Monday, December 31, 2007

Whimsical Support Ghost

The best of December 2007, according to Back of the Cereal Box.
And no, don't worry. I was not home writing this at 11:59 on New Year's Eve. This is all pre-programmed.

Resolution for Not Me

It’s at the point now where my brain won’t function well enough to formulate what might be a worthwhile New Year’s resolution. After all, these things require careful consideration. I’m not the kind of person who puts much stock in the notion of the first of January necessitating a conscious effort to better oneself, but I’m all for bettering oneself in general, and why not now, anyway, since it’s cold and dark and you have nothing better to do? In lieu of a resolution for myself, I thought of possibly compiling a list of resolutions for other people in my life, but then it struck me that that could only come off as the kind of Erma Bombeck-on-a-bad-day columns that “senior appeal” writers use to poke fun at — but not really poke fun at — the usual cast of stock characters. (The meddling in-law, the overly chatty co-worker, congressional fat cats, puke, puke, puke.) In lieu of the in-lieu-of, I’m making one single resolution: that the awful woman who pushes her shopping cart like it’s a baby carriage near my office should stop accusing my female co-workers of having killed her mother. Because they didn’t. The average age of the women I work with has to be 35 tops, and, based on Screaming Sally’s looks, I’d guess her mom was dead and cold long before most of my coworkers were born. Furthermore, I’d say the vast majority of people at my office — male or female — are incapable of murder. Thus, she really needs to stop. As a replacement for “You killed my mother!” I’d suggest something like “Hello, how are you doing” or its saucier cousin “Hey hot stuff.”

That is all for 2007. Onward, to the longer — and therefore better — 2008.

Ill Like Herman and Phil

Musical math.

The Waitress's "I Know What Boys Like"

-

annoying

+

CSS

-

Portuguese

÷

a one-line lyrical resemblance to Crazy Town's "Butterfly"

=


New Young Pony Club's "Ice Cream"




Trouser Mice

One more spam email before the close of the year, this one more disturbing than most in its use of mice running through your pants as a metaphor for penises. If I had mice in my trousers, I certainly wouldn't want them any larger than they already are. The fact that she's writing me from a Hersheys.com email address makes it all the more disturbing, though I suppose feeding mice chocolate would make them bigger.

trouser-mice

Yesenia Doty, you're a painter of words.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Retrospecticus, Part Three

In past end-of-the-year posts, I've listed most popular posts or most favorite posts. This year, I'm listing the best of various kinds of posts, each neatly categorized for your archive-scouring pleasure.

Movie- and TV-related:
Video game-related:
Name-related:
Posts about miscellaneous curiosities:
Music-related:
Word-related:
Drew-related:

Friday, December 28, 2007

Retrospecticus, Part Two

Moving forward with another flashback.

The search terms most often leading to my site in 2007:
  1. PICTURES OF CROOKED NECKED GIRAFFE
  2. mexican breakfast song
  3. rita leeds
  4. 6 eggs sugar bread salt wine nuggets tofu water chicken toothpaste cheese milk
  5. difference between anteater and aardvark
  6. "phaedra is my name"
  7. standpoor arrested development
  8. back of the cereal box
  9. Charlotte Braun axe
  10. "big yellow joint" lyrics
In my humble opinion, the funniest search terms that led to my site in 2007:
  1. What is the Hamburglar's middlename
  2. "snow fairy" "eating disorder"
  3. monocles for dogs
  4. Luann incest comics
  5. 5 things germany uses that you can put inside a cereal box
  6. monkey in a turban, what does it mean
  7. was juliet hulme or pauline parker ever considered to be mentally unwell
  8. spanish subjunctive to the Hokey Pokey
  9. seven reasons your roommate might be a dead cassowary
  10. Mocha Chocolata YaYa porn
  11. "muffin in the rain"
  12. if im 17 can i apply at rubytuesday waitressing in nc
  13. how to stop poison ivy from pussing
  14. COMMON BABY DO THE LOCOMOTION
  15. gail simmons is not married
  16. butt injections from haiti
  17. anteaters die by...
  18. can your tongue grow back
  19. the fall of the roman empire for kids
  20. what are mole cereals
Most-read posts:
  1. "To Quote Wally Exactly"
  2. "Moesko Island Lighthouse"
  3. "Lazy D's Family Tradition"
  4. "What the Fuck Is Wrong With Gail Simmons?"
  5. "Bananafish and the Sea Robin"
  6. "Dont' Drink Wendy McCaw-Brand Vodka"
  7. "Peanut Butter and Jelly Pajamas"
  8. "Lady Reporter"
  9. "Vagina Dentata in the Mushroom Kingdom"
  10. "Let's Pretend We Don't Exist / Let's Pretend We're in Antarctica"
  11. "Puppy Goo Goo, Fetch Me a Dream!"
  12. "Mexican Breakfast"
  13. "Naming Conventions in Arrested Development"
  14. "Scary, Even for Muppets"
  15. "Do You Like Luxury?"
  16. "Online Mimicry and Dear Sister"
  17. "Strange What Love Does"
  18. "The Fate of Spider-Pig"
  19. "Gruesome Friday"
  20. "The Virgin With Green Hair"
Sites referring the most traffic thisaway:
  1. edhat.com
  2. fireyelectra.blogspot.com
  3. imnotonetoblogbut.blogspot.com
  4. megarde03.blogspot.com
  5. the Wikipedia talk page for Thomas Kinkade
  6. randompress.net
  7. aghastfromthepast.blogspot.com
  8. growabrain.typepad.com
  9. phlubum.blogspot.com
  10. adateinthelife.blogspot.com
  11. the admin page for this site, for some reason
  12. killerbetties.com
  13. jadereporting.theirisnetwork.org
  14. artfreak-extravaganza.blogspot.com
  15. this random Soul Coughing message board
Most frequently used post labels/tags:
  1. drew (240 — so sue me, I'm egocentric)
  2. music (185)
  3. tv (157)
  4. photos (154)
  5. words (150)
  6. best of (141 — meaning that I consider about 6 percent of what I post here to be the best)
  7. die wunderkammer (119)
  8. video clip (116)
  9. proud of something (101)
  10. video games (100)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Retrospecticus, Part One

