Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Away from compute-box for days

Hey, everybody. There will be no more posts until next Tuesday or Wednesday because I'm going to Las Vegas to get myself all married up. More about this later. Also, I thought about writing a gorilla mask segment, but I think I'll have to pass because I just found out that Silkworm has had a new album out for two weeks and I haven't bought it yet, so I just might have to do that. I'm on vacation, suckas! My bachelor days are almost over, and I haven't even completed my pre-nuptial Vegas to-do list yet. Step 6: Snort half a gram of Bangkok junk off the pert backside of famed comedienne Rita Rudner. She's performing in our hotel, you know.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


I just remembered something that happened to me at work last year that I forgot to mention during the big shitting at work debates that occurred on this here blog and my brother's blog ( I work on the first floor of my particular office building. One day I had to drop a dump, and it couldn't wait until I got home. I went into the first-floor bathrooms, and both stalls were covered in diarrhea and urine. It was indescribably foul. Have some dignity, fellow work-shitters. Anyway, I moved into Phase 2 and took the elevator down to the basement to check out the stalls there. Two guys were right in front of me, and I followed them into the bathroom. They went straight to the urinals, making a lot of noise the whole time. They kept joking loudly to each other about pissing on the wall and the floor. I noticed that one of the stalls was occupied, so I got into the empty one, and it was actually diarrhea-free. Excellent. I'm sitting there on the toilet, listening to the two guys continue to joke about pissing everywhere. Finally, they leave, just as loudly as they entered. This is where it gets weird. I start to hear some noise in the stall next to me, which sounds a lot like someone masturbating. I'm willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but, after a few minutes, it's pretty unmistakably the sound of a furious beat-off. I don't know what to do. If the guy doesn't know I'm there, which is slightly possible since I came in at the same time as two insanely loud, obnoxious guys who were making a lot of noise when I went into the stall and since the stalls are big enough that it's hard to see someone's feet in the next stall, it's kind of creepy. If the guy does know he's not alone in the bathroom, it's tremendously creepy. I finished my business as quickly and quietly as possible and got the hell out of there. I have only used the basement bathroom a few times since, and both of those times were right after it had been cleaned. For the love of god, workers of the world everywhere, DON'T MASTURBATE IN A PUBLIC BATHROOM IN YOUR PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT! This is not something that should have to be learned. It should be understood. In addition, anyone who can remain aroused with the olfactory delight of urine, fecal matter, and bad cologne permeating the air should not be allowed to work with others. That is all.

Monday, September 27, 2004

New Robot of the Week

Yo, dudes,
Here is our new Robot of the Week. Give him a name in comment form under this post. I will be in Las Vegas next Monday, so the contest winner will be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday. Good luck, suckers.

Robot of the Week winner

Yo, everybots,
This week's Robot of the Week contest winner is Mr. Thor Jenkins and his robot name, Legless Love Bot. Congratulations, Thor!

One more ridiculous thing about the movie "Year of the Dragon"

It's set in New York City's Chinatown. It was filmed in a studio in North Carolina. Huzzah?

Dang! Movies! Whoop!

Here's the movie roundup for the weekend.
I saw The Five Obstructions (Lars von Trier/Jorgen Leth) at the Alamo Drafthouse Village on Sunday. Von Trier is a weird case. I don't know what to make of him. I love his movies. A lot. But most of the critics I like either intensely hate his films or have deep problems with them. Usually several people in the theater walk out. A lot of my friends hate his films. The most common criticism is that he is a sadist who loves to see women being tortured (e.g. "Breaking the Waves," "Dancer in the Dark," "Dogville"). Maybe they have something there, but I'm not sure. I found the three female leads in those films some of the most interesting women characters in recent movie history. And, yes, they went through absolute hell, but show me a film where the main character isn't being tortured in some way, and we'll be watching...what? Anything? Maybe "My Dinner With Andre," but the audience is being tortured in that case. Ba-dum bum ching! But seriously, folks. "Five Obstructions" is more of an academic exercise, an experiment, and the point is not really whether it succeeds or not, but whether it actually is attempted. On this count, I think the film is worthwhile and deserving of a look.
I watched these on video:
Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero) I have to watch this every couple of years. I was 11 years old when I first saw it, behind my mother's back at a friend's house the weekend after she stopped me from renting it because it was rated R. It's one of the best horror movies I've ever seen and, besides that, just a great movie. It's funny, smart, beautifully made, disgusting, scary, and fuckin' awesome.
The Home and the World (Satyajit Ray) This is an intriguing little drama set in 1908 about an Indian woman who has been kept in seclusion by first her parents, then her husband. Her husband, a progressive liberal, decides to let her out of the house for the first time in her life and allows her to meet his friend, a radical political activist and mooch of her husband's fortune. What happens next is overly simplistic and a little predictable, but the movie says a lot with the actors' body language and subtle glances, and it was compelling enough to keep my interest.
Swing Time (George Stevens) This is a great Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire musical with a ridiculous plot that functions as an excuse for a lot of fantastic dancing and funny jokes. And how in the hell was Fred Astaire so graceful with that weird hydrocephalic light-bulb of a head?
Year of the Dragon (Michael Cimino) This movie is a colossal piece of shit. Cimino as a visual filmmaker is exciting and unique. Cimino as a writer of dialogue and story and director of actors is a bombastic hack. The latter Cimino drags the former Cimino down in this miserably ridiculous crapshack of a film. It's hardly a surprise that Oliver Stone co-wrote the script. It shares Stone's penchant for hamfisted political sermonizing functioning as dialogue, horribly written female roles, and overblown bombast as far as the eye can see. It doesn't even make sense. It's obvious the script was much too long for the movie because the editing makes little sense, important characters are introduced only to disappear from the movie entirely, and scenes are nearly over before the viewer even knows what he's supposed to be seeing. The female lead, Ariane (yes, just Ariane) is one of the worst actors in the history of any kind of moving picture, and, yes, I am including home movies and student films. And why the hell is Mickey Rourke's character "the most decorated cop in the city of New York" when his policing skills consist of screaming at his chief, getting everyone around him killed, and rushing into places without a warrant so he can punch and kick suspects in the head? (As a sidenote, why is the lead male character in every mainstream American film the best blah blah in his field. Ben Affleck is the best lawyer in the world, Greg Kinnear is the best scientist in the history of science, Bruce Willis is the best cat burglar we've ever seen, shit like that. I can't take any movie seriously with a premise like that.) On the plus side, the movie had some "so awful they're gold" one-liners from Mr. Rourke. Here are my favorites:
Bad Guy: You're a dead man.
Rourke: I'll live long enough to piss on your grave.

