23 January 2012


Gaston, the unfairly villified villain of Beauty and the Beast, has some notworthy accomplishments. For example, he was nearly able to best a hideous man-beast in hand-to-hand combat. This same beast took on an entire pack of wolves earlier in the story; this makes Gaston about as strong as a pack of wolves. He also has a wolf-pack sized ego that generally puts him in a very good place, mentally.

But even Gaston gets blue sometimes, and when he does he gets an entire tavern to make up a song about how great he is. Here are some Gaston Facts:

Gaston is quick.

Gaston is slick.

Gaston has a very thick neck.
     Gaston's neck is not only thick, but his traps are strong enough to break a leather belt. This is noteworthy and probably a result of his diet and exercise.

Gaston is a kingpin.

Gaston has got a swell cleft in his chin.
     This is important.

Gaston fights well.

Gaston fights dirty in wrestling matches and may bite.

Gaston has biceps to spare.
     He is shown doing a one-arm overhead press with an oaken bench full of chesty barmaids.This likely figures into his workout routine, discussed later.

Pictured: Spare biceps and hot-ass village girls.

Gaston is covered in hair -- every last inch.
     This must be a metaphor because Gaston is only shown as having hair on his head and chest. He fails to have hairy arms but I will otherwise take him at his word, in terms of hair-havingness.

Gaston hits well.

Gaston can match wits better than anyone else.
     At this point, Gaston upends a chess table and has previously been shown to probably not read so good. But he is very good at scheming; this is perhaps what they mean when they say quick-witted.

Gaston eats five dozen eggs every morning.
     At around 90 calories an egg, Gaston is putting away 5400 calories and about 360 grams of protein before he even starts his day. This is on top of his regular food intake, which probably consists of beer and ducks that he has shot. It's this kind of dedication to eating big that has allowed him to lift big and fight enchanted monsters. There's a lesson there, and that lesson is probably called the Gaston Workout Plan.

Gaston is an expert marksman with a rifle.

Gaston stomps well in boots.
     Gaston is shown here stomping in boots. He does it well.

Gaston also does a series of other things well; so much so that they roll over into another song:

Gaston is great at plotting.

Gaston takes cheap shots, very well.

Gaston is tops at planning to persecute harmless crackpots.

Gaston and his hype man LeFou pose the question (while getting a bit meta), "Who can make up these endless refrains like Gaston?"

The answer is no one.

While those last few characteristics are not as admirable as the others, it's pretty clear that Gaston is Champion of the World in many key categories. That makes him a true renaissance man and elevates him above The Beast, who can't even eat oatmeal right.

19 January 2012

Work it Out: Counterpoint

I painted a rather rosy picture of the workplace recently and in the spirit of the Fairness Doctrine I think I should at least attempt to provide a balance counterpoint. As I struggled to stay on my feet this morning I was immediately struck with one very clear reason (and subsequently several less clear reasons) why Work Sucks and Is Not Cool.

No Sleeping

Some jobs allegedly encourage napping because it helps people stay creative. I think all of those jobs are Google and, accordingly, do not count. Other jobs provide you with break rooms to take power naps -- sometimes that break room looks like your car in a dark part of the parking garage. That's still just napping and it's certainly on your own time.

I'm talking about full on, down for the count paid-for-it sleeping. There's only a few jobs I can think of that actively pay you to sleep:

  • Mattress Tester (maybe?)
  • Sleep Study Participant
  • Long Haul Trucker (as long as you can do it while driving)
  • Drunk Dad (easier after a big meal)
  • Rip Van Winkle

If none of these is your job then you aren't being paid to sleep. The fact that this inequality exists should be flimsy evidence enough that jobs are bullshit.

No Drinking

This doesn't apply to people in the alcoholic beverage industry. I think they *have* to drink to make sure the rye bourbon something something barrels.

I'm talking about the crystal decanter full of brown liquor elective drinking, as seen in the wildly popular documentary Mad Men. It's on PBS you should check it out.

Unless you're the Captain in a police procedural you can't even hide it in your desk. You just have to not drink.

Sneaking in vodka in your water bottle seems (and is) deceitful. I'm saying, they should just let you bust out the brandy at the end of a good meeting and bust out the scotch in the middle of a shitty, soulsucking meeting. But you can't, and that's awful.

