September 28, 2004

Point of Etiquette

I was just wondering - as the "host" of this site is it my duty to jump into an argument like this one in the comments section and ask everyone to be civil?

Posted by Chris on 09/28/04

sorry. But you know how haters make me crazy.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 29, 2004 6:54 AM

But I hate Hindus because I fear cows. Where's my hate, my precious hate? Who will allow baby herman to hate?

Posted by: baby herman at September 29, 2004 10:14 AM

And I'm crazed by haters (which isn't really a word) who only post to correct spelling (like testicle), grammar or pointing out that some words are not real.

Posted by: skanky at September 29, 2004 12:02 PM

And I crazed by catholics and other organized haters.

Posted by: skanky at September 29, 2004 12:09 PM

You hate and slander "all" catholics, but claim to be a catholic. Do YOU preach organized hate? I don't get it.

But carry on. You're quite a rebel. No one has ever spoken out aganist religion before.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 29, 2004 2:16 PM

Jesus! Did you notice? Priests don't wear pants!! Shit, that's weird. They just wear these long dresses with no pletes. Sorry friend jessica, I don't know if I can get behind this one.

Posted by: baby herman at September 29, 2004 2:43 PM

your points are salient herman. I'll take them under consideration...although boy, the catholics have produced some great art!

Posted by: friend jessica at September 30, 2004 6:16 AM

James? James Lileks? Is that YOU painting with the broad brush there?

And priests do wear pants under their robes, Baby Herman. Never fear. At least all the times I ever served as an altar boy in my youth they did. But then I'm apparently lucky enough to only have been around the 95% or so that WEREN'T molesters or anything, not the smallish percentage that might just have run around without any pants.

My friend, *I* would reckon that you should wade into the battle with your mighty Backup Tapes of Justice and smite all evil doers, naysayers, malcontents, and just plain pissy folk as you see fit. It IS your blog after all, if you don't want folks peeing in the corners or in the potted plants vs using the rest room, then please feel free to inform them of where to go and what to do. :-)

Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at September 30, 2004 9:23 AM

I See Metal

I admit I smirk a little bit at that guy on the beach with the metal detector. But what if it turns out that the ability to detect bits of metal beneath the sand - mostly bottlecaps, sure, some of those old-style pull-tabs, lots of loose change but nothing really rare - what if the ability to detect that stuff just totally rocks your world?

What if it's just the coolest thing ever, and has been this whole time?

What if you're a skeptic but the moment you take that thing in hand and fire it up, WHOA! This huge surge of power that just flies through you, because, HEY! I CAN DETECT BITS OF METAL UNDERNEATH THE SAND, MAN! What if it's just REALLY cool and INSTANTLY addicting? It's like I've got X-Ray vision with this thing! I'm LOOKING INTO THE PAST with this thing! What is everyone else wasting their time lying around on the sand for? Don't they realize they could be lying on something made of or at least partially consisting of... metal?

Or maybe you resist it at first, so you just bury stuff in your backyard and then try to forget where, so you can detect it in privacy. Then you get up your courage and take the ol' detector out to the beach a bit. But only at night. But then that moment comes when you dig up your first set of lost car keys. And as you stand there imagining what they fit - house? An apartment? A locker at the airport with stolen drug money? Some model's BMW, and oh how she would have looked at you like her hero for recovering her car keys - you realize you're coming back tomorrow. In the daylight.

How long could it be before you become an expert on which old coins are really valuable? How long before you look at all the other beach-goers with a little contempt as you pull up the 796th bottle cap that they've just carelessly thrown down into the sand? (Where not only is it dangerous to bare feet, but distracting ground clutter to metal detecting enthusiasts) How long before you grid out the beach on a big map, to make sure you've covered the whole area? How long before you realize wearing dark socks with your tennis shoes really works better?

And is there any way to amp up the power on that thing? Because you're just... not... QUITE getting down as far as you'd like. (The GOOD stuff is several feet lower.) Maybe hook up a car battery to it? Surely there are specialty magazines for the metal enthusiast (Perhaps one might be called... The Detector) that outline how to make some really cool mods on that baby. Probably in addition to their "feature" articles on metal detecting news and conventions, the Detector also has stories where metal detecting was employed to solve crimes, (Lots of murders solved when a metal detector finds a body because the fillings in the teeth gave a ping), probably there's a pretty regular "human interest" column (Octogenarian is reunited with the wedding ring he lost on the Normandy beach on D-Day), and of course lots of ads in the back for Guides to Rare Coins.

