My Life as an American Gladiator
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No Blue Shell

This morning on the way in to work, I was right next to a flatbed tow truck. The guy driving reached his arm out the window and flipped a banana peel perfectly up in the air, to land right on the flatbed. It described such a nice trajectory, just so much loft and spin, landing splayed evenly, upright.

As I passed him, I thought--just for a moment--he might be dressed like Donkey Kong. Sadly, no. But I like to think he knew what he was doing.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 10:03 AM

Wednesday, August 07, 2013  


Allergic...TO BEES!

No-one has ever made a heart-stopping thriller called Allergic to Bees, but it could really be something. A guy living out his life just like everyone else, but just that little bit more carefully. Every few minutes he would see something yellow or black or yellow and black, or hear a buzzing, and for a second he'd go "Is that a bee?"

and then a minute later he'd go "Oh... no. I guess it's not a bee."

And then he'd move on.

It would be like Repulsion, with bees! Or no bees.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 10:49 AM

Wednesday, August 10, 2011  



So I watched the Super Bowl, after my 18-month old had gone to bed, so she wouldn't bother me with her constant yammering about how Troy Polamalu is overrated or with her tedious diatribes about the 3-4 defense. And sure, it was a good game--but when 2 teams you don't care about are playing in the Super Bowl, it's all about the commercials.

Apparently there was something about a guy eating Doritos off other men's pants that didn't go over very well with basically all of humanity, and some highbrow satire from Groupon that didn't bother anyone even a little bit. Way to overestimate America's sense of humor, Groupon.

My favorite was the new starkly realistic talking baby E-Trade ad, where he suddenly loses his ability to trade stocks, to talk, even to think in a complex way. Stock price graphs become nothing but lines to him, their pretty colors an unanswerable riddle. In the end, he poops on himself. The last shot as the camera pulls away shows an enigmatic grin, suggesting that, perhaps, the only real success is in failure.

Or the other one, where he is indicted for securities fraud, gets tried as an adult, and spends a year in Leavenworth. That one was good too.

Of course, that's not true. I hate the talking baby. I hate him powerfully and beautifully, as I have mentioned before in other times, referring to other babies.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 11:26 AM

Wednesday, February 09, 2011  


The Futontross

I put you on Freecycle, futon. And still, no-one wants you. What does that say about you, futon? That no-one wants you even when you are free. And I didn't even include the awful truth that you still smell vaguely of cat pee.

Your mattress weighs a metric ton, and your folding frame does not stay up--one of many ways that you are an invertebrate. Your mattress is too heavy and thick for your frame, I know. It was me that made the poor choice of giant mattress with inadequate frame. But that does not excuse you just lying there, taking up half the guest room, taunting me with your amorphousness--some vast and awful reminder of why some wonders of the Orient should have been left there, along with duck feet and/or beaks.

Your days are numbered, futon.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 10:03 AM

Tuesday, November 30, 2010  



Burrito longitudinal split! Structural integrity fatally compromised!

I am engulfed in a sea of frijoles negros. It is much like Pompeii, only with more warning and legumes.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 1:18 PM

Friday, November 19, 2010  



Just thought I'd break the months and months of silence here to let you know that is clearly and unambiguously Soup Day. I urge you in the strongest possible way to go and eat some soup right now. If you can't eat it, for some private reason that you'd rather keep to yourself, like maybe you were traumatized by soup as a youngster when you walked in on your parents having soup one day, the delicious broth running down their chins, then you could maybe at least think about soup for a while. It's the least you could do.

Me, I'm having corn chowder with something that might be called poblano--I don't know what it is. But it is so good. I'm turning to the wind, my eyes wide open*, naked and alive for the first time, thanks to this soup.

Soup. Freaking. Day.

*I don't recommend this. If you must turn to the wind, please wear eye protection.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 1:23 PM

Tuesday, November 09, 2010  


A Possibly Astute Observation
There comes a moment when you're eating red licorice when you think to yourself "You know, I'm only one step away from eating plastic here."

In fact, I'd go as far as to say that red licorice is probably the closest you can get to a non-food item and still have it be food. Not sure who would win in a non-food-off between wax lips and red licorice, but it would be close.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 3:53 PM

Wednesday, February 10, 2010  


Here's to You, Brad

I don't come around here much anymore, but there's no place that makes sense more than this to talk about my friend Brad Graham, a man I knew only online and never met.

