Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Questions in a World of Blue

"If I had a nickel for every cigarette your mother smoked, I'd be dead," said Donna Hayward somewhere in a time loop I can't figure out.

David Lynch nailed it. Life, like his visions, is really just a reel of ambiguous images jumbled together in a meaningless sequence. But stuff keeps coming up, and even though you question the director's plan — or even if he has a plan or even if the director exists — these weird recurrences beg you to interpolate a meaning.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Not to Mention the Robo-Ginas

The metal petals.
She-Bot Factoid Box
by Drewbot Mackietron

"Oh, those marvelous metal men!" But what about history's metal women? Too long have history's ladytrons stood in the shadows of their robo-brothers. Here's a look at the great women robots:
  • Robot precision experts or nympho golems? According to Greek myth, Hephaestus, god of fire and ugly, had two female assistants made entirely of gold.
  • Rosie, the Jetsons' live-in maid, set the standard for wide-framed, house-cleaning sassbots for years to come.
  • Vickie, the robo-daughter from '80s sitcom "Small Wonder." The role effectively killed the career of child actress Tiffany Brissette.
  • Futura, woman-turned robot of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and the aesthetic model for C-3PO.
  • Roll, the quizzically named female counterpart to video game icon Megaman.
  • The mojo-susceptible Fembots from the first "Austin Powers," led by Internet download queen Cindy Margolis.
  • April, the girlfriendbot who battled Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Elita-1, Optimus Prime's girlfriend from "Transformers." Yeah, apparently Transformers have gender. And sex. God, what do they transform into when they have sex?
  • Anime goddess Motoko Kusanagi from "Ghost in the Shell." She did in 1995 what Carrie-Anne Moss got credit for in "The Matrix."
  • The T-X, the Terminator who most recently tried to kill John Connor. A leather-suited Kristanna Loken could stalk me any day.
  • Crushinator, the glamorous trash-compacting robot from "Futurama."
  • Lindsay Wagner from "The Bionic Woman." True, she's a cyborg. But come on - cyborgs aren't cool?
  • "Kill Bill" reminded us that Daryl Hannah is cool, but Hannah never kicked more ass than in 1982's "Blade Runner." She played Pris, the raccoon-makeup android.
  • The Borg Queen and Seven of Nine from "Star Trek." Nothing sexier than the word "Borg."
  • And of course, Olivia Newton-John.

Ka-chunk ka-chunk.

Annie, Are You Okay?

Nearly thirty-hours of work later, the Here to There bicycle taxi service of Huntington Beach, California is done, never to haunt the hour of 6 a.m. again. One Thanksgiving dinner down and three to go, even if Nate fucked up the turkey and served ham instead.

All apologies to the pilgrims.

The in-betweenus:
Twelve-Year-Old Boy Hot Line

Those twelve-year-old boys have got it pretty damn easy: chasing bullfrogs down at the creek, stealing apple pies from neighborhood windowsills and playing tickle-fight until the wee hours of the morning with Michael Jackson. Sweet! But seriously, 12-year-old boys get this week's Hot Line because with Jacko back in town, every parent in Santa Barbara will lock their Billys and Tylers up tight. Twenty-four-hour curfew ain't fun. But to the twelve-year-old girls of Santa Barbara: Enjoy the baseball diamond. This weekend belongs to you.

Drink of the Week: Hi-C Screwdriver
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • Hi-C
  • Pour vodka into a cocktail glass and fill it with Hi-C. Make like Michael Jackson and taint something childlike and innocent with the vices of the adult world.
"Honest, Your Honor!"