Rourke, to Ariane: I hate everything you stand for. So, why do I want to fuck you so bad?

Rourke, to his police cadets: I've got scar tissue on my soul.

Rourke, also to his police cadets: Any cop I catch taking bribes, I'm gonna punch you in the mouth.
Female cop: What about the women?
Rourke: You better bend over.
(all the cops cheer)

Rourke, complaining to his fellow detectives about the heat the chiefs put on his renegade ways: The honchos are going apeshit.

Friday, September 24, 2004

More fun with Makigami Koichi

Click here for solid gold. For the solidest gold of all, click on Track 4.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Man Who Refused To Take His Gorilla Mask Off, Part 8

Steve puts on the brown dress slacks he's finished ironing and packs some silly straws in his breast pocket, just in case. He checks his watch. The limo should be here in twenty-five minutes, Steve thinks. He decides to wait for it on the steps in front of his apartment building. He checks his appearance in the bathroom mirror before he goes outside.
"You look great," Steve says to himself.
Once outside, he sees three shirtless men drinking beer in the street. One of them is leaning on Steve's 1989 Toyota Camry. If Steve's grandfather were still alive, he would describe these men as "roughnecks."
"So I say to that bitch, you better pack up your shit and get lost by the time I get back from the liquor store," the one leaning on the car says, followed by howls of laughter from all three men. The man's skin is a leathery relic of past sunburns. He has short, curly black hair and has the look of a man who spends most of his leisure time searching for fistfights. The other two men are taller, thinner, and much paler. They have long blonde hair, the taller one wearing his pulled back in a ponytail. They don't say much. "And you better believe that bitch was gone when I come back." He takes a swig of beer and smirks proudly.
"Hey, look," Ponytail says, pointing at Steve.
"Holy shit," Leathery says. "It's Apeman Steve. Yo, apeman. Get down here and have a beer with some other crazy motherfuckers."
Steve feels he has little choice but to comply with the roughneck's wishes. He walks over and introduces himself.
"Man, no introduction is necessary," Leathery says. "I saw you on the news all this week. Have a fuckin' beer, motherfucker."
He tosses a lukewarm can of Schlitz Steve's way. Steve catches it, takes out his silly straw, sticks it in the can, and sips the beer.
"Man, I love that gorilla mask shit," the man says. "I understand. Believe me, I understand."
He stares into Steve's eyes with an intensity that would have made him uncomfortable had he not been wearing a gorilla mask. "It's like you've had it up to here with all the bullshit in the world, man. You just said fuck it. Fuck your boss, fuck your old lady, fuck your parents, fuck the police, fuck a fucking job, fuck the feminists and the draft dodgers, and fuck the man. I like that. I like it a lot."
"Yeah, something like that," Steve says, laughing nervously.
"What you so dressed up for?" he asks.
"Oh," Steve says, blushing under the mask. "The mayor's giving me the key to the city. They're going to send a limo here in about a half-hour."
"No shit," the man says. "It's about time that asshole did something I liked. Fucking Mayor Brannigan, that asshole."
"What do you care," Ponytail says. "You don't even vote."
"Fuck you, Tony," Leathery says. "Give me a reason to and I will."
A lengthy pause ensues, then Leathery speaks again.
"Well, shit, man. We forgot to introduce ourselves. My name's Mustache Tim."
Steve shakes his hand, puzzled at Tim's lack of a mustache.
"Why do they call you that?" Steve asks.
"I won a bet one time," Tim says by way of explanation. Steve decides not to press it.
"These two faggots over here," Tim says, pointing with his thumb at the two blonde men. "You're not going to believe these fuckers' names."
"You're the faggot," Ponytail says. Tim punches him in the arm and mutters under his breath.
"Anyway," he continues. "This goofy-looking bastard with the ponytail is named Tony Bill, and this other goofy-looking bastard is named Bill Tony. I am not shittin' you. God's honest truth."
"That's wild," Steve says. "They're just reversed. Crazy."
"But that's not the craziest thing about their names, dude," Tim says. "It's the second craziest. Guess what's the craziest?"
"I don't know," Steve says.
"C'mon man," Tim says, agitated. "Think. It's real obvious."
"I give up," Steve says. Please don't kill me, he thinks.
"Okay, since you're a hero, I'll let you give up. The crazy fuckin' thing is that both of their names, their first names and last names, are first names. It's like somebody being named John Chuck or Fred Mike. It's fuckin' crazy, dude. It's like, 'Hi, my name's Mr. Tony.' 'Mr. Bill, your appointment is ready.' Crazy shit."
Tim laughs, a desperate wheezy cackle that makes Steve even more uncomfortable.
"So where's this fuckin' key to the city shit goin' down," Tim asks.
"At Dickie Stoolz Park," Steve says. "They've got a little stage set up, and they're going to have some free refreshments afterwards."
"Hell, yeah, dude," Tim says. "We'll come to that. We'll walk right up to the fuckin' mayor after smokin' a joint, and blow the smoke right in his face and say 'That's one in honor of Apeman Steve, bitch.' Then we'll eat some fuckin' refreshments."
"Dude," Tony Bill or Bill Tony says. "We'll bring some refreshments of our own."
The three men laugh hysterically. Steve laughs weakly and resists the urge to check his watch. He finishes the beer and sets it down gently on the sidewalk. A black stretch limousine moves slowly down the street and parks in front of Steve's building. A short, elderly man in a leather cap steps out of the driver's seat and opens the side door.
"Mr. Smithers," the man says. "I'm John Tarkington. I'll be your driver this afternoon. How do you do?"
Steve greets the man and says goodbye to the drunken trio.
"See you later, Apeman Steve," Ponytail says.
"We'll fuckin' be there, man," Tim says. "See you down there."
Steve waves and steps into the luxury automobile, breathing a sigh of relief. Tarkington shuts the doors and drives away. The three men run after the limo, chugging beers while they give chase. The quiet one with no ponytail throws his empty can at the back of the limo, but it stops a few feet short. Steve reclines in his chair and pushes play on the television built into the seat in front of him. A rerun of "Cheers" is being broadcast.
"Oh, Woody," Steve says, smiling. "Will you ever learn?"

