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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Trainbies


 This design was a no brainer. 

Okay, the inspiration was a group of people we in the public transit industry that operate train systems affectionately call "Foamers." A foamer is someone who is so passionate about trains that they figuratively (and sometimes literally) foam at the mouth.

Foamers don't typically like the term foamer because they think we are making fun of their passion. And we are. Because if you work around trains long enough, they lose their mystique. And foamers are like one of the lowest echelon of groupies.

But still when my train pulls into my home station, I see foamers with their cameras on tripods taking photos of the locomotive as it pulls into the station. I have seen some of these videos on YouTube and listened to the glee in the voices of the foamer as the train approaches and they describe in great detail what model it is, the axle width and how many seats are on the passenger cars.

I personal just care that they are on time. 

Now I've worked with people in transit planning who are foamers in their own right. I knew this one guy who would take vacations in places with big transit systems and he would take photos of the eye bolts that are used on the overhead catenary systems used to supply power to trolley buses and some light rail vehicles.  Now granted the guy looked like Les Nessman from the old WKRP in Cincinnati television series and could likely tell you how many toothpicks were on the table if you dumped a box of them out, but still, I found it an extremely odd passion.

But passion is passion. I just wouldn't want the inscription on my headstone (the one that I've already made clear I will never have) read, "Here lies Tim, He liked trains. We think he was off the rails."

Though I don't think, "Here lies Tim, He wrote a blog no one read and told really bad dad jokes that he tried putting on t-shirts that on one bought," is much better.

What's that? If I listen really carefully I can hear a really long lugubrious howl.

At least it isn't a train whistle.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Put your best foot forward

 

Once again I revived a concept from years ago. The six feet under pun came from a December 2014 post I wrote about accidently art.  I like this image better. It uses a photo I took outside a church in Talaton, England many, many years ago. I like the starkness of it.The tree truly belongs near a cemetery.

It can be an allusion to how deep they bury you or the HBO series Six Feet Under.  No one seems to remember it since the main actor became the loveable serial killer Dexter. 

During the pandemic, six feet was the magic distance you were supposed to stay from people to avoid COVID. I had played with the concept of an ad that said, "Six feet apart or six feet under. You choose." Seems a bit overly dramatic now.  No one gives a rip about COVID now.

Though no one seems in a hurry to return to daily work in an office environment either. Funny how we pick and choose what precautions benefit us.

I think six feet under was the depth they decided on for burying someone so animals wouldn't dig them up. Seems archaic now since they put people in metal coffins surrounded by a concrete barrier. Not that I plan on being buried. Seems a waste of space, especially when everyone has forgotten you.

I have probably mentioned this before, but when I do genealogy on Ancestry.com I try my best to associate photos of the person with their name on the family tree. It seems to be so depressing to have the only memory left of you a worn stone in an untended grave.

It is sad to me that people have lost the art of passing down family histories. Even oral history would help keep people's memories alive.  

Meanwhile I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.


Monday, February 26, 2024

The garden of eating

I was thinking about Jimmy Buffett and what kind of pun I could play off with his name. That led to an "All you can" eat buffet concept, but nothing really rhymes with "eat" that makes sense with Jimmy Buffett's musical legacy. But that did make me think of the Bower's 99r restaurant that my dad used to take us to when I was pretty darned young in Boise that's claim to fame was you could get all you could eat for 99 cents.  I wrote about in October 2012 in a post called originally, "All you can eat." 

ChatGpt wasn't very forthcoming about Bower's 99r. It suggested I look up newspaper articles about it (in a conspiracy with Ancestry.com's Newspapers.com I am convinced). I just Googled it and found a bit of background on something someone wrote on Facebook. Apparently Bower's 99r closed its last restaurant in Boise in 1965. I would have been 8 years old by that time and I would not have realized my "all you can eat" potential. But it left a lasting impression upon me.

I found the image of the postcard above picturing lots of people from the past and future rushing to Bower's 99r. I added the headline "The Garden of Eating" because it was in a sense, paradise lost. At least it was for my father who I documented had a prodigious appetite but never became obese. He did ironically die of stomach cancer. So his love of eating was not without some consequences.

I imagine 99 cents back in the early 1960s was actually pretty pricey in today's dollars. My dad worked in a warehouse and had three kids to clothe and feed so taking a family of five to a 99 cent a pop restaurant was still a big deal to him. I vaguely remember that, although it was an all you can eat place, it wasn't like a modern buffet. They had a salad bar type thing, but you ordered your entrees at the table from a server. I seem to recall being instructed not to fill up on salads. 

It is a rule I live by to this day when confronted with "all you can eat" situations. But I don't have my father's appetite or ability not pack on weight, so I rarely eat at "all you can eat" palaces.  COVID eliminated many of them anyway. Inflation tapped in the final nail in the coffin so I wouldn't know where to go for an "all you can eat" experience anymore anyway.  