What if metal detecting is just... WHERE IT'S AT?

Posted by Chris on 09/28/04

September 23, 2004

National Intelligence Estimate: Low

As if my political opponents didn't have enough of an attention deficit, now I'm going to have to explain to them how they're just like those Weimar Wrestling fans:

The war, illegal and founded on a vast lie, has produced two tragedies of equal magnitude: an embryonic civil war in the world's oldest country, and a triumph for those in the Bush administration who, without a trace of shame, act as if the truth does not matter. Lying until the lie became true, the administration pursued a course of action that guaranteed large sections of Iraq would become havens for jihadis and radical Islamists. That is the logic promoted by people who take for themselves divine infallibility -- a righteousness that blinds and destroys. Like credulous Weimar Germans who were so delighted by rigged wrestling matches, millions of Americans have accepted Bush's assertions that the war in Iraq has made the United States and the rest of the world a safer place to live. Of course, this is false.

Great. I can see this comparison going over like a lead balloon. I'd have better luck getting them to read the National Intelligence Estimate, and THAT doesn't even have colorful pictures. (From Salon.)

Posted by Chris on 09/23/04

Will we EVER let those poor germans alone? MY GOD.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 23, 2004 2:17 PM

September 20, 2004

Defense Against Punks

Directions for escaping a punk rock fan, if you ever find yourself under attack, being chased by, or trapped in conversation with one:

1.) Make any assertion whatsoever about punk.

Your assertion will be so wrong that the punk fan will go into a long harangue about it, and in general begin a long correction.

SPECIAL NOTE: Any statement concerning who actually invented punk rock is most effective. Pick a band at random and say how great it was that they were there at the beginning. You will always be wrong about this, and you can move onto step 2 more quickly:

2.) As they are growing red-faced about how the Ramones did NOT invent punk, and then inevitably segue into the relative merits of the various bands, how Sid was so great, how Johnny was so great, etc., etc., and how ________ is / was just a pretender to the punk mantle, make your escape.

Posted by Chris on 09/20/04

1) Does mentioning a solo artist count for the "mention a band part"? i.e. will saying something like "Avril is the uber l33t punk roX0r!!! D00d!!" going to work?

2) Is there any opportunity to throw down the punk-McDLT line? Does that help, or hurt, the attempt to escape?

I need to know these things, you just NEVER KNOW when you're going to be trapped in such a scenario. Thanks so much for helping the conversationally challenged - first the conversation flashcards, now this!

Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at September 20, 2004 12:41 PM

Ranger Dekiion,

The line about anyone being born after the McDLT not being eligible for punk status smacks a little bit of someone knowing what they're talking about. You run the risk of just having the punk in question agreeing with you.

But by all means mention Avril, and you may actually stun the offending punk into apoplectic catatonia.

Posted by: Chris at September 20, 2004 2:11 PM

September 16, 2004

Goofy Accused of being too Goofy

Is it Goofy's fault? He's just living up to his name:

Maybe he and rapper Murder C, who was also accused of living up to his name, can sympathize together.

A previous instance of Mickey Mouse & friends not always doing good things: "Overheard on the street..."

Posted by Chris on 09/16/04

I just can't get over the quote:

He's always been playful! It's goofy being goofy."

meanwhile, the picture of this guy is just slightly under john waters on the creepy scale. If he touched me I'd call the hazmat unit.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 16, 2004 11:14 AM

I think Disney should do as they did last time: assign him a different character and hope it doesn't happen again. It works for the fucking Catholic Church and their kiddy rapists.

I'd suggest he go back as Scrooge McDuck, Sleepy Dwarf or that green testacle with the annoying voice from Monsters Inc.

Posted by: skanky at September 17, 2004 11:23 AM

we like to spell it testicle in the business.

Way to turn a goofy story into a Catholic rant, as well. Kudos.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 20, 2004 6:31 AM

We begin new sentences with a capital letter.

