Friday, May 31, 2002

You know what's a great way to fill those awkward conversation lulls that sometimes happen?

Just stare intently at your fellow yammerer and say quietly "Would it be alright if I touched your eyeball? Just a little?"

If they say no, ask them if you can wear their shoes for a while. This is a particularly effective conversational tool with complete strangers.
Been...up...since...four am. Need coffee! Help me, Juan Valdez!

Why was I up at four? To watch Senegal beat France in the opener of the World Cup!

For the next few weeks updates may be patchy and sporadic and of a decidedly soccer-oriented nature.

Best ad I've ever seen: The Adidas Football-itis spot with Beckham, Zidane, the scary bald ref, and soccer-playing dachsunds. It just doesn't get any better.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

One of my coworkers just walked by with what looked like a plastic handbag. He is an ex-military guy who acts like he is still in the military.

I pointed at the purse, and he explained "It's to keep my eggs in."

I left it at that.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

And since we're marginally on the subject, did you know there's a Giant Clam Statue in Pismo Beach? Neither did I!

I was all excited about it too, until I saw the picture.

People, if you're going to make a monument to the grandeur of the noble clam, as least have the decency to make it look vaguely like a clam.
Cardhouse's Cross Country Burn

A couple of years old, but still just a nice little "driving across the country" travelog*. It makes me want to go drive across the country right now. I get that feeling every summer.

I have an image of myself cruising around in a really boring state like North Dakota, collecting amusing anecdotes that I can bore people with in my golden years. This is probably related to my frequent rereading of Bill Bryson's Lost Continent, which is an excellent and very funny travel book. I admonish you never to get a Bill Bryson book on tape, though, because his voice makes you want to

a. fall asleep at the wheel


2. pummel him.

I want to be out there, driving into the sunset on a warm summer night, taking pictures of disproportionately large things. It's all I can do sometimes, on my way home from work, not to just turn the car in the other direction and spend a couple of days on the road (first stopping to pick up the wife, of course).

I don't care that there's nothing out there. That's the point.

* It should be noted that this travelog includes The Burning Man Festival, which I have not attended, and which I am, frankly, a little sick of hearing about. Particularly when people just won't shut up about it. Hey, I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
Lords of Light!! Is it hot outside! Yow!

This is the first in a series of efforts to incorporate the Thundarr The Barbarian saying "Lords of Light!!" into my daily repertoire of annoying phrases. I'm thinking of also calling people Ookla, though that might be misconstrued.

Boss: "Kafka, where is that piece of corporate blather you were supposed to compose and lovingly lay out for us to completely change and take credit for?"
Kafka: "Lords of Light!! I seem to have not done it, boss!"
Boss: "Could you move more than just your mouth when you talk? It's a little unnerving."
Kafka: "No thing, Ookla."

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Hmm. My blog disappeared for a while, and some of you may have gotten a "Template Not Found" message.

I fixed it.

I say that while looking around in the manner of someone who just fixed his car even though he has no idea how. I delved into the template file and changed a couple of things on a purely guesswork basis. And it worked!

Suffice to say, the only thing holding this site together is the HTML equivalent of chewing gum and bungee cord, so for God's sake be careful and don't touch anything. And take off your shoes before you come in here! How many times have I told you not to track mud across the links? Do you want a timeout? I think you do.
What sucks?

The "Insert" key. That's what.

And peanut Jelly Bellys.

Here are some little moments of love I composed in honor of the "Insert" key.

Death to The Insert Key
Why must you taunt me so?
I have spent a long time fooling myself
Into thinking I can type better than a squirrel
So why this constant scorn?

The Endless Cycle
The text disappears.
New covers old
in a soft symphony
of renewal.

William Carlos Williams, Frustrated Typist
So much
key not
pissing me
And, finally, our honeymoon snaps from New Orleans.
Can it be? Updates to

Our pictures from E3.

Also, camping pictures.

Monday, May 27, 2002

Michael Hutchence isn't really dead. He's living on in a song I can't get out of my head.

