Monday, March 26, 2007


i suppose everyone wants to leave their mark. to make an imprint in the world and an impact on society. i hope to do it through my artwork, but i was also taught to have a fallback plan.

i have a tendency to make up phrases and nicknames a lot. i'm not entirely sure why but my speculation is that i make quick and random connections in my head. that compounds with the fact that i usually think before speaking, so in the time between the words i think and the ones i say, i translate the output into the random connections i made. for instance, not so long ago, i met a friend in a bar. i arrived before them and ordered a dark beer. when my friend arrived, he asked what i was drinking. i couldn't think of the name. i looked at the beer in the glass, the color looking like dark rust. not rusty. old rust. plus, as the bartender poured it, i thought of mead. old world, Beowulf, middle English ale from giant oak barrels in the basement. i said, "Something rustic".

he didn't question it. he just smiled and ordered a drink. i thought he'd just formulated his own meaning that made sense to him. i kind of thought it was cool. this happens a lot. i say things to people and then think of what i said. i wonder what they thought it meant. i wonder if they turned to someone else later and used the same phrasing.

so, just for fun, here's some other random slang i've spouted recently. feel free to use it at will, if you feel so inclined. in fact, its encouraged.

circling dirt
bored; passively wasting time OR obviously expressing shyness, vulnerability or modesty
1. "When I discovered my dead car battery, I stood circling dirt until a friendly motorist stopped to help."
2. "He blurted out his feelings for her, then stepped back in silence, head down and circling dirt"

fog eyed
adj. - to be mentally disconnected from one's surroundings; zoned out; spaced
"Sorry for being fog eyed all night. I've got a lot of things on my mind."

v. - when an arrogant, trendy person poses questions or topics to see how "cool" someone else is as a passive aggressive way of showing pseudo-superiority.
"I hate talking to Russell. All he does is hepcheck obscure indie movies and bootleg hip hop."

a lighter
"Can I bum a smoke? Thanks. Toss me the flicker."

stub toes
n. - clumsy person; an individual lacking in grace
"My stub toes keep me off the dance floor"

n. - where you put things you've grown past
"We made up. That's all in the lunchbox now."

dimpled & bobbling
adj. - smiling and nodding at a figure of authority to get rid of them.
"It was a long day and I was tired of hearing about the IPS reports so I just sat dimpled and bobbling until he strolled back to his office."

eye gouger
n. - type of headache
"This eye gouger is making it hard to look at this monitor"

runner up
n. - non-underwear clothes worn under other clothes (also: runners up. when they become the outer layer, they become "up and running")
"Here, take my sweater. I've got runners up"...then later, "hey Tyler, did you change your clothes?" "Nah, I was wearing this all night, now its up and running."

in sheep thought
prep. phrase - to awaken and yet still partially asleep. sometimes accompanied by mumbling and/or nonsensical speech.
*ring*ring* "Helllooo?" "Hey T." "what time who blubaba" "What? Did I wake you up?" "Yeah. sorry. I'm in sheep thought"

Sunday, March 25, 2007


a great book that i recommend often, though a bit dry at times (it is a history book), is A People's History of The United States by Howard Zinn. Zinn is a respected historian and professor who writes about history from the less seen perspectives. from the poor. the women. the minorities. the book is incredible in that it exposes how our sense of history has been passed onto us through rosy colored glasses. the history we're taught is that as told by the government, the conquerors and the diplomats. the rich white men in power. we never heard the whole story in school. many times, we never even heard the true story. many of the great heros from our country's founding were actually quite dispicable characters.

