Friday, December 26, 2008

World War Z - As True as Story as any Other

Here's a short post cuz it's a holiday for me. And look...I've had time to READ.

If you haven't read it you simply must investigate a spectacular piece of literature called World War Z. No matter what your opinion of zombies or Armageddon or post-apocalyptic nightmares may be this book is most definitely worth your time. It's a 12 hour read, if you're hungry and how many episodes of fill in the blank can you watch in that amount of time, anyway?

Don't like to read? Read this.
Hate zombies cuz they're stupid? It's not about "zombies" .... it's an extended metaphor.
Don't like gore? This is more political than gory.
Can't afford it? Ask around and borrow it.
Think it's for geeks? Only geeks who like to study the human psyche and spirit.
Figure it's another bit of pulp some Hollywood dork will just turn into the next blockbuster starring some old fart like Bruce Willis? Not a chance. Well, not the first part. This is not pulp, despite the recent resurgence of zombie pulp covering the bookshelves. And here's hoping to the supreme light that Hollywood just leaves this one alone! (As if.)

Now, if the Brits got their hands on it and turned it into a mini-series, we could talk. They did such a stellar job with (WARNING GORY IMAGERY) Dead Set.

This book is a collection of interviews from around the globe after a 10 year pandemic destroys most of our planet. Billions of people dead. Some undead, some killed by their own governments, some killed in combat, some suicides. Grim stuff but brilliant stuff, nonetheless.

Max Brooks where have you been hiding? WTF that this is your first "novel"? WTF? That I should be so talented to come up with this! And, damn, it's smart. SMART. Thank the supreme blast of energy that you're at least 36 years of age because if you were any younger I'd lose my poo. That means I'm not too far off from accomplishing something significant like this book.

(I'm supposed to write a book, see? And I keep hearing that you have to write from your expereince. CLEARLY THAT IS A LOAD OF DUMP! It's not like this Max Brooks guy can have possibly lived any of THIS? Come on. So now I know I can write a book and it can be about anything. I wish I wrote this book. I do, I do!)

Er...yeah, the book.... eerily prophetic. And retrospective at the same time (I think those things go hand in had anyways). And proof that when it comes, whatever it is, whenever it is, we will not be prepared. We're too cocky to be prepared. We're kind of too sure we'd be prepared to be prepared. We're too busy navel gazing and spitting over the fence of our neighbours and shooting snuff films and buying stuff we don't need and watching Survivor and stuff....

This book scared the poo out of me. Not because there were zombies eating folk - whatever. Seen it a thousand times in a thousand movies and graphic novels and whatever. It was scary because every reaction, every proposed solution, every possible retaliation or evasion or ANYTHING we could come up with was mostly USELESS.

I'm so rambling in this post but who cares? You could be reading the book instead of reading this post, you know?

Max Brooks thought of everything! You don't think so? I dare you to read it and come up with a solution to the zombie problem that wasn't already covered. I don't care who you are or where you come from...Brooks has got you covered. It's like this guy went into a trance and transported himself to different places on Earth and envisioned a swarm of zombies coming at him. He transmogrified into a citizen of every country he could think of. Every region on our planet. The most remote locations. He's a soldier. He's a soccer mom. He's a sensei. He's a minister. He's in Chile. In Japan. In Slovakia. In Antarctica. In Canada. In North Korea. In France. He planned. He stragegy-ized. He armed. Every piece of technology he could think of. Small armies. Large armies. Traps. Dogs. Water. Trenches. Battle axes. Heavy metal.

Anything you can think of he covered.

And it's all for naught. The zombies just keep coming. Under water. Outer space. Under ground. Over hill and dale. In a Chippendales! (Okay not in a Chippendales.)

And let me tell you something else before you say "OUTER SPACE?! COME ON NOW YOU'RE TALKING PULP FICTION FOR SHIZZLE!...Before you say that, think about it...some government somewhere would eventually put a team out there so HUSH. The book is INSANELY realistic. So real it will scare the poo out of you too, Shmoo. The creepiest part about it is that it could happen. Oh, maybe not the walking dead could happen. No matter what the military system, political system, cultural system....ANY SYSTEM any where on the planet....NO SYSTEMS....there's some poor schmuk telling his/her tale from that particular perspective. And it's terrifying.

