Monday, February 22, 2010

Why Santa Can Never Retire to Florida

My car has a built-in compass, but I find it quite dangerous to be constantly looking down at it's needle on the console. Therefore, I stay clear of other moving vehicles and people while using it. Unfortunately, this limits me to driving around the local quarry on Tuesday nights. They really should put some more lights in over there. Someone might drive their car right over the edge and land on that other car down there. Thos poor folks must not have had a compass.

I often do donuts in the Kmart parking lot to test the compass accuracy. Man, those things are hard to fool. And the damn thing keeps pointing at the store's Auto Center, which leads me to wonder if it's a compass or something more intelligent. One day, the compass and engine heat needles started pointing at each other. Despite my reminder that "pointing isn't nice", it continued until the argument got really overheated. Thankfully, we were already at the Auto Center. I sensed a silent "I told you so".

Ok. You are correct that this is all fiction (except for the Tuesday night quarry outings). My car's compass is internal and displays it's decision electronically on the mirror. This placement is very confusing. Is the direction displayed indicate the direction I'm facing or the direction I see in my mirror? Because, I would really like to know where the ECILOP are coming from.

While sitting still at a traffic light yesterday, I noticed the displayed direction suddenly change from "SW" to "S". I didn't even move! Therefore, I can only conclude that I witnessed a rare shift in the Earth's polarity. Either that or Santa moved and took his North Pole sign with him.

Well, I could only take this as a sign from the compass gods. The message? To start writing more on my blog. Or head back to the Kmart parking lot. Thankfully, these are not mutually exclusive.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Positive Sign

Dear City Department of Public Works,

Every day I drive past your big plus sign before the town's main intersection. While I appreciate it's positive message, I continue to wonder what is being added? If this is your method of counting cars on a busy road, I think you need to move to plan B. And no, plan B does not involve a government official pressing the sign each time a car passes. But perhaps you aren't counting cars at all. Maybe you are attempting to count bicycles, bad drivers, or roadkill. Either way, I guarantee that it's not working. Besides, if a bad driver produces roadkill is that plus 1 or plus 2?

While you ponder this challenge, one whose solution might involve (gasp) technology, please consider another recommendation. Can you please add an equals sign on the other side of the intersection? I would really like to know what you are adding and how much I am contributing. Talk about a positive message. Thank you for your consideration.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beantown Jedi

Coworker #1: "On which side of the lab should we enter?"

Coworker #2: "By the loading dock."

Coworker #1: "By the dock?"

Coworker #2: "Yes, come to the dock side."

Me: "You sound like Darth Vader with a Boston accent."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

Dear Faithful Readers,

It's been a busy year, but I hope to write more in 2010. Please know that even if I'm not writing, it doesn't mean that I'm not finding humor in everyday life. I hope to share more in the next few months. In the meantime, I want 2010 to be a year in which you share with me some of your humorous observations.

In 2010, I have a few goals with respect to my writing:
a) Blog more. And read more. I'm inspired by other bloggers and writers.
b) Submit an article to the Boston Globe. I have the story.... I just have to write it.
c) *Start* my novel. Well, if you count the first paragraph then I have already started. And it may not be a novel. We'll see how long it is by the time I'm finished. It might turn out to be a one paragraph story with no end. Let's avoid this together: please help me with my research and let me know if you know anyone that has been a sports team mascot or worn a full body costume for promotional purposes. Extra points if you bring me the Gecko from the Geico commercials.

I am also going to a conference in January. It's a scientific conference, so I expect there to be a lot of good material. A convergence of very serious robotics scientists wearing summer attire in the desert in January is excellent fodder for a humor blog.

I must go now. There's quite a lot of activity in my town these days. Mall traffic and a rise in eggnog consumption have appeared. Business-sponsored fat men with rosy cheeks and red suits with reduced working hours have also been spotted for the first time since last year. And those are just the corporate executives. Coincidentally, everyone is filled with glee.