Columbus, for instance, was a blood thirsty tyrant. its horrible that time has sugar coated the man in lies. most folks are aware that chris never discovered america. the closest he came was the Bahamas. the deal columbus made: Spain wanted gold and it was known that asia had it (where chris thought he was). if he brought it back, 10% was his, along with land and a governorship and the title of admiral of the seas. shortly after landing and being wholely welcomed by the natives, he seized what little gold the arawak indians had (usually offered willingly). he then enslaved them, sending his men out to take and kill at will. they did so for amusement. over a period of about 15 years, its thought that several million natives died as a result of murder, enslavement and forced mining.

that's chapter 1.

anyway, i was reminded of this book after coming across a list of historic facts that aren't facts at all. its pretty alarming to discover that some bit of information you always held as definitive truth turns out to be skewed or completely fabricated.


Eve ate a bad apple
nowhere in the story of Adam and Eve is an apple mentioned. it is simply called "the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden" (genesis 3:3). it could have been an apple, but it might just as well have been any other sort of fruit.

Walt Disney drew Mickey Mouse

Mickey was the vision of Disney's number one animator, Ub Iwerks. Disney, never a great artist, would always have trouble drawing the character who made him famous.

Marie Antoinette said "Let them each cake"

in 1766, Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote of an incident he recalled from some 25 years earlier, in which "a great princess" was told that the country people had no bread. "then let them eat cake," she replied. when Rousseau wrote of this, Marie Antoinette was an 11-year-old child in Austria. the french revolution would not begin for another 23 years. the myth that she spoke these infamous words was probably spread by revolutionary propagandists, to illustrate her cold indifference to the plight of the French people.

Witches were burned at stake in Salem
the Salem witch trials of 1692 led to the arrests of 150 people, of whom 31 were tried and 20 were executed. first, of the 31 condemned "witches"... 6 of them were men. they were not burned at stake. hanging was the usual method - though one was crushed to death under heavy stones.

Napoleon was a small man
some people believe that Napoleon's domineering ambitions were to compensate for being so physically small... true, Napoleon was called le petit corporal ("the little corporal"), but he was 5' 7" - taller than the average 18th century Frenchman. So why the nickname? Early in his military career, soldiers used it to mock his relatively low rank. The name stuck...

Magellan circumnavigated the world

Magellan only made it half-way around the world (he was killed by natives in the Philippines), leaving it to his second-in-command, Juan Sebastian Elcano, to complete the circumnavigation.

Shakespeare wrote the story of Hamlet

...most of his plays were not original, but adaptations of earlier stories. "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark" (1603), probably his most famous play, was based on an ancient Scandinavian story.

America became independent on July 4, 1776

as most American school children (and many non-American ones) are aware, America's founding fathers signed the declaration of independence on July 4, 1776. However, the war raged for another seven years before independence from England was finally granted on September 3, 1783. On that day, Britain's George III and US leaders signed the Definitive Treaty of Peace.

Edison invented the electric light

...most Edison inventions were the work of his unsung technicians - and his most famous invention, the electric light, didn't even belong to his laboratory. 4 decades before Edison was born, english scientist Sir Humphry Davy invented arc lighting (using a carbon filament)... The achievement of Edison's lab was to find the right filament that would burn for days on end. A major achievement, but not the first.

Columbus proved that the Earth was round

...most educated Europeans in Columbus's day knew that the world was round. since the 4th century BC, almost nobody has believed that the Earth is flat... Columbus thought that the Earth was pear-shaped. He set sail to prove... that Asia was much closer than anyone thought. Even in this, he was wrong...

Jesus was born on December 25
...there is no evidence whatsoever, biblical or otherwise, that he was actually born on that day. nor is there anything to suggest that he was born in a manger, or that there were three wise men... there are differing views as to why December 25 was chosen as Christmas day, but one of the most interesting is that the day was already celebrated by followers of Mithras, the central god of a Hellenistic cult that developed in the Eastern Mediterranean around 100 BC. The followers of this faith believed that Mithras was born of a virgin on 25 December, and that his birth was attended by shepherds...