Yes, I spelled testicle wrong. Thanks to friend jessica who has been spelling it correctly since she grew them.

I'm catholic so I can rant against the fuckers.

Posted by: skanky at September 20, 2004 9:26 AM

When did Chris get such hate filled friends I wonder?

Posted by: friend jessica at September 21, 2004 6:17 AM

In 1986 of course and every time he's met another catholic.

But it's okay to have grassroots disdain for the catholic church since they preach organized hatred.

Posted by: skanky at September 22, 2004 11:58 AM

Yeah, I guess you're right. ALL catholics should be painted with the same broad brush. And P.S. I'm not catholic, but here's something scary: chris knows a lot of them and they don't preach organized hatred.

Generalizations: It's what's for dinner.

Posted by: friend jessica at September 22, 2004 12:17 PM

September 15, 2004

Basic Knowledge Gaps #2

1. Populations of cities. I cannot instantly recite the population of any American city the way most people seem to be able to. Nor can I make reasonable comparisons between city populations.

Yes, I have a general idea of what cities are bigger than others. But again, like other knowledge gaps I labor under, such as those concerning basic measurements, hand-to-hand combat, comprehensive knowledge of all automobile makes and models, and of course exchange rates, I must have missed Fun Census Facts! at school.

My stock answer when someone asks me how many people live where I live: about 6 million. This seems to be not TOO far up or down.

2. Basic grasp of cellular phone service plans, including coverage, and the importance of "anytime minutes."

All right. I admit that with certain knowledge gaps I have reported in this space, the underlying message I meant to convey was that the data was minutia anyway, only mental flotsam, just so much trivia, and who cared anyway. But with cell phone plans, I can't seem to figure out why I can't figure them out. It all has to be very carefully explained to me every time I switch providers or hardware or area.

I seem to be following some antiquated mental model when I consider cell phones - as if on some level I think of them basically as... walkie-talkies? Therefore, the farther away I get from the OTHER walkie-talkies... the worse the signal? Or the more expensive the call? A: Well, sort of. But it depends on what plan you have. Q: So it's not like walkie-tallkies at all? A: Well, no. Although some phones CAN function essentially as walkie-talkies. Q: ???

Posted by Chris on 09/15/04

buying this frigging ibook has made me realize that my knowledge gaps are so large as to be obscene and pustulous

Posted by: friend jessica at September 16, 2004 9:54 AM

Knowledge gap #3: The meaning of the word "pustulous."

Posted by: Chris at September 16, 2004 10:15 AM

duh. filled with pus

Posted by: friend jessica at September 16, 2004 11:15 AM

The El Torito Specification

  • Rule: Any I.T. task I undertake that involves creating a boot disk, will take ten to twenty times as long as it should.

    For the knowledge of the boot disks is precious, not to be bandied about by a mortal such as I. And if I ever do finish the original undertaking, it will not be with the aid of any boot disk.

  • I still have no access to the elevators here after or before hours. I began and ended the other day locked out of the office.

    Most Beautiful Office Girl asked me to do something at 5:30 one evening as I was leaving, that involved me going downstairs; when I went to take the elevator back up, it was in security mode. I couldn't leave the floor.

    I went back into the server room, cursed the luck for a while, then dialed 4-digit extensions at random. (The disadvantage of being on Pacific time is that I can no longer call Cambridge or Chicago to look up phone numbers for me if I get locked out.) The first person to pick up, astonishingly, randomly, was Most Beautiful Office Girl. She is the last person I wanted help from; I'd have to explain that I was an infant, a toddler, that I was locked out. She found it mildly amusing, then sent someone to fetch me. They eventually arrived.

  • Every three days or so the pressure has built up to the point where I have to walk out of the apartment, and say, WHAT THE HELL ARE WE THINKING, THIS PLACE IS TOO DAMN SMALL. I mean, it's SMALL. Not a big place. And because of the unpacking taking so long, only this last weekend did we get to the point where we could sit down in chairs.

    This is a place so small that you begin to have to abandon old hobbies. Those scale replica Viking longboats made out of toothpicks? No room for that any more. The Hummell Figurines? No place for those. Scottish tapestry collection? Throw 'em out. Books? Only the really really vital ones, and by vital I mean it should tell us how to save one another from choking on page one, AND we should be able to use it as a weapon against an assailant, AND we should be able to boil it and eat the pages when times get tough. It's painful to give away books.

