Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The New House is ours, but there is one concern: ants! and lots of them.

So I am burning the midnight oil, trying to come up with ways to keep my home ant-free. The camera whirls around me as I feverishly add, subtract and yes even divide, performing complex calculations to best grasp the ant psyche, the better to murder them and dance on their graves, possibly singing. I could create a vast ant Arlington in my own back yard complete with tiny eternal flame.

I have arrived at a few possible plans:

1. The Antchurian Candidate
Kidnap certain key ants, and perform total brainwashing. (Note: Make sure garden party set is totally believable). Later, reinsert these "sleeper" ants into ant society, ready to begin cleansing with the holy fire when a certain trigger object is viewed. Possible downside to plan: There are not that many potential trigger objects ants can realistically come into contact with. A really common trigger object, like dirt for instance, could cause problems. Check to see if ants play cards.

2. Ant Jonestown
Disguise myself as a charismatic ant cult leader. Insinuate myself into ant society and begin to drop little hints to my fellow drones that maybe if we all killed ourselves, there would be mountains of sugar in the next world. After a few days, stage an ant "love-in" in the yard, complete with diamond-vision mega-screens of crumbs and garbage and huge speakers playing soothing New Age rhythms. In the immensity of the moment, tiny cans of Raid will be distributed and the carnage will undoubtedly ensue.

3. Cruel and Unusual
Play Simon & Garfunkel's "Feelin' Groovy" for ten hours straight until ants give themselves up.

That's all I got.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Here's some bonus Danse Macabre stuff which is not relevant to anything:

Danse Macabre Iconography
The Bones Band, who seem to, um, play at Renaissance Faires. Huzzah!
Danse Macabre midi file
There may not be much blog action here in the days to come, as I am hard at work on the final draft of Rumsfeld! The Musical

It could be tough going, as the only lyrics I've really committed to paper so far are:

What are we gonna do about Rumsfeld?
He's creeping around
All over the town!
He's crafting a plan
Like nobody can!

OK, that's as far as I got. The musical plans really hit a snag when I was informed that Lon Chaney was dead, too. I do see a great moment where Rumsfeld does a crazy skeleton-like dance to the Danse Macabre.
Suddenly, and for no good reason, I began to think about Howie Mandel.

I can't even remember quite how it happened. One minute, I was going about my business, and the next thing I knew, there was Howie Mandel, settling into my consciousness like he had never left. He was inflating medical gloves with his nose and doing that shrugging thing and saying "What? What?" as he was once wont to do.

But the important thing here is that for years and years I had gotten away with not giving Howie Mandel so much as a second of my time. He was dead to me. And now he springs back unbidden, like the fetid corpse of Jason springing from the lake and making you spill your popcorn.

I can't stop it now. I'm picturing that terrible movie where he was possessed by a dog or something and I've never even seen that movie! I'm hearing his voice from the Little Bobby cartoon.

Howie Mandel is like some terrible airborne pathogen, lying dormant for years, only to resurface and doom your small intestine. But at least there is some comfort in the fact that I have passed Howie on to you now.


Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Yesterday, we finally signed our last Escrow papers after being delayed for many reasons, including a rain of frogs and a truly impressive display of apathy on the part of our loan officer.

Everything went OK, despite the fact that the Escrow place that the house-sellers chose was just astonishingly grubby. When the Escrow person motions you to sit down in a chair that is so deeply stained that you almost wonder if the stain pattern is actually supposed to be there, it may be cause for alarm.

I signed many, many things that day, my friends. I signed the termite report. I signed the "we now have legal title to your gonads" document. I signed all the papers that leave you wondering "Why the hell would any sane institution give me this much money?".

The capper, I felt, was something called "The PUD Covenant". I have no idea what it was, but I signed it.

I asked the Escrow person about my PUD Covenant, but she just giggled.
The other thing I want to discuss is that my hair is turning white. White!

I was looking in the mirror last night, for no reason that I can really think of, and I noticed a white hair over by my temple. It was roughly the thickness and tensile strength of a cat whisker, as I discovered when the wife pulled it out with what I would describe as glee.

I started to paw through my hair like hair like a dachsund digging for a gopher and I discovered many more of these white hairs. It was clearly time to panic.

In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I am merely 31 years old. Is this the age that Pete Townshend was thinking of when he wrote "I hope I die before I get old"? Is entropy creeping into my follicles? Have I unwittingly seen a spook?

