Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I hate rabbits

This He-Man cartoon overdubbed with dialogue from "Gummo" is making me laugh pretty hard tonight.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Aw, raspberries!

Fuck! I just got my second jury summons in a year. This would have made me exempt, but I never had to serve last time. I ended up being an alternate who was never used. I guess if I get picked this time, it will be the first money I've earned in several fortnights. Maybe I'll just tell them I hate the Chinese* and men in gray suits and I refuse to serve unless a bowl of Cap'n Crunch is delivered to my home every Wednesday afternoon. That should work.

*It's actually the Taiwanese I hate.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Fuck (remix)


Fuck it, everybody.


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Richard Pryor R.I.P.

Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks are dead. Gallagher, Carrot Top, Jim Brewer and Rob Schneider continue to walk the earth. If there is a God, his taste is in his ass.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

To survive the brutal Texas winter, you need balls and clits of steel

My wife didn't have to go work today because it was on the cold side, twentyish some degrees. No ice. My dad just called me up to tell me it was 20 degrees below zero in western Nebraska. Did they call off his work? No. Did he and his fellow Nebraskans mob the grocery stores? Nay. He, like many other mighty Nebraska warriors, soldiered on. Then, he drove 40 miles to go Christmas shopping. Apparently, everything is bigger in Texas except the ability to adapt to a few days of cold. Ice, I can understand. We don't have the equipment, and most people don't have the experience, to deal with icy roads here. But all you need to do is put on a coat and take off your diaper. There is no need for the university to shut down. It's nonsense. However, if I wasn't such an unemployable failure, I would applaud this cowardice for it would mean a paid day off.

"If that's cowardice, then coward me up." --- Spoken by an alternate Dr. Mystery, one who has job security and is not hemorrhaging money by the barrelful, in a beautiful dream. Good lord, I'm fucked. The temp agency can't even find me any work. When I quit my next job, and I undoubtedly will, I will wait until I am employed elsewhere before jumping ship. Still, a year with no job is something to behold. I soared with the eagles, lived as an eagle, became an eagle. Now, eagle time is over. I must get a job in January or I will be as dry as a bone. My reserves have been siphoned. I am not an eagle. I am just a man.

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

I'll update these "blogs" (I hate that word so much) soon. Lately, I just don't feel like it. I'm more into downloading free music these days. Advances in technology have made me a pirate. I had my leg removed and replaced with a nice beechwood stump earlier this afternoon. Speaking of this afternoon, I'm feeling nostalgic for the Middle West of this fine nation, or as Northeastern jerks call it, "flyover country." It's colder than a "witch's tit" here in Austin, Texas, USA, reminding me of the many winters spent in my homeland of Nebraska. I promised myself I would stop making fun of Texans on those rare days when the weather is wintry, but I can't help myself. My wife's workplace, and apparently many others', shut down at two this afternoon, and when I hit the grocery store on what is usually a fairly customer-empty and stress-free Wednesday afternoon lull, the place looked like the day before Thanksgiving plus explosions. I don't get it. It wasn't icy. It was just cold. It got down in the twenties, but I drove all over the city today on numerous errands and there was no ice. Apparently, it got icy later in the evening, but why did 800 million people swarm the grocery store like the great Nor'Easter was going to hit? Just because it's cold does not mean food will no longer be available. You can buy food tomorrow. You can buy food this evening. You can buy food two days from now, and every day after that. You are not going to be snowed in, iced in, or tsunamied in at any point in your residence in this region. Wednesday afternoon is my time to buy groceries. I don't have a lot going for me right now. Let me have my Wednesday afternoon. Oh god, why won't you let me have my Wednesday afternoon?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Prince can do things other people can't

It's true. Imagine if Prince never existed and some music playing friend of yours walked up to you and said, "Hey, I just wrote a new song. It's called 'When Doves Cry.' You want to listen to it?" You'd probably say, "'When Doves Cry?' 'When Doves Cry?' No thanks, jerk. What's next on your agenda, 'When Flowers Hug?' Call me when you're ready to rock." You would never realize the badass jam you had just walked away from.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Horrible injustice

Today I awoke to discover a complete lack of running water. As you can imagine, faced with an injustice of such sizable proportions, I was hopping mad and violently offended. Sure, I hear what you're saying. Lots of people had to deal with much worse recently due to hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. Look, jerk, we're talking about me right now, not them, and I wasn't able to take my daily shower until 5 p.m. That's not what I'm accustomed to, so I fired off several angry letters to Amnesty International. I hope they are able to prevent further similar injustices from happening to me. Hurricanes may be a little disruptive, but, come on, people choose to live in regions regularly affected by hurricanes. They're accustomed to it, much like I am accustomed to taking a shower shortly after being awakened by my butler every morning at noon. After my mimosa, of course. It is my right to wake at noon, have a mimosa, then enjoy a steaming hot thirty-minute shower. My ancestors died so I would have this right, but the city chose to ignore their selfless sacrifice and shut off my water supply. A pox on their houses. One should always live how one is accustomed. Always. If you have pancakes every morning, then, by God, you shall have pancakes every goddamn morning, and no one must interfere with your right to have pancakes. If they try to interfere, and offer you a tasteless frozen waffle, or worse, a rice cake, in the pancakes' stead, you have every right to drive the philistine from your quarters at swordpoint if necessary. You demand pancakes, I demand hot showers. You expect pancakes, I expect hot showers. By God, that's what we will have. Is this not America? I am disgusted and horrified. I expect you to write to your congressmen and women immediately after reading this missive. Good day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Eleven singles I never tire of hearing, though they are (or were) ubiquitous

In no particular order:
Prince - "When Doves Cry"
Human League - "Don't You Want Me"
The Beach Boys - "God Only Knows"
Thin Lizzy - "Jailbreak"
Michael Jackson - "Rock With You"
The Rolling Stones - "Miss You"
The Clash - "Rock the Casbah"
Madonna - "Into the Groove"
Black Sabbath - "Paranoid"
Roxy Music - "Love is the Drug"
Blue Oyster Cult - "Don't Fear the Reaper"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An achronological history of growing up in a small town, or the wonder years, part one

One thing that really struck me about the recent Martin Scorsese PBS documentary on Bob Dylan was a particular Dylan comment about growing up in the small town of Hibbing, Minnesota. I'm not going to attempt a verbatim recall of the comment because my memory doesn't allow it, but I remember Dylan saying one of the myriad reasons he felt uncomfortable in Hibbing was that there was no way to rebel because the townspeople's lack of ideology meant there was nothing to rebel against. Any different viewpoint, or any viewpoint at all, just confused them. This comment was very meaningful for me, though I never had any particular inclination to be a rebel. I just felt confined and wanted to get out as soon as the opportunity arose. What was meaningful in Dylan's words was the recognition of my hometown of Bridgeport, Nebraska in his description of Hibbing. My hometown is a town without an ideology, a viewpoint, a thought about anything one way or the other. It just goes along to get along, and anything shifting that equilibrium one way or the other is met with puzzlement, ridicule, scorn, and finally hostility. Most people there are Christians, Republicans, lower to upper middle class, white, friendly, hard-working, sincere, sports fans, not particularly interested in cultural or political matters. There are a lot of positives and negatives in this highly subjective and possibly unfair checklist I've just made, but the problem is that most people there have simply adopted a set of characteristics handed down from their parents and a shared town persona without much thought about why they're Christian, Republican, etc. Things are the way they are because they've always been that way and almost everyone there is comfortable with that. That's fine, I guess, but I never felt comfortable there. I have to amend that last sentence. I felt comfortable in the town. I felt comfortable driving on its streets, walking through its parks, riding my bicycle over every square inch of it on marathon late night rides, swimming in its lake, climbing Courthouse and Jail Rock. I felt, and still feel, an affinity to the landscape, and I appreciate its beauty much more now than I ever did when I lived there. I breathe a sigh of relief every time I get off the plane in Denver or hit the Kansas state line in the car after the alien landscapes of Texas and Oklahoma fall away. But I never felt comfortable around the people, and it's only gotten worse. I don't feel any particular hostility toward them, especially since I outgrew my teen angst, but I don't feel any connection to the people who inhabit the landscape that feels like home. It's a weird, disturbing disconnect, and I have a hard time accepting it. Conversely, how connected am I to the people of Austin? Or to the people of Lincoln, where I went to college? My connections are to certain individuals, not geography. But that's a lie. Geography is important. Landscape has shaped me as much as human contact. Why did I turn out the way I did? It puzzles me.

