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Above: Dulceria, Nogales; tiny gosling; roadrunner/desert-themed change tray, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

Longer 2005 articles: A look back at PETA vs. The Veget-Aryans / Phoneswarm / The NAMM Show, a musical instrument convention.


January 2005.

2005jan03. So one of the perimeters of the Cardhouse Kompound was leaking Chihuahuas to-day. The neighboring house has five skee-billion of the little yappy dogs, but most of the fencing is camouflaged by big Palo Verde trees which grow an infinite amount of branches that hang from the ground up. Finding the doghole in this morass was proving to be impossible, when suddenly we had another breach and the tiny dogs made their deadly assault. "BACK! BACK!" I yelled, and the dogs went right back through the fence, leading me directly to the hole. Chihuahuas: masters of strategy. Two cinderblocks and five thousand branch lashings later, peace has returned to the kingdom.

2005jan03. Deuce of Clubs: Spontaneous Ancient Literary Structure in Modern Colloquial Speech. With an important Call for Submissions and a submission in the "MP3" file format. If your resolution for the new year is to read one article, let it be this one.

2005jan03. 5IVES

2005jan03. Mail.

What do you do if the screen is pushed in and you cant see what you are doing? Please E-mail me if you can help.

I sent you a response, but you never got back to me. OhhhhhhhhhHHHhhhhh ...

2005jan03. Photo: French Market New Orleans.

2005jan04. Interrupt Pathological, Media-Simulated Social Interaction ... in your spare time!

2005jan05. Nothing happening at the laundro-mat right now. It's 5:00am there right now, but tomorrow. It is the laundro-mat of the near future.

2005jan05. You can look at images from unsecured security cameras via this google search (via several people). I've got this Japanese laundromat COVERED

CAMERA ONE!

CAMERA TWO!

Oooooh ... spin cycle. See the tiny blue boxes at the edge of the frame? Washers. Keep me updated on the drama, I can't watch this 24/7.

2005jan06. Okay, here's the thing. I'm a greedy slob when it comes to browser history files. I want to see it all, even though I never look at it. I use Firefox, and I set it for 40 days of history file holdin'. Then for awhile when I was clicking on the "Go" menu, or even rolling over it, Firefox would freeze up like the frozenest thing ever. It also started doing this when I would open up any new tab. It would just sit there with a brand-new window for six seconds, then it would start loading stuff to it. So I used this handy extension called Compact Menu and I removed the "Go" menu from the menu line-up, and everything seems to be okay now.

2005jan06. Achewood: Philippe is starting on sugared cereals.

2005jan07. So this site is finding more unsecured webcams, and one of them is in Macau. Went there on the trip.

This is Leal Senado Square. If you look at the sidewalk, you'll see that it matches the image from the camera. Same place.

Sidewalk again. I am sure you believe me now.

A moped shop. There are lots of mopeds in Macau.

This was actually an indoor arcade.

Dogs have their own special facilities.

Dogs have their own special posters.

"As your mailman, I'd like to advise you to step on a dogpile."

The nice thing about a smallish Special Administrative Region of the PRC is that you can just wander around without paying much attention to the map. I ended up walking through The Area That Is All Hi-Rise Apartments Everywhere as the sun was setting.

Didn't go to the Canidrome. Not a fan of dog racing. And that's Macau!

2005jan07. Achewood: Fuck You Friday.

2005jan07. Flipping channels during the Ohio voting irregularity debate. One Republican said something like "You know what this is? [dramatic pause] Sour grapes." Dayamn, he got right in there and solved the whole problem! He should get danger pay or somethin'.

2005jan08. Finally, finally, finally, finally. Pets In Uniform, a convenient multi-step process for your beloved pet. Makes a great Christmas gift that's unbelievably late. Makes a great Easter gift that's totally early.

2005jan08. Had To Happen Sooner Or Later Chapter XIV: Flickr Infected By Commerce.

2005jan08. Maakies: What is that, a DUCK-HAT?

2005jan09. There was some kind of accident ‒ at the chemical plant? And we ran to the mountain to escape the danger.

2005jan10. Circus Punks made by artists. [via molly]

2005jan10. ATTENTION DECK O' JUNK FANS

There are more cards. Four of them. All royalty, coincidentally. We're rounding the last bend, here. Soon the deck of found cards will be finished, and then we can all jump off a bridge or something and won't that make the evening paper that no one reads anymore.

Jack o' Hearts
Queen o' Spades
King o' Clubs
King o' Diamonds

2005jan11. Commercials: Always thought-provoking. Hardee's new Fist Girl television advertisement, geared toward the 18-34 male w/small brainpan segment.

2005jan11. Ali G at the rodeo . [via waxy]

2005jan11. Today, everything is dumb.

2005jan12. Flickr: Porn-O gumball machines, Japan. This is the only vending-type streetporn I saw in Japan, in Kyoto:

2005jan12. Oolong the rabbit. Oh, you are missed.

2005jan13. Apple introduces the iProduct. About freaking time, I'm jonesing here.

2005jan13. Household burglar alarm record player, 1939. "Help, help, the house at 927 North shhhhk 927 North shhhhk 927 North shhhhk 927 North ..."

2005jan13. Oops. Oolong's actual homepage. With new rabbit Yuebing.

2005jan14. Ooooh, look: advertising. Well then. Okay. So ... there it is! Mmmmhmmm. Lookie there. [hangs head in shame, runs away crying]

2005jan15. Flickr: Locked in love.

2005jan15. Okay, to sum up: the new CSS format is mauled by IE5 and IE6, perhaps just on 800x600 screens ‒ and some people who are experiencing these problems are being nice enough to try to drag me through the Doorway of Perception.

2005jan18. No Loitering. Observations.

2005jan22. I am reporting live from the National Association of Music Merchants show in sunny, horrific Anaheim. Home to Disneyland, Anaheim has become a surreal cultural black hole of donut/hamburger shops, theme parks, and not much else. Through some odd non-debilitating stroke of good luck or simply because we had cruised every single street in the city, we were able to find what a local weekly had rated the "best dinner joint" in Anaheim that also featured waitresses on rollerskates. Not the best dinner joint with waitresses with rollerskates, the rollerskating bit was not considered for the final rating. Anyway, NAMM is like every other convention but now imagine you're standing in an aisle and the enormous drum area is to your left and the enormous guitar area is to your right and millions of musicians are testing drums and guitars over and over again and then add in every other instrument you've ever seen including some you haven't like the V-Accordion and you start to get some sort of idea of how large an ideal pair of earplugs would be. I saw a small child sitting down at the NAMM cafeteria wearing a giant pair of headphones, but that didn't protect him from the wrath of Aramark. "You're trapped like animals. Aramark." That's their slogan, I swear this to be true. I had a substance somewhat resembling a turkey sandwich and my friend ate his $1.50 apple while we sat at a table with a pasty businessman and a semi-rastafarian and we all came together over the amazing shittiness of this lowest-bid food service company. In summaration, Anaheim is a cancer that is somewhat contained by more interesting surrounding areas. Aerial bombing would provide the citizens a way to band together and improve their community once it is razed, or they could just put little ribbons on their cars, either way. (see Massive NAMM fotojournal)

2005jan25. Sunday just off Santa Monica beach. There is a fence partially blocking my view. I've just turned away from a large mass of seagulls feeding on discarded lobster ‒ smaller pigeons were staggering at the periphery hoping to snatch some food away. A young man with long, straight black hair, a semi-haggard face, and a black leather jacket approaches me. He motions to the shoreline. In our line of sight is the fence, the shoreline, the seagull mass, the beloved Santa Monica Art Tool, Veterans for Peace crosses, and the distant end of the Santa Monica pier. There is no one in sight.

"What's this guy doing?"
"What guy?"
"This [motions again] guy."
"The crosses?"
"No, this guy." [motions]
"Santa Monica?"
"No ... what crosses?" [squints]
"It's Veterans For Peace." [steps away]
"Oh, okay." [leaves]

2005jan25. NEWS FLASH: Phoenix water contaminated

2005jan26. Catching up on mail. Oddly enough, it's mostly all about my growing, pulsating candy cigarette business. Thus:

I am unable to find your candy (cigarette) sticks ANYWHERE around my home! We are desperate. I am a 46 year old father of four and I won't even share these things with my kids! :)

Yeah, I can't find them anywhere around my home, either. I searched in the bathroom earlier to-day. Nothing.

Can I order directly from your company or can you please tell me somewhere near my town (area code 44514 ‒ Youngstown, Ohio) that I can find these. The stores I used to get them from have replaced them with nasty tasting Necco brand!

Actually I rather like the Necco brand, as far as sugar-based candies go. They remind me of the wafers. Probably the exact same thing. But I don't eat much candy anymore. I've found that I'm more interested in creams, like Boston Creme Pie, tapioca pudding, etc. But I don't eat a lot of that, because if I turn it into a habit, I'll balloon up and never be able to fit between the steel bar gates at the tire factory. And I like me the tire-selling side job I got going, thank you very much. Though now they're going to roll (haha) out those new airless tires. Those might be harder to fit between the gates. So you can see this is a common problem.

Please help!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I am commiserating with you. I set myself on fire to understand your pain. I have to go now, the flesh is falling off my arms.

Tink "Cuddly Jr." Galoshenski
Public Relations Department.

2005jan26. Day Two of Phoenix Water Problems. There is "no bacteria" but we are being told not to shower, not to wash the dishes. These interruptions in the social order can lead to chaos ‒ if I am not clean, why should I go to work to-day? Will I have to slug a fellow shopper in the nuts to get that last precious gallon of bottled tap water? Clearly this simple, unassuming molecule (H1.5O) is the secret lynchpin of our modern way of life and we as a people should come together to OH MY GOD STARBUCKS CAN'T MAKE COFFEE

2005jan27. Achewood. Always essential.

2005jan27. Sheriff's bus. Los Angeles.

2005jan27. There have been scientific studies conducted ‒ if I'm remembering this correctly ‒ that indicate if you spend your day smiling, you cause your mood to be upbeat, even if there's no reason for it. I tried that for awhile, but smiling on command ‒ even my own ‒ has become nearly verboten after years of work-related requests to "smile." You know, a co-worker sees you in the hall, and you're thinking 'bout your dog dying, and they say "smile" and you just want to run them up and down with the nearest sharp thing. So what I've been doing instead lately is yelling "YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" about an octave up. It's corny, but it seems to work. Except when I'm in an elevator with other people, but luckily I've mostly avoided that type of scheduling conflict. Hrmmmm ... that would be interesting.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION #217: Spend one day ‒ all day ‒ in an elevator.

2005jan27. Cora's Coffee Shoppe sign. Santa Monica. My most favoritest sign in recent history. I mean, other than the "Shoppe" bit. I mean, the word "Shoppe" not the neon "Shoppe." The way that I get around this disconnect is to look at the signs upside-down. Then, after I take a photo of them upside-down, I flip them in [generic image-editing program].

Sit in the driveway for eight hours, patiently, patiently ... PRESTO!

Cora's has been around for 67 years, and according to one worker, the sign has been on all that time. Day, night. There's a web document floating around that indicates the Santa Monica City Council has declared this sign (and several others) to be "meritorious" which means something like "oh, be so very glad your local government hasn't decided to zone it out of existence." Three cheers for government!

2005jan27. While I was on vacation, apparently someone was sworn into office. Unfortunately my curiosity got the best of me and I'm catching up on the "news." Titivil with the analysis.

2005jan27. Seagull tracks. Santa Monica.

2005jan27. Bob gets government ID. [via doc]

2005jan27. Stephen Colbert of 'The Daily Show' on Fresh Air. It would be awesome if they just cut out the Qs and left the As. If the program isn't loading for you, perhaps this alternative hand-crafted direct link will help. You don't see that kind of attention to detailing on other websites these days. Marquetry ... Parquetry.

2005jan27. Mail.

I like to distribute toys in Puerto Rico. i like to start my own business. Please send me information.

2005jan27. Mail.

you have found large graphic images which have to be send electronically to the other members in my group.

i)state one possible problem associated with this process
ii)Describe how this problem can be overcome

2005jan28. Spotted a roadrunner in the yard today. There aren't that many around here, so this is indeed a glorious occasion. If I can make the roadrunner continually return here, it would gladden my heart. I quietly removed myself from the area and got some carrots, tortillas, and pineapple chunks. I sat down 15 feet from it, hefted out a bit of each. The roadrunner came a few feet closer, bent down its head, and made a soft call. "Thank you for this bountiful feast," it said. "I will return each day." The roadrunner took the carrot in its beak ‒ and spit it out two seconds later. It avoided the tortilla pieces. It pecked at the pineapple, then scampered off into a tiny wash, fluttered up to the fence, back down the other side, and trotted off.

Roadrunners are habitual liars. You have to watch out for that.

2005jan28. CANJO ... CANJO! LUNCHBOX! CANJO! See, I'm still remembering those gas can ukes that were somewhere on the web only a few months ago, made by some guy in Tucson. Can't find him, the web page, the gas can ukes, nor my ass. So help, if you can. "Canjo."

2005jan28. So I was talking with someone about buying Compact Flash cards for my camera. I said I wanted at least one card that was blazingly fast, so I could use it during night shoots and/or when I knew I had to click off a bunch of shots in a short timeframe, say while on a secret spy mission. He indicated that he was also looking for such a card, but that he couldn't find any sort of comparison on the web. I believe him, since he is an old hand at this. Part of the problem is that google results are drenched in end user sales sites for pretty much anything you type in. I can find reviews of individual cards, but I don't feel like trudging through twenty sites just to get 20 datapoints. I've already purchased way too much in the way of SanDisk and Viking cards, apparently the former is the slowest card one can buy unless one resorts to wood. And those wooden CF cards heat up pretty fast.

2005jan28. Flickr: Red umbrella.

2005jan29. While in Phoenix, I ended up at Bonzai, which is a Japanese 99 cent store, and I'm smacking my forehead here, because I should have thought of this a long time ago. See, in regular 99 cent stores, there are all these little plastic containers, and I need little plastic containers. But they're always just barely functioning, and you know they're going to break a week later. But at the Japanese 99 cent store, there are all these little plastic containers, and they seem pretty durable. I purchased a few different sizes/styles, including my favorite, the "DUAL SEPARATE BOX XC-148" ($1.69) from Izumi, which is really for fishing tackle. It's the size of a thick paperback, clear plastic with a clip-on strap, and has eight compartments, four on each side, with two locking hinged lids ‒ one on the front, one on the back, accessing four compartments each. Got it? Because I'm not taking a photo of it, I promised myself I would only obsess about it print-wise. Anyway, I'm using it in my motorized conveyance to hold lozenges, change, various pills, a spare tire valve stem cap, emergency first-class stamps, a lighter, a pocketknife, bandages, needles, folding ruler, and extreme hygenic outer ear swabs. Though apparently now ear doctors are saying you shouldn't stick anything in your ears. I'm not sure how you're supposed to clean your ears now. Ears candling?

I'm still looking for a nice cheap little plastic container for my Compact Flashcards (5) and rechargeable AA batteries (8-12) for my camera. I'd like to get something shaped sort of like an abbreviated pencil case so it could fit in my pocket along with the camera for surreptitious shooting. Not that I do that.

2005jan29. Vacation all I ever wanted, vacation have to get away .... So you're halfway into your vacay and some mean old tsunami wipes the whole place out. Just you never mind. [via geisha asobi]

2005jan29. I like flickr but I don't like that the photos are wrapped in a layer of Flash so you "can't" save them to your hard drive when actually you can by taking a screenshot. I've been spending some time looking at photo web|ogs and I like the big big photos so much I'm going to start making larger photos available here but I haven't decided how that's going to happen because there's still a little part of me that wants to cater to the dial-up people seeing as I'm one of them. But it sure ain't going to be wrapped in Flash. [puts right arm in crook of left arm, lifts left fist upward in strong snap-like motion].

2005jan29. The girlfriend wanted to purchase a birthday cake for me for my birthday because I had a birthday which coincidentally is very close to the anniversary of this web|og which is now SIX years old put that in your pipe and save it for later. It was a cake that had this weird matching funds thing where if you bought a cake for n dollars then another n dollars was magically donated to various zoo animals for a new basketball court or some such. So she called up the place and said "it should be free of nuts" because Jesus, this is like my cake, right? And it's a big cake, three layers of cake. She goes to the place when the cake should be ready and they don't have any nut-free cakes ready. But the cake chef says "I'm really sorry, I've got one that just needs to be frosted, and that will be your cake," and the girlfriend goes "okay" and the cake chef frosts the cake and then gives it to the girlfriend for f r e e because she had to wait around six minutes for the cake. See what joy a nut-free life is?

So I guess the zoo animals got the royal screw job, there [puts right arm in crook of left arm, lifts left fist upward in strong snap-like motion].

2005jan30. Mail.

Hello yes i was wondering if you could help me i washed my cell phone and i was wondering if you could fix it or refer me to someone.

Thank you
Cheyanne

I may not get the coolest email messages, but I certainly do get ... no, there's no upside to this.

2005jan30. Cannot get enough of Overheard in New York.

Dude #1: I'm gonna stand up as I turn. I'd like you to kick me in the nuts. The idea is to black out, end up in the hospital, and push this off on someone else. Ready?
Dude #2: I was born ready.

2005jan30. Mail. See what happens when you thump the armrests in a spastic manner? A solution is revealed. Or, as Willow once said on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer": "REVEALE!"

Dear Cardhouse Robot,
Actually, you *can* download and save Flickr pix. The Save Options are under the terribly unhelpful heading "all sizes" link on each individual photopage. That being said, folks can then download each pix in a number of sizes from thin to massive options that Flickr automagically creates.
Mita

2005jan31. Mail.

Dearest Arm Flapping Robot

Not every public photo is downloadable because Flickr separates these options into: Photo Privacy and Allowing Downloads ‒ both of which should be at http://www.flickr.com/account/. Well, they are for me but I coughed up for the pro service. I think the pro account gives you the option to share original images. And adding Creative Commons designations also changes things somewhat ‒ I seem to recall reading that a public CC license can trump privacy settings.

Where did I read this? I have no clue. I am quite fond of Flickr but their product's documentation and options are all over the place.
Mita

Also here are some more photos of various Domo-Kun products. Really not interesting to those who are not interested. Also features new huge photographs, sure to please dial-up party people.

2005jan31. Although you can save off photos from Flickr with the "All sizes" link, sometimes that link does not appear, although the photo is tagged "public." [looks for armrests]


February 2005.

2005feb01. A day after all of this Flickr discussion, they've "rebooted" their database and now most of the photos that I had sitting as tabs in firefox patiently waiting to be screen-grabbed suddenly have that "all sizes" option available whereas before they did not. I'm just saying, is all. There is also a new button allowing people to "b|og this." I believe "b|og" is some sort of bizarre, nauseating contraction of the term "web|og." OLD SKOOL KICKIN' IT PART OF THE 1997 WEB|OG KRUE!!!!!! BOYZZZZZZ

2005feb01. Mail.

Actually, on Flickr's free accounts ALL photos are resized to 1024px on their biggest side. If you go pro there aren't any limits.

You then have the option to share all sizes or only the version embedded in Flash--somewhere in your prefs.

Taylor

Annnnnnnnnnnnd we're out. Okay, that's more than enough about Flickr for the time being, but thanks to everyone for clearing that up. In other news, I received a considerate donation for Cardhouse by postal mail and Amazon cancelled my tip jar, so everything is even-steven now. They won't tell anyone why they drop domains like that, but I think it's because of my hard-hitting investigative series on widdle fluffy kitties. That, or the non-stop swearing, haven't decided yet.

2005feb01. McSweeney's: Ladies and Gentlemen, This Is Your Captain Speaking.

2005feb04. Flickr: GET IN MAH BELLY! An undentified blob "gets in the belly" of another unidentified blob. The kana indicates that the drink in question is "yogeruto" (Yoghurt).

2005feb04. Deuce of Clubs: The Ol' Huck 'n' Buck.

2005feb06. Today's 404 losers include:

cardhouse.com/abcdefghijklmn.htm
cardhouse.com/sumthin

Keep trying, though!

2005feb06. Mail.

i am doing a project about future game that are not in america. it would help me alot if you could email me about some of these.

Sure, no problem.

"Pill Taker" ‒ This is a Japanese game, part of the ultra-realistic simulation-type games that are being produced there, and this one is selling like Japanese hotcakes. You are a Japanese schoolteacher, and you must take a certain number of pills a day. So you take them. Japan only, June 2005.

"Smelt Smelt Revolution" ‒ Finland. The Finnish love of smelt is represented via a 3-D "dance" environment in which you are required to stomp on wriggling fish to the beat of a traditional Finnish band or Bjork who is actually from Iceland, but it's close enough. April 2005.

"Bicycle Race" ‒ Germany. Two bicycles race. December 2006.

"Shoot 'Em Up Cooperative" -- Bulgaria. This is Bulgaria's first simultaneous team-play immersive combat entertainment software, and it is just like all the rest because they're all the same, except this one has multi-colored crates. Summer 2006.

"Live Poker With Men At Work" ‒ Australia. Grammy®-winning musical act "Men At Work" are represented by nearly life-like black-and-white avatars that play no-limit Omaha Hi/Lo poker with each other. You watch, rapturously. 2007.

"Church v2.3" ‒ This is that Church game from Ireland. You've probably read about the scandals in your local paper. The remaining team members are offering up a small update that both removes the controversial Church basement sequence, and adds three or four Safe Public Havens. Should be on shelves in a week or two.

2005feb07. Inter-office memo: for the next week or so, I will be a russet potato. Please address all correspondence to "Russet Potato c/o Cardhouse." Thank you.

2005feb07. Achewood.

2005feb07. The Japanese Are Almost Japanese. Momus on looking inward.

2005feb08. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. A book, a film opening soon near you if you're not me. Nice photos: 1 2 3 4.

2005feb08. Yesterday Cardhouse got hit with tons of 404s from a server located somewhere in Stanford. In the haze of a pre-breakfasted mind, I thought maybe when the boys packed up and left Stanford they forgot one lonely server that thinks it's still 1998, still hits the same stuff but since it was pre-1.0 it doesn't know that it only has half of a brain. "Hello? The Spot? Word? Suck? Feed? Errrr?" It's very sad. I wrote a little play about it.

2005feb08. Google maps is interesting ... [via a whole lotta nothing] But they have border problems as you pull out. There is one hotel in Warren. Otherwise, stay in Canada. Oddly enough, trying to show this error unveils another ‒ there's no way to capture a URL for a specific zoom value. So you'll have to click on the 7th little crossbar from the bottom to see the dramatic Warren/Windsor problem.

2005feb10. Flickr: 1 2 3 Also, a traditional Japanese candy amuses us somewhat because it has the appearance of buttocks.

2005feb11. A conversation with Carl Cheng from 2002. One of my favorite artists ‒ I don't know when this interview became available, I was just typing it in from the magazine and thought "you know ..." He created the Santa Monica Art Tool. I wish I had seen his first Art Tool, which was a coin-operated mechanism on the pier.

"People would stand around and finally one guy would put a quarter in and everybody would rush up to watch what happened."

2005feb11. A few days ago I set my email program to notify me about new email every 1000 minutes. I find I'm able to concentrate more on tasks at hand without email popping up every few minutes. If I want to check email, I just activate it manually.

2005feb13. I'm trying to get ahold of Cher for a friend. If you know Cher, drop me a line. No, this is not a joke. And I'm still a russet potato.