George Washington was America's first President

...during the American Revolution, the Continental Congress (or the 'United States in Congress Assembled') chose Peyton Randolph as the first President. Under Randolph, one of their first moves was to create the Continental Army (in defence against Britain), appointing General Washington as its commander. Randolph was succeeded in 1781 by John Hancock, who presided over independence from Great Britain (see myth #6). After Washington defeated the British at the Battle of Yorktown, Hancock sent him a note of congratulations. Washington's reply was addressed to "The President of the United States". Eight years later, as a revered war hero, Washington himself became America's first popularly elected President - but strictly speaking, the 15th president.

*taken (and paraphrased slightly) from an article written by Noivedya Juddery. Noivedya is a writer and journalist based in Australia.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


i never understood this.

the name of the country you live in isn't necessarily the name used by the rest of the world. being an american and having limited knowledge on how this is handled elsewhere, my perspective is limited. i do know that spanish speaking countries call the U.S.A. "los estados unidos" because the words that make up my nation's name are actual words.

some of our english changes make sense. i can see how Italia became Italy or Nederlands became Netherlands (side note: why do people like to say "the" Netherlands). even changing España to Spain isn't too big of a stretch. at least the "Spain" sound is sort of in there. but many countries refer to their homeland with a tag totally unlike what we know it as. it usually even translates with some significance. below are some examples of the more drastic renaming. some i knew, many required a little research. if your interested, here's a nice list on wikipedia.

German is Deutschland to the germans.
China is Chungkuo to the chinese.
Finland is Suomi to the fins.
Greece is Elláda to the greeks.
Japan is Nihon to the japanese.
Poland is Polska to the polish.
Russia is Rossija to the russians.
Sweden is Sverige to the swedes.
India is Bhārat to the indians.
Ireland is Éire to the irish.
Armenia is Hayastan to the armenians.
Greenland is Kalaallit Nunaat to the greenlanders.
Wales is Cymru to the welsh.

translating the native word into the english word "land" is understandable. and i can comprehend the ideology behind creating names for a country that uses an entirely different alphabet. slight spelling changes making it easier to pronounce phonetically. i guess that's excusable. but changing the name entirely? isn't that a little arrogant?

(additional note: on doing a spell check as i finished writing this post, all the native names were highlighted as incorrect with "no suggestion" as the correction.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007


for some inexplicable reason today, i was thinking about scooby doo. i haven't seen a scooby doo cartoon in years. maybe thanks to my brother's velma quote last night. whatever the cause, its been on my mind.

while i enjoyed it from time to time, scooby doo was never a staple in my cartoon diet. i attribute this to several things that always bothered me about it. shaggy and scooby are idiots. they make the same false presumptions and blunders in every episode. stupid is only funny for so long. then, nearly every villain is foiled by their lack of intelligence and coordination. that didn't seem right to me. also, every episode was essentially the same. the icing on the cake was the laugh track. i just don't understand why any show would use a laugh track.

i don't think anyone is fooled by a laugh track. no mass of people ever erupts into joyous exaltations only to all stop on a dime, or, even worse, fade out to silence.

"ha haha ha aahah ha ha haha" (...and then crickets)

i remember sitting on the couch as a boy, aware of the process involved in animating drawings to make a cartoon (i was a kid who loved to draw after all), and suddenly noticed the canned laughter for the first time. it really confused me. i knew it couldn't be from a studio audience. i think my mom explained to me that it was prerecorded and added to the show to make it funnier. i felt so cheap and used. manipulated like the suckers being terrorized by the swamp creature who's really just a disgruntled butler trying to keep people away long enough for him to dig up a buried chest of gold coins.

curse that mangy dog and those meddling kids!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


one of my favorite things in the world is the moment of realization. the wake up call when suddenly you see or hear or understand something that had previously gone unnoticed. it fills you up with pride and revelation. it borders on epiphany.

for a film to be considered for "favorites" status, it needs to hold up to repeated viewings. if i state that a movie is one of my favorites, it means i've willingly watched and enjoyed it, on some level, at least half a dozen times.

