Thursday, February 28, 2002

The Dirty Office Chair

They are trying to sell off an old office chair at my work. They have positioned it in the cafeteria area with a little sign that says "OFFICE CHAIR $5". There is a little problem with this office chair, though: It is filthy. And I mean filthy. I looks like it has been sweated in a lot. And it looks old. Like someone has been pouring their dirt and sweat into this poor chair for the last ten years or so. It looks like if you sat down on it, dirt and sweat would actually ooze from it, dirtying your shoes.

I have seriously seen cleaner chairs sitting in dumpsters for free. I think maybe the powers that be at my workplace are working on the assumption that someone will assume it must have an inherent worth if it has a $5 price tag on it.

Maybe they should put a couple more next to it and turn it into an installation: Filthy Chairs.

I don't know much about art, but I know a filthy office chair when I see it.
I just had a little Pirate Moment here at work. One of my coworkers walked by and looked at me and said "arrrrr!"

As he was walking off I said "Arrrr, matey!" I thought about throwing in a "Scurvy dog!" or keelhauling reference, but I let the moment stand as it was, beautiful in its simplicity.

Guttural throat sounds are born:
The Pirate Moment.

Why don't you have a Pirate Moment today? It'll liven things up in almost any setting.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

The Thin Mints are safely tucked away in my work bag, but I cannot vouch for the safety of the Samoas.

Damn you, girl scout cookies! Damn you all to hell!

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Before it's too late:

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash!

Monday, February 25, 2002

So. The Sentinel.

What can I say about The Sentinel? It has Burgess Meredith as a potentially dead foppish dandy who carries around both a cat and a bird at the same time. It has real live side-show freaks. It has gratuitous nudity, mostly the kind you don't really want to see. It steals from the Exorcist and The Omen like there's no tomorrow. Most of all, it's just damn creepy, with some decidedly sub-par acting on display. Horror-y goodness. And I should know. I've seen more horror movies than you've had hot dinners*.

Anyway, here's my theory: 1970s horror movies were a lot better, and a lot scarier, than today's horror movies. They were full of psychological horror and didn't bother with special effects or trying to lighten things up for the kids. If The Sentinel was released today, I imagine they might have a tough time avoiding an NC-17 (or U18 for our British friends) on that bad boy. You don't get a naked octogenarian three-way in the first ten minutes of a film these days without at least raising an eyebrow or two.

There was an almost nihilistic undercurrent in 70s horror. They wanted to scare the bejeezus out of you. End of story. They didn't want to get cute and discuss semiotics or the censorship of the female gaze or anything like that. This was before the dynamic of slasher movies, before everything had been done 87 times. Think about The Exorcist. Sure, they had a jar of bees they were shaking up on the soundtrack, and they were experimenting with all kinds of subliminal techniques, but dammit, it worked! The Exorcist is one of the scariest movies ever. Don't Look Now is another good example. The suspense builds as the film goes, and becomes something more than a horror film. There's a vagueness to it that differentiates it from the films of today. Maybe these movies touch you on a deeper level, and go to the base fear of the unknown. Maybe that's why they work so well.

What am I saying? I don't know. i just know that when I see these 70s films, they pretty much always work on me better than modern equivalents.

The numero uno "scared the hell out of me when I was a kid" movie for me: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark. And I saw this on TV. It concerned these furry little homunculus guys that lived in this woman's house. I don't remember where they were from, except that I'm pretty sure they were demons of some type. They were about the same size as a smurf (which, in case you were wondering, is three apples high (possibly six apples high. I couldn't remember so I foolishly went and asked, which when presented with a perfectly striaghtforward question like "How tall is a smurf?", predictably cannot just give you an answer. Askjeeves presents itself as an omnipotent butler, who is ready and waiting to answer your every question, from the banal to the truly esoteric. In fact, what it does is say "Well, I don't know, but there's a Smurf expert over there who might be able to help you out. As a matter of fact, why don't you just address all your Smurf-dimension questions to him in the future, instead of asking me, so I can pretend like I knew the answer all along when I am in reality just a completely and utterly superfluous middleman who no-one pays any attention to at all, or would even think about if it weren't for that goddam electric razor commerical.))


