Thursday, April 30, 2009

'Stache Rides? Sweet

I am about a month and a half away from my birthday, which means that I am rapidly approaching that moment where I go from my late mid-twenties to late twenties.

And it's got me wondering, at what point will I have to stop wearing classy T-shirts like this?

By the way, this is a shirt for a band called Eagles of Death Metal. They are neither death metal nor eagles, but they do kick some ass.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu? What Kind of Name Is Swine Flu?

I have a hard time believing that the creature responsible for the wonder that is bacon could also be responsible for anything remotely bad. But, if these "doctor" vagabonds are to be believed, that noble animal also harbors disease so devastating that it can threaten to unseat Ms. California as this month's Queen of the Network News.

In light of the current threat of a potential pandemic, the World Organization of Health (wait, who?) would like to pass along some guidelines for the proper handling animals. Why are you getting this information from Clever Title and not from a more "legitimate" news source?

Because those legitimate news sources are going out of business at an increasingly rapid rate. And I'm still here. Because nobody would pay me to write this filth anyway.

And now, without further ado or self-aggrandizement:

  1. Wash Your Hands. A lot. And not just with soap. The WOH recommends a mixture of soap, Simple Green, citric acid and vodka.
  2. The above is also a Kentucky Derby cocktail.
  3. Try not to cough on anyone. Or if you do, cough into a a rag. Then take the rag and burn it. Then put the ashes in a container and bury it. Then salt the area where you buried the container.
  4. Also, please don't spit in anyone's mouth. First and foremost because it's disgusting.
  5. Do not kiss pigs, hogs, boars or anything resembling a pig. If you must do so, please ensure that the pig, hog or boar on the receiving end has been properly tested for the swine flu (as well as for various other communicable diseases and STDs). Do not succumb to pressure from the pig, hog or boar to ignore these precautions, particularly if they claim to "really love you." Remember, this is your health we're talking about here, not some who-loves-who contest. If this remains a problem, you may have to break off your relationship. There are plenty of pigs in the sea.
  6. Why are you dating that pig anyway? You are much better than that.
  7. Don't get sick.
  8. Finally, do not make fun of the swine flu. We are very serious.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Busy, Busy, Hey Review?!

Someone took the time to review our little sketch show last Friday. It can be found here, at It seems like sketch shows rarely get reviewed anymore, so this is kind of cool. Check it out, and then come see the show on Friday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday: It's Like A Broken Record Around Here...

...what with all the show plugging. But let me tell you this: there is nothing worse that working on a show for three months of your life only to have five people show up to the goddamn thing. I may as well bombard you all now and have a clear conscience later knowing I did everything I could.

So, for the last time (this week) here we go:

HEY, Did You Know There's A Sketch Show Tonight? You're goddamn right there is. And it's called "¡Run, palindrome, nuR!" And it's going to be so funny and so hot that it'll blow every one of your sensors assigned to recognize AWESOMENESS.

Where can I find the deets? you ask. To which I reply, "Deets? Seriously, who says 'Deets?' But, in case you can't read the side bar to the left, you can also go here and have your mind blown by some awesome facts.

And, for those of you tired of the incessant show pluggery, some other random drivel for your Friday.

The First Selection of the 2009 NFL Draft Is: Nat Topping. Am I qualified? I can't even run for a minute straight without spewing globs of snot and saliva all over myself but, let's be honest here, it doesn't take much to get hit over and over again every game by another team's gargantuan defensive linemen because your offensive line consists of cardboard cutouts. And for $40 million in GA-RON-TEE'd cash, I think I could put up with that for Five Years.

But, if a completely out-of-shape 27 year old dude with no prior football experience isn't going to cut it, I'm sure Matthew Stafford would take the money. Just be sure health insurance is included in the contract, Matt.

Sports is Boring! What Else? Hmmm. Well, we can always talk about the weather. Today in Chicago? 80 degrees and sunny. It's almost enough to make up for those last five or so months of "Oh God, Why Did I Move to Chicago and Not (Insert Location With Reasonable Weather)?!" that is so familiar to everyone who lives here.

