Friday, March 29, 2002

Urinators of the world, hear me:

There is no topic important enough to me that I wish to discuss it while either

- I am urinating


- you are urinating

To reiterate: no conversation during the peeing. I just wanted to make that clear.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

We watched Svankmajer's Faust last night. If you haven't seen it, you really should. I know that sounds a little high and mighty coming from me, a person who waited eight full years to see it himself, but there you go. Until you see it, I'm just going to go ahead acting like I'm better than you are. If you're OK with that, then fine.

More Faust stuff:

Faust Legends
(including the nursery rhyme:
Dr. Faustus was a good man,
He whipped his scholars now and then,
When he whipped them he made them dance,
Out of Scotland into France,
Out of France into Spain,
And then he whipped them back again!)

The Complete Text of Faust I
Mmm. Bartleby.

Pictures Of The Band Faust
One of whom looks a little too much like Terry Bradshaw for my tastes

Murnau's Faust
Which I have also seen and is another reason that I can act like I am better than you. Better get down to the video store, ASAP, dontcha think?

Faust Etching
Wanna come up to my room and see my Faust Etching?

The Devil and Daniel Mouse
A Faust Legend, Pact-with-the-Devil cartoon I remember from years ago. Based on the story The Devil and Daniel Webster, one of the top films of 1941, apparently. Later, uber proto-deathrock band Bauhaus sampled the little mouse voices for the song Party of the First Part. I was about ready to write a whole thing here about Robert Johnson and Crossroads and Ralph Macchio and Mr. Miyage, but maybe it's best for all of us not to take that particular road.

Starcraft Zerg Hydralisk that is part of the somewhat inexplicable Doctor Faustus' Miniature Painting Clinic.
Actually, that doesn't have all that much to do with Faust, but it does have the imaginary word "Zerg", which I like.

Doctor Faustus Game
This is really starting to deteriorate now.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Tired of getting sand kicked in your face?

You need the ridiculous abdo-stimulo-matic, that probably won't kill you with a series of exponentially increasing electric shocks to the abdomen, your screams growing louder and louder into the emptiness as you claw at your midsection in a vain attempt to free yourself from the devil machine, but might. Maybe.

It is almost perfectly safe, though not guaranteed to be a safe or even wise product to consider using for muscle growth. In the final analysis, this is what we're saying: if you want to grow some stomach muscles, and don't mind taking a risk that you could actually die as a result of using a muscle growth stimulating machine, then the ridiculous abdo-stimulo-matic is the potentially lethal product for you.

But you might die. Just remember that.

If you don't die, you will have some rock hard stomach action going on. Yes, sir.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

All of a sudden the other day I was struck by a thought:

The big Snapple craze is now officially over.

I know that's not groundbreaking or anything, but it's kind of weird. For a while there, everyone was big into Snapple. Now they're not. This means that the door is open for the next fruit drink craze. Start getting those unlikely fruit concoctions ready, America!

The world awaits.

Monday, March 25, 2002

Let's have a look at some links stolen from other people. Stealing links from people is gratifying, unlike stealing socks from people, which can be sweaty.

How To Be A Philosopher
"Read an enormous mass of empirical data. Cite all of it and conclude that it is right. Overlook statistical ambiguities and incongruities. By all means, do not deign to interpret the data. Continue on like this for as long as you can (it may require stamina). The goal is to bore the reader into submission before the flood of facts."
thieved from leuschke

Web-Only Die Brücke Exhibit from the New York MOMA
So nice. All done in Flash.
snagged from MetaFilter

Sunday, March 24, 2002

Oh, and by the way, if anyone has had troubles emailing me in the last little while, it's because our dreamy friends at AT&T Broadband changed their domain. the addy is, and should be working as the email links under each post.
Machaus is a wonderful person. You might think to yourself, "Sure, Machaus is a great and selfless human being and all, but I bet I could be better than him."

Laughable! Machaus has personally brought My Life As An American Gladiator into the ad-free state that you see before you now.

I don't know if they have a Nobel Peace Prize category for things like that, but if they did, he'd have my vote.

Thank you, my friend, thank you!

Friday, March 22, 2002

You know in 2010, when Bowman appears as an old man and says "Something's going to happen...something wonderful"?

