Friday, June 28, 2002

I will be gone for a while.
Dreaded by fish biologists, it is capable of clearing out a pond of all living creatures and then wriggling on to new hunting grounds

Yikes! It's a giant, evil, food-chain ruining, toe-biting, house-foreclosing, grammar-correcting fish! Well, maybe not. But it's up to no good. Just look at it!

[Liberated from yhbc]

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Wow. John Entwhistle has passed away.

I saw The Who in 89, on one of the Maximum R&B tour. I'm not going to get flowery about it or anything, just to say that The Who are still one of my favorite bands, and now I know I'll never be able to see them with that bass again.

Assignment: go home and listen to Boris The Spider.
My wife and I play tennis.

Note that I didn't say we play tennis well. No.

We play. Sometimes not badly, sometimes very badly indeed.

Yesterday we were playing at the rather dilapidated courts of a nearby high school, since our apartment has but two courts for 8,000 residents in our particular hive/collective dwelling space. The green windbreaks on these courts are tattered and torn, the courts are covered with fissures and canals of the sort not usually seen off the surface of the planet Mars, and the playing surface is slanted just enough for you to feel a little peculiar. Not to mention the thick layer of dirt, dust and garbage that lovingly blankets each court, making a little "puff" of potentially lethal microbes fly up from every bounce. As a result, playing there can be kind of a frustrating exercise.

As we played yesterday, I started to get a little frustrated. The ball would sail out of the court, mocking me openly, or lamely die a lonely death in the net. Sometimes, for variety, I would hit the ball off the frame of my racket, making a pleasing "doing!" noise and shooting the ball some fifty feet into the air, and forcing me to run away for fear I would be struck in the head and rendered insensible. So I swore quietly and kept playing.

About halfway into our game, we became aware of a commotion a couple of courts over. Another couple about our age were playing tennis, and the gentleman seemed to be having a hard time keeping it together. You would hear a couple of strikes of racket on ball and then something along the lines of "GODD*M THIS F*CKING GAME!" or "SON OF A B*TCH!" yelled at the top of his lungs (though without the dainty asterisks, I can assure you). This guy was freaking the heck out.

A few minutes passed uneventfully and then he howled something else and hurled his racket on the court. I swear to god this guy was headed for a heart attack in a big way.

One of the best things about it was that his wife was obviously enjoying beating the crap out of him. "Honey, was that in or out?" she would call sweetly as he cursed and jumped up and down. "In or out? In or out?"

Then the guy snaps, and I have never heard anyone put so much venom and spite and hatred into one little word in my entire life: "IN!"

I'm surprised his head didn't explode.

Anyway, we sat on our court, choking back tears of laughter, and it made me think about what a fool I must look when I get frustrated and mad on the court. It's just not worth it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Particularly humorous McSweeney's piece. The Coach Letters (Link is actually to #6, which allows you to hop to the previous five)
A Cthulhu Hymnal

Most of these I've seen before, like the timeless classic The Lair of Great Cthulhu, but you have to love it, if only because it will give Steve White over at Plurp! some new material. Just lookin' out for ya, Steve.
A snatch of conversation drifting towards my Happy Cube Of Fun:

"You've got your Meatballs, your Cannonball Runs, your Caddyshacks, your Friday the Thirteenths."

I don't know what this guy was talking about, but I have a feeling it ended up with a teary-eyed wail about how that kid from My Bodyguard was robbed in the Oscar voting.
KinderEggs Smuggling

In fact, there is a place right around the corner from my house that engages in illegal KinderEgg sales. But I will never divulge its location, not even under threat of torture.

Well. Maybe torture would do it.

[via whygodwhy]

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Added some new shows to the music trading list (Neubauten, Stones, Gillian Welch)

Monday, June 24, 2002

That's right. The good people at Toy Vault now stock Gothic Cthulhu. I think they should branch out and add Primary Color Cthulhu, in a lively mix of yellow blue and red. Or maybe Rasta Cthulhu, with dreadlock squid beard.
Number 5 is alive!

Or just insert any robot-achieving-self-awareness pop culture reference. It's easy and fun!

One day, as we huddle in our shelters, catching a few precious hours of shuteye before returning to service our robot overlords, we will look back on this story and think what fools we were. Then, of course, we'll get zapped by a giant raygun.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Time for another Kafkaesque Great Idea!

I know it's been a while since I had a great idea. To be quite frank, I've only had about four of them in the life span of this blog, which is soon to be one year. But it's quality, not quantity, right? Well, in this case, it's neither. And actually, the wife and I came up with this one together, and it's also not going to make any sense to you if you're not into German Industrial tunes.

It can't all be gravy.