I was feeling the usual obligation to buy a gift for anyone who ever smiled at me which includes all of you (except family members who instead get another full year of my love and complaints, the gifts that keep on giving). Unfortunately, the pet insurance and subsequent funeral expenses for my pet rock (RIP Pebbles) have created financial hardship. Thanks for understanding.

Happy New Year and Merry Debt-mas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm a "The-Fridge-Is-Half-Empty" Guy

At one time or another, we have all found ourselves in the fridge searching for a TBE snack. TBE, as in "to be eaten". A deep dive into the refridgerator is never without hope that something with chocolate lives within. This typically involves moving cold items around like in the same manner one would when solving one of those puzzles with one piece missing. Which brings me to my question. Is it normal to fantasize about the size of the chocolate cake that would fit perfectly into the space known as the missing puzzle piece?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Think Forwarding: A Phone Service Feature Still in Development

Last night, I called Verizon to dispute a bill. After navigating the system with a combination of mad button pressing and yelling over the automated customer service rep (just to be heard, of all things), I was informed that the offices were closed. After questioning Mrs. Roboto about Verizon's own use of call forwarding after hours, I hung up the phone.

If Verizon's features include Caller ID and great customer service, then why don't they call me back even if I don't leave a message?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pig Flu at the Cube Farm

Some companies are issuing memos and instructional videos on proper sneezing and coughing etiquette.

I am feeling inspired to make a video too. I will call it "The manners your parents forgot to teach you". The sequel, aimed at teaching etiquette to the sick employee's healthy counterparts, will be called "Why holiday potluck lunches are your ticket to swine flu hell".

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Irony of Seeing Jesus

It was reported this morning that a woman in Methuen, MA saw an image of Jesus on her iron. Seeing the image reassured her that "life is going to be good". Since this story was probably leaked by a local named Jesus DeJesus, I'm going to play Devil's advocate (literally) and ask the pressing questions. I would start our one-on-one interview like this:

"Hello. Where were you when you saw the image of Jesus on your iron? By chance, were you over there next to that enormous pile of freshly printed iron-on Jesus T-shirts?"

My next post will be about the morning I saw Jesus in my espresso. But, I was thirsty so I drank Him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm part Mexican.

A few thoughts....

I'm part Mexican. At least for the 24 hours after I eat a burrito.

I recently asked myself, "should I go to a conference in Palm Springs CA in January?". That's like asking if a frog's ass is watertight.

I've been busy planning my new business. I'm going to open a sub-optimal bakery. I will acknowledge that I am not a professional and that the quality is good but not great. That way, when you need to take a baked good to a holiday party, dinner party, or work you can easily claim it was yours. Because I will guarantee imperfection. Or your money back.

Annoying cell phone kiosk salesperson: Excuse me, can I ask you a question?
Me: You just did. Bye.

And some notable moments from a recent trip to the surgical OR:

Nurse: What brings you here?

Me (pointing to head): Assist with a cyst? Nurse (without smiling): Never heard that one before...

The surgeon later said, "You should have an open mind." With that, he made thus true and removed two cysts from my scalp. I am now more well-rounded.

The surgeon asked me how I was doing halfway through the procedure. I told him that I would be napping if it wasn't for all the sharp objects in the room. He said "Me too".

The surgeon warned me about potential scarring and then asked me if I grew my hair out. I explained that it was usually shoulder length but that I had it cut short for the procedure.

Me: What was that? Surgeon: Your cyst popped out and rolled down your head and neck.

Surgeon: It's about the size of a chick pea. Me: As in hummus? Surgeon: Definitely not.

Surgeon: You're back?!?!? Me: Yes. I was halfway home when the anesthetic wore off. The feeling of blood running onto my ear was a hint that the incisions weren't completely sealed. There's bloody tissues all over my car. Surgeon: Oh, how's your car? Me: Let's talk about the head first, please.