Even my last trip to Las Vegas a year ago revealed that buffets were a thing of the distant past. 

So I think gluttony was the original sin we as humans committed to be driven out of the Garden of Eating.

I'm kind of proud the way I closed the loop on that one.
 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Call of the wild


 Look familiar? I think most people are past video call meeting humor now. The novelty wore off quickly. But they changed us as a meeting society. 

Not that I ever thought meetings were a useful exercise anyway. Groups of people are not very effective at producing anything despite what the inspirational coffee mugs say about team work. I am willing to bet it was a single person who came up with the slogans, "There is no 'I' in team" or "Team work makes the dream work." Then a committee debated for several hours about whether they had enough words or should be turned into an acronym.

Having spent the last few days actually working with a team of people in person, I still felt like I was in a video call. Now granted I was staring at a video monitor as we filmed scenes for a 30 second commercial. And don't think the irony escapes me.

I image when I actually retire I will not have a great deal of interaction with people at all other than giving thumbs up to photos of their pets on Facebook and making snarky comments on TwitterX that no one reads.

I hope to still keep up with my blog because I have decided it fits nicely with my new understanding of Absurdism after designing a t-shirt depicting Albert Camus as a cow.

I'm living the absurdist dream here.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

I don't trust optimists

 



I am the first to admit that I am a sarcastic pessimist. I don't trust people who are always trying to put a positive spin on things. 

It's not so much that I see the worst in everything. Experience just tells me that it is more realistic (and healthy) to be a bit skeptical. And overly optimistic people just annoy me.

It does make my humor a bit too biting at times. I do catch myself listening to conversations and impulsively jumping in with smart ass comments. But lately I have tried curbing that a bit. I'm sure it is an annoying compulsion too to listen to me trying to be funny all of the time.

Still I think sarcasm is at the heart of most humor that is funny (or at least I think is funny). Which is why I'd like people to reinforce my belief that I am humorous by buying my t-shirt designs. Or at least appreciating them.

To that end I wore two of my t-shirts on the ad shoot. One was the "Walken like an Egyptian" shirt and the other was my "Groovin' Old Man" riff on Da Vinci. The ad agency people seemed to think the Walken shirts was funny. But I didn't tell them it was my design at first. Later that night I share that with them and they sort of politely nodded. I then made the mistake of showing them some of the other designs on my phone. And I began sensing that glazing over look people get when they are trying to be polite but aren't really into what you are sharing. 

It wasn't quite as bad as the reaction I got to the slide show of my life I shared with my marketing staff a few months ago. But it also wasn't an overwhelming reinforcement of my desire to be thought of a funny and creative person but has never been truly appreciated. 

Fortunately I resisted the urge to share my Blog address with any of them. The pessimist in me is firmly acknowledging that that is a side of me best kept confined to random people who Google in here, shake their head in confusion and leave.




Friday, February 23, 2024

Timewaits wept

 


I think I read that the shortest book in the Bible read, “Jesus wept.” I just came out of a 13 hour ad shoot and I think I know how Jesus felt. But I wanted to make sure I posted anyway.

And no I am not comparing myself to Jesus.

Jesus no.

I had to post this on my phone after the ad shoot. Thus the brevity and original lack of image. The ad shoot was part of my day job in marketing/advertising. I love that aspect of it, but the shoot was pretty grueling and I did sort of lose my shit towards the end when the director kept wanting to do take after take. It wasn't like we were producing stuff for the Super Bowl, but he did fancy himself an artist. 

I just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep. 

Sometimes I just think I am getting too old for this shit.

Makes me want to cry.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sing like no one is watching


 Just to keep things even, I'll bookend my lopsided inspirational quote about dancing with on about singing. It's something I wish I could do, but although I had a nice voice up until it changed at puberty I now have the range one might expect of an old man.

But I like to sing along with my guitar playing. I'm okay with those raspy songs and some country. I can do low ballads, but I am no Roy Orbison.

Though I like to sing, "Crying" in a sub optimal range that only dogs can hear. My dog doesn't appreciate it (speaking os lugubrious howls).

When I was a buddhist, I could get a pretty good chant going.

Singing, however, like my guitar playing and limited dancing is something I keep to myself (except for blog posts...which is pretty much keeping it to myself).

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Dance like no one is listening

 

I guess the question is, if you are bad at something, should you really be doing it? I know the glass half full mamby pamby people would say yes. I'm not so sure.

I went to one too many concerts in my youth where there always seemed to be some idiot dancing over in the aisle on the side of the theater. They often had scarfs. I imagine they also often had taken acid.  But regardless, they were never people I wanted to watch dance...or sing...or sit for that matter.

Perhaps the lord watches over the oblivious and those who can't dance.  