A few years ago--I suppose it is more like 8 years ago now--I was working in a godawful job that I called "Purgatory Inc." when I wrote about it here on My Life as an American Gladiator. To keep from going crazy, I spent a lot of time at Metafilter, an collaborative blog where users would post links to "The Best of the Web" and comment on those links. As my job seemed more and more, well, kafkaesque, I spent more time there, goofing around and cracking wise, avoiding soul-crushing brochure writing duties. Eventually, I got to know a few of the other wiseacres and joined them at a new site they'd made where such chat was welcome.

I'd keep a window open to this new site all day at work, and as the minutes dragged by, I'd chat away with that bunch of reprobates, including one TheBrad.

He had a quick wit, and a love of language. He'd revel in a pun or a Tom Swifty, or a shaggy dog story, and was always quicker at them than me. Here's one Swifty I wrote that I know he liked:

"I won't be able to make up my mind whether to play golf or go see Hamlet" Tom foreordained.

He is in the OED as the coiner of the term "blogosphere"--a term he did in fact coin, and hated.

He was very openly gay--from him I learned that it's much funnier to call them "the gays" than "gays". He campaigned for gay rights and AIDS education. He told stories of his nights out at the bar scene in St. Louis, usually with some perfect witticism at the end.

I still visit that site and chat with the reprobates, though my job keeps me a lot busier now than then. A job I got because one of the folks on the site hooked me up with an interview 5 years ago this January.

And this weekend, my online friend Brad was found dead in his home. And I am not sure what to do about that. What do I do with this grief for him, someone I never met? I don't know.

I write this, I guess, and say I am proud to have known you, Brad, you reprobate.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 5:05 PM

Monday, January 04, 2010  


News from the Baby Front

Oh my. The sleep. I remember the sleep.

I've been grabbing an hour's sleep here and there, while the wifely friend takes her shifts. Mostly, I've been watching just remarkable amounts of television, with the kid on my lap or next to me in her bassinet, my mouth hanging open, my chin and neck region a scraggly mess. Surrounded by burp cloths, Boppys, onesies, and empty coffee mugs.

I've also spent a lot of time marching around the room rocking her in my arms, which I highly recommend, and singing whatever song I can think of. Winners so far are:
  • Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down
  • Social Distortion - Ball and Chain
  • Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side (edited for tender ears)
  • Brazil
The sleep deprivation is worth it, of course, because it gives you complete justification for doing really amusing things to your newborn daughter. When the newborns are asleep, they are really asleep. You can play with their arms, Walk Like an Egyptian style. You can flap their lower lip so it makes a nice little pop noise. You can, of course, call her humiliating names like Poo Commando, El Dribblo, and more.

So far things are as tiring as I expected, very occasionally more stressful than I expected, and overall just awesome.

We are keeping her.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 12:53 PM

Saturday, July 04, 2009  


I Guess We're Going to Have to Take Control

something recently happened. I became a dad for the first time. My daughter was born at 6.10 yesterday morning, and damned if she isn't the best thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

This probably explains why I'm sitting in a hospital, trying to keep my eyes open, watching Ghostbusters 2. I always seem to end up in front of the tv, viewing marginally amusing comedies at important life moments. The day I got married my best man and I sat in a hotel room, as the minutes ticked down until the big moment, watching My Blue Heaven. I regret to this day not saying to my wife during our vows "You could totally melt all this stuff!"

Or maybe the thread that links my important life moments is Rick Moranis. Could be worse, I guess. Could be Martin Short.

But back to the matter at hand. The Ghostbusters just animated the Statue of Liberty somehow, and I find myself with a little person sucking my finger. A little perfect person with long fingers and toes and grey-blue eyes, wearing a hat that makes her look like GloWorm.

I'm tired, and in love, and I see my wife in a new way. I'm so proud of her and our new daughter.

Can't wait to see what the next big life change will be. I better check the listings for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids just to be on the safe side.

  posted by kafkaesque @ 9:44 PM

Tuesday, June 30, 2009  
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