Saturday, March 13, 2004

Outta Heeeeeeeeere 

Biggish little news. Gregger finally convinced me to drop fitty bucks on some server space, and so Darleece and I have now officially moved our blogging activities to www.byrneunit.com.

I managed to clumsily cut and paste a decent number of the former comments from my crappy comments service here. They ain't pretty, but they're there.

In closing, thanks, Blogger, for making blogs free. But you should really have your own comments service.

Viva la Byrne Unit!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


I'm nowhere near as dedicated to home maintenance as I am to, say, "America's Next Top Model." I was a lot more upset when I found out last night's episode was a fucking clip show than I was when I noticed that half our shrubs were dead, and that no less than eight inches of leaves covered portions of our lawn.

Something struck me this weekend, though, and before I knew what was happening, I'd disassembled an entire shrub and raked the autumn's accumulation of leaves from our front yard, even going so far as to purchase a special tiny rake for underneath the hedges. I bagged stuff, fer chrissake.

I don't know what came over me, but I'm thinking it was the weather. It got real nice all of a sudden, and it stayed that way all weekend, and combined with the crushing depression that started creeping in around the margins -- thus forcing me outside -- I guess clear skies and the upper sixties were enough to get me going again.

In other news, my efforts at re-captioning a certain unnamed daily comic strip have progressed nicely. I think it's time to post a gallery of them. Though it's risky from a legal standpoint -- as I've mentioned before, one web site that did exactly the same thing I'm doing was gently but firmly asked by a lawyer or six to remove their work from the web -- I think that as long as nobody mentions the name of the strip, I should be relatively safe. Plus at this point I'm just willing to risk it. I suppose it's dumb vanity at work, but so be it. Enjoy.

(Chances are you probably get these from me daily via e-mail, but if you don't, and you'd like to, e-mail me and I'll make it happen.)

Friday, March 05, 2004

Plumbing the depths 

The exciting thing about reality TV right now is that not is it constantly getting dumber, at this point nobody's sure when it'll bottom out -- or even if it'll bottom out. For one, there's this bizarro anecdote about some girl on "Average Joe" whose surprise ex-boyfriend ends up being a certain man-tittied margarine spokesmodel. There's the fucked-up conclusion to the continuing fucked uppedness that was "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee."

And now, Jesus Mary and Holy Saint Joseph assist me in my last agony, there's the hootfest that is "Forever Eden." I absolutely cannot do justice to how unbelievably retarded this show is. In the first two episodes, two complete idiots got kicked off; two new, hotter idiots got brought in; everybody made inroads to gettin' they freak on except for this one buck-toothed idiot guy; the giant apple of evil got passed around; this kinda-hot hostess who I think might very likely faking an English accent went by the name "Ruth England," mainly to remind us that she's not from the United States; and dramatic music swelled no fewer than 2,321 times.

It's so stupid, it's positively dazzling. I recommend it for those not faint of heart. But be warned. The path through "Forever Eden" is not trod lightly. Pack a lunch.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

When you hurl upon a star 

A quick Google search reveals that technically I have not, in fact, experienced The Long Dark Night Of The Soul (though I do seem to experience quite a few of the symptoms on at least a weekly basis). However, after my Saturday night, I can say with confidence that I have now experienced The Long Dark Night Of The Gastrointestinal Tract.

I won't go into too much detail, except to say that the moment you have to make a split-second decision which end of yourself needs to be facing the toilet more is a moment I would very much like never to experience again. It's a hell of a study in relativism, though, to realize you've recently had multiple moments when lying on the bathroom floor with your boxers around your ankles is exactly where you want to be in life. Feeling that shitty makes the usual sort of "I'm a lousy employee" or "I live in a stupid town" bad feeling seem like a complimentary trip to the pickle bar by comparison, and so perhaps this was just what I needed. I still don't like that I caught that bug, but fuck, you've gotta find some goddamn sunshine somewhere or you'll wind up too insufferable to maintain friendships.

I do wish we hadn't had to cancel our Oscar get-together Sunday night, as I was really looking forward to it. The only thing better than mocking celebrities is doing so with your closest friends, and there's really no better occasion for it. But our Oscar night was nice, in its own way. Darleece and I each had our own couch and comforter, I had red Gatorade and water and a veritable banquet of toast. We both dozed off at times during the show. There was a very pleasant lack of pressure to do anything of any kind, and I think maybe that's the kind of vacation I never get when I go on vacation. Nausea, abdominal cramping and weakness aside, it was pleasantly like a day at the spa. Only with more naps.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Manomanoman, have I ever got the "The Wife and I Get Paid Monthly and We're Both Broke-Ass Briggity Broke Broke" blues. It's nothing like the lonesome lovesick blues, in that it actually requires that you not be very lonesome (cuzza the wife part) and at least not lovesick enough to still be married (see the aforementioned wife part).