I wouldn't say I can't dance. I also wouldn't say I can dance. I grew up in the 70s and 80s when dancing was just moving around randomly to music. Disco snuck in there at one point but we all try to forget that.

I did take swing dance lessons once. And I learned the Macarena on several cruises. I also took waltz lessons before my daughter's Quinceanera.  

None of these lessons were terribly successful.

So I don't generally dance.

I do remember liking slow dances when I was in junior high and we had these afternoon sock hops in the gym. I used to try and ask girls I like to fast dance and hope it would transition into a slow dance. It was an opportunity to actually hold a girl and sway a bit. This strategy worked a few times. I always came away from the slow dances thinking I was practically engaged to the girl. They never seemed to share the importance I projected onto slow dancing (or asking them to dance period).

I don't think girls during that time had the same anxiety as boys did about asking girls to dance. Or talking to them for that matter. It was something that never became easier for me over the years  until perhaps now when I am old and no one particularly thinks I exist. So talking to them is of little consequences.

And I can't imagine asking anyone but my wife to dance anymore anyway. But at least I have a 50/50 chance of her saying yes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bite me

 



I suppose the Notre Dame people might take exception to a vampire leprechaun. I kind of like it. "Fighting Irish" seems a bit to stereotypical to me. I suppose it is better than the "Drunk Irish." But still, if making Chiefs, Indians, Braves and Red Skins into mascots is offensive, why shouldn't Fighting Irish be? 

Or Vikings, or Vandals, or Raiders or Chargers?

Wait, Chargers are something you plug in  Not sure why it is a mascot anyway. What does San Diego have to do with Chargers? 

It's okay to appropriate animal names though. Broncos, Bengals Longhorns and Dolphins don't have rights anyway.

No one seems to give a shit about Cowboys.

Now Biting Irish, that's a mascot you can sink your teeth in (or visa versa). I wouldn't want to play night games against them. Those would be pretty high stake competitions.

Pause for lugubrious howl.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Manly yes, but I like it too!

 

I do believe Irish Spring soap is still around. It is another product's commercial that I remember as a kid. There was a rugged Irish guy who used Irish Spring and apparently smelled good after a hard day doing whatever rugged Irish guys do. They made a point of saying that Irish Spring was a man's soap. But then a young, attractive Irish woman would pop in and say, "Manly yes, but I like it too."

Even then I thought it was stupidly sexist. But then just about everything was until we all woke up in the late 2020s.

I'm releasing all of my Irish t-shirts now in time for St. Patrick's Day.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

I've always like this one, but I discovered a few other t-shirt artists were hawking it as well. So I came up with an alternative that show throw off a few people who may take a while to get it if they haven't experienced the first t-shirt:


It makes my Irish eyes just smile. And who can go wrong with Sham Rocks?

I really think I rock at this.


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Be absurd


 Who says I can do your high brow humor? Though I did have to do a bit of research when I was working on this design. I always thought Albert Camus was an existentialist. Turns out he was more of an absurdist. 

Jokes on me. I don't see much of a difference between the two. 

I actually thought this was pretty good likeness of Camus (if he was a cow or a vache in French). I wonder if French cows say, "Moo." Or are they snobs like the rest of the French when it comes to their language.

I think Camus would have appreciated the absurdity of his image on a t-shirt as a cow. I find it interesting that Camus died in an automobile accident when he was 46. So he didn't get to test his theories of the meaninglessness of life if he had grown old and really had to get used to the inevitability of dying. And from what I've read, Camus was a passenger in the automobile he died in and was killed instantly. So he didn't even get an "Oh, shit" moment when he died. 

That is absurd.

And speaking of absurd, I have say something about Trump introducing his own line of sneakers. Not only is that a ridiculous thing for him to do, but they are these trashy gold lame things with an American flag on them. Who would wear that crap, especially at $300 a pair?


I think that would be too absurd even for Camus, or Camoo.



Saturday, February 17, 2024

He built this city...right


 Trumps chimp for a son is quoted as stating that his father built the skyline of New York City and now he is being treated poorly for defrauding that same city and the state. He is threatening to take all of his toys and go home to Florida where the chosen will rebuild.

Give me a break. 

The man is a liar and cheat and he finally got caught and he still doesn't want to own up to what he has done. And it will likely make him even more popular.

The world is totally f'd up right now.  Putin is putting more and more people in prison and killing outspoken opponents. And Trump loves him. Because he wants to be like Putin and be in office for 30 years without limits.

Whiney ass Tucker Carlson interviews Putin and acts like the man is just misunderstood.

And the here we sit.

What blows me away is the self-righteous indignation of his son. How dare they question his father's lies. Could it be that he is probably more concerned about his inheritance being eaten away? That is if his father had any intention of leaving any of it to him anyway.

He is also quoted saying his father is leading by divine intervention. 

Makes this image even more appropriate.