Let's start this history off with one of my most embarrassing moments. In grade school, I became interested in true crime, serial killers and mass murderers (particularly Charles Manson), and unsolved mysteries. This interest was sparked by seeing a Geraldo Rivera special on mass murder (the one where he interviewed Manson) and the television show "Unsolved Mysteries." I was fascinated by the capability of human beings to be colossally fucked up. I was also freaked out that someone would kidnap and murder me and I wanted to understand all I could so I would be able to escape should this fear ever become an eventuality. This fear was exacerbated by a family friend's daughter being kidnapped by a sexual predator from Omaha who happened to be driving through our town, though the man ran away before doing anything to the girl after being spotted by a neighbor. He was later arrested for a previous crime in eastern Nebraska. Don't worry, this gets funnier. My interest was a little morbid, but I was still way more into comic books, rock and roll, professional wrestling, and swimming at the lake. There are no bodies hidden in my apartment. Anyway, time goes by and the fear of being kidnapped and murdered diminishes, but the interest in true crime remains. I was eleven or twelve, and I had just finished watching "Unsolved Mysteries" when one of my friends called. He said to meet him at the R&W shortly. The R&W was an ice cream parlor/hamburger joint that was a popular hangout at the time for pubescent dorks like me and my friends. It is now a Subway (the restaurant chain, not the public transportation system). I walked the six blocks to the R&W, probably ate some french fries or an ice cream cone, probably played some hair metal on the jukebox, or some Altered Beast on the arcade game. The only thing I remember clearly is seeing a lot of classmates there, and hanging out until it had become dark. I don't remember why now, but I ended up walking back home alone. About four blocks before I got to my house, I noticed a small car with out of state plates slowly turning onto the street. It slowly followed me for three more blocks. Very slowly. I'm starting to gently freak out at this point. "Unsolved Mysteries" is playing in my head. Then the car pulls right next to me and stops in the middle of the street. I can see my house from here and get ready to bust a move. A bearded man I don't recognize wearing a baseball cap leans over in the seat and says, "Hey." I lose my shit and take off running, not stopping until I'm in the living room of my house. My mother and father look at me bemusedly, and I tell them to call the cops. They ask why, and I tell them that some weird guy followed me for three blocks, then pulled alongside me in the middle of the street. I give a description of the man and the car, and my mom calls the cops. She starts going over the story with me again, gets a strange look on her face, then a flash of recognition, then embarrassment. "Oh, shit," she says. "I think you called the cops on Bill." Bill is one of my uncles. We drive over to my grandparents' house, and sure enough, Bill is on the couch and, sure enough, the sheriff talked to him. I look out the window, and see his car with its Colorado plates. I feel like the world's stupidest motherfucker, although there are some facts in my favor. My uncle had been living in San Diego, and had recently moved to Ft. Collins, Colorado. I had briefly forgotten this, and I didn't connect the Colorado license plates with him. Additionally, I had never seen his car before. Also, I hadn't seen him for a year or two, and he had a beard for the first time and was wearing a baseball cap, something I'd never seen him wear before. My mother called the sheriff and explained what had happened, though they seemed to think she had a retarded son. My uncle saw how embarrassed I was and laughed it off, though my grandfather made fun of me for about eight solid weeks. I'm not a big fan of symbolism, but I think I see some of it in this true story. I represent Bridgeport and my uncle and his car represent the outside world. Now, let's all eat a hoagie and go to bed.

My hometown, part two

Courthouse and Jail Rock, two miles west of Bridgeport, Nebraska, c. 1970s. I climbed these rocks many times growing up. Posted by Picasa

My hometown

Main Street, Bridgeport, Nebraska, c. 1970s Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2005

What important cultural touchstones have you missed out on?

I meant to write about this way back in September, after a conversation with a few friends. I'm not sure what we were talking about, but eventually the following fact came up. I have never read "The Catcher in the Rye." While in high school, I always looked forward to reading the book, but I never picked it up on my own because Mrs. Bond always taught it in eleventh or twelfth grade English. A few years go by, and I'm in Mrs. Bond's eleventh or twelfth grade English class, and she makes an announcement. For the first time in several years, she's changing the books. She's tired of teaching the same books, year after year, so she's replacing one set of classics with another. No more "Catcher in the Rye." I was disappointed, but I never got around to reading it on my own, though I did read the other Salinger books. College came and went, and I took a million literature classes, figuring "Catcher in the Rye" would pop up somewhere. I always saw an enormous stack of them in the university bookstore, but somehow, "Rye" evaded me, semester after semester, year after year. I graduate from college and suddenly I have as much time to read whatever book I want, whenever I want. However, my desire to read a novel for young adults about an alienated young adult has dissipated. The way I look at it, with so many Henry James, Stanley Elkin, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Leo Tolstoy, Don DeLillo, Flannery O'Connor, and James Joyce and a few Barry Hannah books yet to read (among many others), "Rye" can sit on the shelf unread for many more years, or maybe forever. But something keeps nagging at me, repetitively, telling me to read the book. It's a cultural imperative, for chrissakes, unless you're like so many people in my hometown (especially my dad) who think books are somebody else's business, something people did until televisions were invented. So, I'm curious. What cultural ubiquities have so far passed you by? What books, movies, etc. that everyone else knows by heart have slipped under your radar? I'd like to know. Here's another one from me: I've never seen the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." I've seen Tim Burton's remake, but I've never seen the Gene Wilder version. Never read that book, either. Also, I didn't have Nickolodeon growing up. I've never seen a Nickolodeon television program. What about you? Win a banana!

Coming soon

Two multi-part series starting tomorrow, to last for the indefinite future or until I lose interest, which may be sooner rather than later, inspired by recent reading material. On Can-Smashing Robot, tales of life in a small town. On Film-Watching Robot, a personal history of my interest in movies and film criticism. Self-indulgent, you say? Then don't read them, smartass.

What's the ugliest part of your body?

I hate the having and removing of unwieldy nostril hair. What kind of God could have allowed such a world in which nostril hair exists? My faith is shaken to the core. To the very core. From now on, I only believe in hoagies.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blog is a stupid word

It's been an odd year for me, a kind of limbo or purgatory between the past and the present, this year of unemployment. The last time I didn't have some school or job where I was supposed to be, I was two years old. That was twenty-six years ago. The day before my next job starts will be a close relative of the day before I started pre-school. Right now, I'm just casting my net in a very boring ocean, hoping to pull something up big enough to eat. The results so far: nothing but carp. This year has provided me with a lot of opportunities to think and not much else. I still think it was a good idea to quit my old job. I don't regret it. I do regret liking Austin as much as I do. At this point, I can't afford to move anyway. I find the job market in this city horrifically uninspiring. I wish I wanted to live in New York City or some other monstropolis. There are a wealth of interesting jobs in those places that I could get, but I need a little space. I wish someone would just pay me to do what I do. I don't need much. Just a little more than the zero a month I'm raking in at present. If it weren''t for the handful of things in life that are so blindingly wonderful and/or horrible, there wouldn't be much point in getting out of bed. Most of it's just a lot of uh. Repetition of patterns. But the parts that are good are really good, and the parts that are bad are really awful, and those parts are worth experiencing. Presently, I'm just impatiently waiting to exchange one rut for another and living for the moments when things actually happen to me and not around me. Why the fuck won't anybody hire me? Do they know how quickly I will grow to resent the position, no matter what it is? They must know, somehow. I think I had a midlife crisis way too early. Does this mean I'm going to die young? I hope it's in a fireball of some sort.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Facts about bananas

1) In the 1980s, a home electronics store held a $299 sale on expensive stereo equipment. In the television advertisement, a wacky spokesman said the stereos were only "299 bananas." Thirty-two customers took them at their word, and entered the store with 299 bananas each in exchange for the stereos. The store owners were good sports about it, and allowed these customers to purchase the stereos with bananas. The bananas were donated to a local zoo, but the zoo would only take 1,000 of the bananas. A zoo spokesman was quoted as saying, "Most of our animals like them, but we can't just give them bananas in uncontrolled amounts."

2) I was raised Catholic. Every year in my home state of Nebraska, the Catholic Church held a statewide youth event for junior high and high school kids that featured activities, events, speeches, presentations, and a big dance. This event was called "Going Bananas for Jesus."

3) Woody Allen's movie "Bananas" is a hell of a lot funnier than Woody Allen's movie "Interiors."

4) In Lithuania, it is a symbol of patriotism and good luck to keep a banana in the right front pocket of a winter coat.

*One of these banana facts is not true. Can you guess which one? Win a banana!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Geography report (local version)

Aside from a few friends' homes and a couple of restaurants, South Austin's reputation is wildly undeserved. In fact, someone should drop a nuke on it. The economic damage to the city would be a burden, yes, but a burden worth the detonation of so many douchebag hipsters, confessional acoustic folk singer/songwriters, aging hippies, and guys who think it's a good idea to go into a place of business barefoot and with their dog.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dr. Mystery: "May I please have a job?" Dr. The Man: "Sit on it!"

I almost got a job today, but the curse remains. I took an editing test for a temporary editing job yesterday. I was informed that the job would be from late November to mid-December for thirty to forty hours a week for $25 an hour. The work was dick-pummelingly tedious, but for 25 bucks an hour, I was prepared to pummel a little dick. They send me the test. It's just a PDF file of a document with no instructions. What the fuck was I supposed to do with that? Stare at it and send it back? I email the place and ask for a little more instructional detail. They email me back and point out one of the errors on the document, but no instructions. Yes, I know I'm supposed to find and correct the errors. Thanks, jerks. What I need to know is how the fuck I'm supposed to edit a PDF file. Do they want me to print it out, correct it in pen or pencil, mail it back to them, fax it, buy some software that will allow me to correct it on the compute-machine, email it back, what? Sweet christ, what a conundrum. They email me back again to tell me that they looked at the test and realized it was confusing. They told me to edit it any way I wanted, and send it back any way I wanted. Who's running this operation? I get an email today telling me the job is mine if I want it. They will get back to me with the hours later. Alright, I think. The curse is lifted. They call me up and tell me the position is actually between six and twenty hours a week, usually six. I will be on call through the Christmas holiday. What the shit, I reply. I'm not skipping out on Christmas with my family to be on call for a six-hour a week job. Call me back when you're not tripping balls, suckers. They still might be able to throw me a little work, but until I hear something sensible, the curse is still raging. I'm fucked. I had to quit my old job because I was dying inside. Now I need to find a new job because I'm dying inside. It's almost been a year. When can I die? Please kill me soon. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Geraldo's a douche

Geraldo Rivera, from his new show "Geraldo at Large," about a man on trial for the abduction, rape, and murder of an 11-year-old girl: "Can you believe the unmitigated gall of this savage, savage monster... [five-second pause] ... if indeed, he is guilty."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Texans are jerks

Nothing much to say. I'm just tired of looking at that headless torso. Additionally, I live in a pocket of sanity in a cesspool of homophobia. Texans hate gays so much they are willing to part with their conservative values and add an amendment to the state constitution to ban something that was already illegal. Good job, you fucking morons.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Happy Guy Fawkes Day Tomorrow

Exploding head week concludes. Regular programming resumes next week. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Happy Thursday

* Exploding Head week continues. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

! Posted by Picasa

I accidentally created a mashup the kids are so damn crazy about

I was listening to online while screwing around on myspace. com, and was playing Benny Goodman's "A Smo-o-oth One." I returned home to my page at some undetermined point in the song, and the theme song I have up on my page as of Oct. 30 (Gary Wilson's "Gary's in the Park") kicked on. I moved the mouse over to the stop button, but their tempos were exactly in synch and it sounded, if not good, at least pleasantly interesting. Accidents are nice if no one gets killed.

