Wednesday, November 29, 2006

life is the bubbles

Jesus Christ, look at these goddamn puppies. Most of them don't seem to quite get the concept of "legs." Oh, and bonus points for the background music. Rock!! (Is it bad that I can picture that entire musical number in my head?)


Monday, November 27, 2006

nnngh, part 2

Well, it turns out there's not going to be a term paper after all. So that's good.

But now I'm trying to write my personal statement for my UCSB application, which is due on Thursday, and oh my god I can't I can't I can't.

Q: How did your interest in your field develop?
A: Organically; hopelessly; appallingly; unstoppably. I was a friendless child, and words comforted me as if they were tiny fuzzy puppies, or Jesus. It took a pathological turn from there. I now find myself completely unable to go without consuming words for more than a few hours at a time. Withdrawal symptoms include mind-shattering boredom and an inability to believe that anything good could ever happen to me.

Q: What have you gained from your involvement in your field?
A: Knowledge of a lot of words, and how to spell them. Near-supernatural proofreading ability.

Q: Tell us about a talent, experience, contribution or personal quality you will bring to the University of California.
A: Did I mention the proofreading thing? Yeah, that. I can also belch pretty loudly, and I'm much, much smarter than you. Plus I promise to ride a bike across campus wearing a skirt and no underwear every once in a while. Just let me in already, will you?


School troubles: Mr. Peanut Butter Shelley scares the crap out of me. And I can't think of an idea for my term paper. I have to send my professor a proposal tomorrow, and then have to write it within the next two weeks, while finishing all kinds of other work for school and studying for finals.

Other troubles: Sleep. Last night I got home at 2 am, wasn't sleepy at all, wrote a blog post, still wasn't sleepy, decided I ought to try and sleep anyway, but was up until 5:30. Then of course I slept until 1 today, which means that although I could hardly stay awake all afternoon, I am wide fucking awake right now. Which doesn't bode well for me getting to work on time tomorrow. Bonus: my brain has completely stopped working so I can't even use this time to do homework. I realize this is nothing compared to the sleep troubles at least two of my readers have routinely. But I'm bitching anyway.

Lordy, lordy. Won't someone amuse me in a way that doesn't involve me using my brain. Alternately, won't someone hit me over the head with a fucking chair.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

i love the troubadour

I am feeling a little bad right now, owing, I think, to the consumption of massive quantities of junk food and novel, disgusting beverages in which Shosh and I engaged on our way to the Margot & the Nuclear So and So's show tonight. And on the way from the show. Glaah. Remind me not to do that again, "road trip" or not.

Ginger and his girlfriend (who really should not be nomenclaturally contingent, but I can't think of a clever name for her and I don't like to use initials) met us there, having driven there directly from Las Vegas. Ginger's girlfriend gave me a matchbook from one of the brothels where they spent their Thanksgiving, and told me about her new contact there, who is "very intelligent, and very thorough," and whose name is Kristy Kreme. After the donuts.

The band was terrific — all three bands were quite enjoyable, actually. The first opening band, Grand Ole Party, was kind of ska-ish, featured a female lead singer/drummer wearing an awesome outfit, gave out free CDs, and didn't overstay their welcome. The second opening band, the one we were all there to see, had eight band members, including two drummers, a violinist, and a trumpeter, plus a female keyboardist who was wearing awesome boots (no keyboard dance that I noticed, though). The lead singer looked very, very different than I would have expected. I can show him to you, too, because their website, bizarrely and awesomely, includes a link to their Flickr page: here. It doesn't quite capture the overall slightly greasy effect; also, the skinny moustache was much more visible. Also, he spit a whole lot during the show. Very impressive range. Why am I still talking about the lead singer? I don't know. Here's another picture of 1/4 of the band. Tragically, they didn't do that on stage.

And here are the two best songs from their album, because I love them, and because they didn't play the first one, which is my favorite. Be sure to listen closely at the end, as long as you don't mind crying.

