Sunday, September 30, 2007

Enjoyable Amusements And Complimentary Soft Drinks

I remember driving by Kiddieland several years ago. I don't know what I was doing in the neighborhood, but I remember thinking, "Holy crap! It's a permanent amusement park from a bygone era!"

According to their website, Kiddieland has been around since 19-freakin'-29. Wow.

I later learned that my wife had been there as a young girl a few times. I knew that at some point we had to go. We're actually quite close to the park now -- it's basically just a couple miles due north of us.

So on Friday, a cousin of ours calls my wife and says their family is heading to Kiddieland (they have two small children the same age as ours), and asks if we would like to go. HELL YES WE WANT TO GO.

Kiddieland is a little on the pricey side. We got a coupon out of Chicago Parents magazine, and a nice man gave us an extra ticket as we waited in line to pay for our admission, but even with this it cost over fifty dollars for two adults and three children under five. But I am a miserly sort, I guess, so sue me. On second thought, don't sue me!

Once you get in the park, the rides are free. There are also stations sprinkled throughout the park that have free fountain drinks, along with the requisite swooping bees.

We had our share of meltdowns in the park, but overall a fun time was had by all. I went with my eldest son on the bumper cars. My wife was right behind me in line, taking our eldest daughter. My son and I got the primo bumper car I had spotted as we were waiting in line. Our cousin and her daughter took the car right next to us, but my wife and daughter were nowhere in sight. I asked where they were, and was told that my daughter didn't meet the minimum 42" height requirement. Oh, man. The tears and the crying. My son had barely made the cut. He probably made it and my daughter didn't because he was wearing sneakers and my daughter was wearing sandals.

I solemnly swear that the next time bumper cars present themselves, my daughter and I will haul ass in one of them.

My daughter did get a large moment of joy at the park, however. She got to meet Bob The Builder. Sure, he was a sweating Kiddieland employee rendered essentially blind, deaf and mute by an oversized wobbly head, but when you're a kid, your heroes don't need all their senses working.

Here's a few pictures.

Bumper Cars

An octopus-like ride called The Polyp. The Polyp? Yes, The Polyp.

Ferris wheel and ads for the provider of the free soft drinks (no, I didn't have any soda).

Close-up of Ferris Wheel

The Little Dipper, With A Scary Clown For Bubs

Bob The Builder Is Menaced By/Menacing To A Small Boy

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Schmuck Thanks You

Thanks to everyone who advised me not to go see Licensed To Wed this week.

It's the bumper crop of cheap movies this coming week at the LaGrange, of which only one is a loud robot movie directed by Michael Bay!

The Invasion
Knocked Up
The Simpsons Movie

Did I Mention I'm Looking Forward To Halloween?

I have decided to post a horror movie trailer each Friday leading up to Halloween. If'n you have the hankering, join in on the murderous mayhem!

On a sort-of-related note, due to the ghostly complaining of Allen L., I have added one more song to the Halloween Mix -- "Halloween" by The Dead Kennedys.

Now stop hauntin' me, Allen!

Halloween (1978)

We Can't Stay Mad At David

It has been twelve hours since David Blaine was encased in a block of ice for violating the spirit of David Blaine's Blog Spectacular.

We at I, Splotchy feel that Mr. Blaine (or "David", as we like to call him) has endured his ice imprisonment with both the poise and professionalism one expects from an entertainer of his stature.

David, consider your sentence served in full.

Break through the ice! Break through!

We have only a little over three days left in the Spectacular!

Let's DO this!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

David Blaine Has Violated The Spirit Of The Blog Spectacular And Will Pay The Consequences For It

We at I, Splotchy are sorry to report another bump in the road of David Blaine's Blog Spectacular.

We at I, Splotchy readily admit that at least part of the blame for the ongoing problems of the Spectacular resides with us. There was the unfortunate miscommunication between ourselves and David Blaine, which resulted in him spending the first week of the Spectacular submerged in water.

And now, it is with regret we point out an error in judgment by the exalted entertainer -- a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the contract between I, Splotchy and Mr. Blaine.

It was our intent that Mr. Blaine spend two weeks on a one inch square of our blog alone, unaccompanied, and isolated.

Imagine our surprise when we saw Mr. Blaine consorting with his close friend, mentalist Uri Geller.

We have discussed this matter with Mr. Blaine, and he has consented to being encased in ice until we at I, Splotchy have deemed his debt to us repaid.

We hope to have no more technical glitches.

