Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Also, somehow, someway, today is my third wedding anniversary.

Thank you for putting up with me, wifely friend. Your karmic rewards will one day be rich.
A word of advice

If you see an old lady standing on the same streetcorner every day, and nobody seems to see her but you, and she has kind of wild spooky hair, and sometimes almost seems to be floating a couple of inches off the ground, under no circumstances should you hire a medium, a team of parapsychologists and indulge in a little Kirlian photography to document this, the first provable evidence of life ater death. It's very embarrassing when it turns out she's just some lady waiting at the bus stop.

Monday, October 27, 2003

OK, Canada. Sure, you're smarter than us. And generally a lot nicer than us. And probably more hygeinic.

But do you have to have everything? Even the Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship of the World?

It is a dark day for America.

Incidentally, isn't the game called Rochambeau? I prefer to call it that because it makes me feel important to use such high-faluting language, but you are free to use whatever appelation pleases you.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Every Day Is a Little Song

Arvo Part
John Cale
We're out of

That was the chant in my head this morning. Every morning, my wife wakes me up, since she is far more reponsible and diligent about the little things like being awake than I am, and I stagger out to the kitchen. We have breakfast while listening to NPR, dutifully rolling our eyes or expressing deep-seeded moral outrage when the President or Arnold Schwarzenegger is mentioned. Interaction is somewhat minimal, as we are slowly coming to consciousness. One of the daily tasks apportioned to me is the pressing down of the French press coffeepot. This, for some reason, seems to require Herculean strength and the patience of Job. You must exert tremendous force on the plunger, which will crawl downwards at the rate of a tree sloth who's not got anything on his schedule that day, until it reaches ground zero and your somewhat cloudy cup o joe is ready.

I should mention that the reason we have to use the French press is that I broke the Krups machine's carafe when I tried to do something silly like washing it, and we have yet to get a replacement. This was over six months ago. It used to be that you could go to Macy's and buy a replacement carafe. Indeed, when I was a humble coffee-slinger, we sold the carafes in the café, and got a lot of business from the clumsy faction of society. Now, you have to order the replacement carafe online or get Macy's to order one for you.

Do you care about this? You should, because it starts with the carafes, man, and ends up with outpatients not being able to get their insulin. Macy's is killing diabetics is what I'm saying.

Sorry. that was a little off-subject.

The chant thing is what I'm really talking about here. Every morning I get these little thoughts, like this morning when I thought how nice it would be to take an Arvo Part CD to work, so I could get all minimalist while I write the company newsletter. The problem is that I forget these little ideas with astonishing regularity, so to remember, I have to chant the words just under the current of conscious thought. So I was droning "Ar-vo Part", "Ar-vo Part" like some crazy symphony cheerleader or something who won't shut up during the quiet bits of "Tabula Rasa" and feels it necessary to lend encouragement to the first violin.

I got a little distracted with the internal chanting when some pedantic portion of my mind wanted me to add the umlaut or dieresis thing over the "a", hence Arvo Pärt, and pronounce it correctly, like PAIRT. The first portion of my mind argued that pronouncing it "Part" was better for the cheer-chant rhythm. The umlaut camp responded with accusations of xenophobia and insinuations that perhaps I just wasn't smart enough to use more complicated punctuation. In the end, no decision was reached, and since the chanting was only internal anyway, both parties were satisfied by adding the dots and leaving it up to my discretion whether to pronounce them.

Then, out of nowhere, I suddenly felt a deep desire to hear John Cale's "Fragments of a Rainy Season". I don't know why. Maybe it was a particularly Welsh quality to the sesame bagel and cream cheese this particular morning. But now I had to add two more syllables to the little song in my head:

"Arvo Pärt John Cale/Arvo Pärt John Cale/Arvo Pärt John Cale"

I had a little cadence going now. I imagined legions of sweaty masses like you see in Biblical epic films and gladiator movies banging immense kettle drums and chanting it in a voice one thousand strong.

This image stuck with me throughout my morning shower, shave and gel-action, until I wandered to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the wife's and my lunches. I folded little slices of meat and slathered healthful mayonnaise to the strains of the mighty chant. And then, a sudden blow! A rabbit punch from out of nowhere: We were out of tomatoes! "I have to remember to buy tomatoes at the store today", I thought, "or surely the Earth will be consumed by fire."

Arvo Pärt!
John Cale!
We're out of!
Arvo Pärt!
We're out of!