The top twenty most played songs of 2007, according to my iTunes:
  1. Smith, "Baby, It's You"
  2. Talking Heads, "Psycho Killer"
  3. Bill Callahan, "Diamond Dancer"
  4. The Pristeens, "Beat You Up"
  5. Professor Murder, "Stress Free Test"
  6. The Editors, "An End Has a Start"
  7. Of Montreal, "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games"
  8. Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"
  9. Menomena, "Wet and Rusting"
  10. The New Pornographers, "High Art, Local News"
  11. Cyndi Lauper, "Money Changes Everything"
  12. The Knife, "Heartbeats"
  13. TV on the Radio, "Walking the Cow"
  14. M. Ward, "Right in the Head"
  15. Data Rock, "Computer Camp Love"
  16. April March, "Chick Habit"
  17. CSS, "Let's Make Love (And Listen to Death From Above)"
  18. Nada Surf, "Indochine"
  19. Nelly McKay, "Dog Song"
  20. Neko Case, "Maybe Sparrow"
Top twenty songs downloaded in the past six months, according to iTunes:
  1. The Editors, "An End Has a Start"
  2. TV on the Radio, "Walking the Cow"
  3. Data Rock, "Computer Camp Love"
  4. The Marbles, "Circuit"
  5. The Crystals, "He's a Rebel"
  6. Scissors for Lefty, "Ghetto Ways"
  7. The Greenskeepers, "Lotion"
  8. The Envelopes, "Audrey in the Country"
  9. Milke, "Resignation"
  10. Rilo Kiley, "Silver Lining"
  11. Rilo Kiley, "The Moneymaker"
  12. The Friendly Fires, "Photobooth"
  13. Josephine Oniyama, "Closer"
  14. The Cheap Deats, "Sodium Lights"
  15. Pelle Carlberg, "Clever Boys Like Clever Boys More Than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls"
  16. Rilo Kiley, "Breakin' Up"
  17. The Islands, "Rough Gem"
  18. The Mary Onettes, "Lost"
  19. Simian Mobile Disco, "I Believe"
  20. Asylum Street Spankers, "Funnel of Love"
Top twenty most played songs, according to last.FM:
  1. Neko Case, "Maybe Sparrow"
  2. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, "Some Velvet Morning"
  3. Nancy Sinatra, "Friday's Child"
  4. M. Ward, "Right in the Head"
  5. The Coral, "Pass It On"
  6. Kitty Lester, "Love Letters"
  7. Father Bingo, "Dry Lots and Red Ones"
  8. Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place"
  9. Menomena, "West and Rusting"
  10. Nada Surf, "Indochine"
  11. Fool's Garden, "Lemon Tree (I Say You're a Scream)"
  12. CSS, "Let's Make Love (And Listen to Death From Above)"
  13. Need New Body, "Show Me Your Heart"
  14. Maximo Park, "The Night I Lost My Head"
  15. Pierre Henry, "Psyche Rock"
  16. Noonday Underground, "London"
  17. The Shangri-Las, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)"
  18. Modest Mouse, "I Came as a Rat"
  19. Electric Light Orchestra, "Turn to Stone"
  20. The New Pornographers, "The Jessica Numbers"
Top twenty most played bands, according to last.FM:
  1. Beck
  2. The New Pornographers
  3. The White Stripes
  4. The Appled in Stereo
  5. The Pixies
  6. Neko Case
  7. Spoon
  8. The Dandy Warhols
  9. Cake
  10. The Magnetic Fields
  11. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
  12. Modest Mouse
  13. Of Montreal
  14. Scissor Sisters
  15. The Beatles
  16. Franz Ferdinand
  17. Rilo Kiley
  18. Soul Coughing
  19. Blur
  20. The Coral

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Killing Me Softly

A shot of mistletoe growing on — an slowly murdering — the big birch tree in my parents' backyard.

mistletoe on birch tree

Festive death!

Sleuth This, Sherlock

Clues without a mystery: what I found in a long-abandoned box for the board game Clue: Master Detective, which I found under my bed. At one point, this version of Clue was my favorite non-electronic game, but that day passed on around the time it became unfashionable for me to wear t-shirts with Hawaiian gecko designs.

clue master detective
box... of... mysteries!

clue pieces

Play pieces for five of the available characters. (Clockwise, beginning at 10 o' clock: Miss Peacock, Monsieur Brunette, Miss Peach, Colonel Mustard and Madam Rose. Apparently I lost most of the game's original cast. I guess you're screwed if your favorite is Professor Plum. Not that your color of game piece has any effect on the fun factor of Clue or anything.)

clue game board

Fancy, expanded Clue: Master Detective board, complete with bonus potential murder locations, like the courtyard and the fountain. (Noticeably still lacking: a shitter.)

clue murderer cards

Face cards for the ten potential murders. Note that Miss Peach is a dead ringer for Emma Thompson and that Miss Peacock looks suspiciously like Liz Sheridan.

clue checklist

A partially completed Clue murder checklist. Of course, we don't know where it happened or who did it, but they clearly did the deed with poison. We know that much, people.

poison

Official murder evidence folder, still with poison inside, denoting it as the murder weapon. (To be honest, I pulled it out of the envelope for dramatic effect.)

TNT... ?