And Finally... because I haven't posted a monkey picture in a while, here is one of a monkey sleeping.

Oh monkey. If you only knew how jealous I am right now.

I wonder, what do monkeys dream?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Imaginary Conversation Where I Plug My Upcoming Sketch Show to a Reader

"Hey Nat Topping, why are you slacking so much on the blog lately?"



We just had our tech rehearsal last night, and let me just tell you right now the transitions and blackouts look fantastic. The rest of the show? We'll find out, but word on the street is it'll be a good time for all.

"I'm tired of you plugging your shows all the time. All you ever do anymore is talk about that Palindrome show - which, by the way, could you pick a weirder title? - or post monkey pictures. Where can I read some original Nat Topping brand material?"

You know what, reader? Fine. I wrote these a while back: try here and here.

"I'm looking for something funny, though. Do you have any of that?"

If you're just going to be a jerk, don't come to the site. Jesus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This Week = Yikes

This is turning out to be a very bizarre, very surreal week for yours truly. I'm not completely certain what to make of it or what to think. I don't know if it's the NyQuil and booze "health regimen" I'm on or what. Just a strange combination of weirdly conflicting things.

Yikes, this post is in danger of devolving into cryptic existential mush. And quickly too.

Do me a favor this week, would you? Find something that you really like to do and do it. Go to a movie, go outside (it's going to be gorgeous), go for a walk, go get dinner at a fancy restaurant, or go get a Double Whopper from Burger King, go read a book, go do something fun.

And if that thing just so happens to be going to a sketch show, I know of one on Friday night.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Who has two thumbs and feels like ass today?


(points thumbs at self)

Doesn't work so well as a blog...

Hey, check out the show plug below while I go cough!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday: Attack of the Plugosaurus

Oh yeah, baby. Daddy's got a show. I know because I'm spending my weekend frantically trying to fix a post that was accidentally destroyed when one of our actors 'rehearsed the shit' out of it on Wednesday.

Of course, this can mean only one thing for this little old blog:


Next Friday is the opening night for Robot vs. Dinosaur's newest Sketch Comedy Manifesto:

¡Run, palindrome, nuR!

Take a moment to clean up where you wet yourself from excitement, and then...

Dig: Postcard, which I hand made:

Dig: Press Release written by the witty and talented Ms. Catherine Monahan:

CHICAGO, Il. – When it comes to sketch comedy, six people on stage is
funny. Eighteen people, on the other hand, is mass chaos. It’s also the formula
for Robot vs. Dinosaur’s new show, “¡Run, palindrome, nuR!: An Experiment in
Numbers,” which runs Fridays at 7:30 p.m., from April 24 through May 22 at
Donny’s Skybox Theatre.

“¡Run, palindrome, nuR!,” the latest production from the Chicago-based
sketch writing group, throws caution, logic and safety to the wind, jamming 18
performers onto the Skybox stage, cramming them into sketches and hoping for the
best. The end result? A novel sketch revue that broaches a wide range of topics,
from speed dating and folklore legends to the illicit fondling of city property.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and $6 for Second
City Training Center students. They’re available now by phone at 312.337.3992 or
online at
Donny’s Skybox Theatre is located at 1608 North Wells Street.

Professional. What up?

Dig: It's gonna be a kickass awesome fun loving rollicking adjective of a good time. Oh yeah, baby.

Oh, and if you come to one of the first two shows, you'll get to see me act in it too.

Oh yeah, baby. Oh yeah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Most Unfortunately Named Protest Ever

Wrote a couple of checks to the government and sent them off with a kiss this week and to tell the truth I miss the money already. It's enough to put you in a foul mood this lovely Wednesday, April the 15th. Which happens to be tax day.

Of course, I was surprised to hop on the interwebs today only to find that there are people around the country protesting that very same cause for my own foul mood. They are apparently doing so by mailing teabags to the government as a modern homage to the Boston Tea Party.