Yes Expectations

People ask you for stuff. Help, questions, advice, service: these are all things you may be expected to provide at a job. Customers be all, "Excuse me sir, can you help me find [product]?" and you're all "Yes, it looks like we don't have it in stock at the moment, would you like me to special order it for you?"

Bullshit, says I. If I wanted to spend all day talking to and helping people I would've been a nurse. But I think they have to deal with poop sometimes (?) so maybe not a nurse but definitely someone else who helps people. I was placed in my job to do a number of things, but answering questions from co-workers, customers or superiors was not one of them. It was my understanding that I would be left alone with absolutely no oversight or accountability to sleep the day away, stopping occasionally to pour myself a double scotch on the rocks.

In failing to fulfill any of these three categories, these jobs have left us with no choice but to shove them.

Bonus Joke!

I really hate to see this one go to waste. I missed the setup by not explicitly saying "I hate working eight hours a day". Now that that's out of the way, here's the joke:

"If I wanted to do something I hated for eight hours a day, I'd buy a dental dam and give your mom a call."


16 January 2012

New Product

Once the infrastructure is in place, I think Fruit by the Furlong will be a huge success.

13 January 2012

Work It Out

Having a job is awesome. That pretty much goes without saying, especially since a big part of having a job is being able to afford things like food and shelter.

In fact, the general consensus is that anyone ever is lucky to have any kind of job. Ever. This is true from a morally relativistic standpoint, because having a shitty job is still better than having a sucking chest wound or worrying about where you're going to sleep and eat every day.

But I'm not here to talk about how losing an arm is pretty good because some people out there have lost both arms. That's too much pressure.

Instead I'll touch on some of what makes jobs awesome. Bear in mind that when I say "job" I mean "office job". If you find the right office job, it can be like you're going to several of your favorite places all at once every day, for 40+ hours a week.


Starbucks is a pretty good place if you like really dark coffee and/or blended drinks with coffee in them. And lattes. My biggest problem with Starbucks is that all of their things cost money -- and some of them cost several money. What if it was all free, and terrible quality? If you have a job, you get to live out your free, low-quality Starbucks fantasies. Get a job and you can drink anemic coffee all day long. There's will be no end to the coffee you drink. You want the pink sweetener? You got the pink sweetener. You want non-dairy creamer? You got non-dairy creamer. All you can eat. And after one cup turns into three and three cups turn into three in the morning and three in the afternoon, the splitting headaches will prevent from ever looking back at a time where you turned your nose up at shitty coffee.

A job is a coffee buffet, but like the kind of buffet where you're chained to it forever.


Kinko's (FedEx Kinko's, if you're a pedantic ass) is another awesome place to be. If you want to hob nob with harried small business owners in sweatpants and community college students, there's no better place to do it. If your printer breaks and you'd rather put $20.00 towards four color front/back fliers than a new printer cartridge, Kinko's is the place to do it. But therein lies part of the problem; printing stuff there isn't free. You get lured in by their bright lighting and their 24 hours but when it's all said and done, you just spent a lot of money.

Enter The Job. What if you could spend all day surrounded by computers and printers -- and you could print for free? As much as you want! Never go without concert tickets or confirmation statements of online orders again. Print two of each, just in case!

If you could spend the business hours of every day in a Kinko's that had been rented out for a printing party, that's a little bit of what a job is like. Speaking of parties...

A Mutual Friend's Boring Party

Parties are fun, but when you know everyone there well and you're all drunk and all having a good time they can be too much fun. You may want the party to keep going, especially when there isn't a string of halted conversations and bored looks during which you can excuse yourself. A boring party can still have fun moments, like when you discreetly joke about how boring it is, but that can only get you so far before you want to leave.

That's work! Work is a boring party you want to leave all day. Every two hours, someone says or does something interesting, everyone has a chuckle and then goes back to writing and responding to e-mails. It definitely isn't a fun party, because by the end of the day you're ready to go. Also, no one is drunk and no one is actually having a good time. As with a bad party, the best you can hope for is "inoffensive" and "plenty of snacks".

Also you spend the whole time dicking around with your phone playing games and reading blogs.

Work is a boring party with okay snacks where nothing terrible happens, but nothing good happens either.


You may be thinking that spending all day in a Kinko's, Starbucks, or at a mutual friend's boring party only sounds OK. But you're missing the power of synergy, wherein the sum of all of these parts is greater than the whole.