Well, I'm pretty sure he was referring to me finally getting my free stuff from Clamato. Words cannot express the Dionysian jubilation I felt as I opened my mailbox to find a large and squishy package from the good folks of Mott's. I feared the worst, that some no-goodnik at Mott's had filled a manila envelope with Clamfruit to get me to stop bothering them, but no! Not only did they they send me a Clamato T-Shirt, which says "CLAMATO" in large, briney letters, but also a bunch of coupons for free Clamato, and a Clamato recipe book, painstakingly Xeroxed by some hapless Clamato lackey.

The T-Shirt also has a slogan in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish but I'm pretty sure it says something about the UberClam, biding his time until the day when he may rise up and smash all us puny humans, with the help of his UberSidekick, The Tomato Kid.

So, please, cancel the Clamato boycott. Get out there and start drinking Clamato like there's no tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly how much Clamato you would have to drink for there to actually be no tomorrow for you. I'm thinking the entire 64 oz. jug would probably do it.

I'm so excited to wear my Clamato garb, especially at the beach. I envision a St Francis of Assissi scenario, where all the slumbering beach clams rally to my shirt and worship me as a bivalve Messiah, come to bring them to Clamvana.

The epic Clamato saga in its entirety.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Tonight the Hot DVD Action continued with Terror of Mechagodzilla! Terror of Mechagodzilla! is a fine and upstanding film that contains all of the vital aspects of finer cinema:

- A scientist who you can tell is a scientist because he has badly dyed grey hair and a tweed jacket with those elbow patch things. No-one but a scientist would wear those. Or substitute high school teachers who like to wax philosophical in the interest of forgetting that they are, in fact, substitute high school teachers*. This was one of the finest ilk of scientists, the kind that is bitter and misanthropic because his ideas were too bold and scary for the Scientific Community and he got bounced. He spends a lot of the film saying things like "They called me mad at The Academy, but I'll show them! I'll show them all!" Horn rimmed glasses are worn.

- A bunch of guys who look like Japanese Elvises. Something happened in Japan, and everyone decided to grow sideburns all at once. I don't know when this happened, but this one of the later Godzilla epics, so it must have been before 1975. The spacemen especially look like the older, fat Elvis after he let himself go. This phenomenon suggests to me that the Godzilla genre might be some sort of metaphor for the Jungian battle between the vitality of youth and the excess of cheeseburgers. That whole Post-Atomic Cultural Trauma thing is just a smokescreen.

- Spacemen. There are spacemen who, as I mentioned, look like Elvis nearing death, except that they're Japanese and presumably not awash in a sea of prescription drugs. One easy way to tell if a Japanese Near-Death Elvis is a spaceman is the sunglasses. The spacemen in this movie are easy to spot because they always wear sunglasses. They change them frequently, but always wear them. They especially favor the yellowish tinted kind.

- An evil space goatee.

- A giant robotic Godzilla. Predictably enough, this is Mechagodzilla.

- A creepy assistant evildoer who is never identified and whose presence is never fully explained.

- Tiny model submarines that get blowed up.

and, of course

- Guys in monster suits. Not only do you get Godzilla and Mechagodzilla, you also get Titanosaurus, which sounds like a monster truck but is not.

Not to spoil it for you or anything, but Godzilla wins and stalks off into the ocean, feeling pleased with himself.

* I actually had a substitute teacher in high school who spent most of a class period telling the class how he believed in The Force from Star Wars and could cure the common cold using only his mind, should he choose to. I'm not making that up.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

We just joined NetFlix, which is a small glimmer of heaven, and which you should do yourself a favor and join. We rent at least 3 movies a week, and Hollywood video charges 4 dollars for a DVD. That means at least 48$ per month, not counting late fees. NetFlix is 20$ per month, for unlimited rentals, no late fees and a better selection.

There. I'm all done advertising.

What I really wanted to say is that the first movie we got from them was the new Criterion Edition of The Ruling Class. I had seen this years ago and forgot that it has the earmark of a truly great 70s film: A guy in a gorilla suit (kind of like this one). And Peter O'Toole. These two things virtually guarantee a positive viewing experience. If you can somehow get Peter O'Toole into the gorilla suit, so much the better*.

