Friday, December 27, 2002

My Life as an American Gladiator is on hiatus.

I guess that's kind of obvious, what with the not-updating and general laziness glimpsed round these parts lately. But I thought you should know.

Monday, December 23, 2002

So Joe Strummer is gone.

It's pretty pointless to eulogize a celebrity you didn't know anything about, but I can say that The Clash always sound right to me, no matter what age I've been or what's going on in my life. I saw Joe Strummer live only once, on The Pogues' Hell's Ditch Tour, when he was filling in for Shane MacGowan. I remember that it wasn't exactly like a Pogues show, but it was still great, with the band doing old Clash songs as well as their own tunes.

I'm off to spin White Man in Hammersmith Palais.

(Nice Achewood tribute)

Saturday, December 21, 2002

I would be remiss here if I didn't mention that my best pal Bindlestick Billy got hitched last weekend.

I was co-Best Man, and I have to say it was the best damn wedding I've been to (except mine of course).

So congratulations, man. I'm proud of you.

The wife and I are off to indulge in large quantities of wine and cheese in front of the fire, to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
Kikkoman Whackadoo Flash Video

I'm not sure what the hell's going on here, but man is it entertaining!

Friday, December 20, 2002

Listen, Honey, if you're reading this, please don't get me a luxury car with a giant bow on it this year.

It's just that it's getting a little embarassing.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

One more thing here:

I can say honestly, unequivocally and without a moment's hesitation or doubt, that I do not want the American Express Travel Bag.

OK? Can you leave me alone now, American Express people??

[purloined on the sly from 50 Cups]

Turkish Delight!

We happened to be in CostPlus last night (which is one of those stores that sell little broken papier-mache monkeys that give you a moment's pause and the tiny little jars of jam and chutney that lurk in the dark recesses of your fridge for decades. They also sell tooth decay by the metric ton, so I wouldn't advise a trip to their candy aisles if you're having any doubts about the state of your enamel) and I was overjoyed to find that they are once again carrying Turkish Delight.

Besides having the distinction of being offered to Edmund by the Snow Queen in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Turkish Delight is just super good. Amazingly good. It's so good, in fact, that I'm not sure you deserve it.

What is Turkish Delight? It's a kind of firm gelatin, flavored traditionally with rose and lemon (or fruit) and covered in powdered sugar. Some varieties have pistachios or almonds in there as well, though I've never tried it with nuts. Doesn't that sound like the best thing ever?


Fine. More for me.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

My monitor here at work is starting to fade out.

This means roughly every five seconds the display dims ominously and I make a sound like an angry bear cub and whack the side of the monitor. This is kind of pleasing, if it weren't for the frequency. I enjoy hitting monitors. Especially little crappy 17" OptiQuest Retina-Destroyer 5000s like this one.

Sadly, my little squeezy-stress-snowman is paying the price for this monitor abuse. Every time I hit the monitor, he flies off, executing a series of somersaults of varying degrees of difficulty, before winding up, lost and afraid, under the desk.

And every time he falls off, I pick him up, give him a couple of words of encouragement, and place him back upon his perch. He knows, of course, that he will be launched again from his aerie. Perhaps he even anticipates the blow. Does he live in fear, my snowman?

Is this answering the question of why i haven't updated my blog in a while?

Thursday, December 12, 2002

UK Entrances to Hell

Some real classics in here, including:

Badadada Tatatata The protective lasers of Badadada tatatata have turned the air to jelly for miles around but a visit is still possible using breathing equipment. Very popular and definitely worth seeing as the quality of construction here is guaranteed to blow your mind. This entrance has been used as the output for gastric juices from hell's guts for 22 centuries.

Braaashteeefunorvallishhtuuu Satan's heat-image can sometimes be seen here and it has recently been proven that all of the earth's insects were born just inside the metal door.

I can say for sure that there are some motorway-side eating establishments in Engalnd that are at least entrances to gastrointestinal hell.

[via staggernation]

Monday, December 09, 2002

Apparently, there has been a huge upsurge in the number of grizzled, outdoorsy types being abducted by scantily-clad alien women and subjected to clean, close shaves.

According to one abductee named Chet (not his real name) the scantily clad visitors were painted silver for no good reason.

This alarming trend is sapping our generation of some of the finest George-Michael-like stubble ever produced. They must be stopped!

Leading UFOlogists theorize that these shaving fiends first started to take notice of our haggard and stubbly chins when the Gillette company introduced the MACH 3 Razor, which opened rifts in the space-time continuum by featuring 3 blades on the same razor. Down was no longer up. Up was no longer down. We were through the looking glass, and the short-skirted aliens had to do something about it.

The shadow government that runs the Earth so reliably is said to be working on an ultimate weapon: a razor with FOUR blades. If such a technological enigma can be solved, we may be able to put a stop to these disturbing, though quite hygienic, abductions, and make the world a safer and scratchier place for our children.
Once again, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another Kafkaesque's Great Idea

One of those glass booths that blow money all around, and you have to grab as much as you can in one minute....but filled with bacon!

Friday, December 06, 2002

I've been walking around the office with my shoes untied today.

Now, I see these punk kids with their untied shoes and think they look like monumental goobers, but I have to tell you it's pretty enjoyable. There's the element of danger inherent in the untied shoelace, which we all know could wrap around your other shoe and send you hurtling toward your doom, especially if your office is equipped with a wood chipper. Also, the rest of the office knows you're a risk taker. Like just for a second they think of saying "Why Kafkaesque, your shoes are untied! Surely you will be killed!"

But then they think for a second and sigh "Wow! That Kafkaesque sure is ahead of the curve, what with the shoes-untied thing and all."

Of course, having your shoes untied is merely a precursor to the ultimate work goodness: taking off your shoes under your desk. That's always nice and freeing. Especially if you're talking to someone more important than you and the whole time you're thinking "Man. I'm totally shoeless under the desk here and Mr. Business Boy doesn't have clue one!"

These small acts of civil disobedience are important if one is to successfully stave off despair.

I think next Friday I'm not going to put my arms through the sleeves of my shirt and see how that goes. I cannot be constrained by these societal restrictions!

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Also, I have a new strategy for when I am questioned about anything at all at work.

I'll just say "Because Mr. Spock told me to."

If that doesn't make everyone leave me alone, I'm thinking of branching out into phrases like "Because that is the way it is written in Vulcan law."
Whenever I think of Saddam Hussein having "Weapons of Mass Destruction", I get a mental image of him stirring up a big pot of chili, or curry or something. He's wearing a little chef's hat and one of those aprons with the airbrushed naked woman on it and saying "Who wants some of Saddam's Weapon of Mass Destruction, huh? I made it with pimentos this time."

Then it gets weird.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

You know what's a lot of fun?

Oh. Wow, you're right. That is fun. And with the soy sauce? Even more fun.

But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about walking around hunched over like Quasimodo because your neck hurts and you can't turn your head. I've been doing that all day, and let me tell you, it's a hoot.

It is hard to say, though, whether it's more fun for me or for all of my coworkers who get to give me odd looks and shuffle away from me as if I were some sort of flesh-eating zombie. I don't know.

I knew I shouldn't have been slamming my neck in the car door over and over and over again yesterday. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
Rapper Dentist Daddy & Hip Hop Dentistry

Nothing I could say about this would do it justice.

Particularly heartwarming is the picture of Dr Cunning and C-Murder

Monday, December 02, 2002

You know how there are all these sci-fi movies and stories where machines become self-aware and start with the whole "Kill the humans" routine?

That's why I'll never own an electric toothbrush.
Every year, the first of December would roll around and the kids in my family would get an Advent Calendar.

Advent Calendars, of course, are little scenes of serenely happy German or Dutch people having Christmas celebrations. Also, glitter is involved.

Little doors are cunningly hidden in the scene with a number that corresponds to the date. You open the little door for, say, December 2nd, and you sigh appreciatively: "Ah! A smiling hedgehog."

Or maybe you'll say "Oh! A small whellbarrow filled with some orange things that could possibly be gourds."

The pictures were always the same. And I mean always. You'd have candles. Nutcrackers. Candy canes. Sailboats. They loved the sailboats. Sometimes a rocking horse. You could pretty much count on these things showing up in your calendar. I mean, if you hadn't gotten a candle yet, and it was getting towards the 20th, you had a candle in your near future.

And there's not a whole lot of suspense about the picture you'll get on the 24th: it'll be Baby Jesus. That's just fine. Not terribly fulfilling for a young agnostic like myself, but there you go.

So as the years went on, the arrival of the advent calendars would be met with less and less excitement, and eventually with bitterness. Who wants to see the same pictures, year after year*?

Of course, there is another variety of Advent Calendar, in whcih you trade the excitement of smiling woodland creatures for chocolates with pictures of smiling woodland creatures on them. True, it's not the best quality chocolate. It's kind of like eating a small brown crayon every day in December, a practice which I cannot with a clear conscience recommend.

My wife swears by the chocolate calendars but, being German, she is helpless to defend herself against the cocoa bean in all of its manifold guises.