Work takes all of these elements and runs them through a synergizing device (it looks a lot like a parking garage) and out of the other side comes something slightly less underwhelming than any of these things individually.

Three cheers for work!

12 January 2012


In the sense that this is going to be a place where things are purged so they can move on.

I make a note of ideas for posts now and then; I'll usually put some stuff in the body to remind me and then save it as a draft for "later".

Later is generally synonymous with "never" and if the post was topical in any way then it is guaranteed to sit forever, waiting for a later that will never come.


"Curves or: How I learned to stop using movie cliches in my titles"

This was one of the first drafts I saved. It was going to be a tutorial on using the Curves tool in editing software. I found at one point that editing Curves was totally unapproachable. Then I learned how to use it and I wanted to share my knowledge with the world in a tutorial format that borrowed heavily from Cracked's image/punchline writing style. I will now instead defer to the excellent Cambridge in Colour for their existing tutorial.

"God Bless You, Google Images"

90% of a post about the importance of using photographic references when drawing. It also had a joke about Scorpions (the band). Too easy. Plus I think everything I wrote after that draft clearly demonstrated the helpfulness of Google Images.

Using references is still important if you're illustrating, painting or writing. Or sculpting. Really, doing anything.

If I ever do one of those things and use references, I may write an actual post about of it.

"Bored... To Death"

This one was actually about the excellent Project Zomboid. It may have been a complete article, actually. It also was very faithful to stealing Cracked's style (using "Wait, What?" as a section heading) and had a joke about Cruisin' Exotica, an awful arcade game. Basically I'm impressed with the game's ability to turn your own sense of monotony into an environmental danger. After three in-game days of eating spoiled meat and standing motionless, listening to zombies outside your window, you tend to take stupid risks and end up dying. I haven't played the game in like, four updates to the beta so I can only assume it's even better now then it was then.

"CNN Goes Off the Rails"

Just a concept. I really wanted to create a clever infographic that showed how quickly the comments on a CNN news story would descend into batshit crazy tinfoil hat racism. Trying to measure this is like trying to measure the output of a fire hose with a rain gauge. Basically, the answer is "Instantly, on any article" and I don't think that really needs a infographic.

"Wedge Salad Vodka Infusion"

This is basically what it says on the label. I had dreams of ending up in Lifehacker or something (maybe Make?) with a great tutorial on making wedge salad flavored vodka. The bleu cheese was something of question mark for me and I didn't feel like dropping a bunch of coin turning vodka into poison. Plus, I'm lazy.

If you try it, I can say that I read one time that refrigerating alcohol you've infused with a fat will cause it (the fat) to solidify. This enables you to retain the flavor-bearing oils while removing the less desirable rendered fats. So if you can get tomato, bleu cheese, lettuce and bacon flavor into a bottle of Smirnoff, let me know.

"You're Out of Milk"

I'll just paste the notes I left myself in August:

Other things to put cereal in?


I pictured this as a "Steve, Don't Eat It" photo essay. I don't, unfortunately, have Steve's commitment to his craft.

"Suicide Drinks"

Are you seeing a trend? I had helpfully left myself the note to "write about this".

Everyone knows that suicide soda fountain mixes are awesome, and with those Coke Freestyle machines you could spend a half hour mixing some real Willy Wonka shit.

Unfortunately, everyone also knows that suicide mixes end up tasting like Dr. Pepper with varying degrees of fruitiness so I figured that's kind of a dry hole.

"Measuring Up"

The gist of the article? "Listen to these wacky archaic measurements we use because we don't have the Metric System!"

Unfortunately, all I had come up with in 9 months was the "acre foot" for measuring large quantities of water and a "hogshead" which I think is a barrel of some kind.

Plus when I actually tried to conceptualize an acre field filled one foot deep with water I found I was able to. Really after a moment's shock it doesn't seem so unreasonable.


"The Road to Hell"

I balked at the idea of having my "local butcher" french the tips of a roast or grind veal for a meal, as suggested by numerous TV chefs. Then I realized I was personally aware of several local butchers, all of whom I've found to be useful for those very things. So rather than come off as a hypocrite I figured I'd just keep my mouth shut and leave the trussing of roasts and the slivering of rib membranes to the pros.