I think many of today's movies could benefit from the Deus Ex Machina moment where the guy in the gorilla suit comes in. It signals the moment where the director is saying either

1 - "This film is functioning on such a deep level that the guy in the gorilla suit just works, dammit!"


b - "This movie is so ridiculously bad that it couldn't be made any worse by something that makes no sense at all".

Of course, this theory doesn't hold up to the Planet Of The Apes Remake Challenge, wherein you try to think of a way that the movie could be made worse than it already is. This is not possible.

If you're not into bitter indictments of the British Upper Class, this may not be the film for you. Also, if you're not into music hall song and dance routines, you might not like this. It has that O Lucky Man! kind of demented surrealism that you almost want to cringe at, but somehow this movie pulls it off. It also begins with an auto-erotic asphyxiation gone horribly awry. You just don't see enough of that in today's cinema.

*It is a little known fact that Peter O'Toole had to be dissuaded from wearing a gorilla suit during the filming of Lawrence of Arabia by director David Lean, in a vehement argument that resulted in the exchange of fisticuffs.

This morning, as I munched my bagel and cream cheese, I had CNN on, as I usually do of a morning. [Note: I may in the past have promised not to watch CNN in the morning anymore. I am a liar.] Their big feature today was an interview with Osama Bin Laden's brother. CNN really paved the way on insightful interviewing with this exciting exchange:

Interviewer: Did you go to the movies?

Brotherman: When we were very young ... when we used to go to Beirut. Osama was 12. He used to take us to the movies, but then that was the end of it. Since he turned 14, he stopped going to the movies.

Interviewer: What movies did you see?

Brotherman: Cowboy, karate movies.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Wow! Fantastic photography site: Lost America. Great night photography.

[via machaus]
I don't know if it's too soon to ask this question, but what ever happened to Mobile Pants?
Pray, a moment of silence for the now-departed In The Elevator feature, which gave us all a potential second of smileyness in this, a bitter and spiky world.
I just got back from spending half an hour of my life at the post office. So, here I am, thirty minutes closer to death, and ready to tell you that eyes are rolling at the post office.

Seldom have I seen such an impressive display of eye-rolling. I waltzed in and grabbed one of the bakery-style now-serving numbers. Mine was 18. They were on 72. I used my weighty powers of deduction to figure out that there were not 46 people waiting in the post office, though, so I'd be OK. I settled back to watch a fine display of eye-rolling. People would wander in, figure out the "I have to take a number" thing, and then take one. Some people would perform an actual double take when they gazed upon the unrelenting horror of a number some fifty numbers ahead of the Now Serving sign. Much like a child who falls down on hardwood floor, post office customers will sigh and make "shooting-myself-in-the-head" gestures much more readily if they feel someone is actually paying attention to them.

I hate this. Don't implicate me in your whiny behavior. If you are really that busy, don't go to the post office at noon on a monday!

Then there are the people who take charge of the situation and stride boldly to the counter and demand an explanation of the number system, because something is obviously out of whack. It should be obvious to all assembled that they should be served with all possible alacrity because they have a constantly ringing cellphone and maybe even a bottom of the line BMW.

Maybe the post office could work out a program to cryogenically freeze such customers until their number is called. This would cut down on the peevishness no end. It is a valid argument, however, that in just about every movie that involves cryogenic freezing for space travel, etc, something goes horribly awry and people end up getting chased around in their underwear. That's not something I want to see. But I guess an angry, sleepy customer in their underwear being chased through the post office by a slavering Geigeresque alien would break the monotony a little bit.

The crux of the matter is this: The post office takes forever. You know this. Everyone knows this. There will be people in front of you who apparently have never mailed one single item in their entire time on this Earth. Get used to it.

Friday, March 15, 2002

Some really great pictures of an abandoned amusement park.

Frontier Village, where I played as a child, lo these many years ago.

Here is a picture of the now-removed Santa's Village, which we would drive by on the way to Santa Cruz from the Bay Area when I was a kid. Across the freeway from Santa's Village, there was also a Giant Dinosaur park (the kind with giant fake dinosaurs. Not real ones, as that can get pricey and dangerous) called The Lost World. Even now I can remember sitting in the back of my dad's 78 Impala, the seats hot from the sun, looking out the back windshield at the dinosaurs. We never stopped there, no matter how much us kids begged. I also never saw the pterodactyl. I just want to make that clear.

