Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Blame Somebody Greek

A needless silent "h." The only vowel is a "y." And the last syllable inexplicably consists of only the letter "m." For the love of God, who invented the word "rhythm"? And why does it still always look misspelled, even to a speaker of 100-percent fluent speaker of English? And what would have been wrong with "rithum"?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Apple Axiom

You know, it wasn't until I started buying produce at Trader Joe's that I really understood that old saying about how the one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. I just picked through a bag of oranges bought only a few days ago and, in the process, let loose a cloud of neon green toxic dust into the air. All of it — all of it — spread from a single rotten piece, soft and fuzzy and entirely more like a tennis ball than anything growing from a tree.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Dear MySpace,

You bill yourself as "a place for friends." That's really funny because right now you're totally not my friend. I know you occasionally don't like to work. Normally, I don't care. But right now you have a message for me that I really, really need and every time I try to check it you're only giving me this shit:

Not cool. I guess it's my fault for using you to convey pertinent information instead of using any thing else that could possibly transmit words. Really, it makes sense, since it's called "MySpace" and most of the things I own are broken. But if you could, you know, not suck for five minutes you'd really help me out. Also, damn you anyway for making everybody think Friendster sucks and that they should use you instead.

With stress,


I didn't know what a kidney stone looked like, really, but I certainly didn't expect it to be kidney bean-colored.

Read all about how much damage this little pebble can do in this blog post from my friend Chris. Also, keep in mind that the above object went through his wee. The stone, that is. Not the thumbtack. (That I know of.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Underground

Another illustration from a vintage children's book.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jake Who?

I present to you today some rather startling news about a beloved celebrity. In an age when some of our most famous faces — Mel “Sugar Tits” Gibson, Tom “Unemployment Line” Cruise, Lindsay “She’s Drunk Driving Over You As You Read This” Lohan — are generally acknowledged to be the high-profile equivalents of meth-addled hobos squatting in a ditch and snorting king prawns up their noses, we really can’t afford to lose another celebrity to the global shit list. But as a journalist, I really can’t hold this one back. Here it goes.

Jake Gyllenhaal hates literacy. Not only that, Mr. Donnie Darko himself hates children and wants them to grow up to be slack-jawed dolts.

There. Honestly, now that it’s on the outside, I feel better.

You may very well be wondering how I came across this information. The answer to this lies in my brief trip down to Los Angeles this weekend. The UCLA campus hosted the southern California installment of “Revenge of the Book Eaters,” a traveling show that aims to raise money for 826 Valencia, the chain of after-school tutoring centers founded by You Shall Know Our Velocity author Dave Eggers, who, if you haven’t heard, is apparently the voice of the generation. Quite possibly yours. Ours, even. Look into it.

Ostensibly, the show purported to end the debate over whether music or words is truly better by pitting a series of word people — Eggars, NPR sprite Sarah Vowell — against more sing-songy types — The Mountain Goats, Jenny Lewis and Aimee Mann. Gyllenhaal was also included in the line-up, presumably representing the faction of performers who neither write nor sing but have diddled Kirsten Dunst at some point.

All in all, everyone did a thorough job demonstrating why they are famous. Jenny Lewis, for example, played the best of solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, as well as a new track that she recently finished work on, “Jack Killed Mom.” Little Sarah Vowell read an essay about Charles Pruess, a German-born cartographer who accompanied John C. Fremont on his expedition through the then-undiscovered western regions of the United States. A dour and humorless man, Preuss used his diary as a forum to complain about the lack of salt and butter available on the expedition and ultimately hanged himself outside Washington D.C. upon his return. Funny stuff. Aimee Mann, whom I love, played the standards you’d expect from her, like “Save Me” and “Video” and sadly not “Pavlov’s Bell,” but I really can’t complain since I’ve never seen her perform before and she’s just that great. Skinny legs, that Aimee Mann.

And then we come to the portion of the show where Jake Gyllenhaal should have read “Leppy’s Love,” a short story collaboratively written by some of the students and 826 Valencia. Only he wasn’t there and instead we had to hear the story told by John Krasinski from “The Office,” which is still nice, technically. I guess. But knowing we could have heard it directly from Jake Gyllenhaal just kind of put a damper on the whole evening. Seriously, I think I saw some people weeping. It’s a slap in the face, really — and not just to the people at Royce Hall but to the children. Oh, the little writing children with their stories! Seriously, Gyllenhaal should have just gone and slapped them himself, if he wasn’t so busy pretending to be Lance Armstrong all the time. (Between you and me, I heard he’s actually illiterate. Not many people know that he brings his sister to the set of all his movies to mouth the words to him from behind the camera. No shit.) So clearly, Jake Gyllenhaal just hates reading and writing and children.