They're calling it a Teabag protest.

Intrigued, I immediately went to the Google machine and typed in 'Teabagging' to get more information. What I found was not at all what I was looking for, and brought back horrible memories of all male Catholic high school.

Protesting taxes is a God-given American Right. Hell, the whole point of the American Revolution was to get out of paying taxes. You think it was about representative democracy or liberty or some other trumped up philosophical something or other? No, my friends. Money. Pure and simple.

Shown above, a Revolutionary War officer prepares to teabag an unsuspecting cannon.

Of course, once the "shackles of tyranny" were thrown off and people realized that they would like roads and stuff, taxes came back. And we've been walking the balance ever since.

Then again, I think if you had told Washington that one day we would be borrowing money from China to pay for bailing out banks on a bunch of bad loans made to buy $250,000 dollar homes, he would have laughed in your face. Mostly because the prospect of traveling 20,000 miles around South America and over the vast Pacific Ocean to borrow money from the Imperial Quin Dynasty would have been laughably impractical.

Also, with $250,000 you could have bought many many Manhattan Islands at a time when people made their own houses out of wood that they themselves had cut.

So I understand the desire to protest. I just wish they could have picked a better name.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pirates - Still Funny?

A Somali Pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel attached to his crotch. The bartender, ever an observant chap, notices and says, "Hey Somali Pirate, why is there a steering wheel attached to your crotch?" The Somali Pirate says "Y'arr" and then takes the bartender hostage and floats out into the middle of the Indian Ocean on a raft, only to be gunned down by Navy SEAL snipers three days later.

I always thought Pirates were jaunty lads in old-timey yet outlandishly colorful garb who talked funny and worked at seafood restaurants. Apparently, there's a dark side as well. One where they actually hijack real boats, take real hostaged and even hold real people ransom.

It's not supposed to be this way. Pirates are supposed to be fun, charismatic, flamboyant, and a little bit goofy. You know, like these ones:

We can't have people running around ruining Pirate jokes for everyone! What will happen to International Talk Like a Pirate Day? What, people are going to have to learn Somali now?

Man, Johnny Depp must be spinning in his grave.

He's not dead?

Well, err...

Man, add one more thing to the list of reasons not to go to Somalia. I think there's still room at the bottom of page five.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday? Eh. Could Be Worse

This is perhaps the least aptly named holiday ever considering. Ah well.

Hey, as long as we're here let's post some links to help pass your Friday afternoon. These are courtesy of Casey.

This one, Passive Aggressive Notes, ties in with yesterday's post about people writing stupid and unnecessary notes around the office. This one is particularly enjoyable given this weekend's holiness.

And here is a site devoted to unnecessary quotation marks. It helps if you imagine the most sarcastic person ever saying the quotes.

That's all for me today! I have to run off and die my eggs purple. Which means exactly what you think it means, perv.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On The Importance of Signage to the Proper Functioning of the Modern Workplace

This week, there was a new sign posted above the coffee machine in the office kitchen:


The emphasis (underlines! caps! exclamation points!), as well as the possessive 's', is that of the author, whoever that may be. This is the newest in a series of notes that have been posted and taken down throughout the course of my stay at this company.

Notes have a tendency to pop up around here from time to time. Evidently someone (or some people) feels that it is necessary to inform everyone of proper office etiquette through the posting of creative and expressive signage throughout the office. I'm usually fine with this. If someone feels that the "putting cottage cheese containers in the refrigerator that's only supposed to hold cans and bottles" crisis is so important as to necessitate the creation of a sign, then so be it.

But some of this is just excessive. I'll give you an example:

There is also a printed digital photo of the sink sponge sitting in a coffee cup right above where the sink sponge is supposed to sit in a coffee cup. There is also a coffee cup there. The idea is that everyone will see the picture, see the coffee cup, and then put the sink sponge in the coffee cup when they are done with it.

