’s wife. What is going on?

Superb Blurb: The Fry Chronicles

The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry

After a lengthy and passionate diatribe against himself, Stephen takes a breather.

Good gracious, I know how this reads. To listen to the neuroses of a spoilt, over-paid, over-praised, over-pampered celebrity must be unendurable. For me to wallow in the luxury of being worried only by such insignificant piffle while so many in the world suffer the traumas, terrors and torments of poverty, hunger, disease and war. Even here in the developed world there are plenty who have financial and familial worries enough to be – to say the least – unsympathetic to my plight. I know. My God, do you think I do not know how monstrously self-indulgent, narcissistic and childish I must sound in so many ears? That is the point. My real dissatisfaction is with my dissatisfaction. How dare I be so discontent? How dare I? Or being discontent why cannot I shut up about it?

If your bionic eyes are up for it, looks like you can read more here.