But surely a country as populated as China can take on a mass of zombies? No.
But surely the Arctic is a safe haven? Nope.
But surely a country with nulcear weapons? LOL.
But surely people pulled together and strategy-ized and .... and.... not so much.

This is one of the most gripping, couldn't put it down, eerie, creepy books I have......Yeah yeah, you've heard this all before just read it already.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

OH! Canada

Previously, I wrote about our Canadian culture breeding boring TV and now I'm revisiting that. I feel like I want to stream about that.

And, oh...yeahhhhh....I'm not calling it blogging because I don't really edit much and I don't necessarily read this with a critical eye when I'm done. So I'm calling it streaming instead of blogging because it's so stream of consciousness-y and all.


Anyway...what was I streaming? Oh yeah, that Canadian collective unconscious called NICE, is all well and good but it has direct repercussions on things like our television and our government and our syrup. That begs the question "What happens when we stop being NICE?"

Who's just nice anyway? There has to be more to it that just NICE. That's too vague. And the just nice guy never gets laid. And if he does guess what the review is - "It was nice." Great. Sounds like the perfect reason to waste some KY.

And since there's begging involved let's ask again - What if we stop being NICE? Do we get good TV? Yes.

What's good TV for NICE people who stop being nice???? PARLIAMENT TV! That's what. Good TV in Canada means Question Period - Prime Time. It's like COPS but without any running. It's a bunch of politicians saying "FREEZE or I'll vote your head off!"

You just know a bunch of these guys were sitting around at the cottage with a beer thinking "Hey....what's with that American election being so INTERESTING? An election can be interesting? People can get emotional and....and....CARE? How do we get Canadians to care? We could try a cous. I guess. Ok. Sure let's call the opposition and make sure we don't wear the same thing and then form a coup."

Yeah that's right I'm streaming about all those guys on the hill. You know we should call this drama THE PARLIAMENT HILLS. Cuz there's back talk and rumors and lying and he said and she said and no cool music but's like Spencer and Heidi all of a sudden.

Except there is no all of a sudden. You don't just wake up one day and there's a tree on your front lawn ALL OF A SUDDEN. Somewhere, some time, someone had to plant a seed and day by day that tree has been a-growing so there's no all of a sudden.

Why should Americans have all the fun elections? Why do we get our measly in-and-out-like-the-wind October 14th? And they get THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ELECTION ever? We want our MTV too! THE PARLIAMENT HILLS coalition deal was inevitable. So quit your "WTF happened?" attitude, Prime Minister Harper. You knew they were going to elope. You knew that relationship might blossom and they'd come and to usurp the throne. It was inevitable.

All that being blogged...In good old fashioned Canadian tradition we canceled the entertaining TV before it even began and now parliament is suspended until we get distracted by something else. Thanks guv'ner. Now what are we going to watch? Well there's always the NEW Anne of Green Gables. Starring that great Canadian actress Shirley Maclaine. Oh wait she's not Canadian. Maybe she's part of that alliance that's trying to take down our country and burn our flag! She doesn't even look Canadian. I don't trust her. Vote her out!

Nah. Keep her in. Maybe she'll have an out of body experience on the show and something good will happen on that show. On the plains. In olden times. In the school house. Or on the path. Or in the barn. Or in town or something.

Maybe it will be like Skins.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Non, Je Regrette Rien!

Yeah so yesterday I watched La Mome okay and WTF that has to be the most saddest life story I've ever heard! For real that is like the REAL version of Eddie Murphy's aunt Bunny falling down the stairs - but not funny. Edith Piaf lived one bad thing after another after another after another. It was like torture watching this movie. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret watching it, it was just harder to watch than I expected. It's like that cloud level in the Simpsons latest video game for DS. Or the first time you try the caves level in Little Big Planet.

