BlackBerry marketing idea

December 28, 2012 at 11:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Until late 2010 I had never owned a cell phone.  In Summer 2010, I was about to head down to Homer.  I’d been on a couple fun dates with Michele in Anchorage a few days before.  Now she was inviting me to her place for the weekend where I supposed we would find out if we really liked each other.  Standing in the kitchen talking to her on my red 1980s wall phone.  “Will you call me when you’re getting close, so I will know when to expect you?”  “Umm, well — I could try…”  Then, wishing to sound more affirmative: “Yes.  Yes, I will call.”  I pictured myself borrowing somebody’s phone at a scenic overlook.

As I suspected, there is just one single pay phone between Anchorage and Homer, at a small grocery and liquor store in Anchor Point.  There was one at the Soldotna Fred Meyer but it didn’t work.  A coin jammed in the slot and no dial tone.  I guess no one cared that it was broken.  At the Safeway there I could see the place the phones used to be — a couple of wires sticking out the end of conduit pipes at the top of two rectangles of darker paint.  I could barely hear Michele [my hearing isn’t what it used to be].  She said, “I’m glad to hear from you!  I almost didn’t answer because I didn’t think it was you!”  There was a volume button in the middle of the receiver but her voice got no louder after pushing it a few times in both directions.

These days, I send her text messages to tell her I’ve left South Anchorage; made it to Wildman’s Store in Cooper Landing; in Soldotna getting some gas, need anything from the store?… In Anchor Pt. and ETA arrive Homer.  I have become a convert of the convenience.  And my photography with real cameras has fallen to nothing while experimentation with various iphone photo apps has gone through the roof (at the same time, the iphone has become the most popular camera on Flickr).

Talking to the AT&T rep yesterday about upgrading from an iphone 3GS to a 4S.  (AT&T is the only logical choice in the 907.)  He sounded like he was reading through a script prepared as late as the Eisenhower era.  Ernestine could have done this justice.  “I would like to thank you for your patience and participation, Mr. Clark.  We have just another minute to finalize this order,” he said in a manner and accent that made me think of Herb Tarlek, or a used car salesman from the same era.

Dreaming tonight.  There was a female confidant who took me aside and starting asking personal questions in a way that made me want to tell her more.  What kind of phone do I have?  “It is an iphone and I just renewed its contract.”  “Oh nooo!  We really need to get you a BlackBerry!  You will soon realize why it is so.”  I was skeptical.

Then I had to go to a meeting, only instead of our bland little conference room with the white walls and flat screen we are sitting at cafe tables and tall stools in a grand gallery atrium of a big city museum.  There is a male receptionist bantering loudly with a series of calls and visitors.  And instead of my usual co-workers there are some of my most admired Alaska artists, and we are all casually sketching and plein air painting at the foot of a giant sculpture, a segmented curve that looks like a Schoppert interpretation of a calving glacier.

We soon adjourned to a smaller, more intimate gathering.  A multicourse meal seated around an Aalto vase-shaped glass table.  My confidant presented my new phone.  It is a brown and tan replica of an early 1960s Swingline stapler, at about 2/3 scale.  The one that’s between eras, with the top looking like the late ’60s/’70s and the base like the ’40s/’50s gray ones.  (This must have been inspired by seeing my co-worker’s new tape dispenser that looks like a 30 ft tape measure, as I was leaving the office yesterday.)  The stapler makes a soothing chime-y buzz and I answer it by taking off the top part, holding it by the handle and speaking into the slot where the staples would be.

This time the AT&T guy is so disarmingly charming that we are quickly fast friends.  Someone comes by to ask if I have enough ice for my drink.  The people around the table are laughing, telling jokes and stories and carrying on with exaggerated gestures.  The AT&T man’s inquiries are so discreet I forget I am even talking about a cell phone contract.  He is the Great Gatsby and I am one of his weekend guests.  I hear a man near me say to the person next to him, the people who fall for this pitch tend to be super successful in life.  Most don’t have the patience or imagination.  (Neither can they convincingly whip a stapler out of their pocket and hold it up to their ear, eh?)

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Apple tree down!

December 9, 2012 at 8:09 am | Posted in anchorage, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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apple tree down

The apple tree in my back yard blew over after a big wind storm with 50-75 mph sustained gusts.  The trunk snapped most of the way through at the ground.  There was quite a few trees down across the city, and some other damage.  The power was off for a week at some locations.  I first thought the tree was a total loss, but looking closer and thinking it over, I wondered if there was a chance it could be saved?

Soon, thanks to the miracle of modern social networking I was talking to arborists, landscape architects, park planners and others about how to go about tipping it back up and encouraging it to re-root itself.  The funniest comment was from my old architect buddy who now lives in Hawaii — he said, they fall down sometimes just like we do and they can get back up and keep on living!

The first frost arrived less than a month later.  In mid-October there was another wind storm, not as bad as the first one.  The tree, now tied up with seven wires and anchored with rope to wood stakes whipped around in the wind but came to rest back in its proper vertical orientation for the first time since it blew over.  I did a little bit of pruning as well.

We’ll see what happens in the Spring — if it comes back to life and to what extent.  Still hoping for the best.

tree guy wires

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