Michael Jackson's probable explanations for lurking around the Boy Scout Jamboree:
  • "I was looking for my nose."
  • "They kicked me off the Little League field."
  • "I teach the Boy Scouts a knot-tying class."
  • "I was ... umm... well, see... umm... hey! Remember 'Thriller'?"
  • "Jamboree? Oh, I thought they said 'tambourine!'"
  • "I was returning all these old Boy Scout uniforms I had sitting in my basement."
  • "I was burying the Elephant Man's bones."
  • "I wanted to go where I didn't have the highest voice."
  • "Well, I was moonwalking and I just ended up here. Hey! Remember 'Thriller'?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Lier X Aggregate

a late-night intermission from tabloid dreams.

i keep hearing this girl's voice in my head. i can't see her and i've never met her before, but she talks to me somehow and asks me for help. i think i'm going crazy but i give in and listen to her. she's being held against her will and she's asking me if i can find her. wanting this psychic squatter evicted from my head, i devote my time to figuring out where she is, which i do successfully, somehow. a blur. unimportant, apparently.

she's in a commune in the hills, at the center of a cult of people who paint things blue to find nirvana. cows, apple trees, houses — all painted blue. blue blue. they were blue robes. to find this girl, i trek through the biggest building in town, which looks like a circus tent and functions like a new wave crazy city hall or something. paradoxically, the room is square on the inside. enormous, too. i weave through well-choreographed patterns of blue, trancing cultists, hoping not to disturb them. eventually, i find the door. she's in behind bars in a small, plain room with no windows. she has a teddy bear and she's blonde and looking like one of the newer girls from work. we escape, again via the mysterious somehow.

i'm home now, at my front door in isla vista. the girl has vanished, i notice without much concern. i can hear whistling behind me. disturbing and coming from the garden. i open the door and the pasado house looks pretty much like it should. the opinion box, which i recently kidnapped and painted, is even on the corner table. instinctually, i go to the box, spin the combination lock and pop it open. an opinion, neatly folded:

"tell a story you won't mind forgetting."

what is that whistling? i can hear it through the front door. did i lock the front door?

[ a work of fiction by lier x aggregate ]

Reasons to Open Other People's Mail

  • spite
  • malice
  • revenge
  • boredom
  • curiosity
  • greed
  • confusion
  • absent-mindedness
  • stupidity
  • illiteracy
  • superstition
  • mental illness
  • drunkenness
  • hunger
  • mischief
  • love

Monday, November 17, 2003

Head Over Heels

Wilted plants make me happy.

I leave and the plants go droopy. Sure, they're week-old sproutlings that go droopy if you shoot them a nasty look, but it's oddly comforting to know that something suffers when I leave. I'm needed — by plants, of course, but needed nonetheless.

Saturday, November 15, 2003


The Hot Line.
Being purple must suck. As valid as the other five-sixths of the spectrum, it regularly gets the shaft nonetheless. Being split into indigo and violet, for example — totally lame. Not convinced? Purple M&Ms only showed up last year. Purple grapes are called "red grapes." Ever wonder why there was never a purple Power Ranger? Chromatic bigotry, I tell you! Sure, "Purple Haze" rocks and the Purple Heart medal still commands respect, but with this paltry hot line, maybe we can raise purple from its lowly status as a shrinking violet up to pigmental royalty.

Drink of the Week: the Purple Hooter
  • 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. raspberry liqueur
  • splash 7-Up
Strain from a shaker into a shotglass.
Further proof of the anti-purple bias: this, the sissiest drink ever.

Purple: a History of Persecution
  • Purple as the epitome of lame: Barney the Talking Dinosaur.
  • Purple as pain: titty twister synonym "purple nurple."
  • Purple as potential murderer: Clue suspect Prof. Plum.
  • Purple as carnivore: 1950s hit song "Purple People Eater."
  • Purple as weird fucking monster: Grimace, freakish icon of McDonald's.
  • Purple as sex maniac: Tiny Toons regular Fifi LaFume, hormone-driven slut and the only toon not wearing clothes.
  • Purple as obese greed: Mario Bros. villain Wario.
  • Purple as obese greed, part 2: Willy Wonka patron Violet Beauregard.
  • Purple as pansy: Tinky-Winky, purse-toting Teletubbie.
  • Purple as gross vegetation: the eggplant.

The Show of Life

A short play by the little-known Billy Shakesbad.
Old Nick: Woe be woman, whose fate it is to serve.

Mephista: May thy tongue shrivel, that it spews such falsehoods.

Old Nick: Ah, but does not a man pull thy strings?

Mephista: We are all but puppets of greater powers.