    And comic books? Forget it. They are the pastime of a much younger man, a younger man blessed with space. I would never call myself a "collector" of comic books, but what else do you call yourself when you've never thrown one away? When you've got five big boxes of them that you've been lugging around from apartment to apartment since college?

    Alas, they are also all far too "new" to serve as anything but advanced ballast. (A "comic longbox" is a unit of weight just below the "computer monitor.") I won't get any money for them when I commit the heresy against my childhood of selling them on EBay, except maybe for that one signed by Todd McFarlane.

    Posted by Chris on 09/15/04

    If you're getting rid of comics, we should talk :-)

    Posted by: Brian at September 15, 2004 6:06 PM
  • September 10, 2004

    In My Defense

    When I was told that the office would be closed tomorrow at one and that we would all be going to a beach BBQ, I assumed, and I think you can easily follow my logic here, that most everyone would wear their beach clothes to work.

    I didn't expect everyone in swimsuits throwing Frisbees around the office, just killing time until we'd all drive over to the beach. But I did expect something on the order of at least a general dressing-down into, say, shorts and attractive shirts.

    Instead I find that today is an "Interview Day," and that most people are dressed just as they were yesterday. Which is to say, casual business wear. Very fashionable. No t-shirts. No shorts. No sandals.

    Except for me, the new guy in the office. I came ready to PICNIC today. Yes, that's him, over in the I.T. office. Oh you mean the dork? Yes. Dorkus Maximus. That's the one.

    It's not exactly like I misunderstood the invitation and came dressed in full vicar attire. It's more like when Daffy Duck springs out of Bugs' rabbit hole, sunglasses, umbrella, and tropical drink in hand, screaming "OUT OF MY WAY! PISMO BEACH! YAHOO! HERE I COME!" and only slowly realizes he's in the Sahara desert. Having taken the wrong turn at Albuquerque.

    Posted by Chris on 09/10/04

    wow, i had a dream like that once... except they were all naked and i wore tuxedos and evening gowns.

    Posted by: kjk at September 13, 2004 4:04 PM

    bizare dream, it was.

    Posted by: kjk at September 13, 2004 4:05 PM

    especially the evening gowns. i had a pink one and a fire engine red one. yes...

    Posted by: kjk at September 13, 2004 4:05 PM

    they eventually came off tho. and that's when the fun began!

    Posted by: kjk at September 13, 2004 4:06 PM

    September 8, 2004

    No Truck With Fake National Companies!

    Here's something with which no truck shall be had, by me or mine, be it a rental truck or one purchased outright:

    So-called national companies that are in reality no more than a loose federation of franchises, with no central standards or accounting of their practices.

    People! I'm not asking for a company to be able to scan my retina or my voice and immediately output my entire transaction history! I know that what you arrange with one person at the phone company generally is immediately forgotten! We don't live in the Minority Report world, and while some companies display a Borg-like disdain for humans, they have not yet gotten the hang of the Borg inter-hive-mind communication. Fine! I can understand that! I accept it!

    And I'm also not asking for every company that does business in more than one state to implement some sort of over-arching database to make everything uber-convenient. I don't expect the kid behind the counter at McDonalds #5172 to know what I ordered at McDonalds #9181. I don't expect Starbucks barristas to universally know that I like tall lattes.

    But some companies seem ready to hand out their logo on a shingle to just about anyone that thinks it might be cool to hang one outside their window!

    Even if I don't expect every single franchise to do everything the exact same way, how about if they occasionally talk to one another? Some example offenders:

    1. U-HAUL.

      For all the information the individual U-Haul franchisees seem to be responsible for in Chicago, for instance, I could easily qualify as one of their authorized rental locations sitting right here in Santa Monica. I own no trucks, I keep no records, I never answer my phone, but I AM listed on the U-Haul website. What gives with that?

      (Look for my saucy letter to U-Haul for their part in our moving fiasco in this space. They will RUE THE DAY.)