Inspired by the John Lennon Baby Collection, which is, let's face it, putting a rosy face on the world and avoiding touchy topics like John's massive drug intake, I offer The Einstuerzende Neubauten Baby Angst Line!

Teach your malleable homunculus about the harsh reality and sorrow-laden facts of life with standouts such as:

Baby's First Circular Saw - Not only aurally but visually stimulating. See Baby's eyes light up at the shower of beautiful sparks!

The Haus Der Luge Crib/Playpen Set - Teach Baby that the world is full of half-truths and treachery, with charlatans and fibbers lurking at every turn.

Blixa Bargeld Baby Berets - For the fashionable Angst Baby.

The FM Einheit Push Swing - Plays a selection of FM Einheit's solo efforts to keep Baby from peaceful repose.

PVC Pipe - which just lays there and expresses the futility of Baby's existence in an uncaring world.

Pick your own m&m color mix

Finally, someone is thinking outside of the box. This is the kind of technological advance the world has been waiting for.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

We changed Insurance providers here at Purgatory, Inc. This means I just attended a fifteen minute meeting about the wonders of our new HMO.

I spent the first ten minutes of the meeting noticing how the shirt I am wearing today attracts lint like some kind of magnet. I'm like the Amazing Linto, covered in every conceivable subphylum of linty goodness. My superpowers include the ability to empty dryer lint screens at a distance of five feet. I know that's not really far, but it's still marginally impressive, since you puny mortals have to get in there and rummage around with your bare hands.

Then I remembered having seen, years ago, on the TV program Real People (which is truly best forgotten), a story about a woman who made sculptures out of the lint from her dryer (like this one). Slowly I began to concoct an elaborate hallucination in which a giant dryer lint Mary and Jesus sculpture sprang fully formed from my shirt and began terrorizing the local populace, until some braniac scientist solved everything with an immense leaf blower.

But I digress.

The best part of the highly informative meeting (besides free distribution of the type of ice cream sandwiches that come about 800 to a box for ten dollars) was the insurance woman telling us that our Emergency Room visits would now be fifty dollars. "But I want to remind you," she said. "Fifty dollars may seem like a lot of money, but you should still go to the emergency room if you need to."

I could just imagine cutting off my leg in a highly improbable circular saw accident and waffling over whether the injury was really worthy of the fifty dollar price tag. I've always been one who liked to economize, so I might just cut off something else just to really make sure I got my money's worth. Or wait around until it seemed like I had the flu, just to kill two birds with one stone.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Oh man. I remember everyone had these things when I was about 11. Everyone but me, of course.

When they finally corner me, and find me deep in the stygian tunnels I've dug beneath my desk, wearing a Green Lantern mask and playing Edelweiss on a Casio keyboard, I'll blame it on not having an LED Donkey Kong when I was 11.

[thx brownpau]
Every once in a while, I am sucked into the depressing spectacle known as network television. Last night, in my World Cup daze, I happened to catch some of Fear Factor.

Let me tell you, I think the Fear Factor people are running out of ideas. I saw some Wheel Of Fortune rejects participate in a relatively alarming stunt that consisted of bobbing for plums in a half-full aquarium. They had put about fifty little water snakes in there too, and a big constrictor snake of some sort. I think the the scariest aspect of that particular stunt was pretty obvious: Bobbing for Plums?!? Who the hell bobs for plums?

Apples? Yes. But plums? That's just freaky.

Maybe the producers were under pressure from the religious right not to depict snakes and apples together, not wanting to poison the flabby minds of America's TV public. But let's be honest: if you're watching a program in the hopes of seeing someone barf on camera or get their nose bitten off by an angry varmint, your chances of going to Hell are pretty good already.

The second stunt was to drive a Pontiac Firechicken off the side of a three story parking structure into a big pile of boxes. That's not scary! The people on the show were psyched to get in there and get their Starsky and Hutch on. They said "Wooo!" a lot too, which is a good indication they weren't petrified.

I mean, what's next? Eating jelly donuts? Getting a rubdown?

I am pleased to report that the Kafkaesque Cricket Underground Railroad has just shepherded another soul to freedom, and away from the gaping maw of its iguana oppressor.

I'm not sure it made it out with all of its legs intact, but five out of six ain't bad.

Monday, June 17, 2002

People always ask me the same thing. Apart from "Are you going to eat that?", what I get asked the most is "Why the hell do you call your site My Life as an American Gladiator?"

Now it can be told

I was an American Gladiator. But I was often (well, in fact, always) cut out in the final edit of the show. The shameful truth is that I was not a terribly good American Gladiator. I once managed to knock myself unconscious with those jousting sticks. I would get queasy and vomit in the little Hamster Ball battle (which, let me tell you, is no picnic). My intimidation tactics against the contestants tended to include running away, hiding behind things, and begging for mercy.

