This is what’s pissing me off today (Dec. 18th, 2007)

You know what really pisses me off? Idiots. We’ll get to that in a second.

Meanwhile, you know what pisses me off slightly less? Total ass-spanking humiliation.

I was duly informed this week via the South by Southwest Interactive Festival discussion panel selection committee that I am officially less interesting than pet bloggers.

Pet f*cking bloggers.

How’s that for a kill-shot to the self-esteem? Right in the eyeball.

The SXSWi committee could have had me and several other distinguished travel bloggers come and hold court at the festival in March, sign innumerable autographs, kiss babies and add a desperately needed sex-factor to the proceedings, but they decided, unimaginably, that a pet blogging discussion panel would be more stimulating.

So, let me get this straight… Aunt Tippy’s pictures of her cat “Mr. Droopy Pants” wearing a Garfield sweater vest that says “Where’s the lasagna?” is better blog material than me single handedly stranding a dangerously drunk hitchhiker and an asshole gas station attendant together for (at least) eight hours in the middle of nowhere during a Romanian winter? Did I somehow cross over into the Bizarro Internet?

It’s enough to drive a guy to drink (more).

Returning to the subject of idiots pissing me off, what kind of jackhole flies all the way from Montreal to Romania only to get so bent out of shape that he missed out on seeing a replica of the set of “Dallas” (70’s American TV show for those of you too young or too non-American to know) and a mini Eiffel Tower built by a crazy guy with too much money all because I didn’t list it in my LP guidebook that he felt compelled to compose a slam review on the Amazon page?

But that wasn’t enough, before this attention-starved crackpot could post the review, he had to flame bait me with an email to make sure I knew he was going to post the negative review, just in case I wasn’t in the habit of reading the Amazon reviews (which I hadn’t up until that point – who reviews guidebooks anyway?).

I’m half pissed off at myself to start. The first rule of dealing with attention-starved crackpots that write you hate mail is to ignore them. You never reply. Why? Because they’re attention-starved crackpots, and one email from you, no matter how sensible or logical is not going to de-attention-starve or de-crackpot them. So, I was a f*ckwit for even answering his flame bait email, telling me how I’d utterly failed as a guidebook author for not listing the set of “Dallas” as a genuine Point of Interest (POI) in a guidebook about Romania.

Also, I was drunk when I received his email and briefly confused his trite tourist trap needs (meant for day-tripping families from Bucharest by the way, not tourists that traveled 8,000 miles to ostensibly ‘visit Romania’) with another trite tourist trap in Transylvania. Anyway, it’ll come as no surprise that I only succeeded in further attention-starving and crackpotting him by gently pointing out that maybe his time in Romania might have been better spent seeing monasteries, castles and the spectacular outdoors.

Next time go to Disneyland, jackhole.

Oh one other thing, if I may briefly speak on behalf of all guidebook authors… Guidebooks have this little thing called ‘word count limits’. Now it just so happens that I’m an expert on why you shouldn’t exceed word count limits. Guidebook word count limits are set by the publisher after weighing several variables about the destination in question. As such, guidebook authors can only fit a finite number of sights and restaurants in the guidebook before we run out of space. So if you find a mini Eiffel Tower or what you’ve determined to be a great restaurant that isn’t in the book, it’s not necessarily because the author did sloppy research, jackass! Maybe, just maybe, these places were not listed because there simply wasn’t enough space to include them and not due to the author’s flawed work ethic and expertise. Also, perhaps we just didn’t think it was appropriate to include the Hard Rock Café in a Romania travel guidebook, capice?

I don’t openly muse about your voluminous character flaws (except right now), so don’t do the same to me or I’m likely to get pissed off.

Guidebook authors 1, attention-starved crackpots 0.

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