*Besides the American movie-going public, that is.**

**I know, that was pathetic.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Alright, hummingbirds. The jig is up.

For years I've bought this garbage about you little guys. How you beat your wings 8,000 times per second and you never slow down and you're always just zooming around making the rest of us look bad.

Well, recently, I've started to see a few hummingbirds just sitting around on tree branches. That's right! Just sitting there, not doing anything at all.

Don't look at me like that.

The way I see it, you've got a couple of options here, or I go public with this:

1. Pick up the pace a little. I don't want to see any more lounging around. I want you out there collecting pollen 24-7 (or whatever it is that you're doing with those flowers)


b. Tell the world that it's all a lie. That you, too, get a little tired and need a rest every now and then. I'm sure the world would understand, after the initial shock and consequent rebuilding of our entire value and belief systems, which will have been thrown into a nightmarish maelstrom where we question the relevance of even our own existence.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Johnny Cash is on Larry King tonight.

Just a little heads-up for everyone who wants to find out what the hell he was thinking covering Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" on his last album.

I've seen Johnny Cash live 3 or 4 times. Every time I think, this'll be his last tour. I'm glad I got to see him one last time. But the guy just keeps hanging on.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Just in case you were wondering, it is still really incredibly unreasonably windy here.

I just drove over to get a cup of coffee, to remind myself that not all of life is bleak and empty and meaningless, and I was menaced by at least four separate tumbleweeds. They launched themselves at me from the side of the road, as if they were hurled skyward by some scoundrel lurking behind a fence, waiting for such a windy day to wreak havoc with his private tumbleweed army.

Actually, as far as hobbies go, that sounds kind of fun.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

I'm a vacuumer. I like it. It's cathartic. You spend a few minutes running your Hoover over the rug and you feel cleansed. The chaotic whirlpool that is your life finds its purpose in this little act of order.

But I have a fear. A primal fear.

It's rooted in the legend of the Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail.

I'm afraid that one day the vacuum will suck up its own cord. What will happen? Will I die in a fiery, dusty flash? Will a wormhole open into a parallel dimension?

I just don't know.

But I'll keep vacuuming, man. Someone has to push the envelope.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Evil Clown Generator

[wrested from the clutches of Not My Desk]
Pretenders to the Dr. Pepper Crown

I had no idea there were so many faux-peppers out there. Nice to see a picture of a can of Dr. Nut (of Confederacy of Dunces fame).

Another Doctor page

Still another fake Dr Pepper page, with taste test results.

Oh what the hell. Here's another one.

Who knew the conspiracy was this deep?
Apropos of nothing at all:

The Awful Green Things From Outer Space!

Man did I love that game when I was a kid. Here's the Epilog.

Tom Wham, apparently did that game, along with Snit's Revenge, Elefant Hunt and more. Ah nostalgia!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Lords of Light!

For perfectly valid reasons, I just ran an errand to buy tennis balls, and I'm here to tell you that it's unpleasant outside.

It is 8,000°F outside (or, for our metric friends: Real Hot). Eight thousand degrees is too hot for November!

And windy. It's windy. That's the thing (well, one of the things) about living in Orange County that sucks. You get these Santa Ana winds that blow in from Mercury. Hot wind! Along with being one of my least favorite gastrointestinal complaints, hot wind makes you feel like a turkey in one of those convection-cooker Ronco things.

The metal buttons on the ATM? Also, 8,000°. You could see marks where people had left layers of skin on the buttons. Groups of victims with bandaged fingers were gathered around the ATMs, just waiting to see the next poor sap get his burned, so they could howl in anguish-tinged glee.

So I'm saying it's hot.

(Today's entry was brought to you by the number 8000)
Someday, when I'm done gone, they'll write my biography.

It'll be called "A Man and His Struggles with Cling Wrap".

Monday, November 18, 2002

Did you know that the inimitable Suckerman is once again in production?

Maybe. Maybe you did.

Did you care?

Maybe not.
I am happy to report a renewed sense of hope and vigor. The world seems a joyous place. The birds are singing. Prairie dogs are playing the banjo (one of them handles the neck and the other the strumming).

That's right. I bought a new bottle of Pert Plus!

Also, in a not-entirely unrelated story: Eddie Tenpole Tudor is in the new Harry Potter movie. Don't take that as an endorsement of Harry Potter or anything. I've never read any Harry Potter books*. They might be good. They might suck.

*This is somewhat untrue. There was a stolen moment at my sister's house sitting on the pot after a particularly effective coffee, when reading material was hard to come by (see? there's the link to the shampoo thing. Who hasn't been reduced to reading the shampoo bottle on occasion?), when I perused a couple of pages.

Friday, November 15, 2002

You know what's horrible?

The smell of a Mrs. Fields' Cookies or Cinnabon in a mall.

God it's awful.

Um. That's about all I had to say about it.

Oh, no, wait! I have more: The old Kmart smell! Does anyone else remember that? It was like old popcorn and spilled blue ICEEs and cheap food at the Kmart food counter.

And, of course, the smell that is punishing me right now: someone making microwave popcorn at work. There oughta be a law.

All of these things are bad. But I am guessing none of them are as astoundingly bad as Steven Seagal's new movie Half Past Dead.
Get in the cup.

I know. I know it's not a cup. It's a tub. Get in the tub.

I know it smells. It had crumbled bleu cheese in it. Get in there.

No! Don't run the other way!

Look. The walls are metal, they're sloped, and you can't get up there. And it's wet. And if you go down the drain, well, I can't be responsible for what happens to you down there.

It's not like I invited you in here. You just show up. And then you're running all over the place like a maniac. Watch out!

Was that your leg? Did I break your leg? Let me see it. Oh great. Now your leg's broken.

Don't cry. Stop crying.

Look, I'm saving you here. I'm your Jesus. You hear me? I'm your Jesus. You should be singing a little song about me. Maybe, later, you can tell all your pals about me and maybe all of you together can write the song. And you could make a little statue of me. Me and my tub. I know. I know it smells.

Now get in the tub and we'll go outside. It's nice out there. Your leg'll be OK. You have more legs. Look at me. I break a leg, there's no way I'm going anywhere. You? You can suck it up.

Get in the tub, for god's sake.

OK, you in? Good.

No. No! Stay in there. Don't crawl on me! Get off my arm. Are you venomous? You're not venomous.

Get back in there. Let me get the lid on.

OK. Here we are. We're at the door. You cool? You stayin' cool? I'm going to dump you out now, and (listen to me carefully here) when I dump you out, do not under any circumstances attempt to run back into the apartment before I close the door.

It's going to be sort of a flinging thing I'm going to do with the tub and I just want you to be ready. I'm guessing that with you being so small and light there's no way you could get hurt, but I honestly don't know. Maybe you should, like, tuck up into a little ball or something.

Maybe you have some kneepads? You would need eight of them though, right? Well, seven, now. Sorry.

Or a little crash helmet?

Look, if that's your attitude I'll throw you over the railing. How would you like that? Four floors of freefall.

That's what I thought.

OK. Ready? Bye!

Why did you put your web on my hand??? Get off me!

Damn spiders.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Plush Nyarlathotep!

It's important to have toys that can cause major freakouts, especially for the young.
Why not stop by Too Much Coffee Man and catch up on the hilarity?

Or buy some of their new stuff in the Coffee Shop. Christmas is coming, you know.

It's good for America.
Man, have I had Boiling Point out from NetFlix for a long time!

It's not even that I don't want to watch it. I do want to. I like Takeshi Kitano a lot, even if he can be a little demented sometimes.

It's just that I enjoy pissing off the next person who has it in their queue*.

I'm sure, for the first couple of weeks, he thought "Cool! I'm glad someone else out there is enjoying this edgy Yakuza flick."

Weeks 3 and 4 may have brought a sense of indignation.

By week 6, he may have begin to suspect that someone (me, in this equation) was keeping the DVD for an unreasonable amount of time. He may have something there.

If you're out there, Boiling Point guy, I swear I'm going to watch the movie soon, and maybe just a month or so after that, I'll return it. How's April for you?

*In case you don't know, NetFlix is an online service where you rent DVDs and they mail them to you in nice red envelopes** that make you feel important. You put your desired rentals in a queue, and when the next one is available, they send it to you. In the queue, your choices have little notes to tell you how long it will be until they are available, like Now, Short Wait, Long Wait, or Forget it. Some Foul Trickster Has Had This DVD Gathering Dust on His Early 70s Teak Wood Wall Unit for 3 Months. Go Rent Tron Again.

**The envelopes are postage paid. I have come up with a complex scheme utilizing NetFlix envelopes whereby I would never have to pay for postage again. Obviously, such a scheme would require some elaborate precision, and for the phone company to sign up for movies right after I do, but I'm confident with a little research, this thing could pay off. Failing that, I'm looking into the possiblity of drug trafficking using copies of Porky's 3.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

And lo, thirty-one years ago today, there was a great rending of garments and gnashing of various things that are generally gnashable. Also, there was some wailing.

The sky burst open and the thunder roared. This effect, however, was achieved by a guy offstage with some aluminum foil and ball bearings in a bowl.

