December 12, 2008

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Annual Call of Slacker Guide Items

I'm working on my annual Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers for The Morning News, and I'm looking for suggestions. So if you know of some stupid crap available for purchase on the intarweb, please mention it in the comments of this post or drop me an email. Thanks!

Previous Slacker's Guides

LtROI is my Anti-Twilight!

My review of Twilight has been getting a lot of link-love since the corresponding movie was released. If my assessment of the novel deterred you from seeing the film, (a) you owe me a doughnut of gratitude, and (b) may I recommend Let the Right One In, now playing at your local art-house theater. (You know, the one with all the cats? Where they put nutritional yeast on your popcorn?) It's definitely one of those the-less-you-know-about-it-the-more-you'll-like-it kind of deals, so just close your browser now and go see it. But I will tell you this: it is so great that it actually made me glad to have read Twilight, because now I can say that I have experienced both the nadir and apogee of vampiric fiction.

TMN Annual

Speaking of The Morning News and my less-you-know-the-better-it-is philosophy regarding entertainment, the TMN Annual is now available. In it you will find a long essay, written by me, regarding my loathing of spoilers and the white-hot rage they kindle within in. WHY YES, "ITS A SLED" WOULD BE A HILARIOUS COMMENT TO THIS POST, THANKS!!!

Great Shakes

So a few weeks ago I'm at the counter of a local diner, eating a breakfast of french toast and trying to read a novel, when an elderly man sits on the stool two down from me. He came armed with a copy of The Seattle Times and, after averring to the server that he'll have "the usual", began summarizing the articles aloud in an attempt to draw me into conversation. "Yeah, I don't know about this big bank bailout deal," he would declare in my general direction, while I did my best to ignore him. "No one is offering me a bailout," he'd add.

Eventually his food arrived, which meant (I thought) that he'd clam up a bit. But just as I let my guard down, he abruptly turned to me and said, "I guess they were talking to Joey Cora about maybe managing the Mariners next year." Caught by surprise, I accidentally said "oh, really?" and, having breached my defenses, the man launched into a long and convoluted tirade about our local and abysmal baseball team.

For the first 15 seconds I politely nodded and uh-huhed in response, frantically trying to concoct an exit strategy. But then I noticed something fascinating: as the man spoke to me, half turned in his seat and facing my direction, he was also shaking pepper onto his breakfast. And I don't mean he was giving the shaker a few desultory jiggles now and again, I mean the entire time he spoke he had the mill in an elliptical orbit over his food and was moving it up and down as rhythmically as a piston. This went on for so long that I could only assume that he was doing so absent-mindedly, unaware of the huge volume of seasoning that was raining down on his eggs and hash browns.

So then I tried to keep him engaged as long as possible. "I was always a fan of Joey Cora," I said truthfully. "How likely is he to take the position?" And that got the guy going for another 20 or 30 seconds, shake shake shaking all the while.

Then, having reached a stopping point in his analysis, he abruptly set down the shaker and grabbed his fork. And I was all, like, "oh man, this is gonna be GREAT!" But then he began wolfing down eggs without any apparent discomfort. Not even a Scooby-Doo style sneeze. Rats.

Anyway, I thought of this guy the other day when I first tried Nabisco brand Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuit. Maybe Old Man Rambler works at the factory that makes these or something, or maybe someone dozed off and slumped on the "Pepper Dispenser Lever" when this particular box was trundling down the assembly line, but this is like a joke snack, something you'd order out of the back of a comic book, surreptitious swap with a real box of crackers when an unsuspecting victim wasn't looking, and then guffaw loudly when they are rushed off to the ICU with acute peppercorn toxicity syndrome.

All told I think I ate four of them. After the first I swore I'd never touch them again, but I kept drifting back to the box. It was like one of those arcade machines where you see how long you can hold on to an increasingly-electrified handle before your instinct for self-preservation kicks in. I imagine there are tribes in indigenous people in Brazil where, when a boy reaches puberty, he must eat a 20 of these in a row before they will consider him a man.

Ow! My mouth!

And I love how the "serving suggestion" has you topping the cracker with a tiny piece of cheese, a little tomato, a sprig of green, and more pepper! That's like ordering a pizza and having, as your three toppings, pineapple, Canadian bacon, and another pizza. My serving suggestion is that you just keep a few in your pockets at all times, in case you are ever on the lam and need to throw some tracking dogs off your scent.

February 05, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon Scratchpad

Building A Bridge to the Late 20th Century

An excerpt from Hillary Clinton's Super Tuesday speech, delivered a moment ago:

I hope all of you will join our campaign at double-you double-you double-you dot hillaryclinton dot com. Because you know that politics isn't a game. It's not about who's up or who's down. It's about your lives, your families, your futures.
Seriously, though: anyone who still includes the www when mentioning a URL is unfit for office.