The other Gladiators, yeah, they were good guys. Even some of the women Gladiators were good guys I think. There was so much steroid use going on that pretty much everyone's genitals had ceased functioning in any useful way long ago. And the Gladiators weren't feeling any pain if you know what I mean. That's right, we were hopped up on goofballs pretty much constantly. It was one long party. A really sweaty, neanderthal party that you would want to take a long hot shower after in an attempt to get the body oil off, but still a party.

Me and Turbo used to hang out together, and try to think of a Gladiator name for me. He seemed to think Whippet would be a good one for me, but I was always partial to The Exfoliator. We never really saw eye-to-eye on that, but otherwise we got along famously. Turbo would grunt a lot and lift heavy stuff. He was really good at lifting heavy stuff. And getting oiled up. He liked that.


What a brilliant game. This is so huge for American soccer.

I am pleased to report that ESPN led off Sportscenter with the highlights, beating out even the US Open. I am on Cloud 9.

Yes it was a hand-ball, but that's the breaks. And yes, we will probably lose to Germany , but it doesn't matter. Nothing could be sweeter!


Thursday, June 13, 2002

Cthulhu slumbers
Deep in the watery depths
Making "bloop" noises
Marketing mailer I got today: "You'll hit the mark every time with new products such as sleeveless t-shirts for hip Gen-Xers."

Whoever wrote that, please take a minute and evaluate yourself. What were the series of life choices that led you to the point where you felt comfortable writing a sentence like that, whose very existence is an affront to each and every mammal on this planet? There is nothing hip about sleeveless T-Shirts or, for that matter, the term "Gen-Xer", and I think you knew that when you wrote this verbal infection.

I mean can you imagine a gang of 45 year olds in corporate-themed sleeveless T-Shirts? If hip has an opposite, that would be pretty much it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Pinball Inflation is ruining this country.

I am a pinball fiend. The sound of the flippers. The nagging worry that something will break during your all-time high score. The magic but infrequent times that the ball itself smacks the underside of the glass, giving you a momentary rush as the thought flashes through your head that the glass could shatter, lacerating your face and forever scarring you.

But something happened in the world of pinball when I was about 13. The "million shot".

Up until then, we had been playing along in a realistic point scheme. Half a million was a fantastic score. Now all of a sudden, with the advent of the million shot, it only required ONE SHOT! I felt so cheated. The first million-shot game (I'm pretty sure) was Comet, though I may be wrong. Then it only got worse, I remember playing a game called Police Force, which had the laughable "Unlimited Millions" ramp. I sat there and shot the ball up that ramp 46 times in a row. But what did it all mean?

I had lost my innocence.

Gone were the halcyon days of High Speed and Pinbot. Now a new age was being ushered in, with machines like Bride of Pinbot, which offered a Billion Shot. A Billion Shot? I would have laughed if it didn't hurt so bad.

Where does it all end? I'll tell you where: nowheresville. Pinball point inflation was just a pathetic last-ditch effort to sway a new generation of kids who were hooked on video games, that didn't want to feel the thrill of pinball. What pinball inflation failed to take into account wa the subsequent devaluation of pinball. It's like the german Deutschmark before the 2nd world war. If you need a billion pinball points to buy a loaf of bread, does that make the bread inherently more valuable? No. It only makes the points worth less.

These days you get over a million points just for shooting the ball off the plunger.

And now, sadly, Williams, the manufacturer of all the great games I loved, like Earthshaker and Black Night, no longer makes pinball machines.

Monday, June 10, 2002

This dang World Cup. I napped through most of the eclipse, then staggered to the front door to take a look at the sun, thereby joining many people at about that time who were saying "Oh my God! Ow! Bright!'

While we're getting all geeky, why not take a moment to revisit the Thundercats Outtakes?

Warning (Swearing aplenty)
Really, really super cool neato VW Bug Transformer thing

I have a VW Golf, but it's never transformed into anything. It's pretty dirty right now, so it would probably change into the Transformer equivalent of a transient and go sleep under a bridge somewhere. Maybe sell roses on the offramp to pay for its crack habit.

[via justin]

Friday, June 07, 2002

So I went against tradition and put a picture on my blog a couple of posts down there.

I kind of think the less pictures the better, really, but this was a special occasion what with England peeing in the Argentine Gatorade and all.

But I think too many pictures bogs the site down too much. Drop me a line and let me know what you think. Or, you know, don't. That would be OK too. Maybe just think about it while you're on the pot sometime in the next couple of days. Isn't it nice to have company in there for a change?
Printers are a strange bunch.