I’m also slightly miffed that the show never officially decided whether music or words is better, though I didn’t really expect them to. In my estimation, I would have to say that music won, since Gyllenhaal’s absence made the word side of the equation a little lackluster. So boo to that.

Other things that happened: I saw Busy Philipps, though I didn’t realize it at the time. She’s way nice and donated $170 dollars to 826 Valencia during the pledge drive portion of the evening, during which Dave Eggers walked around with a bucket and would hug anyone who put in more than a $20 bill. (I put in $10.) Now that I think about it, this is the third time I’ve mentioned Busy Philipps on this blog in the last two weeks. She’s fast on her way to becoming the new Sanam.

Also: I saw Rider Strong and immediately recognized him as someone I knew, but thankfully realized that I only knew him from a bygone television show before I said hi. But I feel like that’s understandable, since he’s not actually famous. You know, anymore. So it’s closer to the kind of relationship where you see somebody you know, just from school or work or something than it would be to an actual celebrity sighting, like — oh, I don’t know — Jake Gyllenhaal.

Oh, and Andy Richter was there too.

[ you make my spots stay on ]

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Attack of the Dodos

In image from the "Porky In Wackyland" short that features the Dodos, the inhabitants of Wackyland that creeped me out to no end as a child.

DogBaby Squared

Mr. Winkle, the dog who looks like not-a-dog. I saw a Mr. Winkle calendar and went online for more Winkle. I can't get enough. This dog made the rounds on MySpace a while back.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Have You Ever Seen a Quimp?

"Ten Names of Things You Didn't Know Had Names," at least according to the third volume of The Book of Lists.
  • "columella nasi," or the little flap of skin between the nostrils
  • "dragées," or the hard little candies you use for decorating cakes
  • "fuerrule," or the metal part of the pencil that hold the eraser
  • "keeper," or the band on a belt that holds the end in place after you've buckled it
  • "rowel," the pointed, round thing on the back of a cowboy's spurs
  • "saddle," for the rounded part on a matchbook where you strike the match
And, finally, four different words for the gibberish symbols used in place of swear words. And for God's sake, these were hard dealybobs to find images of.

These symbols, which look like a modified at sign and number sign, are apparently called "jarns."

These, which look like explosive little hatchmarks, apparently are called "nittles."

This sort of pseudo-cursive scrawl is referred to as "grawlix." Good to know. This is what I thought actual handwriting was for my childhood preceding third grade.

And, finally, we have the "quimp." It looks like a crudely drawn man in a sombrero, but I think it's actually supposed to be a planet or something. Like Saturn, with the rings. In any case, I'm fairly certain I've never seen these before in any comic strip I've ever read. But that's what the Book of Lists says, anyway.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The One and Only

A common complain against this blog that I’ve heard from those who have been reading it since its inception is that I’ve turned it from a history of what I do to a scattershot listing of pop culture minutiae and links to strange and often regrettable locations online. This, I must admit, is true. Somewhere along the way, I realized that certain details about my life should stay that way — my details. Nothing against my readership. I’m really quite appreciative of the people who bother to check in again and again. But as near as I can figure it, you all basically consist of the following groups of people:
  • people I see everyday
  • people I don’t get to see often enough
  • people who check in purely for the minutiae
  • people who just want to CTRL+F their name to see if I’m disclosing too-personal details about their lives, or, if you will, Kristen
  • people who I’ve consciously decided to avoid but maintain tabs on me through the fragments of personal information I let slip out
  • the dreadfully bored
  • people who are researching actual cereal boxes, for whatever reason, and who quickly become confused and leave
  • people searching for information on Moesko Island
And that’s all fine, really. I genuinely appreciate that anybody reads what I write. Nonetheless, I generally have decided to skimp on the real goods because, honestly, anybody who needs to know what’s going on in my life already does. And that’s that.

If I can take a quick break, however, from cramming all manner of forgotten and ignored pop culture down your collective throats, I would like to discuss something fairly personal in this post. This is something I haven’t done before, and I’m honestly not sure if it will work. When I consider it — and I have been, in spare moments, over the past few weeks — I think this will test the power and range of this stupid little blog. It could even have the opposite effect of what I’d like it to do, but I figure it’s my only shot.

Jonna Hurrell.

