Monday, August 28, 2006

Back in the saddle, however briefly.

Spotted this as I zipped around the net today. What an egregious spelling error, I thought, and on a major news outlet, no less. Shouldn't it be Blackberries? But then the Spectre of Branding swooped into the window and shrieked, banshee-like "ACTUALLY, THEY ARE LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO SPELL IT 'BLACKBERRYS' BECAUSE THE BLACKBERRY IS THE PRODUCT." And then it vanished into the night, the words "I'm Lovin' It" echoing distinctly off of the hills.

I guess they're not actually blackberries, which are delicious.

Instead, the word loses its heritage when it becomes a different object; this, in turn, nullifies (or nullifys) any necessary changes to the word in the plural, other than adding the obligatory 's.' This confounds me.

I'd still know what they're talking about if they said ". . . users say Blackberries improve life" because they put the object in caps. Isn't that usually the signifier betwixt the common object and the branded object, or am I missing something here?

Did a little experiment on my own to test a theory; feel free to do the same at home. It's easy - and fun!

1. Entered "blackberries" into google images. Hundreds of photos of genuine, edible fruits thumbnailed into view.


2. Entered "blackberrys" (and had to write it three times. Kept adding the "ie") into google images. And there they were, the personal communication devices - along with one photo of fruit entitled "blackberrys.jpeg"

Are we redifining our language in order to help our search engines specify what we're looking for, when in actuality, technology will change so drastically in the next decade that search engines and Blackberrys will be obsolete and we'll hire etymologists to dig back ten years to figure out why we spell blackberries with a 'y?' Or am I overreacting?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

[writing from Heidi's computer]

I have a fine ol' laptop. It handles most functions pretty . . . well . . . handily. However, it's currently exporting a ten-minute Image Sequence from Final Cut HD (this means that it's converting each frame in the project into a bitmap so that the DVD authoring house can make a glass master) and it's showing its age.

See, I started the export yesterday morning and as of this moment, it's only completed 46-fargin-percent of it! This hurts my feelings. Seriously, I take it a bit personally when my stuff doesn't come through for me. Don't we all tend to anthropomorphize our possessions just slightly? For instance, my jeep - it's old, it's got a lot of miles on it, it's rusty in the undercarriage, it jounces and bounces over every seam and crack in the road . . . I'd love to get a new, more fuel efficient car. But then, I see it sitting there by the curb, loyal and faithful like an old dog and my heart does a little flip-flop in my chest. Trading it in seems cruel. How could I have considered such a thing? Shame on me!

So it is with the Lappy. I find myself rooting for it, like a parent cheering for his uncoordinated child - "Go get 'em, sport!" And then, when the child turns over the ball to the other team (who promptly scores) or misses a goal or trips on his own shoelaces and the pack laps him as he struggles to regain his feet, the hot tingle of embarrassment rises up along with shame for feeling embarrassed and my voice cracks as I yell "You can do it!"
Well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but every time I check the progress and it hasn't budged at all, I groan and throw my hands up in the air. "You're good at so many things - why can't you do this?"

We'll see how long this takes. I hope it doesn't last until Monday.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Time flies when you're not having fun, eh? I've been sick with a summer cold/virus/thingy that I caught from my nieces and haven't felt much like doing anything except watch movies and blow my nose. So, after padding my cinema lexicon with The Matador, Inside Man, Big, and Once Upon A Time In The West, I'm feeling like my usual self again - except the nose, she runs! The energy's back, though. So I write.

Lessee, where do I begin . . . my birthday last weekend can easily be chalked up on the leader board of "Tyler's Awesomest Birthdays" right along side the Wild Mountain water park/my first Trek when I turned 11 and my twentieth in Redwoods Nat'l Forest where a perfect stranger in the neighboring camp gave me a birthday s'more.

We (Heidi, my brother, and my mom-in-law) went to Ely, MN to visit my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Carol and to enjoy northernmost MN. I hoped to see a bear. I didn't expect to do this . . .