Words of wisdom from an artistic genius who intentionally overdosed on despair, hatred, and cocaine at the age of 38

"The more real things get, the more like myths they become. There have always been myths, but the myths of earlier times were, I’m convinced, bad ones, because they made people sick. So certainly, if we can tell evil stories to make people sick, we can also tell good myths that make them well." ----Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Nobody follows their own advice.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The inevitable degeneration of our sausage casing

I sat at the computer on Friday, desperately continuing the hopeless job search, and when I was finally done praying for death, I stood up to move to the kitchen and eat a bowl of cereal. Immediately, I noticed something had gone horribly wrong with a usually reliable part of my anatomy. My jaw was locked. I could only open my mouth a quarter of an inch. When I attempted to open it wider, the pain in my jaw was excruciating and the terrible grinding and popping noises that ensued made me want to resign from breathing. I tried to open my mouth a few more times, but the pain only increased and the jaw locked ever tighter. Already thoroughly depressed by the lack of employment opportunities and the ticking clock of 11 months and counting, I got lost in some kind of horrific black hole of panic and despair before I was able to get my shit together and call the doctor. There is something incredibly frightening about not being able to open one's mouth. I'm so glad I'm not a weapons collecting kind of guy, because for ten scary minutes, I believe I would have used something on myself if it had been within reach. This is it, I thought. This is the start of the physical decline. This is how people die. Something goes horribly wrong, then other things go horribly wrong, then you're in the hospital, then you're dead. Why is my jaw locked? Do I have a tumor? Do I need surgery? I have no money. I've wasted so much of my life. At the very least, I probably need jaw surgery. There are so many fuckers I hate who are going to get to live while I waste away and die. What the fuck? What the fuck do I do? Who the hell do I call? My doctor or my dentist? Why me? Will I have to go to the hospital? I've only watched one of the four movies I rented this week. I can't go to the hospital. Goddammit, it's Friday! Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret! Eat a dick, motherfucker! I bet Conor Oberst's jaw is perfectly fine today, that rat-faced lucky talentless fuck. I got it together finally and called the doctor. He was able to fit me in that afternoon. I showered and hopped in the car. It's funny how quickly the body can adapt to pain. I went from suicidal despair to calm acceptance in about thirty minutes. I drove the half-hour to my doctor's office with the windows down. It was a sunny day, perfect weather, good music in the tape deck. My jaw was hurting worse and worse, and I was nervous as hell, but I felt like living again. I get there, look at Forbes in the waiting room like I give a flying fuck about money, and get called in. A nurse weighs me, takes my blood pressure. My weight's back down to a healthy normality, my blood pressure's perfect, but my craw is jacked the fuck up. I can't open the fucker. Who gives a fuck about my weight and blood pressure. I can't eat solid food. I can't yawn. I can't sing along to Deep Purple's "Child in Time." I can barely talk. I sit there, unshaven, needing a haircut, filled with snot from my week-long feverish cold, waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for my doctor to finish his prior appointments, reading and rereading and rereading again a wallposter about cancer prevention and deciding if a death sentence is proscribed I can take comfort in the fact that I will never live to endure fecal occult blood testing and prostate exams. Finally, my man shows up. I like my doctor. He told me I could have twenty-five drinks a week and he's been hesitant to put me on cholesterol medication even when my levels were sky-high, figuring I could get back down to normal on my own. I'm now only three points too high, so I trust him and don't think he's a whore for the drug companies. He put me at ease immediately. Though my jaw bullshit was new to me, it is apparently a common problem, usually caused by prolonged stress. My job search has certainly been that. Apparently, it's like dislocating a knee. The jaw problem, not the job search. The joint on the right side of my jaw dislocated itself. He said it would probably fix itself on its own, but if it was still fucked up by mid-week, I needed to see my dentist and oral surgeon. The $25 prognosis: take three Advil twice a day, consume only liquids, soups, and soft foods, and put heat on my face for 15-minute intervals. I followed this regimen for 12 hours, then my jaw popped back in place. It popped back out in the middle of the night for a few hours, but popped back in by morning. My jaw has been normal for two days, and I replaced the Advil with beer by Saturday afternoon. I have a newfound love of being able to use my jaw properly, and a continuing hatred of insurance companies. My doctor said my particular malady (fucked-up craw for short, TMJ for fancy pantsers), was not covered by most insurance companies if surgery had to be done, for reasons unknown to him. They have some kind of escape clause in their coverage literature, saying they cover all surgeries except TMJ. Here's another reason why I like the guy. He wrote "facial pain" in my file instead of "TMJ" just in case I needed surgery. He justified it by saying it wasn't a lie, that I did indeed have facial pain. No such justification was needed. It wasn't a lie, but a lie wouldn't have troubled my conscience. Lying to an insurance company is like lying to Hitler. My jaw is back, baby. I ate meatloaf today. It was good. My god, Bright Eyes sucks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm sick, unemployed, and miserable. Also, I had insomnia last night so I didn't fall asleep until 9 a.m.

Hey, kids. Here are some things to see:

Today's Achewood

White Lie, the "wine created by women for women"

The White House goes after The Onion

Television fun

Here's a link for Public Image, Ltd.'s 1980 appearance on "American Bandstand." The incongruity of it all is compelling (sort of like seeing The Residents on TRL), but there are many reasons to enjoy this clip. I don't know if there's any difference between John Lydon and Dick Clark now (time, the great equalizer, has turned both into innocuous cultural references), but in 1980 there certainly was. Watch as PiL, in their short-lived but fantastic prime, turn a mimed piece of pop promotion into something else entirely. Lydon doesn't even pretend to show interest in lipsynching and instead wanders around aimlessly, eventually dragging, pushing, pulling and inviting the audience onstage, where a spontaneous dance party erupts. Real people having fun on TV. Don't see that too often. I like it.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I was listening to some classic rock station in the car on Friday night/Saturday morning at about 3 a.m. and I heard the single weirdest transition I've ever heard on a classic rock station. They played Peter Murphy, then followed it with John Mellencamp. I just read an article about how Austin stations are expanding their playlists to compete with each other and grab more listeners, thereby causing strange uniformities among differently formatted stations, but Peter Murphy into Mellencamp is willfully perverse. I feel this perversity is healthy and should only be explored. Soon, I want to hear Merzbow followed by Bob Seger, or Kid Rock into the Fall into MC Hammer into Jandek into the Spice Girls, etc. I want every radio experience to be a clusterfuck of incongruity.

*Look At All Those Killer Robots

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I haven't updated for a week because I haven't felt like it, suckas

Hi everybody. Time to reconnect with this can-smashing albatross and update the fuck out of it. What's been happening in my world? What hasn't been happening? I ate some leftover soup for lunch with some celery on the side. I rested my head on a pillow. I drank two PBRs. I remembered 9/11 and shed a tear. I farted. I smelled potpourri. It was a day to remember, my friends.
I'm still unemployed. The novelty has worn off. I'm ready to make some dead presidents again, bitch. I want to buy a better stereo and a better TV. I want to live the dream. The American dream. Job prospects are looking better this month. There are finally jobs worth applying to, but will I get them? Only Alan Alda knows for sure, that fuck. I'm beginning to think I will finally be gainfully employed again when either "Chinese Democracy" or the followup to "Loveless" hits record stores near you. I am cursed.
In all seriousness, jerks, I made a major breakthrough this week. The graduate school application project was rolling like a well-oiled oiling machine, but I was getting more and more depressed and not understanding why. Last week, I had my Eureka moment. I finally came to my senses. I don't want to go to grad school! I hate school! I like to learn on my own, without going $60,000 in debt for a degree that will not help me get a job! I don't want to live like a college student! I want a house, a dog, a cat, boring American dream bullshit, freedom from wearing a fucking backpack! Immediately, the sky opened up. Birds began to sing. Multiple rainbows stretched across the sky. Leprechauns teabagged me while angels gave me handjobs. Life was worth living again. I've felt great for a week (though I was sick with a fever for two of those days), and it hasn't dissipated. I can finally live in the goddamn present! What's happening to me right now is what's happening to me. No more plans for the future. Here it is. I live day to day, minute to minute, second to second, etc., and that's the way I like to live. I'm not the academic type. I've learned very little in school, either grade, junior high and high, or university. Part of it's me, part of it's them. I learn from reading, doing, and making huge mistakes. From living. I realized I'm never going to like any job I have, and grad school isn't going to change that. I will (hopefully quickly) find another job and keep doing what I want to do on my own time. I will keep pursuing my creative pursuits in my own way at my own pace whether I'm good, lousy, or extremely lousy. One day, I will be dead and that will be it. What I do here goddamn well better be what I want to do here. If I do something just so I can tell people I don't know at dinner parties that I'm going to film school in Boston, I'm as good as dead. I don't care if I ever make money or am successful at a goddamn thing other than being reasonably happy and satisfied with the way I live. Money's for assholes, careers are for people without lives, and life is short as hell. Donald Trump's sad, pathetic money-chasing life has never been as good as my Sunday evening, drinking a whiskey and coke, listening to music, watching a Chaplin movie, being with someone because you want to be with them, not because of some mutually beneficial trophy-wife/financial-windfall barter system. Of course, Donald Trump probably doesn't make an ass out of himself whenever there's an open bar. Whatever. As long as there are no legislative sessions or comp time in lieu of money situations at my next job. Comp time was great up to a point, but with special session onslaught, it became kind of like being paid in magic beans or, really, fucking nothing. I'm sorry, some of you won't know what that means. You are the lucky ones.
In conclusion, here are some FAQs from a professional wrestling information website which I have lifted without permission. They bring me a lot of joy.