Splotchy Adds Grant Miller To His Blogroll

I have been engaged in a silent but deadly blogroll standoff with Grant Miller of Grant Miller Media. I have not added Mr. Miller; Mr. Miller has not added me.

This escalating cold war of inaction has not been acknowledged by either of us, until now. In fact, I don't actually know if there really has been a standoff. It's that silent and insidious.

I am conceding defeat. Mr. Miller, please accept this post as a proof of your victory. You are under no obligation to add I, Splotchy to your blogroll, but please be aware that I have your photograph and a couple of high-end graphics applications, capable of making mustaches and googly-eyes.

While you're here, you might want to also consider picking up a Meaningless Cherry Award.

Love and Defeat,


Can You Come Out And Play?

Please find enclosed in this post a heartfelt plea to come with me on the playground to swing on the swings, slide down the slide, and kick the kickball around.

I want to have fun. I want YOU to have fun.

I have a nice game where you can have fun, but here's the kicker. The more people play, the more fun. The less people play, the less fun.

I have another blog, Who's In Charge Here?.

I've been trying to get people to visit there. It's not about amassing visits on my hit counter, it's not about generating ad revenue (not having ads is actually a severe handicap on ad revenue). It's about FUN. F-U-N.

This game is easy and hard at the same time. There is no wrong answer. But arriving at what you consider the right answer can require some effort and thinking on your part.

This is the blog in a nutshell:

Determine a band's leader by analyzing a publicity photo.

A band's inclusion on this blog reflects neither an endorsement nor a criticism of its music. This post is merely intended as a spotlight on the inner political workings of a collection of individuals who are in the midst of a cooperative, creative endeavor.

The Process:
You, dear reader, please answer the question, "Who's in charge here?"

After sufficient discussion has taken place, a verdict can then be passed based on a majority vote.

Where else on the web are you going to be able to vote on Scandinavian death metal band Opeth:

The bootyliciously lovely group Peach Candy

And indie darlings Wilco

The answer is not one single goddamn other place. American Idol? NO WAY.

I sincerely thank all the people that have voted thus far on the bands I have highlighted. To everyone else -- won't you please come out and play?

If You're Having Difficulty Logging Into Your Blog

The last couple days I have had difficulty logging into Blogger.

It just hangs and hangs. I eventually get in, but not after minutes of waiting for the page to load.

It looks like the main problem is with the site "". Blogger is attempting to reach that server and you're stuck waiting until it establishes contact and retrieves the files it needs to. It's sort of silly that this analytics site is the source of the problem, as it, along with Blogger, is owned by Google.

I got tired of this long wait and did a little trick to prevent the browser from going to the site. I threw the following line into my Windows hosts file:

More info here if you like. Be warned that there is a fair amount of paranoia in the post and its comments. If you're not aware, Google Analytics is used for tracking visitors, similar to the popular blogger widget, SiteMeter.

I can try to answer questions you might have, but the link I provided is relatively thorough.

Of course, I check it just now and everything is working perfectly. DAMN YOU GOOGLE!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Wants A Dirty Word Crossword Puzzle?

I had it in my weird mind to construct a crossword puzzle solely out of swear words, or words not appropriate for after-dinner conversation.

I posted the results of my efforts last night, but I thought it was a little too obnoxious sitting for all to see, and deleted the post.

But, rather than let my pointless work go to waste, you can still take a gander.

Here's relevant links for The Profane Puzzler:

The Grid

The Clues


Answers here!

Johnny Yen Asks, I Answer

Johnny Yen offered to interview, I leapt at the chance to be interviewed.

Here's the Q&A.

1. Your musical knowledge astounds me in both it's
breadth and depth, and your love of music is clear.

In 1977, NASA put a record on the Voyager I spacecraft
that will exit the solar system in a few years. They
put a range of human sounds and songs on it. With
digital technology, we can put much more on the
spacecraft. You've been assigned by NASA to put ten
albums that you think should be heard by the first
beings that discover the spacecraft. What would the
ten albums be? Explain if you want to.

I think the answer to this question is really beyond my abilities -- to choose ten albums to represent humanity? Truly, a daunting task. I can give a couple examples, but I would hope there would be other people more knowledgeable than I that I could lean on for suggestions.

That being said, I would definitely choose a compilation of Django Reinhardt's Hot Club Quintet Of France. I'm not particular as to what compilation is used, as long as it hits the highlights ("Nagasaki", "After You've Gone", etc.). I think this music represents both incredible beauty and joy. Perhaps otherworldly beings that heard it might not think we're the ugly, ignorant creatures we probably are.