Jen Is Bringing the Drugs
Dress Me Like a Clown

Apparently the second percussionist was interestingly insane, although my view of him was blocked by, guess what, a tall guy. Ginger and his girlfriend witnessed him, at one point, lick the side of his forefinger from bottom to top and then point it at the lead singer with a flourish. Get ready, because I'm going to be doing this a lot from now on.

The headliner, The Elected, is, it turns out, fronted by one Blake Sennett. You might know him from such bands as Rilo Kiley. And oddly enough, The Elected pretty much sound like Rilo Kiley with a different singer. Their songs are wordy as hell, and weirdly opaque, and quite enjoyable in a poppy, mildly countryish sort of way. Yes, Jenny Lewis was there. She came out during the first song along with three other brunettes with the exact same haircut, all of them dressed like it was 1972 or something, and they all played tambourine. Then they all trooped back upstairs. Jenny was wearing the most awesome boots I've ever seen. Yes, even more awesome than the boots the Margot keyboardist was wearing. By orders of magnitude. Jenny! OMG! Where did you get your boots? Never mind, I'll ask you when I see you opening for Death Cab for Cutie in a week and a half. Everyone else will be shouting out things like "Rise Up With Fists!" and "Melt Your Heart!" and "Take off your shirt!" and "I love you Jenny!" but I'll be shouting, "Tell me where you got your boots!" And she'll totally tell me, because she probably gets tired of people shouting those other things and she'll want to reward me for being different. And then I'll buy ones just like them and life will be perfect.

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, I was about to talk about how engagingly creepy Mr. Blake Sennett's stage banter was. He sounded like a cross between Michael Jackson and Crispin Glover in that David Letterman video. He also had a stupid little moustache, a crazy vest, and a straw hat. During the encore, he told us how encores are weird, and they haven't been doing encores on this tour because they're weird, but that he was very grateful to us for asking them to come back out, because he had recently had a dream that he was at one of the shows on this tour, and Grand Ole Party played and they were great, and then Margot played and they were great, and then The Elected came out and there was no one left in the audience except for the members of Rilo Kiley, who were like, "See what happens?" Ginger and his girlfriend left a few songs into the set, so they're going to be hearing about that from me on Monday.

Also, a guy in an owl costume came out during the last song and got down like a fiend. If you can explain that one to me, I'll buy you a cookie.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

false subtleties

Yesterday at school, I saw a boy riding a unicycle. I'm told this isn't all that rare a thing to see on college campuses, but it was my first time.

Today I have to give my class a presentation on one of Shakespeare's sonnets — number 138:
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
Oh, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.
I'm pretty sure that I'm going to end up giving way more information than my classmates can handle, because this is a goddamn complex sonnet and I don't do concise. I also have a significantly different interpretation of it than any critic I was able to find, and two things about that make me worried: (1) maybe I'm stupid and wrong; and (2) maybe my professor will think I'm stupid and wrong, and give me a bad grade.

Wish me luck? Please?

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Monday, November 20, 2006

i hate writing papers

I don't have anything to say at the moment, I just need a palate-cleanser, because this paper I just wrote? Is bad, bad, bad.
  • A burrito is not a sandwich. Now it's legally true! But you knew it in your heart all along.
  • Yay South Africa! Fuck you, America.
  • This site will tell you, if you dug a hole straight through the earth, where you'd come out. It's actually not very interesting. I don't know why I thought it would be. And I have no idea why I'm posting about it right now.
  • Crispin Glover is a gentleman, and will not impoverish our polysemy.
  • So this is a relatively low-quality talking cat video, but what the hey. I'm a completist.
  • I don't know why, but I cannot get enough of Drew from Toothpaste for Dinner and Natalie Dee from Natalie Dee's pictures of their dogs. Look, they put them in stripey sweaters! Look, one of them is too fat for his sweater!
  • Okay. I'll leave you with some Andrew Marvell — who, my professor's assertion notwithstanding, and his ringlets notwithstanding either, ain't no lady. I love that, in this poem, the Body complains about how its Soul, like, forces it to stand upright, and that is scary: "Which, stretcht upright, impales me so, / That mine own Precipice I go."