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Giant foods

I was hoping to find pictures of enormous foods on the Internet and share them with you, but it's proving oddly difficult. However, please take solace in the fact that you can create some for yourself, including the dreaded Giant Cheeseburger. Also, if you're ever in Omaha, please check out King Kong Burger and order the infamous Triple Kong. The burger is so huge and greasy that your bun will dissolve before you finish it. One crazy mothafucka once ordered the quadruple Kong and got his picture on the wall when he finished it. It will destroy you, giant burger-style. Also, look at a man devouring a huge wiener.

Check out these giant Las Vegas hot dog eating sons of bitches. Posted by Hello

I love big sandwiches

Let's hear it for big sandwiches everywhere. It's Big Sandwich Tuesday, everybody.

I love you, big sandwich. Posted by Hello

Big sandwich, you're the best. Posted by Hello

Mmm, big sandwich Posted by Hello

I love me a big sandwich Posted by Hello

Monday, September 20, 2004

New Robot of the Week Contest

Ladies and gentlebots,
Here's our new Robot of the Week. Give him a name, leave it as a comment under this post, and you could win the weekly prizeless contest and be in the running for the monthly prize-winning contest. The winner will be announced on Monday, Sept. 27. Good luck, jerks.

Robot of the Week contest winner

I would like to thank all six contestants in this week's Robot of the Week contest. And the winner is ...... Cuttyblacksow for Lonely in Sacramento. Congratulations, Cutty! By the way, Nick, I'm going to mail your prize package today or tomorrow.

Done did watch some ol' movin' pictures, I tell you what

I watched some movies this weekend, but you probably knew that. I watch movies every weekend. It's what passes for excitement in my meager existence. Here they is:
Rendez-vous (Andre Techine) Juliette Binoche is really, really great in this. The camera moves like nobody's damn business, I'm talking some beautiful, inventive visuals here. But this is just, pretty much, a wet fart of a movie. It's dumb. It's really, really dumb. And it's not trying to be dumb. It's trying to be smart. Really, really smart. But it's dumb. Really, really dumb. And it was co-written by a director I like, Olivier Assayas. He did a good job unloading his crap on a different director and saving the good stuff for himself.
A Sunday in the Country (Bertrand Tavernier) Now this is a good movie. It's an early-1900s costume period piece, but it's not some Merchant/Ivory monstrosity pummeling all of the wildness out of some classic book. It's about an old painter, who apparently has enjoyed some fame and recognition but who feels that maybe he missed the boat and that his work won't stand the test of time. His son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids come to visit him and his daughter shows up unexpectedly. And that's about it. This is one of the better films about family and the buried resentments, irritations, secrets, and affections that flit in and out of most family gatherings that I've seen.
In America (Jim Sheridan) I'm not sure about this one. It was waaay sentimental, which always makes me feel manipulated and uncomfortable, but sometimes it earned its sentiment. Other times it felt gross. The acting was wonderful, including the two little girls. Usually I hate little kids in movies because their dialogue sounds written by an adult, not spoken by a child. Why force little kids to be cute? They're going to be cute anyway if you just let them be, and a lot more naturally and less creepily cute, I might add. So stop forcing the cute. Sheridan only forces the cute a few times, but when he does, such as in the final scene, it tarnishes what he's trying to do. And sometimes the drama is ratcheted up too intensely where a subtler touch would be more effective. The most egregious example was a scene in which Paddy Considine, who plays the father, has a monologue about feeling dead inside since his infant son died of a brain tumor. Not even a good actor like Considine could save this scene. He's forced to do something really stupid that you only see people doing in movies. Here's the line:
"I can't see. I can't hear." (punches himself several times in the head and the chest, then yells the next line) "I CAN'T FEEL!"
The movie's got a lot going for it: the acting, footage of New York City that looks different from anything you've seen in movies before, and Sheridan's increasing confidence as a visually exciting filmmaker. It's just that the movie tries too hard to make you like it and to jerk out some tears. It's like the film is running for class president. Lighten up, I wanted to say to it.
Full Moon in Paris (Eric Rohmer) What can I say about this one? If you've ever seen a Rohmer film before, this one is pretty much just like it. That's not a put-down, though. Rohmer as a filmmaker is like James Brown or the Ramones as music makers. He's obsessed with variations on a basic theme, and most of his films are pieces of one single body of work. Like James Brown and the Ramones, Rohmer can be addictive and sometimes irritating. This is one of his good ones.

Friday, September 17, 2004

This is awesome

If you're having a bad day, Makigami Koichi will make it all better.

(Please watch the Voice Art Movie)

Thursday, September 16, 2004


I'm bored at work. It will be a long time before I get to go home. Even though the Neil Young biography I'm reading is really good, time is still moving slowly. Someone, please regale me with tales of hilarity and/or woe in comment form under this post.