A bear ate out of my hand!! I get goosebumps just thinking about it. A little explanation is in order: My uncle volunteers with the Bear Research Center in Ely and is quite familiar with the behaviors of said bruins. Also, most of the bears in the area know him because he's introduced himself to just about all of them. This bear in particular has known Jeff since birth so they have an understanding. Her name's "Solo" . . .

. . . because she only has one ear. She was attacked by a male bear when she was a cub and he damaged her ear so badly that it became infected and fell off. She's doing alright for herself now, though. She's currently fattening up for the winter (Jeff estimates her weight at 350). We were visited by more than one bear, too, including one that camped in front of our bedroom window during the night. It huffed and sighed and rested, and strangely enough, I felt like it was guarding the room. I got more than I bargained for on this trip.
The next day, I fished a bit - went around the whole lake, casting as I went - but I didn't really expect to catch anything since it was high noon and calm. Mostly, I just wanted to be out there, to experience the meditative cast-and-reel rhythm of fishing, to drift like a leaf on the surface of the water, to listen to the birds in the tamaracks, birches, and red pines. And I accomplished what I set out to do.
The lake's gorgeous . . .

. . . and very clear. I went swimming before and after fishing. I swam a ways out into the lake and dove to the bottom; about two feet below the surface of the water sits the thermocline where the water becomes very cold so after touching bottom, I shot to the surface, gasping. I stretched out on my back and floated in the more temperate waters, allowing the sun to do its work of warming me up.

We ate and played, visiting the bustling, rustic burb of Ely on Friday night to enjoy Walleye cakes, sweet potatoes au gratin, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Oof, I salivate just thinking about it. Yum.

On the way home on Saturday night, my mind kept going to all of the different sights and sounds of Ely.

- The Piragis Outfitters where my cousin, Jason, showed off some of his handmade coatracks and where I bought a new (and awesome) web belt.

- Going out in the dead of night,
in a down pour, with Jeff and Brad to look for moose.

- The fearless red squirrels:

- The bears:

And others I failed to take photos of, including the Northern Lights which shone and waved as we travelled south. At one point, I leaned against the window and shouted "Quit beckoning to me, North Country!! I have stuff to do!"

Like blow my nose, for starters. This cold is ridiculous.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Didn't have my trusty hand-Canon with me while Katie was playing in the playhouse, so the RAZR had to do. Pretty gosh-darn cute, eh?

Played a few holes at the local par 3 golf course today; on average, I hit two strokes over on each hole. While this may frustrate more seasoned golfers, I thought this wasn't too bad considering I haven't touched a club since 1999. Plus, a par 3 doesn't really allow me to stretch out my monster swing so I had that against me. Anyway, it was nice to be out with my dad and my brother. I don't often get the chance to spend time with them so it was a real treat.

Took a walk this evening with my niece, Rebecca. We went looking for animals. Deer materialized out of the forest almost instantly once we hit the main road; they were quickly followed by squirrels and cranky, snoozing birds. As we kept walking, Rebecca told me in a hushed, excited tone that she hoped we'd see leopards or cows next. I said, maybe we'd see turtles. She said, or maybe sheep.
Or lions.
Rarrr, she said, Big Lions.
I roared, RAAAARRR!
Or little lions.
rar, I whispered, or bears.
Yeah, or elephants!
Or chipmunks.
Or dolphins.
Or gorillas - I beat my chest and grunted.
Or monkeys, she said as she leaped and ooch ooched.
Or snakes.
Or sheep, she said again.

We didn't see any sheep, but as twilight settled over the woods, the bats began to appear. Some flew quite close and Rebecca was enamored. Lookit, Uncle Ty-yer! That's so co-o-o-ol! Lookit, there's three of them! There's more than that . . . look! W-O-W!
After watching the bats swoop and dive for some time, we turned and made our way home. As we walked, we practiced our sneezes. She performed the classic ah-ah-AH-CHOO! quite well and I enacted some lesser-known oddities to the toddler set. She laughed and said, I like you, Uncle Ty-yer.

I like you, too, Rebecca.