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Friday, November 17, 2006

and i eat men like air

So my judgment may be a little impaired by soy nog right now (yes I know it's not even noon yet; you can all just shut your nog-holes). But Jesus Christ, listen to this reading of "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath. I listened to Dylan Thomas reading "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" right after listening to this, and it sounded pale and thin in comparison.

This recording of James Joyce reading from Finnegan's Wake is good clean fun, too.

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i love this picture

That's all, go about your business.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

you get it?

Thank my film professor for today's installment of "YouTube Is The Tits."

"What the fuck is David Lynch doing?" That's the universal question, isn't it.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the first four are free

I really, really wish it included the previous call too.

Thanks, Randy.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

two things that happened to me today

Item: I burned my hand badly, with soup, immediately before taking an exam. I did this to myself in a community college cafeteria. Have you ever tried this? I recommend it, especially the part where you then have to walk around the cafeteria with your hand throbbing for like five minutes before you can get out and put it under cold water, or, indeed, wipe the hot soup off of it at all. Well, by then it's cold soup. And did I mention the eighteen-year-olds looking at you pityingly? So, as you can see, this is a great way to get your full weekly diet of pain and humiliation in one fell swoop.

Item: After taking my exam and then sitting through another hour of class with my hand smarting like the devil, I returned to my car to find a $150 parking ticket, because I haven't put my new registration sticker on since I renewed it in February.

I've been busy, okay? Christ.

Monday, November 13, 2006

one-liners: now officially devoid of substance

  • It's Monorail Cat. Yo, Monorail Cat.
  • This conversation is absolutely delicious.
  • And speaking of delicious. I fully wish I could grow muttonchops so I could have this conversation. I also would not complain if someone else wanted to grow muttonchops for me so that I could take the other part.
  • Don't anybody think for a second that I've forgotten about the rat-tail, by the way.
  • Dum dum dum da da da da da... just another modern guy.
  • This is a perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect thing.
  • And so is Paul Simon's Graceland. No, I don't care, I fucking said it.
  • No. Way. Nuh-uh. Oh my god I need one.
  • Monkeys, monkeys, Ted and Alice! Oh I am frisky today.
  • I love the wind. More wind, please.
  • I just found this thing that Shosh pointed me to a long time ago, and I am charmed all over again.
  • Okay, none of that was terribly interesting and now I don't have anything more to say. Which is what I get for blogging three times in one day.
  • Well, I suppose I could tell you the dream about my film professor. But I won't, because it (a) was not as feel-good as the one about Andrew Eldritch, (b) was even more disturbing, and (c) did not feature any awesome raincoats.

i have to share this

I had a dream last night (that is, this morning while the alarm was going off for three hours) that I and someone else, who I don't think was a person I know in real life but with whom I was involved in some sort of business partnership in the dream, kept going to this house to pay — wait for it — Andrew Eldritch to kill various people for us.

At one point, my partner and I were in the house, and Andrew Eldritch started putting on this clear, plastic, floor-length, hooded raincoat kind of thing, with big toggle buttons and multi-colored letters of the alphabet printed all over it. I was watching him. We had a little dialogue which went:

Andrew (defensively): It's not a dress, it's a raincoat.
Me: I know, I think it's awesome.
Andrew: Come over here and feel my abs.

I'll spare you the rest of the dream. It's not going anyplace pretty. But the raincoat was, in fact, seriously awesome.