Never once.

My sisters would point at the pterodactyl and say "don't you see it?" I don't know to this day if it was really there.

Seriously weird K Gordon Murray Santa Featurette Page

Hmm. All this talk of theme parks. Let's go to the fun fun fun Parc Asterix in France, shall we?
Is there any reason at all why someone (like someone who wrote me a memo here at work) would draw diagonal lines through his "s"-es when he writes? They almost look like dollar signs.

I draw a horizontal line through my 7s so they dont look like 1s, but "s"??? Is this so I don't think it's a 5 or something? I have never looked at the word "stop" and momentarily been confused that it really said "5top" or "fivetop".

This is an example of someone doing something in the interest of making things easier to understand, but in fact making them really weird and confusing. I think I'll write a message back with all the Rs upside-down and the e's replaced by the letter sequence "toofoofle". Maybe that would get the point across about not creating your own alphabet just because you feel like it.

I don't want to have to use a decoder ring or the Rosetta Stone or something just to read a memo.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Odds of Loch Ness Monster existing and not being a complete and utter fabrication designed to make witless tourists visit Loch Ness (which I'm sure is lovely): 250 to 1, down from 500 to 1.

This is good news for all of you holding your betting tickets for Nessie Existence. Actually, I guess not, because you'll only make half as much money when it turns out there is a surprisingly long-lived Diplodicus swimming around in a Scottish lake.

And what's the best thing about this article? They don't have a link to the wildly fantastic video footage.
You know what would make a really good horror movie? George Foreman opens a tanning salon...but in fact the tanning beds aren't beds. No, they're giant George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machines!
Oh the humanity!

Of course, you could set it in Hollywood to make a feisty little statement about the lengths shallow folk will go to to reduce their waistline and improve their tan. Wouldn't that be the most, daddyo?

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Omen 3 bad. Can't form cogent sentences. As result. Sam Neill bad actor. Rottweiler Devildog better actor than Sam Neill. Nothing happens.

Baaaaaad Movie! Bad!

There is no way I am seeing Omen 4 now. You can tie me down and hit me with a stick (in the immortal words of Adam Ant), but I just won't do it. To make things even more bleak for Omen 4, I read in my handy Time Out Film Guide (which is the best publication of its type I have seen, and which is surely the best bathroom companion ever) that it was originally made for TV and is painfully awful. This in a way supports my marginally possible theory that 70s horror movies were the best horror movies. With the 80s looming large on the horizon, Omen movies started to descend into crappiness like brie that's been left on the counter for too long:

Omen 1 (1976) - relatively badass. A tricycle is ridden in a circle on a hardwood floor by Satan's son, something only the antichrist himself would do, surely. Goldfish suffer. Threatening dogs do bad things to Gregory Peck. Knives are variously shown and ineffectively used. Evil is threatened. Leo McKern has cameo as not-entirely convincing Middle-Eastern archeologist, but at least doesn't call anyone "number 6". Actors try their best to act.

Omen 2 (1978 [70s almost over]) - Ominously dull. Tension mounts throughout but nothing happens. Child actor playing Damien shown coming to grips with being the Hoary Host of the Netherworld. References to Armageddon (e.g. Famine) abound, though why Famine is only horseman alluded to never made clear. Woman variously possessed, pecked at by crow and hit by Mack truck. Surprise ending surpises no-one over age of seven. By end of film, you feel cheated, but have grounds for thinking hour and a half of your life was not wasted, because surely they were just building up to !THE FINAL CONFLICT! in Part 3.


