Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

The defective yeti How To Drink Without Becoming An Alcoholic Program

My coworker told me his new year’s resolution: he had decided to only drink once a week.

No, I replied. No, no, no. I tried this, and it’s a bad idea, here’s why: one, you’ll fall off the wagon by February 13; and two, you’ll probably fall off the wagon by January 27.

Besides: you’re supposed to drink every day — Science says so. That why I thunk up The defective yeti How To Drink Without Becoming An Alcoholic Program, and have more-or-less adhered to it for a couple of years. It has worked so well for me I’d be remiss not to share it with the world.

So here it is. Are you ready? Okay, write this down:

No more than one drink a day except for one time a week.

That’s it! You get your Science-prescribed daily-glass-o-red-wine and you get your weekly three-beers-with-the-buddies outing.

The trick is to remember the caveat: “No carryovers!!” If you forego your nightly drink, you don’t get two the following day (unless it’s your designated “one than one” binge). Likewise, you only get a single “more than one” day per calendar week — no carryovers!!

Works for me.
True Fact

Speaking of drinking, I recently walked from the Rendezvous to my bus stop at around 11:00 at night, following one of my aforementioned three-beers-with-the-buddies outings. As the Rendezvous is on 2nd and Bell and my bus stop was on 4th and Stewart, this necessitated travel through some Seattle’s Sketchy Neighborhoods, so I reflexively adopted my Badass Motherfucker gait, a mode of walking that involves long strides, a puffed-up chest, and lots of scowling.

(Note: I was raised in the suburbs, so my perception of a Sketchy Neighborhood is probably way skewed. I consider any block that doesn’t contain a Dairy Queen, a Blockbuster or an antique store to be a “Sketchy Neighborhood”. But work with me, here.)

At some point I got the munchies and dug some food left over from my lunch out of my backpack. I began snacking on that as I walked.

But then I saw my reflection in a store window, and realized that my choice of foodstuff pretty much negated any advantage gained by my strutting. Because here is a 100% true fact, folks: nobody looks like a Badass Motherfucker while eating baby carrots.

In recent weeks I have been sneaking links onto my sidebar. I was being all stealthy ‘n’ shit because, in most cases, I was embarrassed they weren’t there already. But I’ll fess up:

Sites that really should have been in the sidebar since the inception of this site: Dooce, Que Sera Sera and I, Asshole. I have no excuse.

Update: Holy crow, I just realized that I never put Choire Sicha on my sidebar. Whatta idiot. Me, I mean, not Choire. Anyway, he’s there now. Dumb dumb dumb. Uh: again, that means me.

Sites that have been around for a while but, for some reason or another, I only recently discovered: Public Defender Dude, Coudal, Dong Resin’s Joint.

Newish sites by cool people: WULAD , Danger Blog.

Back from the dead: Mr. Pants. Year Of The Smore, yo.
Spoiler Candidates

Says Wesley Clark’s campaign: “Lieberman is like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense: He’s dead and doesn’t know it yet.”

Jeeze — just blurt out the ending, why don’t you?! What if everyone followed your example?

  • Clark: “The Republicans’ feckless approach to foreign policy has so radically changed the world that, like the Planet of the Apes, it’s no longer even recognizable as Earth.”
  • Dean: “When it came to authorizing the war in Iraq, the other candidates were like the characters in Murder In The Orient Express: they all did it.”
  • Gephardt: “Kucinich’s worldview is so idealist that he reminds me of Charles Foster Kane, pining for the halcyon days when the most important thing in the world was a sled named Rosebud.”
  • Kerry: “George Bush is like Luke Skywalker: powerful because his father is a influential figure in a evil organization.”
  • Mosley-Braun: “If you don’t vote for me you will wind up with a candidate who, like the main character in The Crying Game, is a man.”

For The record

Go Edwards.

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Allow Me To Apologize In Advance

Until recently the Seattle Symphony only performed works by a single composer: The Brandenburg Concertos, The Art of Fugue, The Goldberg Variations, etc. But when audiences started complaining about the lack of variety, the conductor decided to think outside of the Bachs.