I would include a recording of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, because it's full of passion and fire, emotion of a different sort. Beethoven's Sixth (Pastoral) Symphony would be included, because I think it is a great representation of nature and our place within it. I defer to a classical music snob regarding the specific performance (conductor/orchestra) of these classical pieces, as I'm not that well-versed how one particular performance outshines another.

Ah, what the hell, put The Feelies' The Good Earth on there, too. It's goddamned good music.

2. Your Two-Buck Schmuck is one of my favorite
features on any of the blogs I read. What were the
worst five movies you ever saw and why?

Hmm, there is more than one kind of bad. I'll give some examples from a few categories.

The Horribly Disappointing
Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation - When I was but a wee lad, there was a summer weekend kids film screening at my neighborhood movie theater. I had just seen The Villain and loved it (gimme a break, I was a kid!). I loved it so much I wanted to go see it again. I went the following day, bought a ticket and sat down in my seat, prepared for live-action Roadrunner antics with Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ann-Margret, and then THIS movie starts rolling. I was *sure* that The Villain was scheduled to play, but I was confronted by some old-fogey (Jimmy Stewart) walking around in a suit. I stayed for the whole thing, but I hated it, mostly for what I felt was a bait-and-switch.

The Matrix - Reloaded - I saw this on an IMAX screen. As I've said before, putting something sucky on a gigantic screen makes it exponentially sucky. I was so angry at this poor excuse for a movie, that I spontaneously came up with the version they *should* have made.

The Listless
This category is almost worse than the Horribly Disappointing. There are movies that you watch, and afterwards you think, well, it wasn't awful. These movies have no distinguishing characteristics, either good or bad. Some reasonably competent people acted in, shot, and recorded music for these films. And the only thing I can think of in response to their efforts is, "So what?"

For examples, turn to the majority of the career of John Cusack.

A couple specific examples, if you like:
John Cusack: 1408 (reviewed by the Schmuck here)

Non-John Cusack: For the pinnacle of listlessness in a movie, see my review for the shitty Fracture.

This Sucks So Good!
Suckiness doesn't have to be bad! If you're watching a bad movie that prominently features one of the lesser Baldwin brothers, it stands a good chance at being hilariously sucky.

My favorite sucky Billy Baldwin movie - Fair Game
Fair Game also stars Cindy Crawford as a laywer. While Baldwin and Crawford are on the run from some dangerous criminals, they duck into a moving freight car that implausibly contains a fancy sports car, all shiny and sitting there. What do they do? Why, they have sex on the car, of course! What a wonderful movie!

My favorite sucky Stephen Baldwin movie - One Tough Cop
This might be better than Fair Game. Throughout the movie, Stephen Baldwin sounds like a really perturbed Donald Duck. It's worth a Netflix!

3. My father spent the last couple of decades of his
work life in the tech field, and once told me, after I
shared my own brief and bizarre experiences in the
tech field (I was a web design consultant for a
now-gone softward company about ten years ago) that
he'd realized, before he retired, that his life had
become a running Dilbert cartoon. I've gathered that
you're in the tech field yourself. Do you have a story
or two to share that had "Dilbert" moments?

I have definitely had Dilbert moments, featuring unrealistic deadlines, insane bosses, annoying coworkers, etc., but none of them really evoke any interesting stories.

That being said, I do have a couple funny anecdotes that center around IT. Maybe they're Dilbertish, maybe not, but I think you might get a kick out of them.

1. Knowing Little
The first story actually predates my career in IT. I was out of school, and briefly living back at my parent's house. For various reasons, I was feeling pretty depressed and low. I needed to get a job, but something not too permanent, as I didn't know what my situation was evolving into. So, I thought I'd try my hand at temping.

I had mad typin' skills and was reasonably presentable, so I quickly got an assignment at a credit reporting agency. Part of my job was to use a primitive computer application to verify details of home mortgages. I'd type in a person's name, bring up their mortgage, verify some data, etc. Apparently, the previous temp I was replacing had been hiding stacks of papers that he or she was supposed to be verifying, and as a result there was a lot of work to catch up on. I caught up in a few hours.

The next thing my employer wanted me to do was to call companies to verify employment for the people whose credit they were checking on. I had previously indicated to the temp agency that the only thing I was uncomfortable with was talking to strangers on the telephone. It just bugged me. So, now, I have to make a bejillion phone calls to people I don't want to talk to. I begrudgingly started phoning people.

I guess I must have given off a bad vibe or displayed the wrong facial expression, because near the end of the day I get a phone call from my temp agency saying that the credit reporting agency said I wasn't working out. This company I was temping at was not big. The office wasn't very big either, and the person who would have made the call about me was sitting literally five feet from me.