The most retarded murder evidence card ever, in that it lacks either the look or the size dimensions of the actual cards, meaning it could never have fooled anyone. For example, if you ever saw somebody holding the big, white, bent, ugly card, you'd know that the murder weapon isn't the above. It's the only big, white, bent, ugly card in the stack. Also, it's too big to fit in the evidence folder. Really, it's just an index card with a crude depiction of dynamite on one side. Also problematic in that the Clue murder weapon could never be dynamite. If detectives in whatever case can't immediately rule out dynamite as the murder weapon — say, as opposed to rope of a knife — then something is way fucked up in department intelligence.

mystery clock

A photo of a clocktower I don't recognize.

paper hole reinforcers

A tattered but basically un-used package of paper hole reinforcements.

strange crard

Another mystery. I haven't got a clue who "Rosalie Otterbame" is, but that's not my handwriting. I think this card — and, likely, the TNT card too — may have resulted from a project I did in elementary school in which I had to turn a book I read into a board game. I read Death on the Nile, and transformed it into a shameless rip-off of Clue. Now that I think about it, "Rosalie Otterbame" is probably either a misspelling of or a poor rendering of "Rosalie Otterbourne," whom the internet says actually was a character in Death on the Nile.

mickey mouse change purse

A zip-able Mickey Mouse change purse.

where the red fern grows

A copy of Wilson Rawls's Where the Red Fern Grows, for some reason.

las vegas book

A travel guide for Las Vegas. (Apparently, the younger me had some pretty grand travel plans.)

gamepro street fighter

A relatively crisp issue of GamePro magazine from August 1993, touting the console release of Street Fighter II Turbo on its cover.

the beat

A trading card for X-Man The Beast. (Though the card has the word "metal" on it, rest assured that it's actually flimsy paper with the smallest amount of metallic ink it needs to appear to be metal.)

hulk vs. the thing

A fairly large poster depicting The Incredible Hulk fighting The Thing, for some reason. I don't remember ever seeing this before, nor does it look like it had ever been thumbtacked to the wall.

muppet book

The storybook version of The Great Muppet Caper, for some reason.

Conclusions: I don't think I could ever sort out how all these random items made their way into the Clue box, making a convertible junk drawer out of what should have been the container for the game pieces — many of which are now lost, rendering the remaining pieces basically useless. However, I can tell you this much: Back in 1993, the eleven-year-old Drew has organizational skills that can be described as lacking at best, non-existent at worst. Also, I enjoyed a rather focused set of interests: board games, video games, Muppets, and bulky male superheroes whose names began with "the" and end with a synonym for "bulky entity." I may or may not have been plotting to run away to a clocktower in Las Vegas.

The Lily-White Cavity Crazes

(In which I attempt to make sense of why the current top Technorati search keywords are what they are, then get bored of that and decide to falsely link them together for my own amusement.)

This week's dishonorables, as of the time I write this drivel, include Laure Manadou, Ron Paul (again), Galilea Montijo (again), Noelia (again), something called "nus results" (which may or may not be the same as National University of Singapore results), tiger (presumably the operating system and not the kind that killed somebody in Golden Gate Park yesterday), Reshma, Jennifer Garner, cheat codes, iPhone, Vanessa Hudgens, authority (for some reason), Carla Bruni and something called "zuda." That last one may me DC's online comic imprint Zuda Comics, but judging how the Technorati top searches list works most often as an international index of current sex scandals and the women involved, I'm going to assume Zuda is a Namibian model-folk singer in the midst of a harrowing sex scandal.)

The world of women's professional swimming was sloshed about, overchlorinated and then dripped upon with the recent revelation of nude photos of the beautiful (in France) Laure "Who Needs a Swimsuit?" Manadou, but most infuriated were Latina strumpetinas Galilea Montijo and Noelia, whose own myriad sex scandals were both bumped from the top of popular internet search lists, thus propelling both women to strange, new, headline-grabbing acciones escandalosas. (As baffled as las strumpetinas are sore and raw, Ron Paul throws his hands in the air and asks God how he could be popular enough to appear in lists alongside the world's most fashionable train wrecks and still not have a chance at the White House.) Meanwhile, two beautiful women from "developing" areas of the world — Reshma, originally from rural Pakistan, and Vanessa Hudgens, originally from Salinas, California — became besties while dishing over how sex tape scandals have both improved and destroyed their lives. The two bonded backstage at the 2007 Whore of Babylon competition, in which the dregs of celebrity culture compete to see who's done the most to drag society toward Armageddon. (The prize: a year's supply of video game cheat codes, the pun possibilities of which are lost on few.) Shortly before she was devoured by the tiger component of a seven-headed dragonbeast, France's first mistress and noted "singer" Carla Bruni noted to audience members how surprisingly pretty Jennifer Garner looked in Juno. Needless to say, the woman who walked away this year as champion — and, indeed, one of the few who walked away from the fiery debacle at all — was bright-eyed starlet Zuda, who managed to shame the entire continent of Africa when tests on her bodily leavings yielded a less-than-positive outcome. (Editor's note: I'm fairly certain "nus results" is a typo.) The advent of the iPhone has led to a world in which sex scandal videos can travel faster than ever before, so the current batch of up-and-coming fallen women are surely already gameplanning for their big moves in 2008. But what will be enough to render one an authority on public shame? And who will be atop Technorati's slut-o-meter come bathing suit season next year?

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Boy Least Likely To

Another one-sentence review, this one for Juno: cute as a button, sharp as a tack and one of the better ways to spend eight bucks this season.

I should make friends with Diablo Cody, I’ve decided, even if she looks and dresses a bit like She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. My only concern with Juno is Michael Cera, who I loved in Arrested Development and who theater-goers seemed to love with equal enthusiasm as Aly and I left Juno. Yes, Cera does a good job, by why shouldn’t he? He had three years to perfect the role playing George Michael on Arrested and then again while shooting Superbad. I love the guy, but it occurred to me that I’d like to see him try his hand at a role that doesn’t demand nervous energy, awkward twitches and a generally expressionless face. Granted, skinny nerds types may be the only roles Cera is offered nowadays, at least until he can grow a beard and play, like, a rapist or some other kind of pervert. In all my praise for Juno, however, I’m hesitant to offer much to Cera. His legions of fans — many of them female, and many of them with side-swept bangs — will more than make up for my silence. I’ll save my praise for Ellen Page, who nailed a role unlike I’ve seen her do before. (I actually can’t decide whether Juno’s titular role was less like Page’s turn as the pedophile hunter in Hard Candy or as Kitty Pryde in X-Men 3.)