Old Nick: Puppets? As in the show of life? Truly, birth doth draw wide the curtains. And woman, are thy lines scripted? In that I can be no one but myself, I can say only my lines. So sad, to be so constrained.

Mephista: It is I who feel for thee. Thine own role and fate has ever been written, while mine own changes with each breath. Yea, tho puppet I be, it is hope, faith, and love that pulls my strings.

Old Nick: Woman, mine ears do sting from thy tongue. I shall away in search of easier folly!
I have no idea what made me think of these devilish puppets after all these years. I wonder if I will think of them again.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

S, I'm Late

I return from the smoggy snarl of highways called the Greater Los Angeles area, the land where Jake Gittes got his nose slashed and Betty Elms killed her dream. I hate LA. It's a nasty place where bad people come from, I think. Nonetheless, it's also where three things are presently situated:
  • Marisa, who's leaving soon
  • the Los Angeles Times, which is probably staying)
  • possibly, my future.
The Times newsroom is like the Nexus newsroom, if it grew out in every direction so far that I can't see the end of the hallways. I could have gotten lost in cubicles and paper stacks. People work, hunched at cluttered desks — just like the Nexus, only older and less attractive. The constrained glee I like about the Nexus is gone however.

That must be how grown-ups get work done: sans glee.

I would have to mail in an application for a summer internship by January 1. I think I will, even if the hiring editor Marisa introduced me to today is the very definition of a hardass, a guy I couldn't impress with a case of roid rage and a baseball bat. Returning to the LA Times newsroom would mean totally victory and utter defeat of everything I have ever worked for. Moving to LA would be triumph and anti-triumph — yes and no — all and nothing — cucumbers and pomegranates.

I dread ever going back to LA. Ever. There's so much opportunity, true. But I'm picky enough that digging through that dry scab of a city doesn't hold the appeal, especially when life in Saint Foreigner is easy, what with sprouts in the backyard and lightning over the ocean. Still, there's nothing for me here. And I got a little charge — the square root of lightning? — watching Marisa write a news story out of the Amber Alerts I saw on the drive down.

Figgidy figgidy figgidy. Think, man. Think.

Monday, November 10, 2003

For Esme, With Love and Squalor

Somehow, El Colegio Road reminded me that I miss this last summer. I haven't thought about places like London and Paris in weeks, but I realized on the drive home from work that I wished I could go back — right now — and then I could appreciate it all again, even though I wanted to leave so badly those last few days.

Maybe it's Isla Vista that's gotten old and maybe it's a good idea that I'm heading home this weekend, even it's to an empty house (plus a dog). I think I remembered Europe on the streets of I.V. because they're so empty and ugly and leading to nowhere I want to go. The Pasado House is different; it's my sanctuary against all the stuff I don't want to deal with. The Nexus office, too, I guess, even with it's high stone walls and drainy fluorescent lights — a womb if I was a stucco-and-wax robot. Like a movie set, kind of, but far from the train station in Florence, for sure.

No, I'm trapped on the set of some workplace sitcom...

[ a [[brackets]] break ]

[twyla cut ten inches off her hair and i think it looks awful but she donated the hair she cut to wigs for cancer children, so i think it actually looks very pretty on her.]

[bonnie is moving back to colorado, to solve the jon benet murder, i imagine. i feel bad that she's not happy enough to stay, because beyond a talent for words she has a quality about her that other people sorely lack, even if i can't put my finger on it. i guess she's a real person, after all, and i shouldn't keep her around to make me feel better. besides, kidnapping is illegal.]

I thought about Agnes and Kristen and Charlie today, too, and those three haven't been a unit in my mind since before school started. I wonder how they are now, in Paris, Capetown, and Berkeley, respectively. I finally triumphed over the Mystery Mono. I guess November must seem dull, especially in the wake of Halloween. It's been a while since they changed of scenery and I'm getting terribly bored.

Medication or not, I've been acting out lately. It's not like me to destroy a painting. To black it out then drown it in red and then let Nate take an axe to it.

Maybe I'm changing again.


