Thursday, August 28, 2003

Oh, and one last thing today:

I went and changed my bank accounts after the little mail-theft debacle I went through last week.

So, if you are trying to steal money from my accounts, I'm sorry if you experience any inconvenience. Just contact me for the new account numbers.
Now that that bit of ugliness is behind us, so to speak, I can tell you that yesterday the wife and I went to a "Water 101" class given by the Orange County Water District. We, of course, wanted to see just how many times we could fill our Mr. Turtle kiddie pool every day before we need to start feeling guilty about it. Turns out it's eight times a day, so that might put a damper on the end of summer.

The real highlight of the seminar for me was a video about the Sacramento Delta and the terrible water mismanagement that goes on there. Actually the video was not terribly exciting, but they did show protesters outside a the capitol in Sacramento, one of whom had a sign that read "I PAY TAXES -- FISH DON'T!!"

A couple of thoughts sprang to mind about this sign:

- I hope that the sign carrier had made the sign one morning, after a visionary dream, and had been waiting years for the appropriate opportunity to brandish it angrily. Maybe she had tried her sign at other events, like an Evangelical Christian revival for example, with disappointing results.
- What if fish did start paying taxes? Maybe the California economic difficulties would end. Or maybe some philanthropist, like that Percy Ross guy who used to give away money in the newspaper to needy people on the sole condition that he had to look like a really great guy, could spot the fish some tax money.

But wait! Fish are for the most part unemployable (besides some in middle-management positions), so if they were assigned social security numbers they would undoubtedly turn into welfare cases and get huge tax refunds every year.

Further study is definitely needed.

Seriously, the seminar confirmed that California and indeed much of the country and world, is headed for a big water crisis as the population grows and you, yes you, continue to water your lawn.

After the water seminar, we headed off to the free Mars viewing at the University of California Irvine observatory.

Somehow, I don't think the staff of the observatory anticipated that five thousand people would show up. Traffic was backed up for blocks and we ended up parking about a half-mile away and hiking up to the observatory, where we found thousands of kind of pissed-off looking people in the kind of line that you can grow a beard in. Luckily, there were some amateur astronomers with their own telescopes there, and we had a look through one such device. I think it was Mars I saw, at least. It could really have been any roughly circular off-white object.

It wasn't a real strong telescope.

I'm guessing they probably turned away all the would-be stargazers about midnight, maybe with free passes to Laser Floyd Night or something. One can but dream.
I had a first today.

It was the first time this thought had ever crossed my mind: "Gee, it's ten AM and I've already had a colo-rectal exam." I mean, what can possibly top that?

Yes, I had the first physical of my sheltered existence today. I'll spare you any further details, as this blog refuses to sink to the depths of bottom humor any more than is absolutely necessary, especially when it's my bottom that's in question. Suffice to say that in the subject-predicate paradigm, I now know what it means to be the predicate.

Also, it's difficult to conduct a conversation when the person speaking to you is palpating your testicles.

Come to think of it, I don't think I need to use the word "palpate" again just about ever.

If you haven't already stopped reading, you should probably go and have a nice cup of tea, a shower, and a bit of a lie-down.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

They pass, these people from accounting and customer service. The smiling receptionist. Their life force is strong. We sense it in the subtle shift of the wind, this approaching vibrance.

We remember the light.

And we ooze forth from our cubicles of darkness. We joke at them desperately, implore them only to stay. To keep us company in this our long windowless nightmare. We drape ourselves over their youthful forms and cling to their ankles, hoping to wrest some small shard of hope from them, that we may huddle round it later, warming our icy bones.

"Tell us of the light!" we implore them, beseech them.

But they cannot hear us. They hurry past us, turning up collars against an involuntary chill, nervously whistling or remarking to each other that a goose has trodden on their grave.

We are lost, alone in the depths of Purgatory, Inc., under the fluorescents that eat our souls and over the carpet that tells our story in wavering, sickening patterns of grape, mustard and what may very well be periwinkle.