This was getting complicated. And I hadn't even put my socks on yet. I completed my pre-work duties, including chasing the cat around the house, and made it to the car. Then it struck me that I had left Arvo and John inside in the CD cabinet. What the hell good was my stadium full of drum-players doing if I didn't even remember what I was supposed to do? Pondering the unknowable workings of the brain, I ran back in to get the CDs. I have a little CD carrier that holds maybe 30 CDs, which I take to work every day. I always chastise myself for not changing the selection in there enough. I seem to end up with the same little core of work-music again and again.

Anyway, I manage to select a couple of CDs to replace with Arvo and John and I 'm ready to go.

Theoretically, I should now be able to remove the "Ar-vo-Pärt-John-Cale" portion of the chant, but I can't! I'll forget the tomatoes if I do. The rhythm will be lost! The center cannot hold! So now I'm stuck with the full chant until the tomato objective is achieved.

As I pull out of the garage, The Clash's Sandinista starts up in the stereo. The first song is The Magnificent Seven. Soon I am singing my little chant to the tune of The Magnificent Seven. But I am too easily distracted. I have overdone the coffee this morning and my mind leaps from one tangent to the next:

Magnificent Seven...Seven Samurai...Yul Brynner...Westworld robots...no! You've got to remember the tomatoes!....Samurai...Kurosawa...Yul Brynner...The Toy Dolls...I should have grabbed the Toy Dolls CD...The tomatoes! Don't forget!.....Nellie the Elephant...

When I arrive at work, the chant becomes too multi-faceted, with syncopated rhythms dealing with every little thing I wanted to remember from my morning drive to work. Now along with the legions of drum players, there is a children's choir singing the more fluid notes, holding the notes for long periods of time and clutching candles in their hands like some terrible Night Ranger video. The camera zooms and pans. Colors flash, and the words appear on the bottom of the screen like a karaoke machine.

The chant drones in my head all day, keeping me company as the hours drag past, until finally on the way home I make it to the store.

I forgot the tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Here are a couple of completely unrelated links for your potential enjoyment:

Video game toilets!
Scroll down past the russian gibberish for some truly beautiful video commodes.
[courtesy of the Wife]

World Beard Championships
Why not encourage mites? Think of it as topiary for your face. Kind of like in The Shining with those crazy hedge animals. Except here you'd have Beard Animals! Imagine the terror as you are stalked by your own whiskers, which you yourself have lovingly shaped into the form of a double-helix, thus investing them with the very spark of life itself!
[courtesy of my good friend Mr. Bungee Benji]

Friday, October 17, 2003

I don't get it, man.

You say to one person "Be my queen and together we rule the Earth for a thousand years!"

And they get all freaked out. Even without the diabolical laughter. I mean, come on. That's a common enough thing to say to the checkout guy at the grocery store, right?

Also, don't call your boss "Ultraman" all day for no good reason. It turns out it's kind of upsetting.

It probably didn't help when he got all mad and I said "Why don't you get your beta capsule out and kick my ass, Ultraman? Come on, Ultraman! Do it! You scared, Ultraman?"
So we just had our quarterly meeting at Purgatory, Inc., and it was announced that we will once again not be receiving incentive payouts.

However, I have developed my own way to make a little side dough. My hopeless lackeys are only here 8 or 9 hours a day max. For the other 15 hours a day, there's no reason that space can't be put to good use. I envision miniature Japanese Coffin-Hotels in each cubicle. For the small price of maybe $35.99 a night, weary travelers could have a little home away from home for the night. True, the cubes aren't that big, but what do you want for $35.99? I think we could probably fit ten, twelve guests in one cubicle.

I mean, we've got computer access, we're centrally located right next to the airport and all the office supplies they can carry on the way out in the morning. And if they play their cards right, they can raid the employee fridge for whatever marginally viable foodstuffs the office drones have left in there.

Hell, if they hung around until work hours, they could probably fool HR into thinking they work here and supplement their income a little.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Kids Play Classic Games

Too hilarious. A bunch of kids are given PONG, Mattel Hand-held Football, etc.

Brian: What's this supposed to be?

EGM: Football. It's one of the first great portable games.

Brian: I thought it was Run Away From the Dots.

John: I don't see how this has anything remotely to do with football.

EGM: Which team are you playing?

Kirk: The red lines.

Tim: They could've just as easily called this game anything—Baseball, Bowling, Escape From the Monsters.

EGM: Did you score?

Kirk: I bumped into a dot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


I'm sorry. I didn't know the Spoonman was a real guy. Here is his site.

There must be some rabid Spoonman anti-defamation league out there, just waiting for some yutz to make a crack about the Spoonman. To be fair, I only received a couple of emails about the Spoonman. It is great to say, isn't it? Spooonman. It's even better with the extra "o". But the Spoonman ain't havin' that. He's fighting against the man. With his spoons.

