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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.


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 female 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.


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

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:


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!


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.