No Country for Obvious Endings

Now that the work dragon has been more-or-less slayed until New Year’s Eve, I’m taking a few moments to discuss something peculiar I noted in No Country for Old Men, which I finally saw a week ago. One-sentence review: Movie is good. However, if you haven’t seen it, don’t read this post, as it gives away a few plot points that you’re better off encountering fresh.

My problem doesn’t lie in the film’s ending, which many reviews have saddled with that seeming verbal paradox “decidedly ambiguous.” Indeed, that last seen does seem more philosophical than the events that lead up to it. (How does one carry fire in a horn, anyway?) But what stood out most to me about No Country for Old Men was its bisected nature. It seemed to have been directed by two different people — two different Coen brothers? — with one helming the more violent first half and another taking over the second, which spares viewers the blood and violence splattered all over the first.

I believe I can pinpoint the switch from Gutsville to the Land of Tasetful Cutaway Shots on the scene in which Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) blows away Stephen Root’s character in the office highrise. (Root, by the way, struck me as horribly miscast. Not that he can’t act as well as anybody else in the film, but I can’t see the guy on screen and not remember Milton Waddams, Jimmy James and Bill Dauterive. So sad the fate of the typecast actor trying to break out.) Anyway, Chigurh plugs Root near the collarbone. Blood goes everywhere. Then the accountant who had been having a business meeting moments before Roots’ life ended so abruptly asks Chigurh if he too will die. Given what the audience knows about Chigurh’s character at this point in the film — that he’d pop you with his air-operated cattle stunner as soon as share breathing space with you — it seems certain that the accountant’s head would soon yield its contents for some sort of Pollock-esque display of chunky ragout. The audience, however, never sees it.

This sends a strange precedent throughout the remainder of the film. Whereas the Coens relish in the violence of the film’s first half — from the initial cop being choked to death with his own handcuffs to the harrowing duel between Chigurh and Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) — the death of Roots’ character marks the final graphic shuffling-off. Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) character dies, but the viewer is spared having to see his character’s final moments. Chigurh whacks a poultry farmer just to steal his car, but all we see is chicken feathers being washed from the truck bed after the fact, even though Chigurh graphically killed another man during a carjacking earlier in the film. Even when Moss finally runs out of luck, the viewer on sees the aftermath, not the shooting itself. (Nor do they see exactly how the poolside strumpet ended up floating face down in the water.) Moss’s (played by Beth Grant of Donnie Darko fame) irritating mother-in-law then dies off-screen, presumably from her long battle with cancer. Then Moss's wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) dies too, presumably from her long battle with Chigurh. And while one could easily argue that seeing her get it would be just too hard, especially after her having survived the movie for so long and having just buried her mother, the fact that the movie only implies Carla Jean's murder — Chigurh checks his feet after leaving the house, presumably checking for blood — keeps in line with its newfound delicate sensibilities.

Very strange, anyway, and something to keep me thinking, even one week after I saw the film. If you’re seeking an antidote to yuletide treacle — or you’re trying to spice up another Jews Go to the Movies Day — go see No Country for Old Men. And then if you can help explain why graphic violence so suddenly goes out of style, I’ll be your friend.

Two bonus No Country for Old Men bits: (One) The film's Wikipedia page notes that Woody Harrelson's being cast is coincidental in that Cormac McCarthy's original book makes a passing reference to the murder of a Judge John Wood. Harrelson's real-life father was the one who killed that very judge. And (two) for me, watching the film was further coincidental by virtue of the fact that I saw Westworld on DVD the day before. Westworld features Josh Brolin's dad, James Brolin. In both films, the respective Brolin is unexpectedly gunned down. Take that, Brolins.

The Return of Child Abuse Girl

Some of you might remember a post from back in November in which I made fun of the headlinese that dubbed a student at Oprah Winfrey's South African school "child abuse a girl." I'm not the only one who noticed this, as a recent comment from Steve Miller indicates. (I have yet to look into whether this Steve Miller is the Steve Miller of Steve Miller Band fame. Steve Miller!) Steve's comment directed me to the BESM role playing site. BESM, which looks a lot like BDSM upon first glace, actually stands for "Big eyes, small mouth," if that gives you any indication of where these peoples' aesthetic tastes lie.

Without further ado, please look at the profile page for the big-eyed, small-mouthed superheroine Child Abuse Girl.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yawn Blah-ger

Wired.com posted a small article on Dec. 15 featuring Jorn Barger, the man who coined the word “weblog” and ostensibly invented the concept of blogging ten years ago with his site, Robot Wisdom. In the Wired.com article, Barger offers ten tips on how to blog successfully. I, however, think the first three tips suckle the goat’s horn nubs, to say it in the manner of a badly translated idiom.

I actually put up a post in 2005 talking about my surprise at what meager livings Barger derived from his baby, which is so hugely popular now. A quote from the old post: “I owe him a debt, as do millions of other people who now have a means of publicly prattling about any subject they choose.” (A follow-up clarification to that quote: I totally meant “debt of thanks,” not “financial debt.”) Anyway, if George can politely give James Wolcott what’s-for in defense of foodies and food writers, then I too can tell someone “Thank you, but I think you’re maybe the opposite of correct.” (Granted, George's target is the culture editor for Vanity Fair and mine is a man who invented one of the most popular communication mediums of the modern day and who is nonetheless penniless, as far as I know, but I'm still going ahead with this.)

Barger’s rule one: A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So del.icio.us is actually better for blogging than blogger.com.)