For penance, I will use only spoons to eat for the rest of my life. Except at Chinese restaurants, because I feel it's important to participate in the culture with the chop sticks, you know?

I still think it's a goofy song though.
I suddenly remembered yesterday that there was a song a few years ago called Spoonman. I don't remember much else about it, just that it was a song called Spoonman.

I remember just a little of it. The part that goes "Spoooooonmayyy-un! Come together with your hands!"

Now I can't stop laughing.

Maybe that's not how it goes. I think it was one of those Pearl Jam type bands with the singer that sounds kind of like Neil Young and kind of like Scooby Doo on a bender.

But, for me, it's enough to know that someone, somewhere, wrote a song about a Spoonman.

Monday, October 13, 2003

We watch the teevee.

We can't stop. Once, we were the proud, steely-eyed death-machines who would purr "Oh? You own a television?"

We watch World Poker Tour. We watch Fear Factor.

We know and hate certain commercials. We grade them for relevance and staying power. We puzzle at the insane volume of our local Mercedes-Benz dealership ads. We wish death upon Radio Shack spokespeople. We know what a Swiffer is.

We watch 24. We watch The Amazing Race.

We scan History, Discovery, PBS for documentaries on mummies or Mayans. We are upset that King Tut was denied the title of #1 Mummy.

We watch Trading Spaces. We watch Monster House.

We wonder at Paige Davis' physique and potentially drug-induced perkiness. We cringe at the sight of Doug the Designer, knowing his visage portends yet another family room that dimly resembles a gay bar circa 1983.

We watch What Not to Wear. We watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

We call people "bitchy" when they complain about their makeover. We prefer the BBC America version, where the hosts grab any and all available boobs. We trust the style coaches, and wonder about shaving with the grain.

We watch baseball. We watch Monday Night Football.

We plan our evenings around primetime sports. We puzzle over the cheerleaders and why they are there. We embrace commercial breaks to run to the fridge for another beer. We demand instant replays, telestrators, ridiculous graphics and Mascot Races. We point out the rally caps in the crowd, and the alarming trend to catch the cotton candy vendor on screen. We comment on trends in athlete facial hair.

We, at long last, are a demographic.

Something must be done.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Well, 29% of the vote is in here in California, and My Life as an American Gladiator is now projecting Rip Beefslab has won the office of Governor. Of course it was all a little confusing, and many people tried to vote variously for:

Brian Bosworth
That one guy from "Red Dawn"
Rae Dawn Chong (My Life as an American Gladiator is hypothesizing that there was some spill-over from the "that one guy from Red Dawn" camp, though this is largely conjecture)
Dawn (of Tony Orlando and Dawn)

When all the dust has settled, it will be important for us all to get behind Thump Assgrabber and follow him on his merry trip down the sewer pipes to the happy, money guzzling promised land that Pete Wilson fought so long and hard for. Why, it's almost as if Pete Wilson is back! But no, it's not possible that Brick Bicep is just a face, just a chump who has not even one clue about politics and is in fact just a mouthpiece for a gang of power hungry leeches.

Perish the thought!

Thank you, Arnold Schwarzenegger, for making California ridiculous once again. It fills me with pride to know that this is just the first step, paving the way for Republicans to oust any Democrat politician that they don't like.

Monday, October 06, 2003

When people ask you the awkward "What are you thinking about?" question, sometimes it can be difficult to come up with a satisfactory response. Because, let's face it, most of the time you're thinking about pie or maybe who sang that Muskrat Love song you always have stuck in your head.

Because I like to help you and am convinced that one day someone will give me a huge reward for my good deeds, here's some stock responses that should get you out of trouble:

1. "a dog riding a bicycle."
2. "The biggest cookie eaten by anyone ever."
3. "The chill menace of Death. Watching, watching."
4. "Happy ducks."
5. "A magical tree that sings songs to children who are pure of heart. Children who are not pure of heart can cry as much as they want, but no songs from the tree. It is debatable how impure a child can really be, and without going into the whole issue of Original Sin and the sins of the father being visited upon the son, let's just say that this is a magical tree and knows what it's doing. Also, it's kind of mean to the children." (This is kind of a long response and should not be attempted except by seasoned professionals.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

There exists a place beyond space and time, where physics is a lie and all that you know to be true is shatteringly false. Objects cannot be relied upon to behave consistently from one moment, indeed one second, to the next. Your cries can disappear without a moments notice, and a picture you held dear in your mind's eye can be eradicated without apology.

This place is called MicroSoft Word.


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