There was a funny picture of a dog, though.


Lord. This was going to be a lengthy critique/analysis of rap lyrics. I believe that even if done earnestly, no such analysis can be performed without coming across as very ironic and very white.

Oh, also it was mostly about Eminem.

"Halloween Recap"

There's kind of a finite window for blog posts about Halloween. Mine? It was awesome, thank you. The costumes were great too. I even have a few build pictures!

But Halloween was a long time ago, now. I'll have to hope for better luck writing things come October 2012.

"Wizard of Oz/Populist Movement/Occupy Movement"

Speaking of windows shutting. I was watching Wizard of Oz, I knew it was something something allegory about farmers, and we were in the middle of Occupy Fever. I found some delightful coincidences between the plight of the Populist movement that Wizard of Oz is allegedly about and the numerous demands of OWS. Briefly, rich oligarchs wanted to continue to keep the value of the dollar pegged to the price of gold because it benefited them in a way that I still don't full understand. The rest of the country (farmers) wanted to the dollar tied to something less volatile and more friendly to the sums of money they were exchanging.

Anyway there seemed to be a 99% vs. 1% thing going on way back when and I thought "Everything old is new again! I should write about this!" And I should have.

But then it got too cold to protest and by now I'd have to re-read the Wikipedia article on the bi-metal standard and I'm certainly not going to do that.

"Verbiage is Garbage"

Don't use the word "verbiage" when you mean "text" or "copy". It means that, but with connotations of excess. Like, if you want me to write some verbiage for you then you're asking me to throw in a bunch of extraneous, poorly written crap.

Not enough content for a whole post and frankly, a little preachy.


That's it, that's all of my really old drafts that I was certainly never going to revisit. Actually now you've got a little "blog in a box" kit. It's like my free band names, but not as clever. Enjoy!

06 January 2012


I think about traffic quite a bit. If I spend an hour and a half in the car a day on average five days a week, that's just over sixteen full days a year. That's almost 50 work days, if my job was sitting in the car.

Over the course of a lifetime, all of those days add up to an exciting second life as a professional car driver - a job done not for something so base as money but for the satisfaction of the task accomplish'd.

When I'm at this second job - the one where I sit in a car in traffic until it's time to go home - I try to solve a lot of the problems I see with the other drivers on the road.

As a general rule I try not to earnestly wish death on anyone as a solution. If I found out that I had some kind of Firestarter-style pyrokinesis or a less specific Carrie brand of telekinesis and effected someone's death through the sheer power of thought, I'd feel a little guilty. I have no problems at all, however, with wishing ill on people.

Tricky Drivers

So if I see someone cutting through traffic like a total dick, I try to send some evil eye shit their way so their crops turn or they get a speeding ticket or something. Or like, a fender-bender. Nothing serious, but just enough to make them wonder whether or not they should pay for the repairs or keep the insurance check. Usually they're weaving in and out of the lanes too masterfully for my curse to catch up with them but occasionally I'll luck out.

Truck Balls

Absolutely not. I guess the path was blazed by sexy chrome lady silhouettes but I can't really reconcile the existence of these. The worst part is that I don't even have a trailer hitch on my car. I bought a few pairs to wear on a cord like a war-trophy necklace but the looks I got weren't worth the tremendous sense of power and virility I felt while wearing it. At any rate, I immediately assume that the person to whom...

the person whose...

the person to whose truck these are attached is an irredeemable fuckface. If I knew how to weld I would make an expand-o-bolt cutter castration attachment for the front of my car to remove and collect these.  Imagine the fertility talisman I could wield then!

Sexy Chrome Ladies

If it's on a semi, they get a pass. At the very least it's a birthright for all professional truck drivers and really I'm not sure if they even make 18-wheelers that don't include silhouettes of chesty chrome ladies. When used on other cars, it can go one of two ways. If this person is driving their car like a human and clearly interested in making it to their destination in a reasonable fashion, then maybe it's some kind of ironic statement on something something. Pass. Maybe it's not ironic at all; they really like sexy chrome ladies and they want the world to know. Also pass.

But if, for example, the car with the sexy chrome ladies in front of me cuts into the carpool lane like a total asshole then those stickers might as well be hobo graffiti for "total asshole." They should have one of the stickers (they're always in pairs) symbolically scraped off, like cutting off a knight's spurs. Then their land goes back to the archduke and they're forced to roam the countryside disgraced, poaching pheasants and robbing traveling merchants.