I knew Jonna during the beginning of college, which now seems a lot longer time ago than I want it to. In a lot of ways, everything was different back then, even though I still live in Santa Barbara, I still write and I still look the same, more or less. If anything, I feel like where I am changed around me. But back when this was all still new, Jonna was there. Jonna, the girl who high school Spanish class temporarily reduced to “Juana Hurrell.” College put a lot of us through the ringer, though, and by the time I was done with college, I didn’t really know Jonna anymore. I hadn’t talked to her in probably two years I had no idea where she was living or what she was doing.

I still don’t.

This is not a unique situation with me. I unloaded a lot of the people from the beginning of college very purposefully, much as the weekend drunk pukes so much toxic fluid after a night of hard partying. Flush. All gone. Go to bed and start again in the morning. Jonna, however, always tugged at me a little. Like, once I saw this well-dressed, put-together, sorority-looking girl eating at Kahuna Grill and she full-on tilted a cup of milkshake into her mouth. I believe she choked on the straw or a particularly hard chunk of unblended ice cream or something, because she promptly started making gagging noises and, for whatever reason, hitting the table with her hand. Then whatever was inside came out, in a hugely messy burst of dairy and embarrassment. And she had this little stream of milkshake running down the side of her face. Then she ran away. Literally. But she left her purse. And then she had to go back and get the purse. It was funny. I don’t know why, but it occurred to me that that little scene would have been something Jonna would have really dug. Granted, most people probably would have laughed at Princess Milkshake Boom, but Jonna in particular stuck out in my mind.

Really, it’s things like that that make me think of Jonna. Strange, quirky, darkly humorous things that I feel like she would have really appreciated. Like when Moe fell asleep in the stairwell. That kind of thing. And as much as those things make me happy — I’m still laughing about the milkshake girl, even as I type this — it makes me a little sad that this friend I used to have isn’t around to hear about them.

In general, I try to avoid typing people’s full names on this blog. The last thing I want for my friends is a permanent internet search result that inextricably links them with an unrelated musing about the girl from “Flavor of Love” who shat on the stairs.

But I’m using Jonna’s full name here because I have no record of her phone number — new phone, you see — or her email address — Hotmail cleaned out my account when I forgot to check it, you see — or anything like that. Because I have no other way of finding Jonna, I figure I’ll let Jonna find me. Besides, I don’t know if Jonna, like me, decided to purge out the recurring cast from seasons one through three. At least by putting this out there online, Jonna can know what my side of this is and respond or not accordingly.

Jonna Hurrell. Are you reading this?

Oh, and I’m really sorry for mentioning the stair-pooping girl from “Flavor of Love” in the same post as you. It just came out. But you get the idea.

Oh Darlin' — You're Good Dozen or So Ways

My friend Leonard just sent me this!

Also Known as Monica "Jose" Djumbe

My first friend to get a listing on IMDb. I'm so proud.
[ link: the filmography of Renee Sweet ]
Sure to one day be vast and varied.

High Art, Local News

Because it's entirely indicative of what my hometown is like, please click the link to read Monday's top story in the Hollister Free Lance newspaper. It concerns, as you may easily predict, how Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson spent the weekend there. You know, like they do every weekend.
[ link: "Hollister Rocks" ]

Armed Father, Who Art in Heaven

Not about Vishnu, but instead about Jesus packing heat. Probably found on MySpace. Can't remember the specifics.

Homer Nixon

Since I first became aware of the two actresses around the same time, I just assumed that Bijou Phillips and Busy Philipps were sisters. That, and their ridiculous names. However, I only recently found out that they're not. Bijou is the daughter of Chynna Phillips of the band Wilson Phillips. Busy is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philipps of Oak Park, Illinois. One was on "Freaks and Geeks." The other was on cocaine for the better part of this year.

Also, they spell their names differently.

Anyway, the way I thought they were isn't. Please make a note of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Puppy in the Corner

Aww. Puppy likes corners. Of poster racks. Posted on Flickr sometime back. Can't remember by whom.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Okey-Dokey Doki Doki

The below image compares concept art for Super Mario Bros. 2 and Doki Doki Panic, the Japanese game that the former was based on. And when I say “based on,” I mean “hacked from,” if by a more legitimate crew than is normally responsible for hacking. I wish I could find the Doki Doki Panic image in higher resolution, but so far this is all the internet has yielded. What’s especially curious about these two images is that they’re both hand-drawn art, but for whatever reason the artist who drew the left panel, which depicts the American version of the game, decided to preserve the design of the right one almost perfectly.

