Seriously, Stamp? Back to the gym.

January 30, 2009

It was going so well. Disgusting Canadian Winter was in full-force, I was eating like a Sumo wrestler, and yet everything was holding steady. Mass (that’s short for “my ass”) seemed perfectly stabilized; almost uncannily so. I should have been spooked; it was just too perfect, you know? And then a couple of weeks of extra-late nights, with the attendant 2am snacking, chased by the delectable 3am snacking, followed by the necessary 4am snacking. Which is actually exactly how Sumo wrestlers eat: an immense pot of stew, then a nap; repeat and expand. So… yeah. But I have one of those bodies that distributes weight gain perfectly evenly from head to toe. Everything just gets… fuller. Like even my earlobes grow firm and subtly plump. And it happens so incrementally that to my own casual glance, I look pretty much the same even as I’m expanding like a Twinkie in a fishbowl, and since I rarely weigh myself, at first I didn’t realize anything had changed.

But then I washed my jeans and went to work.
That sounds pretty innocuous, right? Let me explain.

First of all, for work this week, I am wearing a costume. A really flashy costume. Including thick tights in a screamingly bright colour. And on my breaks I cannot bear to leave the studio in this costume, (A) because I’m an exceptionally messy eater and it would not be at all surprising if I were to drip a quarter-cup of hamburger grease down my front from a meal that did not involve any hamburgers. And (B) because when you wear a flashy costume, people get witty. And 8:00 am in a flashy costume is no time for anyone to practice their elevator humour on me because at that utterly bleak hour of the day, my friendly is busted, y’all.

THEM: *ha ha witty comment big smile nice costume, Nicole!*
ME: *confused feelings, cannot generate response, probably best to simply stare at someone’s forehead, give thin approximation of smile and hope elevator door opens soon*

Why the people on the third floor don't speak to me as much any more.

Why the people on the third floor don't speak to me as much any more.

This, as you might predict, is no way to make friends of your coworkers. For that reason, I keep my electronic door-opening pass tucked into the ankle of my tights (my flashy costume has many things, but pockets are not one of them) and, when it’s time to go grab another bolus of coffee, I quickly throw on my decoy outfit of jeans and a sweater so as to attract less attention en route.

So. Jeans go on over the tights. Let me amend that. My slightly too-tight jeans, my freshly washed and somewhat shrunken jeans go on with considerably difficulty over the pachydermically thick tights.

“Tights” suddenly becomes a really descriptive word. Did the button just creak as I fastened it? Did that creak sound like the word “gluttony”? Nah, musta been something I ate. (Maybe several things I ate! Ba-DUM-bump!)

So, jeans strainingly buttoned over tights, every ounce of me packed into my pants like a sleeping bag into an improbably small stuffy-sack, I head up to the shop and return with a volcanically-hot cup of coffee searing itself firmly into one hand. Wallet tucked under that arm, water under the other. Muffin and banana clutched awkwardly. The door to get back into studio is locked, but you’ll recall that I cleverly left my pass in the ankle of my tights, so all I need to do is gracefully lift that leg and sweep it past the sensor. The light will flash green, the door will click open, and I will saunter in like Pam Grier. I have done this exact manouvre many, many times, and though I’m not particularly athletic, I do have extremely limber hamstrings, and admiring glances from passers-by have convinced me that this kind of controlled high-kicking move actually looks pretty good when I rock it.

I lift my right leg, intending to sweep it up by the sensor. My leg gets nowhere near the sensor. My foot, which I’d aimed at the hip-high electronic device, barely clears the floor, jeans straining and folding in protest. But I put some power into that leg move, and energy cannot be destroyed, y’all. Instead of my leg going up, it goes awkwardly forwards, and all the forceful grace of my intended manouvre ends abruptly with a dull, idiotic KUNK as my foot bounces impotently off the drywall, approximately four inches off the floor.

I know you were thinking my jeans were gonna split or something. But no. So tight was their fit, so constrained were my legs, that the very idea of me being able to flex a muscle in that denim bodycast was impossible- much less the idea that I could somehow strain that concrete denim leg-sarcophagus to the breaking point.

But remember, it’s 8AM, and I haven’t drunk the large organic Javanilla that’s slowly melting the skin on my right hand. I notice that my leg missed the sensor, I observe that the access light is still red, I feel my foot sail into the hallway wall, but I do not understand. Must… have… missed? somehow? I think, with all the nuance of a Neanderthal. Me try ‘gain!

I do. A windup and the leg goes sweeping up… six inches and BUNKs off the wall.

Me do more time! Me lean side-side yes!, suggests my caveman brain brightly, so me do. This time, me stiffly-clad leg raises an impressive eight inches before DUNKing loudly into the wall.

More more do again kicky nice!, burbles the troglodyte who handles mornings for me, and TUNK, I make about 10 inches this time.