"What happened to the WCW Television Title?
After being one of the most prestigious titles in NWA/WCW, the Television title lost value at the end of WCW's run and was scrapped a year before it's close. The last actual title change took place on October 24, 1999 when Rick Steiner beat Chris Benoit. Scott Hall was then given the title for no reason and just 8 days later he threw the title in the trash saying he didn't want it. The television title then was scrapped for a short while until Hacksaw Jim Duggan "found" the title in the trash on a February 2000 edition of Saturday Night and was made the champion and only defended it on WCW Saturday Night. After Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff were brought back into WCW in April 2000 they decided to vacant all the titles and the Television title was never mentioned again."

Who was Wildcat Willie?
Wildcat Willie was the WCW mascot from 1995 to 1999. He'd come out to the ring and dance around in between matches on Monday Nitro and Saturday Night. He was finally fired in 1999 after they realized that fans hated him and had more fun throwing stuff at him than actually watching him.

It isn't actually known who Wildcat Willie was. There is a rumor that Lanny Poffo played the role since he had a WCW contract from 1995 to 1999 and was never seen on television. Nobody has ever confirmed the rumor though.

Was their going to be a Wrestling Jesus character?
I don't think so. In mid 2000 their was a strong rumor Vince Russo had an idea to give Devon Storm the idea of being the Wrestling Jesus. He was too come out and do "miracles" and be followed by "12 Disciples". It is not known if the angle is actually true though since no one has confirmed the rumor."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Collage #5

"The Arkansas Blowjob Queen Rides the Emo-Pole to the United States of Axlmerica" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Happy early Halloween, guys and ghouls. Click here for a special Halloween surprise. Don't say I didn't warn you. Pleasant screams! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dr. Mystery vs. Sports: An Explanation

The onslaught of football and baseball coverage and My Drunken Socks' defense of football have got me thinking about my lifelong indifference toward sports and my lifelong hatred of a lot of grief my indifference has caused me, particularly growing up in a tiny town that revolved around sports in general, and local basketball in particular. My previous, one-word post was flippant and dismissive, especially to anyone who happens to like sports, and I don't think he's wrong when he writes, "Philosophically, I just don't understand why people wholesale dismiss sports." (Although, I'm equally unable to understand his hatred of the Beatles.) I don't want to dismiss or begrudge anyone's enjoyment of a favorite sport or sports. It's just that I was born with a deeply ingrained disinterest in any sport of any kind. I leave sports alone, and I want them to leave me alone. But the world, especially Hometown, won't let me and sports peacefully coexist in our own separate worlds. The world won't stop dragging sports into my life. I can never avoid sports. It always comes up, embarrassing me, emasculating me, boring me, abruptly halting friendly small talk, preempting Arrested Development, closing streets I need to drive on, fucking up parking, causing me to disappoint family members and friends' parents with my lack of even the most basic sports chat, including what teams are playing that day. Knowledge and interest in sports are a big part of our shared American culture, and I'm missing some part of my brain that allows me to give a fuck about it, though I'm not missing the part that makes me wish I gave a fuck. I just can't. I've got no interest, and life is short and getting shorter. So I'm stuck with this huge, awkward, social deficit. It's not quite so bad now, but growing up in Hometown was a bad place to be for a sports loser.
Step into my world, won't you?
An anecdotal history of Life in the Dr. Mystery Sports Void
1) All I wanted to do when I was three was look at comic books and listen to rock and roll. This hasn't changed much, if at all. My fellow Hometownians were outside playing kickball. When school started, they were good at kickball. I sucked, though I learned to read first and I could name every member of Van Halen and the lyrics to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." This was a poor substitute for kickball skills at the time, maybe still. Probably still.
2) Junior high. Turns out, kickball wasn't the only thing I sucked at. Baseball, basketball, football. You name it, I sucked at it. Girls stopped liking me. I've written about this in the comments at My Drunken Socks, so I won't whine about it anymore except to say when girls don't like you anymore, there's not much point to anything. You just have to keep waking up knowing that someday, you will be old enough to get the fuck out of Hometown.
3) Nebraska football is a big deal, but Hometown was four hours from Denver, so Bronco football was a big deal as well. I was thrown into a sweaty panic whenever someone asked me about the big game. Were they talking college ball? Pro ball? What the hell do I say? I don't even know who we're playing or what day the game is. I had a small repertoire of vague answers that never seemed to satisfy. "It's too tough to call right now." "It's going to be a good one." "I agree with you." "You know it." "Yep." "I know. I can't believe it either." Who's-going-to-win questions were easier, since either "Huskers" or "Broncos" was the correct answer, but if I mentioned Broncos when I should have mentioned Huskers, my dark secret would be revealed. I especially dreaded questions about coaches, plays, particular players, or league politics. I had nothing. The only one who was easy to snow was my grandfather's lunatic friend Estrada. He was so obsessed with the Broncos that he called every teenager "Denver Bronco." Whenever he saw me, he would say, "Hey, Denver Bronco. Who's going to win today?" I knew the answer was always "Denver Broncos." Then, he would whoop and holler and tell me he liked the cut of my jib or something. Actually, I made that last part up. This may not sound like much of a big deal, especially since most kids at my high school knew I sucked at sports and had no interest in them, but the adults were different. They were harder, more suspicious, disgusted even. They knew there was something wrong with me. I wasn't one of them, and it made them angry. Not liking sports meant one of four things in Hometown. I was either 1) "weird" 2) on drugs 3) a big pussy or 4) flamingly, screamingly gay. Most people thought I was a one with a little two thrown in, but I was always under the impression that a jock father of one of my friends was in the three camp, trying to get a fix on whether I was a four. To him, my not going out for football was equivalent to giving head in drag to Harvey Fierstein during halftime at Homecoming while the Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minnelli duetted behind me. He eventually decided I wasn't a four and warmed up to me a little, but I could never break out of the number three ghetto.
4) One of my uncles is a sports-fixated kind of guy and his kids are all good athletes. He thinks I'm a great big pussy. He's only said about five sentences to me in my life, and we've probably been in the same room together for at least 1,000 hours of our collective lifetimes. Oh well, he's only related by marriage. Fuck him.
5) Pep rallies were mandatory in my high school. Was this the case at other schools? I hope so. I hope you all suffered, too.
6) I've lived in two college towns that are football mad. In college in Lincoln, I lived a few blocks from Memorial Stadium. On game days, I wasn't allowed to park in my street. I call bullshit on that one. I got several tickets because I never knew when the home games were and I slept late, my car parked in its usually legal spot. That's some bullshit. No taxation without representation, bitch! I fucking live there! Fuck you! I pay rent on this house and I pay taxes on this street! Fuck your football tax!
7) I flew back home recently because my grandmother was having risky surgery. The priest of the local Catholic Church was at her house for a visit. After learning I lived in Texas, he said, "You're probably a Spurs fan, right?" I no longer try to hide my shame, so I said, "Actually, I'm not much of a sports fan." His face fell, he stared silently at me in disbelief, and it was a good seven seconds before he could regain his composure. My disinterest in sports disgusted a priest. I was emasculated by a guy who is not allowed to touch women.
8) This list could be endless. I've purposely left out the most painful stuff to keep it amusing and less whiny. But sports have rained on my parade for years. Why do shopkeepers, bartenders, people I meet on the elevator, people in line at the bank, etc. etc. keep asking me my thoughts on sports? Do I sidle up next to some random stranger and say "Hey, buddy, what are your thoughts on the films of John Cassavetes and Robert Bresson? Compare and contrast?" or "What did you think of that Raymond Carver book? Wasn't that a doozy?" or "Where do you think Yo La Tengo will take things on the next album? Back to the Electropura style or continue in the more contemplative direction of recent years?" If you like sports, God bless you, but I have to live in your world so much of the time, and I want out.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Peppered with prayer

The Baptist church in my neighborhood just left us a free can of Dr. Pepper, with a note saying that we had been "peppered with prayer." I will never step foot inside a Baptist church if I can help it, but I wholeheartedly welcome this prayer peppering. I hope this trend of religious bribery continues. I look forward to being pizza-ed with prayer, cheeseburgered with prayer, whiskeyed with prayer, and handjobbed with prayer in the weeks to come. Don't let me down, Baptists. In my hour of darkness, I need to be peppered more than ever.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Bad Idea #1. (I can't think of another performer who is a greater antithesis to the Broadway idiom.)
Bad Idea #2. (I don't want some Catholic teaching my Baptist children how to make macaroni necklaces.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Who wants hot dogs?

