How to choose shoe size…or, why you should have a website before your TV ads say you do

I don’t watch much television anymore, but I do try to catch the occasional local newscast. If you do the same, you may have seen ads running for the business portrayed above. They appear to have a regular schedule booked in the 5 o’clock news. Being the curious sort, I often check out local businesses’ websites when I see them advertised somewhere. In the case of this tree service, I guess I’d better bone up on my Thai.

This is a trimmed screen shot of As you can see, there’s nothing about tree services on it. It’s occupied by a squatter who has filled it with spam posts, mostly in Thai. The featured article, according to Google Translate, is “How to choose shoe size”. There are a couple of English ones at the bottom. Oops.

Frankly, part of the responsibility for this snafu lies with whoever produced the ad. I’ve produced hundreds of television commercials in my career, and a plethora of other videos and multimedia products. Nobody’s perfect, most of all yours truly, but I try to always check every URL (website address) I’m asked to put into those products, regardless of who provided it. The last thing you want to do is have the black eye of a wrong website address or contact information on the product. This ad has been running for weeks on local television, but apparently nobody has caught this? I sure hope they can get it rectified…either by securing the domain and getting a website up or by at least getting the doggone ad changed.

So, if you’re looking to find your shoe size, types of alloys, glasses that fit your face, or high back chairs…apparently C&N Tree Service can help. It could be worse: they could be putting out cereal boxes with the number of a phone sex line on them by mistake!

Found a misspelling, but not the one I expected

Years ago I spotted this truck along the walking trail on the west side of the Missouri.  I started at the trailhead in the Captain’s Landing township and walked past this truck parked in someone’s backyard.


Naturally, something jumped out at me: a serious error in the word “Bismarck”.  Since this wasn’t typed, I didn’t really call it a “typo”.  I figured someone in the sign shop got a phone call after the first R or something.  There obviously was no keyboard or computer on which to blame the error.


tibesans_truck_27079I’d often wondered what the other side of the truck looked like, but, not wanting to go rooting around in someone’s back yard, I figured I’d have to find out another day.  That day came recently when, on another walk along the trail, I noticed that the truck had been moved out into the open.  It was time to “innervestigate”, as Tigger says in my boys’ Winnie the Pooh books.


tibesans_truck_27083Both doors are significantly faded, but it’s easy to see that the other one contains Bismarck in its properly spelled form – they even remembered the C.  Then, on my way back to the Bizzo, I came across one that I had driven by innumerable times and never seen:

mckenzie_typo_27109Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the alternate spelling of McKenzie Drive in southeast Mandan.  This is the sign at the intersection just south of Moritz.  How in the world did that go unnoticed for so long?  I have no idea…I’d like to think strict vigilance to the traffic in my surroundings.  Maybe the sign itself is a recent replacement, although the new ones are lowercase. I don’t know, but I spotted it this time.

So, I went out in search of a misspelling.  I found one, but certainly not the one I expected.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

mandan_dumpster_27077Driving through Mandan this weekend I was surprised to find this dumpster along 1st Street.  That’s a pretty cool tribute to Mandan history!  It just goes to show that there’s a never-ending supply of neat stuff to discover around Bismarck-Mandan, no matter how much time one spends poking around with one’s cameras.

Now, as long as the NCAA doesn’t declare it “Hostile and Abusive™” and start telling North Dakota we’re banned from post-season play, I suppose it’ll be able to stay…

Ifff it’s the same on both sides, is it an accident?

I noticed this sign the other day and had to do a double-take. Yep…three Fs. 50% more fffun, I suppose. Of course, I had to check the other side, and yes, it does have the same anomaly. That raises the question, is this a ploy to catch the eye, or a mistake somehow duplicated on each side of the sign?

That reminded me of this mistake, on the door of an old truck near the hiking trail along the Mandan side of the Missouri River. It isn’t a typing error when it’s hand-painted!

I don’t know why I find such sign oddities so fascinating, but it was kind of fffunny to spot this latest one.

