Thursday, March 31, 2005

Legally shareable in-my-head song of the moment

The Libertines - Up the Bracket

Never trust anyone! You hear that, kids?

The hardwood floor promise turned out to be a fucking hoax. Not an intentional hoax (I'm led to believe), but whatever it is, it's not happening. I'll be living in a brown-carpeted world for the forseeable future. The person across from me, however, does get the hardwood floors because his carpets are (apparently) old enough to warrant replacing. And my manager was confusing his apartment with mine, which led to my being told that I was getting the floors and... whatever. Not happening. If I spill anything, I don't get to look at it for a minute, then shrug and say "Eh, I'll wipe it up in a few days." I won't be setting up a one-lane 1/4-length bowling alley in the guest room. And polishing the floors with Pine-Sol for ten hours straight, then inviting people over and making them take off their shoes and watching them slip and knock themselves unconscious when they walk in? Well, I can forget that plan, too.

This just sucks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

This document contains no data.

That's what Blogger keeps telling me every time I try to post this. Anyway, I don't have an original thought in my head right now, so bear with me.

First of all, not that I have $250 in my couch cushions with which to buy a PSP, but if I did, this right here would give me second thoughts.

Google Deskbar is pretty kick-ass. Now you don't even need a browser to search for stuff.

The cast of the next Surreal Life: Omarosa, Janice Dickinson, Jose Canseco, Pepa (of Salt 'N'), Bronson Pinchot, and some motorcycle guy. It seems like with each season I come closer and closer to actually watching the show. Maybe this will be the one where I finally break.

Thanks to Netflix, I finished watching the first season of The Wire on Sunday. It's so good that even The Shield feels a little hokey now. I'm still watching Shield, though, because they added Glenn Close this season and it's the first good role she's had since... uh... I think I need more time.

More Netflix viewing: the "-Up" documentary series. It started with 7-Up in 1964, which was a documentary about a bunch of 7-year olds in England, and then one of the producers started stalking the kids every 7 years to see what they were up to. Right now I'm at 28-Up and it's starting to seem like they've all gotten too well-adjusted to be entertaining. But I'm sure that will change. I hope by 35-Up they're all in some cult or something.

Coming soon: hardwood floors in my apartment. Finally an answer to the question that has been lingering in my head for much of my adult life: "Why can't I rollerblade from the kitchen to the bathroom?"

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sloppiest spam ever

If this is actually representative of the current level of skill on the part of spammers, I think the government can call off the task force.

D‮ae‬r Bar‮syalc‬ Me‮rebm‬,

Th‮si‬ e‮iam‬l was s‮ne‬t by the Bar‮alc‬ys se‮vr‬er to v‮re‬ify y‮ruo‬ e‮liam‬ a‮rdd‬ess. You m‮tsu‬ co‮elpm‬te t‮sih‬ pr‮seco‬s by c‮kcil‬ing on the l‮kni‬ b‮wole‬ and en‮et‬ring in the s‮am‬ll wind‮wo‬ yo‮ru‬ Barcl‮sya‬ M‮hsrebme‬ip num‮eb‬r, p‮docssa‬e and m‮lbarome‬e w‮dro‬. T‮ih‬s is d‮eno‬ for y‮ruo‬ pro‮itcet‬on - be‮ac‬use s‮emo‬ of our m‮srebme‬ no l‮regno‬ ha‮ev‬ acc‮sse‬ to t‮ieh‬r em‮lia‬ ad‮rd‬esses and we m‮tsu‬ veri‮yf‬ it. To veri‮yf‬ y‮ruo‬ em‮ia‬l ad‮sserd‬ and a‮ecc‬ss yo‮ru‬ ba‮kn‬ accou‮tn‬ , c‮kc:

I mean, really. Just because you're trying to swindle people out of their life savings doesn't mean you can't hit the spell-check button once in a while.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Commie farmers rule

I'm not at work today because it's Cesar Chavez Day. Or, the day that UCLA is choosing to celebrate it, anyway. That doesn't mean I'm going to write some balls-out 1000-word essay here, but I will share a few things.

1. There was a limo waiting outside the Whole Foods in Sherman Oaks last night. I could only think of one possible scenario to precede that little tableau: "Driver, we need some more champagne back here. And this time, it has to be ORGANIC, goddamnit!"