    2. BALLY'S GYM.

      Wife Ami had a membership at Bally's in Chicago. (I disdain Bally's as known purveyors of oontz music.) So she had to get on the phone to the national chapter or whatever and make all sorts of account changes and get dispensations to go to their gyms out here. What gives?

      Why couldn't you just walk into any Bally's and have Hans Oontzman at the front desk make an address change? What is the point of a membership if you don't belong to the whole of Bally's? But no, special calls had to be made.

      The most amusing thing was how Wife Ami couldn't see how this could have been made any easier for her. "All I had to do was call the national office and have them make the change!" She said. "What could be easier!"

      "How about walking into any Bally's and just presenting your card," I said.


      There are so many ways I will have no truck with insurance companies. But this narrow bit of non-truckedness is their franchise, or branch situation. In order to switch our insurance out here, all we have to do is locate another agent, then arrange for that agent to call the old agent, who will send our paperwork or whatever. What gives?

      Why am I having to introduce these agents to each other like some sort of insurance agent yenta, when of course they all already know each other from their Annual Gloating Convention, held as a part of the Pentaverate Conference in the Bilderbergh Hotel? How about at minimum, providing a list of possible agents? Better yet, WHY DON'T YOU JUST MAKE THE ADDRESS CHANGE IN YOUR NATIONAL DATABASE, AND BEGIN YOUR HARD, UN-ENVIABLE TASK OF CHARGING ME THE HIGHER CALIFORNIA RATE?

    Let me sum it up this way: the information has to get from one branch to another. If your company doesn't feel responsible for it, and if I'M acting as the inter-office courier, of my own account info, then I should at least get the special courier rate.

    Posted by Chris on 09/ 8/04

    don't be crabby.

    Posted by: friend jessica at September 9, 2004 7:07 AM

    maybe this is a bad time to tell you about the inter-state blog reading fee i charge ...

    Posted by: kjk at September 9, 2004 9:57 AM

    September 7, 2004

    Bundy Drive

    A note about living here:

    -We live on Bundy Drive, which everyone but me seems to associate with the O.J. experience. I don’t know how I missed this mental connection. And those that don’t giggle about O.J., ask me if I mean Bundy as in Ted.

    Posted by Chris on 09/ 7/04

    and what about al? AL Bundy?

    The comedy is infinite.

    Posted by: friend jessica at September 7, 2004 12:55 PM

    Is it a bundy of fun? A bundy of joy?

    Posted by: John at September 7, 2004 11:57 PM

    What a lot of people don't know is that BUNDY is a small kitchen table from IKEA

    Posted by: friend jessica at September 8, 2004 6:16 AM

    I'll have a bundy table and don't skimp on the mog.

    Posted by: Chris at September 8, 2004 12:49 PM

    The Subscriber Couch

    It is clear to me now that we did not so much buy a couch several years ago as subscribe to it.

    It was too big to fit in our Chicago apartment, so after an awkward, prolonged incident with the deliverymen, wherein my wife and Landlady tried to convince them that their grasp of the laws of physics was flawed, it had to be returned from whence it came and disassembled. Then it came into the place in three pieces, where it was reassembled by those self-same craftsmen. All for an extra fee of a couple hundred dollars more.

    When it came time to move out, we needed to have it disassembled again. But that furniture place went out of business, so we had to identify someone who could take it apart again. (Did I consider doing it myself? Yes. Was I sternly warned away whenever I pulled the sofa away from the wall to even look at how one might make the first incision in the upholstery? YES.) It took some time to identify a specialist who could do this. Like every other request I have made of the world’s vendors, no one had ever ever in the history of time needed precisely what I needed. And the implication was always that reasonable people would never have gotten themselves in that position.

    I arrived at the Chicago apartment one day just in time to see a man finishing up on breaking our sofa down into its molecular components. I had hoped to be there to learn the mystical ways of sofa assembly and deconstruction, so that we would not need to identify ANOTHER specialist in California, but I was too late. The sofa was already in pieces, and there were already FAR more of the pieces lying about than I remembered being necessary to get it in to start with. But what could I say? Even though it looked wrong, he seemed to know more about it than me. This was also at a cost of a few hundred dollars.

    Now we're in the process of locating ANOTHER sofa demolition specialist. Sofa ownership is a privilege - but also a responsibility.