Romney, meanwhile, did best among "self-described conservatives." This despite the fact that, until recently, Romney was pro-choice, in favor of stem cell research, a proponent of gay rights ("All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preferences."), and busy instituting Universal (or, at least, Massachusettsal) Healthcare. This guy is so phony it's as if someone Photoshopped him into reality. Apparently "self-described conservative" is pretty much synonymous with "least likely to do the research."


If McDonald's "Happy Meals" are named after the emotional state children are in while consuming them, shouldn't the adult versions be called "Self-Loathing Meals"?

Private to the Guy I Just Finished Playing Racquetball With

I may have lost to you 2-15, but at least I didn't bellyache like an affluent toddler every time I missed a shot. So, between your admittedly superior athletic prowess, and my ability to stoically endure misfortune, I think we both proved our masculinity today. Except for you, ya fucking craybaby.

Waxy's Links

I started my linkblog (did you know I had one? It's over there ------>) about a year ago because, at the time, my favorite linkblog--that run by Andy Baio of only updated sporadically, leaving me to search out more time-killers on my own. Well, now Mr. Baio is blogging full time, and his linkblog typically features so many great links a day that I am spending less and less time on my own (not that I ever devoted more than 40 seconds a week on it ...). So if you like the stuff that I post, you owe it to yourself to check out Waxy's Links or subscribe to Andy's XML feed.


September 01, 2006

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad



Jesus Christ, these bloggers are getting more aggressive every year.

Sorry, Man

Sorry, Man


Because I am a staunch opponent of animal cruelty, I've decided to stop using KY jelly. I recently learned that it is made by taking an adorable little ducky and cutting off its first three letters.


Porn Films For Robosexuals

Some Like It Bot
Rebel Without A Program
Output Anything
Uncanny Valley of the Dolls
The Old Man and the PC
Anode What You Did Last Summer
Cool Grasping Mechanism Luke
Neural Network
Cape Amphere
Schindler's Array
The Cogfather
A Roomba With A View
In the Heat Of The Byte
An Affair To Cache
Chariots of Wire
Men In #000000
The Best Gears Of Our Lives

May 12, 2006

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Tap Dance

This Domestic Surveillance story is the gift that keeps on giving. First they assured us that they weren't tapping any phones without a warrant; then we discover that, well, okay, they were recording some conversations without a warrant, but only a few; now come to find out that the phone records of millions of Americans were requisitioned.

It's like of those horror stories that just gets progressively more ludicrous as it goes along. I can only imagine what's going to come next.


As both a geek and father to a toddler, I've noticed that I tend to use the phrase "well-formed" a lot at work in reference to XML and lot at home in reference to poop.


Last night I dreamed that I was putting dirty bowls and glasses into a half-full dishwasher, only to suddenly realize that the dishes that had been in there before I started were already clean!!.

Seriously, my subconscious: Is that the best anxiety dream you could come up with? It's like you're not even trying anymore.

Eye Where

Yesterday I saw a young women in the library wearing a pushup bra under a t-shirt that was at least a size too small. The shirt had an arrow pointing up and the text "MY EYES ARE UP HERE!"

Come on. That's practically entrapment.

March 17, 2006

Friday Afternoon Scrachpad

Practice What Your Preach

Today I saw a guy in a "Rage Against The Machine" t-shirt angrily slapping the side of an ATM.

Venomous Verdict

Dear Peoples of Teh IntarWeb: you can stop sending me this quotation for inclusion in the Bad Review Revue:

"If it had been called V for Vasectomy I could scarcely have found it a less enjoyable experience." -- Jonathan Ross, BBC
Though I appreciate everyone who did.

Carefree Throws

I love that there's a Basketball team called The Cavaliers. I like to imagine their courtside huddles go like this:

Coach: Okay, guys: there's only forty-three seconds left on the clock and we're down by five. We're going to need some major hustle to win this.

First player: Oh, it's always "win, win, win" with you. There's more more important things than winning, you know.

Second player: Seriously. It's just a game, coach -- chill out, already.

The Doctor Is Back In

Someone must be sending around the link to my Dumbass M.D. post, because I've recently received a spate of email from folks begging for the answer.

Well, I kept you in suspense for two and a half years ... I guess that's long enough.

Go read the puzzle, try and figure it out, and, if you get stumped, highlight the following paragraph:

Cut all three pills exactly in half, taking care to keep the two groups of halves separate. Take another Pill A, cut it in half, and add one half to each of the groups. Each group now contains two Pill B halves and two Pill A half. Take one group of halves today, the other group tomorrow.