Sunday, November 09, 2003

The End of the Mushroom Kingdom

(A weekend tally) Axe: One; Art: Zero. Realizing that my painting would never resolve itself and would therefore continue to dominate my mind like some evil taskmaster, I threw it into the rain. As the canvas glided over me, it clipped the back of my head. I now have a big lump at the site of impact.

Wait five minutes.

Damned if I didn't think the rain streaks somehow improved the painting. I tried to rescue it. I had actually brought it back inside when I realized my follow and handed the piece to Nate and told him to go to town with the axe.

It was for the better.

End intermission. Resume regular broadcast.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Old Me

Sick. Too sick to write.

The doctor said the steroids might make me confused and irritible, so basically I am an elderly person now.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

The Whore of Britneylon

An appropriately demonic Media Gadfly column for Halloween.
Burn, Britney, Burn

Britney Spears is going to hell.

But she didn’t get her reservations in Perdition for D-grade musical stylings, her vapid personality or her contamination of American young women with her whorish fashion sense.

I wouldn’t have ever expected I would write a column about the most needlessly overexposed media muffin surging through airwaves today. But several hangovers ago, I spent the morning parked on the couch watching a VH1 special on “South Park” that segued into another special called “The Fabulous Life of Britney Spears.” Normally, I avoid anything with the words “Britney Spears” or “fabulous” in the title. Too beat from the previous night to reach for the remote or leave the room, I reluctantly watched the documentary of Spears’ superstar extravagance.

If any celebrity deserved to spend her afterlife writhing in the bowels of hell, her ass stuffed to its hair-lined rim with burning-hot coals, it’s Spears. She is the epitome of the evil celebrity, a phony American princess with a plastic crown and a kingdom of excess and hedonism.

Spears, one of the wealthiest 21-year-olds on the planet, has what VH1 refers to as “a seemingly unending cash flow.” This money, according to the creators of the “Fabulous Life of…” series, purchases designer dresses, animal skin purses and underwear made from tulle. Spears stops at no expense to pamper herself. Like some James Bond supervillain, she even pays several yeti-sized thugs to flank her every move and protect her from the rabid fan base she has built.

The most disgusting of Spears’ indulgences involves her use of a private jet, the fuel for which costs $5,000. Major celebrities often need their own jets to skip around the globe and make all their necessary appearances. Spears, however, uses her jet for runs to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a West Coast-only franchise that apparently makes magic coffee that keeps Spears’ boobs from rotting.

We’ve got a Coffee Bean on State Street. The thought of Spears wasting thousands of dollars to bring coffee from our area back to her home in Cousinfucker, La. makes me angry. The money that pays for the jet fuel for one coffee run could easily turn another year of destitution for some poor family somewhere in the world into a chance at a better life.

Yet Spears continues to live like royalty. One must assume she either has selfishly nixed any thoughts of using her considerable financial resources to help others, or is simply too bubbleheaded to consider the idea. The bulk of the charity work Spears has done is limited to an admittedly admirable $1 million donation in 2001 to orphans of the 9/11 attacks and the Britney Spears Camp for the Performing Arts, a summer program that offers “deserving youth” a chance at cracking into the glitter-dipped show business that made Spears famous. This isn’t enough.

Celebrities with faces as recognizable and pockets as deep as Britney’s have an obligation to the world that made them famous. Their pull could make changes that average Joes like me never could. For example, Pamela Anderson, arguably Spears’ equal in terms of fame and singing talent, has spearheaded a boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken because she feels their treatment of chickens in inhumane. Anderson even used her famous body in advertisements, posing in a lettuce leaf bikini for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Sure, it’d be great if Anderson helped out people as well as chickens, but she uses her celebrity effectively nonetheless.

Celebrities as indulgently hell bound as Spears - and yes, there are others - should mend their ways, or else they’ll have a lot to answer for, both when they meet the disadvantaged fans they could have somehow helped and in the moment of soulful introspection when they realize they could have made the world a better place, but instead bought a $5,000 soy macchiato.

Saturday, November 01, 2003


I'm a tired li'l Crazy 88. Hally Happoween indeed.