Punch-Drunk Love is one of my favorite movies.

in fact, all of P.T.Anderson's films would fall into that category. Magnolia, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights. even the video he did for Fiona Apple's version of "Across The Universe". but today, i'm just focusing on one, Punch-Drunk Love, and the moment of realization.

the movie is fairly unconventional in many ways. Adam Sandler starred in his first non-comedic role. Jon Brion composed another wonderful score. Jeremy Blake, a video artist who also did the album art for Beck's "Sea Change", contributed the dreamy segues and subtle special effect overlays. critically, it wasn't received well.

here we go. Sandler plays the part of Barry Egan. he's a horribly lonely man who runs a warehouse of novelty goods. he discovers an error in a healthy choice offer, which pays out frequent flyer miles for UPC's from healthy choice products. realizing that they've overlooked their pudding, he begins purchasing all the inexpensive healthy choice pudding he can find to accumulate a vast amount of miles for a relatively small investment. throughout it all, Barry suffers from deep depression and loneliness as a result of the lifelong torment and bullying of his seven older sisters. he teeters constantly on the verge of a total breakdown. he's incredibly insecure. he's a pathological liar. he has violent, self destructive outbursts. he has anger management issues and problems expressing himself. he has an anxiety disorder. he's generally mentally damaged all around. one morning, one of his sisters calls to inform Barry of her intent to set him up with her coworker, Lena. he panics and avoids it. then she brings her by his warehouse and somehow, she finds him sweet and asks him out to dinner. she's sweet, compassionate, tolerant, honest and wholesome, he's so very flawed, and yet they fall for each other. then, a problem arises and he abandons her. when he returns, he asks for forgiveness and enough time to get all the frequent flyer miles he has coming to him so he can travel with her (for her job) and never leave her again. the film end apparently after this time has passed. Lena suddenly walks into Barry's warehouse, wraps her arms around him, and says the words, "Here we go."

romantic, right? the two kids made it work. that's what i thought at first, but then immediately thought it was bound to fail. she'd never really gotten the full view of Barry that, we, the viewers, had. she wasn't aware of how mentally stressed he was. as positive as the ending seemed at first, i immediately doomed the relationship. i figured it was only a matter of time before this "perfect" girl found out what Barry was really like and split. Lena just seemed too good for him. she just hadn't realized it yet.

then i had my moment of realization. the movie is chock full of symbols and metaphors (which i totally adore. i'll probably write a post on that alone one day). Barry wears blue all the way through the movie. Lena, for the most part, wears red. He meets Lena in the very beginning, though he didn't know she was the girl he would later find out that his sister was trying to set him up with. she shows up in a red dress and asks Barry if he can watch her car until the garage next door opens up. shortly afterward, Barry goes to the grocery store to try and find the cheapest Healthy Choice product. The camera is face to face with Sandler as he walks past the ends of each aisle. in the background, slightly out of focus, Lena parallels his path at the opposite end of the aisles. he turns, and she quickly ducks away. i'd never noticed this until recently and it changed the whole film for me. Lena is stalking Barry. the dropping off of her car could easily be passed off as curiosity, but when added to the grocery store stalking, it changes to something more. Lena even mentions that she saw a photo of him and had to meet him. she's has flaws and secrets as well.

its a happy ending now... sort of.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


my apologies to anyone who may be waiting with baited breath for my next literary outpouring. the purpose of starting this blog to begin with was to reactivate old writing habits. it seems as i have succeeded, at least for the present. unfortunately, i have a life to lead as well, so making time for all my little hobbies and past times gets tough.

also, i have no intention of turning this blog into an overly personal retelling of my day to day activities and thoughts. since much of my writing has been on the verge, if not crossing that bordering line, it shall remain on paper. maybe i'll toss out a poem here and there just to mix it up. i'd like to exert information that will make you think, or smile or at the very least, hold your interest for the duration of the read.

in all likelihood, nobody minds that i'm leaving bigger and bigger gaps between posts, but i care a little. so i'll try and do better, even if its just a promise to myself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


sometimes i go to the grocery store for lunch. the giant nearby has a decent salad bar and the price is right. i went there yesterday. mixed up a little ruffage, paid and left.

as i walked through the parking lot to my car, i heard some old lady voice. "Hey. Hey you." as it got louder, i realized the elderly voice was coming towards me from behind. assuming she was trying to get my attention, i stopped and turned. i see the short liitle woman, long white pony tail, still calling. she's about 30 feet away, trotting towards me.