An interesting feeling overcame me, and I realized it was resignation. My grandfather had totally white hair by the time he was forty or something, and I think I'm headed in that direction. Hopefully it'll be a few more years before I start wanting to wear my pants over my stomach and tucking my tie into them. And I'm not looking forward to the tweed jackets either.

But I kid. If I could be anything at all like my grandfather, it would be a good thing.

What really worries me is that the hairs are appearing at the temples only. And that means my future look is more like J. Jonah Jameson of Spiderman fame. Ah well.
First off, let me just say that I wasn't talking about actual babies, as in very young people. I meant "baby" as in what people who listen to Bruce Springsteen call their girlfriends. Are we clear on that? OK.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Finally got the E3 pictures up on
Vidiot straggles in with some baby shooting:

After polishing off a large mushroom & sausage from Domino's, I shot my baby.
Shortly after renting a paddleboat, I shot my baby.
While refinancing my mortgage to take advantage of the new lower rates, I shot my baby.
I delegated, and had my secretary shoot my baby for me.
Instead of walking the dog, I shot my baby.
While waterskiing nude at Cypress Gardens, I shot my baby.
While appearing on "The McLaughlin Group", I shot my baby.

Friday, May 16, 2003

More people are shooting their babies:

After the drive-thru guy at Taco Bell gave me Hot Sauce instead of Atomic, I shot my baby.
When ALF started reappearing in commercials, I shot my baby.
November 2, 2004, I shot my baby.
After stubbing my toe on the coffee table on the third day into trying to quit smoking, I shot my baby.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I shot my baby.
Under the boardwalk, I shot my baby.
As the world crumbled, I shot my baby.
In Baghdad, I was so distraught about not being able to find any WMD but still having to look, I shot my baby.
When they were out of my favorite gin, I shot my baby.
At the office, where I should have been writing in my blog and pretending to work, I shot my baby.
At the Celine Dion concert, I shot my baby, and it thanked me.
Waiting in line for the Port-o-lets, I shot my baby.
From atop the ferris wheel, I shot my baby.
After our romantic dinner at the Cracker Barrel, I shot my baby.
Waiting for a release date for FFTA*, I shot my baby.

Variously from Ufez Jones of Archipelapogo, Aine 42 of, Trent of KOTWF, and a reader who is pent up about the release dates of video games.

*FFTA is, I think, Final Fantasy Tactics or something. Although it sounds more fun if it stands for Freelance Fremen Tentacle Angst
I have all kinds of noises coming out of me today. You, of course, are free to interperet that in any way you see fit.

Specifically, my shoe is making a really unfortunate farty noise, the result of which is that I am hobbling around the office, trying to put weight on other parts of the shoe and avoid the penetrating gazes of coworkers who fear airbiscuits have been floated. So I look like I've got a clubfoot ot something, like I'm some demented gnome creeping around the cube farm and haunting the daydreams of otherwise happy laborers, all in the interest of not making the farty sound.

And my stomach did one of those Airport Intercom Announcements in the middle of a staff meeting. "Any questions?" asked the boss.

Apparently, my stomach had one. "Mr. rrrrrrrrooooooggglloooorrrr, please pick up the White Courtesy Phone!" it cried, followed by some gibberish which I think was Czechoslovakian.

Anyway, I have to go, as I have just been informed that Escrow wants us to get over there RIGHT NOW and sign the Escrow papers for the house. I don't get it. We have a 60 day Escrow and then the sudden rush?

And just what the hell is Escrow? it's like some nebulous super-brainiac mass floating around by Rebulon 12 in a Star Trek episode.

"Escrow will provide. Throw down your weapons. There is peace and serenity in Escrow."

Noone seems to be able to define Escrow adeqately for me, so I'll just have to assume it's not going to eat me and that it's not actually an Earth satellite dispatched to deep space in the late 70s and now worshipped as a God. I just wish it would stop pushing me around, whatever it is.

So cool your damn heels Escrow. We'll be there.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

June Carter Cash has passed away. Awful news.