A headless goat was born to a headless goat mother. Certain other, smaller mammals were born variously with a somewhat larger than average number of heads and no heads. Some trading of heads was allowed, until the head to mammal ratio was acceptable to all concerned. Obviously, not all of the mammals were quick enough on the trade and ended up looking a little silly, but they all agreed that it was better than the alternative.

So there was a lot of confusion.

And me, also. I was born then too. Thirty-one. Makes you think.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Inexplicably, a Seattle Times reporter (who apparently has developed some ways that just aren't right) singled out My Life as an American Gladiator in her article "Where to Get Started in the World of Blogs".
Cats in Hats

Rest assured that for every time you've thought about buying a hat for your cat, your cat has thought about slowly tearing you into shreds over a protracted clawing period of about two weeks.

[grabbed from misterpants]

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Yesterday, one of my hopeless lackeys here at Purgatory Inc. was eating a lemon.

Just a lemon. Sucking the meat out like a damn lemon vampyr.

He looked up at me, lemon pips around his mouth, like a hyena interrupted while feasting on some putrefying carrion, questioning me with almost human eyes, and said "What?"

I quietly turned and left. At least he won't get scurvy.

Monday, November 04, 2002

We went to Tokyo Delve's Sushi Bar for a friend's birthday party this weekend.

Very fun in a singing, disco dancing, screaming waiters kind of way. Also recommended if you enjoy dancing on chairs and drinking sake bombs (sake shot dropped in a mug of beer).

The sushi, also, was excellent.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Last night I managed to catch a little bit of Halloween 4 on the electric television device.

Now, I remember Halloween 1 being pretty scary. Halloween 2, kind of scary. Halloween 3 had that pumpkin mask thing going on, with the great song ""____ more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. ____ more days to Halloween, Silver Shamrock!", and then bugs would come out of the masks and eat kids brains or something. I don't know what that had to do with Michael Myers and chopping people up into little bits, but I have some dim memory of Stonehenge being somehow involved. Those were different times, as noted horror film enthusiast Lou Reed has been known to say on occasion. You've got masks and kids' brains being eaten. That's good enough for me.

Maybe Michael Myers was on sabbatical or something. Or some kind of psychokiller exchange program, hacking up the innocent in the south of France for a semester.

Anyway, he was back for Halloween 4. And his strategy seemed to have evolved into basically boring people to death.

To begin with, Mr. Myers victims seemed unable to figure out that this guy moves really, really slowly. Any way you look at that, you're going to have a leg up in the whole "getting chased by a guy with a knife" scenario. Also, Mr. Myers walks around with his knife raised all the time. And I mean ALL the time. This makes him easy to spot in a crowd, not to mention the fact that he's probably going to have some sore muscles from maintaining that pose for any length of time.

So in the movie, he's chasing a little girl around for an hour and a half or so, or until the budget runs out. And boy, is he chasing her around slowly. It's like being chased by an asthmatic or a tree sloth or something. One scene has the little girl (who falls in the category of incredibly annoying) hiding in a garbage chute. Mr. Myers figures out she's in there (which isn't hard to do because she's saying really loudly "PLEASE DON'T LET HIM GET ME!", not one of the better hiding tactics I've ever seen), at which point she slides down the garbage chute. Mr. Myers walks down to the basement to hassle her some more in various ways, all of which involve him trying to stab her unsuccessfully. This goes on for about five minutes, then she wriggles back up to the top of the garbage chute.

Mr. Myers sighs, and trudges back upstairs to do some more unsuccessful stabbing.

Seldom have I seen someone with less job satisfaction. The guy's really just punching the clock at this point.

And then you have Donald Pleasance, the doctor who is obsessed with Michael Myers, and frankly doesn't seem to have any other hobbies or interests. He runs around being dramatic and breathless a lot, and brandishing guns at law enforcement officials. This is a guy who's had four movies in which to kill one really slow moving, sore-armed killer, and hasn't gotten the job done. His work ethic just can't be all that great.

I think I had a point about this. Maybe it was that Halloween 4 isn't very good.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

This weekend was a nice little 1,000 mile road trip to the Grand Canyon for my wifely friend and I's second wedding anniversary. Hard to believe we've been married two years. Well, honestly, hard to believe she has put up with me for two years.

The trip was made all the more interesting by the fact we made the trip in her Miata, which was designed for people about two inches shorter than myself. This produces a certain low throbbing in the leg region after the first 200 miles.

But the drive was nice. The wife drove and I gazed out the window, searching for feisty alien craft. If you believe the literature, those little guys are just zooming around all over the place out there, waiting for an opportunity to mess with unsuspecting motorists' heads. But I didn't see any.

The Grand Canyon is, of course, just totally breathtaking. There's no vertigo quite like Oh-my-God-I-could-totally-fall-off-this-mile-high-cliff vertigo. They should also give you those little signs that say "Yipes" that Wile E. Coyote holds up right before he falls off a cliff. Those could come in handy.

We stayed at the Bright Angel Lodge, which is right on the Southern Rim of the Canyon, and is the beginning of the Bright Angel Trail that goes down into the Canyon itself. This is also the trail that you ride burros down. We walked a mile or two (or maybe, like, 500 yards) down the trail, dodging packs of Gore-tex clad German tourists, until we began to fear our flabby bodies wouldn't make it out again, and turned around. Surprisingly enough, it's a lot more difficult going up.

Anyway, hopefully we'll get some pictures up soon.

On the way back we drove through the very confusing town of Wonder Valley, California, near Joshua Tree. In Wonder Valley, you have these huge expanses of nothing. Just desert and rocks and Joshua Trees, and every once in a while there's a little tiny shack. Do people live in these things, writing their anti-government manifestos and saying "Mr Gummint Man" a lot? I guess so, because there sure isn't anything else to do out there.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Flash Atari Adventure

Crazily fun. I bet if you gave this to a twelve year old now, he'd look at you like you were crazy.

"So. I kill the dancing chicken monster with this arrow? Yeah. Fun, old man. Fun."
Lurid Paperback Cover of The Week

I found this while searching for a Cthulhu-inspired book I read some years ago, "Dwellers in the Mirage" by A. Merritt.

Remembered why? Because of an excellent Snarkout entry.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Hotel Hangers: The Sequel

[via machaus]
Hilarious court transcript of a man accused of stealing 40,000 hotel hangers.

Counsel: Now, Mr Chrysler – for let us assume that that is your name – you are accused of purloining in excess of 40,000 hotel coat hangers.

Chrysler: I am.

Counsel: Can you explain how this came about?

Chrysler: Yes. I had 40,000 coats which I needed to hang up.

Counsel: Is that true?

Chrysler: No.

Counsel: Then why did you say it?

Chrysler: To attempt to throw you off balance.

[thx Chimichanga]

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

I was just attacked by a yawn.

It took me unawares, like a crafty werewolf wearing soft loafers, or maybe espadrilles.

New for 2002: Prisoner Smurf

I like it.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Double Secret Bonus Bradshaw Link: Terry Bradshaw Watermelon Carving

Supplementary Melon Carvings:

Jerome Bettis

Lynn Swan

The Somewhat Disappointing NFL Football
Another Big Movie Idea

Terry Bradshaw getting hit in the nuts with a bat.

That's it. Two hours of Terry Bradshaw getting hit in the nuts with a bat.

It's beautiful in its simplicity, really. The production costs would be really low, because you could film it all in one continuous take, as the wacky Terry Bradshaw begins to wail and moan, never knowing when the next blow will be delivered. Only knowing that it will be delivered, with crushing finality, to his nuts.

About an hour into the film he'll start to really lose it. Maybe he'll even start laughing as the next impact comes, or singing a song.

It's got suspense, too. Howie Long could come in and see his colleague Terry Bradshaw in such dire straits, and attempt to rescue him.

Howie Long, too, would be hit in the nuts with a bat.

The profit margins would be incredible. Because everyone hates Terry Bradshaw, and everyone likes that America's Funniest Videos show, which is really just an excuse to show a bunch of guys getting hit in the nuts, right?

This movie has it all.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I have seen the future of snacking and it is called "Wasabi Peas"!

We just had our quarterly meeting here at Purgatory, Inc, where the president of the company gets up and says really weird and enigmatic things. People clap and snigger and we get free grapes and danish.

It was very reassuring to know that all of our problems are over, now that we have gotten the problem solving software "MicroSoft 2000".

Also, I think he told us all to start doing speed. I just can't support that sort of thing. And maybe he can afford a daily drug habit, being president and all, but for the rest of us it might be a stretch on the pocketbook.

The grapes were very good though.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I don't know if it was that last eyeball thing, which may have proved too disturbing for some of the more normal viewers of this site, but I just haven't been able to remember anything to write down lately.

Well, that's kind of a cop-out, really. When I write these little blurbs on My Life as an American Gladiator, I don't have anything grandiose planned out. There are no flowcharts. There are no ratios. I know that's probably obvious from the level of discourse generally seen here, but anyway, that's how I do it.

Sometimes, I'll leave myself little notes about something I was thinking about, so that a month later I'll find a post-it note that says "Footloose Dies", like I just found here on my desk, or "Clown injection" or something equally nonsensical. Seems like lately I've even been forgetting to write out the post-it notes. Too lazy for scrawled, indecipherable notes. That's ennui for you.

