Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blow the gardenias and sound the crumpets!

After much gnashing and wailing of teeth, I've gotten a SATA enclosure, and I've reincarnated my old hard drive into more backup storage. Once I got the right kind of enclosure, it was a snap. Five minutes, and it was up and spooling, disgorging forth greath quantities of bits and bytes.

Which is pretty boring, I know. (Why should this post be any different from the rest?) But the good part is that the instructions that came with the enclosure were purest Japlish. Or Chinglish. Or some other permutation of English and another language. Here are the choicest parts, reproduced verbatim.

On the cover:
Please strongly recommend reading the MANUAL before using the product!

Computer will quickly detact and configure the disk...

You can do everything u like as using a disk driver.
Here's where it starts getting good:
Connect your enclsoure with the IDE hare disk or SATA hare disk with the IDE cable or the SATA cable...
After an illustration showing a "3.5 Floopy" drive:
And you simply clisk the icon to whop the device safely even when the computer is turned on.
All kidding aside, I hope you're all practicing safe whopping. Especially if you're using a floopy drive.

For some reason, there's some strange spacing in this section, which I've faithfully reproduced:
You'd better connect the Hi-speed device to the Hi-speed USB2.0 port. when connect to a non-Hi-speed USB2.0 port , there an alert message appeared on the taskbar telling u that connected to non-Hi-speed USBport .Though u can continue to practice ,it will run at lower speed .
Well, of course it will.

Under the heading "Whopping the product properly," which I still can't type without breaking up:
You must click the "safly remove hardware" icon on the right of the taskbar,if u want to stop the product and then there a direction telling that the USB Mass storage device can now be safely remved .then u can whop the USBcable from the USB port.
Of course, with all the computer trouble I've had lately, I've wanted to whop all kinds of things computer-related.

Now this has a Biblical tone to it:
And then there appeared a direction telling that the USB Mass storage device can now be safely remved .then u can whop the USBcable from the USB port.
And then there appeared some seriously laughable Japlish, too, which begat hilarity, which begat lower blood pressure, which begat a good night's sleep for James of Dunn. Yea verily.

But here's the absolute killer:

In Windows2000 or Windows ME ,when you whop the device without according the practices aboved .there a warning message showed that if u whop it without stopping it this may cause your computer to crash or lose some valuable data.

The phrase "if u whop it without stopping it" just about rends my spleen, people. If you're not laughing about that, I fear you may be dead. Ask somebody to hold a mirror up to your mouth, because you probably won't fog it up.

A functioning enclosure (that I didn't have to whop), recovered data and some primo Japlish. Now that's a satisfying night.

I've got a new computer,

it's a few hours before I begin a four-day weekend, I've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of Sweetarts, it's dark and I'm wearing sunglasses. Oh yeah, I'm going to hit it.

If my plans hold (don't laugh), I'm going on a scanning and posting binge this weekend. I've got gobs and squirts of new material, and hopefully the duct tape will hold everything together long enough for me to get it either in the blog's barrel or at least in the chamber. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm repulsed, yet strangely attracted

Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that the irony levels necessary to enjoy this room may lead to bleeding from the eyeballs and eardrum prolapse.

Is it a room, or a torture chamber? Let's look at the factors that make me opt for the latter.

A wall of pictures held up by nothing but friction.

Built-in chairs that will compress your spine when you eventually sit on that one hard spot.

Fireplace surrounded by nylon carpet.

Ledge around fireplace that's just perfect for sending you tumbling into the coals.

And the capper, a spiral staircase, wrapped around a fireplace, with no bannister!

Yep, it's a torture chamber, all right.

Dig the pseudo orthogonality, dude

They're almost right angles, but they're not. Plays with your head, doesn't it?

(Note: This is actually a pretty cool room.)

Ugly, in a cool kind of way

I'd Krylon that yellow paint into oblivion in a millisecond, but the rest of it is actually kitschy cool. Especially that red chair, which is a cross between a recliner and a lawn chair. Good luck pushing those rollers around that high-nap carpet, though.

The bench around the perimeter gives it that warm, "dentist office waiting room" feel.

Prince spent his formative years here

According to Wikipedia, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince And Who Is Once Again Known As Prince Until He's Beamed Up To The Mothership was born in 1958. This book was printed in 1962.

Now it all makes sense.

Mr. Mustard. In the dining room. With a poor decorating sense.

Doesn't this just shout "murder mystery setting"? Well, that and "You'll all be decorating like this in the seventies! Don't say I didn't warn you!"

I believe that's a door behind the table, in the center of the picture, although I think you'd go crazy trying to find it, so well is it camouflaged in pukish yellow.

Yesterday's cutting edge is today's quaint

In 1962, this room was quite simply too outrageous to be believed. Japanese letters? Them weird-shaped chairs?