What I say: Okay, maybe this is true, especially if you want to imagine some technical difference between a blog — that being the everyman’s version of the entity, more often used as a diary, humor column, one-man publication or a vanity press — and a weblog — with it being the purists' version, truly a log in the classic sense. Fine. Barger invented the term. I suppose he has a claim to making distinctions like this.

Barger’s rule two: You can certainly include links to your original thoughts, posted elsewhere … but if you have more original posts than links, you probably need to learn some humility.

What I say: You hear that, you know-nothings with those Stephen King novels you call posts? Stop it. You’re being selfish, taking up the internet, which belongs to links.

The hell? Who needs to learn humility here, the people using their small bit of internet real estate to do as they please or the man who doesn’t seem to like people using his invention in ways that he didn’t envision? If the majority of bloggers I knew just posted links, I think I be bored to tears — and overwhelmed by chunks of text listing link after link to the point where one wouldn’t stand out from another. (Kind of like a certain website maintained by the inventor of the word “weblog.”) Also, I like how Barger suggested that personal thoughts should be posted elsewhere. Where, exactly? On another blog? Or perhaps on some less Web 2.0-friendly homepage, so the blog software can support… lists of links.

Barger’s rule three: If you spend a little time searching before you post, you can probably find your idea well articulated elsewhere already.

What I say: Okay, I actually tried this. I went to some of the posts in which I felt I proposed original ideas and turned up nada as far as sites that posted those ideas before I did. Nobody else noted the physical resemblance of the wife of supergamer Billy Mitchell to the female character from Donkey Kong. Nobody else has correctly ascribed angelic qualities to anteaters and demonic ones to aardvarks. Nobody else posted a photo of Dina’s face upon hearing the punchline of a story about anal sex gone horribly wrong. Then it struck me that I’m surely not the first person to criticize Barger’s list, especially since it first ran on Dec. 15. So I looked into that. I found all of following blogs dinging Barger for one reason or another for his list of tips:

link blogs different from weblogs? (frantic industries)
"i'd prefer original content" (blogissues)
lacking personality (nick vanderleek)
"imagine if all the scientists went home" (la vie quotidienne)
the entire point of blogging (cadillac tight)

Granted, that was just what showed up in the first two pages of Google hits, and each either acknowledges Barger for having pioneered the medium or also come up with good points alongside the bad ones, but clearly a sentiment exists online that Barger could have missed the boat here. Nonetheless, I'm choosing to post this anyway. None of what I read, I feel, seemed to pick over the list at a depth I felt appropriate. Besides, what of the notion of a clamor of voices rather than just everyone else allying themselves behind someone who kinda-sorta said what they might be trying to say? Logic like that led to a bicameral house of legislature, and look where that has gotten us.

The remaining seven suggestions I’m basically okay with, but I’m curious as to why Barger would set out with the three that he did. He notes in the article that 1998-1999 was “the Golden Age of Weblogs.” I can’t help wonder if the fact that the medium exploded in a way that would seem opposite the way he intended has left Barger more than a little miffed. And I wonder if this list serves as his chance to redirect some impressionable bloggers into quitting this silly “writing thing” and just posting more links, robot style.

Beep bop boop bop beep.

It's Good to Hear Your Voice / You Know It's Been So Long

At any given point in my history of cell phone possession* and use, whatever handheld device I’ve had typically hailed from an era previous to whatever the current one was. If I remember correctly, my first cell — which I was stoked on, by virtue of it being a step up from a pager, until I saw dormmates’ clamshell sets upon starting college — weighed more than my wallet on payday, approximated the size of a standard Hershey’s bar, had a Nintendo Game Boy, creamed spinach-like green-and-white display, and, perhaps most hideously, was gold. Like, not yellow or goldenrod or anything, but creamy spicy mustard color with tacky sparkle flakes mixed into the paint so as to give the device the appearance of being crafted out of extremely low-quality precious metal.

And all those aesthetic complaints even pale in comparison to the fact that the phone got terrible reception, the antenna would often fall out unless properly clicked into place, and it could only receive text messages — not send them. (Can you please appreciate the horror of receiving text message after text message and not having the ability to shoot back the response of “STOP TEXTING ME YOU MOTHERFUCKER.”) In short, the Starter Phone was ugly and rendered me a veritable Helen Keller in the world of telephonic communication. I hated it.

I also had no say in the selection of what phone I got, and I didn’t have to pay for it — for reasons I’d rather not elaborate here — so I tended to not complain too much. (Well, except for the above paragraph.) But the Starter Phone seems to have set the stage for every subsequent replacement. (Both of them.) Now, both roommates’ phones play music, videos, have interfaces that look pleasant and at least approach the level of intuitive, while mine makes calls but also tries to take pictures when I want to make calls. Adjacent buttons, clumsy thumbs. It’s a tragedy.

Phone woes plummeted to a new low during my drive home today, when my device decided to stop ringing or allowing me to hear any calls, though I could still make and receive them. Even more stangely, my phone boasted being in a new mode: “Car Kit.” The hell? My phone is something you’d buy at a miniature model store? Thankfully, the final hour of my drive — which snakes up the back of Highway 25 through the hills where nobody but coyotes lives — didn’t involve the kind of collision that would necessitate a phone call for medical attention. But I was nonetheless baffled by how my phone decided to jump into “Car Kit” mode, especially when it’s menus mentioned no such function and I’d never plugged any kind of earphone-headset combo in.

Once home, I finally got to look online. It turns out that various Verizon models — including my VX5200 — have a peculiar tendency to go into Car Kit mode when they get wet. And since I did spill the slightest bit of water on my pants while driving, it would make sense that the Curse of Telephonic Crappiness would allow mine to get wet, even while being protected in my pants pocket. Aside from removing the phone’s battery and just allowing time to dry out, it seems the only way to fix the problem — which apparently results from water activating two electrified pins near the power plug and tricking it into thinking it has a headset plugged in — is this: cram tinfoil inside the power plug and move it around randomly and oh-so-unscientifically in attempt to short out the pins. Needless to say, this un-Christmassy blog post serves as a venting break before I return to trying to fit my phone for a foil condom.

