Dark day. Literally, that is. I woke to a deep bruised sky and a thin chill wind; the heat of the last few weeks had evaporated, and a day of rain was in store. We took umbrellas to school – Gnat had her Disney Princess bumbershoot with all the beloved trademark characters, I had my Eddie Bauer model that folds away to the size of a grain of rice. At the school I handed her off and got a cup of coffee from the big urn; it tasted, as ever, like Teacher’s Break Room java, burnt and bitter. Outside I struggled to get my umbrella open with one hand while I held the coffee with the other, and I managed to splash half a quart on my groinal department. And so the day began.

Not much else to recommend it; that set the tone. A damp version of the day before, with twice as many deadlines. So I will be brief today, alas. (Good news: there will be a Diner, for those who care.)

Isolated notes:

Yesterday’s Kool-Aid poster was supposed to link to this: the multi-hued Volcanic Kool-Aid Enema. Oh, yeah.

Also, when I wrote the other day about how some people work themselves into a furor over the very thought of the very existence of a Hummer (a vehicle for which I have no love, incidentally; it’s a graceless Brobdignagian brick) I meant to link to this site, which contains profanity and naughty gestures. Some people really have too much time on their fingers. I look forward to more such sights, with people bravely extending the bird to other offensive inanimate objects, like busts of Roman emperors judged harshly by history and their contemporaries, or inscrutible microwave popcorn nutritional information panels. People power!

At no point in the past did I intend to link to Guitar Center, but I wanted to tell a little tale to get my sin off my chest. I dropped in the other day to inquire about a program called Nostalgia, which has every – single – fargin’ – synth sound from the 70s and 80s. Why would I want it? Because I had a mad dream of combining whooping Moogs with 80s orchestral hits into the usual interminable dance music, of course. Well. They didn’t have it, but the fellow behind the counter said he’d try to find it. Side note: I much prefer the keyboard side of the store to the guitar side. The guitar side is full of dudes shredding away, screeching out note-for-note copies of the solo from “Hot for Teacher” (I think; either that, or it’s the sound of someone playing a theramin with a coat hanger. A horny, drunk coat hanger) while working the pedals like J. S. Bach performing on No-Hands Sunday. The keyboard side is older and geekier.

Anyway: the clerk (Phil)  called back a few days later. He’d tracked it down, and I could stop by  and order any time. I thanked him. In the meantime, however, I invested in some Apple JamPacks, which gave me lots of sounds I could actually use. I deferred the Nostalgia pack until some future date . . . but I felt bad about making that guy do all the work.

Then Phil called back again, left a message: wanted to know if I still wanted it. Two choices: call him back and say no, which would make me feel like a schmuck for not calling him sooner, or just avoiding the calls altogether until he stopped calling. Then I hit on Option Three.

I called his manager. I told his manager what a fine job Phil had done, and while I’d decided against the purchase, I didn’t want his efforts to go unrewarded. So put a gold star next to Phil’s name in the file. The manager was quite pleased to hear it, agreed that Phil was a helluva guy, and that was that. I had done a good thing.

But I had done it because it was an easy way of avoiding Phil. I get no credit in heaven for that one. It was an Attaboy born in self-interest.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Now, a link that may well be the FIRST EVER on the internet. (Please do not google and prove me wrong. Let me have my moment.) I got a call from my friend and all-around comic genius / good egg Michael J. Nelson today, telling me his new project has gone live. Well, Beta. Which is the premature-baby version of going live, I guess. It’s The pitch: free-lance commentary tracks. Bottom line: Mystery Science Theater 3000-style  commentary for big famous beloved movies like “Titanic” or “The Matrix.” The hitch: you have to provide the movie. It’s genius: no worries about copyright. You buy the commentary tracks for $1.99, rent the movie or get it out of your collection, load the commentary on your iPod or burn it to a disk, then watch them together in true you-got-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate bliss. (The site has all the details. Sounds easy.) The first movie is “Roadhouse.”

As I said, he’s a good egg, so give it a shot. 

New Quirk. Back to work - see you tomorrow.

Oh - and yes, I screwed up the motel page. It's the Flying Saddle, not the Flaming Saddle. Desire to fix it: high. Chance I will get around to it soon and thus avoid months, if not years, of bemused emails: subterranean.