So, these Smurf-sized evil-incarnate types doodle around in this woman's house all day. That's about all I remember, except for this one scene that features three of them clambering up on her bedsheets carrying a straightrazor. Still scares the bejeezus out of me. Did I mention that the woman was in her underwear? To reiterate: the woman was in her underwear, and I think she was somehow immobilized or asleep or something. Maybe the little bastards slipped her a mickey somehow. And there's three devil-beasts either three or six apples high carrying a straightrazor up the bedsheets to slice her up into little bits. In other words: a twisted psycho-sexual agenda that I should never have witnessed at such a young age, and that 70s horror films delight in sharing with you.

It doesn't look like Don't be Afraid Of The Dark is available on DVD or video, which is probably for the best, because I'd either be gibbering in a corner watching it right now, or feeling pretty foolish when I realized how obvious the zippers were on the homunculus' suits.

And the clincher for The Sentinel? It's got Walken. It was made in 77, the same year as Annie Hall, so it was one of his first movies (Actually, maybe not). Strangely enough, Jeff Goldblum, who had a cameo in Annie Hall, is also in The Sentinel. OK, maybe that's not strange, but there you go. There's not a huge amount of Walken in this movie, though, so be warned. He's on screen for all of about five minutes, and for about 4 minutes and 38 seconds, you're feeling ripped off, because he only has one and a half lines. Most of the time he just stands there looking like Walken, which is of course just fine.

*Obviously, I don't really know you or just how many hot dinners you've consumed in your lifetime, so that was just blatant puffery on my part, but you get the idea. Or, if you don't: I've seen a lot of horror movies. I could, of course, have said that in the first place and saved both of us a little time and effort and totally needless exasperation, but - again - I did not.

Friday, February 22, 2002

The head teacher of the Valley of Enchantment school in Crestline, California describes it as "wacko".

I know, I know. Ananova is not the most trustworthy news source in the world. But this is not your garden variety squirrel we're talking about here. This squirrel was "wacko". As of press time, the status of the squirrel was rumored to have progressed to "bananas" or possibly "ga-ga". It is hoped the squirrel will be calm down to mere "off-kilter" status.

"Wacko" isn't a word you hear that much anymore. Just saying. But when you have a rodent-child chase situation, it's the only word that will do.

In other semi-ridiculous news, Monkeyman Is Back! I think it's interesting that the residents of the self-proclaimed "slum" found it highly unlikely that the pesky monkeyman was a vagrant or drug addict, and much more likely that he was a mystical monkeybeast. Well, it's certainly the more fun option.

Crazy Fortean Times Update:

Dog Telepathy: Rex got to have his way with two slices of meatloaf slathered in barbecue sauce for his efforts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

There is a subtle conspiracy at work in this country. Well, at least at the Albertson's around the corner from my house.

I don't know when it happened. Sometime in the last few years, though, grocery bagpersons have lost any semblance of bagging skills. I would even go so far as to say that they're pretty damn apathetic about the whole thing. First off, they don't ask if you want paper or plastic bags anymore (I myself always opt for the paper when asked. I feel in some vague way that this is the Right Thing To Do, although I don't really have any idea. Since moving to Southern California, where it takes a monumental effort to recycle anything at all, I figure the least I can do is something that is potentially good for the environment, even though I may be totally wrong).

So usually, if you aren't really quick on the draw with a preemptive paper bag preference strike, you end up with the plastic bags. Plastic bags, in and of themselves, are not that bad. But their handles cut off the circulation to your fingers, as you stagger with twenty-seven of them looped over one hand, because the bagperson has kindly ensured that you have at least one bag for each and every item that you purchased. Sometimes they double up on the plastic bags following some nonsensical logic that dictates that one bell pepper requires two bags.