She left for the day without saying anything to me. I don't really know what I did to make her dislike me. She hadn't said a goddamned word directly to me about my performance -- she called the temp agency to do it for her. I was pissed. I typed this in the mortgage computer application I had been using.


Then I canceled out of the application and soon left for home.

The temp agency was very apologetic regarding the woman's treatment of me, and got me into another place the next day. A couple hours into the morning I got a call from the temp agency. They asked me if I had entered some profanity into the credit agency's computer. Oops. I thought I had deleted the entry, but I guess the system had saved it.

I called the asshole lady from the credit agency and apologized.

2. Knowing Much
I have to be a little vague about this story, but I hope not vague enough that you won't enjoy it. I worked in the security division at a large, consumer-facing commerce company. Users could create their own IDs to access our system. Keep in mind that these IDs aren't anonymous like you would make up for a Webmail account -- your ID definitely was pinned to you as an individual. Since I had the access and a little bit of free time, I thought, I wonder if any people have made naughty IDs? Sure enough, there were a handful of IDs. These aren't the actual IDs I found, but they were of the same ilk:


Whatever profane people created these IDs, you gave a chuckle to an IT security guy deep in the bowels of a large, heartless corporation.

4. I've been working on an upcoming post on
"Disappointing Candy From My Childhood." What were
your three favorite and three most disappointing
candies of your childhood?

Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar
Plain M&M's (good with water!)

Candy Corn: Probably on a lot of people's lists. Comedian Lewis Black has a funny bit about his yearly disappointment with this candy.

$100,000 Bar: Maybe this candy bar is not that bad, but I had two unpleasant experiences with it. The first time it must have heated up in the sun and was a gooey mess when I unwrapped it. The second time it was too cold and it hurt my teeth. I don't remember it tasting very good, either, but it was the temperature that made it unpleasant.

Candy Cigarettes: I remember going to the candy store down the street from my elementary school and picking up a pack of Marlboro's. I brought them back to school and puffed away on the playground, the dusty sugary substance blowing weakly out of the tip like delicious smoke. The smoke wasn't that impressive, and the gum in the cigarette tasted awful. Still, for some reason I'm glad I had the opportunity as a child to have a puff on a candy cigarette. I was cool, not like these lameass kids today!

5. You have won a prize where you get to name ten
public schools. What would you name those schools?

Mother Jones Elementary
The James Brown Academy of Positive Music
Little Pink Pony High
It's Okay To Be In Middle School
The Bertrand Russell School For Critical Thinking
Studs Terkel High
Duty Now For The Future
Dollops Of Wisdom Junior High
The I.F. Stone Vocational School Of Honest Journalism
We Care To Share Knowledge Prep

Phew, that was an indepth interview! I'm exmausted!

Thanks a lot, Mr. Yen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Presenting The Can't Wait For Halloween Mix!

Volume 6 of the Green Monkey Music Project has been completed, and is available for download!

If the participants of this mix want to discuss their own selections, please feel free to do so! I'll put a pointer on this post if you end up posting about it on your own blog (or you could always just add comments here, I suppose).


Rules And Theme Details

The Participants Discuss Their Selections:
Idea Of Progress!

The Songs:

Get the mix in horrifying chunks!

A Bloody Lump of Songs 1-5! (All of Splotchy's songs)
The Hideous Decaying Pile of Songs 6-10! (All of Idea Of Progress's songs)
The Grinning Ghostly Apparition of Songs 11-15! (All of Frank Sirmarco's songs)
The Goblin That Ate Songs 16-20! (All of Chris' songs)
The Black Viscous Horror Of Songs 21-25! (All of Beckeye's songs)
The Faint Eerie Moaning of Songs 26-30! (All of Barbara's songs)
Someone Is In The House With Songs 31-35! (All of Manx's songs)
The Putrid Corpselike Stench of Songs 36-40! (All of MattyBoy's songs)
The Demented Hillbilly Laughter Of Songs 41-45! (All of Dale's songs)
The Curious Death of Songs 46-50! (All of Lulu's songs)
The Tiny Shrunken Head Of Song 51! (Allen L.'s song)