Spoiler spoiler:

So little Edith....
Abandoned by her mother who left her with her mother
Abandoned by her grandmother and then rescued by her father
Abandoned by her father who left her to live with his mother in a whorehouse
Was finally taken to breast by a whore
She went blind
She went unblind
Was then torn from that relationship by her father who forced her to work in the circus (no, really)
Abandoned by her father again
Lived on the streets and sang for food
Became an alcoholic
Got discovered by a gay guy who put her on stage and became her surrogate father (WTF Gerard Depardieu of all people. Can anyone say whatever happened to???)
She gained some fame
He got murdered by the mob (???)
She got taken in by another “agent” who treated her like garbage but taught her to use her arms (and somehow that was crucial)
Somewhere in there she met a man, got pregnant, abandoned her own daughter who then died of menengitis
At some point Piaf became a super star singer and met Marlena Deitrich who named her the soul of Paris (probably not true....and LOL of all things NOT true in this film I bet this is the only one)
Meet a boxer and fell madly in love but he was married so when he won the championship of the world he abandoned her and went back to his family
.... but was so in love with her he decided to go back to her.....and died in a plane crash on the way
She was struck with horrible rheumatism that warped her spine
She became addicted to heroin to deal with the pain
She began to collapse on stage on a regular basis but
Her fans were so enamoured with her they just didn't accept that she couldn't perform
She got liver disease and she was convinced she was nothing without her voice, she sang herself to death.

that's all based on fact. that's her story.

Marion Cotillard won the oscar for this she had to try. (Meryl Streep couldn't have done a better job if she killed one of her own for x's sake! Honestly Cotillard's was one of the best frikkin' performances I've ever seen so if you can handle how tragic the thing is then go for it.)

So does that mean when XXXXX XXXXX plays me in my life story she'll win the oscar?

Exterior Scene: The playground at Venerable John Merlini Catholic School....1982...a 12 year old is contracted to do her first illustration job - a portrait of Judas Priest. She charges a mere $20 to her friend's big brother - a high school student. On the day she delivers the product....nay THE ARTISTIC MASTERPIECE THAT SHE POURED HER HEART AND VERY SOUL INTO!...he give's her two bucks, grabs the bristol board and drives away in his Camaro, never to be seen again!!!!!!!!!!

Eat your heart out Edith Piaf! That's drama! And the oscar goes to......XXXXXXX XXXXXX.

(I haven't decided who will play me yet. Suggestions are welcome.)

And she has to be hot.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Here's a rant that might irk you but that's life, yeah?

TF is going on the UK that we don't got? Why is their TV so much better than ours? I'm not trying to be a hater here but, without even TRYING, I can list a number of UK productions that kick the arse of Canadian television.

Watch Skins. You'll have to download it because you'll not see it on your telly. Fat chance. Morbidly obese chance, as like. Basically, it's Degrassi meets Trainspotting meets Dangerous Liasons but wholly Bri'ish. And I flamin' love it.

Hold on just a minute before you go all "Yeah you probably watch Degrassi and 90210 redux." No. I don't. In fact, I never watched Degrassi. I never watched 90210. I never watched Dawson. No teen drama has ever caught my attention -- even when I was in my teens. OC, no One Tree Hill. Nothing.

This one is for the books and if I didn't happen to hear about Skins from my friend Liz, who's married to a Brit and loves all things British....I NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THIS SHOW. Why not? I have a 17 year old in my life. I see her once a week! We talk pop culture non-stop. (Keeps me in touch, sure but I'm also just a pop-junkie.) And believe you me, I'm going to ask her if she's ever heard of this show.

But then I stop and think...what if she downloads it? Is it appropriate for a 17 year old? And then I realize why it will never air on the CBC -- even I am second guessing the content. And I realize that I am such a product of my flamin' culture. Canadian culture.

The ever elusive Canadian Culture. What exactly is it besides politeness and friendliness? What is it beyond Anglo vs. French behind closed doors? BECAUSE WHAT EVER IT IS IT MAKES LOUSY TV.


And then you get something like Twitch City, which was decent, at least. And it gets pulled. Cancelled. Whatever.

And in the UK they have Skins.

We have Anne of Green Gables, which may as well have been produced by an organized religion like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Not that I have a problem with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I don't. But I don't want to watch CTS. (Okay they show re-runs of The Facts of Life so I do watch CTS. BUT I SWEAR IT'S THE ONLY TIME I DO.)

I swear.

We've got Emily of New Moon. Oh my god that could have been about werewolves eating people alive and turning the whole town into bloodthirsty werewolves one bite at a time. But no....and I quote from a website:

Based upon the trilogy by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily of New Moon follows the life of orphaned Emily Bryd Starr who is sent to live with her stern Aunt Elizabeth and kind Aunt Laura.