The message is: "Hey, don't leave the sponge in the sink!" The execution, though, is a picture that even blithering idiots can understand.

Do blithering idiots work here? I know there's an office asshole somewhere around here, but no blithering idiots.

It's like someone went to the sink and said "Oh my God, somebody left the sponge in the wrong freaking place! Don't people know that there is only one proper place for the sponge to be, and that all other possible places are unacceptable?! What the hell is wrong with these idiots that they can't put the sponge where it is supposed to - nay - longs to be?! I'm going to teach there people a humorous lesson! Where's my camera?!"

Which leads me to believe that the whole sign phenomena has less to do with informing coworkers about the correct way to behave in a communal atmosphere and more to do with expressing the creator's distaste and superiority over other people.

When you are in an environment where you have to cooperate with people, regardless of whether or not you like them, I think people look for means to express that aggression or distaste or whatever unpleasant emotion that they have pent up inside of them.

And instead of gossiping around the office or going home and shouting at your pet cactus Bruce (and yes, I have a little pet cactus named Bruce) about how stupid everyone is, some people find expression through these little signs.

That's just my theory. Thanks for listening, Bruce.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Warning: Boring Diary-Type Post About Myself

I'll tell you, I don't know how Janes does it with his sketch-a-day project. I'm sitting here looking at just a regular old fashioned blog and can barely think of anything to write today. And I'm not even expecting a plot or any semblance of cleverness. Hats off to you, Joe.

What to write about? I guess I could do some sort of diary-type thing today - the same type of diary thing that I normally detest and rail against in other blog posts. The world loves a good hypocrite, right? No?

Well, here goes anyway.

Hey, the NCAA basketball championship game happened last night. Did not get to watch it. I had the first read through of a Shakespeare show I'm working on last night, so no basketball for me. Of course, the last real vestige of interest in the game died when both Memphis and Pittsburg were knocked out of the tournament, as I had them both going to the national championship game in my office bracket. Sports curse strikes again!

I'm torn with how the game turned out. On the one hand, I'm glad I don't have to spend the next decade listing to how State won the championship and "Woo Go State, Sparty saved Detroit and U of M suxxx!!!" But then again, there is a small part of me that wishes that MSU had won. Because that would have meant I had at least some small chance to win the office pool because nobody else here expected them to make the Final Four.

Enough sports. I can see the theatrically inclined readers' eyes glazing over.

I've been keeping busy lately. Like I said earlier, I have Shakespeare now. Which is exciting because I'm using my lit-crit English majory side of my brain again in a somewhat practical manner. And when I say exciting, I mean it in the most incredibly nerdy way imaginable. I'm playing just a couple of small parts, but it should be fun nonetheless.

And meanwhile, RVD has a sketch show coming up in a couple of weeks called Run, palindrome, nuR. Some people love that title. Some people hate it. All I know is when we came up with it we laughed and laughed. That was at 11:00 at night, I think. So, is it a funny title? Who knows? I will say I think the material itself is pretty damned funny.

This show has been different from our last couple of shows because we've split up the directing responsibilities into three groups. In fact, now that I think about it I believe Geoff wrote a post about this over on the old Robo-blog. Greg and I have been directing our group while the other writers have been directing their pieces. As a result, I've seen plenty of Greg and my scenes but have not seen the others' work at all. We're supposed to be putting them all together into a cohesive show this Wednesday and next Wednesday but I'm going to miss those because of "the Shakes." So that's kind of a bummer. But I'll be at the tech so I guess I'll have to wait until then.

I will say my group has been quite entertaining, and I've enjoyed doing a little directing again. I've decided that directing is definitely harder than acting. It's hard enough figuring out how to fake being someone else without having to find means of tricking other people into faking it in just the right way.

Did that make any sense? Of course not.

I still have to find time to put together some of the props for my scene (a floating bottle of hand cream and a lingerie catalogue and also I need to sand a post, and yes I realize how strange that sounds.)