Whoever drew the Super Mario Bros. art posed all the characters almost exactly as they appeared in the Doki Doki Panic art, just with a thicker line style. Mario, for example, is about to throw a turnip in the same way that Imajin, the turbaned fellow who starred in the Japanese game, is about to throw a mask — an African tribal mask, no less. You know, like you throw at people. Same with the rest of the cast.

What strikes me as even odder about these pieces is that the artist could have easily traced everything on the right side of the river for the Super Mario Bros. 2 art, as those characters did not change. Or if not trace, than they could easily have just pieced in the new art using whatever people in the 80s used before Photoshop. They didn’t. They re-drew it all, sometimes in poses that are almost jus barely different. Look at Birdo, for example. She’s just slightly in a different pose, her snout is shaped differently and her bow is a different color.

Another note: For whatever reason, the American art doesn’t change the sound effect of the bomb exploding from the Japanese “BOM” to how it appears in the American game, “BOMB.” Even the hills in the background appear similarly, just with different swirls on them.

Odd. To me, anyway.

EDIT: Long after this went up, I stumbled across this absolutely beautiful promo artwork that kind of makes me want to see a Doki Doki Panic realized in such a gloriously colorful fashion.

doki doki panic official art super mario bros. 2

Or at least a hint that Nintendo hasn’t completely forgotten these characters.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tiny World Destroyer

An indulgence: As a kid, I loved "Tiny Toons" and mentally catalogued the various kiddie mutations of the "Looney Tunes" cast. One of the rarest of these characters — alongside the tater tot version of Witch Hazel — was Marcia the Martian. She's the daughter of Marvin the Martian, who I always liked. Marcia the Martian only appeared once in the series, in a take-off on "Duck Dodgers." This, it seems, is the only image of her available on the internet, though it can now be found in quite a few places.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Like Leopold and Loeb, Only Meaner

A touching image of "Home Movies" characters Walter and Perry that I found at Brendon Small's website. Isn't it just touching? I feel like it's touching.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pink and Sweet

A photo of Lisa Kudrow, dressed like a cupcake. It's from "The Comeback," which ironically didn't. Nonetheless, it makes me smile.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Marcia Man

I like it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Bad Move

Nice little cartoon I saw on the video game blog Destructoid today.

Lew Zealand

Because what is the internet for, other than a means of stealing other people's ideas? I'm proud to report that, in the same sense that Sanam's Archivolt begat my Die Wunderkammer, which in turn begat Bri's various picture collections on her blog, Meg H. has began her own side-project blog.
[ link: The Stolen Pictures of Meg H. ]
I should warn you, though, that Meg's image collection are not for the feint of heart, nor are they safe for work. In fact, most of what's up right now will give me nightmares. Still, they're quite entertaining, much in the same way any of the aforementioned image blogs are. Enjoy!

She Likes to Share

There's really nothing to say.
[ like: ]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Space Bar Face

The handy people at Dell have just informed me that my laptop battery is not, in fact, one of the defective ones that are prone to overheating, engulfing the system in a ball of flames, cooking the user's genitals if the laptop is, God forbid, actually resting on the top of his or her lap, and then finally exploding and rocketing into the user's forehead in a final, spectacular moment of user-friendly defiance that ultimately leaves the hapless computician Ken doll-smooth and with the embarrassing nickname "space bar face."
[ link: Will you soon have singed genitals? ]

That's Mr. Drew, Apparently

The nice man at Discopop Directory, which previously ran the story about the Pet Shop Boys-K.K. Slider weirdness, has graciously fixed the misquote which alleged to the online world that I didn't like the Sister Sisters. And all is right in the world.

And because Discopop Directory does such a good job delivering music news on a daily basis, I'm giving them the biggest honor a lowly blogger can: a permalink.
[ link: the revised Scissor-centric post ]

Revenge of the Gaucho

This amuses me greatly, if for no other reason than that it shows my loser of a college mascot, the Gaucho, in all his cheesy glory.

In case anyone ever thinks otherwise, Argentinean cowboys strike fear into the heart of no one.