    Posted by Chris on 09/ 7/04

    September 2, 2004

    Brief Update from Barstow

    The desert is beautiful but also a bit depressing after two or three days. It's too hot, it's too bright, the wind tries to blow us off the road, and everything is cars, fumes, and gas station food. It's a big cell phone dead zone; I get a few text messages on my cell phone today that I can't return for hours. Thank God for iPod and David Cross comedy albums.

    We've stopped off in Barstow even though Santa Monica is just three hours or so away, the idea being that we'll try to get in a little before lunch time tomorrow. Landlord says anytime is good, that the place will be open, that he'll see us around five. Which is good, because where is the checkbook for that all-important first rent check? I'd estimate about four feet back into the truck.

    It could be that I'm just attuned to it, but it seems like every fourth vehicle in the hotel parking lots are rental trucks towing a car.

    Posted by Chris on 09/ 2/04

    1) are you in fact on Route 66? Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino?

    2) Are you getting your kicks?

    3) When you say that the movie SPARTAN is about a white slavery that just something that's mentioned casually, off hand...or do we get to see the inner workings of a white slavery ring VIS A VIS girls tied up, back handed bitchslaps and unsavory eastern european men with cigarettes?

    Posted by: friend jessica at September 3, 2004 7:33 AM

    and since you brought it up, I watched the 'almost porn disguised as art' movie POLA X last night, because Till is in it for a whole 8 seconds.

    Anyway, this is a movie that is French and 'thought provoking' and 'moving' and 'artistic', and it also has FULL PENETRATION VAGINAL SEX and 69 in it. I mean, they weren't fooling around. I I had been duped by the folger's crystals people.

    I'm just trottin' along, watching a nearly incomprehensible French film and BAM...there's the tab A, there's the slot B and I'll be DAMNED if those things weren't WORKING TOGETHER ON FILM.

    Also, maybe even worse than "It's been a long time since I've smelled beautiful" by vin diesel in riddick is Catherine "here's my boobs again" Deneuve taking a long drag off of a cigarette and saying:

    "I love to smoke" in french.

    I mean, it's like a PARODY.

    Posted by: friend jessica at September 3, 2004 9:25 AM

    When I'm saying to you I'm in Barstow, know that I AM RIGHT ON ROUTE 66. Also know that I live right off that fabled drive as well. GETTIN' MY KICKS.

    Re: Spartan. Not so much a deep look into the crazy workaday world of the white slaver, but there's definitely some of the unsavoraiety of that field.

    Re: the French with their Nouveau Pornographie - I forbade them to make any more films without first running them by me after "Irreversible" and "Baise Moi."

    Posted by: Chris at September 7, 2004 9:44 AM

    Brief Update from Utah

    -Yesterday we drove through the Rocky Mountains, and it was a day of immense beauty and tension as we wondered whether Yellow Truck Pulling Red Car would make it. We slowed to 25 mph every time we went up, certain that the engine was about to give out; and then going down we could smell burning brakes the whole way.

    -The inside of the Tercel is getting hot enough during the day to make our clothes hot to the touch and our toothpaste melt. The inside of the toiletry bags are a gloopy mess of hair and dental products.

    - Sometimes when I look at the two vehicles containing all our possessions I think MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE WE'VE LEFT ALL OUR FRIENDS AND A PERFECTLY GOOD CITY FOR WHAT.

    -Yesterday we saw signs warning us not to stop on the road due to dust storms. Later, we saw a sign that eagles might be on the road. Either way, I'm not opening the door until we're in Nevada.

    - It's taken me 15 years to realize that this is the part of the country I'd like to be in. Of course, soon all this beauty will give way to urban sprawl and we'll be crying, begging for some Angeleno to let us move into the right lane. And then there's this apartment that neither of us have seen. God help us.

    Posted by Chris on 09/ 2/04

    i miss you...but what's with all the seal pictures dude?

    Fix up this blog. How much can it be? $18 a minute? spend money to make money partner.

    "Eagles on the Road" seems ominous AND entertaining. What are they doing? beating up passers by like so many street tuffs? playing cards? just...hangin' around?

    Posted by: friend jessica at September 2, 2004 11:17 AM