Monday, October 29, 2007

Thrill at the Monkey Speedway!

My brother sent along some information today. He's researching a Chicago mystery involving a submarine, and that submarine ended up making the rounds at a carnival. What caught his eye is that it was replaced by a Monkey Speedway. That's right, a Monkey Speedway.

I did some research of my own and, yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. They would basically strap monkeys into little cars and drive them around a racetrack. Fantastic.

There's a really big part of me that feels awful for the poor little monkeys. They didn't actually control the cars (obviously), they were just being sped around against their will. And carnie life isn't great for humans; it can't have been better for a monkey. While maybe not on par with dog fighting, this was still fairly cruel treatment. And still...

There's also a part of me that thinks this sounds like the best thing ever. I would totally pay to watch monkeys drive cars around a track. I absolutely abhor NASCAR, but put a monkey behind the wheel (see Jocko Flocko) and I would be first in line. Monkeys acting like people- is there anything more entertaining? I feel like I should be ashamed for wanting to see this so badly...but I'm not.


Thursday, October 25, 2007


Well, if that title didn't get your attention, I don't know what else to do.

So, I just moved into a new office. It's not bad; the phones are weird and the commute is pretty tough, but the neighborhood is nice. I'm right down at the end of the Sunset Strip. Today, I had to go rent a movie (for research) and I went to the Video West in West Hollywood. I had used the store in Studio City in the past, so I thought this one would be pretty much the same. What I wasn't counting on was the abundance of porn...specifically, gay porn. Now, I know West Hollywood is one of our nations largest gay communities (which doesn't bother me in the slightest), but I guess I didn't expect to see so much porn in what is a standard video store. It was jarring.

It reminded me of working in my first offices in LA. There was a porn casting office on the second floor of the building and we'd see all kinds of people on the elevators getting off on the second floor (pun only somewhat intended). One time, we got a piece of their mail and I had to take it to their office. It was surreal. There were naked lady pictures hanging everywhere and on the reception counter was a digital photo frame cycling through what I suppose was some kind of "greatest hits." I didn't know what to do. Was it rude to look? Was it rude not to?

Now, I'm no prude. I have no problems with the porn industry and the things they do. But I can tell you it's discomforting to have that much nudity and raw sexuality staring you in the face when you don't expect it to be there. Very bizarre.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Become a Hobo - wikiHow

How to Become a Hobo - wikiHow

I've blogged about the wikiHow site in the past, but I couldn't resist pointing you guys to this one. Nothing makes me laugh harder than hobos. Nothing. I haven't even read the article yet, but the fact that it was even created is hilarious. I hope it talks about bindles.

Apple pie!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pac-Man Update

Attention world! I no longer suck at Pac-Man. I offer this screenshot as evidence:

My definition of "no longer sucking" was that I had to reach the Key levels, and I did that. In the process, I broke the 100,000 point level for the first time. Am I a master? No. Not by a longshot. But I'm not embarrassingly bad anymore, and that's all I can really ask for.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not Vegan, but Supportive

Vegan Plate
Originally uploaded by EliCubs
I love meat. I love the taste of it, the texture of it, the smell of it- everything. There's nothing I like more than a big, grilled steak. At the same time, I like vegetarian food. Sometimes when I stir-fry, I'll use tofu instead of steak or chicken. I just like the flavor of it. I'll often get a Veggie Burger at a restaurant, and one of my wife's and my favorite meals is a patty melt using Trader Joe's veggie patties. I don't know if I do it to give the animals a break (I am a sucker for animals, especially, but not limited to, cute ones), or if I like feeling a little healthier from time to time. Either way, I enjoy it.

So, today, I went to Vegan Plate for lunch. It's across the alley from my office (and I occasionally get my wireless internet access from them...sorry), and some of my vegetarian friends raved about. And it was damn good. I got the P.E.T plate (that's stir-fried pumpkin, eggplant, and tofu) and it was both delicious and filling. I'm not a vegan (obviously), but every time I eat a meal like this I start wondering if I should convert. It has the kind of flavor mix that you just don't get with meat dishes (meat is often overpowering). I love the different blends of tastes and smells that overtake me when I try something like this. Plus, it's all fresh, clean, and fills you up without making you feel sick. If my office wasn't moving, I'd be stopping at Vegan Plate regularly.

Great, I've gone and made myself hungry again. God, I love food!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

What happened, Charlie Brown?

This was the Peanuts strip that ran in today's paper (Edit: Sorry, apparently you'll have to click on it to see the full strip- ES). Obviously it's an older one (I think they're around the time where Sally is less than a year old, right now), from the early days of the strip. Man, what happened to the Peanuts?

This strip is dark, insightful, and overall very clever. Most of the early Peanuts strips are like this. They're smart social commentary, very clever, and practically counter-culture. Somewhere between when this strip originally ran and the time I grew up (when Charles Schulz was still putting out a new strip every day), Peanuts lost its edge. If I had to guess, I'd say it was around the time Snoopy started shilling for MetLife, or possibly when the gang made the jump to TV. Although, if you watch the TV specials, they get less edgy as well. The original Charlie Brown Christmas was a nice commentary on consumerism in modern America. From there on, it steadily declines. By the time Charlie Brown and his friends went to France, they were nothing more than amusing characters; the social relevance was pretty much gone. I love the early Peanuts and reading them as the "classic" strips that newspapers run today is truly a joy.

On a similar note, I recently found a series of Mickey Mouse comics from the 30s in which Mickey tries to kill himself (repeatedly) because Minnie is going out with someone else. Walt apparently got the idea from a Harold Lloyd movie. Try getting away with that in today's over-censored society!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


That's right, it's freezing in Los Angeles. We've dipped below 70 degrees for the majority of the day and at night it may even dip into the mid-50's! I have to make sure that we have a fully stocked emergency kit for the obviously impending blizzard. And that all the blankets are out. And that we get the harvest in before the frost.

Seriously, though, the weather has turned really, really nice out here. I think I can finally say that autumn has pretty much started. We still hit the 80s from time to time, but it's not bad. And yet, for some reason, I'm freezing. Actually, it's not "some" reason, I know the exact reason- there's some kind of cold-blooded monster living in my office.

At various points throughout the day today, I've felt (and smelled) the heat turning on in the building. Then, I hear someone going to the thermostat and within ten minutes, it's cold again. Some days I come in and the thermostat is set to 50 degrees. Seriously! 50! That's jacket weather when you're outside, why does anyone want the inside to feel like that. Most days, sitting directly under the AC vent, my fingers and toes start to go a little numb if I don't keep them moving. I shouldn't have to wear a coat to work. Ok, back to my igloo.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Job Hates Disneyland

So, I'm pretty sure that either God hates my job, or my job hates Disneyland. It's one of the two, and it's starting to piss me off.

Last month, I had planned to take a Friday off to take my parents to Disneyland while they were in town. I gave my boss a full month's notice and we had a temp all set to come in. Then, the day before the trip, he tells me he wants me to come in for half the day because he doesn't trust the temp (who he has never met) to do anything right. Thankfully, I managed to persuade him that everything would be fine, and he let me go (albeit grudgingly).

Now, I have a trip scheduled with a couple of friends on the 20th, and suddenly I'm told that that's the day we'll be moving to the new office and that I have to be there to help. It doesn't seem to matter that I already have plans, as apparently it's perfectly natural to expect me to drop everything and do manual labor on a Saturday. The date is still tentative, so there's still hope. But what's the deal? Can't I just enjoy my days off at Disneyland?

p.s.- I would have included a picture, but my computer's moving ridiculously slowly today. Sorry, the visual feast continues tomorrow.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I Fought City Hall

And by City Hall, I mean Time Warner Cable. I had e-mailed TWC about not having TBS-HD. You see, this year the first half of the baseball playoffs are being aired on TBS, and since my Cubbies are playing, I thought I should be able to watch them. And since I own a nice HDTV, I'd like to see the friendly confines of Wrigley Field displayed in all their glory. Now, Time Warner in Southern California has a history of being very anti-HD. And I sent them a polite, but strongly worded, e-mail telling them that since I had spent the money for their HD service and my fancy TV, I deserved to watch my favorite sport in High Def (especially since it was readily available). I also mentioned that DirectTv had just added the channel, along with 30 more, so they could offer me nearly triple the amount of HD channels I currently had. And it worked. Yesterday I got an e-mail back saying that TBS-HD had been added to the lineup. So to every baseball fan in LA who owns an HDTV and gets their cable from Time Warner- you're welcome. I'm sure it was my letter that put them over the top.

On a side note, anytime anyone talks about fighting City Hall, I think of a song from Rocko's Modern Life on Nickelodeon (Rocko faught City Hall/Rocko faught corporate America). I remember there being a joke about how the whole town had rehearsed for the big musical number without Rocko knowing it. Good times.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Flat Buns

I don't know how wide reaching these commercials are, but Carl's Jr. (and from what I can tell, Hardee's) are currently running an ad campaign for their new patty melt burger. The ad features some kids in a class room and two scrawny white morons start rapping about how their teacher has "flat buns." That's the hook- the patty melt is served on flat buns.

First off, the commercial itself is horrible. The rap is lame (as is most rap in advertising- this is what happens when you let 60 year old, fat, white ad execs try to be hip) and the whole concept is borderline sexist (as is most rap). It is also apparently teacherist as many teachers have protested the commercial (because it objectifies them, not for the real reason they should protest- watching it makes kids stupider). But none of that is what really bothers me. It's the general theme of the campaign that irks me. Even their unrelated print advertising is based around the concept that this new burger is served on "New Flat Buns!"

Last time I checked, a flat bun was called a slice of bread.
"How can we make this sandwich more appealing to the kids?"
"What if instead of a patty melt we called it an Extreme Melt?"
"Don't be retarded, Ted."
"What if we started calling bread 'flat buns'?"
If you haven't seen the ads, I'm pretty sure there's no irony intended in this concept. It seems like they're pretty much straight-forward marketing flat buns. You know how people say something is "The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread?" Apparently, sliced bread wasn't good enough for Carl's Jr. Way to raise the bar.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Go Cubs Go!

Ok, the weekend went the way I wanted it to (heck, everything was over by Friday for me), so I can safely discuss it now-

The Cubs are the National League Central Division Champions of 2007!

For a team that started out awful, this is a big deal. They were 22-30 on June 1st, when Carlos Zambrano decided to re-enact Mike Tyson's Punch Out with Michael Barrett as Little Mac. The next day, Lou Piniella exploded and everything turned around. Since that time they've been an impressive 63-46, which, I believe, is the best in the National League. It's been a wild ride. Seeing Aramis Ramirez's walk-off home run on July 1st to beat the Brewers and get the team back to .500 still gives me chills.

How about we make this the year Cubbies?

I'm so excited, I'm posting an extra picture. It's a compilation I did of my favorite moment from the season premiere of The Simpsons. Hopefully Fox won't sue me. Enjoy!