Making Us Look Better by Comparison

Things I know about my downstairs neighbors:
  • They have a healthy sex life.
  • They have sex in the living room in such a manner that the sound channels up from their window and into various parts of my apartment.
  • She’s a talker during sex.
  • He, curiously, is a sneezer and is sometimes prone to burst of nasal activity sometimes five or six sneezes long.
  • I heard her once say “Don’t stop” during the sneezing.
  • They watch really intense movies
  • Just tonight, in fact, they are watching something that has screams and gun shots being played against some foreign-language lullaby-sounding song.
  • Another time the movie involved what I imagine to be a mother screaming about a dead child, then, curiously, what sounded like a car crash.
  • Sometimes they have sex during the movies and it is difficult to differentiate their moans from those of the characters in the intense movies they watch.
  • Don’t stop.
  • Don’t stop.
  • Yes. Like that.
  • I’m gonna fucking blow your head off.
  • My baby! My baby!
  • Don’t stop.
  • Ah-choo.
  • Despite the fact that they drive reasonably nice cars, they have “no money,” if I’m to believe the telephone conversations I hear.
  • They have various money accounts.
  • All of them have “no money.”
  • No money in this account.
  • No money in that account.
  • Seriously, dude, I got no money. I’m fucking broke. You can come see the paperwork if you want.
  • Also, if you don’t want the responsibility, come over and take your name off the account.
  • Oh, so you don’t want to take your name off the account, but you don’t want any of the responsibility. Why don’t you call your dad and tell him that.
  • They’re willing to go to court.
  • They have a son.
  • He is a bit of a tattletale and the dad doesn’t like that.
  • If it’s not your business, stay out of it.
  • If people here you talking about other people, what do you think they’re going to do to you?
  • That’s right — they’re going to tell everyone else what a bad person you are.
  • Is that what you want?
  • Seriously no money.
  • She looks like she might have recently started having a hard life.
  • He looks like a primary factor in those problems.
  • If you’re not going to come over here and see the proof, you have to take my word for it.
  • Fine, don’t sign it.
  • She wishes they had more money to do nice thing.
  • Like move.
  • Allegedly, she’s pissing all the money away.
  • Don’t stop.
  • Yes.
  • Yes.
  • Yes.
  • I don’t know which wire to cut.
  • No money in this account. No money in that account.
  • If it smells bad then don’t eat it.
  • Yes, it’s clean.
  • I just cleaned it.
  • Ah-choo. Ah-choo. Ah-choo.
  • She talks to her sister about being “not not happy.”
  • If I’m to believe what I hear, various members of the family “need to grow up.”
  • Who is that?! Who is that?!
  • It’s the killer! He’s behind you!
  • Don’t stop.
The moral: even a healthy sex life won’t cure all your problems.

Monday, August 14, 2006

This Is a Test

This really is only a test.

Up and Coming Comeuppance

Revenge, it seems, is a dish best served with a bag of Ruffles, a quart of Häagen-Dazs and a creme pie. Sanam put this up on MySpace yesterday.

We know what this means: Now I have to find a PhotoShop-able picture of a hyena bitch giving birth to a still-born pup. Anybody?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Jean-Pascal, in Better Times

Over the past few months, I've slowly been going over old posts, removing typos and reformatting them for a new project that, when done, will make a lot of my older Back of the Cereal Box content more easily accessible. Long story. I'm currently going through November 2004 now and I found a picture my mom had sent me while I was in Washington D.C. It's Jean-Pascal, alive and fishy.

It's easily the best photo I have of him and I didn't even realize I had it.
[ link: the original post, recently renovated ]

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What Would Have Rocked My World Fifteen Years Ago

Promotional art for Nintendo's new virtual console. The new Nintendo console, the Wii, is purported to grant online access to a virtual library of games that appeared on the previous systems. Video game blog Kotaku posted this a week or so ago and I think it does a good job illustrating the idea, in the zany way that the Japanese often illustrate ideas. This also closely approximates how I like to imagine things like my iPod, with the potential line-up of stars mixing and mingling before they get chosen to perform next.

Because I'm nerdy about these things, I'd like to point out some of the various bygone video game heroes and villains appearing.