Three Games

  • flOw: Hypnotic little game, beautifully made. Reminiscent of the forthcoming Spore. Browser-based flash.
  • Dumb: The Game: Forty-four puzzles to solve, ranging from laughably easy to I-don't-even-know-where-to-begin difficult. Browser-based php.
  • Truck Dismount: Sadistic & addictive. Download.

All via Jay Is Games.

Dollars & Scents

Sean "Diddy" Combs has come out with a new scent called Unforgivable.

As The Queen will attest, I too have produced some unforgivable fragrances in my time -- especially after jambalaya night -- but I never once thought to bottle and sell 'em for $25 an ounce. I guess that's the difference between me and Mr. Combs. Well, that and his impressive collection of risible nicknames.

February 24, 2006

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Do-It-Yourself Oscar Pool Creator

In case you missed the announcement: the Do-It-Yourself Oscar Pool Creator is available here.

The Spheniscidae Candidate

The flight from Seattle to D.C. only took 4½; hours, as we had a 100 knots-per-hour tail wind; consequentially, the return trip took 6½ hours. It was so long that they showed two films: March of the Penguins and The Manchurian Candidate.

The woman sitting beside me watched the first hour of Penguins and then fell asleep with the headphones still on. She slept through the rest of the film -- in fact, she didn't wake until several hours later, as Denzel Washington, in full uniform, kills a man and woman with an assault rifle.

The woman next to started awake to the sound of the gunfire, gawped at the television screen, and looked sublimely confused. I could almost hear her thinking, "Man, I'll have to rent this March of the Penguins movie when I get home -- there must be some major plot twist in the middle!"

Pop Quiz!

How much does an adult, male, African elephant weigh?

Go'wan, take a guess. Please don't do any research in advance -- I want your off-the-top-of-the-head reckoning. If you happen to know the answer (because you're a professional zookeeper, or whatever) please participate as well -- I'm trying to get as random a sampling as I can, so I don't want anyone to self-select themselves out of the pool.

Let's Sleep On It

We bought a new mattress. As The Queen and I put it on the bed, I noticed this tag.

The guys at the mattress company are fans of the blog, I guess.

Games For Toddlers

After my rundown of Games For Kids, a few people wrote and asked me to suggest games for toddler. Here are a few that The Squirrelly and I are playing (or will be soon):

  • Go Away Monster: We've been playing this since The Squirrelly was 18 months (though not exactly by the rules) and he loves it. Whenever the perennial "what should my child's first game be?" question is posed on any of the boardgame newsgroups I haunt, Monster is always the consensus pick.
  • Snail's Pace Race: I just bought this for The Squirrelly last week, but he already says "want snail game" at least once an evening. A relaxing, non-competitive game that teachers twerps colors, turn-taking, and dice rolling. Plus, the wooded snail pieces are awfully nice.
  • Cranium Cariboo: Not a party game, like the others in the Cranium line. Instead, Cariboo is designed to teach youngsters shapes, colors, numbers, and collaboration.
  • Hisss: Draw tiles from a bag and try and build snakes by matching colors. Total luck, but fun nonetheless.
  • Max: Another cooperative game from Family Pastimes, this one for the 4-5 year set. Try to race the tiny animals to their homes before they are caught by Max the cat. One of the rare games for the very young that actually has the players making real, meaningful decisions.

November 19, 2004

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

  • I can do a pretty good impression of the lead vocalist for The Psychedelic Furs. As I've gotten older, though, I've found that the demonstration of this skill impresses fewer and fewer girls.
  • As long as we're talking about banning people from using cell phones while driving, can we also prevent people from driving around with small dogs in their laps? I don't think it makes them drive unsafely or anything, it just really annoys me for some reason.
  • According to the book Prairie Babies, which I have read to my son every evening for the past week, woodchuck offspring are called "chucklings." Who knew?
  • June 05, 2004

    Friday Afternoon Scrachpad

    Another Item On My Lifetime 'To-Do' List

    Establish a retirement community for washed-up comedians and call it "Wise Acres"

    Our Product Will Make Your Teeth Fall Out

    From: Lamar <>
    Subject: DREAMS


    To: Lamar <>
    Subject: Re: DREAMS

    Thanks for the email, Lamar, but that sounds like overkill. If you ever invent something that can make just some of my dreams come true -- those involving flying, for instance -- while skipping over the ones where I haven't done the required reading for a geography exam or I'm being chased by The Wiggles, feel free to write me again.



    Do not start playing Bowman because then you will not stop playing Bowman.

    This shareware text editor is pretty great.

    Nigritude Ultramarine.

    Hoisted By His Own Petard

    In a recent interview, Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, ripped filmmaker Michael Moore for his appropriation of the science-fiction novel's title. "Michael Moore is a screwed asshole, that is what I think about that case," said the 84-year-old writer. "He is a horrible human being -- horrible human!"