You see, every time I use my wife's bathroom (yes, we have separate bathrooms. It's a thing of beauty) I notice that on top of the toilet she has an aromatherapy tray. I don't know anything about aromatherapy or why you would need a tray for it. I think there may be some fragrant unguents involved, though. That's enough for me to know I don't need to know any more.

Anyway, the tray has these little aromatherapy catch phrases around the rim. "Rejuvenate" it says.

"Exfoliate. Luxuriate. Integrate"

There now. I'm sure all of you have that damn INXS song "Mediate" stuck in your head now.

Friday, May 24, 2002

I got a pamphlet in the mail today for a seminar called "How to Handle People with Tact and Skill".

I'd go, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to greet my minions with my customary "Good morning, dickheads!" anymore.
Shoeless Joe Jackson's Virtual Hall of Fame
More fun with Wong Kar Wai.

In The Mood For Love Homepage

The Writing Game
I hacked myself to shreds shaving this morning.

As I gazed at my razor, a sudden flash of insight streaked like a comet (well, a really small comet) across my mind, lighting the early morning synapses: "I should really change that blade."

Happy with my proactive thinking and level-headedness, I silently congratulated myself, even going so far as to give myself a little wink in the slightly steamy mirror. I toyed with the prospect of giving myself one of those pointing-finger gestures that are usually accompanied by a little mouth clicking sound, but decided against it. I knew this would be a good day if I had performed such a feat of self-preservation first thing in the morning!

So, swelled with pride I went ahead and shaved, forgetting to actually perform the blade-changing task of which I had recently felt so proud.

It all started to go bad at the Adam's Apple*. I don't know why I was shaving my Adam's Apple. It doesn't have any hairs on it. I was just shaving with what we have established was an insufficiently sharp blade, and I happened to catch sight of my Adam's Apple, just quietly Appling away there about mid-neck. I had gotten some shaving cream on it, which may or may not be incidental to why it got shaved, and subsequently cut. Suffice to say the reasons for the Apple shaving are not entirely clear at this time, but that it was indeed shaved, as much as something hairless can be said to have been shaved. So I cut my Adam's Apple.

This is not a pleasant experience, in case any of you would-be daredevils out there might be thinking of getting in on the ground floor of this new self-mutilation craze. It kind of stung, but didn't really hurt all that badly. The worst aspect of the Apple-cutting was that I kept having (and am still having) mental images of those emergency tracheotomies you're always seeing in Vietnam War films. This is making me a little jumpy. You should, incidentally, always carry around a bic pen just in case someone, someday, needs an emergency tracheotomy in your general vicinity**. You'll be prepared.

The cut was pretty spectacular. Nothing along the lines of the elevator lobby scene in The Shining, but enough to make the more squeamish a little uncomfortable. That was when it struck me that I hadn't actually changed the blade on my razor.

All my previous hubris and pride disappeared instantaneously. What sort of fool was I? I thought to myself. Got to change that blade!

So, of course, I continued on shaving with the old blade.

Cuts recorded:
lip: 1
Adam's Apple: 1 (large)
neck: 2
chin: 2

I should also add, tangentially, that under no circumstances should you start thinking about Un Chien Andalou, or even the Pixies song Debaser, while you are shaving your face.

* This is a sentence which not only describes my shaving accident, but also the whole original sin thing. Makes you think, doesn't it?

** I recommend simple blue or black ink. You don't want to get carried away and get one of those four-color jobs. You might do more damage than good with one of those babies.
This is the last thing I need.

Video games for cats. Honestly, I don't think my cat could figure out a video game. His favorite toy is a hazelnut, if that gives you any idea of his mental acuity.

But it may not be a good idea to start your cat on the road to computer mastery. Next thing you know he's got a Linux litter box and he's ruined your credit rating. Be warned.

[via betobeto]

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Ketchup World!


Packets from around the world - Actually, from Illinois, Georgia and Florida, but who's quibbling?

Um... OK. On second thought, Ketchup World is not all that interesting. It's kind of like a roadside amusement park that only has one ride. Or a pony ride stall where all the ponies are dead. You know, if there was ketchup there too.
Sometimes, the tiniest event can spark the deepest sense of disquiet.