Starting at the top-left corner:
  • Kirby, perplexingly dressed like a gladiator and holding a whip
  • King Hippo from Punch-Out!!
  • One of the little baddies from Balloon Fight
  • Spike McFang (I think)
  • The re-styled Donkey Kong
  • The Golden Pyramid from Wario Land 4
  • Firebrand the Gargoyle
  • Pit, the hero of the Kid Icarus games
  • Pokey, the generic cactus enemy from the Mario games
  • Popo and Nana, the Ice Climbers
  • The Windfish's egg, from Link's Awakening
  • Birdo, sitting on top of the egg
  • ProtoMan, from MegaMan
  • Princess Peach, being apparently kidnapped by ProtoMan
  • Pac-Man Jr. and Blinky, standing behind a gate or something
  • Some weird version of Pac-Man with a hat, a phallic nose, Mario's flying raccoon tail and a cluster of Boos chasing him
  • Bonk, flying a fighter jet
  • A trail of Bloobers
  • Mappy, the mouse cop
  • The Kiwi hero from New Zealand Story
  • The doctor character from Legend of the Mystical Ninja, which I don't think I ever actually played
  • A Cheep-Cheep
  • Princess Tomato
  • Wart, the bad guy from Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Professtor Hector from Gyromite
  • Dr. Wily
  • R.O.B., the Robotic Operating Buddy
  • Some guy that looks like Fox McCloud but probably isn't
  • Mog the Moogle
  • Gannon (pig-version)
  • Master Higgins from the Adventure Island games
  • Triclyde, the three-headed snake from Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Nack the Weasel (a.k.a. Fang the Sniper)
  • The dog that laughs at you when you fail to shoot accurately in Duck Hunt
  • A Bob-Omb (in the hand of some unfamiliar blue bird)
  • Lakitu
  • Luigi, holding a stack of "blocks" from Puyo Puyo
  • The red convertible from Out Run
  • Arthur from Ghouls and Ghosts
  • Kaepora Gaebora
  • Mr. Game and Watch
  • Lolo and Lala
  • Diskun (a.k.a. Mr. Disk)
  • Bub from Bubble Bobble
  • Mouser from Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Bomberman
  • A Bullet Bill
  • A Piranha Plant
  • A Goomba, for some reason encased in a bubble
  • One of those Mega Man hard hat-wearing things, the name of which escapes me at the moment
  • Cut Man, from the first Mega Man
  • On Cut Man's fist, a Flicky from the Sonic games
  • Clyde, the yellow Pac-Man ghost
  • Two Dragon Quest slimes, emerging from the red Super Mario Bros. 2 door
  • The Angry Sun from Super Mario Bros. 3
  • The Hammer Bros.
  • The Snow Bros.
  • Morton Koopa Jr., weilding a sword for some reason
  • Beat, the little robot bird carrying the red orb thing
And with that, I'm effectively geeked out.

EDIT: I did a little bit of further research and found out the image is actually not official. It's by a British artist named Keith Webb. Cool, anyway.


Last night I dreamed I called Peggy Lipton. Apparently in an effort to determine when the "Twin Peaks" second season DVDs were coming out, I decided that the best person to ask would be this series star, former "Mod Squad" castmember and wife of Quincy Jones. She told me, in the dream, but like when Coop temporarily learned the identity of Laura's killer in the second episode, I forgot what I was told immediately after I woke up.

Good Flavor With a Strong, Lingering Aftertaste

Becoming gradually busier as the weeks go by, I don’t watch too much TV anymore. It sucks, really, especially when my job now requires me to be in contact with the most immediately popular forms of culture. So yesterday afternoon, I turned on the TV, ended up flipping to VH1 and had it blaring with its bright and cheery colors for a good three hours.

Things watched: “The Best of Celebrity Weddings,” “The World Series of Pop Culture” — where, by the way, I would have cleaned up — and the season premiere of “Flavor of Love 2.” I didn’t watch the first season of “Flavor of Love.” I didn’t understand the appeal. But I can only guess that the current season must be better than the first in every conceivable way.

Here’s a recap for those of you who, like me, don’t really give a damn about the romantic travails of Flavor Flav: After being a founding member of influential and uberpolitical rap group Public Enemy, Flav lost all credibility by being the resident Urkel on the third season of VH1’s “Surreal Life.” Instead of a music legend, Flav carried himself with the air of a goofy, drunk uncle or a benign homeless person. Eventually, he fell in love with model-actress-golem Brigitte Nielsen, with whom he later starred in the VH1 series “Strange Love,” which chronicled a romantic relationship that people watched the same curiosity they regard car wrecks and live, televised surgery. The woman who won the first season of “Flavor of Love,” Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander lasted about as long as you’d expect a girlfriend you got through a reality show. “She a golddigger,” we’re informed. And all that brings us to the start of the second season.

Apparently, Flav was displeased with the caliber of girls selected for the first season and so he picked the new girls himself. It shows. The twenty girls look exactly the kind of girls a legendary rapper would pick. Now, this is not a bad thing. Far from it, the girls of “Flavor of Love 2” represent a much wider cross-section of body types than the average reality show — or, really, the average TV show. As far bigger girls, there’s a good handful here. You also have a mix of flakey model-actress types — not much different than Nicole Alexander, really — but also quirkier picks, like the stringy haired hippie white girl astrologist. (Flav’s birthday, we learn from her, is the day of realistic inspiration. Who knew?)