So yeah. That's what I'm up to. Rehearsal tonight after work. And then after that, I have to run to Kinkos to scan the postcard I made for the sketch show (I'll probably break down and post it on the RVD blog next Monday in lieu of writing something legitimately interesting), which means I'll probably get home just in time for it to officially be tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oh God It's Friday


I mean, thank God.


I have been drinking coffee nonstop today in an attempt to keep myself awake and functioning on an unexpectedly busy day. As a result, every bodily fluid smells like burned coffee. Sweat, saliva, urine. Everything. Also, I have yet to eat anything yet today.

Quick links, quick links... okay:

Museum of Bad Art: has officially made my list for the 'ridiculous places world tour' I will be planning for myself. It's a museum devoted to really bad art. Go check it out for some samples of their collection.

And Also: uh... in sports news the Chicago Bears aquired quarterback Jay Cutler for many draft picks and also their soul. Approximate time until Bears fans start ripping apart their new quarterback? I give him three months.

In Addition: There's... uh... head hurts... so hungry... Um.

Wait, I Know! How about a picture of a monkey strangling a dog?

Yeah! Look at that deadly cold stare.

How's that for a post?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nat Topping - Racoon Hunter

I don't know about you, gentle reader, but with the impending collapse of modern society as we know it making it's way into our lives I have often contemplated what I would do with myself if complete and total meltdown ever occurred.

Questions like "What part of Lincoln Park would be best for growing corn?" and "Which apartment buildings will be most defendable from roving bandit raids?" and "Where can I get a copy of the MacGyver television series?" have been crossing my mind lately.

Well, I've found my mentor.

To summarize, there's a guy in Detroit who hunts and sells racoon meat and pelts. But you really should just follow the link and read the whole damn thing, mostly because (a) it's such a surreal story, (b) and yet not at all surprising, and (c) it's a fantastic study in dialect. Read this:

"Today people got no skill and things is getting worse," he laments. "What people gonna do? They gonna eat each other up is what they gonna do."

Oh man.

Now to take a little sidetrack to do some good old fashioned lamenting for Detroit:

Seriously, how much worse can it get? The city was crumbling already even before the entire economy started to fall apart around us. And now, not only can you fit the entire city of San Francisco in Detroit's vacant lots, but the government effectively runs two of the Big Three auto companies now - held captive with loan money that was in turn probably borrowed from China but that situation is just going to make me angry in a whole different way - workers are losing their jobs left and right, Mayors are getting kicked out of office for being blatant and unabashed criminals, people are hunting racoons for food, the Lions go 0-16 and become a national joke and then, on top of ALL OF THIS, freaking Allen Iverson has to run around and cry about coming off of the Piston's bench after being MIA for over a month with a back injury. I mean, when you don't even have the Pistons anymore then something is not right with the world.

End lamentation.

Seriously, though, anyone know where I can find a survival course?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Send Me Gifts!

Back in January, I wrote a blog post about a certain company meeting for the male employees concerning proper usage of men's room. This post mentioned the practice of using Cheerios for the purpose of fine tuning one's aim whilst releaving oneself.

I put the post up and have thought nothing of it ever since.

Yesterday, I was told I had received a package at the front desk here at work. Upon opening it, I found canisters of Cheerios and Tootsie Rolls for me and two coworkers, as well as a print out of the above mentioned post.

The package was sent by a business associate, George, who lives in the Kalamazoo area and who somehow or another has found my blog.

First, to George: Thank you very much for the gift. This is the first time that my blog has actually yielded anything good worth mentioning. I can't speak for my coworkers, but I have spent all morning practicing and even managed to work the Tootsie Rolls into the act.

To the rest of my readership: I want you to know that George has set a precedent. I'm expecting your gifts shortly.

If you are looking for things to send, here is a short list:
  • Gold, silver, diamonds or any other precious materials
  • Cash, unmarked and in large quantities
  • More Cheerios
Thank you in advance.