One of the best items for befuddling grocery bagpersons is the Needlessly Large Pack of toilet paper. Watch their eyes widen as they are confronted with the spectacle of a 12-pack of Northern Quilted. They always put it in a bag, even though there is no way the laws of physics can be bent to allow this to occur. What I find they usually do is put one plastic bag on the bottom, and loop another one over the top, making carrying the toilet paper an logistically complicated exercise. I don't know why they want to put it in a bag anyway. Do they think I have some secret shame at using toilet paper? Maybe they think I am a little embarrassed at the sheer quantity of square footage implied by the twelve-pack, that I will lurch home, through darkened, rain-slick alleyways, the 12-pack bulging obscenely from my stained overcoat where I have tried to hide it, off to perform some unspeakable bathroom ritual calling for a herculean effigy of double-ply. Maybe not.

Another good one is putting things that are already in bags into other bags. Large bags of charcoal briquets spring to mind. Or bags of kitty litter. Maybe the kitty litter bagging is based on the embarrassment principle also. God forbid the public at large should think that my cat actually defecates. People, I'm here to tell you he does.

So, I choose to dwell in a happy world where the only choice are the nice, large brown paper bags with the handles on top. The only problem there is when the grocery bagpersons wreak their savage vengeance upon you by perofrming the polar opposite of the one-item-per bag fiasco: the "Okay Mister Smart Paper Bag Guy" put-all-the-heavy-stuff-in-one-bag tactic. I swear they do this on purpose. Maybe the Plastic Commission pays them off to discourage paper bag use or something.

Let's see. What have we got here? Spaghetti noodles, broccoli, 10 packages of Top Ramen, some Kraft Squeezin n Cheezin, and assorted canned and bottled beverages whose total weight is about 47 pounds. Let's put all of the cans and bottles in the same bag! Come to think of it, we can probably cram the broccoli and the Squeezin n Cheezin in there too, leaving just the Top Ramen and the spaghetti in the other bag. This is a great idea, because it's very dangerous that the customer might achieve some sort of load-equlibrium, and we just can't have that.

I'm not saying I have a solution here. I'm just saying thank you to the grocery bagpersons of the world for giving me something to complain about.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Something you really really don't want to see in your back yard.

Hell, I could sit here and crack jokes about Cosplay all day, but nothing could be better than just looking at all these pictures. [links brazenly liberated from misterpants]

Wait!! I take it all back. This guy has a Captain Harlock costume! My hero! I'd say Captain Harlock and Johnny Cash are tied for the title of My Hero. If they fought it out for the title, I don't know who would win. Captain Harlock has the advantage of having a legion of Space Pirates and a giant spaceship with an awesome arsenal of highly unlikely weaponry, whereas Johnny Cash is a really old country singer. Then again Johnny Cash is real, while Captain Harlock is a cartoon, so you never know.

Hey. Why not sign the Release Captain Harlock Space Pirate on DVD petition? Because you don't know what the hell I'm talking about?

Do it anyway, my caviar posse, do it anyway.

Friday, February 15, 2002

A vision came to me this morning as I was sitting in a Company Meeting in our lavishly tiled new Conference Room. I was starting to drift off into sleep, and would have made it if I wasn't having heart palpitations from the chocolate doughnut and large coffee that I had just ingested. Anyway, the line of drool dangling from my lower lip had just about reached the table-top (we have those large sort of tables that you used to paste on when you were in first grade. I'm surprised they don't cover them with newspaper and give us safety scissors too), and I was starting to dream of all the white-hot Curling excitement I had been seeing these past few days on the TV, when all of a sudden it came to me like a flash, burnt across the clouds (well, the metaphorical clouds since I was inside at the time): Office Chair Curling!