Not five minutes into moving into the new house, the girls — shrieking giddily like children running through an ice cream, fireworks and puppy factory — explode into a fight. Two of them have a disagreement over a bed that they decide to settle in the manner of lunchroom bullies — quickly, one is punching the other and then knocking her head against the wall. It’s great. She even screams “Don’t you ever throw flowers at me!” Any show that features “Don’t you ever throw flowers at me!” being yelled seriously, I can happily invest myself for the hour. When Flav interrogates the fighting girls separately to determine who threw the first punch. The instigator claims she barely tapped the other — that she reprimanded her like one might do to a toddler. Quite the speaker, she even describes the other one as not being the “fawn trapped in the headlights” that she’s made out to be. Poetic! Especially for a girl who just bashed someone’s head against a wall. Flav reviews the footage, finds that the alleged toddler sitter is more of a little Clobberella. Away she goes.

Apparently the trend on “Flavor of Love” is that Flav renames the girls. I couldn’t bother to actually learn most of their names, so I’ll just make up my own. For example, the one I call “Goat.” Origin: Bakersfield, I’m guessing. Talks like a “Jerry Springer” guest. Looks like a trannie dressed up for wild west night. Then there’s one I call “Coral.” Because she’s perfectly interchangeable with Coral from “The Real World.” She makes sarcastic comments about everybody because she thinks she’s better than them. My personal favorite, however, is the girl I like to call “Donut.” Easily the biggest girl out of the girls, Donut further sets herself apart from the rest by being the only girl who’s fluent in jive. When Donut pulls Flav aside, they have this little chit-chat completely in jive — complete with subtitles. Yes, like in “Airplane!”

All in all, however, the best part of the show would have to have been the shitting. That’s right: shitting. The actual expelling of feces from the body. Apparently, one of the girls — I call her “Jigglypuff” — had a stomach problem during the taping of the episode’s climactic moments, in which Flav picks the girls he likes and awards them clocks, for some reason. The girls must remain standing during this segment, and because the producers wouldn’t let Jigglypuff leave to use the bathroom, she ended up running up the stairs and letting a small fraction of the deposit slip out. Yes, she shit on the stairs. Soon after, the rest of the cast heads up the stairs and sees — and smells — the shit. (Thankfully, we the viewers on the other side of the glass screen have to do neither.) Surprisingly, Jiggles owns up to the deed right away. Even more surprisingly, she doesn’t seem that embarrassed by it. You know, like it’s something that just happens to people. In my estimation, that should make Jigglypuff the first person on a reality show to publicly shit in a place that’s not normally intended for shit and not get immediately kicked off the show. You know, because maybe Flav liked that.

I probably won’t make an effort to watch “Flavor of Love” again, but it’s good to know that in that quick hour of TV I could realize what I’ve been missing by doing other things. Oh, and also the shitting. That was pretty crazy.

And for anyone who knows more about Flavor Flav than I do, please explain: Why all the fucking clocks?

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Owls Go

Vintage, whereabouts unknown. Cool though.

More Images for Your Face!

I just realized that I've posted more than fifty images on my Die Wunderkammer blog. As such, I'm now more than halfway done getting my personal image archive up there.
[ link: Die Wunderkammer ]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Panic Sonata

Here's one that Flickr user Life as Art posted. I found it by searching Flickr with the tag "awkward" and viewing the results in order of interestingness.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Revenge of the Ostriches

And in case that's not enough ostrich — or blog — for you, please observe Roommate Besty feed these beasts.

Don't they look like Muppets?

As Sovereign as England or Ireland

Rounding out this little blogasm, I figured I might as well mention that at as a sequel to Knapp’s Castle, the four of us drove to the Firestone Brewery and stopped on the way at Ostrich Land. I been there once before — almost a year ago, according to the corresponding blog post — and loved the place, if only to gawk at the weird, rude birds that lived there.

Nothing has changed.

Please note the giant drool string hanging from the beak of the below emu.

I can't help but recall the three flapper ostriches from Chuck E. Cheese's. And, of course, the MySpace menagerie has once again been updated.