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tragically, it's just an artwork

If these were real, I'd be the happiest woman on this little green planet.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

since i'm stuck with my paper anyway

Shosh's post about donating body parts and generally being a nice person reminded me of a thing that I've been thinking about posting about. There's a program called Emergency Kindness that will allow you to volunteer to provide emergency contraception, on an anonymous basis, for a woman who is in need of it but isn't able to obtain it for whatever reason (cost, living situation, not near a pharmacy that carries it, etc.). Both men and women can purchase EC over the counter now, though you have to go up to the pharmacist and ask for it. I'm also not entirely sure that this program would accept men, though I don't see why the hell not and the site says nothing about it. Anyway, for what it's worth, there's another nice thing you can do for strangers if you're interested. Because it's nice to be nice. It does cost you money if you get picked to provide the EC to someone, though. And at the moment they actually have a backlog of applications, so maybe this is something I should have waited to post about. Oh well.

p.s. I'm still pissed off that they won't take my blood out of me. Just because they have to sit with me for 45 minutes every time I do it so that I don't pass out. Pah. I'm totally going to do the marrow thing though. Let's see them try to turn me away from that. Ha! I win! I mean, altruistic statement.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

the moment you know that you're really a college student

It's 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon and you're sitting on the couch in your pajamas, nursing a grody hangover, and eating box macaroni and cheese straight out of the pot it was cooked in. While you write a blog post about it. In order to put off writing a paper.

I feel kind of like shit, but more like a bad cop.

Friday, November 10, 2006

a short story about cookie magic

I've been hanging onto this since April. It's not going to get any funnier, so I'm just posting it. In honor of today's prospective lunchtime Cookie Magic. Shosh knows what I'm talking about.

* * *

It was a dark and drizzly Monday afternoon, and at 4:00 pm I was beginning to think desultorily about starting to consider the possibility of doing some actual work. But then came the IM from Shoshana:

[shosh]: Let us away to obtain french fries!
[piehat]: Verily, right on!

Does my employer mind me leaving at 4:00 pm? No, not if my employer doesn’t notice.

We drove to the Red Robin (subtitled: America’s Gourmet Burgers & Spirits!), because it was the closest purveyor of french fries we could think of which wouldn’t require a walk of more than 20 feet in the rain from the parking lot to the door. We were directed to our seats by a teenager whose hair exactly resembled the hair my brother had in 1983, in every particular. In a few moments, a server arrived. Shosh kept her head down while ordering, so I was forced to lean over and stage-whisper, “Our waiter is an impossibly young and rather elongated version of Lou Diamond Phillips!” in order to alert her to the pertinent facts of our situation. Fantastically, she remained unmoved.

Quickly, a giant pile of French fries and a foot-high stack of onion rings draped lovingly around a stick appeared before us. We also received three bowls of ranch dressing and one bowl of something euphemistically referred to as “Campfire Sauce.” The intrepid Shoshana tested this concoction and identified it as barbecue sauce mixed with, well, ranch dressing. We fell to with vigor. The fries were thick, plentiful, and gently dusted with cayenne pepper. The onion rings were tiny ouroboroi of greasy piquancy. I also had a vanilla milkshake. I dipped my fries in it, murmuring tender, empty phrases under my breath.

Gradually, I became aware of my surroundings. Twin senses of wonder and déjà vu grew within me. I began to recall the days of my most tender youth, when, by popular decree, posters of pursed red female lips and giant, impossibly lustrous crayons, framed in shiny gold plastic, lined the walls of all public spaces. “Shosh,” I said, “Don’t be alarmed. But I am pretty sure that we’ve gone back in time to the year 1983, or possibly 1984, and we are currently in the local teenage hangout, where the cool kids go after school to roughhouse and make sexual innuendos.” Shosh raised her eyebrows noncommittally. I gazed dreamily at the carpet, geometrically patterned in a vomit-inducing red, brown and yellow, and nodded twice, emphatically.

Our server, Lou-Diamond-Phillips-like, approached us bandy-legged with the check. We proceeded past our young host, who thanked us for our patronage, flipping his hair. “Hm,” I muttered archly. “Treading a little close to the mullet line there, aren’t we?” And yet, in my heart, I had no quarrel with his coiffure.

We passed into the pissoir. I entered a stall. I emptied my bladder. I exited the stall. I found Shosh standing in front of the stall, staring gravely at me. I stared back. After a moment, she tapped me gently on each shoulder in turn, saying, “I hereby dub you ‘Panda Pantalones.’” I nodded slowly and gave her a toothy smile, sidling around her to the sink.