As I entered the men's room here at work for a little quality time on the company's tab, how could I have been prepared for the truly soul-destroying sight that awaited me, that threatens to never again allow me a moment's sleep, the vision that will haunt my subconscious like a hideous neon nightmare?

Someone left a spork on top of the toilet.
Ahh! Opening a shiny new can of Mountain Dew is like opening a brand new chapter of life!

The fresh, chemical-scented breeze wafting from the now-gaping maw of the can gives you a brief glimpse of the opportunity the new day brings, briefly sparing you from the carnival of sorrow that is your meaningless existence.


Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I know, I know.

That last post was a little bitter, and a tad pithy. I shouldn't let that happen.

To make up for it, here are some more pictures of Lawn Geese Costumes:

Biker Dude

Goose Inexplicably Dressed as a Cow

Hillbilly Man - Note the moonshine



Black Cat?!?


Deluxe Turkey

A trio of goslings in their traditional roles as Mouse, Clown and Gambler.

Not weird enough for you? How about outfits for your cement deer? You could dress the little feller as, I don't know...a hunter?
So now, the bold fervor of patriotism that led millions of people to put American Flag bumper stickers on their Ford Aspires is starting to wane.

Every day, as I toodle around in the nightmarish congestion of Orange County, I am presented with flags in various states of decay. Sunbleached and fading, they are becoming the orange, beige and turquoise instead of the red, white and blue. Soon, a hundred thousand stickers on a hundred thousand minivans will be sporting Jasper Johns' after-image flag.

America is the land of the token gesture.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Andy Carvin's Southeast Asian Travel Diary

Just a fantastic travelog by the New Media Program Officer for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington DC. It even features RealAudio clips of local sounds.


I want to go.

Friday, May 17, 2002

A Message to Virus Makers:

You should probably think about making the subject and text of your virus emails a little more believable.


Subject: Here is Windows XP Patch!
Body: Here is Windows XP Patch! I think you like it.

This "I think you like it", while possibly intriguing on some sort of morbid grammar curiosity level, is not the usual mode of discourse one employs when sending unrequested patches to complete strangers (who don't actually run XP). Whenever I send XP Patches to complete strangers, I like to open with a nice friendly "Hi! I don't know you, but I am concerned that your Version of XP is not functioning at its optimum level."

See? Now the hapless victim trusts me, fooled into believing that I am concerned about his/her computer.

Then, I would go on to make the attached virus file sound as enticing as possible:

"This XP Patch is so superbly crafted, so lovingly fashioned, you will be put in mind of summer breezes and the sweet and lush fragrance of strawberry shortcake. Why don't you install it now, and instantly transport yourself to the warm bubblebath of Windows XP!"

That would work, I tell you.

But no, every virus has to say something like "I am wanting that enjoy you" or "Joke are fun having".
Help out Doc at Deuce of Clubs

Deuce of Clubs is a great site, by the way, that I never link to because everyone else already does. And Cardhouse too.
First off, I want to send out my heartfelt apologies to Sniffles The Mouse, for insinuating that he was involved with the Merrie Melodies people, an assertion which is totally untrue. He was, in fact, in the Warner Brothers stable.

I also want to say I'm sorry for implying that Sniffles was ever head of a Colombian Drug Cartel in the early 1970s, that he wrote prescriptions for Elvis Presley and that he was singlehandedly responsible for spreading Hantavirus into humans. And the gangland slayings thing. That was mostly hearsay.

Sorry, Sniffles.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The Hammacher Schlemmer Unexpected Catalog

Stereo Egg Chair - No-one needs one of these. As far as I know, the only people who have ever considered buying the Stereo Egg Chair are card-carrying supervillains or escapees from the 70s with Muttonchops and those yellow-lensed glasses. It should come with a big gold medallion and love oil. And I don't even know what love oil is.

Inflatable Iceberg - I ask you, what sort of deranged company sells an inflatable iceberg without the accompanying inflatable walruses and penguins*? It's just cruel. The sizzle, but not the steak.

Sleep Sound Generator - I don't know about you, but if I worked in the audio department at Hammacher and Schlemmer, I'd wait until about 45 minutes into the recording and then yell "AAAAAAGH! A BEAR!!". Of course, I do not work there, luckily for you.