R.I.P. Johnny Ramone Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Man Who Refused To Take His Gorilla Mask Off Part 7

Steve enters the burning home, looking frantically for any sign of the children and the kitty. The mask feels hot against his face. He looks around to get his bearings and sees smoke billowing up the staircase toward the back of the kitchen in the west side of the house. The living room he stands in is reasonably untouched, but the hallway in front of him is full of smoke. He takes a deep breath and runs into the haze. He hears a small child crying at his left. On his right, a bedroom is full of flames. Steve veers left and enters a child's bedroom. A boy of five or six is curled up in a ball on the bed, crying. A crib sits on the other side of the room. Steve looks in and sees an infant and a kitten, sleeping gently. He scoops the baby and the kitten up in his arms. The baby begins to cry and the kitten claws at the mask and squirms in Steve's arms. He walks over to the boy.
"Come on," Steve says. "I'm going to get you out of here."
The boy looks up and cries even harder.
"My hands are full," Steve says. "You'll have to walk right in front of me. I'll be behind you all the way, and we'll get you out of here and back to your mom outside, okay?"
The boy continues to cry. He tries to talk, but his crying is too intense and his chin shakes.
"W-w-w-w-w-wh-what in the crap?" the boy finally manages to say.
"It's alright," Steve says. "I'm a friendly apeman and I'm going to get you out of here. Get off the bed, keep low, which shouldn't be hard since you're so short, and I'll be right behind you. Ready?"
"I'm n-not so sh-short," the boy burbles.
"Okay," Steve says. "On the count of three, we're going to get the hell out of here. Ready? One. Two. Three."
The boy jumps off the bed and runs out the front door, Steve and the baby/kitty combination closely behind. The boy runs into the arms of his crying mother, who cries even harder. She hugs the boy, the baby, the kitten, and Steve.

Steve sits on his couch, the remote control on his lap, watching the evening news. Timmy sits next to him, a plate of nachos on the coffeetable in front of them.
"Gee whiz, Steve," Timmy says. "Why are we watching the dumb old news? Let's watch 'The Matrix'."
"Just wait," Steve says. "You'll find out."
Timmy fidgets impatiently and eats more nachos.
"Oh!" Steve shouts, turning up the television. "Here it is!"

A newscaster for NBC affiliate KZYL, Jim Tompkins, smiles and begins to speak. A graphic of an ape mask appears in the upper right hand side of the television screen.
Tompkins: And now for our Oddly Enough segment. An apeman became an ape hero earlier today when he rescued a small child, an infant, and a kitten from a burning home. The woman, 35-year-old Tina Smucklers, woke up from an afternoon nap to find her bedroom in flames. Disoriented, Smucklers ran out of the house, forgetting that her two children, Buster and Donny, and her kitten, Mr. Poopers, were still inside. Steve Smithers, a recently unemployed proofreader wearing a gorilla mask, happened to be passing by when he heard Smucklers' screams. He ran into the burning home, picked up Donny and Mr. Poopers, and convinced Buster to follow him outside. The family were successfully reunited moments later.
Footage of the burning home is shown, followed by a KZYL reporter interviewing young Buster in front of the fire.
Reporter: What did you think when you saw the fire?
Buster: I was really scared. I started to cry. It was really hot. I saw some fire. Then I saw a gorilla man and I got even more scared. But he told me he was going to help me, so I stopped being scared. He's a nice gorilla man, not a scary gorilla man.
Tompkins is shown at his desk again. The camera pans back to show him and his co-host, Linda Teagel.
Tompkins: The 30-year-old Smithers says he's worn the gorilla mask since Halloween. He says he feels like himself in it and has no immediate plans to remove it. Fire marshals aren't sure what started the blaze in the Smucklers' home, but have ruled out arson. What a story, Linda.
Teagel: Amazing. Ha ha.
Tompkins: What a weirdo.
Teagel: He sure is a weirdo, but a weirdo with a heart of gold.
Tompkins: You said it, Linda. Well, that's all for tonight. Join us tomorrow when we look at the latest in designer cheese graters. We'll tell you which ones are hot and which ones to avoid. And join us tomorrow morning at six for the early show with Pete and Angie. Goodnight.
Teagel: Goodnight.

"Holy cow, Steve," Timmy says, eyes wide. "You're a hero."
"I couldn't let those kids burn," Steve says. "I did what I had to do."
"Gee whiz," Timmy says. "I can't believe it."
"I can't either, Timmy," Steve says. "I can't either."

Next week: Steve gets the key to the city!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I done watched some movies