"Hey. Hey you," she says.
"Yes. Is everything ok?", says I.
"You look just like Simon Cowell," she exclaims, out of breath.
I paused, trying to think of who she talking about with a confused expression.
"The jerk from American Idol. You look a lot like Simon. Do people tell you that al the time? I bet they do."
(realizing who Simon was now, read the rest of my responses with a british accent as that's how i said them. actually, its a little more australian but she couldn't tell the difference)
"Ah, you're the first, quite actually."
"People usually say i look like Denzel Wahington," I responded.
she didn't get it.
"Well, you do have quite a resemblance", she said, then turned and walked away.

i stood there and watched her for a few seconds, trying to digest what just went down. apparently, i look enough like someone famous, at least to her, that a woman of 80+ years felt uncontrollably compelled to run across a busy parking lot to tell me so. weird, i thought. as i got into my car it seemed even more strange. isn't he the most hated man on television? i don't watch the show but i know enough about pop culture to know that simon is the judge that treats everyone horribly and is flat out cruel. she even referred to him as "the jerk on American Idol". he's despised, right? what a strange "compliment".

so, in summary, an 80 year old lady that i never met ran across a parking lot full of traffic to insult me.

beat that.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


"flutter under flurries"

the green cup,
clutched in warming hands,
emanating ripples that roll up to an edge,
then echo,
back upon themselves,
then eventually rejoin with where they begin.
as night air
that tries to pierce glass,
cannot win the fight as heat i hold fights it back,
like the sweet voice,
still whispers in my ear,
talks above the worries until they dissappear,
like butterflies,
that shouldn't have survived,
yet flutter under flurries
in light of new sunrises.

Friday, March 2, 2007


today, i had to do a house call for my job. some of the lead work around the border of a stained glass window i'd made got marred during its installation. it was up to me, "the specialist", to remedy the situation to put a smile back on our customers face. since the meeting was scheduled for shortly after when i typically take my lunch break and the house wasn't far from my place of residence, i left early and went home for lunch.

i'm never home during the day, so, out of curiosity, i flipped on the t.v., just to see what they broadcast mid-day. i can only pick up about 7 channels. 1 had a spanish talk show. 2 had soap operas. 3 had court room reality shows. PBS had Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood.

i left it there and went into the kitchen to whip up some grub. as Fred belted out the theme song in his quiet, elderly man voice, the words suddenly seemed a little creepy to me.

maybe because i've always had a weird connection in my head with Mr. Rodgers and Bob Barker. since Bob has run into sexual harassment trouble in the past, it is unfairly possible that i've passed that on to Fred. but its still a bit peculiar. i never thought so before. maybe its because i wasn't watching the little old man perform it. to just hear the had a strange, desperate, stalkery vibe.

the rest of the episode was about how Lady Elaine had gone to King Friday for a restraining order against Mr. Rodgers. she claimed he constantly pestered her and would often come knocking after oggling her through her windows with "his gigantic evil eye". since it had begun, she's developed a nervous "blushing" disorder (though Fred put the blame for her afliction on her decades of binge drinking). as he wasn't a native to the Land of Make Believe, he was appointed a lawyer by the american embassy but due to the overwhelming amount of evidence that had been amassed against him, in the end, it didn't matter. Fred won't be taking that trolley ride for a while.

oh, then he got a "special delivery" (surveillance equipment, no doubt).

[cut to credits]