    In other news, the latest issue of Rolling Stone features an interview with William Shakespeare, in which the Bard of Avon decries Bradbury's use of the phrase "something wicked this way comes." "That mewling cutpurse plucked the title from the pages of my MacBeth direct," carped the long dead poet and playwright, who later went on to describe Bradbury as "sick in the world's regard, wretched and low, a poor unminded outlaw sneaking home."

    Speaking Of Which ...

    I assumed that someone had already made a porn movie entitled "Something Wicked This Way Comes," but I can't seem to find it via Google. Man, there's a vast untapped market right there: adult films based on the works of William Shakespeare. The Taming Of The Screw. A Midsummer's Night Ream. The Merchant of Penis. The Two Gentlemen of Veronica. And I think we can all agree that Henry VIII could only be improved by the addition of girl-on-girl action.

    Update: In the comments, Marcy says: "I took a class ... called Shakespeare, Transnational Cinema, and Mass Media. We had to read entire essays devoted to the use of Shakespeare in porn films. More information is available here and here." The later page includes a review of -- yes! -- The Taming of the Screw. Thanks, Marcy!

    February 20, 2004

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    Oscar Pool Creator

    In case you missed it, my annual "Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page" is here.

    Thank You Mr. Bus Driver

    I almost missed my bus yesterday. As it was pulling away from the curb I ran alongside it, waving my arm, and the driver kindly brought the behemoth to a stop and allowed me to board.

    Moments later, as I sat panting in a seat halfway back, I could hear the driver's voice boom from overhead. He was having a private chat with the person sitting in the front row and was clearly unaware that the intercom was on. I, and everyone on the bus, heard him say, "I probably wouldn't shouldn't have stopped for that guy, but I kinda felt sorry for him. He had such a dopy, desperate look on his face as he ran."

    How Many ...?

    Moderator: If you are elected president in 2004, what will your administration's policy be in regards to changing the lightbulb?

    Kerry: "Like most Vietnam veterans who fought in the Vietnam war, I know a little something about changing lightbulbs, on account of my experience in Vietnam."

    Edwards: "No need to change the bulb -- I'll just light up the room with my sunny optimism!"

    Bush: "Someone needs to change a lightbulb? Woohoo -- we created a job!"

    Nader: "These is no fundamental difference between a lit room and the darkness."


    Conversation with my single female friend R.:

    R: I was trying to find a copy of that card game, Mamma Mia, so I went to the game store you suggested.

    Me: And?

    R: And omigod -- the guy that worked there was so nice and friendly! And cute!

    Me: [Incredulous] Cute? The guy working at the game store?

    R: He was totally cute!

    [Momentary pause. Then, hurriedly ...]

    R: I mean, "cute" in a Geppeto kind of way.


    No Squirrely yet. As of this writing The Queen and I are still living in 2004 BC (before child).

    January 30, 2004

    This, That, and the Other

  • As a follow-up to my Silvergirl Research Day entry below, I ask you, the dy reading public: what albums were you raised on? For me it was Bridge Over Troubled Water by S&G and -- lord help me -- Anne Murray's Greatest Hits. (The latter was a 45. Ha! (except the laugh is probably on me since I bet a fourth of my readers don't even know what a "45" is (or maybe this site doesn't skew nearly as young as I like to imagine (and maybe I have no fucking clue how to use parentheses correctly.).).).).

    If there is a record you remember fondly -- or if you have kids and have found a CD that both you and the twerps enjoy -- lemmie know in the comments.

  • Freaks & Geeks on DVD. Awww yeah.
  • I don't think of it as wearing a hand-free headset despite not owning a cell phone, I think of it as free license to talk to myself on the bus.
  • January 16, 2004

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    The defective yeti How To Drink Without Becoming An Alcoholic Program

    My coworker told me his new year's resolution: he had decided to only drink once a week.

    No, I replied. No, no, no. I tried this, and it's a bad idea, here's why: one, you'll fall off the wagon by February 13; and two, you'll probably fall off the wagon by January 27.

    Besides: you're supposed to drink every day -- Science says so. That why I thunk up The defective yeti How To Drink Without Becoming An Alcoholic Program, and have more-or-less adhered to it for a couple of years. It has worked so well for me I'd be remiss not to share it with the world.

    So here it is. Are you ready? Okay, write this down:

    No more than one drink a day except for one time a week.
    That's it! You get your Science-prescribed daily-glass-o-red-wine and you get your weekly three-beers-with-the-buddies outing.

    The trick is to remember the caveat: "No carryovers!!" If you forego your nightly drink, you don't get two the following day (unless it's your designated "one than one" binge). Likewise, you only get a single "more than one" day per calendar week -- no carryovers!!