I had one brilliant thought today that combined the concept of a salad bar with the "claw" game designed to enfuriate arcade-goers, but I am pretty sure that if I think about it any more it'll turn out to be not really a very good idea, so let's leave it at that. For starters, there's the sanitation issue. And how much bleu cheese dressing can you really pick up with one of those claw things anyway?

Not much.

So, in the interim, here's a post that's been sitting in the "drafts" section of Blogger Pro for just about 6 months:

You know what's tons of fun? If there's a guy behind you on the road who wants to go really really fast in his souped up Nissan, go really slow. They love that. This is especially amusing because you know that they have nowhere special to be. This was confirmed to me recently when just such an incident occurred, causing the other driver to eventually roar past me, tires squealing, spoiler bravely spoiling, and pull into the McDonald's parking lot that was perhaps fifty feet away. I pictured the driver's tiny proto-mind flashing with images of the sort you find on McDonald's registers: "Must have Filet-O-Fish! Must Have Filet-O-Fish! Ngggggh! VW going speed limit in front of me! Must crush! Filet-O-Fish!!!" and so on.

I always wonder what would happen if I was ever actually confronted by one of these car guys in the flesh. I think I could probably convince them that my car goes one thousand miles an hour, if I use a couple of big words that they haven't heard before.

Well, there you have it. A little snippy maybe, but that's all you get today. Until I can get this salad bar claw game thing fleshed out, that is.

Friday, October 11, 2002

You know, whenever things are going badly for me, I think about one thing: Having my eyeball ripped out by a hook.

I know, I know. Everyone thinks about that all the time. I'm not breaking any new ground here.

But I remember seeing some teevee show when I was a kid, and it was about eye injuries. There was a guy on who had only one eye, because when he was a child he was swinging a little chain (with a hook on it) around, and he pulled out his own eye. On the same program, they showed real eye surgery, and in one shot the doctor was holding a guy's whole entire eye in his hand.

What does it mean? I don't know. It does make me question the motives of teevee stations, to be showing that sort of thing*. I mean who, watching that, is not going to get the willies? I'm shuddering right now just remembering it.

Also, when I think about my eyeball getting ripped out by a hook, I also think about the movie "The Fog", that I must have seen around the same time, in which lumbering ghosts of sailors, apparently bored with sailing around in the fog all the time, decide to rip out people's throats with a big hook.

That would probably be worse. If you were given a choice between having your eyeball ripped out with a hook, and your throat ripped out with a hook, could you make that kind of decision? That's what I'm really getting at here.

*There was a time, a few years back, when it seemed like I couldn't switch on the teevee without seeing somebody's leg cut open or an appendectomy or tracheotomy or something. This trend seems to be declining, which is a great relief to me, because I eat a lot of tomato-based sauces.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

BunnyBass Amusing Bass Guitars

[Thanks to Bungee Benji]

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

The Shat Doing Rocketman at the 1978 Sci Fi Film Awards (RealAudio clip)

[liberated from misterpants]
Things that I like because they are disgusting:

Ginger Altoids
Wintergreen Altoids
Really Strong Black Licorice
Circus Animal Cookies
Sioux City Birch Beer
French Fries with Brown Gravy
Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
Underwood Meat Spread

Monday, October 07, 2002

So cool. Escher LEGO.

Ascending and Descending


First off, let me apologize to anyone who thought that I had been killed after reading that last post.

Some of you may have figured out that if I actually did get runned over, I probably wouldn't rush over to the computer to post an entry about it. This is because, being dead, I would have a hard time typing.

I was just menaced in variously deathward ways by a large truck with those stupid jet tires being driven by a neanderthal man. Obviously, this guy was threatened by my little Golf and his first instinct was to crush and destroy. Perfectly understandable. Luckily for me, I was saved by my quick thinking and very observant invisible elf co-pilot, Steve The Quick Thinking Elf, so it all worked out OK.

I'm just glad my Cheez-It car escaped any permanent damage.

Friday, October 04, 2002

I was unaware that today is Run Over Kafkaesque With A Giant Truck Day.

I must have missed a memo.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

It is here!

My new car has arrived!

Perhaps you would like a ride in my new car, yes? Never! You shall never ride in it!

The Cheez-It Collectible NASCAR is mine and mine alone! I will rev its little tiny engine at my leisure, frightening insects and less complex forms of life, alone and free on a little tiny highway!

What's that you say? You will get your own Cheez-It Collectible NASCAR? Ha!

Perhaps it is within the realm of possiblity that you could cough up the $1.95, but are you truly ready for the challenge of procuring two proof of purchases?

I thought not.
Kafkaesque = Way Uncool

Exhibit A, if it please the court:

I am now listening to "The Joshua Tree", a CD which I own. And I like it.

God help me.
On my frequent road trips up to the Bay Area, I'm all about the jerky. There are many factors to consider in your purchase of jerky, however.

1 - Do you wish to allay any dental wounds?

You may wish to opt for the softer jerky. Some jerky seems to have been made by leaving it out on the interstate and letting it get run over by large trucks, like the kid in Pet Sematary. This results in jerky roughly the consistency of burlap.

The softer jerky, while worrying in its own way, is far safer on your teeth. There is a dilemma inherent in the soft jerky hunt itself, though.

2 - How to find the soft jerky?

Whenever we stop for jerky on our road trips, my wife and I gaze at the plethora of jerky choices laid out before us like an open, salty road. Once, we found the primo jerky of all time. It was soft, succulent, did not remove any fillings, and had no inexplicable cow parts within. This supreme jerky experience has tainted us.

Now, whenever we stop for jerky, we search in vain for this particular brand. The odd thing is that neither of us can remember what brand it was. This is similar to the concept of Missing Time, experienced by many alien abductees who say really ludicrous things and have unreliable timepieces.

What am I saying here? Just that there may be a relationship between the good jerky and probing. So be careful.

3 - The Dirty Jerky

Sure, you've got a lot of jerky choices, but I beg you, people of earth, do not venture into the arena of Dirty Jerky. You know what I'm talking about. The jerky that sits up by the gas station register in a little cubby hole or giant plastic jar. You reach your hand in and pull out a slab of jerky that's just sitting in there unwrapped, like a jerky nudist.

God knows how many grubby hands have fondled that jerky before you. Maybe someone whose hygeine habits are less than 100% effort-wise, I don't know. They should just call that stuff Hepatitis Jerky.

4 - The somewhat daunting price consideration

Jerky is unreasonably expensive. I have paid anywhere from a couple of dollars for a bag up to about 9 dollars. 9 dollars! Why the hell does jerky cost 9 dollars?! Why would anyone pay that much for jerky?! Are you some kind of idiot, Kafkaesque?

Quite possibly.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Oh, Melinda Copper, how right you are. "The Age of Sensuality and Grace" is pretty much defined by paintings of cats in classical poses.

Also Animal Nobility.

Classics of Animal Art

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Murakami's new book, Kafka on the Shore, is a sequel to Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World. Now if they would just hurry up and translate it into English!

Brief interview at The Village Voice.

[via leuschke]

Saturday, September 28, 2002

The Big Movie Idea:

Remake Footloose, except this time everyone dies at the end. Except Kevin Bacon, who dies at the beginning. And take out all the music too. Especially that "Let's Hear it for the Boy" song.

All the fun-loving kids are forced to dance themselves to death in silence, in a grisly parody of a dance marathon, tibias eventually protruding through the skin of their horribly mangled legs. Too dark?

Maybe. Maybe too dark.

Also, remake Sleepless In Seattle, except this time everyone dies at the end.

A lot of movies could be greatly improved if everyone died at the end. No-one understands this very simple principle.

Tom Hanks, too, should die more.

Friday, September 27, 2002


Thursday, September 26, 2002

One final thing to complain about: my left pinky finger. Look, I'm not blaming you or anything, but couldn't you be a little more careful?
Also, since I'm generally complaining about things here, let me say that I spent a terrifying thirty seconds this morning trapped in the elevator of my apartment hive community with a guy who could not stop sneezing. I mean this guy really couldn't stop sneezing.

You know, when you sneeze a couple of times, and you think to yourself "Wow, that was a lot of sneezing right there! I'm lucky nothing else came out of me."? This guys must have sneezed eight times. EIGHT times! In thirty seconds.

I didn't know what to do. There was nowhere to run. I backed against the corner of the elevator and watched in silent horror, as my fellow elevatorer put his hand up to his nose and tried to stop what must have been a torrential flow of goo. It was like some Peckinpah shootout movie, with the sneezes replayed over and over and over in frame-by-frame.

The elevator is chrome or some kind of shiny metal on the inside, and that only magnified the horror: all around me were reflections of the sneeze! Repeated endlessly into infinity.

That guy was a sneezing machine.
Someone stole our cactus.

My fantasy is that our cactus wasn't stolen at all, that it somehow became animate, and squeezed its cactus roots out of the pot, padded down the corridor on them like tentacles, pressed the button on the elevator and was gone, like the wind. The fact that the pot is also gone casts some doubt on this theory. Unless (and I realize this is rather unlikely), having squeezed out of the pot, it then decided to use the pot as a jaunty hat, not unlike a sombrero.