It has been my experience that nothing stranger than this can happen to you in a public restroom.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I'm feeling really overwhelmed and also pathetic and desperate today, and so I was just thinking how much I'd like it if someone said something nice to me. And then I thought, what else did I start a blog for but as a forum for compliment-begging? So, my patient friends, feel free to improvise, but here are some suggestions to get you started:
  1. You are the most intelligent person ever to walk the face of this earth.
  2. Your hair smells pretty.
  3. Your left leg is not at all shorter than your right.
  4. You are the best [insert noun of your choosing here] that I have ever known. (Be careful with this one, it can turn backhanded easily.)
  5. If you flunk out of community college, it is only because you are ahead of your time.
  6. It's okay to have attached earlobes.
  7. It is really not that important for a woman to have breasts these days.
  8. You have the soul of a poet.
  9. I can't see at all where you chipped your tooth. -and/or- It only makes your already charmingly disordered smile even more idiosyncratically appealing.
  10. Whenever you read a text, it comes to me after and says "O my great god I have never been read like that before."
  11. You make me laugh great belly-laughs which restore my humours.
  12. You don't at all look like you're about to fall over every time you walk in high heels. Not at all.
  13. My life would be an empty, meaningless husk had I never met you.
  14. You could have more friends if you wanted them. You're just choosy.
  15. The fact that you start begging for compliments about your appearance every time you get depressed about anything at all does not make you shallow.
  16. It's okay. Everything will be okay.
So have at it, folks. Or don't, actually. Whatever.


Monday, November 06, 2006

sunday burnout

Norton Anthology Website, I have something to say to you.
Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales includes many stories narrated by women, such as "The Wife of Bath's Tale." Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Old Nurse's Story," covered in "The Victorian Age" (see NAEL 8, 2.1222-1236), presents an updated version of storytelling from a female point of view.
Just because a man writes something and presents it as being narrated by a female character does not mean that a female perspective has been offered. Of your two examples, the only one providing any "version of storytelling from a female point of view" is Elizabeth Gaskell's. How is this a difficult concept? Also, you know perfectly well that Elizabeth Gaskell is not being taught in any literature class in this country, because she was a woman, and she's not one of the three token women writers who you can't get away with ignoring. Also? You can bite my fucking twat.

I was looking at my Longman today and noticing that so far in my post-1800 class, we've skipped over a total of seven writers in the anthology: Anna Letitia Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Joanna Baillie, Sir Walter Scott (who has only one poem included), and Thomas Moore (who has only three). We've also skipped over everything of Dorothy Wordsworth's except some journal entries, which primarily we read in order to give context for William's poetry — not for their literary merit. There are three more poets in the anthology that we might still cover: Felicia Hemans, John Clare, and John Keats. I will bet everyone in the blogosphere ten pairs of blue stockings apiece that we skip Hemans (or "your feminine He-Man," as Byron liked to call her in letters to the publisher they shared) but cover both Clare and Keats.

I realize that this is a survey class and it's intended only to give us an overview of the canon. I understand that these women are not part of the first tier of the canon (ignoring for the moment the reason for that). I'm even down with leaving Wollstonecraft out of a class focusing primarily on poetry. I appreciate that we're reading Frankenstein, and I can sort of overlook the way that everything ever written about Frankenstein is at pains to point out that for a while, everybody was convinced that Percy wrote the damned thing. (A very subtle move for creating doubt about Mary's writing ability, that is, and probably even unconscious for the most part.)