Sometimes, there are doughnuts.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Sorry for the absence between updates here, but some significant things have occurred in the last few days, though not necessarily in this order:

1. I sunburned the hell out of my back.
I was weeding in the back yard on Saturday, and foolishly neglected to wear sunscreen, a hat or a shirt. Now I am paying the price with a back roughly the color of raspberry sherbet.

Having a badly sunburned back is, of course, great fun. You have to try not to wrinkle the skin on your back, because if you do, incredible itching and pain will result. I imagine I looked a little like some demented marionette at work this morning, involuntarily jerking my shoulders in response to the sharp twinges of pain.

I bought Aloe Vera gel at lunch and drove home with it, to soothe my back. Putting it on made it hurt one thousand times worse, and I ran around the house screaming profanities. I actually said "whoremaster!" for some unknown reason. I probably read it in a Stephen King book. My cat would not stop yelling and is lucky I did not behead him.

Also, there are ants everywhere in my house. I killed them with glee and shouted my nastiness at them. They allowed me to externalize my horrific pain.

It sounded kind of like this: "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD! OW! OW! OW! DIE! DIE ANT! OH YES! DIE! DIE! HAHAHAHAHA!" and so on. I believe leading Hellraiser theoreticians would have surmised that I had crossed the line where pain, murder, death and pleasure blend together into a symphony of evil.

Now I am getting twinges that feel like needles poking into my back.

2. Phil Hartman contacted me to tell me I may have been the victim of identity theft.
Obviously, not the Phil Hartman. No, this is a detective in the town where I used to live, who told me that some quality individuals had ransacked my mailbox, along with the mailboxes of other good folk of the C Building. Actually, I don't know if they're good folk or not. They could be chickenfondlers for all I know.

So I went down to the police station to reclaim my mail. I waited for Phil Hartman for a long while, and tried to keep thoughts of guilt out of my mind. As soon as I entered the police station, I felt like The Man was going to spring out from behind the institutional plastic rows of chairs and nab me. This led to subsequent grandiose fantasies involving the breaking of windows, the scaling of trees and the shouting of "You'll never take me alive!"

Anyway, it doesn't seem like the mail thieves actually managed to do anything with the info they gleaned from my cell-phone bill and bank statement, but it's a little disquieting to know that I may not be me. I mean, I thought I was the one eating asparagus salad last night, but maybe it was an identity thief!

Does that mean I have to eat the salad again?

3. There is mouse poo all over my desk.
Self-explanatory, though I should state that this is not the sort of treatment I expect after I make it clear that I would like to rehabilitate you from your life of carefree mouseness, Mr. Work Mouse. I understand that I didn't get the humane trap thing that I was talking about in order to save you from the evil glue-trap setters, but I really did think about it quite seriously.

Isn't that enough for you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

When I have to discipline my hapless lackeys here at Purgatory, Inc., I like to do so in a Jacob Marley "vengeful ghost" type voice. It confuses them and keeps them nice and twitchy.

In fact, whenever I am unable to avoid speaking to them, I select from one of the following voices:

Foghorn Leghorn
Yosemite Sam
Henry Kissinger
Carol Anne from Poltergeist

Monday, August 18, 2003

The Aquariass Aquarium Toilet

Seems like a great idea, although it might be a little traumatic for the fish.

Just one of the several neato thingies at Elseware.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

So I dropped the wife off at the airport today to fly to a conference, and immediately raced home to do what married guys do when they have a couple of days to themselves:

That's right, I watched Altered States with my cat.

It seemed to go pretty well, and I think it was a good human-feline bonding experience, even if he did express some concerns about the facile nature of Ken Russell's religious imagery. He snorted with derision as Dr. Jessup held out the Bible to his dying father in his hallucination, and made some rather cutting remarks about "fifth-grade level psychedelia", leaving me somewhat ashamed.

I explained that the cheesy effects were representative of technology of the time the film was made, but he seemed nonplussed.