2005feb13. After reading all of the good reviews, I was kicked out of my seat by just how dull "Freaks & Geeks" was after finally renting one of the DVDs. On top of all the dreadly simple plotlines, the whole thing is supposed to be taking place in Michigan, 1980 ... and at one point the main characters are walking through subdivision on a brightly-lit Halloween day, all in costume after finishing their trick-or-treating rounds, and some "girls" from Hot Dog On A Stick drive by and laugh at them. They also get to watch other classmates putting on a "designated driver" skit.

1) There was no "Hot Dog On A Stick" in Michigan in 1980. There is no "Hot Dog On A Stick" in Michigan in 2005. Sometimes, Michigan makes the right choices.
2) You didn't go out during the day on Halloween back then. You waited until nightfall to start trick-or-treating. You kids today? You're scared pansies. Just sayin'. At one point one of the characters uses the term "Devil's Day" which ... again ... if you know anything about Detroit in the 1980's ... is ... nuts. NIGHT! NIGHT NIGHT NIGHT
3) No one cared about designated drivers in 1980. Designated drivers did not exist in 1980.

Oh, also, Farmer Jack is name checked twice within the first three episodes. "Farmer Jack." Now everyone in Michigan knows it's "Farmer Jacks," just like it's "Fords" and "Chryslers." "Where do you work?" "Fords." So some PA got a phone book out and started riffling through the grocery store names, good for him.

There. Timely, lively news on the tens here at Cardhouse.

2005feb16. Here's another exciting entry where I beg for some little chunklet of software. I have created an "action" in Photoshop that takes very large jpg files (as created by my digital camera) and adjusts the color, cleans them up a bit, resizes them to be web-friendly, and saves them in a subdirectory. Swell. What it doesn't do is rotate the photos that have been shot in landscape mode. So I've created two actions. The second one tilts the photo and then does everything I mentioned before. I run both actions against the entire directory, then I have to delete the "wrong" photos out of the two subdirectories. A bit of manual labor, which is what I'm trying to get away from by automating the resizing. The EXIF format has a tag "orientation" (0x0112 ‒ the values, naturally, are 1, 3, 6, 8 and 9) which indicates "the orientation of the camera relative to the scene." Is there any way to read this tag within an action so it can determine which way to rotate the photo?

2005feb16. Cardhouse: An ongoing experiment ... I've posted some photos up on Flickr. So.

2005feb17. I have a friend who has multiple domains and needs a low-cost, backup-diligent host. If you have any suggestions, please drop a note. Thank you.

2005feb18. Flickr: Virtual dog-walking game. Big fun for the dog-walking maven who doesn't have a dog.

2005feb18. The Squirt-Gun Offense. Actually, it all depends on the judge and jury ‒ what was that recent case where a woman complained about a neighbor dropping off some cupcakes on her front porch?

2005feb18. INVASION: MEXICO CITY (flickr)

2005feb19. My girlfriend works on one of the upper floors of what could be called a "hi-rise" building. She's near the receptionist's desk when the elevator doors open, and two 20-year-old hippies walk out. With their bikes. They begin mounting their trusty steeds when the receptionist says "excuse me? Can I help you?" "We were wondering if we could ride our bikes around and look at the view!" said one, in a manner near wonderment. No irony, no detachment. "No," said the receptionist. "Okay, thank you!" one of them said, and they walked their bikes back into the elevator and went down.

Big thing in Tucson, apparently. Do drugs, ride your bikes through the upper floors of office buildings. Some hippies have security badges. "DRUGGED BICYCLE VISITOR."

2005feb21. I'm pretty much at my limit, photo-wise, on my Flickr account. There have been updates. If you didn't see the fake horse from Hong Kong, then you haven't seen them all. It's important.

2005feb21. Flickr. Invasion Of The Horrible Horrible Turtle Invader Force. Attack Of The Horrifying Lobster Swarm II: More Lobsters, Less Melted Butter. "THEY'RE USING LASERS, KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN, FOLKS" [SFX: "doo! doo doo! dee doo!"]

2005feb21. Netflix just made American Astronaut available, a film by Cory McAbee of The Billy Nayer Show. You should watch it.

2005feb21. Achewood: Hate. She has two facial expressions: The Smirk and the Almost Smirk. You can see them on those photos captured from her Blackberry. If you're famous for being famous for too long, your soul crumples into a little tar ball.

2005feb22. The String Tripod. Fool your friends.

2005feb23. In the space of two minutes yesterday, I saw a gila monster and a teenager walking her giant pig. It may not have been a gila monster because it was

cookin' across the road, but then that means it was something that was gila-monster shaped and sized that's not a gila monster and I'm stumpered. In that case.

2005feb25. I'm slowly grinding through the Ask Metafilter archives. I ran into this howler on a thread about celebrities:

My brother has seen Roger Ebert three times. The first time, he walked up to Ebert and said, simply, "spoon," flashing a spoon at him, and then walked off. Two years later, having planned things out, he approached him and said "fork," this time presenting a fork. Two years after that, he approached him, reached into his pocket, opened his mouth, and then closed his mouth and walked off.

2005feb25. Abraham Lincoln the Cat.

2005feb28. Cintra: Oscars [via molly]. I tuned in for the first time in years and was pleased to note that they still dress the set like it's the 1970s. The Oscar Blender ... a special touch. They were so proud of that floor-based multi-screen monitor, kept getting vertigo looking down on P. Diddy.

I don't have anything to say about the stars, because celebrities give me the hives.


March 2005.

2005mar01. Flickr: Seagull.

2005mar02. Goose Coop.

This is one of those dumb things you think of then immediately dismiss, but it worked out quite well. After finishing the frame of the goose coop, I had to move it to the cinderblocks way over there but it's very heavy and ohhhhhh. The book Working Alone didn't seem to have a chapter devoted to moving projects via skateboard, but I've never been one to let "workplace safety" come between me and and a tenfold reduction of labor.

Oh yeah. Goose coop. For geese. It was going to have insulated walls but then I read that geese are hardy folks so screw it, I said.

Geese. Yes. The girlfriend is going to buy some geese. I am building a coop out of whatever scrap lumber is lying around.

YES GEESE

2005mar07. This is how I see numbers in my head. That is not how I see numbers in my head. From this ask.metafilter thread.

2005mar08. Fantasy Celts. Words. Lacking words here.

2005mar09. The goose coop now has a floor, and the framing has been joined together with those cheap little metal doo-dads that should cost negative fifteen cents for twenty. The ones with the holes. It's a metal rectangle with holes. I'm working on the roof now, which is funny because I just went ahead and built up to the roof without "worrying" about the roof and as it turns out, that's sort of what flat roof construction is all about. Leaving it for last, just sort of tacking it on (w/more metal doo-dads, but they're shaped differently and thus cost even more). Sweet. The geese will have a nice three foot overhang in the front, so they can sit in the shade and read their John Cheever novels. I'd like to rig the front door of the coop so it "locks" automatically and the geese could "unlock" it, but I imagine trying to train them to pull a cord or such would entail a lot of frustration. Also loud honking.

2005mar09. Flickr: Now ... presenting ... the incredible ... bathroom fixture that was seen in a major motion picture!!!!!!!!!! Gotta get me a subscription to Restroom World, you bet.

2005mar10. Moving an obelisk. [via i forget]

2005mar10. A few people gave me the Leisuretown tip over the past few days, but I've been in and out building that coop thing. It's getting too hot to be working outside at midday, though. So much for "spring," I think it lasted all of three days. Whoopee. There's a roof on the coop now, so I don't have to spend a half-hour wrapping the thing everyday in case it rains. Not that it matters, this is all waste-o wood that's warped and cupped and crooked and bowed and twisted. THIS WOOD IS TOTALLY TWISTED!!!!!! YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE IT

I talked about the weather! A new Cardhouse low. No, wait, mentioning Paris Hilton. That was it.

2005mar10. YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE IT

2005mar10. Theoretically, if you've seen all of the Leisuretown stuff already, the feature "Pussy Driven" (second from the top at the right) may be "new" to you. I don't remember it being around when the site went down. [via high-level conference call with destiny-land]

2005mar12. I caulked the gap between the two roof panels on the goose coop to-day with caulking tar stuff. A tip: don't wear your good clothes when balancing on a goose coop roof with tar caulk. They weren't really "good," but they were "presentable." Now they are "not."

"Dude's got a new entry, right? And he's working on that hilarious coop thing? Right? And he messed up his clothes AAAAAAAHHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Oh christ what will happen to the dude next, that's what I wanna know."

2005mar12. Flickr: I like reading the menus.

2005mar14. Digging through ask.metafilter some more. Found in the middle of suggestions for someone who has an aggressive roommate who cannot control his own anger:

When my dad was in grad school he and his housemates came up with a house rule for stopping arguments. Any time it looked like someone was getting angry, anyone could yell "Suit up!" Then everyone in the room would have to form "hand glasses" ‒ making a circle with your index and thumb, turning your hands upside down and then hooking your middle, ring, and pinky fingers along the sides of your face so your palms pressed against your cheeks and the index and thumb formed "glasses" around your eyes. The idea was that no one could possibly continue a serious argument while looking so ridiculous.

2005mar17. Doc needs a notebook. Yes, these things actually work. I shouldn't have to remind you to get a temporary email address through yahoo or the like to use for e-commerce purposes. I have a personal successtory: years after adopting my own convoluted system of rotating email addresses, I've received three pieces of spam in the last two months. Yes, three.

In other news, the goose coop is almost finished, though I'm not sure how I'm attaching the corrugated metal to the roof. Yeah, I could use some gnarly long screws, but the intention is to be able to crawl inside it to clean it up and I don't want anyone kebabing their skull. Sounds like a job for Mr. Bolt and his trusty companion Nutjob.

Now let's go win Doc a notebook! Yayyyyyyyyy!

2005mar17. I'm putting some sketchy plastic liner on the floor of the goose coop. It's to make cleaning out the coop easier ‒ the geese will have to be locked up at night to keep coyotes from snackin', and I forgot to build in bathroom facilities. So I lay the first bit of liner down, and smooth it onto the wood for awhile because it's got the sticking power of something that has completely no sticking power. Right after I stop, a very small ladybug walks onto the liner, walks off it, walks back on, stops for one second, and takes an even tinier poop on it.

"Yep, guess it works."

The ladybug returns to its home. "Funniest thing, I took a shit today and then I heard this thunderous sound like 'HAAAAAA HAHA HAAHAHAH.' It was so scary ... I would have shit myself, but ..."

2005mar17. Orbitz blows: Orbitz Blows. Special negative infinity bonus points to Orbitz for providing information about a passenger's itinerary to other customers. I ain't never touching their drink, neither. "Globules" my ass. [via cruel site of the day]

2005mar19. Flickr: I've totally got the 501-foot mark locked up.

2005mar19. Mail.

I've been looking high and low for "the other peep" It was made by TELL Chocolate Corp, P.O. Box 060650, Staten Island NY 10306. They were boxed with yellow, white and pink peeps. Do you know where these can be purchased or has the company really gone out of business?

They don't have much of a webpage, but it has all the answers YOU NEED!

2005mar21. Walking outside just a few minutes ago. "Wow, the wind's really picking up ... wait ... no ... that's ..." a giant swarm of bees flying directly overhead. One bee sort of lingered for awhile. Figured after that I'd lay low in the house for awhile. Who's up for Parcheesi®?

2005mar22. As one of my lifelong friends, you are of course familiar with my stunning imitation of Billy Bragg singing Soft Cell's "Sex Dwarf." I have added a new selection to my oeuvre, that being Cat Power singing Joe Dolce's "Shaddappa You Face." Ask for it.

2005mar23. Driving to pick up my new bike from a national department store chain that rhymes with "Target," I ran into another swarm of bees with the truck. The vegetation around Tucson has gone crazy with the craziness, weeds all over the place, thus, more bugs. Snakes. Scorpions. Scions. Those U.S. Scions are so huge. I want a Japanese Scion. Anyway, I was also gifted a large windshield-based rock by a caring cement truck, so I'm in a crabby mood today, randomly hitting things with my hitting stick. It seems something always goes wrong on the rare occasions when I want to spend money. I bought a PowerPC five million years ago ‒ the clerk looked at me and said "wow, people are usually overjoyed when they purchase one of these things" which was the phrase that initiated the later addition of the hitting stick and matching belt loop.

Schmarget ‒ I mean, "Target" ‒ really isn't geared up for the bike trade. They can sell their frilly little plastic-smelling knick-knacks all to shit, sure. But try and purchase a 26" Schwinn men's Jaguar cruiser from one of their stores in Tucson. No, wait ‒ try purchasing one from all of their stores. I visited seven of eight. I don't want to get it into it, but a woman's bike is not a man's bike, even if you drive 30 miles out of your way to get it, and a mountain bike is not a cruiser bike, even if you drive another 20 miles out of your way to get that one. And a bike that is not assembled isn't one that you can roll out of the store with, and if the model you're interested in isn't on the floor, I bet you could maybe go in the back and look and see if there's one? No, that's a woman's model. No, that's a mountain bike. No, you're scanning my forehead.

Yeah, that paragraph was difficult, it was too long, and it didn't make sense. There, you've captured the essence of my 100+ mile unsuccessful bike retrieval odyssey o' the previous week.

2005mar23. Today was Waterfowl Arrival Day (WAD). You pick waterfowl up at your local hatchery, or you have them mailed to your local post office. They used "Priority" Mail (did you know first class is cheaper and more likely to get there on time?) and when I got the box I thought "wow, they're sure putting up one hell of a peeping-type racket for only four geese and two ducks." There was a minimum order, so the girlfriend ordered two ducks to give to 4-H, which had a huge interest in getting free waterfowl. I opened the box [not shown below], and ... WAAAAHHHHH?

TWENTY-FIVE DUCKS!!??!!!?

I think a Target team member is somehow responsible for this. Actually it was an order mix-up, a hatchery was supposed to get the 25 ducklings. We hadn't bought any of the feeding/drinking/warming lamp-type supplies for the geese, so there are my crappy makeshift water trays for all the world to see. You don't want the geese (ducks) stepping in the water, but in every photo I took, there's at least one duck sitting or standing in its own feeding "dish." In this photo it also looks like they're all just hanging around, but they were moving quite a bit, mostly away from the big scary human.

Endless peeping. So cute.

But they had to go. The 4-H guy wasn't around that day, so the lot of them went to the feed store. They got to sit in a big horse trough with four or five older ducks, I hope they'll play nice. And they had a great round drinking dish that was elevated so no duck was going to splash around in it. Forgot to ask for visiting rights. When I came home I heard some birds chirping and immediately thought "my babies ... my babies" and I collapsed or maybe that was after I accidentally banged my head against one of the goose coop rafters.

2005mar23. While I've been working on the goose coop the last week it's slowly being marauded by hundreds of tiny bugs. Less than one millimeter in length, red legs. Sometimes the smaller ones (babies?) are all red. I'd seen them in the midwest during my childhood, forgot about them. Now they're everywhere on the coop. They don't seem to have a game plan ‒ they're not following scents, just sort of wandering around. I don't know where they get their power from, maybe they're taking microscopic bites out of the wood and that's why they're in love with the thing. Today there was a 3/4" inchworm crawling on the inside of the coop, so I took it and put it on the side of a tree, couldn't tell if it was pleased or angry. I went back to sit down in the doorway and there was a smaller inchworm ‒ about half the size of the first one ‒ making its way across the vast expanse of dirt toward the house. This one didn't have the typical inchworm movement, probably because it was too small ‒ instead small ripples would constantly go across its entire body from the back to the front, so it looked like it was constantly puking while moving forward.

Before I could even think about the pastabilities of MICROBUG V. INCHWORM, the battle was being set up right before my eyes. An inchworm was crawling along the top side of a long desiccated weed sort of bent into a curved bridge shape. And coming up the other side ... uh oh ... microbug.

"Well, this is easy. The inchworm eats the bug."

So they got closer, and closer ... and then there was this pause in the action, quite possibly while they were sizing each other up ... and the inchworm then flies off the weed and starts spastically flailing in the dirt for a good five seconds. I've never seen so much energy in such a small package. It looked like it was on a skillet, being skilleted. The microbug continued on its way. It was like a bad martial arts movie.

2005mar24. Mr. Chrysler and the 40000 hotel coat-hangers. From ask.metafilter somewhere.

2005mar24. Critter Week continues. Pictured: the remains of a scorpion after Mr. Frank [left] kicked its ass. I am lying, Mr. Frank was nice enough to pose with this desiccated scorpion I found near some wood panels. I think it got smooshered when I was moving things around.

2005mar25. Flickr: The Letter A. I would have never noticed this in situ.

2005mar25. Mail.

A note from your very occasional UK correspondent, or at least one of your very occasional UK correspondents. The Mr Chrysler coathanger article is funny because it is a humour article. It is in no way true. Miles Kington, the author, has a daily humour column in the Independent newspaper, and frankly it's amazing he can keep it up so consistently. I would need to pause for breath, or to let my ego deflate a little.

Also, Billy Bragg walked past me in the street of a small Dorset village today, about 8 a.m. It was very disconcerting. I'm never at my best around 8 a.m., particularly if I have to do something superhuman like loading luggage into a car, and my train of thought went something like "Suitcase... man approaching... better say good morning... everyone does around here... oh, he only nodded HOLY CRAP IT'S BILLY BRAGG... where am I going to fit that backpack..." Apparently he lives there. I don't. Shame.

- James

2005mar25. Mail.

God, thanks for your photo-essay on Food City. It made me laugh on an otherwise depressing day. By the way, I found you by Googling PRAY FOR TUCSON. Because those billboards were making me really depressed during this Persistent Vegetative State week. I see you got all the other really bad ones as well. Thanks again!

2005mar26. Flickr: Another view of the Chevron waste area.


April 2005.

2005apr01. Actual ad in the Tucson Weekly (Mar 31-Apr 6 edition). No, it's not an April Fool's day joke. In my world, every day is April Fool's day.

It is, however, begging to be pranked.

2005apr01. Flickr: A good photo of a cat. Tagged "funny," but not actually funny. A nice photo. A photo of which I find most pleasing. Not your ordinary cat photo. A close-up of the cat, but not like so close you're looking at internal organs.

2005apr02. Adding to Cardhouse grammar processor: "doing tricky."

2005apr02. Carlos Santana at the Oscars flashing a Che t-shirt. [via doc]

2005apr02. Bird and Moon.

2005apr04. Waiter Rant: Goddamn Hippie.

2005apr05. So let's say I have two bottles of pills, and I needed one set for the road, and one set for home. So I pour half of one in the other and vice-versa. So now each bottle has one-half the supply of two different pills. One pill is supposed to be taken two to four times daily, the other once or twice daily. One is small, the other is large. I have no idea which pill is which. Why don't they show an image of the pill on the bottle? It's a strange sort of disconnect.

2005apr05. Patenting a PBJ sammich. [via morning news]. Such thee bullshit (also: such a pretty URL, easy to remember). Anyone who's gone camping has made one of these with a "pie iron," and it's tasted 100x better than that Uncrustables processed crap. Got to get me a set of those pie irons. "As much as people love the traditional square design" ... huh. I had always thought the round one was the original. Well then. This changes my way of thinking forever.

2005apr05. The geese are due tomorrow. This time it will not be a $200 shipment of ducks. An excerpt from the larger excerpt from the 1949 volume Practical Animal Husbandry:

They are excellent replacements for watch dogs for they will raise a thunderous racket in the event of prowlers. They are interesting birds to have on the farm and they become very affectionate and are one of the most friendly of all the home barnyard animals.

2005apr06. It's midnight. The Javelinas are casing the joint. I don't know what's here that interests them so. A little bit of bird seed? Everything else is locked down. Well, at least it smells horrific here now.

2005apr06. The geese and ducks have arrived. The ducks are only staying the night, then the 4-H Club gets 'em. Unfortunately one of the geese was sort of crammed upside-down in a corner of the mail package and may or may not have spraddle legs. Because it's the runt of the group, it gets picked on the most, so we've been occasionally putting it in its own little heated area when the pack is active. No matter what I do to prevent them from getting their feet in the feed and water, they somehow manage it, but it's mostly the ducks. It's not that they're clumsy, they just want the best angle of attack and that's to have the food or water directly under them. I raised the waterer with some AOL mailers so they could only use their heads to get to the water, but now they're using the corners of the mailers to jump into the water. Frickin' AOL ... I tried building a feeder with an adjustable smaller food access "hole" but now I'm not sure the bigger geese can get their heads in it.

There's one goose that is clearly the most inquisitive and best-fed of the lot, it follows you (or really, your head) as you move about above the pen whereas the other ones are mostly sleep-food-water-run around-repeat. Tonight they get a playpen because the pen I've constructed for them has walls that will be easily jumped after they grow another few inches. They're all mostly little acrobats, if they find the opportunity.

2005apr06. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food ports all external links through a quasi-user agreement. Okay, stupid enough, but check out this gem:

These linked web sites may or may not be available in French.

DEAR CANADIAN FARMER THERE ARE OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OTHER THAN THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT OUT THERE DO YOU NEED ASSISTANCE I REPEAT DO YOU NEED SOMEONE TO HOLD YOUR HAND

CANADIAN FARMER

?

2005apr07. The geese (two Toulouse, two Sebastopols) were hatched on Monday and shipped "Priority" Mail to our local Post Office in a small box with breathing holes. "Have you heard my package?" The Toulouse we suspected of having spraddle legs was just a little slow coming out of the gate, since it apparently spent most of the journey upside-down with its beak jammed into the cardboard, poor little undetermined sex gosling. The three other geese and the temporary ducks (now with 4-H) would pick on it, but now it gives as good as it gets and it seems like everyone's settled down. It looked up at me when I was talking to it today, there's just one Toulouse left to cross this tiny milestone. They will all "talk" with us and follow fingers to "new" food and water when the set-up is changed. They've been moved from my baling gum-chewing wire double-box set-up to a playpen. The girlfriend informs me that all playpens are now called "playyards" and this el-cheapo model came with a CD jack and holding case to hook on the side. They are happy with the grass we've provided, but what they don't know is that there's about one square foot of grass left on this entire lot, the rest of it is dead. So if you want to mail a FedEx package full of grass, I'm your guy.

2005apr08. I'm trying to decode peeptalk. Three peeps means, as far as I can figure out, "something is happening." Four peeps means "something is really happening!" The sessions are not going well. Sometimes my replies get them in a very talkative state, and I'm not sure why. They will try to climb the waterer to get closer to me to either give hugs or peck my eyes out, smoosh up against the wall closest to me, etc. But then when I put my hand down there ‒ even if it's holding delicious grass -- they will peck at it and "bite" it, though at this stage their beaks have the compression power of half of a clothespin. Then sometimes when I talk to them they'll run around the crib, and flap their little one-inch wings (which eventually can grow up to a total of about five feet across). "Jesus, he's talking again! Run around to distract him! Flap! Flap to escape!"

2005apr09. Doc asks the question:

why is it that they don't ship eggs? isn't it best to have them imprint on the owner?

This a reference to an earlier discussion we had ‒ I was under the impression that hatcheries don't ship eggs. I just found out that they do. There are a few problems with that, at least with the average Joe who just wants a few geese/ducks.

1) It depends on the hatchery, but they usually won't send less than about 12 eggs.

2) While the eggs are mailed, the temperature needs to be in the right range. So there's an opportunity for failure.

3) You have to buy a incubator, monitor it, adjust it, etc, for an entire month.

4) Even if you've done all this, you're not guaranteed that if you have n eggs, you'll get n waterfowl ‒ you may end up with zero hatched eggs, you may end up with twelve. Probably not the numerical range Joe is looking for -- if you wanted three and got two, you get to do it all again with ~12 more eggs.