This was a big cactus. We had had it for over ten years, and it had been handed down to us by people who had owned it for years before that. It was probably 3 feet tall.

Maybe, at this moment, it is riding a horse, out on the plains. Maybe today it is free. Maybe it is even fighting crime.

But I know that's not true.

Some asshole stole our cactus. People suck.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Just added a bunch of discs to the Music Trading List including

- A couple of REM collections
- A really great PJ Harvey show
- Tom Waits' Tales from the Underground 1-5
- 3 Palace discs
- The Dylan/Cash Skyline Sessions
- 1 Mogwai disc
Oh, Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its!

You are so nasty. So pleasingly nasty.

Come here, you vixens, and let me devour you. My hands shall be covered in cheese-slime, attracting insects and vermin, but I care not!

You rival Chikn-In-a-Biskit for sheer ickiness. Your somewhat cheese-like taste the product of some demented Sunshine employee, forever turned from God's path.

You are the coming of darkness, and the end of days!

Yes, my pretties. Yes.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Notes from my lunch with born-again friend:

- God has the Old Testament. Jesus has the New Testament. What about the Holy Ghost? No love for the Ghost?
- This is not a good thing to say to a born-again person: "I can understand being religious and all, but creationism? Does anyone really believe in that crap?"
- Also not a good thing to say to a born-again person: "All the fast food places have little things for you to stick on your antenna. Why don't they make a Jesus-on-the-Cross antenna buddy?"

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Malevole's Tribute to Ray Harryhausen

Remember the old days of Wheel of Fortune? When the arguably dim contestants would have to choose their prizes in a weird Shopping Death-March?

I loved that.

They'd buy the trip to Barbados, and the marginally crappy car, or whatever, and then the panic would start to set in. Somewhere on that little storefront stage there would be a ceramic elephant magazine holder, or a jaunty leopard-shaped lamp just waiting for them.

Someone has wasted more time than was probably justifiable on a page about just that*. Including the enigmatic Chuck Woolery griping about the prizes: "Did you see that print up close? Do you like it? You're just being polite...It's better than the other Chagall that we had. It was seventeen lizards sucking on an orange..."

I think Chuck Woolery may have been hopped up on goofballs. God knows I would have been if I was the host of Wheel of Fortune.

Oh man! They even have a page on the sets, and music!

*It's a nice feature of that page that the navigation features the phrase "What's your pleasure?", calling to mind the friendly Cenobites of Hellraiser fame. A Cenobite game show is really a natural though. Contestants could earn different pleasures of unendurable agony. The catch phrase "I'll tear your soul apart!" would go over big in middle America.

Pinhead could host:"Oh yes, Mrs. Eleanor Johnson. You've chosen Barbed Fishhooks Tearing Into Your Soft Underbelly While Your Eyes Are Drilled Out for $1000. Oh the delight!"

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

We're going to The Grand Canyon in a few weeks, and I'm working on a great strategy for annoying my wife.

Whenever I mention The Canyon, I will say it in one of two ways:

a. With a Cajun accent, thus "Thee CanYON!"


2. With an air of rueful regret, as if once, long ago, my life was ruined there, maybe by a pirate attack or a backstabbing double-agent. This is more challenging, but it can be accomplished by simply repeating the words "The Canyon" softly and staring wistfully into the distance. Perhaps a small shake of the head.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

A harrowing document of cat puke from my good friend Eeksy Peeksy.

I feel your pain, brother, having been the victim of a panicked "The cat is peeing on the rug! The cat is peeing on the rug!" telephone report.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Please, I beg you, don't see 13 Ghosts.

It may be too late for some of you out there, and in that case I apologize wholeheartedly that my warning did not reach you sooner.

And why? Why must I impart this vital information to you?

Because it really, really sucks. Maybe it's because we had just watched Don't Look Now, which just came out on DVD and is creepy as hell in spite of not being gory or loud and has Donald Sutherland in it, which is always a bonus, and you should be renting right this very minute. I don't know.

What sucked about 13 Ghosts? Only a few things:

- The writing
- The direction
- The plot
- The acting
- The acting again because it was so bad.
- The ghosts themselves
- Basically everything
- Oh wait, that guy was really awful.

You may think to yourself, after reading these lines, that 13 Ghosts isn't really all that bad, that I was just funning you, as the kids say. No. Just don't do it.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Also, I just caught some of the weirdest cartoon I've ever seen.

Food-ons. It's kind of like Pokemon, but with food monsters. The young boy hero whipped up a Fried Rice Warrior in this episode to do battle with the evil "Beefsteak" dragon.

Check out some of the characters.

Is there a moral? Are they selling rice or something? I can't wait for next week.
Tha baseball hung in the lights, turned ovoid by the spin from Barry Bonds' bat.

We went down to QualComm stadium last night to watch our Giants play the San Diego Padres, who are good at taking a beating. Of course, the Giants won, but the real highlight of the game occurred just after we arrived, having screamed down Interstate 5, past the border checkpoint, and pulling into the parking lot just after the first inning.

Whenever I go to a ballgame, I look at my seats and gauge the possiblity that I'll be able to catch a foul ball at the game. Sometimes you're sitting behind the screen behind home plate and there's just no chance. Sometimes you're under an overhang and the only way a ball could find its way up to you would be if it bounced off some poor unfortunate's head.

This time, our seats were on the third base line, the very first row of the loge level. That's the level right above field level. Great seats. We had the first row, which seemed to be the result of some clerical error. We were asked for our ticket stubs by ushers about four separate times, and when I asked about it one of them said that they don't sell the first row for safety reasons. We were sitting right behind the railing, and I guess I could see how some overexuberant fan could launch him/herself over the rail. You probably would't die falling from that height, but you'd at least break something. And the people you landed on probably wouldn't be too happy about it either.

So when we sat down in these seats, I thought "These are foul ball seats. I bet one comes over here." If you've gone to enough games and sat relatively close to home plate, you've seen a few fouls come your way. They always land in the next section, or a gang of kids swarms the area before you can even react. Sometimes, a lucky soul will make the catch, and get a cheer from the crowd. Sometimes, they'll miss dramatically, and the crowd will boo, good-naturedly of course. You look at the fan who made the catch, and think how they'll be boring people with that story for years to come. But the foul ball never comes right to you. It's always someone else.

The ball came off Barry Bonds' bat and shot up into the night sky. It was high, but not too high. When a foul comes toward you like that, you can see the distortion of the ball, from the spin and the impact of the bat. It gets sort of ovoid. This ball was doing that. It looked like it was going to land about five sections to our left, but then the spin kicked in and it started to bend back towards us. Moments like that later seem to have happed in stop-motion. I don't know if that's the result of growing up watching TV and movies, where grand moments are beamed at you in slow-mo, letting you see all the angles, the looks on the faces of the crowd as they spill their beer, the reflection of the ball in the eyes of a little kid at his first game.

But you couldn't argue about it now. The ball was coming for me. Right at me in a bending arc. And it was coming pretty fast.

I was there with my wife and a friend from work, another displaced Bay Area Giants fan. My wife had a full beer in her hand, and my friend had both a beer and a sandwich in his hands. These beers cost $7.25, so you're loath to spill them. I had secured my beer under the seat with Bonds coming to the plate. A left handed batter, and the Big Star. Bonds is larger than life. A man among boys. He is baseball, in a lot of ways. The arrogant star for whom everything is so easy.

I got up from my seat and stepped to the railing.

It was weird because whenever you see foul balls on TV, there are maybe twenty people pushing each other out of the way to get a piece of it. But this was just me. I don't know if it was because we were the only people sitting in that first row, or because of the strange arc of the ball, making people think it wouldn't curve over to us, but no-one else even tried for it. My wife, I'm sure, was ducking. My friend didn't even react. I was right at the railing, thinking, "It'll come down on the field level. It can't make it up here."

And now it was coming down right into my hands. I put my hands out like I was catching a football. I didn't think about it. I figured I was leaning just enough out over the railing to get it. I didn't want to fall over and get hurt, after all.

All of a sudden I thought about the ball sitting on my desk at work. Or at home. People would see it and ask what the significance of the ball was. And I'd tell them how it was like winning the lottery. In a stadium with 25,000 other people, this ball was mine, as sure as if Rawlings had printed my name on it at the factory. People would hear the story and think how lucky I was, how they'd been going to games their whole lives and never had a chance like that. I wondered if I should get one of those glass dome things for it.

And then the ball was there.

I don't know if I even touched it. It went right through my hands, that's for sure. Bounced off the railing with a resounding clang and down onto field level as a chorus of boos began from the crowd.

I can't catch. I guess I have to accept that. Just for a minute, though, I thought I could be the guy on the highlight reel who leans out and makes the grab.

And maybe that minute was worth it, anyway.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

For no reason at all:

First, the sumptuous weirdness of Lasso Guy with Eiffel Tower.

And who could not be moved by the purely nonsensical Masked Wrestler with Chicken?