Blasted Communists.

OSHA is not impressed

Sure, you put that shin-saving rounded border on the coffee table, but then you endangered the whole household with a mini-pool surrounded by countless trip hazards. Not to mention the mold factory that carpet will become, what with it being permanently moist.

And they need to finish unwrapping the ottoman.

How green was my den?

It was so green, Kermit the Frog tried to mate with it.

...that jolly giant used it as camouflage.

...the Boston Red Sox banged triples off it.

You know, Congress has deregulated the color industry, so you need not fear the Green Monopoly any more.

Somebody call Webster's

After seeing this picture, we're gonna need to redefine "busy."

Honestly, I think I permanently fritzed some neurons trying to process all the patterns and swag in this picture. The only thing not overdone is that coffee table, which was accidentally washed in hot water, evidently.

And "Patterns and Swag" would of course be a good name for a rock band.

I want to live here

Seriously. No snark will be forthcoming, and in fact, I'll be quietly meditating on the brilliance that went into this picture. If I could find the furnishings, I'd convert one room of Casa de Dunn into a replica of this.

Oh yes, I would.

Jeannie, get back in the bottle! Col. Bellows is coming over!

Of course, if you really did combine an "I Dream of Jeannie"-era Barbara Eden with this layout, it would actually be pretty doggone cool.

Which isn't saying much. A colonoscopy at a Latvian proctologist's office combined with Barbara is pretty doggone cool. Anything short of being pulled through a wood chipper is good, if combined with Barbara.

So purple. And so sad.

For some reason, even though I've never seen one, and don't even know if they exist, but this reminds me of an Armenian restaurant. A very bleak, OP'ed (over-purpled) Armenian restaurant.

If only it were a little bolder color

I'm not saying anything about the fact that some people could look at that wall on the left of the picture and get a sneaking suspicion that there was some pretty overt symbology going on. Nope. Not gonna say it.

Not me.

You can, if you're that kind of person.

But I'm not.

Monday, August 28, 2006

All the cool people are suspending things now

Seriously, you really can't decorate a room nowadays without several feet of chain link. For added impact, suspend a piece of plastic over two flaming candles. That burning petrochemical smell really tells the world, "I'm cool!"

And if you're truly avant-garde, you'll watch the TV from your living-room swing.

Give it a few seconds. You'll eventually get nauseous

This room is like a slow-acting, tasteless poison you accidentally ingest. When it first enters your system, you're fine. Upbeat, even. But soon enough, you're retching like Nicole Richie at a Golden Corral. There's something insidious about all that green and blue with that bambooish wall covering.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm not one to brag

Except, you know, when I'm bragging. And I'm bragging right now, because I just got a cyber-nod from none other than the master himself, James Lileks.

"Love the bad decor pix you found: my congrats. That's some gloriously UGLY stuff. And I appreciate the kind words. Keep it up!"

I wrote back thanking him for the nod, and also for not suing me into oblivion for ripping off his concept.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Do what now?

I'm a huge "Survivor" fan. (The show, not the one-hit wonder band.) There, I said it. Yep, I know it's cheese, and the episodes are edited more than a PSA being recorded by Gary Busey, but it's good heavily edited cheese. But I've got to say this is more than a little weird. I wonder if show producer Mark Burnett hasn't inhaled too many $100 bill fumes while lighting his black market cigars.

In just a couple of weeks, the new season of "Survivor" takes 20 castaways to the Cook Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

They will be split into four tribes, but how they will do that is guaranteed to be a talking point. For the 13th installment of the series, producers have yet another controversial way to begin the game: 20 people, four tribes — each divided by race.

Jeff Probst is back as host of "Survivor: Cook islands" and spoke with The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith about the controversial new season, which premieres Sept. 14 at 8pm ET on CBS.

Smith asked Probst whether the new way of dividing the "Survivor" contestants was a good idea for a reality show.

"Well, that's probably one of the reasons it will be interesting and controversial, maybe, as you say. I know, from where I sit, I found it to be one of the freshest ideas we've had going back to the beginning of this show in season one," said Probst.

According to some screenshots I've seen, the tribes will be African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, and White. Which makes my hatred of hyphenated-American terminology flare up, but that's beside the point. As I see it, this set-up has two possible outcomes. I will either be the gimmick that makes the show absolutely riveting watching and the subject of more coffee break talk than "Seinfeld" in its prime, or the quintessential Jump the Shark moment, like when Ross dressed up as the Hanukkah Armadillo on "Friends." It's too soon to say which one will happen for sure, but if I'm not mistaken, you can squint into the horizon and see Fonzie putting on his skis.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ready for some really fun stuff?