Not actual blind drivers, of course. If they're any bit as good as Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman then I don't think there's anything to worry about. I'm talking more about the willful blindness of someone who will not meet your gaze and will not let you merge. Rather than participate in the socialist/egalitarian spirit of driving in traffic they decide to put their own selfish goals ahead of those of the collective. They won't let you in, no matter how intensely you glare at the back of their head. This in turn forces you to commit evil to the drivers around you; they pay it forward and the freeway soon flows with rancor and spite like the sewers full of pink slime in Ghostbusters II. Handling it Greek-style (knitting needles in the eyes, sharp stick in the eye) would only make things worse. I think keeping a sack of gravel in the passenger side foot-well to throw at cars who won't let you merge is a cost-effective and elegant solution. Unless it scares the hell out of them and they slam on their brakes. Be prepared to throw a lot more gravel while evading capture if that happens.

Not My Fault

If I keep watching the Star Wars trilogy (yeah, I said it) I will eventually learn Force Push and possibly several other useful powers. When that day comes I should be able to cut my commute in half but in the meantime, I'm content to bitch about how everyone who drives is a suck except for me.

04 January 2012


I like getting e-mail. It kind of makes me feel important. Important people get e-mails and so do popular people. If you're getting e-mails, you could be both popular and important. That's pretty much all you need (as a life-goal). Even better, when you get a lot of e-mail you can say things like:

"Forty e-mails!?"

Then the people in earshot for whom you make these exclamations can counter your complaints with tales of even more e-mail and even more time spent sifting through it and in the end, everyone wins. Because you're all still reading e-mails and accordingly, are very popular and important.

Unfortunately in my case, 75% of those e-mails fall in that gray area between obvious spam and something less than spam but still not quite real. Like maybe it's ham, but it's the kind that's pressed and sliced and you can buy tiny lunch meat packs of it for $.89. This is an e-mail a day from Amazon for their best deals in bath salts 'cause one time you used Amazon to buy your mom bath salts. You've earned these e-mails, but they're unwanted.

[Also I feel like the lunch meat metaphor may have been a little forced.]

At least in my case these e-mails are unwanted. I set myself to the task of unsubscribing to them.

Twofold, thence, was my reaction.


People seem to have actually gotten serious about this "opt-in" thing. If it's real e-mails you're getting from a real company, you can really unsubscribe from them. And it usually only takes two clicks. The unsubscribe link is usually buried, true, but once you find it it's smooth sailing from there. People are tripping over themselves trying to let you stop hearing about opportunities to attend seminars about grounds management. With so much bad on the internet, this is a tiny slice of good. Like if you brought a can of spam home and it had a human finger inside it, but then that finger had a huge diamond ring on it.

The ring is the good part, I'm saying. The rest is bad.


Remember that one time earlier in this post where I said e-mail made me feel important? It turns out that even shitty e-mails I don't read count towards that importance total. What makes it worse is that everyone is so nice about unsubscribing. "Sorry to see you go!", they'll say.

"We'll miss you!"

"Let us know if you change your mind!"

"You have been sucessfully unsubscribed!"

These parting messages made me feel as if they didn't care after all, like it was just a business arrangement. Cordially dismissed. I need these e-mails more than they need me. Le Creuset knows I'm not going to buy enameled cookware on a weekly basis. They're just saying hi! I can't buy a new car stereo from Crutchfield every day, even if they are extending Black Friday specials indefinitely. Crutchfield just wants to check in on me and in doing so, letting me know I exist.

Without these e-mails from my benevolent pro-consumer caretakers I feel... lost.


I can't complain about getting ten e-mails when three of them are iTunes receipts and the rest are actually from people I know. There no import there and there's certainly no popularity. I'm missing two legs of the three-legged Life-Stool. The third leg is weltschmerz. Actually the third leg is probably money.


I not well equipped to handle this roller coaster ride of corporate breakups. I had long-standing relationships of ignoring weekly specials for five or six years that dissolved in a flurry of clicks and fake farewells. It is said that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but I believe that the next time I order something I'll just uncheck the box that says "Yes! I want you to be a part of my life on a semiweekly basis or as you offer what you perceive to be great deals!"

It's just too much work.