For timeless oddness though, it's hard to beat Frogs in Top Hats

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Monday, September 09, 2002


Share in our efforts to save these endangered animals. They have very special needs, as they come from a unique environment. Not only does quality care take hard work and dedication - it's expensive! As an adopter for a year, your contribution will help ensure a bright future for these beautiful and remarkable animals.

Bush Babies are on special. But I kid. Sounds like a great cause.
Lemur Sights & Sounds
This song has been stuck in my head all day, which is kind of weird because I can't remember the last time I actually heard it.

The band, Mental As Anything, is apparently still around.
I often tell people I am from Madagascar, and will fight them to the death if they don't believe me, in scenes similar to the final fight sequences of Kung Fu movies in which the hero's shirt always comes off and the combatants are magically transported to a beach with no explanation.

I have even gone so far as to claim scars from childhood injuries are in fact lemur toothmarks.

The whole entire reason for telling people this is that I always liked having Madagascar when I played Risk. It was one of the spots on the map that seemed really ineffectual, and made you wonder why they even put it there. There should really be an optional rule for Risk which states that when you have three armies left, and you're cowering in Western Australia, about to be crushed by an army of black plastic Roman Numerals so immense that it doesn't even fit on Siam anymore, your armies can hop in a boat and sail off to Madagascar, to live out your days in peace.

I like to think that the inventors of the game had a soft spot for Madagascar. I bet when they were making the game, whenever they mentioned Madagascar, they'd look at each other and say in a hushed and reverential tone "The Land That Time Forgot!"

Madagascar is one of the only countries that has a built-in subtitle like that, and ranks second in public TV and Animal Planet documentaries only to Galapagos, land of needlessly large turtles.

And don't even bother getting all pedantic and telling me they're tortoises, because I'll just ignore you.
My god! linked my blog.

Evhead is the blog of the president/CEO of Pyra Labs, the creators and operators of Blogger.

As Roy Batty so nicely put it "It's not an easy thing to meet your maker." Now I'm going to have to force Ev to give me the incept dates, or there'll be trouble.

But wait! I'm an agnostic.

And so is my blog. My blog doesn't believe in the existence of Evan Williams, but believes there is no order to its universe. It and all the other blogs exist in a perpetual state of chaos, with no higher purpose or unified hand guiding them. Secretly, it wants to believe in the existence of an omnipotent Evan Williams, but it just can't convince itself to take that leap of faith.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Songs with Parentheses

I kind of miss songs with parentheses. That's all. Like "Don't You (Forget About Me)" and "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight". They had that certain flair. I mean, can you imagine how the world would be different today if The Cutting Crew had named their opus "Died In Your Arms Tonight"? It doesn't bear thinking about. I might even suggest the title would be improved if they added more parentheses thus: "(I Just) Died In Your Arms (Tonight)".

So, if you are one of these rockin and rollin types with a band and all, please think about including needless parentheses in your song titles.

Thank you.
You know who's really good to make fun of?

Steven Seagal, that's who.

When you make little snipey comments about him, it helps you to grow and develop as a person, because in spite of the fact that Steven Seagal could probably beat your punk ass into a quivering mass of tears and regret, there's no way he would ever know. You know what else is great? There is virtually no chance that anyone will admit to liking Steven Seagal movies enough to argue with you.

But wait, Mr. Seagal is apparently The Action Lama. This turns out to be a Buddhist reincarnation thing and not a llama on rocket skates or something, which is kind of disappointing.

Action Lama playing drums.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

We watched Klaus Kinski: My Best Fiend last night, Werner Herzog's documentary about his work with Kinski. Really an excellent look at the actor through the eyes of Herzog, who is a little nutty himself, though not quite as much so as Kinski was. There are some great bits like Herzog nonchalantly mentioning his plan to kill Kinski by burning down his house.

What you really come away with is the sense that Kinski really invented himself, became a crazy magnetic juggernaut, bigger than life. The film begins with footage from his "Jesus Tour", a one man show in which he took the part of Jesus and basically ranted at the crowd, and closes with a very moving shot of him with a butterfly flapping around his head, Kinski with a beatific look on his face.

There are a lot of great behind the scenes sequences from Fitzcarraldo (many of which I had already seen in the wonderful documentary Burden of Dreams) and Aguirre, the Wrath of God.

More on Kinski: Klaus Encounters with some great images, a complete filmography, and also a nice Cineaste interview with Herzog..

Friday, August 30, 2002

Also, I'd like to clear things up about this Richard Gere thing.

Yesterday was third time someone has told me that I look like Richard Gere, star of such light classics as The Mothman Prophecies. I never saw The Mothman Prophecies. I think it had something to do with Moths. Like some creepy old guy saying "Beware the moths!" a lot. Or maybe some guy dresses up as a moth and eats all of Richard Gere's socks. I don't know.

I don't look a lot like Richard Gere. We are both bipeds. I'll give you that. Then there's the thing with us both having eyes and legs. And hair. And the same general number of fingers. Other than that, there is not too much similarity. And also, Richard Gere is not a very good celebrity to look like. The whole rodent thing is not something I want to be associated with, urban legend or no.

And honestly, I look more like Richard Gere than, say, a 500 lb Samoan guy with facial tattoos, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go.

It is pretty cool though, to party with the Dalai Lama.
I have been paying my rent every day here in the Tower of Song, but times are getting a little tight. I may have to consider moving to the Duplex of Tuneless Humming.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

An entire site dedicated to Theme Park Brochures!

[via The Ultimate Insult]

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Greedy's Bakeries!

Damn your smurf to a lifetime of mockery and abuse at the hands of cruel and callous smurfholes, as the pies and eclairs drop ever faster, ever faster, inevitably falling to the smurf-floor, where they will end up dusty and unloved.

Or, if you prefer, go and take the Which Smurf Am I Quiz, which I got 3 out of 6 on, even though I assure you I was robbed of two answers on pure technicalities.
I wrote this entry for no clear reason, except to say the word "toast" a lot. It's not the best thing I've ever written on my blog. I just wanted to get that out in the open from the get-go. You may want to just skip to one of the archives right now, to be totally honest with you. But, you know, I'm not exactly burning the midnight oil on the blog entries lately, and some the magical elves at Kafkaesque Labs are starting to grow complacent, so here you go:

Toaster Shopping 101

To choose the best toaster for you and yours, just stop by your local Target, Macy's or what have you, with a couple of loaves of bread. For the beginner, I would recommend white bread, or perhaps a light rye. More experienced shoppers may opt for anything up to pumpernickel, though I advise you to steer clear of Vollkornbrot or non-frosted Pop Tarts, for reasons both aesthetic and aerodynamic.

Once you have come to grips with the layout of the store, toaster-wise, secure your borders. Make sure there are no miscreants poking or otherwise fondling any of the toasters or generally being a nuisance. You can chase them off with sharper implements from the Housewares section. The blade from an Oster blender, for example, makes an excellent Shuriken, or throwing star.

Once you have the toaster "theater" to yourself, you are ready to shop.

Assemble all of the toasters next to each other, and load them up with bread. It is extremely important that you depress all of the toast-plungers at the same time, probably requiring the use of a "toast stick" from a toast stick manufacturer of good standing in your community (unless you are one of those Indian gods with eight sets of arms*).

Take note of which toast pops the fastest, which has the longest "hang time", and which achieves both the highest altitude and airspeed velocity. This is the toaster for you.

If no clear winner has emerged, it may be necessary to institute a challenge round, where toast is popped for distance, or accuracy (which may be important if you have visions of using your toaster for home defense).

For more advanced toaster hunters, a "toaster-off" (or "Duel o' the Toaste") may be undertaken, in which two persons "square off" by marching ten paces away from each other, turning and then firing toast until one person is hit by toast, the bread runs out, or one participant either falls asleep or suffers death by electrocution (note: if you are fatally electrocuted by a toaster at any point during your toaster shopping, make a note not to purchase that particular brand.)

* Of course, if you were one of those Indian gods with eight sets of arms, you could probably depress the toast-plungers simultaneously with your mind. Or, come to think of it, you could just toast the bread with your mind. But maybe you're a sentimental, old-school kind of Indian god with eight sets of arms who enjoys sitting home of a weekend and manually toasting. I don't know. I don't want to pigeonhole you into a certain disposition, especially seeing as how you could probably set me up with a good word for the reincarnation thing. So, to summarize, if you are an Indian god with eight sets of arms: firstly, welcome to my little blog. I am honored that a deity such as yourself could take time from your busy schedule just to read about shopping for toasters. Secondly, just go ahead and do what you think is right as far as the depression of the toast-plungers. I'm sure you know better than me, a mere mortal, who only has the one set of arms

Sunday, August 25, 2002

I just narrowly escaped death by Baba Ghanouj.

In the Kafkaesque household, weekends signal the time for DVD watching, beer consumption, and housecleaning. I dove into the Himalayan pile of dishes stacked by the sink with what I considered to be relative aplomb, and happily scrubbed and prewashed for our somewhat temperamental diahwasher. It fills me with delight that I have to wash everything before it can be adequately washed.

Anyway, I spotted a Whole Foods tub of Baba Ghanouj remains, perched on the edge of the sink, and half full of water, the top sealed.