    Works for me.
    True Fact

    Speaking of drinking, I recently walked from the Rendezvous to my bus stop at around 11:00 at night, following one of my aforementioned three-beers-with-the-buddies outings. As the Rendezvous is on 2nd and Bell and my bus stop was on 4th and Stewart, this necessitated travel through some Seattle's Sketchy Neighborhoods, so I reflexively adopted my Badass Motherfucker gait, a mode of walking that involves long strides, a puffed-up chest, and lots of scowling.

    (Note: I was raised in the suburbs, so my perception of a Sketchy Neighborhood is probably way skewed. I consider any block that doesn't contain a Dairy Queen, a Blockbuster or an antique store to be a "Sketchy Neighborhood". But work with me, here.)

    At some point I got the munchies and dug some food left over from my lunch out of my backpack. I began snacking on that as I walked.

    But then I saw my reflection in a store window, and realized that my choice of foodstuff pretty much negated any advantage gained by my strutting. Because here is a 100% true fact, folks: nobody looks like a Badass Motherfucker while eating baby carrots.

    In recent weeks I have been sneaking links onto my sidebar. I was being all stealthy 'n' shit because, in most cases, I was embarrassed they weren't there already. But I'll fess up:

    Sites that really should have been in the sidebar since the inception of this site: Dooce, Que Sera Sera and I, Asshole. I have no excuse.

    Update: Holy crow, I just realized that I never put Choire Sicha on my sidebar. Whatta idiot. Me, I mean, not Choire. Anyway, he's there now. Dumb dumb dumb. Uh: again, that means me.

    Sites that have been around for a while but, for some reason or another, I only recently discovered: Public Defender Dude, Coudal, Dong Resin's Joint.

    Newish sites by cool people: WULAD , Danger Blog.

    Back from the dead: Mr. Pants. Year Of The Smore, yo.
    Spoiler Candidates

    Says Wesley Clark's campaign: "Lieberman is like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense: He's dead and doesn't know it yet."

    Jeeze -- just blurt out the ending, why don't you?! What if everyone followed your example?

    • Clark: "The Republicans' feckless approach to foreign policy has so radically changed the world that, like the Planet of the Apes, it's no longer even recognizable as Earth."
    • Dean: "When it came to authorizing the war in Iraq, the other candidates were like the characters in Murder In The Orient Express: they all did it."
    • Gephardt: "Kucinich's worldview is so idealist that he reminds me of Charles Foster Kane, pining for the halcyon days when the most important thing in the world was a sled named Rosebud."
    • Kerry: "George Bush is like Luke Skywalker: powerful because his father is a influential figure in a evil organization."
    • Mosley-Braun: "If you don't vote for me you will wind up with a candidate who, like the main character in The Crying Game, is a man."
    For The record

    Go Edwards.

    December 05, 2003

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    Allow Me To Apologize In Advance

    Until recently the Seattle Symphony only performed works by a single composer: The Brandenburg Concertos, The Art of Fugue, The Goldberg Variations, etc. But when audiences started complaining about the lack of variety, the conductor decided to think outside of the Bachs.


    One of my coworkers is deaf. When we see each other in the hall, I always greet him by silently mouthing the word "hi" instead of just saying it. I'm fully aware of how stupid this is but can't seem to break the habit.


    Whoa, addictive.

    My life as a dwarf.

    Actual billboard. Not an actual billboard.

    Amazing True Fact: Babies Are Adorable!

    Our friends have a two year-old daughter named A., who's at the stage where speech revolves around stock, sing-song phrase like "Da-da!" and "uh-oh!"

    A. was watching us adults play Smarty Party, a game similar to Outburst in which players try to come up with the items that fit a given category. We had named eight of "The Top Ten Religions, By Number Of Followers" and were stumped by the remaining two. We finally gave up but suspected that we would kick ourselves for not remembering at least one of the two omitted.

    The Reader told us we had missed "Jainism." Most of us were, like, "oh man, I never would have guessed that."

    "The other one," the Reader continued, "Was Baha'i." At his there was much slapping of the forehead, and we all shouted "Baha'i!" in unison.

    A. merrily waved and exclaimed "Buh bye!"

    Ode To An Obnoxious Guy

    If anyone
    Is more annoying
    Than the guy who thinks
    He's the only person in the world

    It's the guy who thinks
    There are only two things in the world:
    And a conspiracy against him.

    June 02, 2003

    Monday Morning Blah Blah Blah

    Living My Dreams

    This morning I had a chocolate chocolate-chip muffin for breakfast. And for lunch I had macaroni & cheese, chicken strips and Coke.

    When I was six, this is pretty much what I envisioned adult life to be.

