Saturday, January 9, 2010

We've Got Tigers Here

A friend's son got wooden fridge magnet animals and his favorites are the lion and the tiger.

Dearest's weekly calendar has a photo of two affectionate tigers on the first page.

I've started a small watercolor with a lion and a tiger. It's actually the second one in the last week - I did another which did not turn out and has been cut down for CD covers.

We are clearing out old stuff in our office, and I ended up taking home an old wooden box (called a cable coffin) which had "DataFlow Education Center" engraved into the lid. I founded the Education Department at DataFlow, over twenty years ago. The system we had in the Ed Center (for whose extra cables the coffin was made) was a "Tiger 16," which had to be reloaded using a technique that involved flipping a pencil switch on the mother board and faking the system into accepting a restore of a different bootstrap partition. This technique was called "Tiger tailing," and I documented our company's instructions for how to do it. I thought of it as I put the box in my trunk yesterday.

Youngest's birthday party was today and (as per tradition in this house) he got to choose what the "pin the ____ on the _____" would be. With no hesitation he chose pin the tail on the tiger.

What is going on? Is it some kind of message?

The photo here is of the tiger I drew, and the tails, which had the kids' names on them, worked into the stripes (they loved that). I scrambled the names in this photo - we don't put others' names on the web... Over in Facebook I'll post the unscrambled shot.

We had two rounds of pin the tail, walked down our driveway, with the tiger taped to the garage door. Red bandana tied over the eyes, turn the player three times one way, then one time back the other. Then they walk 25 feet to the tiger... Some were off by 12 feet or more, others (including the birthday boy, who won the first round) were only off by a few inches. We've played this at birthday parties since we moved into this house. It's always something different. Wings on the dragon, last year. Paratrooper on the chute the year before that.

They call out hints to each other, which could be right or wrong. "You're way off!" "You're going good! Keep going that way!" "You're going to miss the house completely!" "To the left, to the left, a little more!"

And then there was the most interesting case today: "Come towards the sound of my voice - I wouldn't steer you wrong!" and he was actually standing directly in front of the target, and each child saw him do that for the turns of others, but no one trusted him and walked towards him on their turns...

Youngest doesn't have much wall left in his room - I wonder if we can get the tiger, and his tail, up somewhere? We'll see. I've always thought tigers beautiful, but until I started drawing them this week, I had never observed how individual each one is - how unique their builds, faces, stripe patterns. And now I feel their beauty not only at an abstract level, but up into my hands and arms, as if I'd been touching and building tigers myself. This is one of the miracles of drawing and painting, for me.


Phoenix Berries said...

February 14 is Chinese New Year, for the year of the tiger.

Steve Emery said...

Phoenix - I started looking that up today - whether the next Chinese year was the tiger; I had a funny feeling... Then I got interrupted and didn't actually get a chance to look. Thanks for letting me know - and I'm not surprised you thought of it. Symbolism is never lost on you.

susan said...

There are only about 5000 of them left in the world now that humanity has spread into their natural environment. We become poorer as a civilization with every species we lose. Perhaps that's the ultimate meaning of tiger coincidence appearing to a talented artist.

Steve Emery said...

Susan... my eyes well up with tears when I think of how many creatures are already gone forever. And will our great grandchildren only know tigers from film?

And from artwork. Big cats feature in your work, too...

Unknown said...

Happy belated birthday wishes to your youngest!

Youngest's birthday party was today and (as per tradition in this house) he got to choose what the "pin the ____ on the _____" would be. With no hesitation he chose pin the tail on the tiger.

With a lot less talent than you, CR and I used to honor this same wish for a birthday game. When those plastic trolls with the jewels in their bellies were popular, my girls loved collecting them. One year, our youngest chose pin the treasure on the troll.

Oh, I love those memories.

L'Adelaide said...

this brings back so many memories for me...strangely, we quickly went to pinattas from pin the steering wheel on the firetruck, etc with wheels...and as my boys got bigger, the party got even wilder, as you might imagine with bigger and bigger ones, then they wanted to make their own so their bellies could be bigger still...sigh...but one kid falling out of the treehouse that was really UP in an old elm took the BD cake...ah, the memories is right! thanks for that!