2. This is where I was the rest of the night. (Photo © Eti)

To paraphrase a power ballad, this show rocked me like a hurricane. I don't know how else to describe it. The Decemberists are just a fucking amazing band, great on CD, twenty times better live. (Which seems to be less and less often the case ever since that big merger between rock and ProTools.)

3. And then, this morning, I unwittingly showered with a friend:

I don't think the digital camera really does it justice. This thing was big enough to occupy Finland.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Speaking of reality...

I hate to say it, especially after what I just said, but this sounds like it might be kind of entertaining.
The BBC hit "Strictly Come Dancing" is waltzing its way across the pond, as ABC has ordered six episodes of a U.S. version.

Project will be renamed for the U.S., but the concept will remain the same: Eight celebs are paired with professional dancers and train to compete in a live ballroom-dancing competish.

The way I see it, it's like Olympic ice skating, except instead of watching some Eastern European waif getting dropped, we can laugh hysterically when, like, Ashley Judd or Rebecca Romijn-Stamos hits the floor.

The only disappointing thing is that they're going to rename it. "Strictly Come Dancing" is the best title for anything ever.

Thought for the day

Do I want to live in an America where the 3 most-watched shows of the week were American Idol, American Idol, and Survivor?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Head songs

First off, an update: I have fixed the iPod, sorta. It's still not perfect, but I can put songs on it and I'm back to just coveting this one rather than actually needing it.

Now then, a few words on head songs. Songs that get stuck in your head. They've been around forever, of course. I'm sure as Martin Luther was nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, he was really thinking "Goddamn, why can't I get that one Latin hymn out of my brain?" Followed immediately by, "Oh crap, I'm totally going to Hell for thinking 'goddamn'. I better finish this up and go self-flagellate." However, I think that the recent influx of catchy indie pop/rock songs has really exacerbated the issue. You can't avoid hooky singalong stuff anymore by just not listening to Top 40.

Some examples of what I'm talking about. Some of them are downloadable, but don't come crying to me when you're forced to re-enact the last scene of Pi to recover your sanity.

Belle & Sebastian - Storytelling
Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes
Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Futureheads - Decent Days and Nights
Bright Eyes - I Must Belong Somewhere
Loquat - Swingset Chain
The Decemberists - Shiny (I mentioned this one a couple months ago, but in my head it remains)

And then there are mash-ups, which are totally the "new thing" even though they're about as new as representative democracy. Nonetheless, there are some good ones here, and they are also highly subject to stuck-in-head syndrome.

Friday, March 18, 2005

I might as well make this my desktop wallpaper. Every goddamn time I plug in my iPod, this is what I get after 2 seconds. What did I do to it? I don't know. But I do know that it was a lot more fun just to want one of the new 20 or 30 gig iPods than to realize that I might have to buy one if I want to transfer any more music.

Well, if you read in the news tomorrow that someone held up a bank for $350 plus tax, don't point the finger at me. I was at home with my Netflix, and my witness is the pink-haired chick with the Robert Smith t-shirt who stalks me.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Getting off your ass is the new staying on your ass

First of all: mark it. Today's the day where I've been drinking diet Pepsi for long enough that it's starting to taste like real Pepsi. And it feels good to be killing my brain with aspartame instead of rotting my teeth with sugar. The only thing is, that little warning at the end of the ingredients ("PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE") kind of freaks me out. Because I'm sure the day will come when I'm seeing my doctor and he just casually says something like "Oh, by the way, you haven't been consuming any phenylalanine lately, have you? You better not; you're a phenylketonuric. That stuff will totally make you break out in hives and give you Joe Eszterhas' writing career." And I'm like, "But he didn't do so bad... I mean, he's rich and he got a novel published after people stopped buying his scripts, right?" And the doctor says, "No, not the good parts with the hookers and coke and three-million dollar specs; just the bad parts with the paranoia and withdrawal and death threats from Michael Ovitz." So on account of all that, I'm trying to keep it down to about two or three diet Pepsis per week.

Anyway, on to the point, which is that Podcasting rocks. It's like Tivo for the iPod, sort of. The idea of it is that people do radio shows (mostly talk shows or entertainment shows, occasionally music shows), which they record as MP3s. You use a program called iPodder (created by former Dial MTV host Adam Curry, I shit you not) to let you know when there are new shows you're interested in and download them to your iPod. Most of the shows are super-indie, but KCRW has started putting most of their shows into Podcast form -- and not just the boring shows like To The Point, but also cool shows like The Treatment, The Business, and Harry Shearer's intermittently funny Le Show. Then there's Adam Curry's own show, The Daily Source Code, which is only about 75% as geeky as it sounds.