But I think I gained a little knowledge from my cat. Next week he wants to show me Kieslowski's Dekalog, possibly followed by a discussion on whether there is any true morality in a world devoid of divine guidance. But I have to get him the good cat food first. Eukanuba, you know.

Come home soon, honey.

Friday, August 15, 2003

13 Labs Garden springs terror on an unsuspecting world:

Probably not, but anything is possible.


Thursday, August 14, 2003

It is indeed a hard world for little things.

Courtesy of Mr. Plurp:

Patriotic Hermit Crab Shells!

Sure, your neighbors may think they're impressive with their 20-foot high floodlit flagpole in the front yard, but their pathetic fair-weather patriot jaws will drop to their patchy lawn when you spring your little pal in his American Flag shell on them.

"That's nice" you can drawl, "But have you seen my little friend!?" as you brandish your little crab friend proudly.

Incidentally, I think they could score big with middle America if they would make RV and Slipstream Hermit Crab shells.

Here's the whole shebang. Let's all just take a moment and thank the good people at Pet for remembering to humiliate God's little creatures.
We went and saw Tindersticks at the Henry Fonda Theatre in L.A. on Tuesday. This, of course, goes a ways toward explaining my absence from this site. Staying up til 1am on a weekday means I have to pretty much write off the rest of the week, what with being old and decrepit and all. I noticed something at the show (which by the way was great and you should have gone. Yes, you! I know you live in Nebraska. I don't care! Just shut up. I'm not even continuing this conversation).

What did you notice? I hear you cry.

Well let me tell you: I noticed the dancing. Concert dancing is a tricky field to get into. I know because I've been at shows where I find myself doing a little toe-tap head-bob sort of thing a few songs into the show, and next thing I know it's five songs later and I've been doing the exact same toe-tap head-bob thing for five songs in a row! I know, it's unsettling. I'd understand if you want to go to another site right now, and maybe look at pictures of ringtail lemurs for a while.

There. You back? OK.

Yes, the pressure can be intense. You have to mix it up a little bit. You may want to engage in some hands-over-the-head waving action that you saw in that one Motley Crue video that one time when you were cutting Autoshop.

Then there's the "how much am I annoying the guy standing behind me?" factor. If you really, really want to annoy the guy behind you, you can't beat some violent head jerking kind of stuff, making the guy behind you wonder whether your rear cranium is about to shatter the bridge of his nose. And, after all, screw that guy. He knows what he's getting into going to a show, right? You go see a band, you pay your twenty bucks, you have to expect that maybe you're not going to make it out of there without a little sinus damage, and maybe some cartilage trouble. It doesn't matter that this is a Tindersticks show, and you're dancing around like an extra from REM's Stand video to a song that has one beat every ten seconds. Go for it!

And, by all means, yell out stuff between songs. Not only does the band love it, the people around you think you're really, really funny. As a matter of fact, I may have paid $20 to see Tindersticks, but what I really wanted to hear was some yutz yelling in the breaks. Sometimes, when I listen to CDs at home, I yell things myself. I'm glad you have taken care of the yelling for me, yelling guy.

Hmm. Got a little sidetracked there.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Well, the entries have been pouring in for the "Let's imagine Babar, King of the Elephants in unseemly film and literature" contest. Well, it's kind of a contest. The kind of contest where you don't win anything and there's no real criteria for judging. It's like a midway game where a cruel carny gives you a softball that you know can never ever knock down those milk bottles, but you have to try anyway.

And then, against all odds you manage to knock down those bottles, and your heart leaps into your throat and just as you think, just for a moment, for one fleeting second "I am a winner, dammit!", some guy steals your car stereo in the parking lot.

That kind of contest.