Track Listing
01 - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand [splotchy]
02 - Echo and the Bunnymen - The Yo Yo Man [splotchy]
03 - Roky Erickson - Creature With The Atom Brain [splotchy]
04 - Pink Floyd - Lucifer Sam [splotchy]
05 - Flaming Lips - Ice Drummer [splotchy]
06 - The Residents - Harry the Head [ideaofprogress]
07 - Lordi - Would You Love a Monsterman? [ideaofprogress]
08 - The Shaggs - It's Halloween [ideaofprogress]
09 - The Creation - Nightmares [ideaofprogress]
10 - Ashcroft & Bacon - Unseen Hand [ideaofprogress]
11 - Blue Öyster Cult - Godzilla [franksirmarco]
12 - Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London [franksirmarco]
13 - Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein [franksirmarco]
14 - The Who - Boris The Spider [franksirmarco]
15 - Ministry - (Every Day) is Halloween [franksirmarco]
16 - Dick Dale - Ghostrider In The Sky [chris]
17 - Fats Waller - Abercrombie Had A Zombie [chris]
18 - Tones on Tail - Movement Of Fear [chris]
19 - Donovan - Season Of The Witch [chris]
20 - Velvet Underground - The Black Angel's Death Song [chris]
21 - Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) [beckeye]
22 - The Warlocks - Angels in Heaven, Angels in Hell [beckeye]
23 - Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You into the Dark [beckeye]
24 - The Hooters - All You Zombies [beckeye]
25 - Sia - Breathe Me [beckeye]
26 - Neko Case - Furnace Room Lullaby [barbara]
27 - Violent Femmes - Country Death Song [barbara]
28 - Chad VanGaalen - Graveyard [barbara]
29 - Matthew Good Band - A Boy and His Machine Gun [barbara]
30 - Jarvis Cocker - I Will Kill Again [barbara]
31 - Iron & Wine – No Moon [manx]
32 - The Dead Texan – When I See Scissors, I Cannot Help But Think Of You [manx]
33 - Pinback – Shag [manx]
34 - Tangerine Dream - Circulation Of Events [manx]
35 - Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Brains [manx]
36 - Tom Waits - What's That He's Building? [mattyboy]
37 - Soul Coughing - Unmarked Helicopters [mattyboy]
38 - Len Cariou - Prelude: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd [mattyboy]
39 - Tom Lehrer - I Hold Your Hand In Mine [mattyboy]
40 - Joe Jackson - In Every Dream Home [mattyboy]
41 - The Misfits - Death Comes Ripping [dale]
42 - Willard Grant Conspiracy - Ghost of the Girl in The Well [dale]
43 - Siouxsie and the Banshees - Peek A Boo [dale]
44 - Björk - Play Dead [dale]
45 - Richard Shindell - Are You Happy Now? [dale]
46 - Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party [lulu]
47 - Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi is Dead [lulu]
48 - The Cranberries - Zombie [lulu]
49 - The Jazz Butcher - The Devil Is My Friend [lulu]
50 - Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack - Time Warp [lulu]
51 - Dead Kennedys - Halloween [allenl]

It is my great honor to award the first Green Monkey Master Badge to Chris! This is his third time participating in GMMP, which now makes him a Green Monkey Master.

Apart from the glory, Green Monkey Masters have the right to helm a future Green Monkey Music Project, deciding the theme of the mix, number of participants, etc.

Congratulations, Chris!

Unconnected Tuesdays

A sea otter skull

A martini

A Wee Bit Of Pogues

This post was brought to you by the letters B-U-B-S.

The Pogues With The Dubliners doing Irish Rover

Splotchy's Contribution To Can't Wait For Halloween

Here's a discussion of my selections for Can't Wait For Halloween, Volume 6 of the Green Monkey Music Project.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand
From the album Let Love In. Halloween songs don't come much better than this. A spooky groove, and great creepy lyrics.

You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Echo and the Bunnymen - The Yo Yo Man
From their classic Ocean Rain. There are many people who would have gone for "The Killing Moon" off the same album, instead of this song, but those people are wrong. Wrong, I tells ya!

Roky Erickson - Creature With The Atom Brain
Roky was the lead singer for the great Austin, Texas psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators. Roky has had mental health issues from time to time, but he's out and hopefully doing better. He has a real, unironic fascination with the occult and science fiction. This is one of my favorite songs of his. If someone could please do a strange favor for me, please tell me what the sound effect is at approximately the 2 minute, 38 second mark in this song. It has something to do with television (like a test signal or something), but I don't know what's it for exactly.

Pink Floyd - Lucifer Sam
We go way, way back to Pink Floyd's first album, Piper At The Gates of Dawn. I don't know that it's so scary, but I think it is ominous. And, of course it has the word Lucifer in the title. Tim ever so slightly ruined this song for me, when he a corrected a lyric I had misheard in this song.