    Budget Crunches

    Last night some friends and I were sitting around drinking beer and, it goes without saying, discussing the Washington State system of taxation. Here in Seattle we have a sales tax, which is a total pain in the ass because (a) you have to pay it (lame), and (b) it means that your average item in The Dollar Store costs some ridiculous amount like $1.31 and you can't figure out the real price of things without resorting to irrational numbers and you have to carry around your spare pennies instead of throwing them at children like you would do in other states. True fact: When 50 Cent was here in concert last week, he was legally obligated to perform under that name "67 Cent." (Whoa, that joke was even worse than I had anticipated.)

    Anyhow, we were wondering how much of sales tax revenue goes to health care programs. More every year, we guessed, since, statistically, Americas are becoming ever more out-of-shape. But you got to figure that a lot of that revenue goes to administrative costs and middle-men, not to mention that health care tends to be reactive rather than preventive. We decided that there must be a better way.

    That's we came up with this great idea for a General Health Tax: for every dollar you spend you must do a sit-up. Want the new No Doubt CD? No problem: fourteen bucks and two dozen sit-ups, please. Got a two pack-a-day cigarette habit? Well now you have a six sit-up-a-day habit as well. Just bought a brand new Ford Excursion? Fantastic. That will be 50,000 sit-ups over the next 10 years, plus 60 sit-ups every time you fill up the tank -- BET YOU WISH IT DIDN'T GET ONE MILE TO THE GALLON NOW DON'T YOU SUCKA?!

    I think we should pilot this plan in Washington state, and then extend it to the entire United States. Conspicuous consumption would go way down, people would have a great incentive to save, and America would quickly come to dominate the United Nations Council On Killer Abs. Plus, what tax payer doesn't want the opportunity to check "no" to "Would you like to do three sit-ups for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund?"


    Oh dear, quite frustrating.

    Did you hear about the exhibitionist who was going to retire?
    He changed his mind and decided to stick it out for another year

    Why am I not listed on my own blogroll? That is what I want to know.

    So wrong.

    Harbinger of Freedom

    As Power Point presentations become ever more common and my dislike of meetings increases by the month, the words "End of slide show, click to exit" have rapidly become my all-time favorite phrase.

    April 11, 2003

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    In A Slump

    April 24th is "Bring Your Kid To Work Day," which is, like, a total rip-off because I, personally, don't have a kid. I thought about bringing my four-year old nephew to work that day and introducing him to my coworkers, because it would be fun, when my colleagues said "I didn't know you had children," to reply "Yeah, well if my wife asks: I don't!" But then I remembered that I don't have a four-year old nephew, so that plan is shot all to hell.

    Lacking an actual or surrogate child, I figure I should be allowed to do something else special at work that day. And I've been meaning to take up swooning as a hobby for some time now. So on that Thursday I think I'll just spend the day passing out at the slightest provocation.

    Supervisor 1: This report looks great, Matthew.
    Supervisor 2: Yes, the Ballard division loves. it. Except ...
    Me: Yes?
    Supervisor 2: Well, they wanted to know if the date could be right-justified.
    Me: Right-justi --?! Ohhhhhhh... [slumps sideways in chair, falls off to floor]
    Victorians used swooning as an additional punctuation mark, a kind of super exclamation point used to indicate overwhelming surprise, love, or large-hat wearing. But it's since become something of a lost art. That's why I'm going to do my part to revive this tradition on the 27th. In fact, it occurs to me that swooning could even have some practical applications:
    That One Guy I Work With: [Coming into my office uninvited] Yo Matthew, did you catch 'American Idol' last night?
    Me: Listen, I've told you a dozen times that I don't have the slightest interest in --
    That One Guy I Work With: Kimberly -- the blond Kimberly, not the other Kimberly -- was supposed to sing this one song, but then Clay --
    Me: Please let yourself out when you're done. [slumps sideways in chair, falls off to floor]
    If you are likewise kidless and your office has thick carpets, consider joining me for Swoon With Alarming Frequency At Work Day, April 27th. I'll be printing up "Swooners Do It In A Crumpled Heap On The Floor" bumper stickers shortly.

    Memo To The Teen In The Elevator

    You probably think that your t-shirt reading "Pimptown University" makes you look cool. And yet, despite the fact that I myself have remained steadfastly uncool for approximately 32 years, I can assure you, with absolute confidence, that it does not.

    A Cutting Remark

    My first job was as a meat carver at a buffet-style restaurant -- you know, those guys who stand at the end of the line with an enormous knife and half a cow, and, upon request, will give you a slice of beef approximately seven microns thick? Yeah, that was me.

    One day I recognized the big, burly guy coming down the buffet line as Mr. S, my second grade teacher. He had been one of my all-time favorite elementary school instructors, because was always cracking bad jokes and allowing me to skip classes to play chess with a friend of mine. I hadn't thought of him in years, but, now that he was here, I was excited to meet him again as an adult.