Me: Do you validate parking? Receptionist: Did you see a doctor here? Me (pointing at bandage wrapped head): Nope. Just came for the cafeteria food. Wrapped my head like this to fit in. And park for free.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dum it Down

Dum Dum Lollipops are the best in their class primarily because competitors are only left feeling frustrated when they attempt to call this market leader silly names. We took a survey.

"Every time we tried namecalling with those Dum Dums, they always won up front with their name," said one competitor.

"After awhile, we stopped competing with Dum Dums and went after Smarties. There was more room to knock 'em down," replied another competitor.

"You are what you eat, so we ate Dum Dums and Smarties at the same time. Quite frankly, we were confused" said Anonymous.

"We named one of our products Stupid Stupids, but we weren't nearly as successful as those Dum Dums," emailed another company.

"We have a lot of respect for the Dum Dum family. But, we plan to take them down with Idiot Pops," said another company.

"We were going to sue them for trademark infringement, but we were just too melancholy" said a Glum Glum representative.

"Honorable honorable," was the brief reply from the president of "The National Association for Protection of Stutterers Stutterers" (NAPSS) when asked about the Dum Dum name.

"We collaborated with them on a product called Dum Gum, Dum Gum, but the market response was disappointing" said the marketing manager for Gum Gum, Inc. "Fortunately, NAPSS bought all of our inventory."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

She Called Me a Peeping Tyler

At my house, "leaf peeping" is another way of saying "opening the blinds in the family room". However if someone named "Leaf" ever moved next door, the phrase would require a lot of explanation.

Get Granite Counters Through Our Elliptical Machine Trade-In Program

Dear Omnee Granite Inc.,

Please accept my application for your active 55+ community. I apologize if this is too forward-thinking for a family business currently in the countertop business, but I assure you that your path is obviously clear. Let me explain.

About 5 years ago, I went to your location which was a fitness equipment store and bought an elliptical machine and weight machine. At the time, it was called Omnee Fitness and I was very active and ready to transfer my workout routine from a plush gym to my cold basement. It mostly worked out well, especially since there wasn't anyone else to see me working out in my ski jacket and boots. Pushing those small keypad buttons with my fat winter glove fingers also made for an interesting workout.

I recently drove by your site and noticed that you have changed your name to Omnee Granite. (I will note that I am not using your actual company name, because I don't want some muscle-bound granite installer to get upset about this blog entry.) I have not yet been inside your faux kitchen showroom, but I would assume that your inventory has also changed with your name.

Your transition from a health and wellness business to a kitchen remodeling operation is in line with how we grow as people. In the same way that years ago you and I were both thinking "exercise", we are now both thinking "food" instead. Hence, our simultaneous shift from ellipticals to cooking surfaces. Both are related to a different type of remodeling, no?

Therefore, it only seems appropriate that together we explore the retirement living business. I have enclosed my deposit check made out to "Omnee Active 55+ Living". I am reserving my place early, because I know that you will be hugely successful. Especially with your fully equipped fitness rooms and beautiful granite kitchens.

Regards, Tyler

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Correction: The World Does Revolve Around Her

Yesterday my pink-obsessed 2-1/2 year old daughter ran around the house with a bottle of amoxicillin yelling enthusiastically, "It's pink like me! It's PINK like ME!!!!"

Her name starts with the letter 'S'. This morning she ran around the house with a large wood-carved 'S' yelling, "S starts with me! S starts with ME!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lazy Gardening: A Transferrable Trend

Dear Neighbor,

Is everything ok? I haven't seen you in awhile and I noticed that a couple planters in your yard have been toppled over. They've been there quite awhile, yet the flowers appear to be well-maintained. I also noticed that a small wheelbarrel full of flowers has been left abandoned near your lamppost. I wouldn't have been concerned, except that it appears that something happened in your life that caused you to only push it so far. You should know that it's missing a wheel and has been painted purple in your absence. It's also quite small which leads me to wonder if something is wrong with your legs that first prevented you from addressing the planters and subsequently made it too difficult to finish the yardwork. Meanwhile, the wheelbarrel's cargo of marigolds also appear to be thriving.