Home-Grown Organic Shiitake Mushroom Kit - It is important to note that using the Home-Grown Organic Shiitake Mushroom Kit as a hat or in any non-horticultural manner, officially voids the warranty.

Briefcase Theramin - Very very cool. Impress your boss at the next board meeting by whipping into a spontaneous rendition of the Star Trek Theme, or perhaps a medley of Lothar and The Hand People hits.

Large Garden Brachiosaurus Topiary - Worried about trespassers? Worry no more by scaring the hell out of them with dinosaur shrubbery! At least the more impressionable among them.

Personal Disco Dance Floor - Worried you don't look foolish enough? Worry no more!

* By the way, don't get any ideas about emailing me and crowing about how walruses and penguins live on opposite poles, and therefore would never be found, even inflatably, on the same artifical iceberg. Alternately, if they do live together in peace and harmony, both inflatably and non-inflatably, feel free to drop me a line and let me know how well I'm doing researching these things and not just winging it.
Vanilla Coke came out today. There are many facets to this exciting carbonated beverage barnburner of a story:

- Does Coke really need to advertise? (corollary: Does milk really need to advertise?)

- When I was a young lad, I watched television religiously in my soundproof enclosure, under observation by a team of Russian scientists who subjected me to horribly intrusive mind control experiments. OK, that last part is not technically true. They weren't Russian. What I'm really saying is that during these formative years, I was exposed to the television show Laverne & Shirley, in which otherwise rational, if a little screechy and annoying, human beings voluntarily ingest a mixture of Milk and Pepsi. Wanting to remake myself in a fashion more closely resembling Lenny of the redoubtable Lenny and Squiggy, I tried to concoct my own Milk-Cola treat. Now, I don't know if the Laverne & Shirley people saw this as some cruel joke, or if they sincerely believed people could ingest Milk and Pepsi. I'm not here to point fingers, or to suggest some sort of Class-Action lawsuit against Penny Marshall is in order, but I am here to tell you that you should under no circumstances attempt this beverage.

It curdles, for one thing. And it makes you feel ill, like you may be explosively sick without warning. Unless that's your cup of tea (or cup of bile) my advice is to turn the other cheek.

- Is Coke under pressure to create something that fails spectacularly every couple of years? I give Vanilla Coke about 2 months.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Toonopedia is a great cartoon treasure trove, which I discovered when searching for Sniffles the Mouse info.

Once again, Sniffles, I owe you a debt of gratitude!
Where is my Mind?
You're smart, shy, and often nonsensical. You have dreams of being famous, and you're quirky enough that you just might pull them off. Some would call you a genius, others would call you insane, but in reality you're pretty well-adjusted. Take a vacation once in a while- it'll help take your mind off of your troubles.
Which Pixies song are you?
Now that I think about it, most Shower Songs can be greatly improved by singing as one of the following personae:

- Sniffles the Mouse
- William S. Burroughs
- Fred Gwynne as the "Sometimes, death is bettah" neighbor from Pet Sematary (who I couldn't one picture of on the whole net. Poor Fred)
- Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster
- a pirate of your choice
- Mushmouth from Fat Albert
- Sinistar
You know what's one of the best Shower Singing Songs ever? That song by The Smashing Pumpkins (which might possibly be called Rocket or something) that goes "I used to beeee a leeetle boyeeee."

I like this song.

When I sing it in the shower, I sing it in the voice of Sniffles the Mouse from the Merrie Melodies cartoons of my youth. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Sniffles The Mouse, you may sing it in the voice of Scooby and/or Scrappy Doo.
There may be a wormhole under my desk.

This was brought to my attention moments ago when, in a morning feeding-frenzy of near epic proportions, a rogue Cheez-It managed to dance its way into the hidden sub-desk abyss. Even now, the Cheez-It may be starting a new life in a new town, somewhere we can but theorize about.

God speed, little friend. God speed.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Lately I've been keeping myself busy and staving off doing anything useful by feigning interest in the NBA Playoffs.