I looked at it and thought, "You know, I bet that old Baba Ghanouj that's been soaking in water for over a week smells revolting."

So I did what any right-thinking individual would do: took the top off and held it to my nose. I don't know why I do things like this. It must be some inner deathwish, or perhaps the desire to be able to bore people with particularly evocative olfactory metaphors in the days to come.

A variety of descriptions spring to mind for the aroma that sprang from that little tub:

· the chill, death ridden air of the charnel house
· Satan's cologne
· a Bio-warfare weapon too awful to inflict upon humanity.

I lit matches. I waved towels. I sprayed things that you spray. Nothing would disperse that vile stench.

Even now I have visions that my memoirs will end thus:

It's late, and I fear the worst. The Baba Ghanouj smell has found me. I thought, halfway around the world in a small Tunisian village, I would be safe. And for years, my life has been idyllic. But always lurking in the back of my mind has been the threat that it would one day find me. I must close now. It comes.

Friday, August 23, 2002

My copy of Haruki Murakami's new collection of short stories, After The Quake, arrived today.

I received it at work and drove home joyfully (apologies to any pedestrians who may have been frightened), eager to crack it open. I grabbed a glass of water and took to the balcony with my new little book.

By the way, I have to say that Murakami's hardbacks (at least the English translations, which are published by Alfred A. Knopf) are always really pleasing. The heft of the book. The cover art. The typesetting (In fact, this, like the other books, has a note at the end on the typeface itself. After The Quake uses "centaur" typeface). They make the reading experience multi-faceted, for me at least. This is a short-ish book. A couple of hundred pages, containing only six stories. The type is double spaced and the margins large. I just like the fact that it seems the publisher actually cared about the presentation of the book.

Anyway, I opened the book and read the first story, "UFO In Kushiro", in about ten minutes.

And then, I started to feel a little afraid. Here was my new Murakami, that I had waited for for so long, and I was in danger of leaping through it in the course of an evening! I have been rereading his books again and again for years. Was I going to devour this one so quickly, and add it to the pile of already-read?

A dilemma, to be sure.

I put the book aside and found something else to do. I think I'll try to budget it. Maybe treat myself to one story a day.

Anyway, this is just a little recommendation, I guess. Because there aren't too many writers who can provide me with a dilemma like this. Maybe Iain Banks, though he hasn't consistently grabbed me with every book like Murakami does.

I guess I'm a fan.

(added bonus: transcript of webchat with Iain Banks)

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Can we stop it with the talking babies?

Talking babies aren't funny. They aren't cute. They're even less cute if they're wearing those "Risky Business" sunglasses. Or singing. Or wearing a bowler hat. That really sucks too. Well, maybe the hat is OK. But not if they're talking too. No deal.

I know it's the easy way out, ad guy. You've got a deadline and you just panic. You're going to get fired and you just just blurt out "Talking Baby!!" And the deal is done. You've damned us to another spot with the talking baby.

Nothing is worse than the talking baby. Except two talking babies. You know, one of them's a boy and one's a girl? And they're flirting with each other? All wrong.

It's just freaky. So stop it.

And another thing here, while I'm on a roll. The feathered-hair girl lip-synching the words to a Foghat song on, like, every single damn Classic Rock Radio Station commerical ever in the history of recorded time? Enough!

The seed has been planted. "Live Like a Refugee" is inexorably bonded with the air guitar and lip synching thing. Come up with something else, for god's sake!
So what the hell else is going on? I hear you cry.

Well we rewatched The Singing Detective in the last couple of days. It's so good. You've got psoriasis, hallucinations, animated scarecrows, dead people being fished out of the Thames and lip-synching too. You should get it right now. It is, by the way, a six-episode British miniseries starring Michael Gambon (of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover fame). I would say the best miniseries ever made are The Singing Detective and Brideshead Revisited. That is, of course, just me.

What's this?? NO! They are remaking The Singing Detective in Hollywood! With Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Junior!

Why do they have to do stuff like that? Why did they have to remake Wings of Desire into a crappy Nicholas Cage movie? Why did they have to utterly destroy The Vanishing and La Femme Nikita?

God forbid the American public should watch the smart version. The original version. No, they have to take great films and make them accessible to the Lowest Common Denominator of society.


Monday, August 19, 2002

This weekend we went all crazy and visited places in Los Angeles we've been wanting to go.

The Bradbury Building - Remember Blade Runner? The building where JF Sebastian lived, where Batty chases Deckard around and gets all mopey with the doves? This is it.

From the visitor handout: "The story of The Bradbury Building is as dramatic as the building itself - inspired by an 1880s science fiction story, designed with an assist from the occult by a draftsman with no architectural or engineering training and built by a mining millionaire as his final monument..."

The Canals of Venice Beach - Venice Beach, the famous part, is not all that interesting. Not unless you're into crowds, stinkiness, stale churros, body piercing and Muscle Beach. What is fascinating is the canal system that was built there.

From the Streets of Los Angeles site: "Venice California was a one man's dream of a place to resemble Venice, Italy. In 1900 Abbot Kinney founded Venice, California. At first Venice was a romantic twenty-mile network of canals, and waterfront homes. Kinney's idea never really caught on, and with the arrival of automobiles as the main mean of transportation, the canals were abounded. Most of the canals were filled in and today the remaining canals are the foreground to a postcard-like neighborhood which attracts tourists from all over the world."

We wandered around the canal streets and had a look at the million-dollar homes that line them. I wondered what it must be like to live in such a place, where a steady stream of gawkers is ambling by your front gate, trying to catch a glimpse of you as you make your morning coffee. It would definitely have its down-side, especially if you are a tragic victim of bedhead.

Here's an interesting site with a big collection of historical articles on Venice, including the somewhat disturbing "Horrendous Amusement Park Accidents".

The Museum of Jurassic Technology - So great. This place is somewhat hidden in Culver City, and somewhat hidden even when you get there. You have to ring a doorbell to be let in, and then you are ushered in to what is really a treasure trove of little delights, small somewhat quirky, maybe even crazy, artifacts and displays from the "Lower Jurassic". What's not really ever made clear is when the Lower Jurassic was. The theory seems to be that we are still in the Lower Jurassic.

Displays include the work of Kircher, who developed, among other things, a magnetic oracle. Spheres with tiny magnetic human figures, suspended in wax would supposedly answer direct questions. Another highlight was a "bell wheel" he had invented. More on the museum and Kircher.

One of the best things about the Museum of Jurassic Technology is the way they present things. You can hear the sounds of displays in other rooms as you wander through. Painstaking diaramas depict the history of trailer life in America, down to the little light in the miniature Airstream.

You feel as you walk through the place that you are inspecting a repository of wonder, of forgotten delights. Everywhere you turn is some neat little gadget or factoid or theory, perhaps charmingly anachronistic, or disturbingly off-kilter. But part of the idea of the place is the theory of museum-going, and what it should be. I thought it was fascinating. Just go check it out. You'll like it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I don't know why, but this was one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV.
Toilet Tamers

Dress your toilet up like an animal (or Santa) for no reason at all!
Who would win in a fight between Toilet Duck and the Scrubbing Bubbles?

Our sinks, toilets and countertops, that's who. And delighted children across this great nation. Unless Toilet Duck got disemboweled or decapitated or something. That might be a little traumatic for the children.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Patio Man and the Sprawl People

[via, you know, everyone]
Shamey Metalcraft, Weird Belt-Buckle Maker To The Stars!

Just check out his client list:

Greg Allman, Wolfman Jack, James Brolin, Sammy Davis Jr (with tasteful glass eye motif), Bobbie Darrin, and Uri Geller.

Fruit Pit Carving

Toothpick Characters

Very cool stuff!

Sunday, August 11, 2002

I had a fantastic idea while cleaning out the lurking terrors in my refrigerator today:

Sake 'n' Mayonnaise Sports Drink!

It's a sports drink whose time has come!

You see, every time I go to play tennis (if I manage to play long enough to not receive a serious head injury, which is honestly pretty rare), I have to go through the tedious and unsightly task of carrying a jar of mayonnaise and a bottle of nice hot sake down to the court with me.

The beauty of Sake 'n' Mayonnaise Sports Drink is that the sake and mayonnaise have already been combined in one slammin' plastic thermos thing, that is somewhat dishwasher and microwave-safe.

The marketing is a cinch: I have the magical elves at Kafkaesque Labs out hunting down everyone's favorite minor celebrity Mako to be a spokesperson, even if it's technically against his will. Also, a seance is underway to gain the aid of dead ghost story author Saki.

Soon all the sports world will be merrily quaffing Mako 'n' Saki's Sake 'n' Mayo Sports Drink!

Special Double Secret Bonus Link: Pictures of someone's hamster in Japan
Tales of the Plush Cthulhu
We were watching Jason and The Argonauts tonight, and I was struck, as always, by the Harryhausen stop-motion effects.