Omen 3 The Final Conflict (1981 [note: no longer 70s movie]) - Almost bad enough to be humorous, but not quite. Satan has terrible henchmen. This is OK, however, because the only people threatening him are a gang of monks that frankly leave a little to be desired in the "Holy Warrior" category. First monk conceives of plan to stab Damien with Wango Zatango Knives of Destiny which apparently involves assing around on a catwalk over his head while target is interviewed on television. Tragedy ensues. Further monks stab each other by accident, then hide out in pit where they become trapped. This is a common Holy Warrior error: do not, under any circumstances, climb into pit from which there is no escape. Best Monk Holy Warrior Plan: Monk traps Damien and about 50 dogs during fox hunt. First, Monk had to separate Antichrist from rest of hunt by dragging around dead fox in move carefully calculated to not be very interesting for home viewer. Only thing evil about Sam Neill: his hair. And his American accent. Antichrist apparently has no impressive superpowers.

Remember, if you watch this movie at home, not to do damage to your television. It's not the television's fault. Really.

Monday, March 11, 2002

I am getting all excited to rent Omen 3 on the way home. This is because there is no way it could be worse than Omen 2. You have to take your blessings where you can find them, as far as antichrist movies are concerned.

You know what's great about getting all excited about renting Omen 3? There is virtually no conceivable chance that someone else has already rented it. I may in fact be the only person within 50 miles who is thinking of that particular movie.
Let's all spend a few moments in remembrance of Parappa-The-Rapper, shall we? I don't know if it's even OK to be nostalgic about something that isn't all that old and may possibly even still be around. I'll get nostalgic about Battle Of The Planets or something if that would make you feel better.

It's all a lie, actually. I never played more than about 5 minutes of PaRappa The Rapper. I did try UmJammer Lammy for a while (which was the sequel and involved playing a guitar instead of rapping about toilets, etc.) but I was thrown into a series of spiraling freakouts by the 2 dimensional singing onion-head kung-fu master in one of the very first levels, and had to be talked down before I could even think about eating salad again. To this day, scallions produce uncontrollable whimpering.

Friday, March 08, 2002

Something there should be a word for:

The moment of confusion that occurs when you expect one thing and get another. For example, If you are very used to hearing a song on a compilation CD, you grow to expect the next song, perhaps even beginning to sing it in your head in the little silent siesta between tracks. When you hear the song on the original album, it is followed by an entirely different song, momentarily disorienting you. This would also apply to taking a big slurp of what you think is going to be mineral water, but which is in fact Zima, or industrial cleanser.
Inner Richmond's Super Exciting Sale, mang.

I'd just like to say that we have one of those fishtrays. I'm thinking of buying that one and breeding them, then stocking lakes with the offspring to make fishermen even more confused than they probably already are.
So today I had the second cricket interloper in my cubicle at work. Just two days ago, the first such visitor met with an untimely end.

I looked down at my mustard colored carpet, catching a flash of motion. A cricket was bounding along the carpet, perhaps lured by the mustardy goodness of the color. I observed him for a moment, and decided to let him get on with his cricket business, whatever that might be. About ten minutes went past, and the cricket remained there, possibly recording my every movement for his dark cricket overlords. I don't know.

I wandered over to the Crazy Old Rap-Listenin' HR Lady's office and mentioned that there was a cricket in my cubicle [I call her The Crazy Old Rap-Listenin' HR Lady because one day she asked me what I was doing with my weekend and I told her my wife and I were going to the symphony. She said "Classical music, huh? I mostly like rap and hip-hop." I just thought it was kind of weird. Here's this mid-fifties HR Lady down with the Wu Tang. Go figure.]. She sprang into action and rushed to my cubicle. I assumed she was going to shoo it away or fill out some sort of "vermin infestation" form, but no!

She swooped upon the cricket with the lithe grace of a panther, grabbing it in her bare hand and striding off toward another office, where dwells yet another HR Lady and (this is important) her iguana. I followed at a comfortable distance, and saw her lift the top of the iguana cage, and drop the doomed insect to its fate. So I had caused this poor little cricket to be consumed by an iguana. The karmic wheel would surely have some swift justice to deal my direction!

Today, though, I noticed another cricket interloper.

Seeing my chance for Karmic redemption, I grabbed my Giants mug from my desk and slapped it over the cricket, prepared to rehabilitate him and reinsert him back into cricket society to live a useful life. Placing some inconsequential work document over the open end of the mug, I stealthily approached the HR area, which I had to pass through to free my newfound friend. I had a vision of myself as a hero of the Underground Railroad, or French Resistance, smuggling crickets to freedom in the dead of night, bundling them into new clothes and stuffing a ten dollar bill into their little cricket pockets as I wished them goodbye and good luck, with teary eyes.