I saw her play a couple of times at Johnny Cash shows, and she had a real gift. You could see the love those two had for each other. I only hope The Man In Black himself can make it through on his own. In his words:

"What June did for me was post signs along the way, lift me when I was weak, encourage me when I was discouraged, and love me when I was alone and felt unlovable. She is the greatest woman I have ever known. Nobody else, except my mother, comes close."
CNN article
And yet more "I shot my baby" ideas:

Crouching beneath the slurpees at Walmart, I shot my baby
While giving Mrs Rumsfeld a wet willie, I shot my baby
Amidst the overripe papayas, I shot my baby
Rectal thermometer clenched between my teeth and sanity-saving Motrin dispenser firmly in hand, I shot my baby
When I dropped my dice collection into my cheetos super-sized funpack, I shot my baby
At the dawn of a new American century, I shot my baby.
In the summertime, when the weather is hot, I shot my baby.
Wearing my pajamas, I shot my baby.

This time from YHBC of Insert Better Name Here, and from my very own sister, who knows a lot about babies, what with chasing my nephew around all day. I would like to make it clear that I in no way endorse shooting of actual babies, especially out of cannons.

Incidentally, this audience participation thing is a lot easier than actually writing anything myself. Who knew?

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I am pooped from trudging around E3 all day. A little disappointed that the only Half-Life 2 being shown was in a little theatre preview thing with way too long of a line. Subesquently, I didn't get to see it. But Tron 2.0 looks super-cool, amongst many others.
The "I shot my baby" suggestions are rolling in:

Standing in line at the squat rack, I shot my baby
Under the spreading chestnut tree, I shot my baby, my baby shot me
While cheering on the nitro-burning funny cars, I shot my baby
Eating chinese food with a robot in the attic, I shot my baby
In the Big & Tall store at the mall, I shot my baby.
Deep in David Brinkley's sock drawer, I shot my baby.
Over on the 12th fairway, y'know, the one where if you layup short and get stuck in the trap you'll be lucky to get on the green in four, I shot my baby.
In the engine room of the Starship Enterprise, I shot my baby.
While shopping for vertical blinds at Sears, I shot my baby.

Variously from Adam of Tailorstoday, Jpoulos, and my pal Chimichanga. Let's keep 'em coming.

Also abetted by Steve White of Plurp!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Oh wait, here's another one:

At the French Club Cheese Tasting, I shot my baby

I'm going to open this up for audience participation. If anyone has a good "I shot my baby" idea, by all means email me and I'll collect the best ideas. Your name in lights!
Down by the river, I shot my baby.

These few simple words are of course synonymous with Big Music Fun. You've got a river. You've got your baby. You've got a gun. And did I mention that you're a bad man? You are. You're a bad man.

I would humbly submit, though, that the "shooting your baby down by the river" thing may need updating.

How about:

Waiting in line in the One Hour Photo place, I shot my baby
Down by Orange Julius, I shot my baby
In the Self-Help aisle at Borders, I shot my baby
After a discussion about the helpless duality of man before the prospect of an uncaring universe, I shot my baby
At a taping of Seventh Heaven, I shot my baby
Go read Mimi Smartypants today:

This guy had a boulder (see, the boulders have it in for us I'M TELLING YOU) fall on his leg, and after being unable to free himself he ended up cutting his leg off below the knee with a pocketknife and then somehow driving to the next town for help. Important difference, though: whereas Arm-Severing Guy was trapped for six days, this guy apparently waited only ONE DAY. Okay. He said that there was a snowstorm coming, and that his leg really hurt, and so on, but still: don't you wait a little longer than one day?

Why? Because it's super duper funny today. Only I see that the entry I linked was actually posted on the 9th. So I can't vouch for Mimi Smartypants' particular level of hilarity today. You'll just have to take it as a given.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Operation Strangelove:

On May 14, put on a screening of "Dr. Strangelove" – in your living room, at the local theater, on campus, on your laptop, anywhere you can – and say no to unilateral invasions, to endangering our troops for the sake of oil, to flouting international law and the world community in the name of empire. Follow the film with discussions, forums, debates. Keep talking. Keep acting. Let’s give new meaning to the old Strategic Air Command motto, "Peace Is Our Profession."
And now, a moment with Burning the Crap Out of Your Tongue Theatre:

Coffeeperson: Here you are good sir, the coffee is prepared. Notice how I have left 2 inches of room for cream in the cup, as you specified.
Kafkaesque: Thank you, Coffeeperson. Here is my change as recompense for your "going the extra mile". Also, this change is future insurance that you will not intentionally do anything icky to something I wish to ingest.
Coffeeperson: Thank you! It truly makes my job worthwhile when someone like you, kind sweet Kafkaesque, takes the trouble to recognize my effort.
Kafkaesque: Think nothing of it, Coffeeperson.
Coffeeperson: *sigh*