Jason and the Argonauts is great. Everyone remembers the Hydra, and the skeletons, with their cruel grins, coming after Jason and his pals as they try to fleece the enemy kingdom. I thought, watching this again after so many years, that the effects would look cheesy and dated, but they look just as magical as when I was a kid watching TV on a Saturday morning (except for the big Triton guy holding back the Clashing Rocks...that was a little cheesy). Perhaps there is more humanity in these physical models than in the high-tech CGI effects we have now. I was thinking about that while watching Lord of the Rings for the fourth time last night. I love Lord of the Rings. It's a great movie, better than I could ever have expected, but is there a coldness to the effects? A loss of that human element?

On the Jason and the Argonauts DVD, there was a segment with John Landis interviewing Harryhausen about his creations, and Landis mentioned how the monsters are imbued with personality. And it's true. Each skeleton has an expression, ungainly as the jumpy process may seem. Jason is nowhere near the heads of the Hydra when he swings his sword, but when the process works, you feel a real appreciation for the craft of Harryhausen.

Anyway, go watch Jason and The Argonauts. Be a kid again, for an hour and a half.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

A My Life As An American Gladiator Tip: Learning the guitar is more difficult than you might think.

There are six strings, for one thing. I know! Six strings. It's pretty unreasonable. I have somewhat less than six fingers, due to a childhood trauma, so I am at a significant disadvantage, chord-wise. I think maybe two strings would be more realistic.

And then there's this thing with the frets, which is just plain confusing. You have to put one finger on this string, one on that string. Sometimes you've got to Barre the damn things?! What do these people want from me? I'm just one man!

I have a book which tells me one finger positioning for the G. I have a video where a sedated instructor, who resembles Mr Heat Miser, tells me another positioning. What is meaning of this? Are they just making it up as they go?

And don't get me started on the video instructor. He's like some sort of evil clown, mocking me with his effortless folk songs. He never changes his tone, speaking very rhythmically and slowly, without a hint of inflection in his voice, like he's trying to bend me to his will, to indoctrinate me into some lethargic cult, as he sings "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" again and again and again...

I have visions of myself, locked in a nightmare world where I can only play Pete Seeger's "Let's Go Riding In The Car" for all eternity, and even then, I keep screwing up and have to start over.

Monday, August 05, 2002

The wife and I saw a car over the weekend with a large logo on the back that read: GRAVITY OUTLAW.

Now, you've got your outlaws, your rebels, but this guy is setting a new standard in rebellion. He's saying "Isaac Newton? I don't remember making you the boss of me! Physics? Ha! I never signed up for that! Me and gravity, we just don't see eye to eye."

Then he'll do that weird Sammy Sosa finger-kissing thing and float off into the sky, gravity-less and free.

Yeah, man. Screw physizzics!

Friday, August 02, 2002

It may have been a tactical error cutting off my hair.

You see, I have an amazing propensity for hitting myself in the head with things. This propensity seems to vary directly with how little hair I have on my head. I once had my hair almost completely shaved off, which led to a truly alarming episode at a pub wherein the spiked lid of an iron lamp-post fell on my head. The ensuing mayhem was reminiscent of a Dario Argento film, but at least garnered my friends and I free beer.

When I had long hair, I never clonked my head on anything. Now, any time one of the higher cabinets in our kitchen is a bit ajar, I stare at it fearfully and whimper. In fairness to the inanimate objects that tend to run into my skull, it must be said that I have a really big head. If an object is falling from the sky anywhere in Orange County, California, there's a better than average chance it'll hit my head. So there's that.

One of my favorite places for head injuries is the miniscule "storage" closet off the balcony of our apartment. I'm about 5'11", and the doorframe of this little closet is about 5'9". I am reminded of this every time I render myself insensible trying to stand up before I'm out the door. The scene usually goes like this:

Kafkaesque crouches and wedges himself into storage closet, grabs tiny Weber barbecue. An internal monologue is heard.

Internal Monologue: "Don't stand up. Don't stand up. Don't stand up."


Kafkaesque falls to the floor, clutching his head. Crows are heard laughing.

*minutes pass*

Kafkaesque, undaunted, goes back in for the briquets and lighter fuel.

Internal Monologue: "Don't stand up. Don't stand up. Why am I even bothering telling you this? You're just going to--"


Far off, a mariachi band pauses in the middle of a song and, as one, cast their gazes skyward and shake their heads. Then, they resume playing.

Exeunt all.

Other places I have hit my head:

Under desk, retrieving rogue pen/Cheez-It/shoe
Various file cabinets, ramming head into open upper drawer
Memorable incident in bagel shop where large box full of toilet seat covers fell on head while on top step of ladder
The Berliner Dom: Not recommended for head-hitting at all. The ceiling is astonishingly hard.
Dulwich, England: Details hazy. Pull-up bar may have been involved.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

SUVs. OK, I know, everyone loves to talk about hating SUVs.

I hate them too. They are environmentally unsound. We all know that. And they don't have enough wood panelling anymore.

But the real problem is poor shmucks like me who drive VW Golfs have to share parking lots with them. I happen to work in a city that is the epitome of the "my Planet Eater is bigger than your Behemoth!" mentality. As a result, everyone has Suburbans and Excursions and Monstrosities or whatever. These vehicles are about 47 feet high, at least half a mile long, and are usually parked in alternating parking spaces, leaving little alleyways between them, where I can dock my cute little car. This is, of course, just fine, and the natural order of things.

The problem comes when I want to back out.

There's no way to see what's coming on either side when you have two morbidly obese "off-road" (yeah, right) vehicles sandwiching you. Today I was at the store, picking up a new shipment of tree frogs, and when I was ready to leave I was put in the familiar position of putting my car into reverse and uttering silent prayers that no-one would come roaring down the parking lot, as people are wont to do in this town. You see, not only do we have the mongo SUV brigade, we have the ridiculous "my spoiler has a spoiler" Nissan/Eclipse/Geo Metro brigade zooming around town with megaphones scotchtaped onto their mufflers for added effect.

But back to me in the parking lot. I put the car in reverse and just drift backwards at roughly the pace of a three-toed tree sloth or a hermit crab with a limp, knowing that the only thing that will save me from major body work is pure blind luck. Inevitably, I get to the point where I know any rational human would see me and stop their car, at which point I begin to relax, and ease into the backing-up process.

Roughly 1/2 a second after this occurs I will hear the squeal of brakes and look behind me to see a very angry Escalade driver. On the phone.

Well, that was an extremely unpleasant, and frankly kind of whiny, blog entry. I hope we all learned a little something.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Go read Defective Yeti

It's funny. You might hear the name "Defective Yeti" and think "I bet that's a site about neutrinos and other stuff that sounds really important but that Kafkaesque doesn't really know anything about."

But no.

I also want to make it clear that by recommending a site like this, I don't want to put any pressure on you to go and visit the site. I mean, I would consider it common courtesy to go there and at least read a couple of things. Maybe not everything. There are probably a lot of things there. God knows, not all of them are going to be worth your time, if my own site is any indication. This may lead you to the conclusion that I haven't read the entire site.

This is distinctly possible, but you'll never prove it, so just give up. Unless you want to spend the rest of your days digging through old archives, deep in some dingy cellar somewhere, constantly bothered by feisty detectives burning the midnight oil, and bearded gentlemen searching for the true name of God.

If that's your choice, so be it.

Monday, July 29, 2002

This is Whitney's Playland-at-the-Beach!, an old amusement park that used to grace the San Francisco Bay Coast, right next to The Cliff House, razed to make way for condos in 1972. Such a shame..

The site has pictures of the old park, including The Fun House, which includes a Sunset magazine article with some way-out photos. Is Sunset magazine still around? It was an omnipresent feature when I was a kid, demanding that things be painted in a Southwestern motif for no good reason and always having a fun and zippy way to use those leftover avocados.

Laughing Sal, who I'm guessing inspired some nightmares in her time, and the site designer's tale of her brush with Sal.

1996 Playland Sculptures

The Camera Obscura, which is still there.

And, finally, It's-It Ice Cream Sandwiches, the search for which led me to this site. Man, I would sell my soul to the devil for a...well, maybe not my soul. Maybe the devil could have my soul on alternate Thursdays if I could just have a tasty tasty It's-It right now.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

So the birthday weekend for My Life as an American Gladiator is over.

The blog went out on Friday night and came back Sunday morning after a bender of epic proportions, incoherent but perhaps a little wiser.

So what to do? Maybe answer the question I'm always getting asked: what are your favorite blog entries? Technically, no-one has asked me that, but this morning, I could have sworn I heard my toast say something to me, and hell, it could have been that, so here goes:

Drain-Clog Das Boot

Great Idea: The Self-Mashing Potato

Great Idea: Wild Animals Chasing You

Dead Bee Nosferatus

George Foreman: Friend or Foe?

Kafkaesque v. The Foaming Brush

The Pirate Moment

The Sentinel and 70s Horror

The Big Clamato Payoff

Bitterness About Bad Movies

The Insert Key

Valets: Pure Evil

Why American Gladiator?

Bees In My Apartment

OK, OK, it's all over. You can wake up now. That really seemed like a good idea when I started it, but started to make me feel vaguely uncomfortable and vain about halfway through.

As my wife put it just now, when I expressed that sentiment to her: "Not uncomfortable enough that you're not doing it."

There you have it.


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