I thought it was:
Black cat's something I can't explain

But it actually is:
That cat's something I can't explain

Don't worry, I still sing the superior "Black cat" line.

Flaming Lips - Ice Drummer
This can be found on their EP Providing Needles for Your Balloons, as well as on a tribute album to the band Suicide. This is actually a cover of a song by Suicide's singer Alan Vega. It's not immediately obvious this song has a Halloween connection, but in my opinion the lyrics are sufficiently spooky:

Saturn is in the night sky
A freezing, freezing ring of fear
The moon is bright and hanging heavy
A werewolf drives on by in his Chevy

Monday, September 24, 2007

Two Buck Schmuck Puts His Fate In Your Hands

Should Two Buck Schmuck see this movie, now playing at the LaGrange?

Vote via a comment on this post.

David Blaine's Blog Spectacular - A Clarification

We at I, Splotchy regret a miscommunication which occurred between ourselves and David Blaine, in regards to the ongoing David Blaine's Blog Spectacular.

Apparently, Mr. Blaine was under the impression that for the entire duration of the Spectacular he was not only required to maintain his presence on a 1 inch square of this blog, but he was also required to remain underwater.

Mr. Blaine is certainly welcome to emerge from the water, provided he stays within the box we have provided for him.

I, Splotchy regrets the error in communication.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Anti-Lolcat

I enjoy the lolcat phenomenon just as I'm sure many of you do, but I figure at least one cat in the world wouldn't.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Can't Wait For Halloween Mix - Track Listing

The Now Complete Track Listing!

01 - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand [splotchy]
02 - Echo and the Bunnymen - The Yo Yo Man [splotchy]
03 - Roky Erickson - Creature With The Atom Brain [splotchy]
04 - Pink Floyd - Lucifer Sam [splotchy]
05 - Flaming Lips - Ice Drummer [splotchy]
06 - The Residents - Harry the Head [ideaofprogress]
07 - Lordi - Would You Love a Monsterman? [ideaofprogress]
08 - The Shaggs - It's Halloween [ideaofprogress]
09 - The Creation - Nightmares [ideaofprogress]
10 - Ashcroft & Bacon - Unseen Hand [ideaofprogress]
11 - Blue Oyster Cult - Godzilla [franksirmarco]
12 - Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London [franksirmarco]
13 - Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein [franksirmarco]
14 - The Who - Boris The Spider [franksirmarco]
15 - Ministry - (Every Day) is Halloween [franksirmarco]
16 - Dick Dale - Ghostrider In The Sky [chris]
17 - Fats Waller - Abercrombie Had A Zombie [chris]
18 - Tones on Tail - Movement Of Fear [chris]
19 - Donovan - Season Of The Witch [chris]
20 - Velvet Underground - The Black Angel's Death Song [chris]
21 - Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) [beckeye]
22 - The Warlocks - Angels in Heaven, Angels in Hell [beckeye]
23 - Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You into the Dark [beckeye]
24 - The Hooters - All You Zombies [beckeye]
25 - Sia - Breathe Me [beckeye]
26 - Neko Case - Furnace Room Lullaby [barbara]
27 - Violent Femmes - Country Death Song [barbara]
28 - Chad VanGaalen - Graveyard [barbara]
29 - Matthew Good Band - A Boy and His Machine Gun [barbara]
30 - Jarvis Cocker - I Will Kill Again [barbara]
31 - Iron & Wine – No Moon [manx]
32 - The Dead Texan – When I See Scissors, I Cannot Help But Think Of You [manx]
33 - Pinback – Shag [manx]
34 - Tangerine Dream - Circulation Of Events [manx]
35 - Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 – Brains [manx]
36 - Tom Waits - What's That He's Building? [mattyboy]
37 - Soul Coughing - Unmarked Helicopters [mattyboy]
38 - Len Cariou - Prelude: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd [mattyboy]
39 - Tom Lehrer - I Hold Your Hand In Mine [mattyboy]
40 - Joe Jackson - In Every Dream Home [mattyboy]
41 - The Misfits - Death Comes Ripping [dale]
42 - Willard Grant Conspiracy - Ghost of the Girl in The Well [dale]
43 - Siouxsie and the Banshees - Peekaboo [dale]
44 - Bjork - Play Dead [dale]
45 - Richard Shindell - Are You Happy Now? [dale]
46 - Oingo Boingo - Dead Man’s Party [lulu]
47 - Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi is Dead [lulu]
48 - The Cranberries - Zombie [lulu]
49 - The Jazz Butcher - The Devil Is My Friend [lulu]
50 - Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack - Time Warp [lulu]

I added Beckeye 'cause that's the kind of guy I am.