If you really want your waterfowl to imprint on you, you can arrange to visit a local hatchery and be there when your eggs hatch. Although imprinting means you get "human" waterfowl that think they're also humans, it also means you're the parents. If you're raising them alone, and you have a job, you'll have to take your geese/ducks with you to Krispy Kreme or wherever you work ‒ not seeing "mom" is very stressful, and stress alone can kill waterfowl. And a goose sitting on top of your "in" box pecking at your "CRT" keyboard probably isn't an option.

We didn't do the imprint thing. They are comfortable with being held, once you get them up to your face/neck (they're all about faces and voices at this point), but they still don't get "hands." Hands swooping down, hands trying to grab 'em, or even pet/touch them. There's a difference ‒ they will nibble on your ear (~1/5th chomping power), but they will peck at the fingers (full chomping power). I've noticed that every day they're getting stronger, and maybe within two weeks the pecks will go from being amusing to hurting. They'll be okay with hands as they get bigger and start understanding our verbalizing ("no," "ouch!," "call an ambulance").

In other developments, the ole' mirror trick has them looking around the back of the mirror for the other goose ‒ in time, they'll learn that that is actually them, which apparently most other animals (other than the dolphin ... and maybe chimps? ... and us, especially in the Hollywood, California area) don't get. They will also use it to peer around corners and such. Nancy Townsend's theory on that is that since they're on water they need to know the difference between a reflected hawk and an actual hawk. (see Doc's hilarious interview with Nancy Townsend here: Duck Diapers).

2005apr09. Geese. Day six.

It's very difficult to take photos of baby geese in low light levels as they zip about, pulling on your camera strap, pecking at the lens. For every fifty photos you get one like this. This is one of the two Sebastopols; one of the two Toulouses is in back. Or maybe it's the other Sebastopol. It's clearly waiting for a bus.

2005apr10. Flickr: Raisin' Geese. Forty almost non-blurry photos of your favorite geesefolks. They're only days old! Get in on the ground floor!

2005apr11. Mmmmmmm. 24742 photos on Flickr tagged with the word "photo."

2005apr11. Hawaiian songbook covers. Five pages.

2005apr11. The goslings are outdoors today, but safely in their Babyjail with a chunk o' chickenwire over the top in case they're visited by a hawk. It's their first time outside, and the peeping abruptly stopped when they got their first glob of sunlight ... then excited chattering. They seem more content outside, but unfortunately the temperature drops enough at night that they can only hang outside during the day. When adults, geese will cause significant dropoffs in the local insect population, but right now, they're sort of mystified by 'em. The Toulouse I'm beginning to feel are a few days behind the Sebastopols, or just more free 'n' easygoing. The alpha gosling (a Sebastopol) is fascinated by flies, to the point where it will climb over other geese repeatedly just to get a closer look at one that's circling the babyjail. But if it happens to land somewhere within striking distance, it's best to just stare at it and wait for it to take off again. Then, more intense deadly scrutiny.

2005apr11. Flickr: Warning sign in elevator. This has happened to me on both levels. Pinched by elevator, pinched by crab. I'm out there ... on the scene. I'm experiencing pain so you don't have to.

2005apr12. The geese are starting to show dietary individuality. One Toulouse (the runt) doesn't like clover sprouts. One Sebastopol doesn't like romaine lettuce. They all enjoy pulling at my hair. Sometimes I'm sure they really like me, then I realize I'm just the guy bringing the food. I made something I like to call the "grass clamp." It's just a brick on top and a piece of wood on bottom ‒ the grass goes in the middle. The problem with feeding geese things with your open hand is that they like to shake their heads back and forth wildly when they feed. I think this is a combination between having to rip grass out of the ground, and sloshing it about like they do with water. So when you hand-feed them, the beak goes in and then there's a small explosion as food goes flying everywhere. If you pinch it between your fingers (as we do with the clover sprouts), they'll rapidly rip chunks out which is very efficient and then proceed to your digits which is not. Thus, the clamp.

They still need towels underneath 'em, can't switch to newspaper just yet. They can walk on newspaper, but if they get agitated and start running, it's slip-n-slide which is what causes spraddle legs.

After watching them bundle up together, I wondered if they ever shit on each other. The answer is yes.

2005apr12. One of the neighbors now has horses. So that's nice, they come right up to the fence. Not nice: horse flies. A new feature this year. They're tenacious little buggers. But wisely stationed between the horses and the house: the goose coop. Oh yeah. Grow up, my little ones. Grow up and protect us from insistent insects.

2005apr12. Wired: Rise of the Green Machine. The beginning of the article describes the author's attempt to fine-tune his acceleration in an attempt to improve his MPG:

Some fanatics even drive shoeless to be in better touch with the accelerator.

Strange that they don't have a separate gadget to literally "dial it in" if it's so touchy. Some sort of ... dial ... thing that goes from 0% to 1% throttle, and reverts back to zero every time the car is turned off.

I have all the answers.

2005apr12. Goose Log, Day 9: Breakthrough. The geese will no longer peck at our fingers. Not for eating, not for just being in their face. And I was all up ins. "No? Don't want? How about the pinky? It's extra meaty ..." All four of them refuse to snack on me. This makes me feel better about our Total Goose Future. Of course, if you visit, bring some extra limbs. I'll be all like "oh god, save me from the intruders who I didn't invite over for that potluck dinner via a 'mass' email." After you set the casserole down, naturally.

It all happened at the same time ‒ it wasn't like one goose learned not to, and the rest were still doing it -- they must have had a little meeting while I was gone. Powerpoint.

  • Only go for eyes; proven weak point
  • Tomorrow: stapling chicken wire to porch for Temporary Pen III. Total redneck action. Totally up to code [FX: waves TEN DOLLARS under your sad-ass guvmint inspectin' nose]. They don't get to go into the coop and yard until they know how to fend for themselves from air aggressors. The main tree in the cooped-out yard actually has hosted what appeared to be the same hawk a few times, so this isn't idle speculation. That's one Jim Dandy tasting reason I love it out here -- there is actual nature all around me all the time, unless I'm in my vehicular conveyance, then I have to buckle them all into the passenger seat.

    2005apr13. Miscellaneous geese news. The pen has been constructed, now they have around 8' x 20' to play in with a nice soft dirt floor which also provides them grit if they so choose; I've only seen one of them grittin' it up. This sudden massive increase in size means a lot more running and practicing to fly, which is so hilarious and wonderful it just kills me. Flapping those little stub wings, feet slapping the ground. Sometimes they will do it if I start talking to them a lot, and invariably all of their flights end at the feeder and waterer. It's some sort of instinctual thing ‒ I guess momma goose yells at them if she thinks they haven't eaten enough. I read somewhere that geese know how much to eat, and won't eat any more, but if they've loaded up at the grass clamp and sat down elsewhere, I can tap the clamp 30 seconds later and they'll come back for more. Puzzling. They also signal when they're hungry by opening their mouth and move their head up and down ... this is a recent innovation. Every day something new. They also were sort of feeling a little threatened by the large space -- if I walked out and turned the corner and disappeared, they would all start crying. Sometimes it lasted ten minutes, sometimes only a minute, sometimes not at all. Again with the brain teasers. Along those same lines, today I also discovered they have object impermanence ‒ I was hooking some of their (now clean) towels up on the pen's chickenwire to dry, and when I lifted it up between my face and the geese, they started crying again. Up-cry, down-silence, up-cry, down-silence, one-to-one correlation. Even though they could see my feet. But they still nibble at my shoes and toes, perhaps they'll figure out that's me tomorrow. Three inch play balls set down a good distance away also frighten the lot of them; found out later that's something that should be saved for the 5th week or so. Next week: first water-based cleaning ritual.

    2005apr14. Today I wore shorts in the presence of waterfowl for the first time. The geese took that as a sign that I was offering them a new leg-based hair snack. "NO!" Lots of "no" today. Beak-holding. They also aren't crying as much today. I "hid" the sweeping panorama side of the pen by laying a door down, shortening the length of the pen a bit. I thought maybe the vast expanse was scaring them, they've been in small spaces since they showed up. No effect. Door leaves tonight.

    Most of the grass is dead, and the stuff that they like is down to the last three or four tufts. We don't have well-manicured lush grassy lawns here in the desert unless you're some stupid suburban idiot. When I say "grass" I really mean a squat thing that sprouts in tufts. Well, it's all dead now (though it holds its shape and the seeds have little barbs that get on your socks in great quantities and they prickle you and I could just PUNCH that grass), and the geese don't like anything that's currently blooming in this area. Spinach? They're all berserk-o freaks about it.

    So we're getting sod. Geese are living it up hi-style.

    They still don't like being picked up, and they tolerate petting. It doesn't make them trill like a good chunk of grass or napping.

    2005apr14. Rusty accidentally found the key to unlock the door to the secret of Crystal Wedding Oats which I found some time ago sitting on a shelf at Big Lots. That's the one of the top ten lamest things I've ever read. So where does the term "crystal" come in again?

    2005apr14. Now a few hours later, they know not to harvest my leg hair, but two of them are still working on the "don't bite the hem of my shorts, even if they are luscious green" protocol. I have a theory that they cry a lot more when they're hungry and I'm leaving them. "DON'T FORGET TO STOP AT GRASS KING NOT LIKE LAST TIME OR RATHER NOT LIKE NOT LAST TIME EL STUPIDO"

    2005apr14. The Weird Off Road Truck is for sale. Drive over your friends, make new ones, drive over them as well. Photos of the interior . [via doc]

    2005apr14. Mail.

    Where I worked a year and a half ago, the farmer ordered chicks from a hatchery. It was winter. New Jersey. They were shipped from the Midwest. We picked them up from the post office. It is heart-rending to receive a box of 30 mostly dead chicks. Week peeps. Tossed around in the box. They had stayed in freezing transit too long. He ordered more. They arrived alive and then proceeded to die one by one over the next month. None survived. Brutal business. They were so cheap. Their lives were worth a few cents.

    - Natalie

    2005apr14. I've updated the Flickr Raisin' Geese set with more photos. Of the geese. My favorite one is of course a dynamic freeze-frame of The Spinach Squadron.

    2005apr15. During spinach spazz attack yesterday, someone got off a good finger bite, it feels (still, today) sort of like smashing your thumbnail with a hammer. Might have to switch to gloves for the greens frenzy. I could just leave them on the ground, but would you eat food off the floor? I need to invent a new grass clamp that will slowly dispense product so they get good solid bites in without them flinging leaves across the pen, walking on them, pooping on them, rejecting them. VC's are back in business, right? egrassclamp.com.

    2005apr16. I wanted to make this available for tax day, as a way to soothe the stresses of the beleaguered tax base, but there was this thing. So I guess this one's for all of you out there who "forgot" to fill out your government forms yesterday. And anyone else who wants to see four geese with their spastic eating tendencies.

    Romaine: The Movie. [22meg AVI file]

    2005apr17. The geese took their first baths today (flickr: seven photos). Their personalities are starting to make themselves more evident. I just use whatever gender convention is "most" appropriate for their names -- we won't know their genders until they start laying eggs (female) or not (male, or female waiting a year or two as does happen occasionally).

    Kiki: A Sebastopol. Kiki has more yellow going down her back from her neck than Casati, so I guess I'm screwed when the Sebastopols grow white feathers. The "alpha" goose. Brightest coat, most alert, most curious, first to make eye contact, tends to lead the group, most aggressive eater, first to signal hunger with special open mouth-nodding head motion, most obsessed with tiny flying insects, will comically force her way into the corner "sweet spot" when everyone else has picked snuggle positions and bedded down for a nap/the night, first to voluntarily go in the bath today without being bribed (later spinach was added to the ramp and in the water). Bath cut short by Lono's bath freak-out.

    Casati: The "beta" Sebastopol, although that title is under contention. Has been a little moody the last two days, it's especially evident when eating. She's the last to arrive at the table, somewhat lacking in eating spazziness, and the first to leave. Is starting to sit by herself more often. Does the neck-horizontally-outstretched-while-squawking thing the most, which seems to be a general "complaint" pose (a recent innovation or just more noticeable as their necks are getting longer and longer). Took the longest bath, probably would have gone longer if there wasn't another general goose bath freak-out.

    LC: The biggest Toulouse (gray/brown). Toulouses will get twice as big as Sebastopols, so the scales of justice will tip the other way when they're full grown. May have been the "runt" during the travel from California since Lono was hidden in a corner; got pecked on the right side of the head a bit, and on the neck (missing hair in both places). Seems to be trying to ascend the pecking order by getting in Casati's face usually once a day that I can see. We tried putting him in the water, as both Toulouses were a bit bath-shy ... did not like it. Jumped out. Tomorrow we're hoping everyone else volunteers and LC feels the horrible, horrible peer pressure closing in. "Dude. We are totally clean. Wait ... what's that smell? Smells like a dirty goose, dawg."

    Lono: The current runt, the one who traveled in the cardboard box from California upside-down jammed into a corner. Didn't look like he was going to make it. Lots of hair loss around the legs, spent most of the first day lunging awkwardly from place to place like a frog because he couldn't walk. Smallest of the four. Sometimes avoids food frenzies by eating the stuff that other geese have ripped and flung down to the ground or across the coop. Tried getting in the bath by jumping over the side instead of using the ramp, finally made it with a big splash that scared Kiki so they were both running around the tub for a bit until they shot out of the bath and landed in the dirt. I figured that's it, Lono's first and last bath, but later we put Lono back in the water, and he was very happy. We're always rooting for Lono.

    They're also occasionally munching on fingers now after the two days of non-digit eating. I've read that this is typical -- you tell a goose not to do something, it will come back and do it a few more times then suddenly it never happens again. "I've chosen to not nibble on your flesh." The times they decide to cry when they can't see us still seems random. Again, I think it's the hunger factor.

    2005apr17. I don't know why this is, but at night, "shhhhhhh" is way more effective with the geese than during the day. I'm surprised they know what it is at all, but I have a feeling I will be continually surprised by these feathery folks.

    2005apr17. So there are 40 photos of geese bath-time today at Flickr. In the future I'll be a lot more choosy about the photos, I just decided to push all of 'em this time around. After consulting even more goose books, we're taking a harder line with the wee ones. If you cuddle them too much, they sort of lose their fear/respect of you and become much more aggressive as adults. It's a thin line between total imprinting and spaz-out attack geese. These geese are supposed to be especially mild, so we're crossing our fingers. Casati has been proven time and time again to be the one that whines when no one is within visible range, we may have lost her already. I hope not. Lono I think is going to be one excellent adult, he was the first (and only) one to go all the way underwater. LC is surprisingly always the one that will eat the spine of the romaine when everyone else is just waiting for me to peddle out the next piece. "I'll take one for the team!" LC shouts.

    2005apr18. Mail.

    [The geese] remind me of being very little. I used to go to Maine when I was a tot during the summer and our neighbors had 2 geese that would invade our yard everyday. My brother and I fed them bread constantly and after a while they would bang their beaks on the screen door of the house at 6am when they were let out of their pen and beg for food. My father always threatened to eat them if they didn't stop waking him up and crapping all over the lawn, but thankfully, never went through it.

    - Tex.

    2005apr18. Geese research: The Coyote Roller. Also available: Coyote Tilt-A-Whirl, Coyote Zipper, Coyote Kiddie Car And Truck Carousel With The Metal Steering Wheels And That Insistent Buzzing Noise Ehh Ehh Ehh EHH EHH EHH EHH Ehh Ehh Ehh

    2005apr18. Stymied by the rollers.

    2005apr18. Fan mail.

    FUCKING HELL ENOUGH WITH THE GODDAM GEESE ALREADY

    You know, I was going to shift to a goose update once every three days, but now I'm going to talk about geese once every twenty minutes. In other news, I made a banana smoothie and something seems off, so if I die that's why. Even if I'm in car accident. PS: Geese.

    2005apr19. Flickr: Now you can MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT in the comfort of your own home.

    2005apr19. Now that it's summer in Arizona, there are many insects. In the house. I don't like most of them, but there's one small bug that intrigues me. Most insects flitter about as if they have no idea where they're going or orbit light bulbs. But this bug lands on something, then flies pretty much straight for awhile, then lands. Continues on, lands. Farther along, lands. This is a bug with a plan.

    2005apr19. Goose Log, Day 16. Our friendly geesefolks got a long new bathing area today, one of those crappy plastic boxes you use to store stuff under your bed. It's not long enough for Casati (who has joined the Totally Underwater Club) nor Lono, the only ones to bathe this morning ‒ they really want to swim with their heads underwater in a continuous line, as we all do. I also rolled out the icky waterer and now they're drinking water out of coffee cups. This allows them to dunk pretty much their whole head in, but what they're going for when that happens is a brisk eye-cleaning. They couldn't do this in the waterer, the trough was too shallow, and I shall not miss the slime-friendly waterer. Now I can just bring a pitcher out for a refill instead of washing out that monstrosity. All of the geese now have wingtips, which makes the entire wing look very Art Deco in shape, except for the part attached to the wing that waddles comically back and forth as it zooms toward/away from you. Their freak-out sessions are becoming more ... potent. In the early days, one of us would stand up suddenly (for example) and there would be chirping with the heads hung low for a little bit. Now when there's some weird disturbance like Lono jumping out of the bath and landing upside-down (becoming more dirty than ever), everyone goes into Crazy Air Squadron mode: running around flapping wings, sometimes just holding them as high as possible, crashing into each other, circling the bath, angrily eating a bit of non-medicated starter crumble, then bringing it all together when all four of them end up at my feet, squawking. Yeah, Lono's hilarious pratfall was my fault. Get real, geese.

    Special thanks to everyone who said to ignore the negative comment from earlier. That stuff just rolls over me, it's not like I'm saving a bunch of other writing and links in seekrit cache somewhere, this is what I am doing now, so this is what I write about.

    2005apr19. Domo-kun Update updated, for those of you who are those of you who are interested in this.

    2005apr19. A few "odds" "'n'" "ends": Kiki got in a quick bath this afternoon and finally joined the Completely Underwater Club. Turns out she's also big fan of underwater swimming and wants some sort of lap pool installed. When it was time for her to exit, she tried to leave via one of the steeper walls, instead of using the gradual brick step. When the other birds have done this and failed, it's clearly been a time for mass pandemonium. Kiki tried going over a few times, and, okay, it's not happening? Time for more bathing. Five minutes later, she made it happen and somehow landed on both legs walking away, no problems.

    Geese vocalizations are changing, there are additional chirps occurring in the last few days I've not heard in the past. In addition, two of them have a new louder chomping noise, and I don't know what that means ‒ if they're getting stronger, or if the beak is physically changing. I've stopped hand-feeding them, while we're on that whole "tuff love" and "keepin' all fingers" trip.

    Casati isn't whining nearly half as much now, so that may be good, and LC is still a dirty dawg. LC likes parking himself at the top of the ramp and drinking from the pool, but that's about as far as his aquatic relationship will go.

    2005apr20. Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy review. Apparently they've excised all of the humorous parts. Fascinating. Super extra bonus points for not understanding what the concept "improbability" (mentioned in the longer review w/spoilers, link at the bottom of the page) means in the book. Sounds like a perfect test case of too many cooks.

    2005apr21. As is the general case around here, a mine explosive just went off in the distance. The geese had no reaction to it, I thought they might have found it a little strange. Maybe since they're California geese, they're used to strange little shakes from the ground. They're now pretty much officially too big for the Babyjail, so I'm tightening up the pen (while they're inside it) to keep out predators. The battery-powered screwdriver doesn't scare them either. And yet ... yet ... somehow when I leave Casati whines for a good five minutes, but when I come back and enter the pen, it's all crazy chaos and running away. I think they like me, but I'm too big. Rarrrr.

    2005apr21. Iron graffiti. [via kottke]

    2005apr22. Goose Log Day 19. Yesterday Lono was walking around with a limp. Geese have strange strides, so I wasn't sure I was seeing anything unusual until he decided to run and flap his wing. One wing instead of two ‒ he was compensating for the weak leg. Today, however, he's tearing around the pen. I wasn't sure until I called him over and came over flapping both those stubby little wings and I was certainly relieved. My girlfriend also indicates that he's performing a strategic move to increase his food intake. In the beginning, we would just hold the food so all four of them could munch away. It became clear that this wasn't a good method because Lono wasn't getting enough of the food, wasn't aggressive enough so he'd be eating whatever scraps fell to the ground. So we moved to the two-fist method, which sort of worked, but because Lono would race over to the second fist, everyone else knew what was going on. Now Lono apparently just pecks at the ground scraps for a little bit and then walks over to the second fist with a casual gait, and thus has a whole fist o' greens all to himself.

    2005apr23. A massive rainstorm just blew through here. High winds, sheets of rain, etc. The pen stayed one-half dry, not that that mattered to the geese -- they all marched as far as they could into the rainy portion, stood practically on their tippy-toes, chests out, heads held high, facing directly into the wind. I don't know what that was all about, a free bath, perhaps. Then they started snapping at the drops. Free drinking water.

    2005apr24. Have old clothes to donate to a for-profit corporation? Won't You Give?

    2005apr24. Today I cleaned out the pen. Oh, that freaked them out. The big broom of scariness. In addition, I created another smaller shelter for them to "take cover" when it rains or the wind kicks up. Casati was chosen to represent the group for the ceremonial thank you, which was conducted by trying to bite my toes off. "No." "No." "No." "No." "No." "No." "NO." "NO." "NO." "NO." "NO." "NO!" "NO!" "NO!" "NO!" "NOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" More briefing. [ 13 photos from today]

    2005apr24. Finally, two good Cheerwine comparison photos. Day 4 v. Day 21.

    2005apr25. Ask me about my Miracle Growth Seven Day Weight Gain Formula: Before ... After. Sheesh. Gonna put these geese on a treadmill.

    2005apr25. I was hoping it wouldn't happen so soon, but I'm starting to hear the beginnings of raspy honking. It happens just at the beginning of their little communications, an abbreviated little hoarse-voice thing that you know is going to turn into a powerful honk in a couple of weeks. It's coming from one of each breed, which means all four of them should be doing it pretty soon. Meanwhile, tons of tiny flying ants are storming the pen and the geese show little interest in eating them. It's an occasional thing, if an insect happens to wander into their field of vision and they're up for the challenge. Can I trade the honking for pure insect hatred?

    2005apr25. Lee Walton: Making Changes. [large quicktime]

    2005apr25. Perry Bible Fellowship: Mittens. A comic.

    2005apr26. Today's bathtime was totally Keystone Cops. Kiki's the first one in, Lono makes another clumsy attempt to get in just like last time, everyone freaks and runs around and Lono accidentally runs right over the tub wall and into the water, splashes around, runs out, more running, more flapping. This time they didn't come squawking at me, which I took to be a sign of maturity about the whole thing, though one of the wet ones ran smack-dab into my leg. Because it's chaos, see, and looking where one is going is secondary to the spazzing. After settling down, all four of them quietly entered the bath at almost the same time. This was LC's first day in the water, so he took an extra long bath, or that might have been Lono; it's getting harder to tell them apart, especially when they're wet.

    2005apr28. The geese still don't get toes. I like to sit down and watch the geese; Casati likes to sit between my feet and nibble on my sandals and the various toes poking out of them. You can tell her ten thousand times not to nibble, you can clamp her beak shut, you can tap her head, speak sternly, nothing helps. I don't know how they figured out not to bite fingers (for the most part), but toes are still 100% food. The exciting new food item on their list is any shirt I'm wearing ‒ when I sit down, they'll sneak around to the back of the chair and all four of them will eventually be tugging on my shirt, like they all want to be excused to use the bathroom. Don't I wish.