* and by “cell phone possession,” i of course am referring to ownership of the device and not the device’s demonic occupation of a person’s soul, though i'm certain you must admit the latter case and does happen and frequently results in said person becoming a braying asshole.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Terror of Secret Santas

More dumping upon the holidays, this time in print.
The Terror of Secret Santas

You wouldn’t know it by looking at Santa Barbara’s snowless skies, but it’s time for nog and wassail and all those other antiquated words associated with the holidays. For me, this time of year brings a very particular source of stress: the office Secret Santa gift exchange. Though I like the concept, I feel like the process of thinking of a gift for someone creates the awkward situation of reducing everything I know about that person down to a single object.

Is it in bad taste, for example, to give my copy editor a new pack of red pens? She’d use it, theoretically, but she could also take the offering as a sign that I see her as red ink-streaking no-no machine. (I don’t.) Would it imply too much, hypothetically, to give a desk-organizer? Hand sanitizer? A thesaurus? A bib? A haircut coupon? A one-way plane ticket? An appointment with a therapist? A lesson in how to use the word count function? Even the less critical Secret Santa gifts can still be awkward. “Hi. I remember you wore a hat to work once … so I bought you another hat.”

My office suggests a $10 cap on presents, but even that can cause problems. What if, for example, the perfect present costs $25? Would I be showing up my coworkers who all obediently bought $9.99 items? And what if I receive the expensive gift from the person who drew my name? (Like the one-way plane ticket.) Should I feel like a cheapskate by comparison?

Fortunately for me, my intended recipient has a significant other, so I have a source to go to for suggestions and vetoes. I now have to worry less about giving something that the recipient is (a) allergic to, (b) experienced childhood trauma from, or (c) already has. But for many Secret Santas out there, the moment of truth is looming ever closer: When the giftees unwraps their presents and the givers must attempt to read the giftees' expressions, are those forced smiles or genuine ones on their faces as they gazes upon their new hat?
The funny part here — well, it's actually not funny — is that I really did draw my copy editor, Palmer and really did give her a red pen. I also gave her a gift certificate to a store she reputedly likes for exactly $10.01 — meaning that I care enough to exceed the limit but not so much so that I showed everybody else up. As a bonus present sidecar ride-along element, I also burned her a CD that I hope Palmer doesn't hate. I'm most proud of the cover art.

palmeranian

Holiday puns.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas, Aunt Gladys!

Dear Aunt Gladys,

I'm sorry to report that I got a little "snowed under" with work and was unable to send out Christmas cards this year. Fortunately, there's a website called YouTube that let's you send video clips as holiday cards, and I think it's even better. Enclosed is your personal holiday video clip card. Aren't you glad I set you up with email last Arbor Day?


Merry Christmas, and may all your dreams come true.

Love,
Drew

The Sick

Apologies for the lack of life as of late, but whatever has taken to living in my head has made for a severely disordered Drew. Throat goo has been Easy Mac-yellow. Nose goo has been white with the vaguest tint of pink, not unlike how I think watermelon juice should look. Add to that the strange sensation of an Alka Seltzer having been dropped into my cranial cavity and a fun guessing game called "Is It Really Hot or Is My Brain Melting?" and you get a lot of non-productivity on the other side of the giant equals sign.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

She Must Be Platinum by Now

Was anyone else surprised to find out that Rue McClanahan of Golden Girls fame made a cameo in Starship Troopers? Does this seem strange to anyone but me?

Monday, December 17, 2007

No One to Say Meow

I found this image whilst doing a Google image search for my website. I’m not sure why this showed up. And I’m not sure what it is.


But I’m creeped out regardless. I found it here. It originally showed up somewhere here. The natural explanation, of course, would involve some form of Photoshoppery, but that's no fun now, is it?

Blog Is My Imaginary Friend

As of this post, I have surpassed the number of posts last year, 476, by 100 and the number of posts in this blog's first year, 276, by 300.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Terrible Pun

Ahem.

regina dentata

Of course, I'm calling it "Regina Dentata." I couldn't resist.

Upon Finding a Photo in the Kitchen Drawer

This essay concerns a photo I found. However, that part comes five paragraphs later. In fact, I don't even mention the photo in the below paragraph. So if you're especially eager to find out about the photograph, I suggest you skip down. If you feel okay with a bit of exposition, however, keep reading the paragraphs as you come to them. I think it might make the part with the photograph make a bit more sense.

I live in an old house. Through a small bit of research, Aly, Spencer and I have learned that our house once constituted a part of a hotel enjoyed by wealthy and famous of early 20th-century California. (It’s less nice now, I suspect, but it’s livable.) My house even pre-dates the 1925 earthquake that knocked down most of the city and then allowed it to be rebuilt in red-tile-roof Spanish mission-style, making my house the only building I've lived in that's older than my grandmother. Behind me, where I'm typing this now, there's a sliding glass window that looks out onto the stairway. This window shows the age of the house by virtue of the fact that looking at it at an angle reveals a smooth ripple through the glass, which I'm led to believe is characteristic of old, old glass. Thus, there's a chance this glass once looked out onto the outside, rather than the inside, and out onto a very different Santa Barbara.