*proud of his successful coffee transaction, Kafkaesque turns and strides towards the 1/2&1/2 kiosk*

Kafkaesque [aside]: Ah, I remember the halcyon days of my youth, when once I was able to drink my coffee black, instead of sadly neutered by the soft apology of dairy products. How fresh and alive with possibility the world seemed then! The birds all sang to me, and the song was good, not some terrible top 40 thing like Nelly. When the birds sing Nelly, it's a sign of trouble.

takes off glasses, gazes balefully out of window, towards twitchy café denizens

And now, I find myself with this brimming cup of fine black coffee, dare I try to recapture this wild beast? To foist its full fury upon my stomach lining? If I can no longer taste the full import of this sweet nectar, can I truly call myself alive?!

But no! I dare not. I fear the magnitude of jumpiness and heart palpitations would be too much for me, and I would be left a shaking husk, my insides eaten away, a shell of a man suitable only to provide shelter for Nelly-singing birds.

But I must! I cannot give in to the death of youth.

puts cup to lips and fills mouth with pure black coffee

Kafkaesque's Tongue: Aiiiiiiiieee! Hot! Hot! I die! I am slain! I die!

Kafkaesque: Oops.


Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The Real "Saving Private Lynch"

"The most important thing to know is that the Iraqi soldiers and commanders had left the hospital almost two days earlier," Houssona said. "The night they left, a few of the senior medical staff tried to give Jessica back. We carefully moved her out of intensive care and into an ambulance and began to drive to the Americans, who were just one kilometre away. But when the ambulance got within 300 metres, they began to shoot. There wasn't even a chance to tell them `We have Jessica. Take her.'"

An important thing to remember when you see the TV movie in a few months, with the fiendish Iraqi demons putting up ferocious resistance to our heroic boys.

And now I hear on CNN this morning that Private Lynch "has amnesia" and can't remember her captivity or capture. Do you want to scream yet?

[via MetaFilter]

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

I should mention, as time is ticking down, that today was Mrs Kafkaesque's birthday.

She is truly the greatest wife anyone could wish for, and I've got her. Which makes me very, very happy.
My neighbor rode up from the parking garage in the elevator with me. Yes, we have underground parking. It's not really as cool or safe as it sounds, as the gates are always open.

At any rate, my neighbor did in fact ride up from the parking lot to the fourth floor with me. My neighbor that kind of creeps me out because he talks a LOT like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. I know, that's a terrible thing to say about anyone. How would you like it if you came into a room and everyone stopped talking except one guy, who hadn't noticed you come in and said too loudly, unable to help himself against the onrush of glacial silence, powerless to stop his own voice, "You know. your name here really does sound like that Silence of the Lambs guy." To say the least, you would probably be upset.

But what I'm saying is that my neighbor rode up from the 2nd subterranean level of parking in the disco-door elevator with me. The doors were just normal stainless steel or whatever, and for a year or so had a crudely scratched graffiti item on the surface of the door, reading "F*CK YOU" (of course, the graffiti artist [though I would hesitate to call such an attempt art, even in a really base interpretation of the word] had not seen fit to swap out the offending vowel and replace it with the pleasing and offense-preventing asterisk. That is merely my gift to you, the sensitive public).

A handyman, or janitor or facilities guy, whatever you call the guys that ride around on little golf carts and clean up after the chuckleheaded litterbugs that live here in the hive collective, had gotten a great idea how to remove the offensive graffiti (and this is not unlike the asterisk I employed only a sentence ago): he took his screwdriver or awl or whatever and changed the letters, so instead of reading "F*CK YOU" it read "BOCK YOU" or "BOOK YOO". It was never really clear. BOCK YOU is kind of nice. It sounds like a little outdoor café where they sell dark German beer, or maybe an Asian market where they've made an endearing spelling mistake in an attempt to reference the exemplary leafy green Bok Choy, without which a stirfry just wouldn't cut it. BOOK YOO could be an edgy bookmobile service that brings the latest "it" novel to your door.

But one day, a few weeks ago, someone went in there with a rotary tool of some sort and made all these little round swirled indentations that make you feel like you're inside a disco ball or maybe that you are a Solid Gold dancer on mild hallucinogens. It was a little disorienting for a while, and there are moments even now when I long for the BOCK YOO simplicity of bygone days. That is, of course, neither here nor there.