    Today the geese also enjoyed some peaches, eventually. I left out a chopped peach and everyone took a nibble then shook their heads like it was some kind of allergen. I kept putting a small bit up to Casati's bill and eventually she tried it ‒ followed by more head-shaking, more walking away. So I left for an hour, came back, and all the peach chunks were gone. I think they hid them somewhere. They also gave a complete pass to bread. I'm sure they'll come around on that one someday.

    The intensity of their spazzing continues to grow. When I take off the pen door they know I'm coming in, but they all gather in front to rasp/chirp, except when that big sandal comes straight for them ‒ then they get scared out of their wits. This happens several times a day. I try to move slow, but invariably one of them will work itself into a corner that I'm slowly approaching so I have to alter my course a little bit, let them find the escape route, scream a little, etc. From what I understand it's two or three more weeks of this then they'll paste the voice and the face together with the big menacing thing shambling around the pen.

    Will a goose take a crap then will another goose immediately plop down on top of it? Of course.

    2005apr28. Improbably, thirteen more geese photos.

    2005apr29. For roughly the first three weeks, being picked up entailed a massive goose freak-out. Which sucked, because we were putting them in the pen only during the day, so that meant moving them twice a day in and out of the Babyjail. It got bad enough toward the end that we were wearing gloves to keep from being scratched. Once they were staying in the pen 24 hours a day, there was no reason to pick them up. But now they're all fluffy and heavy so I couldn't resist. They're large enough that I can pick them up with one hand slid underneath them, between the legs (the dangerous opening is actually much higher up in the back). Strangely, if they're pre-occupied with pulling on your shirt/pants or eating and they don't notice you picking them up, they'll just continue what they're doing while their feet dangle. Which of course is amazing and hilarious. If they're not doing anything and you're lucky enough to pick them up, they'll sit there for a little while, then start nibbling on your arm. But if they see you trying to pick them up ‒ if they see your hand sneaking up on them -- they'll walk/run away (even climbing over each other), squawking. I consider the former a fair trade ‒ you get to yank my nutritious shirt, I get to pick you up. And they're just crazysoft now with down. I can see actual nubs of what are clearly feathers on one of the Toulouses, though maybe some of the other weird stuff growing out of all of them is also feather-based. It's incredible that the little stubs they had for wings back in the Spinach Squadron days now have three segments.

    I don't get the bath freak-outs, though, or actually I don't get that when one freaks out, the rest have to join in. I had to corral them today with my arm to stop them, because they kept banging into each other during the free-form freak-out session. Now if I had done that and they weren't freaking out, they would have ... freaked out. My arm is like a goose toggle switch.

    2005apr29. A discussion of the work of Tang dynasty master craftsman Ma Daifeng. "A well-dressed mechanical man who wore a hat and held a board, would appear from the open door to remind the drinkers to drink faster."

    2005apr29. Flickr: Circus Liquor. Nothing more needs to be said.

    2005apr30. I had a request ... I mean, many requests to film the aforementioned "salad shirt" movie segment. The geese were all too happy to comply ‒ they started yanking as soon as I sat down. It sounds like the fabric is tearing, but it is not. The goose to the left who is mostly off-screen is also grazing on my belt, but that cannot be seen. Little monsters. The camera strap is visible in the frame because ... then ... you can see the gravitational vector. This was also requested. Numerous times. So grab some popcorn, sit down, relax, and enjoy ... Salad Shirt (10m ~30sec avi).


    May 2005.

    2005may02. Bacon Strip Bandages [via boingboing]. The ha-ha funny part gets better when you consider the lowly botfly. The botfly burrows into your skin, and one way to get it out is to slap a succulent, sexy piece of bacon on top of your skin. Then the botfly turns his ass around and dives out of your skin, into the bacon, and then you remove the bacon and pound it with a hammer until it's two-dimensional. Then you apparently put a bacon bandage on the wound.

    2005may02. Today on the freeway some truck came zooming up behind me, swerved out of my lane, passed me, then sort of went half into my lane and back again so I honked and that's when I noticed the large sticky letters on the back window:

    HONK IF YOU LIKE HONKY TONK

    So I guess I'm fitting in even more now.

    2005may04. Aphid-Ranching Ants.

    2005may06. The geese are now over a month old. This means that they are officially older than a month. I'm so happy to see them growing, especially after peeling Lono off the cardboard shipping box. Man. There hasn't been much in the way of new behavior. I keep forgetting to mention one of my favorite things ‒ when the geese feed, they tend to make a mess. Stuff goes flying everywhere. So if it's getting dark, and they're in a feeding frenzy, once we're done giving them food they go off to a corner or to the mirror to rest. 'Cause eating ... very tiring. And then we'll bring out the work light. This is to keep predators away and provide warmth though I think at this point they don't need it. So the light goes on and some of them screech a little bit and get up because look at all the food on the ground. Also, their nostrils? You can see straight through 'em from left to right or vice-versa, whatever your preference.

    Geese photos Day 31: Bath-time.

    2005may06. Mail.

    Goose questions: Is there a chance they will fly away and leave you, once their wings are developed and they understand flight? How bonded do they become to their adopted home? What if they went off on a day trip and something prevented them from returning? Oh my, that would be sad. I hope that doesn't happen. Does it worry you?

    Not in the slightest. These are domestic geese, and I don't know if they've been precision-crafted not to fly or their lineage came from some ancient goose that was the only one left sitting near a pond when everybody else flew off, but for the most part they can't fly. Some books claim the (I might have this switched around) Sebastopol can't fly, yet individual Sebastopols have been able to fly over cars (more like "wing hop"), and the Toulouse just plain can't fly. So at least two of these geese will be able to hop over any fence if they so desire, but apparently they are creatures of strict routine and thus bond tightly to their home. One example given in a goose DYI book indicates that if you're leading the geese to their new mature goose coop for the first time and the geese somehow are able to break away and lead you on a circuitous route to the coop, that's essentially the route you'll be taking them on every time you do it. We've been trying to keep visitings, feedings, water refreshing as random as possible so they don't slip into a pattern. Flexible geese are the best geese ‒ I think we'd rather not have the geese knocking on the house door(s) at 6am for feeding, as someone mentioned earlier.

    LC actually escaped the pen the other day, and took to wandering around the porch, looking around, inspecting. Didn't bolt for the hills, and if he hadn't been returned to the pen a few minutes later he probably would have been trying to on his own. I put an extra board up on the door base so it's not likely to happen again, at least until they can wing-hop ‒ and they'll probably be in the backyard with the coop by then.

    Also, Lono is finally bellying up to the food bar. Up until the last few days, Lono would start to eat stuff out of your hand, but as soon as there were other geese competing for the food, he would just eat scraps off the ground. Now he's in there, fighting for the right to survive. Again, it warms the heart.

    Bad eating update: They've pretty much eaten one-fourth of one course of thick fibrous rope off the kiddie chair. Or really, torn it off then chewed on it like some hayseed goose. I went around the pen picking up the stray pieces yesterday. Fiber caches. Now whenever I lean down to refresh their food or water they're all running up to me squawking, because they're about to attack any fabric that can be noshed on. This is a new development, usually they'd be a little shy about it, take half a minute to get down to business ... but now, instant delicious pants belt loop!

    2005may06. I did get the two types of geese mixed up ‒ the Sebastopols cannot fly because their wings are not strong enough. The Toulouses can ‒ I don't think they're long-distance fliers, just large obstacle hurdlers / vertical freak-outters ‒ although you will read in various places that they can't even do that. As if to underscore the point, today for the first time (that I've seen) a Toulouse flapped its wings and hopped, three times. Cleared about an inch and a half with each hop. Looked like it was Lono. So proud.

    2005may08. The geese have become skilled insect hunters, having hours of practice during the night when the work lamp is on. I just saw Casati devour a one-inch beetle in ten seconds. They've also had some visitors over the last day, in the form of four dogs. One large one stopped by at one a.m., and was frustrated by the wire fencing, smashing his front paws against it repeatedly. A bit of yelling sent him away, and shortly thereafter there was much commotion and screaming from the chicken coop next door. Agonizing dying poultry sounds. As morning broke, a pack of three comically small dogs stopped by to drool into the pen, and one of them was thoughtful enough to urinate on it. "These geese are clearly marked as mine, your honor." Another bit of screaming sent them scurrying through the low-lying vegetation. "YA YA DOGS!" I should have said that. So the fence has been beefed-up, fortified, chunks of wood have been added, plastic fencing, etc. I'll put in some gun cross slits for the geese tomorrow.

    2005may09. United Airlines Fantasy Flight program for sick children.

    Since September 11, 2001, however, the airline can't afford the jet fuel so they just load them onto the plane, taxi around SFO, and go back to the terminal.

    2005may09. The geese now have a new five-gallon waterer that had to be specially modified with instruments of poking to provide that deep-dish watery experience geese need. They not only drink the water (which is very graceful), they wash their bills and eyes in the water. They shake their heads back and forth in the water (which is very non-graceful, water gets all over the place), and of course their bills have food all over 'em so the water gets all silty really fast. Apparently even the smallest water pumping system -- to provide the geese with super-clean water 24/7 ‒ costs over one hundred dollars. I was trying in my head to come up with some Rube Goldberg filtration system using one of those thirty dollar water timers and some big PVC tubes, but the ones I saw ran the water a minimum of two minutes at a stretch, which is just an incredible waste of water if all you want to do is flush the dirt out. The geese also enjoy being sprayed with the hose, if it's misty.

    2005may10. Weeoooooo, do the geese not like flashlights, or rather, the beam. I was checking on their food supply, and I swept the beam toward them accidentally. Major freak-out which means hi-pitched screeching and running around, knocking over things. Watch out for the beams, they're dangerous. I made cheapo stands for the waterer and the feeders, so now we're not using rickety tubs to elevate 'em so the geese don't step in 'em. 'Cause they like the steppin'.

    2005may14. Special thanks to the very generous someone who dropped a chunk in the tip jar the other day. Now I know it's really actually working!

    2005may15. Mail.

    How much needs to go into the tip jar for you to stop talking about the geese? Sure, I know, it's your b1og and you can write whatever you want. On the other hand, I am also willing to donate money to allow your site to be good again, if that's what it takes.

    Whoosh, I dunno ... I'm pretty close to the geese ... I guess one hundred dollars would do it. But I'd still get to mention them once every other month or so. One hunnerd clams.

    2005may23. Mail. Mostly about the No More Geese Offer.

    Don't worry about those haters. The b1og is your life, and so are the geese right now. It's not like you're NOT entertaining because there are geese. Status quo my friend. Keep up the good work.
    - Chris T

    Please do not stop writing about the geese. I'm rather enjoying the story. And I love the photos!

    best,
    - Amy

    Don't listen to the non-geese-loving player haters! I think your geese rule!
    - a reader from Australia

    how old do you have to be to work there. and are you hiring
    - B

    I'm loving the continuing saga of the geese, but I'm broke and can't make a counter-offer. I guess if the goose-hater offers a lot of dough I won't hold it against you for going for it.
    - T

    Please, don't listen to the goobs who what you to stop mentioning the geese. What the hell do they think you'll talk about instead. It's not like you have a talkin' limit, and it gets used up by the geese or something else. Just yammer away about whatever you want ‒ like you always have.
    - M

    I *likes* the geese.
    - anonymous

    Pay no mind to the naysayers. The geese stories are humorous, and fun... and besides, it's YOUR site.
    Keep up the good work!
    - K

    Is this tip-jar vs the geese thing going to devolve into some kinda eBay-sniping/pissing-match? I hope not. Even though a random email shouldn't carry much weight, I vote the geese stay. I've enjoyed the stories and the pictures are just *too* damn cute.
    - J S

    screw the other guy.. I like the geese talk.
    - M

    Well, I certainly do appreciate all of the support, but I don't think you need to worry about Our Little Man In Hategeeseanna -- he never checked back in to object to the amount I mentioned. Unfortunately, he gets his wish without dropping a dime ‒ there will be no more goose antics on these pages since I'm in the middle of a move back to the bay area of California where geese are not allowed. I'm in Phoenix now, enjoying the crazy antics of the insistent Mister Sun and his ever-faithful companion Heatstroke, and then I'll split in early June for my water cure. Yeah, sure, no more geese, but ... think of all the possibilities the move entails ... a guy ... in the bay area ... web1oggin'! You don't see that much, tell you what. No sir.

    2005may24. Mail.

    what's up with misused -s for non 2nd person subjects?

    "I *likes* the geese"

    you hear it a lot. is that the future of english?

    The answer is definitively "no." This is a derivation of the generally accepted phrase

    I likes me the ...

    You should use this in futuristic conversations. Example:

    I likes me the new 2016 Daewoo Antismog Bodysuitlife™.

    2005may25. Maakies: writhing.

    2005may27. Mail.

    I work for a senior citizen retirement community. Our residents are like children when it comes to candy/sweets. Could you donate candy for 150 residents?

    No. Senior citizens are the age group at most risk for dental carries and other health problems due to the sugar and other ingredients in candy treats. At this point, they should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to make their final days on this planet healthy and sane ones, not gobbling down Pixy Stix or whatever else they cry out for. The elderly are like children, and should be beaten regularly with switches trimmed from a cattail or other sturdy reed. Shadow puppets and TV are now again viable forms of entertainment due to the typical reduced mental capacities of the horribly, horribly old. A comical joke:

    Speaker 1: Knock, knock.
    Speaker 2: Who is there?
    Speaker 1: The elderly.
    Speaker 2: Please go away, I've called the police.

    Why have the elderly visited the subject in this ribald gem? Surely they are up to no good.
    [sticker enclosed: Nuestra Senora del Sagrado Corazon]

    2005may27. I purchased a bike in March, and there's something wrong with it. So I dig up the receipt, I can get it repaired for free for the first 90 days, but the receipt is 90% faded. After two months. Especially the "receipt ID" part. I can see the numbers if I tilt it just right in the sun. And that's ... technology! Take compromising fo-tos of your important receipts as soon as they are in the privacy of your own home, I think?

    2005may30. I, for one, welcome the Giant French Rocket Girl and her Elephant of Royal Luxury! Best thing you're going to see via computer this year. Don't forget to follow-up on the links in the comments, there are better videos there. This is absolutely incredible and I'm totally not tearing up because I'm a tough guy. As it says in the comments:

    If you want to see this in person, it's traveling to other European cities this year and next:

    * Amiens (France) Thursday 16, Friday 17, Saturday 18, and Sunday 19 of June.
    * London (UK) the 8, 9, 10 and 11 of September.
    * In 2006: Bilbao (Spain), Antwerp (Belgium), Calais (France).

    I think I'm going to have to scuttle my plans to see the Olympics in Slovakia in 2006.

    2005may31. Billboard Liberation Front: To Serve Man. Ronald's face is so good.

    2005may31. Dumb thought: My subject lines, and the subject lines of my correspondents, are sometimes completely useless.

    RE: Duh
    RE: Re: RE
    etc

    Half the time when I'm composing an email message, I have no idea what the main thrust of the "subject" is going to be. Shouldn't the subject line be the send button? You indicate who you're sending your message to, you type your message, then you type your subject in and hit enter which sends the message.

    Or maybe your email program will eventually figure out what words one should extract from the body of the email message and make automatic subject lines. Nouns, mostly.

    Subject: Cat tree fireman ladder slipped gurney hospital cat tree

    2005may31. Also? No more "RE." I don't care, list everything by date, I can figure it out.

    2005may31. Flickr: Products for your pet beetle.

    2005may31. Seinfeld rolls over for Cinnabon.

    2005may31. Improv Everywhere: Being U2 Before U2. With hair care products, fake screaming fans, and the police. [via kottke remaindered links]

    2005may31. Flickr: Soler. Follow the link, the Dallas Police have helpfully photographed and organized Soler's work for e-z viewing. Also: Slideshow!


    June 2005.

    2005jun02. Doooooh, terrorists!!! An examination of the many ways terrorists could attack, including resurrecting Steve Guttenberg's career and clogging the express checkout lane at Wal-Mart by writing a check.

    2005jun02. Ray's Place.

    2005jun02. Flickr: Extra Dummies. [via excitement machine]

    2005jun03. Mail.

    A pal of mine thought you'd like this spam I recieved today:

    "hello i will like to place an order for Juicy Drop Pop, PUSH POP ,ring pop,BAZOOKA BUBBLE GUM. so i need this for a mother less baby home for an NGO program so i will like to order fot it in pack and i want a mixture of thw candies worth $1500 including the shipping via usps to lagos nigeria and i will give you my card to run for the payment and i will like to establish a long term business relationship with you and hope to hear fron you soonest. sloan diane"

    $1500 is a lot of gum.

    Nigeria: quiver before the mighty economic powerhouse. Can we just have like ten people in a room run spam/scam filters on every piece of email from there? Or just the string "postal order western union" would probably take of most of it.

    2005jun04. Let's all kill phishing.

    If you get phishing e-mail, go the web sites and enter false data. Make up everything ‒ name, sign-on name, password, credit card numbers, everything. Instead of one million messages yielding 100 good replies, now the phisher will have one million messages yielding 100,000 replies of which 100 are good, but WHICH 100?

    This technique kills phishing two ways. It certainly increases the phishing labor requirement by about 10,000X. But even more importantly, if banks and e-commerce sites limit the number of failed sign-on attempts from a single IP address to, say, 10 per day, theft as an outcome of phishing becomes close to impossible.

    There might be problems with this method of obscurity through abundance, but I'm willing to give it a go. Not that I get phishing email, I rotate my email addresses regularly and thoroughly steam-clean them after use.

    2005jun12. So. I invaded the "bay area" and now I'm back in PHX to get my second and final payload. Before that, Mr Lee's Rock Garden and such. Took in a spontaneous Giants game while in SF with a friend. Two or three innings, it's not really important, I don't think I've been to an entire ball game since I was about ten years old. You're in, you talk a lot and eat crappy food, get sunburnt, laugh with the other people sittin' around you, maybe watch the game for two minutes total and then you leave early, give your tickets to someone else who doesn't have the hand stamp so okay, good luck on that one.

    The 800 mile trips have been relatively banal, save for one exciting Duel-like sequence last night when I was specially chosen by a random drunkard as the car to "lean on." You know how they lock onto taillights or headlights and use that as a barometer of their speed instead of, say, the speedometer. So this one old lady, leaning wildly into the dash to avoid the harsh lights of her instrument panel, starts swerving around right in front of me while we're going 80mph. Then the left blinker goes on, now the right, now 50mph, now 70, now let's turn off all our lights for awhile. There you go, you're invisible! For the next 40 miles I'd pass her, stick to 80mph for awhile, and she'd catch up, go in front of me, and slow down to 50mph while swerving etc. It was an awesome fun game, even the two cops waiting for speeders knew enough to leave us alone. "Wee." I ditched her at a truck stop.

    The last time I moved to California it looked something like this. Mmm, 1998 meat.

    2005jun13. Sean Tejaratchi's design work for the film Me and You and Everyone We Know.

    2005jun14. Like I was saying about that anti-phishing scheme. I finally received some phishing email from the good people at Not Really PayPal, Not By A Long Shot:

    We recently have determined that different computers have logged into your PayPal account, and multiple password failures were present before the login. One of our Customer Service employees has already tryed to telephonically reach you. As our employee did not manage to reach you, this email has been sent to your notice.
    Therefore your account has been temporary suspended. We need you to confirm your identity in order to regain full privileges of your account.
    If this is not completed by June 17, 2005, we reserve the right to terminate all privileges of your account indefinitly, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. We thank you for your cooperation in this manner.
    To confirm your identity please follow the link below:

    "Telephonically." Hahahaha. The "link below" looks to be a Paypal address, but if you check the source code in HTML it goes to a completely different domain ending in "info." Two things:

    1) The domain includes a "user" ID, so if I did go and provide them with false information, they'd still have confirmation that the email address they sent it to worked. From there, I would expect to get even more phishing email 'cause hey, "we got a live one." So that would be one reason not to follow up and create a false entry.

    2) Google's email beta, Gmail, does not allow you to switch from "basic html" or "standard" (really browser-happy html) to plain text. I've been using plain text in email for the last, oh, ninety kabillion years, and I don't think I've missed anything that html-enabled mail can provide, you know, like uniquely-named images so spammers can see if I'm a "live one," or as in this example, a completely fraudulent URL obscured by what appears to be a valid URL but is actually window dressing.

    HTML-enabled mail is a mistake and a joke. It is damage that needs to be routed around.

    2005jun14. Enterprise rent-a-car tightening the belts. Avoid. What I've discovered through trial and continuous error is that all car rental companies have their own weird ways to scrape some extra change out of your wallet.

    2005jun15. Kunstler visits LA, Google, and has fun! [via jwz]

    2005jun17. Spam. My first international lottery, so I thought I'd share. It looks so official, I was fooled forever.

    MICRO LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL ‒ PROMOTIONAL PROGRAM
    ADDRESS: DAALWIJK 813, 1102 AA, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS.
    REF: MLI/PP2005-01A
    BATCH: 5300/P25/FC
    DEAR SIR/MADAM,

    RESULTS FOR CATEGORY "A" DRAWS

    Congratulations to you as we bring to your notice, the results of the Category "A" draws of MICRO LOTTERY Program. We are happy to inform you that you have emerged a winner under the First Category, which is part of our promotional draws. The draws were held on the 14th June 2005. Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 4,000,000 names/email addresses of individuals and companies from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and New Zealand as part of our International Promotions Program. You/Your Company, attached to ticket number 05-765204AC, with serial number 90-77 drew the lucky numbers 2, 1, 20, 39 and consequently won in the Category "A." You have therefore been awarded a lump sum pay out of $1,500,000 (0NE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) in cash, which is the winning payout for Category "A" winners. This is from the total prize shared among the 5 international winners in this category.

    Your funds are now deposited with a reputable finance firm in the Netherlands Insured with your FILE REFERENCE number. In your best interest and also to avoid mix up of numbers and names of any kind, we request that you keep the entire details of your award strictly from public notice until the process of transferring your claims has been completed, and your funds remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants/nonparticipants of this program. This lottery program was organized by our group of philanthropist promoted and sponsored by Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft Inc, eminent personalities like the sultan of Brunei, Multi Choice and other corporate Organizations. This lottery program was organized to improving the use of computer software and for the benefit of every Microsoft user. To begin your claim, please contact your file processing officer.

    MR PAUL KLUIVERT
    OF MICRO LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL
    Email: micrlottery05@netscape.net
    Email: microlottonl@euromail.net
    TEL: +31 649 218 234

    Kind Regards,
    MRS BRIGGS SINTEI
    DIRECTOR OF PROMOTIONAL PROGRAM

    2005jun18. Today, first thing out of the gate on finally being all moved and stuff, I got the tip-off on a Song Airlines ticket giveaway happening in Union Square. They were running a lite quiz show in a big mobile fishbowl ‒ taking people in groups of twelve, handing out inflight menus and paper paddles. The host would ask a trivia question, and you were supposed to wave your little Songpaddle if you knew the answer. They would ask four trivia questions (from a larger pool of one hundred) -- the first one was for a hat, the next three for tickets. People kept cycling through until they won or the line got too big. By the time I showed up and was waiting to board the Songbowl they also gave away a ticket to NYC for the member of our group who was the most boisterous when directed to do so by Songstaff. One college-aged kid in front of me went completely spazzo when the signal was given and I believe he won. I was unable to answer the trivia questions fast enough, and after cycling through twice my stomach and brain started kicking me in the head for continuing to torture them so I left and found a pretty good Chinese bakery. A friend of mine won a ticket but immediately ran into problems with it:

    I tried to book a flight to Tampa via JFK and was turned down. Stopovers aren't allowed and there is no reasonable connection between NYC and FL. Right now, Song flies from SFO to JFK. Period. Come September 6, they will also fly from SFO to Boston. And they aren't too keen on the ol' connecting flight situation. The guy tried to convince me to buy a ticket for the JFK to Tampa leg.