Restrictions, you say? They’re coming next week…whatever they are (Load)

The City of Bismarck has put out a notice that load restrictions on the city’s roads will start next week. It gives me the perfect opportunity for a little good-natured ribbing over the “Restrictions in Effect” signs traditionally seen around Bismarck this time of year. Restrictions of what nature, you ask? If your only source of information was these signs, I suppose it’s anyone’s guess.

I first saw these signs go up a few years ago (and every Spring since) and thought they were pretty funny. It’s because of the load restrictions I mentioned, but the signs are omit that detail. It’s only after someone figured out what was missing (maybe they read this blog) and wedged a little “Load” in there that the signs made sense:

This is how the corrected signs look. I am still occasionally surprised to find an unmodified one posted. As you can see in this previous post, I was almost second-guessing whether I’d even seen the signs without the word “Load” inserted. If there are any of the original vague signs remaining, someone’s going to have to dig through a drawer for another “Load” sticker!

The ubiquitous leaf, revisited

Logo design follows interesting trends. A while back the “swoosh” was the predominant feature of way too many logos, and another overused feature was the leaf. Case in point: the photo above.

There are three leaf logos in this photo, but there’s also a leaf on the Applebee’s sign obscured in the background…and Kirkwood Bank was just to my right as I took this photo. That’s five leaves within a one block radius, a new record in my book.

I wonder if their aware of this embarassing error in they’re TV commercial

When it comes to local television commercial production, you often get what you pay for. I say this because often the production is simply a giveaway in order to secure the airtime buy. Purchase a rotation from station X, and they’ll produce your ad for nothing. Perhaps that’s what happened here (thanks to my friend Mike for the catch and the photo). In any case, I’d be pretty ticked if I was Fleck’s Furniture and my television ad made it look like I had a limited grasp of the English language. In case you’re wondering, I don’t know which TV station aired this ad.

One reason posting has been light this week is that I’ve been pretty tied up with a 3D animation job that requires what little spare time I’ve had available. Modeling, lighting, and animating are fun challenges but very time consuming. Even now, at 2:44am, I’m typing this as I watch the animation build frame by frame. Good thing I took a combat nap earlier in the evening.

One more thought on the subject of grammar: when consoling a grammar freak, say “There, their, they’re…”

A photographer’s favorite street sign

Poking around in northwest Bismarck I came upon this sign for Adobe Drive. Of course I had to stop and grab a photo; I’m a huge Adobe fan since I use Creative Suite products at home and at work for video, audio, animation, graphics…the works.

That got me thinking…if I was a developer and wanted to plat out a neighborhood, it’d be great to put together Adobe CS product names like Illustrator Avenue, Premiere Lane…or something double geeky like Flash Drive!

Of course, there are naming conventions for streets in Bismarck that would disallow that, but it’s still fun to think about.

Hopping aboard another meme

I was a “gamer” in the sense of the Atari 2600, Apple // and Commodore computers, a beta tester for a few Mac game companies, and begrudgingly even X-Box. While I don’t own a modern game system or even have a clue about the major PC games out there these days, I do still have vintage game systems hooked up in the house and garage and a healthy collection of games on my iPod Touch. In that respect I guess I’m still a “gamer.”

It must be a deeply rooted trait, since I had one instinct as soon as I saw these road markings denoting new “bike lanes” in certain parts of Bismarck. Okay, one instinct besides the apparent waste of money. While there are two or three different sets of markings, concerning in that they lack consistency, this particular set looks like a set of “boost arrows”. These features, appearing in any number of driving games, cause wild acceleration once they’re driven upon. Sounds right up my alley. Sadly, they are of no effect outside the virtual world.

Interesting side note: although these things are only weeks old, many of them are badly faded. It took a while to find one worth photographing. Perhaps the City Commission could have reviewed the bids more closely or something, because the paint clearly is not holding up in areas of significant traffic.

In any case, I figured I’d hop on board a common internet meme, select “Impact” as my font, and bang out a quick little graphic. Note the historic Provident Life Weather Beacon in the background. My contribution to “teh Intarwebz” this week is complete. Have a great weekend!