Man. My wife and I both like to enter our friends' names on Google and see what comes up. I just entered my own name, and a shit-eating porn website came up. I looked for my name and never found it. What the fuck? It's a little creepy. Especially creepy because a favorite party trick of mine is showing people the volume of TV Carnage that intercuts shit-eating porn with the opening theme of "Three's Company." I'll be clear on this. I like a lot of shit, but I don't like "shit." I am not turned on by feces. Why is my name there? Why? Why? Why?
In related news, why is it so satisfying to emit a particularly foul-smelling gaseous emission? I almost killed my wife with a noxious fart tonight. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment, akin to winning a date with an attractive woman, passing a particularly difficult class, or lifting a car off an injured family of eight with my bare hands. I really did something today. What did you do, losers?
Vegetarians. God bless you. You really love animals. Or do you really love your own sense of self-righteousness and/or masochistic sacrificial self-abuse rituals? Who can say? Here's what I think. Yes, and yes. Take this with a grain of salt, vegetarians. I mean this lovingly. Many of you, including my mother and several friends, are members of your silly, silly club. This is just one man's opinion. WAKE THE FUCK UP! Your refusal to eat meat is misguided sentimentality. If you cared about your fellow humans as much as you care about a fucking chicken, life would be better for all of us. Animal cruelty is abhorrent. No animal should ever be tortured, killed for sport, or forced to undergo painful tests to improve cosmetics. But if thousands of monkeys have to die to find a cure for cancer, kill those fuckers! And if any animal happens to be delicious, kill it humanely and eat the fucker! No animal, left to its own devices, has a good death. If we don't eat them, step on them, or keep them as pets, something will fuck their ass up. Another animal or the ravages of nature will take care of that animal painfully and slowly. Circle of life, food chain, all that shit. Ripped apart by mountain lions, starved to death, infected with disease, etc., etc. You're not going to save any animal by not eating it. It's like one of my friends says, "No deer is going to have a comfortable retirement and no cow is going to write a novel." A lot of vegetarians think they have a point by asking "What about dogs and cats? You wouldn't eat them, would you?" My usual reply is "I wouldn't eat my cat, no. But I would eat your cat." My real answer is that I've witnessed most of the people who've asked me this question swatting flies, stepping on spiders, spraying cockroaches, and/or putting out mousetraps. Some vegetarians justify eating seafood, or eating things that don't have a "face," but somehow, cows or chickens are off limits. A fish is smarter than a fucking chicken. Why is it lower on the hierarchy? Besides, dogs and cats are eaten in parts of the world, and they've proven themselves to be good pets. My judgment of their worth is entirely based on their use to human beings. Their primary worth is as a pet. If they weren't so stringy and affectionate, I would eat them. As long as they aren't being tortured, I can rest easy. Everyone needs to eat the meatloaf sandwich at the Kitchen Door. It's really fucking good, people. I'm drunk and incoherent. My argument is full of holes. This is not a serious defense. But I sincerely believe that no one will ever get to heaven, get a medal, or save an animal's life by not eating animals. If you're doing it to get laid, there are much better women (and probably men) out there. Women (and probably men) who eat cheeseburgers are much sexier than emaciated plant-nibblers! But, seriously, vegetarians, I've rarely met one of you I didn't like on a personal level. I'm just teasing. You're alright. I even know a few vegetarians who just hate the way meat tastes. That's more aesthetically and morally defensible in my book. But, you're alright, veggie-lovers. It's hard to hate people who love animals. Vegans, though. Fuck vegans. Vegans are ill-tempered dumbass goofballs. Eat a pizza and loosen your belt, fuckface. For a similar philosophy, please read Cornelius Bear's thoughts on gambling. Bite into this godless, secular wonderland! Whoo hoo!
In my ten-best sandwich roundup, I forgot to mention my own favorite sandwich in Austin, criminally ignored by the Statesman. My favorite sandwich is the Gypsy Grove at Foodheads. Sure, Gypsy Grove sounds like a Blind Melon cover band, but it's actually a timebomb of deliciousness. Check this out: Marinated and grilled pork tenderloin, grilled ham, Swiss cheese, cherry peppers, tabasco slaw, and fried egg on toasted garlic baguette. This sandwich is decadent, yes, but in the holiest way. It is a mindfuck express to sandwich nirvana. If you refuse to eat this sandwich, you hate America! And the Swiss! Nuts to you!
I watched "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" again over the weekend. I don't know if it's Hunter S. Thompson's recent death, drug nostalgia, or disappointment over how much "Brothers Grimm" sucked, but I think this movie has improved considerably since I first saw it in the theater eight years ago. I wasn't impressed, then, but it was a great day anyway, and yet another reminder of how much I hate a predictable, consistent schedule. Week days meant something in college. I never knew what I was going to be doing on any given weekday, outside of class. This particular 1998 day, I think it was a Wednesday or Thursday, about twelve of us got drunk on whiskey at 9 a.m., then went to the matinee of "Fear and Loathing" and ate at Wendy's. Of course, most of us could take a day off work, get drunk in the morning, go to a matinee, and eat some fast food afterwards. But we would be lucky to find one person, let alone twelve, to accompany us. Instead of a fond memory, like this day will always be for me, a similar day now would probably conclude with a crying jag, internet porn, leftover pizza, an episode of "The O.C.," contemplation of suicide, and falling asleep on the couch. Why must every day be the same? Being an adult means decomposing early. Anyway, I didn't like the movie much at the time, but I felt good because most of my friends loved it (though they would have loved anything with drug references), and it was 10 a.m., we were drunk, and we were 19-22. There was a light and airy feeling, life was in front of us, and we were turning a mundane weekday into a Bacchanalian celebration of life. I miss those days. Of course, I'm mostly happier now and I only remember the good stuff when I think back. Nostalgia is an enemy, but sometimes it's a sexy, sexy enemy. Anyway, it's a nice little movie.
I had a couple of weird encounters in public places this weekend. #1 I was buying some beer at HEB and I showed the cashier my ID. He grins at me and says, "You barely made it." Huh? I'm young, yes. But I'm 28. I barely made it seven years ago. What an odd thing to say. #2 My wife and I are at Denny's today, paying for our meal at the counter. The guy looks at us and says, "Imagine seeing you two crazyheads here." I whisper to my wife, "Does he know us?" She whispers back, "No." What a fucking cuckoo batshit looney tunes thing to say. Somehow, the HEB encounter bothers me more. I'm 28, goddammit! 28! Show me a little respect! I didn't fall off the turnip truck! Fuck!
Edna and Troy died. The musk was too strong.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Tale of Ten Sandwiches, or Operation:Sandwich -- The Complete Report