I leapt into action and grabbed the receptionist's chair. I stood for a moment in silent contemplation before launching her and her chair down the tiles, ever so slightly drifting to the right as she spun, spilling her hot chocolate in a pleasing arc of brown. I commanded two engineers to grab a couple of mops and start scraping the tiles like there was no tomorrow "WEEEEEIGHT!" I cried, even though I have no idea what that means.

Then, for good measure, I screamed "NOOOOO!" like I've heard the weird looking US Curling guy do sometimes.

The receptionist drifted to a stop mere inches from the center of the makeshift Curling target (in this case, the sleeping form of Captain Porno, an unmarried forty-five year old who has WebTV and is constantly talking about Anna Kournikova's underwear...don't ask). Light, if somewhat stunned applause was heard from my coworkers. Then, my nemesis stood up: The Stinky Guy from out in the Engineering Shop. He is universally feared in my company because, besides being really stinky, as his name implies, he will never leave you alone. He also tells long boring and patently untrue stories about how Danny Thomas stole money from him once (The Stinky Guy is like 70 years old), and how he invented the Atari 2600 and how he's really only working here for a giggle because he is obviously a multimillionaire. My guess is he has to work because he smokes eight thousand cigarettes a day and the price isn't in any danger of coming down. Oh and the last thing about The Stinky Guy: His teeth. I'm pretty sure they're wooden, and they always, and I repeat ALWAYS have food in them. At least I hope it's food.

Anyway, The Stinky Guy stood up and pulled up the chair containing The Product Manager Who Doesn't Know What Windows Explorer Is or Does, who leaned as far away from The Stinky Guy as possible before being launched down to the other end of the conference room at a fair clip. He crashed hard into the receptionist and Captain Porno, knocking hot chocolate everywhere, and all three went crashing into the walls, leaving neither of us with any points, and ruining our game.

Then, sadly, the meeting was over. As The Stinky Guy sauntered off into the distance, leaving little bits of food in his wake, I silently promised myself I would vanquish him in our next contest of Office Chair Curling.

Thursday, February 14, 2002

This is the young pook by his fair color.
Faith and begorrah, if it's a fire that's blazing, or someone that needs rescuing, then I'm yer man.

Very strange Leprechaun Irish-US Firefighter thing. I think I might want one.
For some reason I find this Hamster Puppet pleasing. I could stare at it for hours and hours, until it starts to bend me to its inimitable will. Maybe it's best you don't look at it for too long.

Meet Chiquita, the whimsical chimp holding the bunch of bananas! Chiquita looks more like the whimsical chimp who knows he's going to get another savage beating, doesn't he? "This is my Chimp figurine, Chiquita," you can tell your friends when you have them over to view your intriguing crappy collectible collection. "He's cringing in terror."

Hermit Crab Figurine Graceful and svelte, a fitting tribute to the grandeur of the hermit crab.

I'm not entirely sure why you would want a statuette of a Moose Wedding. Of course, it's perfectly understandable that you would want one of a Chicken Wedding. But a Moose Wedding?? Weird!

No comment

Startlingly hideous and just wrong

Oh what the hell, frogs too.
Official Rules to the MIT Winter Olympics Drinking Game

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

OK. I know that last post about the dead singer may have proved a little traumatic for some of you out there, but it's not going to get any easier for you because today we have to discuss the very serious subject of Royal Caviar. Before you click the link, be warned that there's some pretty serious grooving going on over there at Royal Caviar. Not only is Royal Caviar not real caviar, but it's just got to funk. (note to the sound-card impaired: Why, there's music on that site!)