Caught a few movies on video and in the theater this past weekend. Here they are:
Saw Ju-on (Takashi Shimizu) at the Alamo Drafthouse Village on Sunday. I'm not sure what to think. Apparently, this is the third version of the story that Shimizu has filmed (the first two were TV movies), and he's going to remake it again as an American film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar next year. I think maybe he should just move on to something else. The scary, creepy parts of the film were really effective, but the story was complete and utter nonsense. It wouldn't have bothered me much, but it was needlessly confusing, incoherent, and thin. Why not do away with the story entirely and make a frightening series of mood pieces, or beef it up until it makes sense?
I rented these:
Deathdream (Bob Clark) Clark has had an extremely bizarre directorial career. He started out making really interesting low-budget horror movies, moved on to the "Porky's" series, "A Christmas Story," "Turk 182," and, recently, the "Baby Geniuses" movies. This one is really good. It's the story of a young man, killed in Vietnam, who returns to his small town a sort of zombie/vampire/heroin addict/disgruntled youth combination. Basically, he never shows emotion, save for the occasional sarcastic remark, and kills people, removes their blood with a syringe, and shoots their blood into his arm to stop himself from decomposing. The way it's presented is unique because it works as a drama that shows, in the most realistic terms possible, what it would actually be like if your son came home from the war a bloodthirsty zombie. And the zombie's parents are played by John Marley and Lynn Carlin, who previously played a couple with marital problems in John Cassavetes' "Faces."
First Name: Carmen (Jean-Luc Godard) This is very interesting, but it left me a little cold. Not as difficult as some late-period Godard films, it still kept its distance from the audience. I couldn't find any entry point into the film and admired it more than I liked it. The best scenes involved Godard as a formerly great director named Godard who went nuts and checked himself into a mental hospital.
Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky) Tarkovsky's "Stalker" is one of my ten favorite films of all time, so I had high hopes for this one. I didn't like it nearly as much as "Stalker," but it's hardly a bad film and may even be a great one. Tarkovsky's pacing takes a lot to get used to (it's incredibly slooooow), but if you give yourself up to it, it's incredibly hypnotic. The first two-thirds work beautifully, but I think Tarkovsky showed a failure of nerve in the closing moments, in which a long philosophical discussion explicitly spells out the film's themes. The few moments after this scene, however, somewhat redeem it. Tarkovsky himself said this was the least favorite of his own films, but I would be extremely happy if this was the worst I could do.
Last Night at the Alamo (Eagle Pennell) I'd never heard of Pennell until a few years ago, when he died of acute alcoholism and his obituary appeared in all the local papers. Apparently, he was a minor Texan celebrity. Born in west Texas, he lived in Houston and occasionally Austin. He only managed to direct a handful of ultra-low-budget movies and, eventually, his alcoholism derailed any chance of a continuing career. "Last Night at the Alamo" suffers from its budget limitations (some of the acting is pretty rough, the film stock is cheap and ugly), but manages to mostly overcome them. It's a loosely plotted film. The Alamo is a dive, redneck, working class bar in Houston that's going to be torn down so a highrise can be built, and the clientele are living it up one last time. And that's it. But it's so much more than that. Definitely worth seeing, and the lead performance by Sonny Carl Davis (he's the asshole customer who gets Judge Reinhold fired from All-American Burger in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High") carries the film. And, the screenplay was written by Kim Henkel, who also wrote "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Monday, September 13, 2004

New Robot of the Week

Here is the new Robot of the Week. Give this robotic son of a bitch a name by Monday, Sep. 20, and, if I like yours the best, you will be honored with victory and entered in the monthly prize-winning contest. Good luck, humanoids.

Robot of the Week and Month contest winners

Hey everybody. It's time to announce the best robot name of the week and our first ever monthly prizewinner. Congratulations are in order for this week's winner, Receptionista, and her robot name, Bruno. Here's a recap of our last four winners:
Week 1: Kristy - Immobilebot
Week 2: Nick - Electro-jaundice
Week 3: Kylie McKain - Bocephus
Week 4: Receptionista - Bruno

And the monthly prizewinner is:
Nick for Electro-jaundice! Congratulations, Nick! I will be contacting you to find out where you want your prizes sent. Thanks to everyone who participated in each weekly contest.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Come on people

I just want to remind everyone to enter the robot-naming contest. The turnout is a little slow this week. Come on people. Robots. Possible prizes. The thrill of victory. The shame of defeat. It will make your life more exciting, and give the robot's life more meaning. Enter the contest. Do it. Come on. Do it.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Man Who Refused To Take His Gorilla Mask Off, Part 6

Steve sits in his office with the door closed, proofreading a manual entitled "68 Easy Ways to Turn on Your Computer." He strokes the hair on the gorilla mask and thinks about his last six dates and their undesirable outcomes. Five of the women ran away before the date was over, though one woman, Rosetta, performed oral sex on him. It had always been a fantasy of hers, she explained, to "blow someone wearing a mask." Steve enjoyed that date, but hadn't heard from Rosetta again. A knocking on his office door surprises him out of his thoughts.
"Come in," Steve says.
Steve's boss, an abrupt and serious man named Todd, enters the room. He looks angry.
"Steve," he says. "What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm just proofreading this manual," Steve says. "Why?"
"Dammit," Todd says. "Not that. The gorilla mask, for chrissakes. Why are you wearing it?"
"I'm an apeman, Todd. It's who I am."
"Well, you're not an apeman here," Todd says. "This is an office. You're supposed to be a professional. Now take it off."
"I can't take it off, Todd. I'm sorry. I have to leave it on."
"You can either take the mask off and work, or leave it on and look for another job. We have clients coming in today. I can't afford to lose business because my staff looks like they escaped from the fucking zoo."
"Are you firing me?" Todd asks.
"If you won't take the mask off," Todd says. "Then yes."
"I'm sorry this happened," Steve says. "I thought this office would be ape-friendly. I guess I was wrong."
"Yep," Todd says. "Clean out your desk. I'll call H.R. and have them get your paperwork ready. Fill it out and then you're free to go ape all over the goddamn place, and I can hire someone who takes the job seriously."
"But I do take the job seriously," Steve says. "I just can't take this mask off. You've gotta understand."
"Sorry," Todd says. "We have a strict policy against the wearing of masks in the office. I'm talking zero tolerance."
"Is it in the manual?" Steve asks.
"Will you show me?"

Steve walks home, dejected. He moves slowly and stares at his feet while he walks. Tears well up in his eyes and drip through the holes in the mask. I've got no job and no apewoman, he thinks. I've got nothing. It's all over for the apeman. The world is a harsh and unwelcoming place. Steve breaks down into deep, heaving sobs. Then he notices the heat. It's much warmer than it should be, isn't it, Steve thinks to himself. A woman screams. Steve looks up and sees a thick sheet of flame surrounding a house. The fire department and paramedics have yet to arrive. The woman is hysterical. Steve runs over to her and puts his arm around her. She screams again.
"My babies," she cries. "My babies are in there! And my kitty! My babies and my kitty! Oh god, no!"
Steve looks at the woman. Then he looks at the house.
"What have I got to lose?" Steve says before running into the burning home.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Gorilla mask update

Hey people,
For anyone following "The Man Who Refused to Take Off His Gorilla Mask," I will probably get around to it tonight or tomorrow. We are very busy at work and my blog was experiencing all kinds of technical difficulties. So for anyone who's been waiting for it, I'm sorry. For anyone who thinks it sucks and is glad it's late, nuts to you.