There’s a pattern here, and I suspect you’ve identified it. Two inches gained with each attempt has brought me to 10 inches on try #4. The sensor is at 32 inches. A thinking person might quickly calculate a remaining distance of 22 inches, which breaks down into about 11 more tries. Which is a lot. But at 8am I’m not a thinking person, and almost do leg door go go!, squeals the happy throwback in charge, and so I continue the series with several sequels:


And somewhere between WUNK and LUNK, the door opens. Took me a sec to notice, contorted and focussed as I was, but Brad, an audio engineer, had been sitting directly on the other side of the very wall I’d just loudly kicked eight times. He was minding his own business, quietly enjoying his well-deserved break, and it’s really not his job to be hopping up & down to let in idiots whose jeans are too tight and whose problem-solving abilities rival those of a gibbon holding a rock. But he’s an audio engineer, and when he hears a mysterious sound, he follows it to the source, which in this case, is me. Arms cradling my breakfast, beady eyes intent on my asinine goal, and still dully kicking the spit out of the wall of his office, while he stands directly in front of me in the doorway looking at me. Just looking, because what is there to say?

And LUNK, goes the last kick, and then I see him, and the proto-human spokesman for Stamp Enterprises feels embarassment and explains by blurting,

“I wasn’t knocking, it’s my jeans, I have a pass in my tights!”

Faced with this elegant explanation, Brad’s reply was a moment of silence. He stood there in the doorway, just sort of staring at me for a quiet eternity, then he simply turned and went back into his office.

I followed this tender moment with an inadvertently-too-loud “THANKS THOUGH!” and lumbered off to drink my coffee, incoherently hoping that my jeans would bend enough to at least allow me the dignity of sitting down.

Hint: they did not.

Artist's interpretation of me this morning.

Artist's interpretation of me this morning.

Redesign: your opinions, please.

January 29, 2009

I’ve been tinkering around with a redesigned front page for pageslap. Something that really clearly communicates my passions and interests. Not that I don’t love ‘lil George Foreman the strawberry mauler up top, but you know, maybe something more seasonal would feel better right now. I dunno. Anyway, my design-savvy pal Elliott helped me out with a mockup (thanks dude).

I’d really love to hear your opinions, so please take a peek and let me know if you like it. The proposed new front page design is online HERE. Thanks!


Virgin Airlines meal disgusting; customer complains with tons of awesome.

January 28, 2009

An anonymous customer, unhappy with his in-flight meals on a Virgin Airlines flight, has written a vivid letter of complaint, sending it directly to Virgin CEO and mega-kabillionaire playboy Richard Branson. Via.

Dear Mr Branson:

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it:

virgin airline branson food complain disgusting

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

You don’t get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it’s next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That’s got to be the clue hasn’t it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in:

virgin airline branson food complain disgusting

I know it looks like a baaji, but it’s in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you’ll be fascinated to hear that it wasn’t custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. It’s only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what’s on offer.

I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing. That’s how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this:

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Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It’s mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.

By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it’s baffling presentation:

virgin airline branson food complain disgusting cookie biscuit bag

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.

Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on:

virgin airline branson food complain letter

I apologise for the quality of the photo, it’s just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson’s face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel:

virgin airline branson food complain  ray liotta

Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I’d had enough. I was the hungriest I’d been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.

My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations:

virgin airline branson food complain disgusting cookie baggie biscuit
Yes! It’s another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.

Richard…. What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I’d done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.

So that was that Richard. I didn’t eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can’t imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.

As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It’s just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it’s knees and begging for sustenance.

Yours Sincererly


* Paul Charles, Virgin’s Director of Corporate Communications, confirmed that Sir Richard Branson had telephoned the author of the letter and had thanked him for his “constructive if tongue-in-cheek” email. Mr Charles said that Virgin was sorry the passenger had not liked the in-flight meals which he said was “award-winning food which is very popular on our Indian routes.”

Hello to all the new readers from Emails From Crazy People. Welcome! Here’s a list of the funniest posts on my blog. Like this one time, I found a chicken fetus in an egg, that was pretty grode.

Baracking all the Single Ladies

January 28, 2009

I like Obama and I like Beyonce. Ergo, I like this.

It’s also the best impression of BHO’s voice I’ve heard. The actor perfectly captured his harsh American R’s, got the right mix of nasal and throaty, and totally nailed the quick, floaty way Obama ends key words (“President”, “ability”, etc). It’s a pretty sharp performance, voice-wise, says I.

Plus, badass man-pony dancing. Can’t go wrong.


Heck, while we’re at it, here’s the original video, which is weirdly compelling, considering how repetitive it is.

Update: A YouTube user named Cubby has created his own take on Miss Bee. You might think I’m posting this because I’m making fun of him, but actually I’m jealous- he’s a much better dancer than I am and I’m really not being modest when I say that.

Umbilical Brothers

January 27, 2009

I love this.

Thanks to Claire for the tip.


January 24, 2009

“Suppose nothing happens to you. Suppose you lived out your whole life and nothing happens you never meet anybody you never become anything and finally you die in one of those New York deaths which nobody notices for two weeks until the smell drifts into the hallway.”

This movie is so great.

Invisible Milestones

January 24, 2009

This is a neat story from a video game design team:

A team of videogame developers had spent an entire month of diligent programming, attempting to create the foundation for a complex game. Finally, one day there came a triumphant whoop from the engineering room.

A manager poked her head in, excited to see the progress- surely the team must have achieved something incredible! But all that was on the screen was a black triangle. The manager made a snide comment and walked away shaking her head, but the team was stoked. They knew their humble little triangle represented a major accomplishment. It wasn’t the triangle itself–

“… It was the journey the triangle had taken to get up on the screen. It had passed through our new modeling tools, through two different intermediate converter programs, had been loaded up as a complete database, and been rendered through a fairly complex scene hierarchy, fully textured and lit (though there were no lights, so the triangle came out looking black).

“The black triangle demonstrated that the foundation was finally complete – the core of a fairly complex system was completed, and we were now ready to put it to work doing cool stuff.”

The full black triangle story is here– found it via Kottke.

This story reminded me of a great blog entry about beginning a career in acting, written by Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam on NBC’s The Office:

“It will be hard to explain your first milestones to friends and family back home. They are waiting to see you on TV or on the big screen. It is hard to explain how a 2nd callback for a job you didn’t land was the highlight of your month and a very valid reason to celebrate.

“I remember one year my proudest moment was at an audition for a really trashy bar maid on a new TV show. It was written for a Pamela Anderson type. I thought, “I can never pull this off. I just don’t have the sex appeal. I feel stupid. No one is going to take me seriously.” But, I committed to the role and gave the best audition I could.

I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get a callback. But I conquered my rambling, fear-driven brain and went balls out on the audition anyway. That was a huge milestone for me – but hard to explain at Christmas.

“A year later I booked the role of a trashy prostitute in a little indie movie called Employee of the Month. In the past I would have turned down the audition thinking that I would embarrass myself. But after that earlier breakthrough I felt confident. The success is not always in getting the part but in the seed that is planted.”

Fischer’s trashy bar maid audition was what the game developer might call a black triangle:

“Afterwards, we began to refer to certain types of accomplishments as “black triangles.” These are important accomplishments that take a lot of effort to achieve, but upon completion you don’t have much to show for it — only that more work can now proceed.

“It takes someone who really understands the guts of what you’re doing to appreciate a black triangle.”

So next time someone is confused about one of your major life-development milestones, just hold up an index finger, make your best Mister Miyagi face, pause dramatically, and quietly say,

“That moment… was a black triangle.

Or…. a trashy bar maid.”


Here’s a funny post:  how to get a flight attendant to give you a free cocktail.

Benjamin Forrest Gump Button

January 23, 2009

I didn’t much like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. To be fair, I did like Tilda Swinton, the CGI effects, the sea captain, Cate Blanchett’s hypnotic beauty, and the fact that I was reminded how much I like caviar. Now that is a snack.

But the movie:

1. Aging backwards is one thing, but shrinking is totally ridiculous.
2. It starts as a fantasy then turns into a banal & illogical relationship drama, all fantasy elements evaporated and replaced with boring real-world concerns that don’t even make any sense.
3. The love story resolves in a totally non-credible way. Actually, hardly anything made any sense at all.


4. BenjButt’s mom starts the movie as a totally interesting, strong, intelligent and risk-taking character in the first act of the movie, but re-appears as a super-cliche, tired stereotype of a gabbling negro mammy cleaning lady around the midpoint. WTF?! WHY?
5. It’s up for Best Picture while the incredibly wonderful heartbreaking beautiful fascinating The Wrestler isn’t? COME ON.
6. It’s impossible to care about any of the 15+ secondary characters. The Shakespearean butler? The pygmy? Mr. Button Sr.? The seven million old ladies who all blend together? The modern daughter?
7. It’s a total copy of Forrest Gump, except without the charm of Forrest Gump.

Oh yes, Benjamin Button is pretty much a beat-for-beat copy of Forrest Gump. Turns out that both the Gump and Button screenplays were adapted by screenwriter Eric Roth from literary works (BB from F. Scott FitzGerald’s short story, and FG from Winston Groom’s novel). And man, are there ever parallels.


Both movies show us the sweeping journey of a misfit manbaby as he meanders through the 20th century, from war to John Lennon to a worrisome brush with a modern-day crisis (AIDS / Katrina). This awesome little comparison video proves it. (from Talkshow with Spike Feresten, no idea what that is).

The plot-doubling is uncanny, right down to the floating feather- in BB’s case attached to a hummingbird- and the attention-grabbing CGI. Remember how awesome Lieutenant Dan’s missing legs were? Until Voldemort’s missing nose and Harvey Dent’s cheekhole blew them off the map in more recent cinematic adventures? Well, I guarantee in two more years we’re gonna see a whole spate of movies attaching heads to the wrong bodies. (I’d like to be a kittycat, please.)

This ButtonGump article is also good.

Life is like a box a’ chock’lits: yuh nevah know what’s comin’ fuh yuh.
…Prob’ly gon’ be sompin’ deriva-tiv.

Kobe Bryant is looking out for your ankles

January 23, 2009

Awesome surreal video. Duration 2:21.

Obamas’ first dance: At Last, sung by Sasha Fierce

January 21, 2009

This vid combines several things I like: Barack and Michelle Obama, romance, Beyonce, and total mushy swoony sentiment.

Thanks to Hillery for the tip.