So what is Royal Caviar? It's kind of like caviar. It's caviar shaped and I'm sure it's got artificial fish stinkiness added to it to give it a caviaresque bouquet, but the cold hard reality is that it's soy. Because, according to the website anyway, we all want to eat caviar every day. Now I'm speaking here as someone who likes caviar, and hardly ever thinks about bait while eating it, and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I don't want to eat it every day. I'm guessing from the mega-phat jams that they're laying down over at Royal Caviar that they're aiming for a young and hip demographic with their soy caviar substitute. I can see it now:

*We fade in on the Club that does not exist except for in movies like The Matrix and Strange Days, with music playing that you're not quite sure if it's Ministry or a cheap Ministry rip-off because they couldn't afford to license the real thing*

Groover #1: "Hi there Groover #2. Is that caviar you're eating? *sigh* I wish I could eat caviar and still keep my youthful and fresh sensibilities and pert buttocks, but it's just too fatty."
Groover #2: "Well, Groover #1, now you don't have to worry about the flabby decrepitude that results from a lifetime of excess and ridiculous overindulgence.You can eat Royal Caviar Soy Caviar Substitute every day for the rest of your natural life, and only worry about the odor and bowel trouble."
Groover #1: "That means I can still groove every night. Kickin! Thank you Royal Caviar Soy Caviar Substitute!"

*Fade out*

And the best thing about Royal Caviar? Even though it's soy, it still costs 17 dollars a jar. That's part of what makes the "caviar substitute" thing so effective: you're out the same amount of cash as if you had bought the real thing! Ain't life grand?

(Note for all you caviar hounds out there. I'll call you my "caviar posse" if I may be so bold. Trader Joe's has pretty good caviar for, like, four bucks a jar, and it actually comes out of a fish.*)

*Note: If you are a high-up executive and at Trader Joe's and would like to send me some free caviar for that unsolicited endorsement of your fine establishment, feel free to do so. And that good Samuel Smith's beer. Not the cheap stuff. And you can keep that Vodka of The Gods too. So, to review, a little caviar (not too much as it's kind of fatty) and maybe a twelve pack of Samuel Smith's Pure Filtered Lager. Thank you for your time.

Monday, February 11, 2002

I happened to catch about half of this VH1 show (which I think was called "conspiracy theory" or something) this weekend about Nick Drake and his untimely death twenty-five years ago. The thing that really stuck out to me was something his sister said: "Those of us who were closest to Nick felt like we didn't know him at all. But people come up to us all the time now and say 'I really know him'". How arrogant these fans are. They really only know his music, this small part of him, when in reality he was a fractured and fading personality, a prisoner in his own home to the depression that eventually took his life. The big question on the show was whether his overdose of antidepressants was suicide or accident.

Anyway, Drake was an interesting character, but he's one of those artists that everyone and their brother is listening to now. That doesn't bother me anymore. Time was, I couldn't go near a band that was popular. I guess that's just getting older. I kind of backed into listening to him about three years ago, when I heard the Swans cover of Black Eyed Dog, a really haunting song about, as so many of his songs were, death. He was pretty far gone by the time he did this song, his voice so shaky that he had to go back into the studio to redo the vocals.

"But Kafkaesque!" I hear you cry. "I don't come to this site to hear fruity manic depressive guitar music from dead hippies! I crave wackiness and links to pictures of monkeys!" Well, my friend, you have to take the monkey with the hippie sometimes. That's just the way it goes.

Friday, February 08, 2002

100 Years, 100 Stinkers: The worst films of the last 100 years. Not Drop Dead Fred! How could they?!

Thursday, February 07, 2002

The Mascot Grand National, featuring the greatest mascot in the world, Sammy The Shrimp (who can be seen on the far right in this picture).

In the stables

Dilapidated looking Dragon

Striding Masked Robin Thing

In action (Just after this picture was taken, one of the Bee Mascots broke its leg and, tragically, had to be put down.)

Menacing Wolf Mascot Wins Prize

The whole gang. Strangely, giant foam Homer Simpson seems to be in attendance.
Last night we had artichokes for dinner. I got to thinking how much trouble it is to eat artichokes, compared to the relatively small amount of food you get from them. I mean, you have to peel each individual leaf from the blasted thing, and perform a strange sort of scraping motion with your front teeth, not to mention the fact that you will probably burn your hand trying to pull the last batch of small leaves from the heart. And then you have to factor in the idea that this plant wants to choke you to death with its little "choke" hairs. How complicated!