One of my coworkers is deaf. When we see each other in the hall, I always greet him by silently mouthing the word “hi” instead of just saying it. I’m fully aware of how stupid this is but can’t seem to break the habit.


Whoa, addictive.

My life as a dwarf.

Actual billboard. Not an actual billboard.

Amazing True Fact: Babies Are Adorable!

Our friends have a two year-old daughter named A., who’s at the stage where speech revolves around stock, sing-song phrase like “Da-da!” and “uh-oh!”

A. was watching us adults play Smarty Party, a game similar to Outburst in which players try to come up with the items that fit a given category. We had named eight of “The Top Ten Religions, By Number Of Followers” and were stumped by the remaining two. We finally gave up but suspected that we would kick ourselves for not remembering at least one of the two omitted.

The Reader told us we had missed “Jainism.” Most of us were, like, “oh man, I never would have guessed that.”

“The other one,” the Reader continued, “Was Baha’i.” At his there was much slapping of the forehead, and we all shouted “Baha’i!” in unison.

A. merrily waved and exclaimed “Buh bye!”

Ode To An Obnoxious Guy

If anyone
Is more annoying
Than the guy who thinks
He’s the only person in the world

It’s the guy who thinks
There are only two things in the world:
And a conspiracy against him.

Monday Morning Blah Blah Blah

Living My Dreams

This morning I had a chocolate chocolate-chip muffin for breakfast. And for lunch I had macaroni & cheese, chicken strips and Coke.

When I was six, this is pretty much what I envisioned adult life to be.

Budget Crunches

Last night some friends and I were sitting around drinking beer and, it goes without saying, discussing the Washington State system of taxation. Here in Seattle we have a sales tax, which is a total pain in the ass because (a) you have to pay it (lame), and (b) it means that your average item in The Dollar Store costs some ridiculous amount like $1.31 and you can’t figure out the real price of things without resorting to irrational numbers and you have to carry around your spare pennies instead of throwing them at children like you would do in other states. True fact: When 50 Cent was here in concert last week, he was legally obligated to perform under that name “67 Cent.” (Whoa, that joke was even worse than I had anticipated.)

Anyhow, we were wondering how much of sales tax revenue goes to health care programs. More every year, we guessed, since, statistically, Americas are becoming ever more out-of-shape. But you got to figure that a lot of that revenue goes to administrative costs and middle-men, not to mention that health care tends to be reactive rather than preventive. We decided that there must be a better way.

That’s we came up with this great idea for a General Health Tax: for every dollar you spend you must do a sit-up. Want the new No Doubt CD? No problem: fourteen bucks and two dozen sit-ups, please. Got a two pack-a-day cigarette habit? Well now you have a six sit-up-a-day habit as well. Just bought a brand new Ford Excursion? Fantastic. That will be 50,000 sit-ups over the next 10 years, plus 60 sit-ups every time you fill up the tank — BET YOU WISH IT DIDN’T GET ONE MILE TO THE GALLON NOW DON’T YOU SUCKA?!

I think we should pilot this plan in Washington state, and then extend it to the entire United States. Conspicuous consumption would go way down, people would have a great incentive to save, and America would quickly come to dominate the United Nations Council On Killer Abs. Plus, what tax payer doesn’t want the opportunity to check “no” to “Would you like to do three sit-ups for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund?”


Oh dear, quite frustrating.

Did you hear about the exhibitionist who was going to retire?
He changed his mind and decided to stick it out for another year

Why am I not listed on my own blogroll? That is what I want to know.

So wrong.

Harbinger of Freedom

As Power Point presentations become ever more common and my dislike of meetings increases by the month, the words “End of slide show, click to exit” have rapidly become my all-time favorite phrase.