She becomes friends with Ilse Burnley, whose mother mysteriously vanished when she was a child.

Nearby lives Teddy Kent, whose mother is overbearing and to complete...

Do I even need to provide you with a link to that information? Do you need to read on? Anne of Green Gables. Emily of New Moon. The Beachcombers. Heartland.

I understand it caters to a particular audience. Ok. We have Corner Gas....

And the UK has Absolutely Fabulous.

Even when we try and go metro we get things like Train 48 and Metropia. Believe you me I gave both of those shows their shot. I give them all a shot. But if the whole set shakes when a door is slammed I get huffy. Oftentimes, Canadian production value is so POOR you can hardly expect our TV talent to stay north of the border.

We have North of 60. They have Prime Suspect.

It just plain SUCKS. (Did you get that double entendre there?) Pay attention cuz I'm going to weigh in on where the Americans fit in. JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE TO.

All reality TV aside. All of it. It's a different category for another day.....

They got the money but they do a lot of copy cat work. Sometimes it's good (ie Three's Company). Sometimes it's bad (ie Absolutely Fabulous). Words: Paris Hilton BFF. Saved By the Bell. Beauty and the Beast.

Throwing good money after bad. Throwing good money after bad.

Their saving grace is cable. Two words. HBO and AMC. More words. Breaking Bad. Mad Men. The Sopranos. Damages. Californication.

We have Kattz and Dog.

'Nuff said.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the ONE says "There is no fold."

There is no fold. Forget it. You know how I know there's no fold? You can't bend the Internet. Yet.

Here goes - a blog post after a night of bad, mad, wicked, cool insomnia.

You can't bend the Internet so there is no fold. Look, line three and I'm already repeating myself. There's nothing wrong with scrolling, neither. You know how I know? There are scroll bars on the Internet and you can grab them and use them. In fact, you can click and drag them. You can click and hold on an arrow. You can move up and down to see.

So there is no fold.

Resolution is only relevant in that we need to design for the lowest HORIZONTAL common denominator. Scrolling left to right is really only allowed when we are being "artistic". We aren't usually "artistic" when we're building dotcoms or ecoms or recons. So if you're building a website for frozen yogurt with a cute little animated girl who runs from side to side and floats around and make the world lovely then sure you can scroll side to side but for now, let's assume you should avoid that. Why? Usually there's some kind of dock or some controls and stuff at the bottom of your screen and side scrolling can be irritating as a result. Usually there's enough junk at the top and bottom of your screen so you don't want to add more. Blah blah blah. But as far as a fold is concerned. I defy you to find one. I defy you to tell me the x and y coords that people are people stretching and shrinking their browsers to these days.

Oh sure there are stats. There will always be stats. There have always been stats. And stats are better than they used to be. Have you ever been part of an old-school survey? Taken the call? Filled out the papers? Kept track of your viewing habits with a pen? Yeah. Stats are better now because Google "knows". Google sees. Google measures and that is great and I love that stuff cuz it's just sick how Google has a third eye. Kind of. But until Google knows what mood I'm in when I fall out of bed and haven't slept a wink, there is no fold.

Maybe it's because I'm tired but I'm very pleased with the Matrix-spoon-fold-bend-quantum big idea here. Am I the only one that sees it? People who have been sleep deprived begin to hallucinate within the first few days. Let's look that up.....(time passes)

Research subjects who have undergone sleep deprivation experiments typically begin to hallucinate after 72–96 hours without sleep. It is thought that these hallucinations result from the malfunctioning of nerve cells within the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area of the brain is associated with judgment, impulse, control, attention, and visual association, and is refreshed during the early stages of sleep. When a person is sleep-deprived, the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex must work harder than usual without an opportunity to recover. The hallucinations that develop on the third day of wakefulness are thought to be hypnagogic hallucinations that occur during "microsleeps or short periods of light sleep lasting about one to ten seconds.**

Back to the present.