    I wondered if he'd recognize me a decade after I had been in his class. I assumed not, so as he approached I opened my mouth to greet him, to announce that I had once been his student. But before I speak he looked up, saw me, and cried "Whoa! That is a big motherfucking knife!"


    Bad beers reviewed.
    Hive, an addictive, two-player strategy game, now has an online demo.
    Defense Department 'Iraqi's Most Wanted' Playing Cards. [pdf file]

    Five Games You Can Play With Your Iraqi's Most Wanted' Playing Cards

    • Operation Iraqi Freecell
    • Gin Rumsfeld
    • Hearts and Minds
    • Haliburton's Lucrative Contract Bridge
    • War
    • Update: in the comments, Duane added "Go Fish For Weapons of Mass Destruction"

    March 14, 2003

    Friday Afternoon Scrachpad

    Oscar Tool: Better Late than Never

    Well, it's a few weeks too late to be of much use, and I've done only the bare minimum of testing, but the Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page is finally up and running. Please report any and all bugs to me.

    Hog Heaven

    Our old "Half Pint" microwave was taking upwards of fifteen minutes to cook popcorn. And the Little House on the Prairie theme song would get jammed into my head every time I saw the name. So we finally ditched it and picked up a new model, one featuring a bevy of food-specific buttons like "Baked Potato," "Vegetables," and "Bacon".

    You know, if every major appliance in my home had a "bacon" button I'd be the happiest guy alive.


    The roots of defective yeti are planted in a paper zine called The Game Report. Edited by Peter Sarrett, the quarterly features reviews and news relating to board games.

    When I returned from the Peace Corps I resolved to start writing again on a daily basis. So, in 1997, I wrote a review of a card game (Titian: The Arena), sent it to Peter, and was thrilled when he agreed to publish it the following issue. I contributed a handful of reviews over the following two years, and soon thereafter launched my own game website entitled Aces Up.

    The problem was that, after a year or so of maintaining Aces Up, I was thoroughly sick of writing about board games. I mean, there's only so many times you can use the phrase "elegant design" before it begins to wear thin. In thinking that I could ape The Game Report, I completely underestimated Peter's dedication to the subject matter and ability to write reviews that never sounded repetitive. So I gave up and started a blog where I could write about anything, and thus defective yeti ambled onto the scene.

    Now, Peter Sarrett has thrown his hat into the blogging ring with Static Zombie, a site devoted to "television and less important things in life". And, ironically, he cites defective yeti as his main influence. Now all I need to do is somehow turn dy into a print magazine about games and the circle wil be complete.

    Peter is an excellent writer, so be sure to check S.Z. out. This is an fine place to start.


    US Unveils World's Largest Mechanical Pencil

    Three Things That Distinguish Miami From Seattle

    • Ice cream vending machines in the airport.
    • Sandals for sale at Texaco.
    • Ratio of manatees to banana slugs considerably higher.

    January 03, 2003

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    Politics of Parking

    Here's the deal, people. If you are parallel parking on a busy street, and you are blocking traffic as a result, you get one try. One. We'll patiently stop and wait while you take a crack at it, but if you miscalculate your turn radius or your angle of entry or whatever, and you wind up with your back tire on the curb and your hood sticking out into the road, you're done, buddy. Now we're just going to start driving around you, even though this prevents you from making a second attempt. No, don't glare at me while I pass; you had your chance and you blew it. You wanna blame someone, check out your visor mirror. Sucks for you, but I don't make these rules, I just articulate them. Miss Manners will back me up on this one.


    Chris M. Dickson's site is defective yeti's third child blog.


    Nice Work, Scott!

    Overheard on the streets of Seattle.

    Girl one: What about Scott?
    Girl two: Scott? Pff. He's a bastard.
    Girl one: What happened? Last week you said --
    Girl two: Bastard!

    December 06, 2002

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    Thing That I am Sure Exists Even Before I Conduct a Google Search To Try and Find It

    Freeway Karaoke Machine: A microphone / headphones / headset device that you can plug into your car radio and sing into while you drive. It strips the vocal track out of songs and puts your own voice in it's place.

    Google says ...?


    Still searching ...


    Holy shit, that's a million dollar idea! I thought of it first!


    Advert Calendar.

    Finally, the exciting and challenging sport of curling has been faithfully ported to the PC home computer!

    A brief history of Hoax Photographs.


    The Queen announced yesterday that I am getting "old man eyebrows." Oh great -- more hallmarks of my own mortality, that's what I need. Like I wasn't already freaked out about the fact that I now know the words to each and every song played over my local grocery store's "Shopping Music Network".

    Actually, I can kinda shrug this one off. If you ask me, this sounds like one of those things that companies make up and then insist you have and then try and sell you a cure for, like halitosis and panty lines and cholera.