The kind that tickles your innards and makes you just want to hug the world? Well, too bad, because while I have a bunch of stuff to post, my home PC just went completely non compos mentis, and I'm in the process of picking out a new one. (Yay, an unexpected cost! Who doesn't love them?)

So, for the next couple of days, posting will be slow to nonexistent. At least there's this new Homestar Runner cartoon. It's H*R's 10th anniversary.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Who is hal.dll, and why does he hate my computer?

This might be the last post for a while. Last night, my computer decided that I had a missing or corrupted hal.dll file, and now I can't get it to boot up, much less open the pod bay doors. I've armed myself with some diagnostic and repair tools, and hope to have it fixed, but you never know.

Of course, if I get into real trouble, I can always go to Microsoft. They're always really helpful.

Bwahahahahahahahahaha! Ow. Laughing that hard is rough on your innards.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Maybe you should take out the "better" part

Better Homes and Gardens should have known better. They released this collection of vintage seventies dreck you could build yourself in 1977. Little did they know that a copy of the book would be bought for $2 at a thrift store almost 30 years later, or that it would be mocked mercilessly for millions to see. Thousands. Okay, ones. Whatever. Enjoy.

Update: More seventies goodness (so to speak) over at Wee Wonderfuls.

When sewing becomes an obsession

“Why, no, I don’t mind being alone every Saturday night. CBS has that wonderful lineup with Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett, and of course I also pass the time knitting and sewing myself into a coma.”

Drink all your juice, Moonbeam

This has it all. The little girl is wearing space age coveralls lifted from Bruce Dern’s wardrobe closet in “Silent Running,” there’s orange shag carpet, gewgaws and gimcracks everywhere, and the topper, “You’re special” painted on the wall. They left off the “just like every other child of a sixties hippy.”

Nice carpet. Is that genuine Muppet?

Acres of high-gloss enamel paint set atop a carpet formed from Fozzy Bear’s fur. Nice.

It's a den, it's a dining room, it's just a wacky space!

When you design a top-heavy table, be sure to give it a base with a solid edge. Those are so much easier to topple than tables with those old-fashioned “legs.”

Note also that the dinner table is set in the den. I can only assume that off to the side, there’s the kitchen/bathroom.

The butterflies, they stalk my dreams

As if the design weren't nauseating enough, that bed looks to be about as wide as Kate Moss' shoulder blade span.

Do you have something a little less practical? You know, something really useless

I dare you to design a more useless chair.

My eyes! My burning eyes!

The swing itself is fine. Inviting, even. But whose idea was it to combine those two colors? That green glider part looks like Kermit the Frog hanging upside-down on some monkey bars.

Meemaw and Peepaw do have on some styling shoes, though.

Cool study nook, Janet

Cutting-edge media center, circa 1975.

No, no! Not the chair!

There are knitting needles in this chair, as if Meemaw sat in it while watching Walter Cronkite and waiting for that young Charles Kuralt feller’s folksy segment on a hometown okra pickler that still handcrafts its own Mason jar seals. In reality, of course, Meemaw would break several hips just getting in and out of this Torquemada-inspired contraption.

This table grows its own herbs

There’s no way this contraption turned into a methane-producing, plant-killing swamp bog 15 minutes after the top was put on. Nope. The seventies were such a cool decade that mildew dared not show its ugly head.

A swinging pad. Seriously.

I. Want. One. Honestly, how cool would this be? You decide to kick back and watch this week’s “Hee Haw,” and instead of a Barcalounger, you relax to the gentle creak of swing fittings. Until the eye bolts pull through and send you crashing to the floor, compressing your spine like one of those medicine cups old ladies keep in their purse.

Jethro Bodine, your den is calling

One benefit of shag carpeting is that you can snake the power cords for your hidden record player to this coffee table right in the carpet without anybody noticing.

Far out furniture, man

I’m pretty sure I saw John Houseman pull a bottle of vermouth out of this cabinet in “Rollerball.”

Um, your cutting edge seems to have dulled a bit

It’s downright quaint today, but there was a time when this was one swinging setup. You can tell it belongs to a groovy dude, because he’s got a reel-to-reel tape player. No easy convenience for this no-doubt-mustachioed stereophile. No sir. It’s lots and lots of leader tape and external capstans for him. Because that new Bachman Turner Overdrive deserves nothing less.

Step into my icky parlor

Malevolent macrame hangs in the corner like a black widow spider, ready to ensnare anyone foolish enough to venture near its lair. You can tell it’s dangerous by the combination of netting-like upholstery and ripple-stitch afghan on the floor. I think the saying goes, “Red’s not near black, good for Jack. Red hangs near macrame, designing catastrophe.”

Somewhere, people got over the rainbow obsession

We are stardust, we are golden, but we will always regret this room.