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

In A Slump

April 24th is “Bring Your Kid To Work Day,” which is, like, a total rip-off because I, personally, don’t have a kid. I thought about bringing my four-year old nephew to work that day and introducing him to my coworkers, because it would be fun, when my colleagues said “I didn’t know you had children,” to reply “Yeah, well if my wife asks: I don’t!” But then I remembered that I don’t have a four-year old nephew, so that plan is shot all to hell.

Lacking an actual or surrogate child, I figure I should be allowed to do something else special at work that day. And I’ve been meaning to take up swooning as a hobby for some time now. So on that Thursday I think I’ll just spend the day passing out at the slightest provocation.

Supervisor 1: This report looks great, Matthew.
Supervisor 2: Yes, the Ballard division loves. it. Except …
Me: Yes?
Supervisor 2: Well, they wanted to know if the date could be right-justified.
Me: Right-justi –?! Ohhhhhhh… [slumps sideways in chair, falls off to floor]

Victorians used swooning as an additional punctuation mark, a kind of super exclamation point used to indicate overwhelming surprise, love, or large-hat wearing. But it’s since become something of a lost art. That’s why I’m going to do my part to revive this tradition on the 27th. In fact, it occurs to me that swooning could even have some practical applications:

That One Guy I Work With: [Coming into my office uninvited] Yo Matthew, did you catch ‘American Idol’ last night?
Me: Listen, I’ve told you a dozen times that I don’t have the slightest interest in —
That One Guy I Work With: Kimberly — the blond Kimberly, not the other Kimberly — was supposed to sing this one song, but then Clay —
Me: Please let yourself out when you’re done. [slumps sideways in chair, falls off to floor]

If you are likewise kidless and your office has thick carpets, consider joining me for Swoon With Alarming Frequency At Work Day, April 27th. I’ll be printing up “Swooners Do It In A Crumpled Heap On The Floor” bumper stickers shortly.

Memo To The Teen In The Elevator

You probably think that your t-shirt reading “Pimptown University” makes you look cool. And yet, despite the fact that I myself have remained steadfastly uncool for approximately 32 years, I can assure you, with absolute confidence, that it does not.

A Cutting Remark

My first job was as a meat carver at a buffet-style restaurant — you know, those guys who stand at the end of the line with an enormous knife and half a cow, and, upon request, will give you a slice of beef approximately seven microns thick? Yeah, that was me.

One day I recognized the big, burly guy coming down the buffet line as Mr. S, my second grade teacher. He had been one of my all-time favorite elementary school instructors, because was always cracking bad jokes and allowing me to skip classes to play chess with a friend of mine. I hadn’t thought of him in years, but, now that he was here, I was excited to meet him again as an adult.

I wondered if he’d recognize me a decade after I had been in his class. I assumed not, so as he approached I opened my mouth to greet him, to announce that I had once been his student. But before I speak he looked up, saw me, and cried “Whoa! That is a big motherfucking knife!”


Bad beers reviewed.
Hive, an addictive, two-player strategy game, now has an online demo.
Defense Department ‘Iraqi’s Most Wanted’ Playing Cards. [pdf file]

Five Games You Can Play With Your Iraqi’s Most Wanted’ Playing Cards

  • Operation Iraqi Freecell
  • Gin Rumsfeld
  • Hearts and Minds
  • Haliburton’s Lucrative Contract Bridge
  • War
  • Update: in the comments, Duane added “Go Fish For Weapons of Mass Destruction”

Friday Afternoon Scrachpad

Oscar Tool: Better Late than Never

Well, it’s a few weeks too late to be of much use, and I’ve done only the bare minimum of testing, but the Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page is finally up and running. Please report any and all bugs to me.

Hog Heaven

Our old “Half Pint” microwave was taking upwards of fifteen minutes to cook popcorn. And the Little House on the Prairie theme song would get jammed into my head every time I saw the name. So we finally ditched it and picked up a new model, one featuring a bevy of food-specific buttons like “Baked Potato,” “Vegetables,” and “Bacon”.

You know, if every major appliance in my home had a “bacon” button I’d be the happiest guy alive.