Gone are the days when people surfed with their browsers full screen. Gone are the days where a 14" monitor at 8x6 was our stake in the ground. There are too many computers and too many browsers and too many users to determine where the fold is any more. It's over. Let's stop talking about the fold and just agree that we'd like to have as much RELEVANT content at the top of our page as possible. That being said we should stop trying to jam in 3 levels of navigation. Stop trying to force leaderboards and bboxes and second bboxes and all that above the fold. You can't say where the fold is so let's just agree that as much content RELEVANT content that we can have within the first 750 VERTICAL pixels and keep it about 900 pixels wide and call it a day. Are those ads relevant? Yes. Then we have to accomodate for them. Is 3 levels of nav relevant? That's another post altogether.

What we need to do if we're going to push forward is just take a breath and think. If we just keep relying on what the next best resolution is, we'll keep talking about the Internet like our experience of it doesn't change with
  1. technology
  2. how many apps we have open
  3. what we're surfing for at that moment
  4. who just jumped on and off our computers
  5. whether the phone just rang
  6. whether i just got distracted by an "allow window to be opened?" prompt
  7. if i'm on my laptop and connected to an external monitor
  8. if that changes my settings
  9. if it's sunny and there's a glare on my screen
  10. what browser i'm using based on what OS i'm using
  11. based on what works in safari vs. explorer vs. firefox vs. the next new thing
  12. based on what awful site resized my browser in the first place
  13. how many pop up windows just took over my screen because that's not in my prefs
  14. or someone turned that off without telling me
  15. cuz my kids are using my computer
  16. or how i had to change my prefs for my grandfather who is half legally blind
  17. and he wants to play poker
  18. or i didn't sleep last night
So how can we be sure and how much time do we spend talking about the content below the fold when really we should be developing strategies regarding what's at the top of the page and WHY it needs to be there and what we're trying to communicate and what technology can we best put to use in order to ensure that what we're trying to communicate is communicated?

(Scroll down.)


** I took that information from here.

(Now scroll sideways...kidding.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Snap, Crackle, Blog

Use it or lose it.

Blog every day for 20 minutes no matter what you blog about and you're technically fit. Finger fit. Tirade fit. Non sequitur fit. Yammer fit.

What am I talking about? The ability to express yourself. The means by which to hone thy skills of yakkity yakk!

Don't blog and you turn into a heaping mound of blubber. But listen can't just blog for 20 minutes a day. You have to make blogging part of a BALANCED DIET. It's like the box're gonna get a pow pow powerful good good feeling if you combine your Cheerios with other stuff. Don't just eat them out of the box! What are you, an infant? You afraid you're going to choke?

Just do it. Commit.

Sure, I'm talking to myself here. But you'd only know that if you bother to check. And I'm talking to you too. Not just about blogging but about making blogging part of your balanced diet.

The diet has to include other stuff.

The list of other stuff that makes you a well rounded citizen of the web:

1. You have to read. I don't care what else you decide to do you had better read. Don't give me that sob story you're just about to give me. Pick up a BOOK and read. Not articles on line. (Sure, read those too but I'm talking about paper here.) Read a book. You can't work your brain if you don't read a book. You know what? Maybe I'm a snob but I don't care WHAT you think about A Clockwork Orange if you haven't read the book. What is the origin of the inspiration? Do you think Kubrik pulled the movie out of his hole? He read the book. It struck him in the cortex and he saw god. God told him how to tell the story another way. (Sure I'm making that up but so what? That's just how I describe a process. Call it what you will.)

2. You have to research. That's why the web is belong to us. The porn is for them. The research should be for YOU. Does this make any sense? Is it too non-sequitur for you? Try and follow along. Pretend you're reading Ulysses. Or listening to Kate Bush sing The Sensual World. Don't know what I'm talking about? Then here's the perfect opportunity for you to find out. You can look it up. But that's just Googling. What I mean by research is ... GO LEARN. OMG it's at your fingertips. Literally. It's like your biggest wish has come true and you act as though you're sitting 'neath the Sword. You've got this gift you mustn't squander.

3. Put your pride aside and consume all programming on digital cable even if it's only 2 minutes of every show. (Satellite for those of you who are within eyeshot of the CN Tower. Ooooooh I've now given away my geographical location. Oh no!)

Okay enough with the telling you what to do besides blogging. But I will reiterate that your blog will be horribly boring if you don't do things like DOING THINGS SO THAT YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT. Otherwise you're just writing in your diary and don't do that.

Start thinking about blogging like this. