I’m a freelance interactive content strategist and copywriter in Austin, TX. See my work here.
I post about whatever geeky stuff interests me. Sometimes I post funny stuff that I make up. About once a week I post videos of my cat Yeti ignoring me. I welcome reader suggestions and feedback. I seldom get any.
Oh, yeah. I’m also the recording artist currently known as ManChildATX.
Brought to you by the “What Can I Blog About Now” Dept.
An original Big Boys shirt, featuring a design by the late, great Randy “Biscuit” Turner on the front. (Although I’m not entirely sure it’s not by Big Boy Tim Kerr, still an accomplished and prolific artist and musician to this day.) This was hand printed by Big Boy Chris Gates, whom I was roommates with briefly in the 80s. Their famous skateboard “A” is on the back. The Big Boys were the greatest and one of the most influential bands to come out of Austin—ever. I was one of their legions of fans and hangers-on. This shirt is tissue paper thin. Can’t be worn. Won’t be discarded.
VIDEO: BIG BOYS Austin TX punk, ‘Funk Off’ / ‘Baby, Let’s Play God …
This is just a t-shirt I got at Target eleventy billion years ago that will not die. It’s been washed eleventy billion times. It’s got a particularly unflattering lack of shape. It used to be much bluer. Excellent for couch lolling.
Clay Davis was a character from the Wire, my favorite show. He was a corrupt but charming politician. So this is such an inside-baseball design for a t-shirt. Created by hotshot Mule Design Studio. Also a favorite because it was a gift from my dear friend, Rod Barks.
Holes in both armpits. Shrunk to virtually unwearable. Will I ever part with this original Astrodome-era Houston Astros t-shirt? No. No I will not.
Just a brilliant design by my friend, “artist” Ellen Gibbs. Ellen originally used the design to make small floor warning signs (similar to “wet floor” signs) alerting people to the presence of cat vomit that hadn’t been cleaned up yet. Then she got the idea to make a t-shirt with it. For a while, she was sold out of these and not interested in making more, and I would gripe to her, because every time I wear it, at least two or three people ask me where they can buy it. But now she has a whole range of cat vomit-wear available on Cafe Press. Get some.
Clickhole exists to parody the insipid viral content that is coming to dominate the web. The site was launched earlier this summer.
It’s produced by the people who publish The Onion.
Sample posts include, “23 Insanely Mind-Blowing Facts About the Class of 2018.”
These posts are full of a combination of the funnily mundane (“First off, they’re graduating in 2018”) and the absurdly specious (“None of them have vestigial tails.”)
That “vestigial tails” line is exactly like something out of my “Did You Know” series of spurious facts on my old site Thot4ThDay site. Eerily similar. Whatever.
On its article pages, Clickhole runs paid ads for the same kinds of viral content it parodies:
It is such a cynically brilliant (or brilliantly cynical) business model, I’m insanely jealous I didn’t think of it myself.
At first, while acknowledging the spot-on of-the-moment cultural satire of the site, I wondered how sustainable this essentially one-note satire could be.
But the more I think about it, the more I’ve decided that we, the users of the interwebs, are so collectively credulous and stupid that Clickhole may be a well that never runs dry.
In fact, I wonder if the folks at The Onion didn’t create ClickHole as a frustrated reaction to satirical items from that rag getting viral social play because people actually thought they were real, or could be.
You know, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
And now The Onion folks are laughing all the way to the bank.
The site is an ongoing rickrolling service, ready to supply linkable content to anyone who wants to show how stupid their friends are.
It may be a harbinger of doom.
I have a celebrity back acne fetish. #OST
The reason I was such a scrawny, malnourished kid? They say breast feeding is supposed to bring a mother and child closer and everything, but I was just never really into my mom’s breasts. #OST
Sometimes I go commando and pretend I’m wearing “virtual underwear.” #OST
I started liking my e-cigarette more when I heard someone say it looked like I was sucking a robot dick. #OST
The first time I was allowed to take my little sister to the zoo by myself I was crushed to learn that even a three-year-old was too big to shove through the bars on any of the cages. #OST
When I was in college, I put a sleeping bag on my bed so I wouldn’t have to wash the bedding. I’m still using the same sleeping bag, and I don’t even notice the smell anymore. #OST
Theatre in the round makes me dizzy. #OST
I cheated on my Mensa entrance exam and failed to get in anyway. #OST
If I need change for the parking meter, I steal coins from the fountain at the childrens’s hospital. #OST
If I really hate someone I’m waiting on, I won’t wash my hands after using the restroom. #OST
I almost never remember my dreams. This one from last night is an exception:
I was part of a small group of 4-5 people from the Austin ad agency that was my former employer and is a current freelance client. We were driving to Ford, the automaker, to make a presentation. Of course we weren’t going to Ford-Ford; we were going to a small offshoot operation of Ford, with the idea of getting the agency’s foot in the door.
For some reason, I brought along my dog, Lupita, though I didn’t realize that until later.
Just before the presentation was to start, the snot-nosed art director I had been working with (not a real person, but a dream composite) informed me that I was supposed to co-present with him. Immediate panic set in. I didn’t know I was supposed to co-present! I was just the freelancer! But I resolved I would make the best of it.
We thought we’d be presenting to a group similar in size to ours. Wrong! The meeting room was huge, with chairs and tables widely spread all over the place. The Ford people were moving about freely visiting with one another. It turned out that these presentations were like a school assembly for them—a break from work for a little socializing and entertainment. We were the entertainment.
My snot-nosed art director creative partner started presenting. He was getting killed. Completely ignored. It didn’t help that he was talking in a normal tone of voice, which gradually petered out into defeated muttering as he went on. And we were just sitting in the middle of the room, not up on a stage or dais or anything. We didn’t even have a microphone. I resolved that when he passed it over to me, I would be ready to “perform;” I’d leap up out of my chair, use my bellowing speaking voice to be heard, move around working the room, gesture grandly, command attention, really get people to buy in to what we were selling, whatever that was.
Well, I did all that, but I barely commanded anyone’s attention. As I was presenting, working the crowd, gesturing, trying to get folks engaged, I could tell it was futile. We completely misunderstood the audience we were supposed to present to. While I was still talking I realized that the best we could salvage from this day was the opportunity to return and try again, so I was determined to make that happen. I knew that what we really needed to put this over was a big multimedia presentation and a huge sound and projection system that could not be ignored. These people wanted entertainment, so by God, we’d give it to them!
My part of the presentation ended with a whimper and the Ford people took that as their cue to get up and get refreshments and continue socializing. I immediately began working the crowd, meeting people and trying to pull the right strings for a return invitation.
The Ford people were nice and acted like the fact that our presentation had been ignored was no big deal. They seemed satisfied. I explained that we had been expecting a much smaller meeting, and weren’t prepared for an audience full of people who felt free to continue talking and socializing during the presentation. The small group of folks I was talking too nodded sympathetically and replied, in unison, “That’s Ford!” They all laughed heartily at this.
As we were leaving the building, which somehow I hadn’t realized was so enormous, I started rehearsing what I would tell the executive creative director at the agency (my former boss, the only person from my real life in the dream). He would not be happy we blew it. I was angry at the snot-nosed art director for being so poorly prepared and for failing to tell me I was responsible for presenting with him. I decided I was definitely going to throw him under the bus.
Just then we reached the lobby and I saw my dog, Lupita, being doted on by several Ford ladies. I hadn’t realized that I’d brought her there with me, nor that I had just left her loose to roam the halls of Ford during our presentation. But the Ford people were all cool with it. Apparently, lots of people brought their dogs to work and just let them wander wherever. An informal group of Ford ladies kinda looked after the dogs.
I was really relieved to be reunited with my dog, even though I hadn’t realized we’d been separated in the first place. But by then, my colleagues from the ad agency had all left in the car we’d arrived in, and I had to figure out how to get me and my dog a ride back from that far-flung suburban office park.
And the whole time my mind is churning with ideas for how to put the presentation over at our next opportunity. A huge sound system was a definite must.
Then I woke up.
HI, nIegbhors! SPimmy and tiMmy!! Need a TELSA COYLE for they’re “end of sumer” seance expeeremen. i DONT KNOW what a telsa coyle is butt they say its’ to do wilth the baby rabits speakin of winch has ANYONE bin in our hunch?! were missing a dough. let me no if you have a TELSA COYLE!!!! THX!!! :)—
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE
PS: and ALSO if you have our DOUGH
Hello, there. We’re new in the “hood,” and were wondering about the coffee situation nearby. Is there anywhere close that serves a good old fashioned humane, organic, gluten-free pumpkin spice latte made under supportive working conditions at a living wage? Failing that, a Starbucks will do. Thanks
Rhiana and Donnel on Polk St.
NIEGBHORS! SPIMMy and timMY SAY TO SAY that th TELSA COYLE NEEDS TO be 220! i can COME PICK IT UP!!!!!!!
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE
PS: HoW MUCH DOES IT WAY??????11111!!!
Has anyone else noticed that the noise situation inside my house is intolerable? I live right by a sidewalk, and people have a tendency to walk by my house whilst engaging in conversation and I can hear that there are people there talking. I can’t hear what they are saying, but I can hear that they are walking by and existing within mere feet of my private property. Has anyone else noticed this about my house? Is this normal? Can I sue the city? I’ve lived in this neighborhood a long time, (since early 2012), and if I had known it was going to turn into the wild west, I would’ve stayed in Boca.
Doug on Rafford Mill
Hello, all. I want to alert all residents that the time is fast approaching for our annual neighborhood clean up party. We will meet in the parking lot of Gudger’s Fine Meats at 5am this Saturday morning. Patty’s Donuts apologizes, but they will not be able to donate donuts this year, but Patty said she will send Consuela over with a box of holes. Also, Mr. Gudger will provide ice tea, emu jerky and neoprene gloves. Some of the gloves might be a little bloody, so if that’s a problem, you may choose to bring your own. This year we will be concentrating on clearing derelict vehicles from the neighborhood’s vacant lots. If we get 50 or 60 people, we should be able to finish by dark. Please let me know if you are coming and whether you want a hole, and, if so, what flavor (chocolate or chocolate fudge).
Janice on Curlilew Ct
THANK yOU TO WHEVER LEFT THE TELSA COYLE OWN MY CAR!! !!1 !!
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE
PS: WHut HAPPESN when i toch THIS thing RIGHT he—OW!
Just a heads up that yesterday we observed two subjects kick down the front door of my neighbor’s house, forcibly remove him, cover his head with a hood, shove him in the back seat of their car and drive away. Do you think it would be a good idea for us to call 3-1-1 when we see something like this in the future, or should we just mention it to our police liaison at the monthly meeting?
Cliff & Ginny on Erhardt St.
O & NEIHGBRHRS!!!!! WE FOUND the doUGH!!!!! SHE hid to death UNDER THE HUNCH. WILL mis her.!!!!! tiMMY AND SPimmy our SAD. : )
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.
So said Robin Williams’s brain.
It always surprises me when I remember that not everyone knows what depression is, that many people have never experienced it and never will.
Depression sucks. It literally sucks. It sucks out the essence that makes you who you are, and it leaves you an empty, self-doubting shell.
Robin Williams had everything! He was adored by millions! He had family and children who loved him. He was filthy rich, for God’s sake.
But his brain told him he was no good. And he finally gave in to it.
I am not equating myself with Robin Williams, but I am comparing myself to Robin Williams. Like him, the first word people who know me would use to describe me is “funny.”
And like him, I have to battle depression. Most of the time, it’s a battle I’m winning, but every so often, I lose ground and have to fight to get it back.
Clearly, just as my creative gifts pale in comparison to Robin Williams’s, so, too, must the depths of my depression.
And I’m so grateful of that. Even at my darkest hours, I’ve never taken an actionable step toward suicide.
Depression tells you you’re a loser. That in spite of everything you’ve fought to achieve, even as it stood in your path blocking your way, you’re a loser.
Poor Robin Williams. He’s an object lesson for those of us whose faulty wiring tells us we are losers. He was so clearly not a loser.
We who fight similar battles would honor his memory by remembering that.
He was not “no good,” and neither are we.
Mrs. Oblogatory and I just finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black last night. No binge watchers we. Some random impressions:
I went into the last couple of episodes believing they might be the last for the show, having been heard from a friend that it was not renewed by Netflix (this turned out to be an Internet hoax).
I’m actually a bit disappointed to learn that it’s not canceled, because I think that with the season 2 finale it would have gone out on a relatively high note. And throughout season 2, it seemed to me that the stories were becoming more forced. That’s only natural, but I wish more shows would just end after one or two seasons and leave us wanting more, rather than playing out their string for as long as possible. It’s a money thing, I get it. But, still.
Additional random thoughts:
Whoa, Pennsatucky cleans up nice. And I actually liked the final scene between her and Healy in the last episode.
But I found overall that the show often leans on certain characters, like Pennsatucky, mostly for plot purposes and/or comic relief, and then tries to throw in occasional scenes that redeem and/or add depth to the characters. Figueroa is the most obvious example. The furtive attempts to elicit empathy for her character felt really ham-handed. SoSo, the insipid Asian inmate, is another mostly one-dimensional character.
I was also disappointed that Vee turned out to be little more than the season story arc bad guy. At first I thought her character might develop into more than a cardboard villain. Didn’t happen.
On the other hand, some of the character back-story episodes were really terrific. Taystee’s back story with Vee was actually pretty good, and I love Danielle Brooks, the actress who plays her. But the best of these character back story episodes—and maybe the best episode of the entire series so far—was the one in which it was revealed that Morello’s beloved fiancee was really her stalking victim. It was chilling and terrifying.
The worst episode of the season was the second one, the Christmas talent show. After episode 1, which featured lead character Piper in a different prison, episode 2 re-introduced all the secondary characters in a story mostly played for laughs. It fell flat for me.
The other breakout character for me this season was Big Cindy, the tough African American inmate played by Adrienne C. Moore, who has screen charisma to burn. And I liked that the character’s back story did not try to give her any redeeming qualities, which made her character more real.
Jason Biggs/Larry is just a black hole of interest to me. Every time he came on screen, the show just lost me. And the more they paired him with Piper’s best friend, the less interesting that character became, too.
Same goes for Laura Prepon/Alex Vause. It seems pretty obvious she’ll play a biggeer part in season 3. Too bad. I was hoping her character got killed off while trying to avoid capture in the final episode.
I thought the plot contrivance where the aging inmate attempting to kill Vee stabbed the wrong inmate instead in a case of mistaken identity was just awful. That was just way too big a leap for this show’s audience to believe.
As I said, overall, I enjoyed the show. I did feel like the plotting was a bit rote. I mean, who didn’t know Vee was going down by season’s end? I know, I know, it’s just a story. But the show tries to have it both ways; it wants to explore the issues of marginalized, incarcerated women, while offering light entertainment. It’s reminding me more and more of Hogan’s Heroes, but with better acting and fewer explosions.
Thank you, Clay Cooley Nissan of Austin South! I will be headed your way soon to claim my prize!* I mean, seeing as how my NOTIFICATION STATUS is APPROVED and CONFIRMED and all.
Oh, wait. The prize claim deadline is Wednesday. And today is Wednesday.
Oh, wait again. It doesn’t say which Wednesday is the deadline. So the deadline could be today, or it could be any Wednesday into perpetuity. I get it! Creating a little urgency there.
Just one thing: I’m a little concerned that my PRIZE NOTIFICATION NUMBER is illegible. Weird, huh? I mean, everything else is legible here, even on the carbon copy (nice touch, BTW!)
Well, I guess we can work that out when I come in and compare my number to the numbers on your PRIZE BOARD. I’m sure if there’s any question about what my PRIZE NOTIFICATION NUMBER is, I’ll get the benefit of the doubt, right?
See you soon.*
PS: The bank said the bottom part is not a real check. What up with that? : (
Yesterday I thought my cyst had stopped throbbing for a while, but it was just that a train was going by, so I didn’t notice it so much. But it’s definitely throbbing now.
My mom used to make me help her take care of my little sister and I resented it, so when I had to serve my little sister a snack, I coughed on her cookies.
Sometimes I when it seems like I’m deep in thought I’m really just stifling a vomit.
To save money, a lot of times I just wave the deodorant near my underarms but don’t actually apply it.
I thought Eleanor Rigby was a comedy song about a party girl who caught the clap from her priest.
I knew my uncle was a Nazi war criminal, but I never said anything because he always sent me $50 for my birthday and Christmas.
I haven’t cleaned my bathtub since Obama has been president.
I’m not entirely sure who my second child’s father is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not my husband, although it may be one of his brothers.
I flout recycling guidelines.
READER UPDATES FROM THE SOCIAL GRAPH:
#OST I once paid a roadie $75 to sniff a discarded shoe during a Bette Midler in Vegas concert.
I like to smell my dog’s feet.
I stole some of my hair extentions from a corpse.
Dog’s feet smell like Fritos.
While in high school, selling cokes at a UT stadium game, I once got paid to let a guy smell my tennis shoe.
This is a pinecone from one of the two Afghan pine trees in front of our house. For the first time I can remember, this year this particular tree bore cones. They are like dense little sap grenades.
This is the debris field below the tree. Some unseen stealth creature has been having a party by decimating these pine cones. An acorn? OK, yeah, I could see eating an acorn in a pinch. But one of these stinky, sappy pinecones? Come on.
This close up shows how this demonic creature strips each cone lobe by lobe, leaving the stripped lobes and the decimated cone carcasses all over the damn place.
Several times I have been looking up in the tree trying to figure out what’s going on, only to have a piece of pinecone rain down on my face. Whatever is doing this is fucking with me.
Yet I can never see a bird or a squirrel or anything in the tree. Damn you, you damn dirty stealth pinecone decimator!
But enough about me. How you doin?
My Dear People Gentlemen!
I get why Little Prince Georgieboy’s first steps are exciting! Who wouldn’t?! I definitely want to be kept up in the loop for all past and future playdates! Bath-time tantrums?! Check! And plans for a ROYAL SIBLING?! Are you kidding?! OMG!
What I don’t get is why we are shouting about RAISING A LITTLE PRINCE!
I’m afraid we’ll wake the poor little regal darling from his nap! So, SHHHHHHHH!
I mean, shhhhhh.
Yrs vry sincrly & long live the Queen, etc., etc.,
R. Ichard D. Yllema
PS: Stiff upper lip and all that, what, what.
Did you know that you can email me to give me feedback or offer comments about this blog? Or to make suggestions about things you’d like me to write about? Or just to be nice and say hello?
Did you know that NO ONE EVER emails me to give me feedback on this blog (or for any other reason, for that matter).
Well, I take that back. A couple dozen people have emailed me to thank me, and all of them have thanked me for one single blog post.
It’s a blog post from way back in 2011, where I make fun of the assembly instructions for the Allaire floor fan from Restoration Hardware, and I explain how to actually assemble the thing.
Three years later, I am still getting emails in response to that one post. Incredible. Here are some of the comments I’ve received:
Thank you so much for your Restoration Hardware Allaire Telescoping Fan! If it wasn’t for you I would not have figured it out — RH was of no help and were telling me to hire a professional to assemble it.
Thanks for your instructions, I would have pulled my hair out trying to figure out the installation of this fan. The instructions with the fan were HORRIBLE. Thanks again and thanks to Google so I can Google how to get stuff done.
Without your RH Allaire Fan instructions, we never would have figured out how to put this thing together! You saved us so much time. I still can’t believe they hide an integral part of this process under a black sticker. Unbelievable! And, it’s obvious a non-English speaking person wrote the so-called instructions.
After throwing up my hands in frustration at trying to put this ridiculous thing together, I finally decided to Google whether other people found “pit the standing pole” similarly vague and unconstructive. The RH store and toll-free agreed that they, too, didn’t know what “pit” meant when used in this context, but other than telling me that they’ve sold 100 of these fans and no one else has had any trouble, they were of no assistance. I appreciate the blog post, the functional instructions, and validation!
Thank you so much for putting these instructions on line. I am glad I found them. I’ve seen some bad assembly instructions in my time and these rank up there as one of the best.
Thanks for writing, fan assemblers! Everytime one of you writes, it makes my day!
This is the second bike that has been locked to this isolated signpost at the end of my block and seemingly abandoned. I’ve seen similar perfectly serviceable bikes apparently abandoned in the park across the street.
This morning it hit me: dollars to donuts these are bait bikes.
Once I realized this, I unconsciously started looking around trying to see if I was on Candid Camera or something. And then I backed away, slowly.
Bear with me here, because this may make no sense whatsoever.
It’s a challenge to find new things to blog about, mostly because I am so boring, and the boundaries of my fascinations and interests so seldom extend outside the mundanities of my own mind. A blog is supposed to be, in part, an expression of what makes the blogger unique. And one of the things that makes someone unique is his or her unique intrerests, the things he or she pays attention to that few others do.
So, for me, we already know one of those things is full dog poo bags that obnoxious people leave lying around.
And another thing is the edges of concrete footings that have been exposed by soil erosion.
Why does this capture my attention? I don’t know. I wish I did.
If I had to put it into words, I guess I’d say that it’s a simple, omnipresent illustration of our hubris in our belief that we can control nature in even the smallest ways.
We want to place things in the ground permanently. We want them to appear to be rooted in and flush with the soil, so they appear to be a permanent part of our “natural” surroundings. So we dig holes, we make forms, we pour in huge blobs of concrete, we remove the forms and backfill the soil, and voila! We have created “permanent” infrastructure; smooth, flush with the surface, and, seemingly, eternal.
But we can’t keep soil where we want it. And when it washes away, it puts the lie to our ability to make anything that lasts forever. It forces us to confront the fact that much of what we see as our “natural” surroundings was, in fact, put there by us to being with. And nature will have its way. It will wash the soil away until our concrete is not rooted in the earth, but teetering on top of it.
I can’t help it. I don’t understand it. But this captures my attention.
The internets is all about the cutting edge and what’s new, right? Wrong! And especially wrong if you are discussing brand design.
You may not know this, because you may actually have a life, but AirBNB introduced a new logo yesterday. My first thought was, “Huh. New logo.” My second thought was, “Oh, geez, I’m so uncool for not hating this.”
Because a significant number of people spent a significant amount of time on the internets yesterday hating on the new logo. And sure enough, when I checked in, there they were, posting their snarky comments and their clever, acerbic Photoshop manipulations, raising a hew and cry that this new logo is the dumbest thing since, well, the last time a big brand changed its logo.
In short, it is the WORST. THING. EVER.
Nowhere are the lowest aspects of internet cynicism and one-upsmanship more evident than in the certain sectors of the design community. If something new drops, you better not be standing between the haters and the bandwagon or you will get your ass trampled.
So old. So atavistic. Sooooooo predictable.