    That's right, they're giving away free tickets and then they're trying to upsell the winners. Oooh, would you like a Bloomin' Onion before dinner, ma'am? Which reminds me, I went to a SNOW (Shit Nailed On Walls) joint the other day ("Chili's") for the first time in a decade and I just wanted to hammer a knife into my skull. I especially liked the post-food upsell ... the waitron unit used some weird phrasing like "What kind of dessert are we going to split between us?"

    "We are going to eat your liver. Please lie down."

    In a related news story, a friend was out bowling the other day and there was a random blue-colored pin that would occasionally pop up in a rack. It showed up in his lane as the "head pin" and he just happened to get a strike. Turned out the pin was sponsored by JetBlue and he had just won a round-trip ticket for anywhere JetBlue flies. I mean, if they don't try to get him to purchase a double-chocolate fudgie-wudgie cake along with it. "How many forks will we be needing?"

    For more information on the marketing of Song Airlines, please watch The Persuaders, a PBS Frontline show hosted by Douglas Rushkoff, or visit your local library.

    2005jun19. I have a start page on Firefox that has a bunch of search fields from various places like google, amg, etc. I'm putting in one for Flickr and I found this bit of code on their search page:

    input type="submit" value="SEARCH" class="Butt"

    That's pretty much how most of my code reads as well.

    2005jun19. Flickr: HOBO DUCK XING. Which is strange, because we went right by this same sign only two hours after the photo was taken. It's near a garbage dump ‒ dropped some stuff off, punctured a brand-new tire, made a note to come back and take a photo of that very cool hobo duck xing icon sign tout de suite, the usual.

    2005jun19. Mail.

    I was checking out your Arizona Billboards site. I found the billboards informative but the naratives you gave them very miss guided.

    That's where I get all my directives these days as well. Screamin' right-wing billboards.

    GOD bless you anyway!

    Please don't do that, I'm allergic. [This is a rare case in which I answer the mail here but never mail the jabbery to the sender. Because I know my time spent tangling with Xtians can be better used in millions of other ways including staring at the sun, sheeeeeeeeeeeet]

    2005jun19. Mail.

    Re your Jun 14 post about Enterprise car rental... I rent cars all the time, and actually Enterprise is the best one, which isn't saying much- depending on who is at the counter, the rate you booked for on the Internets is between 10 and 30 dollars less than what it is when you pick it up. But Budget was 10 times worse- I showed up having booked the cheapest economy car, and here's what happened:

    Agent: One moment please (turns to his right and in a normal tone of voice) Hey Frida. Are we completely out of economy cars?
    Frida: Yes.
    Agent: So what should I do?
    Frida: You have to try and sell the upgrade.
    Agent: (Turning to me) Yes Ma'am would you like to upgrade to a Pontiac for only five dollars more a day?
    Me: No, I would like the car and price I reserved.
    Agent: Well I have to be honest with you. We don't have that car.
    Me: So, you are saying I have to pay an additional five dollars a day whether I like it or not?
    Agent: No, we have to give you this car regardless.
    Me: So my options are to pay you an additional five dollars a day or not pay more and I get exactly the same car?
    Agent: That's right.
    Me: I think I will go with Not.
    *scene*
    Unreal. I don't trust any of them.

    Yes. Enterprise has been the best company for you. But what I've found through painful experimentation is that large companies like this have little branch fiefdoms and within these fiefdoms a certain number of official corporate policies are ignored or twisted to bring in a little more cash ‒ it's not one big company where all the offices are playing by the same rulebook. Speaking of which, one of my friends reminded me of another common U-Haul scam that I almost got nailed for, but unfortunately he did: the ole' turn the gas gauge upside-down trick. In 99.99999% of cars and trucks, the gas gauge design goes from "Empty" on the left to "Full" on the right, or "Empty" on the bottom to "Full" on the top. The latter is very logical, because when you fill a container with a liquid, it's physically the same. Duh. With U-Haul trucks, the gas gauge goes from "Full" on the bottom to "Empty" on the top. Seriously. So what they do is give you a truck that's 1/4th full, and mark it on the paper as 3/4ths full. I caught the error before leaving the lot and the guy was all "oh, sorry about that." Such bullshit. Take digital photos of everything ‒ the fuel tank, the smallest little dings in the vehicle ‒ if you ever have to rent a moving truck or car. Then print them out, take them to a notary public, bring them back to the rental office, give them the photos, and burn the office down. If we all follow common-sense procedures like this, we go from being super suckers to Super Pyromaniacs For Street Justice.

    2005jun19. Word on the street is that the left hand of Song Airlines giving out over a thousand free tickets didn't tell the right hand of Song Airlines, the people booking the tickets. That's brilliant. So there's a lot of misinformation floating around because the operators just don't know what these free tickets are all about. If you're going to give away free stuff, you maximize ease-of-use because people are thinking "man, if I'm getting the run-around with a totally free ticket, what kind of personal hell awaits me if I try to book an actual paid flight through these clowns?" My suggestion is to build your own airplane out of sheet metal and fireworks. Lots of fireworks.

    2005jun20. Bootie Zimmer's Choice . [via doc]

    2005jun20. Webloggin' the loud children down the street in near real time:

    "Ooooh, there's doody in there!"

    I don't know where. But it contains doody.

    2005jun20. Monkeyana. "Monkeys always fascinated artists."

    2005jun23. Flickr: I had forgotten about this instance of hardware-based deception when speaking of autos and automobiling. Yes, they're all labelled. But because we've all pumped so many gallons of gas in our various lifetimes, we are lulled into a false sense of zombification when we pull up to the pump. Grab the one on the left 'cause it's the cheapest, feed the beast, leave. It's not as insidious as flipping the fuel gauge upside-down, but still. That reminds me, I need to make high-larious curse-filled alternative signs for the occasional

    "SMILE" YOUR [sic] ON CANDID CAMERA

    sign I see on pumps.

    2005jun23. Honking. Really haven't gotten used to honking. What was honking for, again?

    2005jun24. Flickr: The woman, she likes cookies.

    2005jun24. A special message to those people using the phrase "after the jump." Sometimes it's before the jump. Sometimes it's way, way after the jump, like we've forgotten all about the jump. Sometimes we don't even have to jump because there's no ad there. So it's like "after the jump ..." and then whoom we're still in the text so the mind wanders. "Where's the fricking jump?" And then you're like thinking that the jump is going to come out, much later, when you least expect it. So, to sum up: cram the jump warning.

    2005jun27. Hello, hello. I have a Flickr "pro" account (valued at, apparently, $41.77USD) to give away in the next few days. If you would like this, just send your flickr username along with your actual email address to me. Since I only have one to give away, I will have to randomly choose one name. That is how it goes. If you don't have a flickr account, you can get one set up for free, but the "pro" account allows you to post nine ska-billion photos every twenty seconds whereas the free one allows you to post 100 photos and that's it. I will pick someone June 30th since the thing expires the next day. I am sorry if you do not win this exciting competition. You are almost ready to be registered to be pre-approved for a virtual back-pat of condolence.

    2005jun29. Roosters and turkeys were better. One of the toms ruled the slide guitar.

    2005jun29. There is a band practicing next door. They are "jamming." I am not sure that this is better than roosters and turkeys.

    2005jun29. I may have mentioned earlier that the Japanese 99-cent store trumps all other contenders/pretenders. You can buy little storage units for your food and such, and they seal properly and seem like they'll last a long time. And.

    Also I am giving away that Flickr "pro" account to-morrow at some undesignated time. Could be in the morning, could be in the evening. I cannot say at this time.

    2005jun30. Mail.

    Many years ago when I was a young boy I watched on television on a Saturday morning Johnny King bowl what was said to be the first perfect game ever on television. The announcer's name was "Whispering" Joe Wilson.
    Can you provied me with the date of this event?
    I am using it in a researxch project.
    Thank you ,

    [name]

    Yes. The date was January 7th, 2003.

    2005jun30. The Free Jazz Garage Band has been "jamming" on one song for about 37 minutes now. We're in the "bullet time" sequence of the song where everything is drawn out and the bass player is hitting the string every half second doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo and the guitar player finished his wheedly wheedly thing about five minutes ago so he shows up with a few notes very sporadically and it sounds like the other three or four guys are trying to play intermittently while they dig through the fridge for munchies. I like jazz up until about Ornette Coleman. Somewhere around there, when jazz became free? I enjoy Restricted Jazz.


    July 2005.

    2005jul01. Flickr: Day of the Dead urinal diorama.

    2005jul01. Flickr: Urinal mats: a consideration.

    2005jul01. Thought crime committed in Chicago.

    2005jul01. Mail.

    hi I love your candy cigretts I think they are very good. I dont want to smoke when I grow up so I act like I smoke them and my mom is like dont smoke in the house hehe. So I just want to say thank you for making them and tell every one good work for making them.

    2005jul01. I love Blogshares. Not playing it or anything, just that it's there.

    Cardhouse suffered a huge setback with several analysts urging their clients to ditch the stock as it suffered a public relations disaster. The exact nature of customer dissatisfaction was not known but Samuel Ng was rumoured to have had a hand in it. Industry insiders suspect a Rock Star (artefact) was involved. Cardhouse share price dropped from B$587.70 to B$329.11

    Samuel Ng declined to comment on the recent speculation.

    Doooooh, that Samuel Ng!!!!! I have no idea what the "rock star" artefact is. Oh, wait:

    Having a rock star in your pocket is great because you get a handle on pop culture. Who sets the trends? The rock stars! But be careful. Rock stars tend to get into unsavory business if you leave their leash too long.

    Meh?

    2005jul04. Magical Satellite Applies Brakes, Cuts Out Accelerator Automatically! There's absolutely nothing that could wrong with this plan. But really -- it's not like your garden variety speeder is going much faster than anyone else anyway, and the hot rodders aren't going to submit to compliance. And if some truck is barreling down on you, well, tough shit, the satellite says you're slowing down now. Technology will solve all of our problems without creating new ones.

    2005jul05. The Museum of Food Anomalies has updated.

    2005jul05. Colombia. [via doc]

    2005jul06. Bleep Labs. For machines that go "beep beep boop BLOOP boop beep."

    2005jul07. The Stork [mov]. [via stay free]

    2005jul07. Nice consumer action discussion of sorts on Plastic.

    I live in the first town in the country to tell the cable company where to shove it when they came arrogantly expecting renewal of their monopoly. We can now choose between three phone companies, two cable companies, and three broadband providers, not counting satellite options or cell phones. Our cable rates are lower than in surrounding communities and we get more channels for the same money. (I don't have a landline phone so I didn't bother shopping for one.)

    If your cable and phone companies are screwing you, go demand that your town end their monopoly. (The phone company may have a state monopoly, but cable seems to usually be locally authorized.) Make absolutely clear that you're going to be watching the vote on it and that it will determine how you vote on your representative. Also, start a campaign to get your neighbors and residents all over town involved: distribute flyers pointing out that your town could allow competition and that this could improve service and lower rates, or at least hold down rate increases.

    2005jul08. In Passing: "The Vegetarian". 2x bonus for using the word "tasty."

    2005jul08. I am still looking for a room to rent in the East Bay / San Francisco area. If you have one of these, please contact me at the link that reads "contact" which is about 11 words ago now 15.

    In other news, hood releases are weak and ineffectual. They're the pansies of the automotive parts world. My suggestion to you is to practice unlatching your hood without using your hood release with a comically large screwdriver (if you damage something, that's your own problem), or install a supplementary hood release that isn't the tender frail boo-boo kitty crap manufacturers provide. After finding that the hood latch for my particular vehicular conveyance is not represented (nor the conveyance's "make") via any photos on the internet, I began assimilating horror hood release stories from other makes where photos were provided in an attempt to come to some sort of Emperor-of-China's-nose consensus about what hidden hood latch delights lay secreted underneath a layer of steel. My favorite was the Delorean hood release service bulletin that started with the step "remove the left front wheel" ... ARE THOSE SNOW TIRES LUTZ FEUERABENDT HAW HAW HAW. Sorry, Lutz, I'm in a horrible mood.

    2005jul10. The musical influences of Troy Gregory and The Stepsisters.

    2005jul10. I bought some nectarines. They have those damned little fruit stickers on them with the number that tells you if it's organic or not (but really, just look at the price). Some farms have been adding a little nib to the sticker to make it easier to grab and keep photos of your be-stickered colon wall off the internet. So. You know about those price tag stickers that have little cuts in them, right? To delay would-be shoplifters for an extra few seconds, therefore preventing uninvited store inventory loss? Some extremely wise person at the nectarine farm thought it would be a good idea to use the same technology on their stickers, because of all the fruit theft. "How can we make those little fruit stickers ... even more annoying?" This stupid idea is going to spread until we're all picking at each individual piece of fruit forever to make sure we get every last bit of sticker residue off of it. Yay, technology.

    2005jul11. The washer has a dial with which you set the washing time. You pull it out to start it. The dryer has a dial with which you set the drying time. You pull it out to have a dryer dial sitting in your hand.

    2005jul11. Sixteen Bottles Of Wine A Day For A Week Performance Art Piece.

    2005jul12. Today while waiting for a member of the service industry to finish my paperwork, I noticed Mary Roach's Stiff on the counter. This is all sort of paraphrased.

    "Is that yours?"
    "Yeah."
    "How is that ... I've been meaning to check it out."
    "It's really good ... [something something] I'm occasionally working with Crime Scene Clean-Up and ---"
    "Crime Scene Clean-Up!?!?!? Wow."
    "You know Crime Scene Clean-Up? Yeah ... I really want to be a mortician ... [something here about doing work at a local funeral home]"
    "Yeah, back in the olden days when I was in high school, they made us take a test that would determine exactly what types of jobs you were suited for ... and almost everyone got "mortician."
    "I think I did something similar ... it said that I would like working with people ... but it didn't say whether they'd be alive or not."

    She finished up the paperwork, I left and came back later after the thing that I was there for was completed. She had something to say.

    "I just wanted to tell you something ... and don't take this the wrong way ... but you know how people have particular odors? The scent they carry around with them? Well, your odor reminds me of my grandfather."
    "I'm leaving." [FX: fake to exit door stage right]
    "No ... see, I didn't know if I should say anything. It just reminds me of my grandfather working in the garden. And that's nice."
    "I'll take it as a good thing. But when you started in talking about my odor, I thought it was somehow going to tie into the thing with Mary Roach and Crime Scene Clean-Up."
    "No, you don't smell like a dead person." [starts laughing, we finish up the last bit of paperwork, she shouts past another customer as I'm leaving] "You smell much better than a dead person!"

    This was, and forever more will be, the best conversation I've had with someone just after meeting them. I should of told her that if I get capped, I'd want her to do the clean-up. Aww.

    2005jul13. Cockeyed: The Golden Ring Diet. Truly amazing! With testimonials!

    2005jul14. My Wife Is A Cheap-Ass, America. This is an AWESOME article. The writer talks about tipping, comparing his tipping practices against his wife's. He's a standard tipper ‒ 19% in one example ‒ and she's a bit of a skimmer ‒ 13%. But the beautiful subtext here is at the end of the article. " ... I refrain from chastising her tips ..." Dude, you just got PAID to chastise her tips to the freakin' WERLD, man. Pack your bags, Chateau Doggie awaits!

    FYI ‒ I only tip with little plastic babies. If you're an adequate server? Five babies. But if you're really good ... ten babies. I know, I know, but I think superior service is worth it.

    2005jul14. What Happened to the Geese?

    A nice man from Catalina came and got the goose friends on Saturday afternoon. His wife works with Habitat for Humanity and he works for another non-profit that helps people get back on their feet. So, a decent fellow...

    He was interested in the geese not only because he thought his kids would get a kick out of them ‒ he came to get the geese during the kids' naptime, so they'd have a surprise when they woke up ‒ but because he knew that they can be territorial. He wants that. I think he has some d o p e y d a w g s who aren't as sentinel-esque as he'd like.

    I managed to catch all four geese by myself. I dressed for it ‒ rubber gloves, boots, play clothes. They were squawking and crying -- literally sad tears crying...and oh so much SLOBBER ‒ and running around frantically. I used one of the big ol' red towels in a toro-toro manoeuvre to sedate them. Once I was over top of them with the towel, they each gave up...hunkered down, whimpering. It was heartbreaking. I wrapped them up in the towel so they couldn't scratch me, and put them in uhaul boxes and taped the lids shut. I put spinach in the boxes for them.

    I caught Lono last and gave her extra strokes and hugs ‒ I felt the saddest about letting her go. She was very receptive to affection once she was in my arms. I made cooing noises next to her head and gave her extra spinach. I almost changed my mind right there ‒ but, I know it doesn't make sense for them to be home lonely all day.

    He wrote me this morning that they're slowly getting used to the new yard ‒ but it's kinda big for them. They stick within a 6 foot radius of their food and water. I hope their curiosity kicks in...

    But, his kids are thrilled and the geese have a good home, so it's all ok by me.

    -- Molly.

    2005jul14. Joy dishwashing liquid has a formulation I wasn't aware of. Non-Ultra Joy.

    2005jul14. You're totally not listening to the voice in my heart, doc.

    2005jul15. Humbird Humbird.

    2005jul17. Flickr: Totally me, all the time.

    2005jul18. I really liked the short but memorable performance of the "guy in bar" (George Memmoli) in The Sure Thing (there's this little quaver in his voice when he says the above line that's just so choice), so I went looking around and I believe he passed away the same year the film was released (1985). Here's a photo of him (he's the guy who isn't Meadowlark Lemon).

    2005jul18. Trader Joe's Item Assessment July 2005.

    Any pasta sauce without cheese: still tastes like ass.
    Turtle Mountain fake ice cream products. Too much freezer burn in the past, treated with disdain.
    Vegetable samosas: tad too oily.
    Turkey stromboli: tad too heavy.
    Turkey sammich: was $3.39, now $4.19 and smaller. What?
    Lime/chili chips: still damn good, but I'm trying to move away from this cheese thing.
    Pita chips: still damn good, but I'm trying to move away from this bread thing.
    Banana waffles. still damn good, but I'm trying to move away from this barely healthy breakfast stuff.
    Nature's Path toaster pastries: apple is damn good, but (see above).
    Tapioca pudding: current low-burn addiction. Guy in bar in The Sure Thing: "I know it's bad, but I just can't help myself."
    Spicy bean chips. I have broken my addiction. Now I can eat these once every two months.
    Pineapple coconut drink disappeared for awhile. Thought I was going to have to get a broom and clear the shelves, screaming nonsense, and that's probably getting old.
    What happened to those little cookies shaped like "S"s that were half-covered with choklit?
    What happened to Black Rabbit Licorice?
    What happened to the Vegetarian Ragu Sauce?

    2005jul18. Cardhouse Flickr: Mystery Drink Confuses Dozens.

    2005jul18. Mail.

    I was looking at your web site and there's a Mogu store [ locations 1 2 ] here in New York where they have those Mee animals. It is a paradise of a store full of pillows and pillow products and the staff totally ignores you as you swing from pillow-vine to pillow-vine to pillow-platform.

    2005jul18. Mail. If you remember late last year someone expressed an interest in finding some Chokefriends!® who really aren't called that. They're called "Mee," and made by microbead pillow manufacturer Mogu. Now someone else has expressed an interest in finding one here in the US:

    I was in Japan last summer and I bought my baby cousin a very similar toy that I think was "Mee," except it was a plastic alarm clock that sang and when you put several of them together they'd sing in harmony....anyways, I really like the large stuffed one and if you find any more information on them i'd love to know.

    So keep your eyes peeled, America ... peeled for Chokefriends!®

    2005jul18. I have been looking for cheap-o pens for awhile, since I bailed on Bic. Bics tend to suddenly leak in my pocket or backpack and for some reason it took me years to make the switch, I seem to remember them doing the same thing over a decade ago. Then I went to Papermates, and they seize up from time to time, even when full. I welcome cheap-o pen suggestions.

    2005jul18. Seanbaby: The Whine Lovers.

    2005jul18. Running through the rent maze. I'm focusing in on a little town called "Berkeley" because I went to their library the other day and I was like "dayammmmmmmn." Fun phone call today ‒ talking to an old lady ... deposit for the place double the rent, $1100. No no no no no. I mean, what do you have to do to cause that much damage? Smash through a wall, then toss the fridge out the window? "HA HA! THAT'S TWELVE HUNNERD CLAMS, GRAMMY! PLUS THE FOOD INSIDE! OR ACTUALLY NOW IT'S OUTSIDE! OOOH, RACCOONS!" Well, I'll get a place, or I'll be homeless. And that's a promise..

    2005jul19. I remember very little about the television show "Happy Days," or at least I've repressed it. It's amazing to skim this huge comments page from the website "Jump The Shark," (inspired by the episode in which "The Fonz" jumps a shark and theoretically that's when the show took a nosedive). It's surreal, the amount of detail some of the people talk about, and just the strange things that happened in the show as the writers lost control of it.

    In the final season, Joanie and Chachi go to a Kinks concert and come home with T-shirts that read "KINKS TOUR '65." I'm not sure there even WERE concert tees in the '60s

    What's so great about Fonzie anyway? he's short, dropped out of high school, works in a garage, lives above a garage and hangs out with kids 5 years younger than him. He apparently never gets beyond 1st base with girls, he wears the same thing every day and his office is in a bathroom.

    I agree with the above poster about the desk in the crapper. I never could figure out why he would do that. Surely the bathroom would stink.

    Every time I read a newspaper account about a serial killer's everyday life, I always picture him as having been living in a room like that attic room Cunninghams gave to the Fonz to live in.

    RICHIE & LAURIE BETH MARRYING OVER THE PHONE!!!

    2005jul19. Mail about fruit stickers being replaced with tribal fruit tattoos.

    Yay, annoyance replaced with disfigurement.

    "Back in my day, Jimmy Jr., we had fruit that didn't have those tiny edible machines attached to them that remained in constant contact with the NSA and The National Council of Churches. No, we just ate 'em right from the tree." [Jimmy cries, runs away. Clearly grandpa has gone senile.]

    In other news, I want a bagel. Oh, and go to bugmenot if you need to crack that NYT login screen.

    2005jul19. Flickr. Good photos of those bizarre Veggies Rock! packages. Saw them at the dollar store awhile ago. Kids, our extreme def carrots are going to explode in your mouth and bring you the mouth-watering taste sensation you deserve! They're f-f-f-f-f-fresh! AND IT'S TOTALLY NOT HEALTHY EAT YOU LITTLE RATS EAT

    2005jul19. Flickr: Gridlock. Art by DAVe.

    2005jul20. Ultra Poodle Disguise Kit For Dobermans. "Oh what a lovely Dog!"

    2005jul21. Achewood: Ray brought down by weaker drink.

    2005jul23. So. Goldface. We meet again.