Red Hot Adult Action

I feel a little odd right now. I'm still excited from seeing a great movie on the big screen tonight, but I've also got a feeling of dread and melancholy because the creeping black death that is my job is hovering once again as I think about having to go to bed soon so I can get my seven or eight hours of sleep before trudging back to the ambition-killing energy-suck that is the Texas Legislative Council. That was a long and not very good sentence. I'm sorry. But I did see a great movie, Wong Kar-Wai's Happy Together at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. God, what a great movie. I won't go on and on about it because I've been going on and on about movies for the past several days, but, fuck, it's a good movie. And it reminded me of something that was an early bonding point for me and my lady friend. "Happy Together" was the first movie in the Austin Film Society's new film series, "Gay and Lesbian Images in Global Cinema." There is a core audience of film society members, including my girlfriend and me, who see pretty much every series the Film Society programs, but there are also a lot of people who have some kind of special interest in the subject who usually turn up just for that series. For example, the Iranian film series was well-attended by Iranian immigrants to Texas, the kung-fu series was full of geeky fanboys, and any series having to do with classic Hollywood movies from the golden age of film are usually chock-full with old folks. However, the audience tonight was pretty much just the film society regulars. And mostly straight couples, to boot. It kind of surprised me. It's not like I could tell by looking who was homosexual and who wasn't, but it was a far different crowd than another my girlfriend, Kristy, and I encountered at a gay film festival back in Lincoln, Nebraska when we were first dating. I was in my last year of college, and I had been seeing Kristy for maybe a month. I was taking a class called "Women in Pop Culture" and one of our assignments was to attend a film at the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at the art film theater on the university campus and write a paper about its representation of women. With my classes, work schedule of two jobs, and a new relationship I was all excited about, I didn't have much time to see any of these films except for one on Saturday night called, and I'm not kidding about this, "Hard." In my extraordinary brilliance, I happened to pick the only film in the festival that had no female characters, I'm talking zero women in the entire film, which made my paper for a class called "Women in Pop Culture" ridiculously irrelevant. Fortunately, I had a great professor who let me write it anyway. I asked Kristy if she wanted to go with me to see "Hard," and she said yes. This was maybe our fourth date. We still didn't know each other that well. We get into the theater, and it's a packed, sold-out crowd. In addition, everyone in the theater is a flamingly gay man except for Kristy and me. The stereotypes were out in full effect. It looked like the inside of the gay bar in those horrible "Police Academy" movies when the stick-in-the-mud police chief is tricked into going inside and is fondled and forced to tango with a crew of mustachioed, leather-clad rent boys. I'd like to say I'd never felt so out of place, but it wasn't really that uncomfortable. It was a very welcoming environment. No one gave us dirty looks, but it was really weird to be the only straight man in a rather large room. Kristy was the only woman in the room, so it was probably even weirder for her. So we're sitting in the theater, the lights go down, and a short film is shown before "Hard." This film might have destroyed lesser relationships, but, I'm happy to say, actually strengthened ours. It was our first collective embarrassing moment. This short film, entitled "Devotions," featured a lot of new age hippy bullshit mantras, flute playing, and Ginsberg-esque poetry. It also featured 25 minutes of old, fat, heavily bearded, naked men shaving each other's pubic hair, giving each other blowjobs, and sucking each other's toes, not to mention lots of hot oil massaged into frighteningly erect, old-man cock. I'm sure there's an audience for this, but the rest of the theater also seemed very taken aback. I don't care how gay you are, no one wants to see a Wilford Brimley lookalike given a handjob by someone resembling a department-store Santa Claus.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


I watched some movies this weekend. Here's what they are:
Finally finished the 14-part miniseries Berlin Alexanderplatz (Rainer Werner Fassbinder). We've been watching it for weeks. It's very, very good. Especially the 12th episode. There is a 30-minute extended scene in that one that words can't even begin to describe. See it if you can, even though it's 15 1/2 hours long and out of print.
And I rented:
It Lives Again (Larry Cohen) I'm a fan of Larry Cohen. He makes intelligent, funny B-movies, usually in the horror, blaxploitation, or suspense vein. Sometimes his dialogue isn't so hot, but he usually has good actors and weird ideas, and his movies are a lot of fun to watch. This one is a sequel to "It's Alive," the story of normal parents giving birth to killer, mutant babies. This is probably my least-favorite Cohen movie so far, but it does have an interesting script, some good scenes, and John Marley, who gave one of my favorite performances in one of my favorite films, John Cassavetes' "Faces."
And the Ship Sails On (Federico Fellini) I've seen a lot of Fellini films, and I think he's a great artist, but I don't feel a lot of affinity for his work. I like it, but it doesn't affect me much personally. There are a few exceptions ("Nights of Cabiria," "Amarcord," "Toby Dammit"), but mostly I admire Fellini's skill without feeling very moved. This film fits right in with my feelings about Fellini. It's fun, it's beautiful to look at, and there are a few great scenes. I like the film, but it hasn't really stayed in my thoughts much since seeing it. The first and last ten minutes are probably the best parts and those scenes alone are worth a rental.
Rumble Fish (Francis Ford Coppola) I liked this quite a bit. I don't think it's great art for a number of reasons -- heavy stylization, some undeveloped characters, a silliness (especially in the ending) in the source novel -- but the movie looks great, the acting is much better than it has to be (especially Dennis Hopper, Mickey Rourke, and Diane Lane), and it's based on one of my favorite books when I was 12. You can't truly ever dislike something you loved when you were 12. And the scene where Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, and Vincent Spano hit the bars and get mugged in the street was really well-done.
The Swinging Cheerleaders (Jack Hill) This is one of the most consistently funny exploitation movies I've ever seen. Not a single scene drags, and its extreme ridiculousness is something to be admired. Here's a sample line of dialogue:
One of the cheerleaders is sleeping with her professor and pressures him into getting a divorce. He says divorce is expensive, but he just might have some money coming in soon. Then he says, "Baby, if this deal comes through, we'll be rolling in so much clover, we'll make a big pile of it on the bed and ball in it." Pure genius.