While you are on you are on the mend, I hope that you will have time to consider my apology. Given the state of your yard, this seems like an opportune time to make a confession. At last year's Superbowl party, I accidentally toppled a bowl of chili behind your couch. On my way to find paper towels, I was distracted by a huge bowl of wings. I never did make it back to the chili. Sorry. If you haven't discovered it by now I suspect that like the flowers in your toppled planters, the chili is thriving. You should also have your nose looked at. But while we commiserate about our similar plights, I should also admit that I left a big plate of chicken wing bones on one of your end tables. I hope that you found these soon after the party. If not (or your recent limitations have prevented you from placing them in the garbage), shall I come over and paint them purple?


Thursday, October 15, 2009


A delivery truck was tailgating me on the way into work the other morning. I wasn't driving slowly, yet the truck was right on me. As I peered in my rear view mirror, I swear the driver of the truck was in my back seat. Although my first reaction was to strap him into the carseat, hand him a half eaten PB&J sandwich, and warn him not to kick the back of my chair, I realized that this was just an illusion. The backseat driver that is, not the bag of half-eaten sandwich.

As I do with most tailgaters, I wanted him to eat fender. So, I applied the brakes and slowed down to 75 mph. In most great action stories such as this one, my brakes would promptly fail and we would both go barreling down the highway until one of us jumped off a ramp over the police roadblock and land in a shallow reservoir while the other did victory donuts in a concrete drainage canal . However in this true story, I got off at my exit ("Exit 365. Urban Sprawl / Cubeville") with the rest of the 'muters and stopped at the light. Luke Duke however went whizzing by me towards his own misery.

As the truck passed me, I noticed the large Johnsonville sign on it's side along with a picture of the company's popular sausages. A moment later, I noticed that the back of the truck was displaying the company's current marketing slogan, "Tailgateville". I realize that this is referring to the age old tradition of parking one's car at a sporting event or concert and unloading enough beer, food, and propane tanks to earn the respect of complete strangers.

However, I am also acutely aware that the term "tailgate" also refers to the age old tradition of driving really close to the car in front of you because it might help them get to their destination 30 seconds earlier. If they are really good tailgaters, you can read the print on their "Successful completion of the Offensive Drivers course" certificate proudly hanging on the gun rack.

I always wanted the phrase "of sausage fame" to follow my name, but for now we'll give it to Johnsonville. Their fame has come with their success, which must be the result of very effective marketing campaigns.

I imagined a 30 minute training video in which Mr. Johnsonville IV explains to a classroom full of astute drivers that they play an important role in communicating the "Tailgate" theme. That they must make sure that, as the faithful front line of the company's public image, they get "Tailgate" on America's brains. Other drivers should want to go to "Tailgateville" and eat sausage. How better to transmit this message than to run them off the road into a drainage ditch? In that moment, they might be thinking "BrokenCollarbonesville" or "HopeICanDial911WithMyTonguesville", but subconsciously they will be thinking "Tailgateville". Make sure you don't kick up too much dust, because we want to make sure that the target can see our marketing slogan as you speed away.

As with every training video, the students are reminded that "Sausage is not a style of life. Sausage is a lifestyle." Apparently, so is eating fender.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Putting Your Money Where Your Loveseat Is

"Someone spilled coffee on one of your loveseats," I informed the saleswoman.

Sensing the possible misinterpretation of my seemingly inappropriate comment, I clarified "In the showroom over there. One of the couches has a toppled coffee cup on it. The brown stuff made a big mess."

Saleswoman (smiling): "Oh, no worries. That's fake. It's there for demonstration purposes. It helps make the point that coffee spills and such are no big deal with our fabulous fabrics, spill-proof additive, and protection plan. It's plastic. Completely fake."

"Right. The real coffee spill is on the same couch as the fake one. There's two," I replied.

"WHAT?!?!? Did someone really spill coffee on the couch? Where? Oh my god? Is it a big mess? I'm going to have to remove it from the show room. Show me!" she reacted.