Basketball is not fabulously interesting for me. Of course, I like pretty much every other sport. Even Jai Alai, which exists only to save crossword puzzle creators who have painted themselves into a corner. I'm even crazy for horseshoes, which I defended in a lengthy argument with my wife, who was deriding horseshoes as not actually being a sport (it is). In fact I like pretty much any sport where you throw things at other things, but basketball ranks pretty low on my list.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say about basketball is that the face mask things that some of the players wear scare the bejeezus out of me.

The mask itself is just creepy as hell. It's transparent and make the player look like a psycho-killer

If your face is broke, as they say in big time sports circles, you shouldn't be playing. If I had to play against one of these guys, I'd be crying like a baby. "Coach! Don't put me in against that guy! What if his face falls off?"

I'm sure basketball players have nightmares after playing against the face mask guys, like in the old ghost story where the yellow ribbon is the only thing that keeps the girl's head atttached.

Oh hell. Now I'm all freaked out. If it's not someone's face falling off, it's their whole head.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Very fun

Especially Dig For Memories


Pirates in Advertising

[via Euphorb]
I have a confession to make, and I have reached the stage of my life where I think full disclosure is an important thing, so here goes:

I hate The Eagles.

I know, I know. It's a little hard to accept at first, but you're just going to have to accept me as I am. "Hotel California" will never, ever, find its way onto any playlist in which I have the slightest say. Maybe you picture the two of us relaxing one day, reminiscing about our good old times, when you start to tap your toes to the twangy 70s rock beat issuing from the speakers. "Kafkaesque," you think you'd ask. "Is that the Eagles?"

And I would smile in a way that implied some deep knowing had passed between us and inexorably bonded us and say quietly "Oh yeah." Maybe even making that little "Toking on the invisible roach" gesture which I for some reason associate with Eagles fans.

This scenario is not possible, due to my loathing for The Eagles and all that they represent.

I would go so far as to say that it is more likely I would be listening to The Doobie Brothers, even though I honestly have no idea what they even sound like, or The Moody Blues, who I thought for a while sang that "Touch of Grey" song but in fact did not.

And I even have a Creedence Clearwater Revival greatest hits album! True, I've only listened to it once, and I picked it up for fifty cents at a Flea Market, but the striking inconsistency is there!

Don't even bother trying to educate me as to how The Eagles were really groudbreaking and actually were very impressive musicians. I do not care.

From this day forth, let it be known, My Life As An American Gladiator is an Eagles-Free Zone! If this weblog were the movie Conan the Barbarian and I were, however unlikely this may be, cast in the Schwarzenegger role, this would be the moment where I swear eternal vengeance on that Snake Cult Guy, though in this case he would be played not by James Earl Jones, but by Don Henley. Was Don Henley even the singer? I don't know!!

That's how much I hate The Eagles.

Even now, as I type this, my hate for them is growing exponentially larger, exacerbated by the fact that I am thinking about them for no other reason except to share with you how much I hate them. Which is a lot.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Oh, man! Finally!

Brideshead Revisited on DVD June 25th.
Apocalypse Now Transcript - The horror... The horror.

Also, an early draft of the film. Very different.

By the way, why haven't they released a DVD version with Hearts of Darkness included? Why I ask you?!

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

This is the post I wrote at 4 this afternoon, that Blogger couldn't seem to publish:

You all would be really remiss in your duties, by the way, if you neglect to watch Tom Waits on David Letterman tonight.

I will expect a full report on my desk at 9 A of the M.

It was perhaps the only post I have ever written informing you of upcoming events that called for some alacrity on your part. Now, at this late hour, the few of you in the Pacific Time Zone have a precious remaining moments to high-tail it to your TV and catch the show.

Ah, life.

Sinister, unexplained Mince Pies - God knows, the last thing you want to do is go messing around with otherworldly sweetmeats. Mince Pies may seem harmless enough. They are slow to anger and relatively inanimate. But once you get their dander up - look out! They'll be hell-bent-for-leather out of that muffin tin and latched on to your leg, sucking out your fluids for their unspeakable Mince Pie reasons that are ...umm... known only to them.

But the fangs!