Given the house's age, its weirdness makes sense, I suppose. By virtue of having stood here for so long and having housed so many people and having been brutally divided into apartments, its current state surely differs greatly from its initial design, hence why some of its features defy logic. For example, the floor in the plant room — which used to be Amber's bedroom and Betsy's office and most recently Spencer's technical bedroom — tilts down perceptibly as it nears the outer wall. Clearly, this room was a porch in an earlier incarnation, and the arc of the floor exists so that rain would run off into the garden and not puddle. The second bedroom — formerly Byron's, formerly mine, and formerly Betsy's before that — lacks a closet, so we suspect it might have once been a dining room. If that's true, the third bedroom — now Aly's, previously Kristen's — might make more sense, as the back wall of its closet is actually a revolving door that would lead into the kitchen if it wasn't being blocked by the refrigerator. What would appear to be Aly bedroom’s cupboards actually open onto the kitchen shelves, where we store the plates and glasses. We suspect Aly's room once served as some kind of butler's room or something, hence the accessibility into the kitchen. Oh, and despite that it only has three bedrooms, the house has fifteen different doors, including the non-functional revolving door, the locked door that leads to the neighbor's balcony and the completely sealed door in the dining room that I didn't even notice until I had already lived here for a year. Clearly, the place has a history, the vast majority of it I'll probably never even know before I move out.

However, on a smaller scale, I'm continually reminded of the history of the past few "generations" of people who've lived here. For example, former tenants get more mail on a daily basis than do the three current tenants. A magazine for Betsy, a check for Kristen, something strangely legal-looking for somebody named Deirdre, credit card application for a different Drew, arty stuff for a girl named Lisa-With-The-Ugly-Last-Name, generally nothing for me. Or there's what happened a few months back, when Spencer and Aly were explaining the house to our friend Graham when he revealed that he had actually dated Lisa-With-The-Ugly-Last-Name and played a small hand in making the house look the way it did. (Bamboo curtain rods for one, and the strange plywood-and-styrofoam structure that blocked off part of the sun room at the top of the stairs and which Aly and I sent crashing down the stars one night in last year a fit of frustration.) And knowing about a connection between Graham and this Lisa girl struck me as so odd because I had never personally met her and only previously knew about her through stories Amber had told and from seeing her name on all the fucking catalogues that she never bothered to unsubscribe from. Yet I know for a fact that I'm still using some of the furniture she bought when she lived here years ago.

Another: One day, Spencer found a secret compartment in the attic. Inside, he found a dusty grocery bag full of papers — photocopies of articles from women's magazines and a partially written thesis paper by someone named Marian who went to Stanford. On a whim, I looked her up on MySpace to find out if she wanted them. Months later, she wrote back, this Marian, saying that she did live in my house for a period and that she no longer needed her old research. She also mentioned that the lead singer of The Ataris lived in the next-door apartment back when she lived here, and that she remembered hearing him fight with his girlfriend and then have loud sex. Everyday. (We, for the record, still hear our neighbors doing similar activities, though the people next-door now aren't rock stars.)

This all seems quite important in light of the fact that I found a photograph in the kitchen drawer a few weeks back. The photo looks like this:

kristen2


It’s Kristen, whom I know fairly well and who lived here at the house just over a year-and-a-half ago. I don’t know who was standing on the other side of the camera, but I can be sure that that’s Kristen. Despite being able to readily identify the girl, though, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that had I been not me and instead some resident of this house just one generation down the line, I’d have no idea who the girl in the photo was or even when the photo might have been taken. For whatever reason, it seemed notable that I held in my hand an artifact that proved how quickly knowledge about this kind of stuff can be lost. This photo — like the blue leather chairs in the kitchen or the old-fashioned school desk or the lime green wall clock — has a story behind it and a reason it’s in my home. But in a very short amount of time, anyone who might know that story could leave, rending all subsequent tenants to wonder how and when and why a certain thing arrived. Example: Who is the man in the tiny framed photo above the dining room table? I don’t know, and I have no way of guessing whether the photo is retro-faux-wannabe old or genuine, full-on old.

Beyond being just any old photo, qualities of the Kristen photo lend it to being even more mysterious. I don’t know why, but whoever snapped the Kristen photo eventually printed it out in monochrome — and a tinted monochrome at that, which gives the photo a bit of an aged look. Furthermore, the photo had been living in the kind of kitchen drawer that wreaks havoc on smooth finishes — picture frame nails, paper clips, twisty ties, pencils, thumbtacks and countless Allen wrenches, all waiting to make the kind of scratches that that lend a photo the look of something that’s seen better days. Finally, there’s what’s actually in the photo. Beside from just being an image of Kristen, it’s an image of Kristen sitting at a table in an unfamiliar location — a restaurant? some other home? — and dressed in a way that I might describe as anachronistic. All that dangly costume jewelry ornamentation makes her look almost flapperish, but her hair looks pretty contemporary. The photo itself is clear, but not crystal clear, which might make someone think it could be older than it is.

I’m not sure even I’m communicating my point here at all, so let me try some other way: I find something special in both being able to imagine why a certain item might be mysterious and to dream up all the hypothetical stories about why it exists and who made it. I find something alluring in the notion that the true story behind that object can be quickly lost, leading later passersby to do the dreaming up themselves. But perhaps most of all, I find something empowering in the knowledge that I know the real story but very soon others may be at a loss to explain who and what and why is.

There’s something in this photo — maybe it’s Kristen’s expression, maybe it’s the overall time vagueness, maybe it’s a quality I haven’t even processed yet — that I like. Whatever it is, it represents everything: the weirdness of my house and the nature of memory and the stories inanimate objects carry with them (or don’t, as the case may be). There’s something in this photo and I just had to write about it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Something's Coming / Sky Is Purple

Cute. Accurate. A clever melding of subject and medium.


[ Source: 2719 Hyperion ]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Suddenly Sister

While looking up the Wikipedia page for Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” I saw a link to a page for The Kransky Sisters, an Australian comedy-cover band trio. KrisDina and I saw the Kranskys’ show at the Sydney Opera House, and were much better off in life for having done so.

A signed CD of the girls' first show. (we saw the second show, heard it on the wireless, but i much prefer the title of the first show, we don't have husbands.)