With a bunch of good Podcasted shows on my iPod, it's almost like being able to watch TV while I'm out walking. The gap between exercise and sloth is steadily closing.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


You know Google Image Search? It's pretty cool. Naturally, Yahoo wants to try the same thing. Which is fine; good to see they're finally realizing that ripping off Google is the only way they'll stay in business.

But the interesting part is here, on Yahoo's front page, where they're hyping the image search. They decided to use four different pictures (with captions) to demonstrate the kind of stuff you can look for. You'd like to think that a lot of thought goes into this type of decision, but it seems to me that they relied on a focus group of one 13-year old girl with ADD. Because the four pictures are:

Hilary Duff
Sports Cars
Lindsay Lohan

I really would like to have seen the meeting with said 13-year old girl. I bet she tried to get Uggs onto the list too, but they ran out of space.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

DreamBlogger II: The Dreamening

I finally had a dream that I mostly remember the day after.

It started (I think) with someone describing to me how one time the traffic on the 405 south was so bad that they had to get off at the 10, take that to the 110, and then take the 110 back down to the 405 to avoid all the backups. (I'm aware that makes no sense.) After that, I was suddenly in the car (an open-top Jeep, I think), driving down some freeway where I had to exit onto another one. I don't know what freeway I exited onto, but it quickly turned into some kind of large wildlife preserve. Like the African sahara, maybe. It was unpaved (of course), huge, green, all kinds of weird trees and rocks and stuff all over the place. Eventually there were some pterodactyls. I didn't think they were especially out of place. There were also some other assorted dinosaur bones, and one huge dinosaur-looking thing that was either a full-size dead T-Rex or just a full-size model somebody built and left lying around. (I considered both these possibilities in the dream.) Finally, I got to the end of the wildlife area where we had to wait for some boats to take us to the next place. (I don't remember who I was with.) Somebody in the waiting area told me that there was a famous house on the preserve that a lot of famous people have lived in over the years, and is currently occupied by Janeane Garofalo. I was annoyed that I hadn't noticed it on the way, but there wasn't really time to go back. Jason Ritter (actor/son of John Ritter) was also there, and I think that's because I saw someone in Westwood yesterday who sort of looked like him.

And, scene.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Access, Agent Spender

For the record, I hate Blogger right now. I just wrote the most hilariously witty 3 paragraphs ever conceived of by man, concluding with a simple yet infallible recipe for cold fusion, but I tried to fix the formatting and the page disappeared. So now I have to start from the beginning. No guarantees on the cold fusion stuff coming back... that kind of lightning doesn't strike twice, especially inside the brain of someone who took exactly zero college-level chemistry courses.

Anyway. I took an all-day course in Microsoft Access today, and it was so boring that I fantasized about less boring activities such as ironing, sorting socks, and reading up on the mayoral candidates. (Maybe not the last one.) I don't want to say that it was cruel to make us sit in front of that program for six to seven hours, but I actually saw the instructor consulting with Alberto Gonzales before the class started. (The humor gets even worse from here on, I'm sorry to say.)

But I had to entertain myself one way or another, so I used the Mail Merge exercise to whip up a quick Mad Libs. You know, mail merges are where you export a set of names, addresses, etc. into a bunch of form letters using a template and--oh, hell, you've all temped, you all know what they are. This was pretty much the only opportunity all day to exercise any creative freedom, so I did what I could.

[First Name] [Last Name]
[City], [State] [Zip]

Dear [First Name],

Happy Birthday. Good luck and everything. But I wonder what the hell Ma and Pa [Last Name] were thinking when they named you [First Name]. I guess that's just how those crazy folks do things over there in [City]. By the way, what the hell kind of zip code is [Zip]? Is that even in the state respresented by the postal abbreviation "[State]"? I swear, [First Name], I just don't get you.



And that's the level of humor I had to resort to in order to maintain my sanity. (The jury's still out on whether I was successful in that regard.)

But I can sure query the shit out of a database now!

Friday, March 04, 2005

The [Fresh-squeezed Grecian Pomegranate] Juice is Loose!

Of course, by now we're all aware that Martha is out of jail. However, she is under house arrest for another five months. What to do?

Personally, I think she could make a great contribution to a certain film franchise, resurrecting a couple of other careers in the process.