Mission accomplished. The eagle of freedom has been grilled, placed between two slices of bread, and eaten. God bless America and its sandwiches. Four more years...of delicious sandwiches. These colors don't run...away from good eating. USA! USA! USA! I'm an idiot.
The Austin American-Statesman threw down the gauntlet, and I picked it up and ate it. Here are my findings.
Austin American-Statesman's 10 Best Sandwiches in Austin
1. Italian Godfather, Russell's Bakery. I was skeptical when this sandwich was placed before me. It was quite handsome, fetching even, but was a mere deli-style, meat-and-cheese, mayo-dressing-mustard-lettuce-and-tomato kind of sandwich. However, once bitten into, the sandwich sent off shock waves of culinary delight that exploded all over my palate. Why was it so good? Could it be the tantalizing rosemary bread that held it all together? Methinks it could. Grade: A+
2. Egg Salad, Sweetish Hill Bakery. How could a simple egg salad sandwich be one of the contenders? It was nonsense. Or was it? Holy mother of shit, this sandwich was good. Homemade mayonnaise, fresh farm eggs, hydroponic lettuce, a little white cheddar, and homemade bread. Fuck, yeah. Grade: A
3. Oyster Po' Boy, Gene's New Orleans Style Po' Boys & Deli. Setback #1: Gene's is out of oysters. I settle for my old favorite, the shrimp po' boy. It was good, but I've had it several times. I had yet to try the oyster po' boy. I returned three days later, full of vim, vigor, and determination. Success! I ate the shit out of it, and it was good. Slathered in real mayo and deep-fried to perfection, my arteries say no but my mouth says word booty. Grade: A
4. Nicoise, Texas French Bread. This sandwich was actually good for me, a nice change (tuna, capers, red onion, lettuce, tomato, vinaigrette), and also very tasty. So far, so good, Statesman.
Grade: A
5. Chicken Salad, Galaxy Cafe. Nine of the ten restaurants represented on this list are close to my home. This one is practically in fucking Dallas. Completist that I am, I made the 18-mile trek to the Galaxy Cafe and waited in a hellishly long line to order. Once I ordered, though, service was fast and friendly. It was a good sandwich, but it didn't blow my mind. The first one on the list to be overrated, it was accompanied by a side soup that blew away the sandwich. The Upper Crust Bakery has a much better chicken salad sandwich, in my view (keep in mind I'm not exactly a chicken salad expert). Grade: B-
6. Philly Cheesesteak, Hog Island Italian Deli. Whooo! Yeah! Alright! This restaurant is a few blocks away from my old job, so I spent quite a few lunch hours eating here, but I'd never had the philly for whatever reason, though many of my old co-workers raved about it. They were right. Apparently, the meat and bread are actually flown in from Philadelphia daily. I now have no reason to go to Philadelphia. Thanks, Hog Island! You're the tops! Grade: A+
7. Reuben, New World Deli. Mmmph. If you want a great Reuben, go to the Avenue B Grocery (fortunately right across the street from my home). This one was decent, but a little overstuffed and dry. Grade: C+
8. Avocado Sandwich, Upper Crust Bakery. I think the guy or lady making this sandwich fucked it up. It's supposed to have red onion and vinaigrette on it, but apparently they're rationing these ingredients because only two bites had this stuff on it. Those two bites were awesome. The rest of the sandwich was bland as fuck. I may have to give it another chance, since human error affected its overall score. The chicken salad sandwich is great here, though. Grade: C-
9. Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich, Kitchen Door (Lake Austin Blvd. location). This may be the best sandwich I've ever had. Weep, you silly vegetarians. Weep. Then join Planet Sensible and Club Food Chain and eat this sandwich. Esquire magazine called this one of the ten best sandwiches in the U.S. Don't hold that against it. It's probably true. Grade: A++++++++
10. Three-Cheese Panini, 1886 Cafe in Driskill Hotel. Setback #2: Lunchtime on a Saturday. They have extended breakfast hours on the weekend, so the panini wasn't available until dinner. I ordered the Turkey BLT instead. It was awesome, but I wanted to get my panini on. Five days later, I saunter back in. Success! I had a great time, unemployed, on a Thursday, looking at a classic car parked across the street, sitting in a semi-fancy restaurant in a fancy hotel, watching the light and shadow in the cafe, drinking some tea, eating a panini, taking it easy. This is living, my friend. I loved the sandwich. It's just bread and cheese, but somehow it's incredible. Conversely, it's just bread and cheese, so why is it eleven fucking dollars? Perhaps this has something to do with the spinach salad and "tomato confit" included with the meal (I'm just a small-town Nebraska boy. I don't know from confit, but it wuz good.) Additionally, there was an insane older woman at the table in front of me throwing a ridiculous tantrum because there were three flies buzzing around the restaurant. She complained to the waitress about 12 times and gave her a status report on the flies every time she walked by. She also attempted to kill the flies by lunging across her table with her napkin and exaggeratedly swatting at one whenever it flew past. "Excuse me, miss. I killed one of the flies." "Miss, I saw another fly." "Miss, a fly landed on my spoon but fortunately I was done eating." "Miss, please do something about these flies." "Miss, flies are buzzing everywhere!" "Miss, I killed another fly!" Then, the crazy old bat ordered dessert! She was flapping her arms and carrying on so much that the flies completely ignored the other customers and concentrated solely on her. Grade, (excluding inflated price): A.

Coming soon: Why vegetarians are kind-hearted but misguided and foolish, why weekdays were better eight years ago, and odd statements from customer service workers. All that, and what happened to Edna and Troy after they got locked in Dr. Crazynut's Cave of Ominous Musk. Stick around, kids.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Warm sasparilla

Hey, friends, lovers, and jerks,
I got a little ahead of myself. Professor dude resigned as head of the program. He's still teaching there. So Operation: Grad School is once again back in play. Let's see what will happen. If I get accepted, great. I'm starting to get the five-year locational itch, and a new city might be what I need to get out of Rutsville, especially with the job situation in Austin being pretty much Shitsville. If I get denied, shut down, refused, slam dunked, or embroiled in a layup of savings, I won't cry. Plan B will resume its place as Plan A, aka Operation: Get a House, Dog, and Cat and See If I Can Find Some Job in Austin That's Not Total Shit. Either way, limbo will be busted out of and life will once again be scary, interesting, and erotically charged.

I'm one sandwich away from eating all ten of the Austin American-Statesman's so-called ten best sandwiches in Austin. A complete Operation: Sandwich report should be up by Sunday night.

I have a Flickr page now, so Operation: Bad Photographer is newly public.

That's it. Fuck, I fucking need a motherfucking job. Shit.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It's time to update this bitch

This anecdote I forgot to pass on to you happened on my last visit to New Orleans, a week before the hurricane: My friend, Professor Romance aka Dr. Sympathetic, and I were in the French Quarter, drinking absinthes at the Pirate's Cove or Pirate's Alley or whatever the hell the place is called where the guy dresses like a pirate and serves absinthe, and while waiting at the bar for our drinks to be made, I eavesdropped on a conversation between an older, drunken Australian man, his much younger woman friend, and a twentysomething douchebag of the particularly noxious fratboy/hippie/world-traveling, cultural sophisticate triptych of shame whose dubious European accent occasionally slipped, revealing an American one. Or maybe the American accent was the dubious part. Either way, he was working some kind of affectation that had become malignant and all-encompassing, eventually swallowing up any trace of the personality that had birthed it. This conversation was mildly nauseating, mostly because each person was trying to one-up the other in a game of Let's See Whose Traveled the World the Most and Become the Most Intellectually and Culturally Enlightened, but I was in a good mood, they were mostly harmless, and I wasn't feeling any hate. I was feeling the love, baby. I was in the Big Easy, drinking and eating from sunup to sundown. I had dinner twice. It was a good day. I keep listening in. Dubious Euro Boy starts talking about Japan. He says he lives in Austin, is a UT student, but every summer he goes to Tokyo and teaches English to Japanese children. He goes on and on about how the Japanese experience has enriched him, wonderful, Japan, excellent, amazing, blah blah blah. Then his cell phone rings and a classic moment of unintentional hilarity ensues:
Euro Boy, looking at the number of the caller: "Sorry, guys. I've got to take this call. It's my sensei."
Euro Boy, answering phone and walking out of the bar, looking pensive, serious, and deeply touched: "Moshe-moshe."
I had an extended laughing fit, exacerbated by trying not to laugh at the poor doofus. God bless that ridiculous dork.

I took the GRE last week. I did pretty well. Unfortunately, that doesn't matter now. The sole reason I took it was so I could apply to one particular film studies program at one particular university. I have no real desire to attend grad school anywhere else for any reason. I don't want to be a college professor, and I have an extreme distaste for academic writing and the insularities, irrelevancies, pretensions, and Dungeons and Dragons-style games of oneupsmanship that seem to dominate most graduate schools, though there are loads of exceptions, I have friends who get a lot out of their grad programs, and it's still preferable to a money-chasing careerist nine-to-five lifestyle even at its worst. This particular program is run by a professor and writer whose books, ideas, taste, and classroom methods appeal to me greatly. It's the only film program that teaches what I value in ways I find valuable. It places zero value on academic theory and jargon, sociologic and symbolic readings of film, or junky pop-culture entertainment. Instead, all value is placed on art (which is an academic dirty word) as a form of experience, not some puzzle or message to figure out or "get" or theorize about or throw a sociopolitical net on top of but as a new way of understanding, experiencing, feeling, and expressing what it's like to be a human being. Unfortunately, this professor is not well liked at his university because what he teaches is not academically fashionable. Changes he disagrees with are being made to the program, so he resigned. This will be his last year. So now my goal of the last two years has been rendered moot. I'm back to square zero. I was so caught up in studying for the GRE and preparing my application, I almost forgot I'm still unemployed. I've hit rock bottom. I have nothing going for me right now. It's actually not that depressing. A few months ago, I was waking up in the morning in a sweaty panic because I was having so much trouble finding a job. Now I don't give a shit. I don't give a shit about anything, and it feels good. My grad school plans are fucked, my job situation is fucked, and in a few more months, my checking and savings accounts will be fucked. I don't give a shit. I've got real freedom right now. It probably won't last. This is what I care about: My wife, family, friends, books, music, movies, art, writing, good food, good drinks, living. When I get a job, hopefully it won't depress the hell out of me, but they always do. Now that grad school's out, I want to get a house and a dog and a cat and continue to read, listen to music, watch movies, write, eat, drink, hang out with my friends, maybe luck into a job that doesn't disgust me, travel a little bit. That sounds good to me. That sounds like what I want to do until I'm dead. Too bad the university I wanted to attend will probably end up teaching classes about the representation of lesbianism on TV's "Friends" and the religious symbolism of "The Matrix" and churning out students who go on to write books like "Digital Diasporics: Reimaging Africanity in Cyberspace" (actual book title) that five other academics will read, but my life goes on. At least I'm not floating in a two-foot pool of feces-ridden water in New Orleans, am I right? Something will happen to me eventually. I will once again receive a steady paycheck and hopefully luck into having a meaningful life.