When you really want to get back at your kids

How over the top does a room have to be before a Raggedy Ann doll is seen as a calming influence?

Good luck picking out TV images from that mutant sunflower wallpaper.

Fur-bearing floors

Look at that rug. Really. Look at it, and ponder how much Hoover made in replacement profits whenever errant fibers choked the life out of another upright.

The furniture is pretty classic, too. Enamel colors, cutesy storage spaces, futuristic lamp. And some more stacked tableware.

Friends don't let friends decorate like this

Remember those anti-pollution ads with the crying Indian? This room is actually what brought tears to his eyes. Southwest heritage meets flavor-of-the-month mung. I think the painted radiator is what really sent him over the edge.

Buckets O' Fun!

Yep, those are five-gallon buckets holding up those shelves. Of course, anybody with bucket shelving would never have racing-striped carpet or Sesame Street-approved numbers curtains. But they would have that cool red TV.

Woodn't it be nice? Well, no

I call it Redundant Woodwork. You take acres and acres of paneling, and top it off with lumberyard scraps. But the headboard ensured you didn’t have to worry about being depressed by the acres of brown. Once you bonked your head on a pine knot, you were more concerned with brain damage than serotonin levels.

Gilligan's Island made more sense

Brilliant. Camouflage your kitchen island in the same pattern as every other surface in the kitchen, so that it looks like a creepy outgrowth of the floor, then top it off with a screaming yellow countertop. Numbing uniformity topped by unsettling ncongruity was all the rage back then.

Stack 'em up, make your furniture!

(Inside joke for Homestar Runner readers) You shanked my jengajam!

(Outside joke for everybody else) Although they had a rugged look and a certain manly charm, Lincoln Log furniture never really caught on. Neither did coffee-cup-stacking.

A big brownout

What can brown do for you? Inspire me to seek counseling, in this case.

As for that coffee table, considering that tempered glass explodes like Fat Man when it’s so much as tapped on an edge, I wouldn’t advise spending much time barefoot in the living room.


Peter Max meets Homer Formby. I’m scared.

It appears to be one of them senseless crimes

Overly busy print, floors and surfaces abutting floors covered in Yeti fur, whimsical artwork on the wall, and a market basket that has no upward support but still thrusts its three arms upward. Yep. It’s a drive-by Mary Tyler Mooreing, all right.

Eenie, meeny, miney, murder

Your honor, I intend to show that my client, being rendered temporarily insane by one too many showings of “Love, American Style,” had no way of knowing that the plans for these so-called “killer bunk beds” had been banned by 17 nations, NATO and the Geneva Convention.

The space-gobbling plant holders

Why have all that irritating open space in your house? In Hollywood, space-gobbling gazeboish contraptions are all the rage. You can always just sleep in a crawlspace while you wait for the rattlesnakes to become hungry, crawl from their leafy abode and bite you in the jugular.

Please, don't fondue

A microcosm of the seventies. Linoleum, incongruous gingham, butcher block cart and of course, a fondue set. You can't tell from the picture, but off to the side, there’s a 13-inch black-and-white set showing Gene Rayburn cracking a hilarious joke about how “Dumb Dora was so dumb, she put her compact in her blank.”

Totally cubular

In the seventies, we believed that government edict would soon do away with non-linear furniture. Possession of French curves and protractors would be capital offenses, with violators being executed by compass stabbing. Cubes: they're what's for future.

The whole is uglier than the sum of its parts

The coffee table isn't really that hideous, but when coupled with the shag carpet and pleather sofa, it’s part and parcel of the whole nauseating seventies atmosphere. Note the statue on the table, where an older gentleman is imparting wisdom to his young charge.

“Son, one of these days, you’re going to have a house of your own, complete with 30-year mortgage and leaky roof. And when you do become a homeowner, I want you to promise me something.”
“What’s that, dear old Dad O’ Mine?”
”Never, ever, ever buy carpet that could double as Avery Schreiber’s mustache.”

Cool pad, man

You got yer kinda reddish walls, yer gingham upholstery, yer clashing geometric rug, yer weird tied-up window shade, yer mod coffee table with pestle/ashtray and real apples to spoil and attract flies. Yep, this is what you call sophisticated decorating.

Let's bring the outside inside!

Why be limited to society’s old-fashioned notions of what’s interior and exterior? Throw off the shackles of convention and bring the outside inside with this pseudo-clapboard wall. As a bonus, you can pretend you're sleeping under the stars in your outdoor bedroom.

Turn in your songbooks to Hymn 237, "Give Me that Old-Time Penned-in Feeling"

All your cutting-edge seating came with sides that rose up to your earlobe. Because nothing spells comfort like c-l-a-u-s-t-r-o-p-h-o-b-i-a.