    Goldfaaaaaace, he's the man, the man with the Midas touch
    A huffer's touch
    Such a cold faaaaaace beckons you to enter his web of sin
    But don't go in
    Goldfaaaaaace ... pretty girl, beware of this face of gold
    Golden paint he will smear on your ear
    But his habit can't disguise what you fear
    For a golden girl knows when he's kissed her
    Because she's got gold smeared on her kisser
    THIS FACE IS COLD!
    He loves only gold
    Only gold
    HE LOVES GOLD
    HE LOVES ONLY GOOOOLD
    OOOOOOOOOONLY GOLD
    HE LOVES GOLLLLLD!
    [Spoken] He was a diabolical madman who was able to ensnare authorities in a deadly game of "cat and mouse." But eventually his trail of deceit led him to defeat when his own heart gave him away. Also all of that gold shit on his face helped. At least he's not inflating his forehead.
    [drum final]

    2005jul25. I just had a lengthy long-distance conversation with several of my friends who were attending a party. Over speakerphone. I really can't recommend it.

    2005jul25. Achewood: Calvin prevents the spread of his own germs.

    2005jul25. A pleasant reminder. I have until the end of the month to find a habitable room, preferably in Berkeley. Remember, if I'm under a bridge somewhere,

    no more updates. Perhaps you or your friends have a nice space for me, no?

    2005jul25. Special message to dipshit at Colorado.edu: tame your out-of-control indexing spider or practice your inept programming somewhere else/ht/ht/.

    - -> /ROBOTS/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ | ecch107pc132.colorado.edu
    - -> /ROBOTS/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ | ecch107pc132.colorado.edu
    - -> /ROBOTS/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ | ecch107pc132.colorado.edu
    - -> /ROBOTS/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ | ecch107pc132.colorado.edu
    - -> /ROBOTS/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ | ecch107pc132.colorado.edu
    [many lines follow]
    /ROBOTS/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/ht/[200 "ht/"s follow] | ecch107pc132.colorado.edu

    2005jul25. I'vebeenstar ing atthe mysterious innermechanisms ofa spacebar forover an hournow.

    2005jul27. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh God, let the world BE FREE!!!! Come on America, we can do it, just like Iraq! [via doc]

    2005jul29. Waiter Rant: Where's Prozac When You Need It? I am not a drinker, yet I have been lucky enough to try Cynar, thee artichoke liquor. It hurt me in a bad way.

    2005jul29. Mail.

    Needing advertising space for the Colorado River area.

    We all need something, I suppose. I could use a deep-tissue massage and a piece of Boston creme pie, which is mysteriously more cake-like than pie-like.

    2005jul29. Mail.

    Dear Chief Executive of Food City:

    I ask you to protect all decent minded customers, and children especially, from being exposed to headlines like these at your supermarket's checkout lines or your supermarkets period:

    Supersize Your Sex Life:
    Take Home 10 Tasty Tips
    From the World's Lustiest Lovers
    50 Tricks for Outstanding Orgasms:
    NC-17 Seduction Moves
    Applause-Worthy Foreplay
    Sex Secrets of Women Men Love

    Magazines like FHM, Hot Rod, Guitar,Low Riders, Stuff, Maxime and other magazines have been playing up sexually lurid headlines and images, apparently vying with each other to be the most shocking.
    A national opinion poll conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide in September 1999 found that 73% of Americans thought the display of such headlines at supermarket checkout counters to be "inappropriate," and 60% favor a store policy of not displaying them at all. I believe that a "family oriented" supermarket like yours should behave differently from the most irresponsible elements of our nation's entertainment media. Wouldn't you agree? Would you put those magazines in your home where your children could read them? Would you let them carry them to school? Or would you let your daughters pose for one of those covers? I think not. Then why should "WE" be exposed to such material when we are doing such a simple thing as grocery shopping with our families. I am not asking that you change "your" moral ideas but at least respect mines.." When we consider that the greatest of evils to befall anyone is the eternal loss of one's soul to hell, how we should dread to be the cause or the occasion of sin for anyone!"

    Sincerely,

    [person's name]

    cc:US Attorney General
    Federal Obscenity Complaint Board

    Dear X:

    Thank you for writing. If more customers would step forward and give their opinions about what type of moral stance we should take, perhaps we'd be better able to serve our consumer base. I'm afraid I don't find the headlines you quote "shocking," and really the "images" you speak of consist of what they used to call "cheesecake" back in the 1950s, though back then they didn't have a squad of Photoshop experts to remove all secondary sexual characteristics (nipples, pubic hair, etc). I have looked at these magazines, and they confuse me: either you purchase porn, or you don't. Yet, here's this boring middle-of-the-road publication (or rather, raft of publications) which is all about what you cannot see, indeed, what has been excised by the aforementioned squad. Puzzling. Anyway. Back to your shrill letter. The opinion poll you've mentioned is very interesting in that 100% of these Americans actually live in America, and yet 73% of them cannot grasp the simple fact that sometimes, you have to put up with things you don't like. Because ... we ... live ... in ... AMERICA! Oh sure, the Supreme Court and the Bush clan continue to hollow out the word "freedom," but there's still a tiny little bit of gas left in the tank. It's interesting, though, that somehow the store is able to sell these magazines to a sub-percent of the 27% of people who don't mind the "lurid" headlines and still make enough profit to justify the shelf space, or am I implying that maybe some of these 73% of people are actually buying the magazines yet taking the "high" road when polled? Also, gotta say "thumbs up" to the sentences in your paragraph where you force your morality onto my theoretical children, that's really big of you. And my theoretical daughter can go right ahead and pose for the cover of Maxim, since she's going to be 18 years old, at least, when she does it, and by that age she can make her own theoretical decisions. I love this line: "I am not asking that you change 'your' moral ideas but at least respect mines." Mines are actually very dangerous, they should be closed off when not in use. But seriously, you are asking me to change "my" moral ideas. You're filled with holy roller poison, it's sloshing around there in your brain and destroying your capacity for logical thought. Keep fearing the fires of hell, it's how they keep you in line while you're serving time here on planet earth. I really don't think seeing "lurid" words and images written on the cover of a magazine constitutes a sin ‒ unless, you know, your brain starts thinking of other sexy things, and then whose fault is it, really? The magazine? Or is it really you? No, it's got to be the devil controlling a portion of your brain, that's how you'll make peace with yourself and believe yourself to be sin-free. That's how your insane 2000-year-old ghost story racket works, you lay down the Word and the Word is good, except for this Part, this Part, and that Part. Selective processing, it's like being at the salad bar at Wendy's. "Oh, I don't like those kidney-shaped beans, what are they called?" You're supposed to eat ALL of it. Please enjoy a complimentary subscription to Bizarre Magazine I've arranged to have sent to your address.

    Fred Q. Hennesseelee
    CEO

    PS: Kidney beans, 69 cents a pound, this week only.

    PPS: Guitar magazine?

    2005jul30. I was looking through my moving notes and I forgot to mention that Castaic Lake, California, will be holding The Castaic Lake Pyro-Musical at 4:00pm July 4th on Lake Castaic. Mark your calendars.

    2005jul30. Flickr: Door opener at top of flight of stairs.

    2005jul30. Flickr: Poor Tuskie.

    2005jul30. Mail.

    R.R. PARTY STORE
    P.O. BOX 2177 VICTOTIAS STATION
    AGUADILLA,P.R. 00605

    PLEASE CATOGOG. OR PLEASE PERSONAL SALES IN PUERTO RICO.

    You got it.

    2005jul31. Cardhouse Flickr: Sticky The Walking Stick.

    2005jul31. Flickr: Lumberjack Games now through August 5th.


    August 2005.

    2005aug01. Flickr: Hello Sushi.

    2005aug01. Lovers sit on dung. A good day in Shibuya.

    2005aug01. "Yeah, I'm on Montgomery. Did you find any brains? No? Yeah, still looking, got my posse with me."

    2005aug01. Soccer headline fun-eez. "Let's see if we can slide this one past the chief." GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!11!!1 [via Tim]

    2005aug01. Flickr: The polite cigarette.

    2005aug02. Gas Guy: Dead for a Ducat.

    2005aug02. Eric Doeringer. Subway paintings. Toys . Contraband:

    The Contraband series is a collection of sculptures made out of items whose possession, sale, use, and/or transportation across state or international borders is illegal. Each object is encased in a plastic bottle with a label identifying the contents. The bottles are then sealed with red shrink wrap.

    2005aug02. Penkiln Burn: Daffodils. Bill Drummond (formerly of the KLF).

    2005aug03. Accidental discovery: By shrinking the text on a google maps page (in firefox: control-minus several times) you can make the map area much larger. Today is google maps day.

    2005aug03. Achewood: Ray's Toy Truck.

    2005aug03. When google maps doesn't have an address for something, they go ahead and link it to a physical location anyway, which may be the center of the city. In this example, there are two links to the Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, one with an address, and one without. The one lacking an address has defaulted to a suburban area that has only houses. I know because I went there yesterday, looking for a phantom ATM, directed by google maps. While I'm frothing, Easy Going Travel ... a travel store ... doesn't have directions to their store. "For personalized directions from your door to ours please call. We are located in Kensington, California." Special note to brick & mortar people residing on the internet: your number one super-link, the one that catches everyone's eye immediately, is ... [dramatic pause] WHERE IN THE HELL ARE YOU

    2005aug04. Flickr: YOU ARE THE NEW MAN

    2005aug06. Saab is running some crusty website called maintainyouridentity.net on which they seem to be trying to make the point that the great unwashed masses are huddled together listening to the same ten CDs and surely you're not one of them 'cause you got your own thing and somehow owning a mass-produced car is also like the thing you got. Anyway, they prompt you to type in a bit of text indicating "how you maintain your identity" and then "seconds later" your post appears on the website "homepage." I guess you can pretty much type in anything you want. Like this.

    Ten minutes later, it's still floating around on the page. [special thanks to laura]

    2005aug06. Yeah. On reconsideration, that Saab thing is probably just a bunch of canned upbeat testimonials, woven together with your little cranky prank text so it looks like you're getting your message out to the multitudes but really you're just in the throes of self-delusion, sort of like what you are if you buy a Saab thinking that somehow this is going to set you apart from every other car owner. And of course, they pulled out the ole' "different" chestnut ("You're different. So is Saab") which I have discussed at length before. Please refer to page 117 in your notes.

    2005aug06. Flickr: NATURE. I like the bizarre mix of upper/lowercase.

    2005aug06. The part that really grinds me about paying $36 to the City of Berkeley isn't the money, nor the sweet little street-sweeping scam they have where the cop drives just ahead of the street-sweeper ‒ no, it's that the check has to be made out to "City of Berkeley Customer Service." But yeah, I guess I was served. So maybe it's the money. No, wait, it's the "service" thing again.

    2005aug07. Went and saw Broken Flowers at Pixar the other day. The theatre was swank-e and did not contain people talking on cellphones, yelling children, the ugly odor of overly-buttered burnt popcorn, people loudly discussing the plot during the movie or "responding" to the characters, nor sticky floors. I was confused. My tour of other bits of Pixar was very similar to Wagner's except replace all the Finding Nemo paraphernalia with The Incredibles paraphernalia and the part in which the tourist has a camera handy with a part in which the tourist forgets a camera. [special thanks to b/j, certainly!]

    2005aug07. Email.

    yeah on the saab thing.

    I was bored at work and put in a few different ones (my favorite "I AM A ROBOT. DOES NOT COMPUTE" etc.) and keep checking throughout the day to see if mine ever came back (I even left the page open for a few hours) and didn't see them after re-loading the flash.

    kinda dumb but I was bored. It's tax free weekend!

    Also ..

    I tried the Saab thingy, and came to the same conclusion pretty quickly. All the other "replies" were safe and warm and fuzzy and shit, while my entries ("I drive a Ford Fairmont," "I wrote my name on my forehead") stayed up on the screen. I checked again later, no sign of any odd entries, including mine. Yes, wacky individuality... you may visit, Mr. Consumer, but you are not permitted to live there.

    2005aug08. Changing address at credit card junction.

    "Mr. Robot, I've noticed you've been a customer of [credit card company] for over 14 years, and I was wondering why you haven't taken advantage of our cash-back blah blah blah blah upsell upsell card?"

    "It's funny you should ask that. Several years ago, I phoned your company and reported that my card was missing. You sent me a new one. I took my girlfriend out to dinner for her birthday, and somehow the old card magically re-appeared in my wallet. So of course I got to speak to security that evening. Instead of realizing what had happened, the security agent brought the hammer down and warned me not to "escalate" matters when I asked for his supervisor. Just a total dickhead who chewed me out on the phone. So, since my employment has been rather spotty the last n years, I haven't been able to get a new credit card. I'm holding onto yours until I can jump to a new company, then I'm going to kick you guys into the mud."

    "Ha ha! Okay, you take care, now, Mr. Robot."

    That's what I should have said, actually. But a robot without credit is a sad robot.

    2005aug08. Mail.

    does cram cream have a website?

    Hmm. After applying massive amounts of google-fu, I am happy to introduce you to the CREATOR of Cram Cream (scroll down to the end of the comments). But the designer does not drop a URL on our various brains, and I can only locate websites selling Cram Cream along with other products.

    2005aug09. What happens to the stuff at Costco when it's cleared off the shelves? According to this trip report, it goes (mostly) offshore! Here. Now that I am a living bachelor, I don't buy anything at Costco, because there's too much of it. Even the baguettes come in twos. Frickin' baguettes. Who will help me eat these baguettes? You naughty kittens. I really don't know where this is going, but I kind of like it. [puts on soft Italian music] No, really, tell me about your day. [listens intently]

    2005aug09. DOOT

    2005aug10. On the The Aristocrats website, Penn Jillette has a section in which he discusses obtaining each of the interviews shown on film. Great stuff. On the opposite side of the coin, the format is an object lesson as to why large wads of text should never be presented via the "flash" interface. I would have never given this the time of day had it been dial-up, and even now with the hi-speed I'm this close (proffers microscope lens) to closing the window forever.

    2005aug10. Flickr: GIANT SAFETY PENGUIN. SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY

    2005aug11. Babsomatic: That's weird, police tape really isn't magical. What a bunch of spineless weasels. No vending my ass, etc etc.

    2005aug12. No matter who you're using a "search engine" to find, chances are better than half that one of the first ten results is some other idiot with your quarry's name has run a race, somewhere, and there's a webpage with his standing.

    When -- when for the love of baby jesus ‒ did running times become more important than resumes, biographical information, journals, articles, news stories, etc? Is the search engine jazzed with running time pages because there are bunch of numbers there? "Ooooh, data! It must be important 01010111101111000111 ha ha yeah, me too 10011110111110 no, really, tell me about your day" [100100101111110101 1010101111110110]

    2005aug12. Coney Island Dreamland Artist Clubhouse 100% off sale.

    2005aug13. Stunt City. A commercial with probably the highest stuntman index ever.

    2005aug15. I usually don't mention these things, but I'm taking a vacation away from this nonsense for awhile. Yes.

    2005aug27. [Cardhouse] Flickr: Santa Cruz Boardwalk Series. Important because of this photo which has movie links off of it. You may enjoy them. Doc watched 'em and said:

    That looks like a prime germ-spreading activity.

    So there's that. I like the style of three people on that thing ‒ two of them grab two rings at full speed (when it was starting up one woman grabbed four rings, but that's not shown), and another woman has this lazy loose throwing style that cracks me up. The buzzer / clown eyes lighting up isn't much of a payoff. And by the time it registers, I get the impression that you're already more than a quarter turn past actually seeing it.

    Still not doing "this thing." No. I'm on a break.


    September 2005.

    2005sep04. I've been mostly away from all media sources for the last week, so I'm catching up on the horror and devastation as I'm sure you all have been. And, to the tons of people who are ending up at this site from nolablogs -- that was back when Doctor Cliff had space at Cardhouse ‒ now he's got his own address at doctorcliff.com. He was able to get out of New Orleans before the storm hit.

    2005sep04. I am recommending a book. It is two years old now (happy birthday!). It is "In Me Own Words: The Autobiography Of Bigfoot" by Graham Roumieu. I was crying with laughter, and then the sunscreen got in there and I was really crying. But before the sunscreen? Actual laugh-crying. The drawings are great and subtle and perfect.

    Me have opinion
    what happen world me ask? Me once believe in good. Now, no. World go shit, just like bigfoot screenwriting career. Me write story once about bigfoot who hate life work for corporation. He form club with other bigfoot and fight in basement. Soon many clubs. It star me, Lou Ferigno and Pat Morita. It called tussel club. Hollywood say I crazy. Now Pat Morita no return calls. He snob. He no get christmas card. Maybe I smash with log.

    2005sep05. American Apparel: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. [via stayfree]

    2005sep06. Is there any sort of clearinghouse for the intensely personal stories of those people who have been displaced by Katrina? I've run into two thus far, and to me it's a cut above reading news speak: [1 2 ]

    2005sep07. Another personal account [via peacedividend] Also, a four-parter by a nurse (1 2 3 4) [via jwz]

    2005sep07. I tend not to travel with a "pack." Even on the freeway, packs of cars slowly engulf me, then continue on their way ‒ I drive just a tiny bit slower than the clusters. So it's taken me this long to realize that when you visit a restaurant with a large amount of people (as I did the other day) -- and they have that guaranteed gratuity for parties of n or more ‒ you've just magically created a situation in which you will get the worst service in the place. Why would the waiter bust his or her ass to take your order, get food on your table, etc? Yeah, it's just like a taxi, move 'em in, move 'em out, more people, more tips -- but seriously, it was like watching one of those long time-lapse animations where everything else is moving very quickly yet you're in Molassesland (kids five and under free!). Bringing you the news you need to know now no. [Oh, and since someone asked: Figaro Ristorante Italiano {which is also known as "House of Gnocchi" ... bizarre} on Columbus in San Francisco. Getting the $9 in change back from them was also a delightful study in the art of delay.]

    2005sep08. The Sneeze has a two-part interview with Adam Savage of TV's "Mythbusters" [ 1 2 ]. In Part 2, Adam talks about The Mythtanic, which I ran into sitting dockside in Alameda earlier this year. I was all like "can I get your autograph? you know, for my fake kids?" and Mythtanic was all aloof and shit. Celebrities.

    2005sep09. Mail.

    I BOUGHT A NAME BRAND MATH BOOK. IT HAD 2 ANSWERS WRONG. I GOT VERY UPSET BECAUSE IT UPSET MY GRAND-DAUGHTER WHO WAS SUSPOSE TO BE LEARNING FROM THIS BOOK. THE NAME BRAND HAS MANY MANY OTHER PRODUCTS ALSO. I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES. TO ME THIS IS PUNITIVE DAMAGES. THE BOOK NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OFF THE MARKET. MY GRAND-DAUGHTER IS ONLY 6 YRS. OLD. I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT A COMPANY LIKE THIS COULD PUBLISH A LEARNING BOOK WITH 2 NOT 1 MATH PROBLEM. GO FIGURE

    - JERRY

    Sometimes when I'm on the street and no one's looking I hide behind things. It's like my little island of sanity in this crazy cement dystopia I call "home."

    2005sep09. Achewood: Pat's Aquarium.

    2005sep12. Deuce of Clubs: Why I Left Burning Man ‒ and Why I'm Returning.

    2005sep13. For awhile now, I've been wondering how one is supposed to clean wax out of one's ears if one is not supposed to use cotton swabs. Remember the old teevee commercial? "And never put anything inside your ear ... except your elbow." So finally, in Chinatown the other day, I found it ... the holy grail of ear cleaning ... the metal ear pick of jamming.

    2005sep14. This American Life: ROCK 'N' ROLL LIBRARY!!!! [real audio link; download media player classic to play it instead of horrendous real player] A rock-n-roll combo "rocks out" at various Michigan-based libraries. The drummer for the band (The High Strung), Derek, is the brother of Scott Berk, Cardhouse's Staff Chemist.

    2005sep14. Oh yeah, RE "ear cand1ing" ... The Straight Dope has already taken a look at it. And it's shite.

    2005sep14. Mail.

    no, no, no... remember? it was schoolhouse rock or some crap, and they said, "never put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow" (sure to confuse/harm hordes of small childrens)

    also, the elephant had all like pumpkins and junk coming out of his ears.

    love, Random Uncle

    I don't remember. It may be a common enough saying that it was both in Schoolhouse Rock and the commercial I seem to recall. Perhaps we can sit here and someone else will do the detective work for us. [sitting]

    2005sep15. I need a piece of cake. What I would do, is the cake would be sitting on its plate in front of me, and then I would just collapse and my face would go right into the cake. I call this the Comfort Smoosh.

    2005sep16. I have this website. It is called "Cardhouse.com." I write things on it. Eventually I write about something enough that it sometimes becomes the number one entry on google for that topic. Then, other people (who think that the internet consists solely of businesses) search on google ‒ for say, cigarettes ‒ and find my site. Then they write me about business. And I write back, because I always answer my email.

    Yes, I am interested in an uncut sheet of playing cards. Can you please email the prices on a new set.

    That is awesome.

    Thanks, [name]

    Don't mention it.

    ---

    Sometimes I secretly BCC my friends, because they need to know about this important ... uh ... information. I guess.

    Doc: "That is awesome." that could be your standard response to inane emails.

    Me: It's a pretty good one, as far as standard responses go.

    THAT IS AWESOME!

    GOOD WORK!

    KEEP IT UP!

    So the next day, another email. This is not surprising. My response follows.

    I am about to start a billboard company and is looking for a supplier. I have interest in 10x20ft billboards. Could you provide a quotation for the artwork(vinyl prinout) only?

    Yes! I can! Here it comes! Are you ready?

    "That is awesome."

    or even

    "That is something right there."

    You could do this up in a Hobo font, maybe. Or ummm, Impacta. You need something that's thick, that's going to catch people's eyes. Not like Bodoni. Helvetica Inserat.

    Please see enclosure.

    The email is apparently read. Another email comes.

    How much would it cost for the artwork prinout? Please reply!

    For "That is something right there" I would charge you $100. For "That is awesome," without the comma, it would be less, because it takes up less ink. So ummm, $82. Plus a piece of chocolate cake. With chocolate frosting. NO NUTS.

    2005sep17. Sometimes I lose track of old friends and it vexes me. So I start clawing through the evil zabasearch and various other directories and I find them after (say) six years of silence. "Hey, it's me! Do you totally remember me? Remember ... the good times?" But prior to that it's speaking to a lot of people who have the same name as my quarry. Usually, nothing of note happens, but this time, 2x goodness. One of the first calls, a guy answered and said "hello," and then his parrot said "hello." So wonderful. "Put the parrot on." During another call, I had to explain to the guy that he wasn't the person I was looking for. He paused and said "and you can tell over the phone?" "PUT THE PARROT BACK ON"

    In other news, my printer now refuses to print Arial. "I like your style, printer."

    2005sep19. Good introduction to Jason Shiga's comics.

    2005sep20. No, really. You don't have to open a new window for me when I click on your link. I got it. Really. Jesus.

    2005sep20. Deuce of Clubs : Interview with John Putch, director of the film Mojave Phone Booth.

    2005sep21. Martha Stewart's new show considered. Still say the old episode with special guest star Cookie Monster was mighty fine TV.

    2005sep21. The Believer interview: Mark Mothersbaugh.

    2005sep22. Quality Gift Suk. Ehhhhhhhhhh ... three iron?

    2005sep22. So I've been going on these walks. They're like, "exercise" or something, even though they're really to help me think, 'cause apparently "exercise" helps your brain as well. And I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Anyway, I've been kind of tottering down to the bay taking roughly the same route at approximately the same time most every day and occasionally I see this guy putting flyers for a well-known conservative-owned women's-only fitness club on the windshields of cars. It's no skin off my back to make small modifications to my route so I'm following his unchanging path in reverse ‒ except instead of putting shitty flyers on cars, I'm removing them. It's Bizarro world unadvertising! Please do not enjoy a fitness flyer today!