Reading: An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

These new indie kids need to eat a cheeseburger, run a comb through their hair, and spend a little time in the sun

I haven't been posting much lately. I was in New Orleans for a week, then an unexpected trip to Nebraska for a funeral two days after the NO trip. 45 hours in a car in two weeks. Then New Orleans floods. I didn't know if my friend and gentleman scholar, Professor Romance, was okay for a few days. Fortunately, he escaped to Houston, then Florida, but he's probably lost most of his stuff and his college is closed for a semester. There's lots to say about this flood, but I'm not up to it. It's just bad. Very bad. In this early retirement/poor life decision/necessary insane gesture/winter of my discontent/endless summer/neverending dance party I've launched myself into without a Plan B, I've taken two separate trips to New Orleans and fallen in queasy, degenerate love with the place. It must rebuild. It's below sea level. That kind of lunatic hubris needs to be respected. Nature will fuck all of us up bad one way or another. Nature is a bad motherfucker. The world is a scary place and life is brutal and short. Eat animals. They'll eat you first if they get the chance. Drink, cavort, be merry. Get as much pleasure out of this shithole as you can.
For some stupid reason that escapes me now, I've decided to apply for grad school. I've been studying for the GRE these last two weeks. It's probably pointless. My undergrad transcripts are the equivalent of a three-year-old coffee-stained map of Afghanistan. Lots of As, Bs, Cs. An F. No Ds, though. Fuck. I've had a weird month. I feel like a kicked skeleton. I need some luck. Maybe I'll go to clown school.

Reading: Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind
These Norwegian Black Metal guys are some of the most hilariously stupid people who ever lived. It would be easier to laugh at them if many of them weren't neo-Nazis or in jail for murder and arson. They got the writers they deserved, too. I don't think the book has touched an editor's hands. The writing is disorganized, pretentious, repetitive, ridiculous, and unintentionally funny, just like the bands. These guys have names like Euronymous, Dead, Hellhammer, and Count Grishnackh. Check out this quote from Dead about his band Mayhem's stage show: "Pigheads, as well as other heads, is what we try to have at all gigs." After Dead committed suicide, his roommates Euronymous and Hellhammer found the body. Hellhammer: "Euronymous thought of sawing his arm off and putting it under a glass display case, but he figured it wouldn't be very smart because the police would probably ask where his arm was." I love the use of the word "probably" in that quote. Genius.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

Set the nest egg on fire

I still don't have a job. I'm running out of money. I'm going back to New Orleans for a week. While there, I hope to give a nice, large portion of my remaining life savings a Viking funeral and an Irish wake. See you at the soup kitchen.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Little girls dislike rough men in dirty clothes and beards

I love some of the answers given by theater managers in the early part of the last century to the questions, "Are the children ever frightened by cartoons or during serials? If so, by what type of incident?"
My other favorite, besides the one I used for the title of this post: "Only in cases of extreme knife incidents."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Spam of the kings

I think by now we've all been inundated with so much bizarre spam (for example, "sluts suck cock through slice of pizza") that we've become jaded. However, a spam I received recently broke through my defenses. I have no idea what it's trying to sell me, but I'm buying. The spam is from Thicken Q. Fervently and the subject line is "Bonjour Sir Joshkrauter, 60% discount on cheapest CIA." Nice.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I'm not so angry today


Listening to: Roky Erickson

Message to everyone I like: Please have as many kids as possible so we can thoroughly outnumber these idiots

These people probably aren't going to the Deuce Bigalow sequel. Nevertheless, they are also morons. I feel like crying. Instead, I will have another Schlitz and stick my dick in the hole that the farmer forbid. The first two were so great, the third one has to be gangbusters. Creationism 4 Life! I love dinosaurs! Whooooo!

Fuck you

The Dukes of Hazzard is Number One at the box office, grossing more than $30 million in one weekend.

All week, I have been bombarded with ads for Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. According to, 174 people worked on this film. Huge amounts of money were spent making this film and paying these 174 people. In addition, the movie is rated R, so anyone purchasing a ticket is at least 17 years old. Think about that while watching the TV ads. It's mindblowing.

If you pay to see either of these two movies, you are hurting our country. Fuck you.

Usually, I can laugh about the awfulness of a horrible movie, but for some reason, the fact that a sequel to Deuce Bigalow exists, and that probably lots of people will go see it, depresses the hell out of me.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The information suppliers

Even though I currently have no pot to piss in, I am very, very glad I did not make use of my journalism degree and become a journalist. I would have been a terrible journalist. For one thing, I'm not interested in the daily dispersal of facts. I don't think immediate facts are a bridge to the truth. I think you can get a lot closer to the truth from immediate lies, jokes, and art than you can from isolated facts. A really good sandwich (or a really bad one) can give me more truth than a network newscast or New York Times article. Historical facts, while just as meaningless if presented out of context, can at least provide some understanding of current political and social situations by giving us the chain of events, the contexts, the known reasons how and maybe why things are happening the way they are, both in this country and everywhere else, but our current television and newspaper journalists have no interest in historical facts. Most of us in this country know fuck-all about foreign policy, politics, and history. I include myself in this condemnation. I am an idiot in this subject. While I am partially responsible for my own ignorance, the mainstream United States media does a horrible job of keeping its citizens informed. All we get is a vague, muddled "what" without any "how" or "why." The past is creepily ignored at all costs. What happened yesterday might as well have never happened at all. Immediacy slays understanding. No context is supplied. No cause is explained. Nothing exists but effect. Stories that are irrelevant to the populace at large but push emotional buttons siphon coverage from important stories. Natalee Holloway's disappearance, Michael Jackson's trial, Russian submariners. These stories are unimportant as news. They mean a lot to the handful of people directly affected, but for the rest of us, they function at the same level as a sentimental Hollywood tearjerker. Our newspapers are woefully inadequate, but at least we can skip the most egregious articles and advertisements. Television news is an abomination. We get the day's murders, assaults, and car accidents (again, irrelevant as "news"), a brief, shallow dip into local politics, an even briefer, shallower dip into national and world events, a bunch of weather, some sports highlights, and whatever animal baby was born in a zoo that day. It's appalling. Telling us about a car bomb in Iraq or a shooting in Israel tells us nothing about those countries or their conflicts. We're being read a random page from a different novel every day and it means nothing. Business and advertising values have irreversibly corrupted our news outlets. Our local Fox outlet doesn't even hide its taintedness. Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which also owns 20th Century Fox film studios. Each day on the local news, there is a behind-the-scenes "story" about some new 20th Century Fox movie. Shameless. Once a news outlet presents advertising as news, it can never be trusted again. This is a basic tenet of journalism school. It is unethical in journalism to let the advertising infect the reporting. Why do television news stations get away with this daily? My rant so far is not very original or topical. This is obvious, old, artless stuff. I am beating a dead horse. What's the solution? We probably all need to be more vigilant about seeking out information instead of letting it come to us, and there are many good and great journalists and depth and investigative reporters writing for good and great magazines, but why are newspapers and television news broadcasts so awful and what can we do about it?

H.W. Ross founded The New Yorker magazine. He was worried about advertising infecting news and editorial content back in 1926. This is from a letter to publisher Raoul Fleischmann that year:
"I think it essential that all members of the advertising staff be tactfully but firmly taught that they are in no way to have direct contact with the members of the editorial staff or with me...
...Unless stern measures are taken my present efforts to keep the editorial department independent, uninfluenced, honest and - more important than all - slightly aloof, will be more or less defeated..."

Reading: Agee On Film by James Agee

Friday, August 05, 2005

Collage #4

"Self-Portrait w/ Flying Dutchman" Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fun with Google and Yahoo image search revisited

Perhaps you remember this post. Let's try a new batch of words and see what pops up first on these two titans of engine searching.

First up, Google image search:



Bill Cosby





bonehead play

robotic squirrel


Now, Yahoo image search:



Bill Cosby





bonehead play (same photo as Google)

robotic squirrel


Jeb Bush has too much forehead and the other jerk has too much neck

Look at them. Just look at them. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 01, 2005

I hate the summer

It's time to admit it. The romance and nostalgia are dead. Every year I look forward to the summer, but it's time to wise the fuck up. Summertime blows. It's hot as shit, bugs are everywhere, my car is an inferno and its air-conditioning is competent at best, the heat makes me nauseous and lazy, I drink too much beer, and I sweat a lot. I'm not in school anymore. What charm can the summer hold for a man whose schedule is the same year-round? It's time for summer to get its ass smacked off the top of the seasonal chart. I like the fall. I like the spring. I hated winter in the Midwest, but in Texas, the winter is pretty damn swank. Somehow, summer retained a sexy reputation in my mind. Summer's been coasting on its grade-school charm for too long. It is the worst season. FUCK YOU SUMMER! YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE! I'll be smiling it up when October comes along and pimp-slaps this oppressive heat-funk back into the hell from which it spewed forth.

This post is only the beginning. Can-Smashing Robot will now have an all-weather format. Nothing is more interesting than weather. What's it like outside? That's the most interesting question that's ever been asked.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Holy shit, what's my problem? Do I even have a problem? Am I great? Hunky dory, even?

I have a lot of alcoholics in the family tree, and I've been warned by doctors that it is an inherited trait. More than one doctor, in fact! But not my current doctor! He's more concerned with my hoagie intake! The problem, for me, seems to lie in the symptoms. Everyone seems to think that alcoholism is revealed when hidden drinks are discovered throughout the abode. The toilet tank, say, or behind the powertools in the garage. I have a problem with this symptom, though, because the amount a person has to hide depends on the temperament of his significant other. Say a man is forbidden to drink more than three drinks per week by his wife, gay lover, hidden extra-terrestrial, or talking basketball-playing werewolf. If he has that fourth drink, beer # 4 is probably hiding somewhere. But four drinks per week does not an alcoholic make. If the same man is drinking twelve bottles of whiskey per week, but the significant other allows it, an element of denial is strongly in place. Evidence: That werewolf was really good at slam dunking the ball, but, when he decided to simply be himself, we still won the state championship! Conclusion: Binge drinking is fully justified! USA! USA! USA! If any of you would like to talk to me, I'm passed out in my own bile! Color Me Badd 4 Life!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Potpourri of observations

Hello everyone. I like to pretend I'm a big man. I make it known around town that I have no use for the lower entertainments many of you commoners gawk at for hours upon years upon decades. I am a man of refined taste, culture, reputation and style. I'm drinking wine right now, for example. That being said, I have become addicted to the reality program, "Hell's Kitchen." It combines my newfound love of cooking with my age-old love of abusive tirades.