Here's the winners, that my wife and I just judged:

12 Angry Babars
Rosemary's Babar
The Unbearbale Lightness of Babar
The Last Temptation of Babar

Faster Babar! Kill! Kill!
The Madness of King Babar

A Confederacy of Babars
It Happened to Babar One Night

Babar of Nazareth
Conan, The Babarian
Star Trek: The Wrath of Babar

Richard (who has no linkability):
Pier Palo Pasolini's Salo: 120 Days of Babar (alternately, Babar: 120 Days of Sodom)

Babarella, Queen of the Galaxy (It should be noted that this was a multiple entry, with Skot's Babarbarella, Queen of the Galaxy)

Congratulations to all the winners. Years from now, when someone's bothering you in a bar, you can tell them the story of how you thought up the best damn Babar jape ever, and rest assured that they'll leave you alone and possibly notify the authorities.
I'm so glad to see that Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor of my home state.

It's good to know that when (I would say if, but it's only a matter of time) a demented supervillain siphons off California's atmosphere, our governor will be untroubled. Sure, his eyes'll bug out a little bit and he'll make some odd Shatneresque grunting sounds, but he'll pull through.

And who else? Who else have we got running? Gary Coleman. And Gallagher. I can't wait for the debates,.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Here's a My Life As An American Gladiator fun game you can play at home:

Imagine Babar, King of the Elephants in decidedly un-Babar films and books.


Babar: Portrait of a Serial Killer
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Babar
Babar Got His Gun
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Babar, Babar
Fear and Loathing and Babar in Las Vegas

Got any good ones? Send 'em in.
I just happened to be perambulating around the web dealy here and happened on, courtesy of Adampsyche.

There's nothing too remarkable there. Just your average aliens bothering the godfearing denizens of our planet, tinfoil hat sales, that sort of thing.

One section particularly drew my attention, though: The Alien Plan for Humans. I've always been curious about just why these aliens want to come down here and mess with people's heads, as they are wont to do if you believe the literature. This passage has all the answers:

"And he's saying to me that, 'You know how you have memories?'

And I'm saying like, 'What do you mean, memories?'

He's saying, 'You know how you remember your father, your mother, your sister, the birthday parties?'

I think he's giving me an example and I'm saying yes.

And he goes, 'Someday people who are like you will not have those memories either. They'll be like me.' Like him meaning.

And I'm saying, 'What do you mean by that?'

He's saying, 'Don't you understand that?'

I said no, or rather, I don't say no, I just shake my head. And then again he tells me to listen.

He says, 'There will be only one purpose for you. You won't have memories like you do now.'

I'm asking him like, 'You mean me?' He goes, 'No, the people who will come after you.'

I don't know what he means by that.

He's asking me, 'Are you understanding?'

I'm shaking my head like I don't. I'm asking him, 'They're not going to take me away, are they?'

And he's saying, 'They don't need to take you away. They will come.'

I don't know what he means by this. Again I ask him what are they doing.

He looks down and he looks up at me again and he lifts his arm up. He is saying something like, 'Do you see this?'

And I say, 'What, your arm?'

He goes, 'Never mind.'

I said, 'No, tell me. Tell me. What are the aliens doing?'

And he's saying all they're interested in, that no matter what happens at all, is that they control."

Now, I'm no tinfoil hat wearing expert, but I think the aliens should really be more selective in their abduction targeting. It's pretty obvious that this guy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. You can just picture the alien getting more and more frustrated. "My arm? Yeah, I'm talking about my arm, Clem. How many ways do I have to tell you that we're a superintelligent race and you mouth-breathers are in trouble." And then he rolls his almond shaped eyes and says to his colleague "Let's drop this idiot off and try Nebraska again."
There is no situation that could not be worse if one imagines it being a lavish musical production number.

Imagine it. You get laid off. Your wife leaves you. The cat is possessed by a minor demon. You lose your hair in a bizarre rototiller accident, and your eyeballs turn backward into your head.

And just then, just as you are convinced nothing more could possibly happen to make your situation any worse, the music swells. You realize there's a full orchestra behind the potted plants, sequined-leotard wearing dancers spring unbidden from every doorway and out of nowhere someone starts crooning.

Just remember that next time you fall on hard times, my friend.


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