I'm just... hurt. I'm hurt, and I'm tired. I'm tired of having to deal with this kind of thing. I don't even know how to pronounce most of these women's names (yes, I can take a guess at "Smith"), and yet they're in every major anthology I own — and I've taken this particular class twice. I'm tired of female writers being put in special little sections of anthologies that can easily be ignored because "women's issues" are a special interest. I'm tired of anthologies' biographical notes about their token women telling us, as if it had anything at all to do with their writing, how beautiful they were. I'm tired of every "response" to a woman's work included in these anthologies being from some well-respected male writer deriding her feminine thought processes, as if that were a substantive response to anything, and as if we needed to be reminded that most people once considered it a substantive response to just about anything said by a woman. Also, and even more to the point: as if we needed to be reminded, at every turn, that she was a woman and we have to think of her work as work written by a woman.

But, most of all, folks? I am fucking well exhausted by the effort of trying to believe that none of this is meant to say anything about me or my abilities — not to mention the effort of trying to believe that it doesn't.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

technically it's homework, hush

We've been given the option of writing a review of one of three movies about the Shelley/Shelley/Byron/Byron's chippie ghost-story challenge. Well, I left John Polidori out of that list, but so apparently does this movie, the only one of the three available from Netflix. That's really fine by me, I've read his thing and I'm okay with it not being talked about. I do, however, have an objection to the last sentence of the plot summary: "...Byron makes his historical proposition that Mary and her cousin Claire each concoct a horror story."

Ahem. So... wait, the proposition didn't include Byron himself, or Percy Shelley, or Dr. Polidori, just Mary... and her cousin... who is played by Elizabeth Hurley. What kind of a horror story do you think this movie is going to have Byron propositioning Mary and Claire with? I'm taking bets.

Byron, incidentally, is played by Hugh Grant.

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eine kleine photobloggery

Today's accidental poetry:

I went out to find this book, which I need for a project, and which of course neither Borders nor Chaucer's had. So instead I got this. Which I'm figuring must contain at least one poem about Shakespeare somewhere. Totally relevant, yes?

On my way home the moon looked — well, not at all like this, because everything I take a picture of comes out looking blurry and about one tenth of its actual size. But here's a white circle on a black background. Use your imaginations.

Also, I saw this crazy glowing cloud that looked like a UFO this morning. Early, early this morning. So early. I took a picture of it, too, but you might as well ignore it because it just doesn't begin to accurately represent the creepiness.

Okay, so this is a pretty crappy post, but I felt like talkin'. Deedle deedle deedle.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006


I have new baby pictures. I kind of love this one. Oh, and be careful, there is some nudity.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

one-liners: thriller, thriller night

  • ~~~~Self-indulgence spoiler~~~~ Ah, me, alas. I miss two weeks ago, when my mind was clear, I could understand poetry, and I felt happy and smart and funny and pretty. What is the deal with that going away.
  • Ladies and gentlement, I present to you Banana Nutrament. Read the ingredients list if you like-a to barf.
  • I love lamp! No, I love The Office! Have I said that before?
  • I'm not even sure whether this (typescript here) is particularly interesting, though it must be pretty fucking exciting for the student who found it. I like how the article specifies that it's a 14-line sonnet. Also: "It was notable that a woman who suffered dramatic depression and marital difficulties had examined the concept of boredom as a college student." Uh, really? How so?
  • Someone needs to teach me how to make the Pauly Shore weasel noise.
  • Bam-a-lam. I am so getting "Fun Betty." You think I'm joking, but I'm not.
  • My pre-1800 English Lit professor has in the past informed us that he loves Francis Bacon like a son. Today he told us that Francis Bacon was "obnoxious, conceited, and probably a pedophile," because "you know, he collected little boys." Then he told us that Bacon died of stuffing ice into a chicken. Then he told us that Bacon suffered from a stomach ailment, his remedy for which was to rest a litter of newborn puppies on his stomach every night. Also, Bacon invented the pistol silencer and the microwave oven, thought in axioms, was heavy into food preservation, and wrote bad poetry. I'm... well, no, I have nothing at all to add to that.
  • You must watch this right now. I'm not telling you what it is beforehand. Just do it, okay? For me?
  • I had a hankering to watch more talking cats, but YouTube, for the very first time ever, was a grave disappointment to me. Still, these two are kind of funny. The second one I'm pretty sure is talking in Japanese.

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