I am the savior of crickets! Well, at least the cricket that didn't get eaten by an iguana.

[Untrue portion of story: I had just made it past the HR area, when I heard a low growling behind me. I looked back to see the Crazy Old Rap-Listenin HR Lady, her hair ablaze in the glow of the overhead fluorescents, iguanas slithering at her feet. "Kafkaesque!" she shrieked "That cricket is mine!"

"You shall not take him!" I screamed back and made a dash toward the door.

Then, the iguanas overcame me, sinking their cute little iguana claws into my soft underbelly. With the last ounce of strength I had, I hurled the Giants mug at the glass door, shattering it. As the cricket burst free of the mug, immense golden wings sprouted from his back. The iguanas hissed in terror and changed into bunny rabbits. The Crazy Old Rap-Listenin' HR Lady cursed me for releasing her prize, the fabled Golden-Winged Cricket and fled wailing into the night.

The cricket flew off into the sunset, to bring to joy and peace to our darkened land.]

Thursday, March 07, 2002

I just wanted to let you know that only a few moments ago, I experienced Egg Salad Nostalgia. It crept up on me and took me unawares, as Egg Salad Nostalgia often will. How it happened was that I went to get a Togo's Turkey Ham and Cheese sammich for lunch, and brought it back to my cubical of eternal sorrow for a solitary eat. As I munched away happily, all of a sudden, even though I was eating Turkey Ham and Cheese, I tasted Egg Salad.

I was fantasizing in some way about the last Egg Salad sammich I had eaten, and this Egg Salad Nostalgia was so powerful that the phantom taste actually superceded the taste of the sammich I was eating at that very moment.

Forget cloning, the next Great Leap Forward is Egg Salad Nostalgia! If you could harness that sort of psychic power, you'd have lightning in a bottle!
Universe color shocker: "I'm really embarrassed" says Mr. Universe-Color Scientist Guy.

Horrible isn't it? Everything is now out of whack. It's as if you reached for Burnt Sienna in your 64-Crayola box and got Raw Umber by accident. And here's the really aggravating part: there would be a really smart scientist guy telling you that your Raw Umber crayon was in fact Burnt Sienna. The nerve of that guy. On the other hand, it means the universe is no longer an inferior avocado, so there's that.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

You know how you hear that people are really really bad drivers in Southern California?

Well, they're worse than that.
Ah. William Shatner's Bill's Space.

I'm going to call Shatner "The Shat" from now on. I'm not going to make any effort to talk about him more, or even at all, but if I do happen to be mentioning Bill in conversation, that's what I'll call him.

[via Matt]

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

What's this? Have we actually put new pictures on Ye gods, 'tis surely a harbinger of doom!
Late-Breaking Dirty Office Chair Sale Update

They have now added another note on the really dirty and filthy (possibly even stinky) office chair. It reads "You must take this chair home if you buy it." This sparked many thoughts:

- Has someone offered to buy the chair, on the condition that they can leave it in the office?
- Do they think that this is going to make purchasing the dirty chair somehow more enticing, because they have to command you to take it with you if you buy it?
- Could this sign be useful in other areas? Like in the grocery store? I envision the condiment aisle: "You must take this Catsup home if you buy it."
- Is this really a problem? No one is going to buy that festering boil of a chair anyway.
- Maybe I should buy it and put it in various people's offices. It would become a sort of Monkey's Paw or Black Spot at my work. People would dread coming in, the fear growing with every minute they sit in traffic, thinking in a quavering inner monologue that borders on the mumblings of the insane: "It could be me today!" Then, of course, they would drive straight up the ice plants, off the freeway and head for Mexico, never to be heard from again.

Man! Is that chair dirty!
Funny article about the new Cadillac Behemoth Truck Thing.
A message to my tailbone:

You are worthless. You do nothing but sit there. I cannot hang from a tree by you, or wag you pleasingly when friends visit. In fact, you aren't even vaguely prehensile. So why, now, do you cause me such pain?

Stupid coccyx.

Monday, March 04, 2002

Back from Utah.

Went snowboarding.

First time.

Can't lift.



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