The mayor of Austin, Will Wynn (with a name like that, how could he lose?), has announced he is taking suggestions from anyone who wishes to e-mail him about how to celebrate Lance Armstrong's seventh Tour de France victory. I don't know Lance Armstrong, but I know this much. He would undoubtedly want me to have a high-paying, albeit surprisingly relaxing, job. This job should involve lots of screwing around, jacking around, screwing off, fucking off, pissing on it, and forgetting about it. I know this.

Take my wife, please.

But seriously, folks. My wife is great. It's these airline peanuts that burn me up. There are so few airline peanuts in a package of airline peanuts. Airline peanuts. Fuck.

This headline is a dream come true.

Please listen to lots of Silkworm, and remember how unfair this lottery of waking up every morning is. No one from the Barenaked Ladies has been killed. All the original members of Color Me Badd are still alive. Jeb Bush is still breathing in and out. Julia Roberts has been allowed to live. Thomas Kinkade talked shit about Picasso on "60 Minutes." Every host of "Entertainment Tonight," past and present, still exists. But we're still here, too. So fuck them. Do things you like with people you like as often as you can. One day, Conor Oberst will die. This gives me hope.

Damn it

A water main burst near our apartment, so the water has been shut off since three in the afternoon. It is now fourteen minutes past midnight, and the water is still off. We bought a bunch of bottled water, so we're doing alright in the hydration department, but bottled water is not going to flush my urine-filled toilet. Please, water department, let me flush my toilet filled with piss. Why won't you let me flush it?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm a liar

I lied about being too old to feel a personal attachment to people in rock bands that I like. I'm really bummed out about this Michael Dahlquist thing. How could this guy be dead?

If Robert Pollard died, my wallet would be much thicker

The four days following my birthday, I received three pieces of bad news, one after the other, boom boom boom. Then I get up on the fifth day and check out a few Internet sites, only to discover that one of my favorite drummers, Michael Dahlquist, from one of my favorite bands that hardly anyone gives a shit about, Silkworm, was killed in a freakish car accident on my birthday. I'm too old to feel any personal attachment to people in rock bands I like, but I am sad that the band has decided to break up. I'm pretty obsessive about this band. They enjoyed a brief period of hipster buzz around '95, '96, but it didn't last because indie rock fans are scumbags with no loyalty. They kept putting out great albums anyway. The whole thing sucks, especially how he died. Dahlquist and two other Chicago musicians worked the same day job and were stopped at a red light on their lunchbreak. An ex-model had an argument with her mother and decided to kill herself by getting in her car, running a bunch of red lights at 70 mph, and hitting whatever got in her way. She hit them. All three of the men died. She just broke her foot. Silkworm is no more, and three people are dead because they didn't bring their lunches to work. Dahlquist's death wasn't even the top story on Pitchfork. They thought the guy from Broken Social Scene getting punched by a cop was a more important story. This jerk was buying drugs in the park, got busted, resisted arrest, and got roughed up a little bit. Now he thinks he's a big man, announcing from the stage that he's going to sue the NYPD. At least his proximity to the obituary made him look like an even bigger twat. So anyway, I'm thinking about how ridiculous and short our lives are, and how ridiculous our deaths can be, and lots of other stuff about the three pieces of bad news I mentioned earlier, and how fucking hard it is for me to find a job, and how I'm running out of money, and how directionless my life is at the moment, and about how lots of stuff I've been enthusiastic about in the past is not currently floating my boat, and I'm walking down the street, and a homeless guy asks me how I'm doing. "Alright," I say and keep walking. "Just alright?" he says. "You're great! You woke up this morning. You're doing great!" The homeless fucker's right, but he's still a jerk. I still didn't feel great. I had something else bad happen to me today, and it finally turned me around, pulled me out of the funk. I'm in the bathroom at the Arbor before the movie starts. I'm done. I'm washing my hands. I turn on the faucet. I push down on the soap dispenser. Something is fucked up with this soap dispenser. I push down harder. Soap shoots out of it in a direct arc toward my crotch. It splatters all over the groin area of my shorts, looking exactly like I pissed myself. I know a lot of people say that when they spill something on their crotch, but this time it was true. There would be no "maybe he spilled water" reaction. This could only provoke a "that guy pissed himself" reaction. This is absurd. It's kicking a man when he's down. With all my problems, I didn't deserve to have soap sprayed on my crotch in a dribbly urine pattern. I had to walk back into the theater, past the people waiting in line near the other screens. I pulled my shorts way up, pulled my shirt way down, and did the walk of shame. My shorts slowly moved down to their normal position. People looked at me funny. I walked in the theater, sat down. I looked at my crotch. My wife looked at my crotch. We both started laughing. I tried to tell her what happened. I kept laughing. I finally got the story out. Laughed some more. Now life is good again. It's been a good night. Saw a good movie. Ate a good dinner. Some productive things happened. Listened to good music. Getting ready to read a good book. Eventually, something will happen to make me angry or sad. That will last a long time. Then something good will happen again. This pattern will repeat. Then I'll die.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Chris Cunningham made another Aphex Twin video. I'm happy about that.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mix CD report #3

Neil Young's "Cripple Creek Ferry" is possibly the finest one minute, 34 second song. I'd have to consult my Minutemen albums to see if there's any competition, but I'd have to get out of my chair to do that.

Pop that funk

"Freedom is free of the need to be free. Free your mind and your ass will follow."
----- Funkadelic

Boop blap beep bwoooooop

I enjoy Brian Eno's synth solo on Roxy Music's "Editions of You." It's a barn burner! I also enjoy Bryan Ferry's pronunciation of the phrase "Boys will be boys" ("boys will be boy-yoy-yoy-yoys"). Who else sounds like Roxy Music? No-fuckin'-body! That's who!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Collage #3

Collage #3: "Competing Histories" Posted by Picasa

Bust a birthday nut

Hello friends and enemies,
I turned 28 today. I've now lived longer than Kurt Cobain. Smells like teen longevity. Dr. Mystery 1, Kurt Cobain 0.

My job search is about as successful as the Donner Party. Speaking of eating flesh, my new goal is to forget about finding a job and find Austin's ten best sandwiches instead. The Statesman threw down the gauntlet (gantlet?) and had the hubris to proclaim the ten best sandwiches in town. I am going to eat all ten. I've already had the Italian godfather and the best egg salad in town. I will eat the remaining eight before the summer is over, cholesterol be damned. You have my word on that. Are they the ten best sandwiches in town? Who cares. Are they good sandwiches? Yes. I will eat them with pride. Civic pride.

Reading: The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction by Henry James
Listening to: A bunch of mix CDs I made last week on shuffle - #1, #2, #3, #4 (#5 is a reggae compilation I haven't posted yet)
Farting: a lot

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

All the best professor names have already been taken

Reinhardt, you're alright.

Sunday morning coming down

Saturday night, I'm in my underwear, drinking PBR and watching "CSI: Las Vegas" reruns (could there be a better way to waste my life) when I hear some odd banging and kicking sounds coming from nearby that sound a whole lot weirder than the usual Saturday night drunken apartment complex living hijinks. I look out the window, and some strange person is standing motionless in front of the maintenance man's supply closet, which is right next door to our apartment. He is not one of the three maintenance men my landlords employ. He's tall, skinny, blonde, and vaguely indie-rock looking. He sees me and walks to the apartment complex across the alley, holds something above his head, stares at it for a few seconds, throws it over the fence, and takes off down the alley. I'm pissed off now because I assume he's broken in to our complex and I have to put my clothes back on and call the police. Ten minutes later, the police show up. I walk them outside and recreate the chain of events. The supply closet is still locked, and the mysterious object he stared at intensely and then threw over the fence turns out to be a fucking lightbulb. The police couldn't find him, tell me to lock my door, and leave. The next day, we're driving back from lunch and Captain Lightbulb is standing in the alley, shirtless, making weird gestures with his hands. We go inside. I contemplate calling the police again, but we end up just watching him for several minutes from our window, mesmerized. He looks directly into the sun, holds up his hand in a vaguely mystical gesture, and begins talking to himself. Then, a girlfriend/sister/roommate/friend pops out of the apartment across the alley and shoves him back inside. We discuss whether to call the cops again now that we know where he is, but we decide that he is either mentally ill, retarded, or under the influence of a particularly heavy dose of psychedelics and pass on further interactions with APD. Later, my wife sees him sitting in his pickup, talking to himself, and pressing on the horn once every ten seconds or so. Later still, he attempts to open our complex's supply closet yet again, but his girlfriend/sister/etc. grabs him and ushers him back inside. Turns out, he's just fascinated with the supply closet door, and he's really, really fucking high on psychedelics. He hasn't caused any hullaballoos since then. What's the point of this true story? I'll tell you the point, my friends. The point is that it's a dangerous, crazy world, and the children who are our future need to learn to just say no. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .to high prices! For real savings, shop at Costco. That's the Costco difference.