    2005sep23. More tinkering with Macros. Still on "G," with occasional forays into earlier/later letters as old email messages burble up to the surface.

    Do you want to fight, or do you want to surf!
    This is from Apocalypse Now, when Kilgore (Robert Duval) implores the young PBR operator (Sam Bottoms) to make a choice. It is best when bellowed in a Duval-like hoarseness to an indecisive friend. It can also be altered in other situations when an immediate choice is needed, such as "Do you want to fight, or do you want to drink (or shop, or drive, or something like that)." (brody 2001)

    GIT-R-DONE®
    What is to be done? "R" is to be done. Somehow, through the divine blessings of Baby Jesus, I was able to avoid this particular phrase until the summer of 2005. This is the catch phrase of "Larry the Cable Guy," apparently a regular fixture on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. There are "Git-R-Done®" ringtones ("You know you're a redneck™ if your cellphone rings and it's coming from inside your hot cousin!"), a book, a DVD, a Git-R-Doneā„¢® Rebel Advantage Classic Hat (Camo), a Git-R-Done® Tropical Get-A-Way T-Shirt (Light Blue), etc. I have yet to actually hear this phrase spoken ‒ I am only familiar with the phrase through my initial sighting (Git-R-Done® Window Lettering) and follow-up online research. Spoken in same guttural tone as LIFT IT UP. At least one t-shirt transfer shop (they still exist?) has been spanked for copyright infringement ("G17221 $1.05 It now says GET-ER-DONE").

    LIFT IT UP
    At some point in the distant past all of my friends and I went nuts and bought $100 remote-control trucks. We invented a game, Truck Soccer, played with a real soccer ball. After awhile, I acquired a used remote-control CAT front-loader and had intended to sabotage an upcoming Truck Soccer game with its wily loading and fronting. But all it could do is bray "LIFT IT UP" in a guttural construction worker-like voice when you pushed a little speaker button, just like real CAT front-loaders. It refused to LIFT IT UP, or even move, really. A sad memory. Spoken in the same manner as GIT-R-DONE.

    Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor, mantenganse alejados de los puertas.
    English part delivered in wooden white-guy voice, Spanish part delivered in slightly accented, exotic wooden white-guy voice. Use in, uh, in automatic door situations. (britain w 1997)

    In other news, I am a big fan of fruit leather. For eating.

    2005sep23. Achewood: Cornelius Bear considers the ill effects of gambling. Is youth, particularly the ability to metabolize sausage, truly wasted on the young?

    2005sep23. Mail.

    What was Baur's candy famous for? What do you have in stock that could be a giveaway at the opening of their building in Denver? I would need 350 items.

    They were famous for claiming to be the location to first scoop out an ice cream soda in Colorado. As it turns out, I am famous for completely different reasons.

    I don't have 350 of anything, unfortunately. What I do have tons of though, is love for my fellow man. Especially in these trying times. The times ... are they not trying? Perhaps you're not trying hard enough. Or maybe you're trying too hard, actually. Try less, I guess.

    2005sep24. Wakey, wakey, toast and quakey. Huh, thought it was about a 2.5. I give this 3.2 an 8.8 ‒ a gentle shaker with a tiny touch of a snap to it. Heard it coming ‒ "oh yeah, earthqua --" and by then it was gone.

    2005sep26. Flickr: Saw a yacht on the bay today. It was ... well-equipped. Roll over the enlarged photos for the delicious notes that I have added, free of charge.

    2005sep28. Flickr: The teddy bear has something he'd like to share.

    2005sep28. Alone by Admiral Richard Byrd. The entire book, online. A gripping cubicle read.

    2005sep30. Mimi Smartypants observes narrative shift in Curious George series. Also noted for being filled with good words and phrases: silver rectangles, yurt, Chewbacca, CardioSpaz, pneumatic tube, monkey digestive juice.

    2005sep30. Hey, that's exciting ... sour stomach. I haven't been mildly ill in a long time. Can I turn this "body" thing in for like a circuit board or something? A circuit board with wheels, gotta jam when I'm feeling tight. And a speaker. And one little blinking light that I can activate. "That's the bomb's pre-detonation sequence," I can announce from my little tinny speaker. "You've been pre-approved ... to explode!" Then I jam while cackling madly.

    2005sep30. I missed this when it rolled around: Omnivisu (movie).


    October 2005.

    2005oct01. Ask Metafilter: How Not To Cry.

    2005oct01. Photo: What are those things?

    2005oct02. Here's a little bit of hell I wasn't aware of: UK's SPECS speed-trap camera. Two cameras, measuring your average speed between two points, up to six miles apart (from what I understand). Ugh, ugh, ugh.

    2005oct02. Maakies: Barbeque Barbeque Barbeque.

    2005oct02. I will pay someone $500 to knock me out cold into 2007. No freaks.

    2005oct02. "However, cats in particular, might take a liking to your bed with the Negative(-) polarity!"

    2005oct02. I just got an imaginary cat, a calico named "Duncan" 'cause he's such a yo-yo! No, Duncan ... oh god, not the face AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    2005oct03. I could go for some bologna right now.

    2005oct04. So DARPA is hosting this Grand Challenge thing again. Robot vehicles. Not remote control ‒ these are vehicles that can maneuver around a given area, avoid obstacles, etc, independently. Like you or I, but with less swearing and more battery drainage. Like a Rhoomba, but way bigger and no cleaning. Last year, everyone sucked. In the future, when random killing machines are driving through our houses, we can look back and say, "I remember when they couldn't get their shit together." This movie clip from the Princeton Team is priceless. It's almost perfect comic timing. Also, I must say for someone who doesn't really get creeped out by technology, just watching this movie squicked me out. Oh look it up already. [via lemonodor.com]

    2005oct04. I cannot stop watching the video.

    2005oct04. So there's this movie. It's called Snakes on a Plane. And everybody jumps on board because ... Snakes on a Plane. Then they change the name to "US Air Flight 2984" or something. Then they change it back, which pleases Mr. Jackson. A screenwriter lovingly/humorously discusses the phenomenon here. Destiny-land does some crucial research here and finds a wonderful movie poster. I'm sensing imminent internet comedy memegold, if it hasn't already happened.

    2005oct04. Apparently the Ravelco dongle-based anti-theft device has never been compromised, unlike every other alarm system out there including the ones that the manufacturer installs, also including OnStar (they just break off the antenna. duh). But one of the testimonials is priceless:

    "I have had your Ravelco system in my last three vehicles and feel very protected with them. A year or so ago I heard a viscous [glub glub ‒ ed.] rumor that the Ravelco system could be bypassed with a potato. As silly as it sounds, even some auto mechanics were stating that "all a car thief had to do was cut a potato in half and jam it into the face of the Ravelco and my car would start." I did not argue with them because I really did not know. Even a few police officers told me that they heard that same story. I contacted your office concerning this matter and someone sent me a copy of a letter to you in 1993 from the Chief of Police of Houston stating that "the potato rumor has been proven to be false and should not be disseminated by any employee of the Houston Police Department." Last week we were at the Astrodome watching a ball game. Astros won again! When we came out, someone had broken in and attempted to steal our GMC Yukon. They actually tried to stick a potato in the Ravelco! A few parts of the potato were still stuck in the Ravelco and I had to clean them out with a tooth pick in order to insert my Ravelco Plug. They must have felt like real fools when nothing happened! What is this world coming to? Are people nuts? Who the heck makes up these stupid rumors? Anyway thanks for an excellent product!" ‒ Ferdinand LaMoske, Baytown, Texas

    Also noted for another testimonial ending: "Chocky Pelamonte, Seekonk, Massachusetts." Great name. [via cool tools which is very cool indeed]

    2005oct05. Because two domains are never enough, I've started another, called Phoneswarm. To read more about it, check out the "faq."

    2005oct05. This one's for all you territory-markers out there: The Theory of the Hairy Arm.

    2005oct05. DJ Food ‒ Raiding the 20th Century ‒ Words & Music Expansion. 70mb mp3. With Paul Morley narrating a 59-minute tour through the history of cut-up music. Absolutely essential.

    2005oct06. What I would like to do is smack my head on my monitor some more after trying to get wmv files to play in firefox with media player classic.

    2005oct07. You know, back when I got my service pin for being Web1og #30, I was most excited about the possibility of criminal-based web1ogs. Where are all of the Bandit Journals? "Yesterday I stole. And it was good." I mention this because some woman dropped her pocketbook outside of Trader Joe's and her and her friends were oblivious and then I picked it up and walked it over to them. That's when you lose things, when your friends are blathering on and on about some new skin condition that's all the rage and you're like "Jesus, that is the most amazing thing ever" and there goes the pocketbook. Anyway, back in my vehicular conveyance of choice, I realized that in a parallel universe, someone could have just waltzed off with the pocketbook. Finders keepers, right? That's the law of the briny deep. At least that's what the captain told me. There was totally a guy with a captain's hat in Trader Joe's. That was the point I was trying to get to, or not at all.

    2005oct07. So what do you have to do to find happiness? They say that money can't buy happiness, but then I bet "they" haven't gone without health insurance ever in "their" life, among other things. Who said that, anyway? Concussions for Mr. Pithy.

    2005oct07. Mail.

    Can I order Bloonies?

    No. You are afflicted with Bloonies.

    2005oct07. Fruit-shaped bus stops of Ishaya, Japan. [via Japundit via [Zippy the Pinhead|http://zippythepinhead.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/2005/images/091905.gif] via Laughing Squid]

    2005oct07. Kunstler? Would haaaaaaaaaate fruit-shaped bus stops.

    2005oct07. An amusing side-note: Google maps also does Japan, but in Japanese. For instance, here is what I believe is Kojima, a small town I trundled through last year. It amuses me to no end that America, the UK, and Japan are joined as one on a world map, and yet the notational languages are different. Also, dumb Google Maps hint #7912a: You can use the "ctrl minus" key to enlarge the mapping area, and "ctrl equals" to shrink it. This also makes the text shrink/enlarge, but if you're all about maximizing your mapspace, it's handy little thing.

    2005oct08. The titles of Japanese horror movies that are not Tomie discovered while looking for same for a friend:

    Sex Demon Metropolis: Vampire Madonna
    Flesh Meat Doll 3
    Shiny Moss
    High School Ghosthustlers
    Crazy Lips
    Rusted Body: Guts of a Virgin III
    Deddo a goo! goo! (Dead A Go! Go!)
    Restaurant of Many Orders, The
    Airline Stewardess Captured by a Sex-Sadist
    Multiple Personality Detective Psycho ‒ Kazuhiko Amamiya Returns
    Ghost Mansion's Horror: A Bloodsucking Doll, The
    Ghost-Cat Wall of Hatred
    Ghost-Cat Cursed Pond, The
    Weak-kneed from Fear of Ghost-Cat
    Don't Look Up
    Guinea Pig: Android of Notre Dame
    La Blue Girl Live 1: Revenge of the Sex Demon King
    Ghost Story of Broken Dishes at Bancho Mansion
    World Apartment Horror
    Peony Lantern Sex Story
    Organ

    You didn't even see the broken dishes. It was just a guy, telling you all about what happened with the broken dishes. Nice place, though.

    2005oct08. I'm trying to get a handle on reading translated Japanese web1ogs through google. And I keep running into little images like this:

    And that's so scary ... because I'm guessing that you can take a snapshot of it with your cellphone and then that translates to the web1og's url. No fuss, no muss, mother scratcher. Gotta get me one of those. It's the crappy avatar of the 21st century.

    2005oct08. Flickr: CIA sabotage manual.

    2005oct09. The new Wallace & Gromit film is splendid, and just before that there's a short called "The Christmas Caper" which involves four penguins (that apparently appeared in a film called Madagascar which I know nothing about). It's important to show up early for the short, because one of the penguins licks a candy cane in slow motion. This was a tactical lick, very germane to moving the plot along. Penguin slo-mo tactical candy cane lick. Penguin slo-mo tactical candy cane lick. Why, that could be this week's Snakes on a Plane.

    2005oct10. The cartoon cat has a problem with Trader Joe's.

    2005oct10. Awesome lazy writing at CBS news. "A growing number of Americans want U.S. troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible, rather than stay the course ..." Why not just slide your whole big ole' butt into that barrel of Bush phraseology, there, CBS.

    2005oct11. Mimi Smartypants recently pointed to this mirror of a school lunch menu which features Italian Dunkers.

    Italian Dunkers. I couldn't find one link to "Italian Dunkers" that wasn't somehow wrapped up in the foodservice industry either for schools or institutions. I believe the actual name of this delicacy is "Slop Extender." Of course someone already covered it, but this is just my night gig. During the day, I'm a high-powered. Guy.

    2005oct11. Spanking Bear Replica Box. Only $139. [via rusty]

    2005oct11. One-way bird window feeders. ROCK [FX: devil horn hand salute here]

    2005oct11. David Bryne creates a musical instrument out of a factory. Also noted for this observation:

    Swedish information: If a cop is chasing you and you're on a motor scooter you can escape by taking off your helmet. It seems the cops might then run the risk of being accused of causing an accident and resulting injury, so they give up the chase.

    There have been a number of holdups of Brinks type trucks here recently. No one is ever hurt -- though cars are sometimes blown up or set on fire. And the robbers always get away. Maybe they remove their helmets?

    2005oct11. Days after mentioning that full-screen google maps thing, the map now becomes full-screen automatically. So ignore that.

    2005oct11. This Yali Asian Pear tastes like eating water.

    2005oct12. The Big Space Fuck, by Kurt Vonnegut.

    2005oct12. Break a guy's nose, get a free Chinese dinner.

    2005oct12. A campaign speech by Bruce Conner as a candidate for the office of supervisor (San Francisco, 1967):

    Apple pie
    Cherry
    Chocolate
    Rhubarb
    Pumpkin
    Mince meat ...
    Banana cream!

    Marble cake
    Cheese cake
    Seven layer
    Vanilla cup cake
    Angel food
    Strawberry short cake ...
    Cream puff!

    Hot fudge sundae
    Chocolate malt
    Chocolate eclair
    Chocolate chip cookie
    Rocky road double dip
    Salt water taffy ...
    Sunday bunch!

    Toffee candy
    Peaches and cream
    Cherry tarts
    Chocolate covered raisins
    Lime sherbert
    Blackberry jello ...
    Red hots!

    Plum pudding
    Licorice stick
    Cinnamon toast
    Cracker jack
    Orange popsicle
    Strawberry snow cone ...
    One gallon of kool-aid!

    2005oct12. A guy in the library today was listening to Tuvan throat singing on the library computer. Volume: cranked. Then he moved onto to some other songs that sounded like something was horribly wrong inside the computer. Then back to throat singing. I have nothing to say here, it's just that when you think you've insulated yourself from dealing with the follies of humankind somehow some dipshit is able to slip through the cracks. "I'm in a library! What could possibly ... oh, loud Tuvan throat singing. How stupid of me."

    2005oct13. Consider the magical world of costumed animals.

    2005oct13. I WILL SMOOSH YOU ... WITH. LOVE. Fabric ro-bots. [via boingboing]

    2005oct13. Mail.

    I am looking for flip-it machines, in Las Vegas or in Reno. A quarter is flipped by a rotating brush onto a ledge. There it is pushed by a "broom" to the end of the ledge where it "may" fall onto the next ledge, etc. The last time I saw one was on a cruise ship. And no, they don't have them at the Four Queens anymore.

    THEY HAVE THEM AT THE FOUR QU ‒ Oh. Perhaps one of our darling, over-educated, sexy readers has an answer for you. "Our"? I'm still doing that "our" thing? Sigh.

    2005oct14. Achewood: Ray undergoes a common surgical procedure.

    2005oct14. Followup/Distraction. Web -1.0.

    2005oct15. Letters can be so cruel.

    2005oct15. Mail.

    I'm asking you now if you could help me do this. Do you want to do this. CAN we do this? Help me find the confidence.
    image

    Well. Here's something ... is this what you had in mind?

    2005oct17. It is time for me to compose my yearly "Ode to Autumn," probably one of the most beloved and talked-about features of this website function. I am moved to poignancy when the trees are suffused with golden hues that are the true meaning of the word "treasureal." And now. The ode. [SFX: ode preparation]

    Remember that summer in NYC
    When all the women wore slips?
    Yeah, that.

    2005oct17. For those of you having problems getting through to the number posted at Phoneswarm, there is now a new number, in a heavier-trafficked location.

    2005oct18. [Cardhouse] The Lucky Skull Archive of Free EPS Clip Art. I don't know where all the high-quality free EPS clip art is hiding. So I've made an area for my own little images and projects that you might find some use for. Perhaps.

    2005oct18. Today is going to be another ducks day, I can tell. A day when the ducks are needed.

    2005oct19. The miraculous freedback system of your body.

    2005oct19. Google loses 'gmail.com' in Britain. This is awesome, paving the way for lawsuits-a-plenty and many different versions of hundreds, thousands of domains. Perhaps cardhouse.com in Croatia will be some guy's phone card collection. In Brazil? A back-room poker website.

    2005oct19. Clock of the Long Now article in Discover. The closest town will be Ely, Nevada, which is quite a nice little place. [via jwz]

    2005oct20. I want a cupcake.

    2005oct20. Cool Tools: House Concerts.

    2005oct20. A new low for The Onion: Missing Girl Elected To Aruban Parliament.

    2005oct20. Another quick and dirty thing what I made. I wanted psychosis for the eye, I got innocence. Still learning, every day I am! That hand, though ‒ I know it's bad. It's like a hybrid of ped-hand and real hand. Look at that pinky, it's freakishly real, yet in a sideways fashion. So wrong. I'll tear that off for some other Unspecified Future Hand Project. I used to have a program that would generate ped-hands, but it's been lost in this firetrap of a computer. Now let me tell you about my grandkids. Zzzzz

    2005oct20. Something Awful: Halloween Costumes.

    2005oct24. So on the way to LA this weekend we somehow ended up coming up with the name of an organization that was nothing but potential. A mascot, logo, ribbon magnet designs and t-shirt concepts followed shortly thereafter. Throughout the weekend we hustled for new members, perhaps invigorated during a campaign lull by a visit to the Hare Krishna Museum in Culver City. Then I got home and came up with this quick five-second logo from what we had discussed.

    After that I bothered to do a "search engine" search and discovered that there already is an ASOA. Perhaps "American Society of Americans"? We will come up with something. Eagle-eyed readers will remember that the circle logo was used for one of Cardhouse's "splash screens." If you don't know what a splash screen is, don't ask. We were all younger then, not really sure what would happen with the web. But now we know. Pornography.

    2005oct24. Mail.

    Re: American Society of Americans,

    Funny idea.

    I might warn you that your logo is drifting dangerously close to Captain America's Shield. Just a heads up, Don't know if this changes anything, but I thought you should know.

    K

    Captain America's shield has two red stripes. The (formerly) ASOA symbol has one red stripe. A crucial difference, as one of anything in graphic design parlance represents all of that item whereas two of anything represents two. An American-led Coalition of Americans for America? America Amalgamated? American America?

    2005oct24. U-shaped skywalk jutting out into the Grand Canyon. Right. You would have to pay me to go out on that thing, not charge me $25. Wait ... glass bottom? No way, sister. No freakin' way. Someone's gotta clean that glass, though. Maybe they'll have ro-bots do it. Ro-bots aren't afraid of anything. And again, Snopes is there with the non-urban legend urban legend. I remember while I was in LA, everyone wasn't talking about that craaaaaaaazy Grand Canyon skywalk. American American American? America's ... AMERICA! Ameramerican Contingent? Citizens of America in America for America?

    2005oct25. Chug.

    2005oct25. Mail.

    what's it gonna take from us to get you to write somethin new about geese?

    Well, since the geese are now with other people, in another state, about the only thing I can do is either write about geese in general, or purchase some geese and move somewhere where I can raise them. But that's not going to happen, I would get two ducks before I would get geese. Ducks are quiet, more even-tempered. But there is no room for ducks here and ducks are not allowed.

    2005oct25. Operation Eden: The Surreal Life: East of Eden.

    2005oct25. Wal-Mart urges Congress to raise minimum wage. "We have no idea how to increase our worker's salaries. We look to Congress for guidance. Wait, are you buying this? What else do I have here ... [FX: rummaging]"

    2005oct25. Sometimes when I'm feeling a little off-balance and I'm also out shopping I tend to buy one really stupid snack-like item. Today I purchased a two-dollar sponge cake. Don't ever purchase the two-dollar sponge cake.

    2005oct29. Mail.

    The large rectangular gifs are bewildering. Please explain. Also, while you're at it, could you explain this PBF comic? Why is the goat skeleton there? WHAT HAPPENED?

    I cannot explain the normally colorful large rectangular gifs, one of which appears directly below. Wow, it's really black! In the third panel of the comic, the lovesick male yells up at the goat. If you look to the very left of the panel, you will notice that the cliff that goat is standing on is cracking, it's just like an overhang of ice and snow. His yelling brought down the cliff on the both of them, and of course the goat rode the mini-avalanche down and by the fourth panel it's spring and they're all dead the end.

    2005oct29. Decaf Latte.

    2005oct29. Flickr: The pizza is suspect.

    2005oct29. Mail.

    now, i want to show you how i can make blood squirt from my eye sockets ‒ you are single, right?

    Must be some halloween thing.

    2005oct31. If you are typing an email to a person via "B|ogger" and you try to close the entire tab/window "B|ogger" asks you "Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page?" Navigate away. "Are you sure you want to accept the duties of a sea-faring captain, shang-hai 40 sturdy men peppered with a few alcoholics, stow the mizzenmast and embark on a frightening ocean voyage of discovery, revenge, scurvy, treasure, scurvy again, and redemption from this page?"

    It represents Halloween.


    November 2005.

    2005nov01. What I Did For Halloween. Mostly (entirely) I sat back and watched the kiddles begging, since I have a cold. I have attacked it with Longs® Wellness Compare To Halls® Active Ingredient Menthol Eucalyptus Vapors Honey Lemon Cough Drops Cough Suppressant/Oral Anesthetic, Emer'gen-C® 500 mg Vitamin C as Seven Mineral Ascorbates New Tropical 32 Mineral Complexes and B Vitamins Fizzing Drink Mix and Airborne® Lemon-Lime Flavor Dietary Supplement. The last one looks the most suspect, especially with the "dietary supplement" chain-yanking. "No, seriously, this will help you lose or gain weight." There's so much hand-waving on this package it's ridiculous. The only concrete thing you get is "take at the first sign of a cold symptom* or before entering crowded environment" with the dreaded FDA "we're too busy with our noses up big pharma's ass to evaluate this statement" asterisk. But I am a desperate ro-bot.

    2005nov01. Hello, everyone. Hello. I am back at the CSS tables, putting all my money on even, and odd, and the little green zero. I am wondering ... if you use a browser called "Internet Explorer," if you could tell me what Phoneswarm looks like to you? And let me know what version you're using. Thank you.

    2005nov02. An Eye For Annai. It is a short animation. It is touching.

    2005nov03. High Fructose Corn Syrup. I automatically translate the words into "poison" when I look at ingredient labels ... "water, modified food starch, poison, salt ..." YMMV. [via robot wisdom]

    2005nov04. I continue to explore cold remedies. Today's purchase: Long's Wellness Standardized Herb Extract Ginseng 100mg Concentrate Herbal Supplement. I could buy an actual ginger root and scrape little bits off of it, or I could buy a processed "pill" form of same with unknown efficacy. I live in the modern age. Tomorrow a friend visits from afar, riding the friendly skies of a national airline carrier for free thanks to his bowling skills. The carrier had the bowling alley randomly drop a blue-colored pin in with the regular racks, and if you got a strike when that happened, they gave you a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the US. It will be a welcome, calming 36 hours or so of relative sanity.