My mom met us at the top of her driveway with an LED headlamp on her head. It was dark enough for her to wonder what became of her youngest offspring and eldest grandkid, so she came looking for us. I love my Mom.

It's been a good day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Beverly Hills" by Weezer just popped up on my iTunes playlist. That's not where I am. Not at all - and I'm so thankful for it right now.
It's nearly dark outside, the stars are starting to come out (again, not in Beverly Hills), a temperate breeze is blowing off of the lake, the lake that is dotted with the perfect reflections of a few lit cabins. Most everybody leaves the area for the week and then returns on the weekend, this being Vacationland Minnesota (tm), so there's been very little boat traffic to disturb the mirror-like surface of the lake.

Last night, Heidi and I and the Deyos laid out on the dock and watched shooting stars leave smoky streaks across the sky. I've seen dramatic meteorites before, but never in such a concentrated proliferation. It was incredible. With the Milky Way as a backdrop, the dock became my spaceship adrift in the galaxy. Beautiful.

Another nice thing about being here this time of year is the distinct lack of biting representatives of the Bug Kingdom. I'm sitting on the deck in the dark with total impunity. Nary a mozzy or tick or biting fly to be seen (or felt and swatted at). Can't beat it. These last two days have been utterly perfect.

Yesterday, Deyo and I got the bright idea to do a little target practice with the single-shot Daisy BB gun we have in the garage. It's old, and rusty, and tiny, and perfect for frittering away a lazy afternoon. After setting up a handful of empty plastic film canisters (my dad being the avid shutterbug that he is) we took aim at the doldrums of the afternoon.
Here's The Marksman at work.

Note the steely glare, the intense concentration . . . I should go pro - except I had a very difficult time hitting the targets.

Well, it was windy! and the gun fires pellets at about five degrees off-center. So factor all of that in and you pretty much have a crap shoot (har har). Others tried their hands at our rifleman's game.

Here, my brother demonstrates his uncanny ability to adjust for wind and instrument inaccuracy by hitting the majority of his targets. This ability does not run in the family, apparently.

Even Heidi, who prefers to shoot in designer-brand shooting goggles, seemed to hit most of what she aimed at. This is humiliating, to be out-shot at my own game by my wife. I guess I must be as rusty as that gun.

And now you have some BB Gun Heroes trading cards!! Print us out and trade us with your pals! Collect all three. Maybe someone'll turn us into one of those card based battle games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and I'll have +3 to Intimidation and -7 to wind susceptability . . .

. . . and +2million to good-lookin'ness.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Home Sweet Home . . .

The loons are crying, the owls are hoo-hooing, and the crickets are chirping. It's gonna be a beautiful night in Minnesota. This is our home for the next few days, a 'Prowler' parked in my folks' driveway. I like it.

More to come.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Some photos from today's adventures. Had to go to the Burbank Mall this afternoon for a garment bag when I stumbled across this scene.

Here, a mountain man plays a game of Giant-Sized chess with aloof precision. His opponent, a bald man with a band-aid on his head, lost pretty miserably. Others were waiting around in the atrium to test their skill against Grizzly Adams. His style was fun to watch. He'd keep his arms crossed as you see them in the photo, then he'd saunter over to the target piece and give it a sharp kick/scoot with his instep. Satisfied, he'd resume his place on the edge of the game board. Meanwhile, the other fellow (Mr. Clean the I.T. Night Manager) would remain on the board. I think Mr. Clean's tactics were his undoing; he failed to see the entire board like Grizzly, only seeing the five or so pieces in his immediate vision. Kind of like life, eh? Sometimes you need to take a step off the Enormous Game Board of life to see if you are in danger of checkmate or not.

Yeah, just like life . . .

Oh, and here's something new and unsettling.

