Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Fun House

When I was little, the park had a "Fun House."  It was a fiberglass shack with big rolling barrel.  A hamster wheel for kids.
Cartoon character knockoffs greeted you on the side.
Say "hello" to Woody Daffy Duck Pecker  and Bob's Porky Pig Boy.  Or maybe Bat Boy.  Or a toddling Freddy Krueger.

You were supposed to run in place, like this:

I never got the knack of it...

I had better luck on all fours...
...until a bigger kid (or kids) showed up and spun the barrel the other way.  

Soon I'd be heading for the swings. 
Dumb ol' Fun House!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What NOT to Do With Food Coloring

I seem to be missing the part of my brain that tells me That's dumb.  Don't do it!
For example, once I was curious about food coloring.   What did it taste like?   Did it have a flavor of its own when it wasn't mixed in with sugar, milk, flour, etc..?

I took a squeeze bottle of green dye and did this:

It had no taste.  It did, however, still work as a dye.

Which in turn worked as a "this person is an idiot" indicator.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Get Hacked

My email got hacked. 
People on my contact list got an message like this:

Lord knows what the link leads to.  Maybe a sales pitch.   Maybe a virus.
 I'm not clicking it...
The "someone broke into my account" factor isn't nearly as annoying as the fact that nearly everyone I've sent mail to- including:
  • old friends
  • coworkers 
  • internet acquaintances
  • relatives
  • people I've admired enough to send fan mail to... mail from "me" with my duck icon and a bogus link.   The next time these people see the duck icon or read my name, they'll think: hmmm... Namowal... that duck picture...... isn't that the spammer who trashed my computer?  What a tool! 

I originally picked the duck head icon because it was good natured and unpretentious. When it appeared (here and other places on the web) I wanted to communicate this:

Unfortunately, it now communicates this:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guest Blogger: "My IKEA Girlfriend was Pretty Cool Until She Fell Apart"

"Olimpia, my IKEA girlfriend"

Guest Blogger: Allen Heckskey, Los Angeles Resident
Olimpia smelled of particle board and lingonberries.   I bought her at IKEA.
I'll admit I had mixed feelings when I opened that flat box and saw all those pieces.  I'm the kind of guy who can't put a model airplane together and I'm supposed to assemble a person?  It took three hours.   I kept messing up, like when  I realized I'd put each hand on the wrong arm and had to take them off  and swap them.  One of her eyes rolled under my bed and it took twenty minutes for me to find it.  She was a hassle to put together, but once I was done, I knew I'd made the perfect girlfriend.
She was wonderful.  Gorgeous, slim, and fun.    She never made me sit through dumb movies or musicals.  Never hauled me to cat shows or swap meets.   Never made me hold her purse while she tried on clothes. Never said "You should this..." or "Why don't you that."   Never got moody.  Wherever I wanted to go or whatever I wanted to do, she was up for it.  And she cooked the best meatballs you ever tasted.
Trouble came about six months later.   I thought it was my imagination when her skin seemed to sag at the joints.  Then we were in line for "Cyberslashing Bloodsplatterfest 3D" at the IMAX and her arm falls off!   Try fetching your girlfriend's severed arm in front of a line of people.   I duct taped it back on later that night, but two days later, her foot came lose and her knee ripped open.   It got ridiculous.   More sags, breaks and rips.  I taped her up as best I could, but it was clear her days as my girlfriend were over.  Too "high maintenance."  Plus she looked kinda stupid with all that tape.
I wasn't sure what to do with her.  I thought of putting her in the closet or the attic, but that was too creepy.   I could have thrown her away, but she was like a ratty old bathrobe that you loved because it was yours.  For now she's propped the corner of my bedroom.   It's not a total loss.  She still tells me I look "great" every morning, and never complains that I "don't take her places anymore."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Crummy Moth!

Guest Blogger: Milton the Moth
" Eat your greens, little caterpillar," the adults promised, "And someday you'll be a beautiful butterfly!"
That's what I heard every day.  All this buildup as to how someday I'd graduate from grubhood, emerging as a colorful butterfly.  I often wondered how I'd turn out.  Would I be an iconic Monarch?  A sporty Swallowtail?   Maybe I'd even be the kind with those big pretend eyes on my wings.
Well, imagine my surprise when I broke out of my cocoon and discovered I was a crummy moth.   A moth!  A plain, dinky, grayish moth.   This is what I was waiting for?
My stupid caterpillar buddies all turned out as butterflies.   They're too cool to hang with me anymore, but they still stop by to bug me.  "Who's up for laps around the streetlight" one goes, and the rest crack up laughing.  They also call me "Clothes Nibbler," "Porch Light Pest," "Cat Toy," and "Bat Bait".  Gee, thanks guys!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Phoenix: "This Fire and Rising from the Ashes is Getting Old"

Guest Blogger: The Phoenix, Mythological Bird

"At first it was pretty cool.   I'd be getting a little rough around the edges and KABOOM!   I'd burst into flames and  rise up all new and pretty.  Not many birds could do that!  The Trick won me a lot of bar bets over the years.  On weekends I'd do the performance artist thing and rake in the tips.'
It's been many a century  and now I'm  tired of the whole thing.  I know my power is divine and mystical and all that, but really, couldn't the gods have tried a bit harder when they put me together?  The immortality's good, but did they have to make it tied to spontaneous combustion?  How stupid is that!? Sure I come out fine, but everything nearby gets trashed.  I can't tell you how many cleaning deposits I've lost for destroyed property and smoke damage.  Nobody invites me anywhere* .  
Just last week I was unloading my shopping cart at Thriftimart and FOOM!  I took out the conveyor belt, the tabloids,  the gift cards and the candy selection.  Most of my groceries too.  The tequila bottle made it but then the lady behind the counter wouldn't let me buy it because now I looked "way under twenty one."
Stupid, stupid mystical power!  "

*"Okay, this one annoying guy  tries to pal with me, but only because he likes to put a marshmallow on a stick and hold it over my head "just in case."   Har har.    Jerk!"