However, when I arrived back in California and tried to research them, I found they lacked any mention on the Wikipedia. Things change, and the Wikipedia grows, Blob-like, absorbing more and more pop culture until the point at which it explodes in a gooey confetti shower of useless facts (and opinions). But how startled was I to find that the youngest and arguably best Kransky — the portly, mute, tuba-playing Arva Krasnky — had since dropped out of the group. (Although I think the girls liked Arva best, I actually preferred the loopy Eve, who, as I mentioned in an earlier post, looks remarkably like Stephnie “No, That’s Not a Typo” Weir and who deigned to speak to me after the show and was insistent on enunciating her last name, which, as I also wrote in the earlier post, I found strange since I had clearly just bought tickets to and attended her show, in which her last name is billed. Memories.) From the Kranskysite:
Due to the mysterious disappearance of tuba playing, Arva Kransky, who was last seen exchanging sheet music with a member of the Hornbell Military Marching Band, the Kransky Sisters have enlisted the assistance of their rarely visited, reclusive sister, Dawn Kransky, who has taken leave of her job as trolley librarian at the Esk Hospital to be with her Sisters.
Me being the strange obsessive I am, I can’t help but note the strangeness of the fact that Eve and big sister Mourne replaced their now-missing sister with a fourth, never-before-mentioned sister, Dawn Kransky. To me and the rest of the planet’s population who find themselves in the awkward position of having to explain to people why Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a good show, the fact that the blinked-into-existence sister is named “Dawn” is especially notable since the show’s fifth season introduced Buffy’s little sister, Dawn, who previously didn’t exist. (It was eventually explained. The short answer: magic.) And this Dawn was played by Michelle Trachtenberg, which meant that Harriet the Spy got to meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Anyway, I thought it was relevant. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again, dammit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Beautiful Arms Showing From Your Summer Dress

She's a real-life gymnast, who competed in the 2005 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. She's also the star of the below video, which is technically titled "Mariko Takahashi's Fitness Video For Being Appraised as an 'Ex-fat Girl,'" but is more popularly known in the world of memery as "Poodle Fitness." Needless to say, it's way weird.


From Wikipedia: "[Director] Nagi Noda, in her artist's statement, explained that she arrived at the poodle concept after noticing that the dogs' hair cuts resembled muscles. She believed that this concept would help her video appeal to people of all ages." Of course!

[ Source: PCL LinkDump ]

Yule Prevails

Normally, I don't bother posting here what work I do for the news department, but today is different.


Today, I posted a very simple article about an overly medicated woman who drove her Lincoln in to the State Street Christmas tree. She was not seriously hurt, from what I've heard, and I think that makes it okay to look at the humor in a situation where the poor woman had to, at some point, figure out how a tree had grown out of the middle of a normally tree-less road. Well, that and the fact that the tree survived the collision with nary a twinkle light out of place.

Spaceships Can't Tame the Jungle

He failed, it turns out.


[ source: Mr. Smart ]

Merry Date Rape, Once Again

A repeat, but one worth repeating. More stuff when the number of hours in a day magically increases to around thirty. Can you get on that, Santa?

- - -

I've been prepping for the holidays by breaking my tradition of avoiding Christmas music. (Bless you, Vince Guaraldi.) However, various factors have led me to the conclusion that the Christmas favorite "Baby It's Cold Outisde" is, in fact, about rape. Date rape, in fact.

The most popular rendition of the song features Bing Crosby as the rapist and Doris Day as the victim who asked for it. As proof of my findings, I present the full lyrics to "Baby It's Cold Outside." Since the song is a duet, I've decided to put the man's lyrics in parentheses. And to hammer home the point, I will also interject my comments, which are indented.

I really I can’t stay
(But baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away
(But baby its cold outside)
The woman has established that she wants to leave. The man is trying to convince her otherwise. This does not bode well.
This evening has been so very nice
(I’ll hold your hands — they’re just like ice)
Hold you hands — in my pants.
My mother will start to worry!
(Beautiful, what’s you hurry?)
And father will be pacing with fury
(Listen to the fireplace roar)
She wrongfully believes that her status as a rape victim will shame her family.
So really I better scurry!
(Beautiful, please hurry)
Well maybe just a half a drink more
Roofie colada.
(Put some records on while I pour)
The neighbors might think
(Baby, its bad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
Roofies. Lots of roofies.
(No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how to break the spell
(Your eyes are like starlight now)
Glazed from the roofies.
I’ll take your hat
(Your hair looks swell)
I ought to say no! no! no!
And she is.
(Mind if I move in close?)
At least I'll say that I tried.
"Rape schmape," says Doris Day. "I give up easily, apparently."
(What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can't stay
(Baby, don’t hold out)

But it’s cold outside!

I simply must go
(But baby it’s cold outside)
The answer in no
He knows. He ain't listening.
(But baby it’s cold outside)
This welcome has been so nice and warm
(Look out the window at that storm!)
My sister will be suspicious!
(Your lips look delicious!)
How is she still standing after all those roofies?
My brother will be there at the door!
"Waiting to hit me for being a whore."
(Waves upon a tropical shore!)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
"Maiden aunt"? What the hell?
(Gosh, your lips are delicious!)
Well maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)
I’ve got to get home!
(But baby, you’ll freeze out there!)
Say lend me a coat?
He's not gonna give you any more clothes, honey.
(It’s up to your knees out there)
Her knees would be much warmer on the carpet.
You’ve really been grand!
(I thrill when you touch my hand)
"And even more if you'd touch my penis."
But don’t you see?
(How can you do this thing to me?)
"Don't be like that, baby."
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my lifelong sorrow!)
At least there will be plenty of implied
We're way beyond implication here.
(If you caught pneumonia and died!)
I really can’t stay!
(Get over that old out)

But baby it’s cold outside!

And then Bing Crosby raped Doris Day over and over, all the way until three kings day on January sixth. Yes, though it may be cold outside, nothing beats the warm embrace of semi-consensual sex.