My deodorant now has inspirational suggestions for me. If you can't read the blurriness, it says that I should "go all in." How soon do you think it will be before they start selling advertising space in this area? I half-expected it to say "Just Do It" or "Got Milk" or something. Is nothing safe from Madison Ave.? What if Gatorade started adding little Nike Swoosh-decorated tapioca balls to its drinks? Get a little protein and starch and consumerist subliminal messages with your thirst quencher. Nothing must be left blank without a suggestion. Maybe they could figure out a way to have Crest come out of the tube with a sentence describing the benefits of Scope. The possabilities are endless!

eesh. I don't really want to wipe "go all in" under my pits. It feels smarmy - like I'm getting ready for a night on the town in Reno.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Whoa, sorry about the delay in getting new posts up. Now that I've started on a new, less-addictive blog site, I haven't been on quite as much. Time to rectify that, and in order to do so, I'll post a brief gallery of RAZR photos documenting my somewhat quixotic modern life these last few days.

Let's start at the beginning (of the lapse):

Got a temp job at Creative Artists Agency last week. They plopped me down at an agent's assitant's desk and said "Dance, Monkey, DANCE!!" And dance I did, with rapid, staccato steps and a broad, sweaty grin. I'd never worked at an agency before, let alone handled an agent's busy schedule. I had to learn how the ins and outs of that machine worked very quickly since I was getting phone calls and emails out of the blue that made zero sense to me without context.

This is me in my monkey suit. I've never worked a job that required me to wear a tie until this moment. Last week, I learned how to tie a tie via the internet. My fav's the Pratt knot. Never quite mastered the four-in-hand, which is a less-complicated knot that comes with a far higher probability of crookedy-ness.

After work on Friday, I decided this monkey deserved a reward so I treated myself to one of my favorite treats.

Tokyo Yakitori! Udon noodles, fish cakes, tempura squash, and teriyaki chicken equals one happy monkey.

After casting my corporate accoutrements aside, Heidi and I ran for the hills . . . the hills that disappear into the ocean!

Yes, Big Sur sang its siren song and we capitulated, and no, I didn't take this picture with my RAZR. That was my other camera. We slept in the back of the jeep (aka The Beastlet) on Saturday night, which was fine except my knees cramped. This has never happened to me before, and made me think that I'm developing a "gammy" knee that'll help me tell when bad weather's a'movin' in ag'in, Maw! Unlock th' celler! The cramp-ed knees gave me strange dreams; I dreamt I was the US Secretary of State during a massive national crisis which required the entire cabinet to sleep in the Oval Office. We were forced to sleep wherever we could find room (under the desk, on a couch, in a chair, on the rug . . . anyplace that didn't already contain another sleeping member of the upper echelon. I got to sleep under the desk, and wouldn't you know it? My knees were cramping. [Live Audience: "oooooooh - hahahaha!!] This woke me up, mostly relieved that I wasn't, in fact, the secretary of state but still perplexed about my knees. As dawn cracked nearby, we finally figured out that sleeping in a pike position allowed us the most comfort.

When we finally arose, we were greeted by the sounds of gulls crying and sea lions barking in the distance. Lovely. We drove and took photos and enjoyed each other's company and the beauty of the coast. Simply gorgeous. Here's the sunset from Saturday night:

Now that's not bad for a RAZR photo, if you ask me. More to come. Always more to come.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh, by the way - be careful about following some of the links people have added to their comments on some of my older posts on this page. Apparently, people do comment spamming around here.

Word to the wise on wordinedgewise.
See? Isn't that so much nicer? The page is a bit boring still, and I can't add the latest tunes I'm listening to with the push of a button, BUT I don't have to deal with the loading problems OR the annoying banners for true dot com.

Or, for that matter, the banners that urge me to "race the shark, get a ringtone" or "egg superbush, get a free ringtone," but I digress.

Remember these guys?

It's the namesakes of my softball team . . . who lost AGAIN tonight. Last game of the season; we were up 11 to nothing, and we lost. This, my friends, is the very definition of choking. Maybe I've made this joke already, but we probably shouldn't have named our team after supervillains because supervillains never win. They may win battles occasionally in the comix, but they certainly never do in saturday morning cartoons. I mean, what would the children think? Be bad, get ahead in the world? This seems like a bad lesson. And so, in order to be true to the actual Legion, we must never win.

It's for the children.