Saturday, September 11, 2010


When I "like" a controversial comment or subject on Facebook, I think I look appear this:

Too bad I actually appear like this:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Sun: Why Do I Even Bother to Shine?

Guest Blogger: Sol, A.K.A. "The Sun"
I was so eager in the beginning.  I knew developing and maintaining a solar system would take dedication and work, but I was under the delusion that it might, maybe PAY OFF SOME DAY...
I'd considered my planet collection a work in progress.   I pulled the most interesting planets I could find into my orbit.  I kept the moons spinning.   Installed an asteroid belt.  Threw in some comets.  Hung rings on Saturn (still making payments on these).  I thought, this may not be the best planet system, but someday it'll be one of the greats.
Now, after 4 billion  years of being snubbed as a location for intergalactic conventions, absent in "Planetary System of the Week" mentions, and not even a stub on the MilkyWaykipeda, it's become clear.
My planetary system is crap and I have no business running it.  
No double stars.  No pulsars.   Most of my planets are lifeless, and the one holdout is crawling with the most disgusting things you ever saw.
The final straw came when I took the "How will YOU end up" quiz on Facebook.  I'd always figured I'd be fusing iron some day.  And then I'd go supernova.  Then everyone would point to me and say how awesome I was.   Nope.  According to the results I'll eventually fall apart and become a "planetary nebula"  which is the politically correct way to say "space booger".  Left over at the core will be a "degenerate dwarf".  That's like a tatertot that glows in the dark.
Boy, I'm glad I've worked billions of years for this! 

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Pickle Pup Gets Mangled

I worked on a movie I'll call "Pickle Pup."   My job was to blend computer characters (and their shadows and reflections) into live action scenes.  As the show neared completion, someone sent out an email asking everyone who worked on the show to sign the official poster.  It was going to be a gift for someone.
Most people just signed their names, but some added sketches of the title character.
I decided that's what I'd do too.   I liked to draw, right?   Never mind the fact I did absolutly no drawings, character design, or animation for the movie.

I planned to draw something like this:

What I really drew looked like this:

Arrrgh!   It might have been okay as a doodle, but compared to the professional sketches on the poster, it looked amateurish.  As in "I can't draw and am not aware that I can't draw."  And it was right next to my signature (which in a state of cockiness, I'd made rather large!)
I tried to fix it.

Soon it looked like this:

It was a mess.  What was worse, I was holding up the line.  People behind me (including people who got paid to draw cartoons) were getting impatient.  And wondering what the hell I was doing.

There was no saving the drawing.  It was a smeared, mangled train wreck.   I tried to blot it out into a stylish wedge of black:
The result was as stylish as a mustard stain.   Right next to my name.
I should have blotted that out too.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Jupiter: "My Fellow Planets are Idiots":

Guest Blogger: Jupiter
I really hate my neighbors.  How'd I end up  with such losers?
Take Mercury:  Hopped up little bastard.   He's always racing round and knocking stuff over.
Then there's Venus.  She's always trying to outshine everyone.  "Did you know there's a song about me?" she says.  "Did you know there's a goddess named after me?"  I shut her up by pointing out there's a category of diseases named after her too.
Then Earth- yechh.  He's  infested with spores and creatures.   A real slob. How dirty is he?  His creatures have actually spread to his moon!.  There's a giant leap for you.  Also, he's wet, clammy, and always tracks in mud.  
Next comes Mars.  Where do I begin?   At parties he gets drunk, pulls up his shirt and points to Mariner Valley and goes "Let me tell ya how I got this!"  His story keeps changing:  "It's an asteroid impact!" he says, then next time it's  "from a knife fight me and Phobos had in the Oort Cloud!"  Sure, Mars, sure.
I think it's a stretch mark.
And there's that tramp, Saturn.  You went real subtle with those rings, honey!   Real classy.
Uranus and Neptune?   Two boring clouds of "duh".
There used to be Pluto.
He was a stupid little pebble.  He'd fly all  about going "Wheee!  I am planet!  Me planet!!"    Planet? That  idiot couldn't achieve a circular orbit in a flushing toilet.
 I'm glad they put him away.
The Sun says I have an "attitude problem" and should "lighten up."  (He thinks he's really clever when he uses the expression "lighten up," as if it's a inside joke that I'm too dumb detect. )  He also tells us  "I'm proud of ALL of you," in a way that makes it sound like he's really, really  deep and enlightened because he's able to detect how special everyone is.  Dolt.  If I were him I'd book the whole solar system on Jerry Springer.  If you hang out with idiots, you may as well get paid for it.