Monday, September 06, 2004

New Robot of the Week Contest

Huzzah! Here is our new Robot of the Week. Give him a name, and I will pick my favorite. This is the fourth contest, so you know what that means. Unless you don't. In that case, I will pick my favorite name of the month, and the winner will receive, all expenses paid, a prize of a baffling and insignificant nature, delivered by U.S. mail to an address of your choice. Whoopy!

Robot of the Week winner

Hey everybody. It's time to announce our Robot of the Week contest winner. Here's a recap of the names:
Mary P.: JaniTOR
Krouchdog: Bucket from Beyond the Stars
Cuttyblacksow: Maximilian le Cain (revised list)
Stinky: Cheese3PO
Anonymous: Bucketbot
Joolie: Fifi Dakota
Kylie McKain: Bocephus
Archivaria: rand-a-lar: stealer of money

And the winner is: Kylie McKain for Bocephus. Congratulations, Kylie! She narrowly defeated the runner-up, her own brother, Cuttyblacksow, and his choice, Maximilian le Cain (revised list), by virtue of a coin toss.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Hilarious names

My job is pretty boring, but sometimes I get to proofread a resolution honoring someone with a hilarious name. I 've been collecting these names for a while, so I figured I would pass them on to you. Remember, these are all real human names. People actually gave these names to their children. If one of the following people somehow stumbles onto this blog, I'm sorry you have such a hilarious name:
Rocky Rainbolt
Larry Forehand
Matt Engledinger
Will Midgett
Rabbi Lawrence Jackofsky
Ebbie Neptune
Waffus Simmons
Buster Curlee
Wilberine Beans Alexanders
Shams Kazmi
Rockland Owens
Selmore Haines III
Devonne Graghn Foutz
Downy Vickery
Serge Dube
Max Birbraer
Penny Balch
Nugent Starghill
Captain Benny Hienemann
Sid Challapalli
Totun Eurwayo
Pheadra Koonz
Dorcas Claunch
Dorcas Maglott
Cecil Samsill
Canaan Ball and his father, Bobby Ball
Georgia Coonrod
Tapley Strange
Richard Toolate
Metford Mountford
La'Courtney Ratliff
Zealous Trout
Sherri Goree
and, last but not least, Dickie Stoolz

Friday, September 03, 2004

Yet another reason why if my job was a human being I would choke it to death

I am employed as a proofreader. My job consists of reading documents and comparing them to the original draft, looking for discrepancies and errors. If we find one, we fix it. Sometimes something is wrong on the original draft or looks suspicious. In that case, we take the draft to a chief reviewer, who decides whether to fix the weird mistake or leave it alone. Sometimes, the chief reviewer is not sure whether to fix the weirdness, and he will send the lowly proofreader upstairs to editing, where the editor of the particular document ultimately decides the document's fate. I'm sure you're all still hanging on my every word, so I will continue. Just now, the most ridiculous bureaucratic monkeyshines tapdanced right into my lap and I am disgusted. I was infuriated, but the rage has simmered down to a more generalized quiet contempt. Sometimes, we get documents that are marked "Preliminary Draft." When they are marked this way, the document needs to say "Preliminary Draft" at the top. This particular document was marked "Preliminary Form." It had no heading at the top. I asked my boss if it should still get a "Preliminary Draft" heading when it's marked as a form and not a draft. She said that it should, but she called the head of typing to check. The head of typing also replied in the affirmative, but said that the head of our division, a micro-managing, petty buffoon of a woman, now wants us to take the document upstairs to editing and have them write in the "Preliminary Draft" heading on the document. So, even though I knew it was wrong, my boss knew it was wrong, and the head of typing knew it was wrong, I had to go upstairs and get an editor to make it right, who was baffled at why we didn't just fix it downstairs. WHY? Why the fuck does this happen? It's asinine. It's dumb. DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB. I feel like I have the capacity to make this decision and fix it on my own, saving several minutes of time and getting the document where it's supposed to go faster. I didn't go to college so I could be treated like an insignificant peon or aid and abet a bureaucratic system of insufficient jackassery. I can make decisions. Maybe someday I will have a job that lets me make them. Instead, I work in a monotonous shit-cave run by idiots who throw up their hands helplessly when we run out of orange pencils simply because the company they usually buy them from stops carrying them. It took two years for a decision to be made. That decision: use the red pencils we already have. What a collection of supergeniuses.

I have been given the gift of precious life and I squander it like this:

Last night, after all my guests went home from another Bad Movie Night, I found myself unwilling to get off the couch due to a combination of cheap beer and I forget what else, though I do remember that it is absolutely "legal." I turned on my local Fox affiliate, which is the only channel I get thanks to my cheap antenna, and its syndicated late evening lineup of "The Simpsons," "Seinfeld," and "King of the Hill." I try not to watch a lot of TV (I don't consider movies TV, but if you count anything you watch on a television as watching TV, I guess I watch a lot of it. My actual TV watching is pretty much confined to Fox's Sunday night lineup and whatever's on right after I get home from work while I eat dinner. The best decision I ever made was not getting cable. I thought I would really miss it, but I haven't had cable for six years, and life is so much better without it), but when I feel like it, the previously mentioned late evening Fox lineup is pretty excellent. However, for some horrible reason, the usual shows had been pre-empted for the evening for a "special movie presentation" of Martin Lawrence in "Big Momma's House." And I watched the whole fucking thing because I did not feel like I was capable of moving at that particular two-hour segment of time. Forget all that "I learned it by watching you, Dad" and your brain looks just like a scrambled egg yolk under the influence bullshit. If you really want to keep kids on the straight and narrow, show them any random three minutes of my wasted ass lying on the couch watching this monstrosity of turgid dung, which, according to Gene Shalit* of NBC's "Today Show," is a "delightful romp -- imagine Mrs. Doubtfire gangbanged at gunpoint by Amos n Andy -- that had me twirling my ludicrously oversized mustache in pants-wetting glee."