Then, all of a sudden it hit me: How goddamn lazy am I that I think eating an artichoke is a pain?!

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Want people to leave you alone at work? Just say "I'm having problems" a lot. I've been doing this all day and so far it's working great.

Whenever anyone seems ready to ask you something, or engage in some mindless banter about the relative coldness or warmness of this particular part of the office, throw a preemptive strike their way. Sigh, just a little, and say "I'm having problems."

Most people will just leave you alone right there. They don't want to know about your problems. They don't want to know if you're talking about problems with your three-hole punch, or problems like not knowing how to drive a stick, or something more along the lines of your teenage son dressing up like a Siamang on the weekends. People just want to be left alone. I know this is true because I'm a people and I want to be left alone.

If the "I'm having problems" thing doesn't work, get under your desk, armed with whatever office supplies you can muster, and scream obscenities at your coworkers while flinging staplers, phones or 17-inch monitors at them. This should get them to leave you alone. For a while at least. You may have to run up to one of them and smash their head down into their keyboard. See if you can spell actual words by mashing their nose and saggy jowls into the keys again and again and again.

If people still won't leave you alone (especially touchy-feely HR type people), tell them you're having problems some more and maybe cry.

I'm still working on it, OK?
So, a couple of things. First, I managed to move some stuff around on the left side of the page there without making everything disappear with an enjoyably anticlimactic *POP!*, as I feared would happen. I feel a real sense of accomplishment.

Next, you may have noticed my ugly mug is gone, replaced by a friendly Medium Sized Plush Cthulhu. For those of you who have had trouble telling the difference between photos of me and photos of The Cuddly Great Cthulhu, just remember that The Cuddly Great Cthulhu is the one with the sensible haircut.

Another addition is the snapshot of multi-talented mollusk Oyster Billy. The difference between Oyster Billy and your average oyster is that Oyster Billy has had years of accordian training. And he was manufactured in Thailand. And he is not in fact made from a real oyster shell. I point out these differences as a public service to oysters everywhere, so you don't find a garden-variety, non-accordian playing oyster whilst strolling down the beach one day, and pester him for an autograph because you think he is mega-oyster-star Oyster Billy. Oysters hate that sort of toadying.

Well, that's out of the way and I feel better.

There is also now a link to my Bootleg Trading Page. Browse at your leisure, and if you are interested in a trade, email me at But don't go telling Neil Young I have bootlegs of his shows.I don't want that guy calling me all hours of the night. He can get a little whiny.
What has to happen to you that you wake up one morning and find yourself wanting to wear those blue dress shirts with the white collar? Is there an alternate reality of which I am unaware where this sort of irresponsible clothing choice is acceptable?

Don't even talk to me about the pink dress shirt with the white collar. Yeesh!

Monday, February 04, 2002

Random Beat Poetry Generator

The Beat Poetry Game

A word on the Beats: I was big into Kerouac for a while, during high school and college. Recently I tried to read one of my favorites of his, Desolation Angels, with no success at all. Ten years ago, I wanted to be that Fire Lookout. I wanted to stand on my head for an hour a day and go slowly crazy from loneliness and hold conversations with mice. Now I just get bored with the book. What does that mean? I don't know. Maybe you can't recapture the something that made a book one of your favorites. Am I now too old for Kerouac? I'm just going to go have a cry now, if my decrepit bones will support me that is.

A word to people who persist in writing Beat Poetry: How annoying is the whole stream of consciousness thing? Plenty annoying. Hell, the stream of my own consciousness is uninteresting enough, like I need a glimpse into yours?

Hmm, doubled up on my cranky pills today I guess.

Zen Generator

From the Personal Poetry Generator:

fly away, El Diablo Jazz

violin ignites sun
simply because
blue food torments the toll of the bells

Oyster Billy obsesses about the meaning of life
Kafkaesque lingers with the open road

blue food readies the light
seahorses mourn over death


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