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Attention, small Record Shop aroiund the corner from my work:

Do not force me to take my CD business to the Wherehouse in the future, as you did today. Do not tell me you have the two new Tom Waits CDs, and even gesture to them, sitting mere inches from my sweaty paws, only to deny me their Waitsy goodness because they "haven't been entered into the computer yet". Don't send me off to the uncaring abyss of the Wherehouse. I hate the Wherehouse, which sucks all the cool out of you like some hideously dull vampire.

Don't tell me to come back later, and act like me wanting to give you thirty dollars is inconvenient for you at this time.

The Wherehouse got your thirty dollars, and the Wherehouse sucks a mountain of ass. Just remember that.
There is a menace out there, stalking restaurant parking lots in the greater Southern California metropolitan region. You may know it by its jaunty green vest and insincere salutations. I'm talking about valet parking.

I have never been subjected to such a rash of unnecessary valet parking as here in the Newport Beach area. Last night I took my wife out for Thai food for her birthday, and was a victim of superfluous valet parking. The simpering little toady who valet parked the Kafkamobile had to do about 10 seconds of work for me: I got out of the car, instructed him in the key situation and went into the restaurant, where I watched him turn the car around and park it about two feet from where I myself had left it. This, of course, meant I had to tip him.

This isn't even the worst example of enforced valet parking here in the land of wigs and novelties. We recently went out to eat with some visiting friends to a restaurant in Laguna Niguel, which was pretty crappy but had an ocean view. This place also had mandatory valet parking, and an almost entirely empty parking lot. I pulled into the lot and attempted, as any right-thinking individual would, to park my car. Next thing I know, there's someone basically unemployable telling me I have to let him park my car in one of the 470 unoccupied spots which are about five feet from me. OK.

We went into the mediocre restaurant and had a mediocre dinner. Afterwards we dutifully participated in the valet parking farce, in which we went to the Valet Hut or Valet Chalet or Valet Yurt or whatever they call their evil valet lair, and gave the valet our tag. There were about three cars in the gargantuan lot, and my little Golf was seriously mere inches from where we were standing. The valet strode purposefully over to the car, started it up, and drove it six inches so I could take over command of the vehicle.

My wife and I had been smirking about this farcical charade all evening, and had agreed that we should tip the guy a couple of bucks, just so we would feel justified in later wishing death on the entire management staff of the restaurant. So I slipped Chet a couple of dollars, feeling like I was doing him a favor merely by not indulging in a little chop-busting on his valet ass.

"Sir!" he said, in a low, confidential tone, obviously hoping not to embarass me in front of the parking lot shrubs. "There's a six dollar charge for valet parking!"

[the rest of this anecdote is totally untrue and made up in the interest of making me feel like more of a man, instead of the horrible truth which is that I paid him the six dollars]

Quickly, I sprang into action, pulling the Valet's red vest (which marked him as only one step above movie-theatre ticket tearer on the employment ladder) up over his head in a bizarrely humiliating version of the wedgie. I picked him up by one Skecher and twirled him around, launching him over the cliff into the briny deep. We drove off into the night, deaf to his slowly fading pleas for help as his life's essence ebbed out with the tide. Some say to this day on clear Autumn nights, when the moon is just right, Chet the Ghost Valet can be seen parking phantom cars for all eternity for his crimes.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

El Rey Del Art

I don't know why, but I find this guy's paintings strangely pleasing and comforting.

Feast your eyes on:

Secret Monkey Head

Devil Monkey Crab 2

Surly Squid 13

Monkey Like The Music (featuring bongo-playing hamster)

Robot Monkey

Drunk Sea Monkey

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Things my girlfriend and I have fought about

Not, and I stress NOT, things that my wife and I have fought about.

That would be wrong.

[via holloway]

There a lot of things to do with your hard earned dough in this fast-paced and complex world we live in. Why not make origami spiders out of it? Or maybe a serpent? Crack wise to your friends about the link between money and the phallus. Your friends love that kind of stuff.

Or maybe they would prefer

A kappa (a mischevious water spirit from Japanese folklore) folded from out-of-circulation yen notes

Windmill - nice because you can use the word "Quixotic" in reference to it, and generally annoy others.


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