    Guy: What's wrong, Other Guy?

    Other Guy: I didn't get that promotion -- again! And my wife is having an affair with you.

    Guy: It must be your O.M.E.

    Other Guy: My what?

    Guy: Your Old Man Eyebrows, Chet. Why aren't you using The Brow Plow?

    Cthulhu T'yota!!

    Dear Toyota,

    Please stop making cars in colors that don't exist. They are driving (ha!) me crazy. I am specifically referring to that new ECHO in the shade of goldish silvery blueish brownish yellow. I'm pretty sure that color isn't even on the spectrum. It's like somewhere between ultraviolet and Channel 7. It's like some intelligent color from an H. P. Lovecraft story that slowly takes over your mind until your main hobbies become chanting and being eldritch. I wouldn't mind so much, but trying to figure out why someone would buy a car in this alleged "color" makes my head hurt. Haven't they noticed that their vehicle is covered in paint from Dimension G? It like those days in college when you would get really stoned and start wondering how you could know for sure that what you saw as "red" is also what everyone else saw as "red". I am like that all the time now.

    Three Cliches That Never Really Caught On

    • Making mountains out of mashed potatoes.
    • I'm so hungry I could eat a sandwich.
    • Cutting off Michael Jackson's nose to spite his face.

    November 01, 2002

    Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

    Do The Math

    Estimated Number of Fun-Size Candybars My Wife And I Had In Our Trick-Or-Treat Bowl At 5:00 Yesterday Evening: 25

    Number of Trick-or-Treat'er We Received all Night: 2

    Average Number of Fun-Sized Candybars Given to Each Trick-or-Treat'er: 2

    Estimated Number of Fun-Size Candybars My Wife And I Had In Our Trick-Or-Treat Bowl At 11:00 Yesterday Evening: 0

    Estimated Time My Sugar High Wore Off: 7:25 this morning.


    "There is a hole out there, they believe, a hole that not only appears to be bottomless but has, on at least one occasion, brought an animal back to life. The hole, the story goes, exists outside of town on land once owned by a man who calls himself Mel Waters. For years, he said, it was used as the neighborhood dump for trash, old appliances, dead cattle. When the hole never filled up, Waters measured its depth by lowering weighted fishing line into it. After 80,000 feet, he gave up ..." News story here, website there.

    Promising new photo blog: Science Meets Art.

    I HATE MAYONNAISE AND MUSTARD!!!!!. Yes. Yes you certainly do.

    A Full House Beats a Your Fired

    I was drinking hot chocolate out of one of those "Wildcard Poker" paper cups the other day, and I noticed it had a disclaimer on it reading "For Consumer Entertainment Only". Maybe the Wildcard Poker Paper Cup Co. had to fire some employees who were entertaining themselves on the clock.

    Speaking of unemployment, here's a joke I just made up: Question: How do you fire a lingerie model? Answer: Give her a pink slip. Holy crap, that's even worse in hypertext than it was in my head! Let us never speak of it again.

    Nerd Scam

    My wife is a professional Botanist. Yes, I know that's awesome. She used to work for a University, and she occasionally still gets mail at that old address. Last week she received a forwarded missive from the International Biographical Centre. (Motto: So Prestigious We Misspell 'Center'!) The envelope was covered in phony official stamps and seals; the letter within read "We are delighted to confirm your nomination as an International Scientist of the Year for 2002."

    It's unclear what duties my wife will have to fulfill in her role of International Scientist of the Year -- ribbon-cuttings at Science 'N' Stuff stores throughout the nation, presumably -- but with such power comes great financial responsibility. If she wants THE OFFICIAL SASH OF OFFICE, for example, she has to cough up $300. It is described as a "silken sash, with golden tassels, woven in a luxurious scarlet red and has the Legend of the IBC along with the words INTERNATIONAL SCIENTISTS OF THE YEAR embroidered in a golden thread." (Apparently they were gunning for the INTERNATIONAL RUN-ON SENTENCE OF THE YEAR award for that one.) The OFFICIAL GOLD GILT MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE also runs for three hundred smackers, as does the PICTORIAL TESTIMONIAL. I dunno, the PICTORIAL TESTIMONIAL sure looks like something I could whip up on my coffee break, but it must be for real because the letter clearly states that, if you buy the testimonial, it "will say something unique about the recipient." On the other hand, how "unique" is it to have something that says you're a dumbass? Look at SUVs.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone in the "international scientific community" would be vain and stupid enough to to fall for this codswallop. Psyche, no I don't!.

    Three Things I Firmly Believe

    1. Chapstick is more detrimental than beneficial.
    2. People in America do not go to see enough magic shows.
    3. There exists no woman who isn't more attractive in glasses.
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