Good time had by all, especially the ostriches.
[ link: so many ostrich pictures ]


The other bit of Indiana Jonesing that I did recently — and that I alluded to it the last post — was taking a hike up to Knapp’s Castle, the remains of a mansion that overlook the Santa Ynez valley. Since Betsy is planning on leaving Santa Barbara in the near future, she’s doing all those little touristy things that she didn’t get around to doing when she was a full-time resident here. That means I get to do fun things too. It’s only a short drive up to Camino Cielo and then an easy hike — half-mile at the most.

Apparently the Knapp in question is George Knapp, a business man who retired in Santa Barbara and built a large mansion. The place would have been a palace in its day — five bedrooms, a guest house, a private waterfall and even a sound system to pipe in the noise of the roaring water into the house. However, the place burned in 1940. Currently on private property, the ruins are fair game for tourists and hikers. The trip was well worth it. Besty, Danny, Spencer and I sunk a good hour or so into just wandering around the skeleton of this once-great house and taking pictures.

But what really sticks out in my mind from this little trip is the discovery of a small tupperware box filled with various visitors' mementos of the place. The box, which was inscribed with an apparently non-functional URL — — dated back to only spring of 2006, but was nonetheless filled with various strange notes.

I won't say what I left, but hopefully it will still be there when someone reading this now decided they should make the hike themselves.
[ link: the rest of my Knapp's Castle photos ]

That Drew, He’s a Modern Day Hardy Boy

Twice in the past month I have taken my life into my own hands and gone to explore some part of the world that once was inhabited happily by humans but has since been rendered unlivable by natural disaster. All in a very small way, I’ll admit, but the statement is irrefutably true.

A few weeks ago, I headed home to Hollister and while there went waterskiing at the O’Neil Forebay, an artificial body of water important enough to California history that the great Joan Didion even once mentioned it in a book. (This, really, doesn’t speak all that highly of the forebay, as Joan Didion mentions everything about California.) Nonetheless, I was there. After a few hours of soaking in the famous Los Banos heat, we headed home, the duration of which I slept, save one key point: The Don Pacheco Y. This happy spot of California asphalt marks the intersection of Highways 152 and 156. Anyone who’s been through the area and passed the strange Casa de Fruta complex on the side of the road has probably crossed this very intersection. It’s also near what used to be the Sugar Plum Farm, a restaurant that I loved as a kid and was owned by the family of my sophomore year roommate, oddly enough. To the frustration — and, often, danger — of many travelers, these two highways meet each other in an especially awkward way that results in one line of cars, sailing towards Hollister with fairly little traffic back-up, jutting into a second, that is very often stalled as it inches away. We’d often been stopped there, crawling on a road that should rightfully permit normal highway speeds, and as a child I always marveled at what looked the ruins to some local castle, where surely presents and candy awaited me, if only my parents would stop the car.

Not so.

The place, in fact, was a Mexican restaurant — the Don Pacheco — that burned to the ground in the 1970s. For whatever reason, the owners chose not to rebuilt. A baffling decision — considering how many cars slow to a stop there, it would be an easy place to pull over for food. Nonetheless, the ruins have sat there my entire life, slowly decaying and filling with thistles.

Realizing how much the place appealed to me and cleverly noting that I am now technically an adult and can do what I want, I drove back out to the Don Pacheco later that day. No surprises. No murderous vagrants either, presumably because the homeless and mean-spirited hate merciless sun and thistles as much as anybody. The whole experience gave me the creeps, though, and I was constantly worried that anyone I might bump into would have less noble motivation to be there than I did.

I’m not sure the pictures really do the place justice, but they — and this text — represent the limit of what I could convey.

This above is technically the front entrance, though you can honestly walk in any way that you'd like, since most of the walls burned down.

Oh look! A lovely fountain! Ful of... weeds! And a snake! And — ooh! — a condom!

As if to really date these ruins — at least in the span of my life — the sign advertising that the restaurant accepts credits cards still stands. To me knowledge, Master Charge became MasterCard years ago.

Also, someone felt the need to paint pro-America graffiti on the walls of a place that probably only gets a dozen or so visitors a year. Mission accomplished.

Quite overgrown with weeds, as you can see. Sad to think this was probably once a nice place to pull over, eat a taco and watch other motorists get in accidents. You can view the rest of the photos of the Don Pacheco restaurant on my Flickr account.
[ link: more of the same — but possibly even better! ]
I'm a little shocked this wreckage has remained here longer than I've been alive. You'd think someone would do something with a plot of land in such a heavily trafficked area. Then again, this is Hollister, so one day my grandkids might see it.