Here's how broke I am: When I got off work and went to the student union to play my traditional End-of-workday game of Mr. Driller, I had to wait for a cashier so I could trade in my last three dimes for a solid quarter and a nickel. I guess that isn't so out of the ordinary, except this time there ain't a damn thing left in the bank to go back to. Not a thang.

Usually this is the time of the month when I say something like "Well, I suppose it's time for the friendly folks at American Express to take us out to dinner! For the next four nights!" Which, admittedly, is a swell feeling for a while. But I've come to realize, after a scant decade of learning time, that the serious problem with credit cards is their staunch refusal to pay themselves off. The fuckers. So I'm sticking to the high road from now on, which feels great, morally speaking. Not so much on a dietary level, though.

On the plus side, I was pleased to discover, while rummaging through our cabinet-level cabinet, the makings for about a day and a half's worth of tuna salad. I was concerned at the mayonnaise's age at first, as I believe this current jar joined us before the twin towers fell. But y'know, I keep taking the lid off and sniffing, and it keeps just smelling like mayonnaise, not particularly rotten or anything, so sandwich makin's, here I come.

Also on the plus side, Darleece used her last pack of pennies to buy a bottle of wine to accompany "America's Next Top Model 2" tonight, and if you're worried that I almost wept tears of joy at hearing this, you're missing the point, I think.

Don't worry about us. Love and body fat will keep us alive.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

What's not to like? 

It's come to my attention that my bosom chum The Cheat has a problem with Owen Wilson. Max Power called from their mutual workplace and angrily demanded I explain why The Cheat is patently wrong in his dislike of Mr. Wilson. I can understand his confusion, as I can't for the life of me figure out how anybody, much less someone as high-quality as The Cheat, could not like Owen Wilson.

We talked it over. The closest thing to a conclusion we could come to was that Mr. Cheat just doesn't really think Owen's that funny. We determined this using a scientific formula wherein one asks the subject if he's seen "Behind Enemy Lines," and if the subject answers yes, one asks the subject if he liked Owen Wilson in that. If the subject answers yes again, we proceed on the assumption that the subject's problem with O.W. begins when O.W. begins being funny. It's a complicated formula, I know, but try to follow along.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about why I hate the celebrities I hate, and whether or not there are any I hate for no readily apparent reason. For instance, I hate Justin Timberlake for a host of perfectly acceptable reasons: He's one hundred percent false, for example. Every dance move, every note he sings, and every stomach-turningly faux-street syllable that comes out of his mouth has been determined by hundreds of dedicated marketing personnel, and thousands upon thousands of focus group members, probably in a vault somewhere beneath the plains of Utah. He's a living, breathing embodiment of what's always been wrong with the music industry. It's all perfectly logical.

In short, let's discuss the celebrities we can't fucking stand. 'Cause I never get tired of doing that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"What year? WHAT YEAR!?!" 

Reason number two hundred and thirteen why it's good I'm married to Darleece: She reminds me that artists other than Tom Petty are still producing music, now that Johnny Cash is gone. I'm not saying I tend toward musical complacency, but left to my own devices, I'm fairly certain I'd devolve into one of those greasy guys you see at flea markets wearing filthy velour track jackets haggling over Ernest Tubb 78s. That, or I'd just completely forget to ever buy new records again. One of the two.

Finding out there's pop music I like makes me feel like the monster in "Young Frankenstein": Suddenly, the shambling mass starts to snap his fingers in time with "Puttin' on the Ritz," and we grunt and bellow on from there.

All of which is to say that "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" fucking rules, which I never would've known if the lady of the house hadn't insisted we track down and procure the double album of the year. Dude, seriously, Andre and Big Boi have got some really awesome shit happening here. Making me the four trillionth person to say so, but still. My previous rap resume reads as follows:

• "The Fat Boys Are Back," The Fat Boys (cassette; given to my dad, who listens to it occasionally as he works)
• "It Takes a Thief," Coolio (CD; still in rotation)
• "Doggystyle," Snoop Doggy Dogg (CD; recently purchased despite its having been released over a decade ago)
• "Ill Communication," The Beastie Boys (CD; purchased in bulk order from Columbia House record club; subsequently sold after 1.5 listens)
• "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper," DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (cassette; purchased for $0.50 at Vintage Stock, mainly for track "Nightmare on My Street")

As you can see, my love of rap kind of flits along, pausing at gangsta albums hilariously inappropriate to my own life (but thoroughly awesome nonetheless; I'll defend "It Takes a Thief" to the death, with the exception of "Ghetto Cartoon"), but not delving into any real depth. I'm not making any dramatic pronouncements, like the scales have fallen from my eyes, or anything like that; I'm probably not gonna start wearing a giant clock around my neck, sadly. 'Cause truth be told, there's really not that much difference between being the cracka who's so down he just can't help speaking in a fake vaguely ghetto-ese accent (I'm looking at you, Timberlake, you suburban bitch) and the guy at the flea market.

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