The point is that I rode up with my neighbor. He talks a lot. He talks about golf and how all of the other denizens of the apartment (except us) are trollish goatlike protohumans who exist only to keep him awake at night. Another foe is the management of the apartment community, who have apparently had it in for him for over ten years. They raise his rent when it's clear that he is not in favor of such an increase. They run gardening equipment at precisely the moment his full attention is required elsewhere. They don't listen to his labyrinthine plans for complex but ultimately beneficial parking systems.

He is a talker.

You walk with him past his apartment door, as yours is the next one along, carrying your shopping in plastic bags that are cutting off the circulation to your metacarpals, because the bagger at the store put all the mineral water in the same bag. He will sense this, you think, and allow you to hurry back to your kitchen, but no! He is like the phone talker who won't allow you to replace the handset in the cradle. You edge away from him in a series of feints and complicated bluffs, but he is wise to you. He begins on a new tangent and peppers his speech with subtle ploys like "Long story short..." and "I know you have to get in but..." and he goes on. And on.

Finally, the complicated dance is ended when you can no longer indulge the plaintive look in his eye, and you interrupt his tirade with "Uh-huhs" and finish him off with an "OK, bye!", leaving him muttering to himself about how he thinks that the garbage chute is not being tended to in the most efficient manner possible and would you like to see a diagram he has drawn of the entire trash system?.

This time, we got to his door, and I was beginning to get desperate when he glanced from side to side, as if we were being watched, possibly by apartment management secret police, and said confidentially "You know the swallows, right?"

"Um." I said, wondering about the relative length of rambling that would result from either a yes or no answer. "The swallows?"

"The swallows. The ones that wake us up every morning."

I have never once been woken by a swallow, in spite of my relative proximity to San Juan Capistrano, which is mere miles down the coast, and which the cartoons teach us all is the place to which the swallows return year after year to crap on tourists in a silent tribute to the indigenous peoples who were roughed up by Junipero Serra. So I said "Oh yeah. The birds you mean?"

"Yes, the birds. They wake me up every morning. I'm a very light sleeper you know. I have to sleep with ear plugs...." I began to tune him out, imagining him with a deep well dug in his breakfast nook, and a senator's daughter held captive, forced to listen to his diatribes. When I came back to my senses he was saying "I've been researching on the internet, since the apartment people don't seem to want to do anything about the swallows."

"On the internet?" I asked. I wondered what my neighbor was researching. Perhaps he wanted to learn some primitive swallow language, so he could ask them politely to keep it down? Maybe he was researching their little nest-huts, which, while impressive, are undeniably built of bird-barf?


What he said was this: "I'm researching something to give them that will make them go to swallow heaven."

I was frankly a little bamboozled by this. My neighbor wants to kill the birds! I said "NO! You can't kill the swallows! I...I'm a Buddhist!"

The fact is that I am not actually a Buddhist, but I take pains not to kill anything unless I can help it, except ants, who cannot be forgiven for their transgressions into the kitchens of our great and free land, and certain people who appear on Radio Shack commercials who shall remain nameless in the interest of the greater good.

But my neighbor latched on to this. "Oh, the Buddha!" and he began to talk about how had briefly flirted with the notion of Buddhism, until I was forced to run for the shelter of my home.

The really important thing here is that my neighbor wants to kill birds. So, maybe, in some way, he is like the Silence of the Lambs guy. And I'm going to have to find a way to stop him.

As long as it doesn't involve actually talking to him.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day!

Go get yourself some free stuff!

Thursday, May 01, 2003

I just did something peculiar.

I was going to make some mashed potatoes, as I am wont to do when the potatoes start to get ideas, and when I took the plastic bag out of the fridge, one of the potatoes rolled out onto the floor and made for the safety of the fridge.

"Hey!" I cried "Don't go under the fridge!"

Then I kind of looked around to see if anyone had seen me talk to a potato*.

These things worry me. I don't want to end up one of those guys you see in Safeway late at night, interrogating a package of pimento loaf.

* Of course, had this been a sentient, Self-Mashing Potato, this would have been perfectly acceptable behavior. Sadly, government funding for the SMP has been reduced to a trickle. The best the magical elves at Kafkaesque Labs have developed to date is a Self-Loathing Brussels Sprout.


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