    2005nov04. Theoretically this page is now CSS and you can read it. I have been up and down the web reading all of the fascinating little wars over exactly when everyone's supposed to switch over to the new thing or the newer thing or the newest thing and why and why not and eventually you start agreeing with everyone but then finally someone held up four fingers and said it was three and in response I am holding up one finger.

    2005nov07. Text copy from the Hong Kong bootleg first season DVD of the TV show "Lost" (images here).

    Plot brief introduction:
    This play gather for 2004 years most deserve lake a I(mk al of TV scdal. The American television station ofABC scolds Ihc huge sum to take In talwali. the whole story details falls the. Rise and faII. the actor perform toroughly, brodcast the flrst to gather to have already take down the segment accepts to see the champion at tne salne time. having become thc prime lime to accept to see the tailest Ielevision Nowone of the plays. The story relates an erobus to sink jnto an isolated island in Pacific 0cean. 48 Passengers retumalive by luck. Face this kind of shabby signs of human being small sland. they how exist bottom to go to? The survival myriad shapes. the nationality, human face. cullural background. character ... elc. have the huge difference. l 4 star to win Io have the father and son. there are brother and sister, there is friend. also having the enemy. They since to overcome the bad natural environment in* prety0f tropicaI zone from the w(mdLook for the food. headwaters. sillI need to face Issue to make in lhe night lhe owner tremble with fear inlerjection of mysteriou Ilying Creature: More diffIcull Is they inust win personal private win. expeI the misunderstanding and disagree. help each other. beg the existence.

    Special thanks to the "crew" for loaning me said box. Prime lime. Look for the food.

    2005nov09. Phoneswarm is getting swarmed today. Mentions on Digg and Metafilter. I will reward myself with a one-cubic-inch piece of peanut butter Fluff® fudge.

    2005nov09. Changed my mind about the fudge. Went with a Long's® Wellness Non-Sedating Artificial Citrus Flavor Dietary Supplement Zinc Drop, the last bit of my cold fightin' arsenal. Said cold ("cold") 99% gone, and of course I have no idea what helped (icky salt water gargling?), what harmed (apparently maybe orange juice is not a good thing for a sore throat, go figure), and what was just as good as doing nothing. My theory is that different things work for different people. I found that dressing up like a penguin and jumping on my bed going "LOOO! LOOO! ALSO LOOO!" reduced my cold symptoms by three days. Your results may vary. A friend recommended gargling hydrogen peroxide and said he had almost instant results, but I was scared. If you decide to gargle hydrogen peroxide, write a note that you read it on DrKoop.com back in 1998. Leave it someplace conspicuous, like stapled to your forehead. I think I did that joke in 2002.

    2005nov10. Mail.

    The salt water gargle thing is sound treatment... my mum (an RN, used to work surgical recovery) had us do that one when I was a pup, and it always helped. Make the water as hot as you can stand it. Salt is a great medicinal tool for fighting infections, one often overlooked or ignored by our antibiotic-soaked culture. As a kid, I once had an ingrown nail that got infected, it hurt like hell and dogged me for a couple of weeks and wouldn't any get better. Mom kept me home for two days and wrapped my toe with a washcloth soaked in a heavy saltwater solution and then wrapped that with a heating pad. We basically cooked my toe in salt and I was done with the infection just like that. It definitely beat going to the doc and getting my toe lanced like a friend of mine had to do (eeeeeeek) ... he hobbled around for days afterward and looked really uncomfortable. Don't forget your vitamin C either, 1000 mg or more a day, man... the OJ did you some good, I'll bet you.

    Yeah, I remember doing salt soaks for the toes when I was kid, I had some sort of fungus or such. I got exactly 1000mg from those big Airborne tablets I mentioned earlier. Here's some more skeevy talk from them: "WE PLEDGE to our customers to continually upgrade the AIRBORNE formula as improved technology avails itself, thereby offering the finest, most effective health formula possible. Satisfaction guaranteed." Wow, they've promised to keep up with technology. You don't get that with other companies. My computer? Made out of shale (the rock that burns) and chipmunks glued together. No pledge written anywhere on the shale or the frightened, huddling woodland animals.

    2005nov10. God forgot to give horsies perfect nasal passages.

    2005nov10. Mail.

    I used to work in one of the pill factories where they made that Airburng stuff. They also made Kewl-aid-type packets with German writing, stool-firming tablets, and many other consumer-grade powders & pills. What was it like inside? Well, the first thing you noticed was the sticky floors. Almost everything had some kind of sugar in it so the mainly high school drop-out temp employees couldn't help but track it around. They had non-personal lab coats in a trash bin, rubber gloves, and hairnets but not booties or facemasks. Sure they had to clean stuff to standards since the handful of manufacturing lines were always changing products, but I always found it odd that the magic cold fizzers weren't pastuerized, sterilized, irradiated, or otherwise bio-neutralized after leaving that environment. Maybe they were treated somewhere else later. They don't have to operate by rigid FDA drug guidelines, just food ones. Ah-choo.

    2005nov11. Weeeeeeee, playhouse! Playhouse!

    2005nov12. CNN online.

    Watch: Pig running hog wild through neighborhood
    Watch: Woman, baby trapped in train door

    2005nov13. Programmers: Still boring-ass robots.

    2005nov17. Mail.

    you fuckin' idiot ... get a life asshole

    Exquisite timing.

    2005nov18. So all of this stuff (motions with sweeping arms) moved to a new, bigger box recently. Currently: growing pains. Everyone was so distracted no one noticed that Rocketboom (that's a page with a video link, it's like a news program, on the web, see) gave Phoneswarm a shout-out a few days ago. It's very strange to see an actual person talking about this junk. The computer she's tapping on to make transitions is a TI-99/4. Boing Boing also pointed to the site yesterday. It's a good time to be PHONESWARM.COM.

    2005nov21. I am in the dizzy wondrous cloud of "safe mode." My PC has gone on der fritzen after I foolishly installed some old scanner software. Safe mode gives you about sixteen colors, everything is dithered, etc. It is a parallel world, human faces are rendered as smears of gray. I don't see any way out of this anytime soon. I am feeling stabby.

    2005nov22. Phoneswarm: A new phoneswarm for the Thanksgiving holiday.

    2005nov22. Mail.

    maybe there was one chick...with really short hair

    I hadn't considered that option. I was always of the mind that there were two. Not that I know what the hell you're talking about, but it's good of you to assume. Keeps me on my toes, it's like a logic puzzle.

    2005nov22. Mail.

    hewloo man. are you out of safe mode now, or whatE?

    Yes. Originally I got some old scanner software from a driver site. I installed it. The scanner did not work. I uninstalled it. Then I got the same piece of software ‒ but it was built differently ‒ from driverguide.com. I cannot recommend you stay away from driverguide.com enough. It is a horrible site with the most heinous registration hoops ever. Social Security Number? Here, enjoy a bunch of 0000000's. Anyway, I got the software from there, installed it. The scanner didn't work. Then the computer wouldn't start -- kept rebooting. I spent about two days digging deeper and deeper into the amazing mysteries of the modern PC. Everyone told me to just give up and re-install Windows. I'm dumb, I don't listen to people. So then I thought -- well, the first piece of software I had didn't make the PC reboot over and over. And it's theoretically the same piece of software. So if I re-install it, it will write over whatever is causing the PC distress and it will boot normally. And that's exactly what happened, the end. When you're dealing with the stupidest operating system in the world, think stupider.

    2005nov22. Mail.

    honestly, i'm surprised dome-shaped hangars are not more popular for the storage of aircraft. they're more resistant to fierce winds and easier to camouflage against satellite observation ‒ if you're into that sort of thing.

    Actually, the most deceiving shape for aircraft hangers are giant pieces of candy. Spotters aren't trained to deal with the absurd. "BUT IT'S CANDY" etc. Also, thanks for checking in about this, I was totally not wondering about this for the last two decades, at least.

    2005nov22. Flickr: Cellphone training. Crucial. Sign up now.

    2005nov23. Spammers that care.

    Obtain FAST results by getting a diplom.a in 4 DAYS with no coursework!

    The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed

    2005nov24. Phoneswarm was apparently mentioned today on CBC radio. There are apparently people out there touring Alcatraz Island on this, our most gluttoniest of days.

    2005nov25. Flash advertising banner: "Shoot the gangster and get your FREE cell phone horoscope." What happened to "shoot the bouncing groceries"? We've lost our innocence, but along the way, we've grown ... and matured. My horoscope says: "A cell phone is not in your future."

    2005nov25. Candyblog: See's Awesome Nut & Chew gets a 10 out of 10.

    2005nov26. Xooglers. Ex-Google employees release the memories.

    "I'm going to give you five minutes," he told me. "When I come back, I want you to explain to me something complicated that I don't already know." He then rolled out of the room toward the snack area. I looked at Cindy. "He's very curious about everything," she told me. "You can talk about a hobby, something technical, whatever you want. Just make sure it's something you really understand well."

    2005nov26. Treadmill Bike. Definitely watch the video ("take it off some sweet jumps!"). I saw another bike two weeks ago that a guy was rowing down the street. It had oars. Hot bikes for '06: bikes that make no sense. Catch 'em! Please catch them.

    2005nov26. Mail.

    you.
    are.
    awesome.

    i will throw everything away and then pack myself to be shipped by Amtrak from NYC to San Fran.

    *ding!*

    my virtual "Thank You, Cardhouse" Brownies are done.

    2005nov28. New Phoneswarm number is up a little late. Again. Luckily, now that I'm all itching to get out and meet people and such, I've chosen to start another website that keeps my ass planted in chairland for another few hours a week. It is a "smart move."

    2005nov28. Awhile back, I pointed to this essay on High Fructose Corn Syrup. Cardhouse's resident chemist, Dr. Berk, read the article and replied in kind, which you can now find at Please Pass The Science.

    2005nov29. Cardhouse: And now, now it is time for the biggest feature here ever, The NAMM Show 2005. It's so big it's still not finished. Thirty pages, eight photos per page ... 240 photos with almost as many captions. The NAMM Show is the National Association of Music Merchant's big yearly show in Hole-In-The-Ground-Anaheim California, not that you would know what it stands for from their website ‒ "What does NAMM stand for? NAMM stands for the global music products industry. NAMM stands for you." There are some captions I need to write and musicians that need to be identified. But I wanted to get it out there before NAMM 2006 comes along. Special thanks to Famous Company X for the passes and Tim for putting up with my decidedly non-musical approach to exploring The NAMM Show. If you want to cut to the "best" parts:

    Recently-Uncovered Slipknot Alternate Lyrics
    The Metasonix Butt Probe/Vacuum-Tube Agonizer
    Thayers Natural Remedies Slippery Elm Original Lozenges ‒ "Nature's CHERRY Demulcent."

    2005nov29. Roast Beef's web|og: [Molly's Xmas list|http://rbeef.blogspot.com/2005/11/mollys-xmas-list.html]. Roast Beef is a cartoon cat who lives in Achewood.

    2005nov29. Doc asks the following question:

    Maybe Dr. Berk would know whether it's true what they say about hydrogenation -- that it renders the molecules unrecognizable by the body as "food."

    Dr. Berk:

    Yes, this is kind of true. It is certainly harder to metabolize (which involves "recognition" and breaking down of molecules) saturated hydrocarbons, which are what you get when you hydrogenate fatty acids, than unsaturated ones. The hydrogenation process gets rid of a double bond, which is a key metabolic "hot-spot" that the body can recognize and "attack." Note that even though it's harder to get rid of unsaturated fat, it can still be dealt with by the body. That said, the body doesn't need that much fat, period, whether it is metabolizable or not. There are many naturally occurring saturated fats, so don't think of it as rendering something "natural" into something "artificial." Hydrogenation transforms unsaturated fats to saturated fats (which have better properties for use in food ‒ mainly that they are solid, rather than liquid, at room temperature -- think vegetable oil becoming margarine). Hope that helps.

    Muchisimas gracias, señor. I guess I'm willing to be a lab rat for Hostess® cupcakes.

    2005nov29. Passed a mildly-exasperated couple who were walking to a shop.

    Guy: Laurie ... no, no, no ...
    Laurie: Dude, let's just go look at the cheese.

    Then I stopped to watch two bickering parrots high in a tree. Finally one lunged at the other and the thrilling mid-air chase began in earnest. The holiday season is already starting to wear all of us down.

    2005nov29. Mail.

    in the thayers pic, is that creature on the right some sort of (non-chess-playing) automaton, that's preserved in tobacco smoke when not in use? just curious.

    Yes. That is exactly correct. Do not mess with the Thayers leaflet-handing grand master.

    2005nov29. Dr. Berk's response to the high-fructose corn syrup piece now has its own page.


    December 2005.

    2005dec01. Sometimes when I am "programming" and I can't find something ridiculously trivial in a manual I imagine that I am able to step into a room filled with colorful ceramic donkeys. Leaning up against the door frame, a baseball bat. "Oh, hello."

    2005dec01. Mail.

    NAMM

    No one woke up in a freakin' diorama! Or did I miss them?

    Wow. Well, it has been awhile since anyone woke up in a freakin' diorama (see 1 ... 2 ... 3). NAMM would have been the place to do it. People be keeping me on my toes, people.

    2005dec02. Marching Powder. Photo essay on strange Bolivian prison system that also features tours run by inmates.

    2005dec04. Mail.

    the man in the lab coat is oddly watchful of the thayers creature on the right ‒ perhaps it will rampage. perhaps it has, in the past. one day, it hopes to break free of its programming and pitiful three rules, and kill us all.

    How do those laws go again? Oh ... oh yes. 1. A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its secreted cache of Thayers Slippery Elm Tangerine Lozenges with Rosehips, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    2005dec05. Phoneswarm: New payphone for the week.

    2005dec07. Baby Boomer hell, coming to a cineplex near you.

    2005dec09. Apropos of nothing: Richard Scarry.

    2005dec09. Those held accountable for the horrendous SNOW restaurants. (SNOW = "Shit Nailed On Walls")

    2005dec10. Achewood: Fuck You Friday.

    2005dec10. Eight Years, Two Americas. A comparison between FEMA's response to the Grand Forks flood of 1997 and hurricane Katrina.

    2005dec11. The Beginnings Of Another Delightful Day! One awesome thing about signing up for the Amazon tip jar service is that they publish your email address in the clear, google-searchable, etc. Great. So up 'til, oh, now, I haven't received any phishing email from someone pretending to be Amazon, just Paypal, and it's always those wacky Russkies who send you emails with machine translations:

    You now!!!! Pays pal address not good! You must change to log into not scam architecture!

    So the second I get a phishing attempt from Amazon that's written in correct English, I am on that shit. "Wow, Amazon is throwing errors at me for a bad vpn? What's going on, they really need to ... URK" Yeah. They got me. So I immediately called the credit card company and they've got representatives who are ON THE CASE, because the clock is ticking, and they know it:

    "Hi. I just gave my credit card number to someone who sent me a fraudulent email. It was a phishing attempt that was unfortunately successful. So I'd like to cancel my current number, and get a new one."
    "What did you just say?"

    So you know, after we re-re-confirmed that my last charge to the card was made yesterday, they cancelled my card and then the customer representative drooled out the standard So You've Decided To Get A New Account Number With Us spiel in a delightfully non-informative way of which I understood about 28%. I mean understood as in I'm sorry you have to speak those three paragraphs at least ten times a day but you'd think you'd get better at enunciating it, not worse.

    Perhaps they put an auto-lock on the card the second I said someone could potentially fraudulently charge the card. Doubt it.

    2005dec12. Phoneswarm: New payphone for this week is up.

    2005dec13. I've been going through all of my stuff and throwing out a lot of it. I came across a pair of barretts with long pink ribbons attached to them.

    In your typical American-based high school, there is a one-time social event called "Powder Puff Football." In a wacky reversal of outdated gender roles, the women play football, and a few men act as cheerleaders. I was one of the cheerleaders, not because of any deep-rooted school spirit issues, but because I wanted to see how I looked in a skirt. The cheerleaders taught us several of their cheers ("Happy ... happy ... happy ... happy shine it out WOO!"), and I taught them how to draw wicked flames on a few of their peppy posters ("Roast the opposition alive!!! Feast on their children and/or bones according to availability!!!!").

    After suiting up in borrowed outfits, three of us ‒ the jock and the two geeks ‒ started making our way down the hall to the football field. A woman student came running up to us and said "I brought some barretts for one of you to wear!" I volunteered, since I was the closest to her. I knelt down, and she put them in my hair. "There," she said, and we continued our walk to the field.

    And now ... years later ... it still feels like the purest form of sentiment I've ever known. There's nothing after it, nothing before it, it just exists. The barretts went into the "keep" pile.

    2005dec14. Likeabike. A "pre-bike" for the youngsters. ESPN2 PRESENTS THE BMX LIKEABIKE CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!!! [wailing/screeching guitar noise that never gets old, really]

    2005dec16. Special thanks to the Cardhouse reader who sent along some CDs and a twenty-dollar bill. Your generosity is appreciated, yes.

    2005dec18. Mail.

    Mr. Cardhouse,

    I have visited your site at least weekly for the past (almost) ten years (since I was 14, when my brain was soft and impressionable). I thank you for ten years of awesomeness, and wish you Season's Greetings with my fantastic 2005 family portrait [not shown to protect identities of liddle kitties].

    That's me with Beaker, Burrito Sanchez, and Justin. Guess which one is named Justin!

    Ten years, bitches. Ten crazy, crazy years.

    Happy yule/winter solstice/christmas/kwanzikkah

    - JoCo

    Thank you for this kind holiday sentiment. A big merry-merry to everyone else who reads this, or does not. Please, if you see one of these non-readers, pass the word along.

    2005dec19. Babsomatic: temporal facial recognition in canines that belong with a babs and are also named lilly and chichi (though, chichi had a prior name).

    2005dec19. This year has been a strange one. To top it off, I will not be able to visit my family this holiday season, so if anyone has suggestions on what to do in the bay area on December 25th or thereabouts, I'd appreciate 'em.

    2005dec20. Mail.

    bay area holiday entertainments... go up to muir woods and walk around a spell. go down to half moon bay and enjoy the beach, the taqueria, the people, the winding hills. go up around hercules in the east, to the easily-missed earl's texas bbq for some of the best food you have ever eaten; # workers: 2 ‒ earl and his wife. wander around in ranch99. eat some of the best sushi you've ever had, at yum yum fish on irving. drag race against yuppies up and down sunset blvd or 46ave. hang out in the massive glass new-ish library; you can get excellent banh mi across the corner from there. go down to redwood city, check out the massive industrial machinery. drive back and forth across some of the bay causeways and see the large scary-colorful pools doing desalinization duty. stop at the in-n-out burger in palo alto/los altos and have some actually-delicious fast food. go to flea markets in berkeley or on that weird island that's owned by the military.

    I am guessing you are talking about Tres Amigos in Half Moon Bay. In September it was closed for construction, it may be back open, though. Best in the bay area, as far as I know.

    2005dec23. Mail.

    Thank you a million times for your insightful photos and words ... I loved the japanese stuff and the valentine diners the most ... SOOOO funny (Japan) and nostalgic (diners) what a cool ass site .... I mentioned you in my Yahoo diner groups BTW ... Peace! Cara

    PS ... I am in Michigan .... land of the mystery spot and weird carninals and state fairs...(loved the deep fried arizona state fair!!!)

    There's a Mystery Spot here in California as well. How can there be more than one? That is another mystery. A meta-mystery. I wanted to work there awhile ago, so I could shoot my mouth off all day about optical delusions. I mean, real actual scientific phenomena. Today I want to work in an ice factory. Yesterday I wanted to be a mailman. Last week, an elevator operator.

    As for what to do on Christmas without any family, do what us Jews do. Get some Chinese food and watch a Christmas Story five times. Or pretend you're Jewish and search out one of the many parties where everyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas goes to have something to do. My family also used to do that. Or pine longingly in a neighbor's window until they either invite you in or call the cops. Either way you won't be lonely.

    Actually, my boyfriend's family celebrates Christmas, so I do the Christmas thing now. No more stalking or jail for me now!

    There's a party at 12 Galaxies on Christmas Eve. It's a Chicken John thing. Bring a present, it's like a massive gift exchange. I will probably go to this.

    I used to travel to the bay area often during the dotcom frenzy. Went back for a vacation with my sis earlier this year and collected a bunch of suggestions as well.

    -Jerry

    One of your suggestions is "Drive the streets of San Francisco" ... I used to do that at 4am, back when I could stay awake that long. Now I do the loop around the bay occasionally.

    2005dec23. Mail.

    Respected Sir,

    I would like to make a cholocate which can prevent or delay old age
    (Ageing)

    thank you.

    Dr. Mohd Samir K.

    This is a strange request. I will do my best to consider it. First, we should probably think a bit about what the goals of such a chocolate are. You are hoping to stall the aging process ‒ I do not think it would be a stretch to imagine that really what you want to be able to do via this magical chocolate, is restore youth. What are the hallmarks of youth? When you are young, you want things, but you cannot have them. This is a key difference from when you are an adult, no? I mean, assuming one has a little say-so with discretionary income. But when you are a child, you are in the grocery store, screaming "give me sweeties! I want sweeties!" And so forth and so on. But you do not get them. If this is so painful ‒ not having what you want ‒ why do we look back at our youth in fondness? Why do we want to turn back the clock? Is it because now, we can have almost anything we want, at any time, twenty-four hours a day? What would happen if we artificially created scarcity? I will give you an example. I gave up dairy products for two years. And toast. So, no toast, no butter, no buttered toast. At the end of two years, I had a piece of toast. Just an ordinary piece of buttered toast. Toast is not a big deal, right?

    That toast was the best fucking piece of toast I've ever had in my entire life.

    Now let us apply this to your problem. There is no chemical, or combination of chemicals, that arrest the aging process. Oh, occasionally you'll read about some scientist in Arkansas who has a pair of five-year-old mice that are actually fifteen years old, but that's about it. So. there is nothing you can add to chocolate to prevent aging. But suppose now, instead of creating a chocolate, you create a package for chocolate. But there is no chocolate there. There is just a small note where the chocolate would be. It reads:

    YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE CHOCOLATE

    Huh? Huh? Feeling younger already, aren't ya? Sure it's gimmicky. The Pet Rock was gimmicky. People enjoy ruses. That's another lesson for you. Also, fashion is just a bunch of idiots sniffing each other's butts in a big circle.

    2005dec23. Mail.

    To add to your ever-growing empirical list of all the Mystery Spots in the world, there's one in Belize, on the road that leads from Francis Ford Coppola's hotel in the jungle to Francis Ford Coppola's hotel on the coast, if you have a crusty old cab driver who wants a tip. Admittedly it's just one of the ones where you (or your crusty cab driver) stops the car, takes the handbrake off and it rolls 'uphill,' but still! Empirical!

    Merry!

    I think there are five in America. Some have different names, like the Vortex of Wonder. I'm sure there's a web page pointing to them all. When I went to the one in Michigan as a kid, my uncle told some tall tale about when he was in the Army and he and his buddies found some strange hill where they could jump a fifty-foot distance, presumably because there wasn't as much gravity there. Mmm.

    2005dec25. Holiday.

    2005dec26. Phoneswarm: A new payphone.