Please Help Bring Back The Three Letter Name

For those expecting a child, or contemplating becoming a parent, please consider returning the world to a simpler time.

Excellent three letter names are available RIGHT NOW, and will ensure your child is a hero of his or her generation.

Some examples:

1. Lou
2. Mel
3. Eve
3. Gus
4. Bud
5. Bea
6. Ted
7. Sue
8. Pam
9. Jed
10. Van

Friday, September 21, 2007

Rock, Simians, 'Toons













Thursday, September 20, 2007

Law And Order -- Ripped From Today's Headlines

Would anyone be surprised if, in Hollywood at this very minute, a writer for Law And Order was cranking out an episode about a college student getting tasered to death?

So Disgusting, So Delicious

Doctor Monkey Von Monkerstein has been of late posting some very lovely cooking posts.

I've been a l'il inspired by him, as I so often am.

I'd like to share a little recipe that I made up all by myself when I was a youngun. I haven't actually made this dish (if you can call it that) in probably twenty-five years or more.

Those of you with young children might want to teach this trick to them. Hey, forget the kids, this is a treat for children of all ages.

Warning: This post contains potentially disgusting pictures. I assure you that nothing unsavory was done in the making of this post. And the ingredients only consist of M&M's and water.

You will need: M&M's and a paper cup full of water

Pour the M&M's into the water.


At a certain point, the water gets saturated with M&M detritus, so you must empty the water out and refill with fresh stuff. My wife grudgingly looked at these pictures shortly before I uploaded them. She asked me, "What do you do with the water?" I replied, "You drink it, of course."

Immediately after refilling the cup with water, it turned this murky green color.

Empty the water again, to reveal the delicious milk chocolate remaining.

Bon Appetit!

More Fun With Google!

The Internet is a huge swamp of information. Google is like a poking stick you lower into the swamp, attempting to bring forth the nasty, squirmy things you're searching for.

It's always interesting when someone comes my way through the use of a Google search.

Here's an exercise you may have fun doing. Supply some Google searches where your blog comes at the *very* top of the list.

Here's ten of mine.

squirrel spit paralysis
green monkey stevie nicks
meaningless cherry
cockroach rabbit carcass
cat mushroom goose poo
zombie finger dexterity
magic tainted adult-oriented bodybuilder
pretzel choking gravitas


Matty Boy did this exercise over at his neck of the woods, giving it an excellent name: "Google Likes Me Best". Give it a try, why don'tcha?

The Monkey Awakens For Volume Six

Okay, the green monkey what lives in my brain has had sufficient rest. I have urged him to take it a little easier, not lift anything heavy, etc.

I am proud to announce Volume 6 of the Green Monkey Music Project - Can't Wait For Halloween.

All the songs must have some tenuous connection to Halloween, or things of a spooky nature. I'm going to allow up to seven people to join in this time, for a total participant count (including me) of eight.

The number of songs that someone can contribute will depend on how many people participate. That being said, participants will be able to contribute five songs no matter what.

I'll be starting off the mix this time. Here is my song list (which might expand if we get less than eight people playing).

01 - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand
02 - Echo and the Bunnymen - The Yo Yo Man
03 - Roky Erickson - Creature With The Atom Brain
04 - Pink Floyd - Lucifer Sam
05 - Flaming Lips - Ice Drummer

I'm reserving one slot for Lulu because she asked so nicely.

The rest of you, please sign up via a comment on this post. You don't haveta provide your songs yet if you don't want to, just say you're interested in joining.

Happy Early Halloween!


We have our nine(!) participants signed up!

The Idea Of Progress!
Frank Sirmarco!
Matty Boy!

If Lulu opts to not take part in this mix, I'll reopen her slot, so to speak. To anyone who may have asked ahead of time to be in the mix, my apologies for not holding a spot for you -- I didn't want to have to go hunting through the comments in my archives.I guess I'm still working out the kinks (or is that The Kinks?).

Since we have a full number of participants in this mix, I ask that you choose no more than five songs for your selections.

For those who haven't played before, simply leave a comment on this post, indicating the artist and song title of your selections. I'll attempt to obtain the tracks from my magical jukebox. If I have difficulty getting a song, I'll ask you to send me a copy. There's a good chance I'll be able to find whatever songs you pick.

Thanks to everyone for signing up!

Die Hard Or Suck Harder

Two movies after 9:00pm this week at the LaGrange.

Knocked Up - I'd seen this and liked it in a first-run theater, but didn't feel like seeing it again.