In my line of shirk, I am often visited by printers trying to get us to use their services. The other day, one guy came to see me, and seemed pretty normal for a while, but by the end of our little chat he was swearing like he had Tourette's or something. Maybe I looked like I would appreciate a little guttermouth action. I don't know. And he proceeded to tell me his questionable employment history and how basically everyone he has ever dealt with he would like to kill. Something told me this was not the printer for me.

And mere hours ago, another one of these peculiar people visited me.

She also seemed pretty normal. Then she showed me a brochure they had done for someone she knows who sells vending machines. Completely out of the blue she starts telling me how this friend of hers was in a terrible motorcycle accident and has diabetes and might have to have his leg cut off. I didn't really know what to say to that. Was I supposed to buy a vending machine to stop this poor guy getting his leg cut off? Was she, in a sense, ransoming her friend's leg? Instead, I made the cognitive leap between Diabetes and having your leg cut off, because I have heard of such things, being a man of the world and all. I mentioned that I had heard of this.

Big mistake. She started telling me how many relatives of hers have had various bits of themselves amputated. I'm not sure it was all diabetes related, either, or even consentual for that matter.

She sighed "I'm not going to let that happen to me."

"Uh." I said. "That's good."

Life is a caravan of delight, isn't it?

England wins!

What a brilliant game. I don't care that I've been dozing off about an hour before I go home from work every day. It's been worth it for these great matches.

The USA and England are my two teams, one by birth and one by ancestry, and they're both going to go through to the next round.

Life, as the man says, is sweet.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Solar eclipse on June 10th
Review of the 2001 Pontiac Grand Am:

After driving all those rental Grand Ams, and seeing my friend's car, I know all too well that this brand new, shiny Grand Am I am test driving will soon be a faded butt-ugly car, with bad shocks, seats with springs disconnecting and a drive-train with enough slippage to qualify as a natural disaster in California.

I personally loathe and despise the Grand Am not just because it is the K Car of the Naughties, but because of those commericals where they give people the keys to one and let them drive it around for a week. These people are really excited about driving a Grand Am. A little too excited. Maybe they've never actually been in a car before. And it never says they get to keep the car. So they go to Atlantic City and say "Baby!" a lot. As in "A.C. baby!" and "Woo, baby!"

Stop saying "baby". You sound like an idiot. You are not Sammy Davis Junior. The swing craze has mercifully ended. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are appearing tuesdays and saturdays at a Holiday Inn somewhere in middle America. The dream is over. Hang up your spats and sleep it off, baby.
Ugly Car - I have no idea what this is for or why. But....I can't...look...away!
The Ugliest Cars in Britain

The Fiat Multipla: Combine the worst elements from a lavatory cistern, a banjo and a dead poodle and you would get something similar to the Multipla.

The Hyundai Amica - One of our readers ... reports that his wife's yellow Amica "looks like a malformed tweety pie crouching in the driveway" and that she would have been better off buying 6000 lottery tickets.

Special Appearance by The Pontiac Aztek (all time leading vote getter)
Electricians are good at being really really noisy.

There is a gang of about three of them here, clustered around the fusebox, loudly discussing things in a vaguely convincing way.

At least that's what they're doing when you walk by them. I suspect that, as soon as you pass them by, they look at each other furtively and say "Dude. I have no idea what I'm doing."

"That wire there? What's it for? And that dangly thing? Jeez. Could be anything."

"Hank! Come here and touch this dangly silver thing for us."

"I'm not touching that. What if it's live?"

"Hey -- here comes someone. Anyway, you can see the 8 inch twilliger switch is mainlined and surging the dipthyion."

"Got to be 40,000 Amps of dipthyion there."

"So we'll feed the base amperage through the...the...uhh. Dude, he's gone."

"'Dipthyion?' What the hell is dipthyion?You really pulled that one out of your ass, Dave."

"I know, man. So, El Pollo Loco for lunch?"

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Louise, Mrs. Badger, has added Giant Root Beer to the Eccentric America site.

Just imagine the size of the Root Beer Float you could make.

Monday, June 03, 2002

NASA Guys Getting All Crazy With The Zero-Gravity Water Balloon Popping

The name of this feature is "Did you ever wonder what it would be like to see a water balloon pop in space?"

Truthfully, the answer is "not really." But now I'm sorry I wasn't wondering about it, because it looks really cool. Just think of all the years I could have spent dreaming of water balloons popping in space, and the giddy release that would have been reached when these videos were viewed!

But no. I never even thought about it, so I just get to think "Hey neat!" and then go back to eating pretzels.

Perhaps, though, the seed has been planted with the viewing of these balloons bursting. Perhaps I will have daydreams of other, more exciting stuff exploding in space, and will live out the rest of my days feeling sadly nonplussed for want of more and more exciting zero gravity burstings.



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