The roots of defective yeti are planted in a paper zine called The Game Report. Edited by Peter Sarrett, the quarterly features reviews and news relating to board games.

When I returned from the Peace Corps I resolved to start writing again on a daily basis. So, in 1997, I wrote a review of a card game (Titian: The Arena), sent it to Peter, and was thrilled when he agreed to publish it the following issue. I contributed a handful of reviews over the following two years, and soon thereafter launched my own game website entitled Aces Up.

The problem was that, after a year or so of maintaining Aces Up, I was thoroughly sick of writing about board games. I mean, there’s only so many times you can use the phrase “elegant design” before it begins to wear thin. In thinking that I could ape The Game Report, I completely underestimated Peter’s dedication to the subject matter and ability to write reviews that never sounded repetitive. So I gave up and started a blog where I could write about anything, and thus defective yeti ambled onto the scene.

Now, Peter Sarrett has thrown his hat into the blogging ring with Static Zombie, a site devoted to “television and less important things in life”. And, ironically, he cites defective yeti as his main influence. Now all I need to do is somehow turn dy into a print magazine about games and the circle wil be complete.

Peter is an excellent writer, so be sure to check S.Z. out. This is an fine place to start.


US Unveils World’s Largest Mechanical Pencil

Three Things That Distinguish Miami From Seattle

  • Ice cream vending machines in the airport.
  • Sandals for sale at Texaco.
  • Ratio of manatees to banana slugs considerably higher.

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Politics of Parking

Here’s the deal, people. If you are parallel parking on a busy street, and you are blocking traffic as a result, you get one try. One. We’ll patiently stop and wait while you take a crack at it, but if you miscalculate your turn radius or your angle of entry or whatever, and you wind up with your back tire on the curb and your hood sticking out into the road, you’re done, buddy. Now we’re just going to start driving around you, even though this prevents you from making a second attempt. No, don’t glare at me while I pass; you had your chance and you blew it. You wanna blame someone, check out your visor mirror. Sucks for you, but I don’t make these rules, I just articulate them. Miss Manners will back me up on this one.


Chris M. Dickson’s site is defective yeti’s third child blog.


Nice Work, Scott!

Overheard on the streets of Seattle.

Girl one: What about Scott?

Girl two: Scott? Pff. He’s a bastard.

Girl one: What happened? Last week you said —

Girl two: Bastard!

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Thing That I am Sure Exists Even Before I Conduct a Google Search To Try and Find It

Freeway Karaoke Machine: A microphone / headphones / headset device that you can plug into your car radio and sing into while you drive. It strips the vocal track out of songs and puts your own voice in it’s place.

Google says …?

Still searching …

Holy shit, that’s a million dollar idea! I thought of it first!


Advert Calendar.

Finally, the exciting and challenging sport of curling has been faithfully ported to the PC home computer!

A brief history of Hoax Photographs.


The Queen announced yesterday that I am getting “old man eyebrows.” Oh great — more hallmarks of my own mortality, that’s what I need. Like I wasn’t already freaked out about the fact that I now know the words to each and every song played over my local grocery store’s “Shopping Music Network”.

Actually, I can kinda shrug this one off. If you ask me, this sounds like one of those things that companies make up and then insist you have and then try and sell you a cure for, like halitosis and panty lines and cholera.

Guy: What’s wrong, Other Guy?

Other Guy: I didn’t get that promotion — again! And my wife is having an affair with you.

Guy: It must be your O.M.E.

Other Guy: My what?

Guy: Your Old Man Eyebrows, Chet. Why aren’t you using The Brow Plow?

Cthulhu T’yota!!

Dear Toyota,

Please stop making cars in colors that don't exist. They are driving (ha!) me crazy. I am specifically referring to that new ECHO in the shade of goldish silvery blueish brownish yellow. I'm pretty sure that color isn't even on the spectrum. It's like somewhere between ultraviolet and Channel 7. It's like some intelligent color from an H. P. Lovecraft story that slowly takes over your mind until your main hobbies become chanting and being eldritch. I wouldn't mind so much, but trying to figure out why someone would buy a car in this alleged "color" makes my head hurt. Haven't they noticed that their vehicle is covered in paint from Dimension G? It like those days in college when you would get really stoned and start wondering how you could know for sure that what you saw as "red" is also what everyone else saw as "red". I am like that all the time now.