*Not an actual quote, though his mustache is quite large

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Good times on the toilet

About one half hour after lunch, I felt the urge to take a shit. Normally, I prefer waiting until I get home, but that's about four hours away, so I had to bite the bullet. Great news, everybody! They had just finished cleaning the bathroom, so the toilet was nice and clean. Also, no one came in the whole time and used the stall next to me. And I was at work, so, technically, I was being paid to shit. Sometimes life is sweet.

Robot Contest reminder

Just reminding everyone that there is a robot-naming contest going on. The participation levels have been pretty weak this week, so step it up, everybody. Last week was awesome. Don't you want to be like last week? Don't you want to be awesome? In two weeks, someone will get the best robot name of the month prize. Could it be you? Not if you don't participate, sucka.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Man Who Refused To Take His Gorilla Mask Off, Part 5

Steve stares into the bathroom mirror, combs the fur on his gorilla mask, and straightens his tie.
"Sheila," he says. "You look so beautiful tonight. Oh, thanks. Don't mention it. And what a lovely dress."
He clears his throat and starts again. "You must be Sheila. You look great. So nice to finally meet you. How about some wine? What a beautiful dress."
He loosens the tie. "Sheila. Hi. It's Steve. I'm so glad to finally meet you. You look even more beautiful than I imagined."
He takes off the tie. "No, that's stupid. Don't want to overdo it. I'll just tell her she looks nice and ask her if she wants some wine. And lose the tie. Yeah, not too formal. That makes me look desperate."
The phone rings and Steve drops the comb in the toilet. He curses himself and runs into the living room. He picks up the phone on the fourth ring.
"Hello," he says.
"Hi, Steve?" a woman's tentative voice asks.
"Yes, this is Steve. Is this Sheila?"
"Yeah," she says, less tentative now. "How are you?"
She emphasizes the word "you," which Steve finds endearing.
"I'm good," Steve says. "Thanks for asking."
"I just wanted to let you know that I'm on my way, and I just wanted to doublecheck that address. It's 1232 Dixiecrat Avenue, right?"
"Right. Apartment number 15."
"Right," she says. "Do you have a gate code or anything like that?"
"No, anyone can just waltz right in. And I'm on the second floor. I forgot to mention that."
"Okay," she says sweetly. "I'll see you in a few."
"Bye," Steve says, holding the phone in his hand like a newborn baby. He looks at it for a long while, then hangs up and paces nervously. He urinates twice and notices that his hands are shaking. He jogs in place and breathes deeply, in and out. He checks his watch once, twice, three times.
The knocking on the door startles him. He cracks his knuckles, opens the door, and sees Sheila, the first woman who answered his personal ad. Sheila is tall, blonde, and tan. Steve can't believe his good fortune. She looks just like a California beach goddess, he thinks.
"Sheila," he says. "So good to finally meet you. Come in."
"Oh my god," Sheila says, laughing. "You're wearing an apeman mask. It's just like your ad. You're so funny. Oh my god."
"I feel like King Kong meeting Fay Wray," Steve says. "Only I hope it doesn't end as badly. I really don't feel like falling off a building tonight."
Steve takes Sheila's hand and escorts her inside. They give each other a brief, impersonal hug.
"Your personal ad was so funny," Sheila says. "Mr. Apeman."
"Thank you," Steve says, slightly baffled. What was so funny about it, he asks himself. Well, as long as she's having a good time. "So, are you a wine drinker?"
"Yeah," Sheila says.
"Great. I have a zinfandel if you like red and a chenin blanc if you like white."
"The red would be great, thanks."
Steve enters the kitchen and takes the bottle of zinfandel from the cupboard. He pops the cork and pours two glasses, putting a silly-straw in his so he can drink it through the mask. When he reenters the living room, Sheila's smile fades.
"Here you go," Steve says cheerfully and hands her the glass.
"Um," Sheila says and looks around awkwardly. "Are you gonna take that mask off pretty soon?"
"Why," Steve asks worriedly. "Don't you like it?"
"Uh, we're supposed to be on a date here."
"We are," Steve says. "But this mask is me. I feel like myself in it. I don't take it off. It's no big deal. We can still have a good time."
They both sip nervously on their glasses of wine. Neither of them say anything.
"How long have you been wearing it?" she asks.
"Oh, since Halloween."
"But that's been over a month," Sheila says. "What do they think of it at your job?"
"I've been on vacation this month," Steve says. "I go back Monday. I guess I'll find out then."
"How do you eat in it?"
"Well, this mouth slit is pretty big. If the pieces are small enough, I can fit them right through the mask. Otherwise, I have to pull the bottom of the mask out a little and slide the food under it. I've gotten pretty good. And I drink through a straw."
"Oh," Sheila says and stares down at her feet.
Steve finishes his wine and feels the urge to urinate again. "I'll be right back. I'm going to go to the restroom."
When Steve comes out of the bathroom, the kitchen table is empty. Sheila's glass of wine is still relatively full. The front door is open. He looks out the window and sees Sheila running down the street toward her car. She looks back nervously, and Steve ducks behind the curtain. He hears a car door slam and an engine start up. He takes her semi-full glass of zinfandel and empties it in the sink. Then he slumps down in his La-Z-Boy recliner and crumples a straw in his left hand.
A single tear trickles down the plastic cheek of the gorilla mask.