Live Free Or Die Hard - Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

So, it was the Die Hard movie I subjected myself to, and yes, it sucked harder than all its predecessors.

The bad guy in this movie was computer superdude Thomas Gabriel, played by Timothy Olyphant, probably most recognizable as Seth Bullock on the HBO series Deadwood, where he displayed a wide palette of emotions -- agitated hostility and hostile agitation. He plays basically the same character here, except without a mustache.

Mr. Gabriel creates havoc via his team of hackers to shutdown the US, in order to get money, or teach us a lesson, or be a jerk, or something. Ah, the action movie that uses computers as a major plot device. Excepting WarGames, these movies never work.

Here's some tips for Hollywood types thinking about making an action movie centered around computers:

1. Watching someone hit a Delete key, even if it results in an explosion causing their death, is not exciting.

2. Having a closeup shot of a cable being plugged into a USB port is not exciting.

3. Watching people sweating under pressure typing on a keyboard is not exciting.

4. Building up suspense to reveal the ultimate uber hacker (which invariably leads to a "comical" revelation that he lives in his parents' basement) is not exciting.

5. Having that uber hacker be Kevin Smith is not exciting.

John McClain, now an unstoppable action machine, has a nerd dork in tow for the entire movie -- it's that asshead Mac guy, Justin Long! I still blame you for making me go out and buy a new wireless router, jerk!

I don't know. I really enjoyed action movies in the 80's where all sorts of physical laws were routinely violated by the hero, and much destruction was done to anonymous henchman, but here it just left me cold.

Bruce Willis is just such a humorless smarmy wiener, it's impossible to enjoy this movie. And, I'm no strapping young buck, but the man's head is approaching some sort of strange four-sided polygon shape. I'm a little concerned for the man's health. Maybe he should eat more circles.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

True Employment Pictures

I took my camera to work yesterday, with the half-assed idea I'd take pictures at the Chicago Cubs game I was going to later that night (they lost!).

I ended up just leaving my camera in the car, so I have no lovely photos of their loss or my drinking of much beer.

I *did* take some pictures of my work area earlier in the day. Several people have privately urged me to share photos of my workplace. Okay, no one has actually done this. But here they are!

First something to grab your attention!

If I turn around from my 'puter, this is what I see. A guy on my team recently retired, and I moved into his "cube" with the spectacular view. I like me a starin' window.

Old Man Programmer didn't just leave me with the view. He also left me with this crazy-assed plant that I almost killed (plants need water, apparently).

I have a reasonably-sized section of wall dedicated to all things artistic:

On the wall I have some pics from the kiddies, as well as my previously mentioned yellowed clipping of a post-pretzel-choking Dubya.

Just below him are my cherished foreign monkey (well, chimpanzee, actually) postcards. If you ask really nicely, I'll scan them so you can see them in their "hilarious" glory.

My bookcase (partial view)

Here's some books I rarely look at, along with some various doodads.

The red buddha on the left was given to me by a coworker coming back from a trip to China. The Beast and Hulk action figures were presents given to my superhero-lovin' daughter. They turned out to be die cast, and really heavy, so I, being the anxious daddy that I am, took them to work. The snowglobe I got in Rome. It's gradually losing water, I think probably just due to evaporation. Nestled behind the globe is Duke, the completely unnecessary and slightly disturbing mascot of Java. If you look at the bottom left of the picture, you can just make out the plastic wrestler dude that sits atop my PC, guarding it with fists raised. Lastly, I can't remember where that lion toy came from. It's a bonafide mystery.

A lot of the books I got for free. Some I got at the various JavaOne conferences I have attended. My brother used to work for a publishing company, and he would be able to get some free programming books as well, which he'd give to me. That Idiot's Guide To Linux is one of them. On principle, I would never spend money on a book that insults my intelligence in its title.

My favorite book out of these is Joshua Bloch's Effective Java:

I saw Bloch give a lecture at JavaOne, basically taking samples out of his book. I liked the lecture so much I bought it.

His next book was done with Neal Gafter, called Java Puzzlers:

I didn't like Java Puzzlers so much. It felt more like a "I know squirrelly things about Java that you don't know, and would never be able to figure out" book. But, I did get them to autograph the book for me when I was at my last JavaOne:

I had specifically asked one of them to write "Keep On Rockin'" and the other to write "Keep On Rollin'". I thought it was funny. They didn't seem to think so, but obliged me.

They no longer work for Sun Microsystems -- they're bigshots at Google now. May they rock and roll and understand my sense of humor far into the future!