Three Cliches That Never Really Caught On

  • Making mountains out of mashed potatoes.
  • I’m so hungry I could eat a sandwich.
  • Cutting off Michael Jackson’s nose to spite his face.

Friday Afternoon Scratchpad

Do The Math

Estimated Number of Fun-Size Candybars My Wife And I Had In Our Trick-Or-Treat Bowl At 5:00 Yesterday Evening: 25

Number of Trick-or-Treat’er We Received all Night: 2

Average Number of Fun-Sized Candybars Given to Each Trick-or-Treat’er: 2

Estimated Number of Fun-Size Candybars My Wife And I Had In Our Trick-Or-Treat Bowl At 11:00 Yesterday Evening: 0

Estimated Time My Sugar High Wore Off: 7:25 this morning.


“There is a hole out there, they believe, a hole that not only appears to be bottomless but has, on at least one occasion, brought an animal back to life. The hole, the story goes, exists outside of town on land once owned by a man who calls himself Mel Waters. For years, he said, it was used as the neighborhood dump for trash, old appliances, dead cattle. When the hole never filled up, Waters measured its depth by lowering weighted fishing line into it. After 80,000 feet, he gave up …” News story here, website there.

Promising new photo blog: Science Meets Art.

I HATE MAYONNAISE AND MUSTARD!!!!!. Yes. Yes you certainly do.

A Full House Beats a Your Fired

I was drinking hot chocolate out of one of those “Wildcard Poker” paper cups the other day, and I noticed it had a disclaimer on it reading “For Consumer Entertainment Only”. Maybe the Wildcard Poker Paper Cup Co. had to fire some employees who were entertaining themselves on the clock.

Speaking of unemployment, here’s a joke I just made up: Question: How do you fire a lingerie model? Answer: Give her a pink slip. Holy crap, that’s even worse in hypertext than it was in my head! Let us never speak of it again.

Nerd Scam

My wife is a professional Botanist. Yes, I know that’s awesome. She used to work for a University, and she occasionally still gets mail at that old address. Last week she received a forwarded missive from the International Biographical Centre. (Motto: So Prestigious We Misspell ‘Center’!) The envelope was covered in phony official stamps and seals; the letter within read “We are delighted to confirm your nomination as an International Scientist of the Year for 2002.”

It’s unclear what duties my wife will have to fulfill in her role of International Scientist of the Year — ribbon-cuttings at Science ‘N’ Stuff stores throughout the nation, presumably — but with such power comes great financial responsibility. If she wants THE OFFICIAL SASH OF OFFICE, for example, she has to cough up $300. It is described as a “silken sash, with golden tassels, woven in a luxurious scarlet red and has the Legend of the IBC along with the words INTERNATIONAL SCIENTISTS OF THE YEAR embroidered in a golden thread.” (Apparently they were gunning for the INTERNATIONAL RUN-ON SENTENCE OF THE YEAR award for that one.) The OFFICIAL GOLD GILT MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE also runs for three hundred smackers, as does the PICTORIAL TESTIMONIAL. I dunno, the PICTORIAL TESTIMONIAL sure looks like something I could whip up on my coffee break, but it must be for real because the letter clearly states that, if you buy the testimonial, it “will say something unique about the recipient.” On the other hand, how “unique” is it to have something that says you’re a dumbass? Look at SUVs.

I find it hard to believe that anyone in the “international scientific community” would be vain and stupid enough to to fall for this codswallop. Psyche, no I don’t!.

Three Things I Firmly Believe

  1. Chapstick is more detrimental than beneficial.

  2. People in America do not go to see enough magic shows.

  3. There exists no woman who isn’t more attractive in glasses.