"Just kidding. Test over," I said as I waved on my way out the door.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

3 1/2 Car Garage

I have been busy selling my house and looking for a new one. One particular house advertised a 3 1/2 car garage. I'm disappointed that we didn't see the house before it was sold because I *really* wanted to see the 1/2 car.

Thanks for hanging in there. I do plan to pick up my writing again. I might have to pack my good intentions for my pending move, but as soon as I find my clothes, something to cook with, and the kids amongst the boxes, I plan to start writing more frequently. In the meantime, tell me a story, introduce yourself, or help me increase my Followererership by telling your friends that I do did be writing good. Just not recently.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm Looking for Mr. Buffet. Mr. Breakfast Buffet.

"Can I help you?" asked the hotel employee at check-in.

"Yes. I would like to purchase a person," I replied.

"A person?" she asked.

"Yes. Just one. Do you have anymore?"

"I don't understand."

"That's a separate issue."

"I'm sorry, but-"

I interrupted. "Your sign. It says $59 per person. I only have $100 with me. I can only afford one unless you will give me the second one at a discount. The sign also says that they each come with their own breakfast."

"Excuse me, but I'm going to get my manager."

"If his name is Wade, he's in the pool."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hair of the Tyler AND Foot-in-the-Mouth Disorder

My hair was getting long (~1/8th inch in length) along my head's equator, so I went to the barber during lunch. Actually I went to a SuperCuts, where even with a head like mine you can feel special. Don't think for a second that I didn't ask when they would open their AverageCuts store for those of us on which the Super is normally wasted. While in the chair, the hair stylist (again, any variation of the word 'style' is wasted on me) pointed out that I have a cowlick. I told her that for all of these years I have blamed genetics, when in fact it may have been a grazing cow that cleared the top of my head. This also explains the origins of the popular bovine phrase "Hair of the Tyler" moo'ed on farms across America and commonly used the morning after a cowlick binge.

When the pediatrician told me that my daughter had foot-and-mouth disease, I told him that he didn't know the half of it and started to explain how inappropriate she can be in public places. When he reminded me that she is only two years old, I realized that there is a difference between foot-and-mouth disease and foot-in-the-mouth disorder. I apparently have the latter.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

There's a Genetic Reason I Haven't Sold You a Tyler-o-Pedic

My writing has recently taken a more technical angle. I'm writing grant proposals to conduct an important genetic study. This is a study whose results will provide conclusive data to support a well-known hypothesis never tested as of today.

I have been collecting my very preliminary data, most of which was jotted down on the back of a Dora the Explorer singing birthday card after a few hours of beer pong. I would have collected more data, but Dora's singing drove me to drown the card in the toilet. My data collection is therefore somewhat incomplete.

My genetic study will confirm that members of families that own and run furniture stores inherit one of two genes from their successful parents. The majority of their offspring will inherit a gene that prevents the family member from recognizing the embarrassment of their own relatives. The remainder, a very small percentage, inherit a gene that compels them to star in every single one of their own commercials despite their pitiful performance and the feedback of their marketing department, employees, and anyone else unrelated to them.

The combination of these genes clearly results in a successful business. But, I suspect that it's their business acumen and strategic development that has allowed them the opportunity to get in front of a camera and not a care for a moment about little things like humility or the reputation of their teenage kids.

A few mutations of these genes have also been documented in the literature. One particular mutation causes furniture store owners to lose control of their bowels every time the director yells "Action!" Another mutation results in the frequent outbursts of laughter at the simple mention of a "love seat" followed by hours of pointing at the film crew's bums and yelling "I'll sell you a better one!"

Once my grant proposals are accepted, my research will enter the next phase. This involves collecting genetic material from my subjects. I plan to show up to the commercial filmings, which must happen twice a day given the frequency of new ads, and collect biological samples. This should be easy to collect, given the stain-proofing substances on all of their furniture. I'll simply wait until they break and swipe a hair off the love seat. And in this case, I do mean the furniture.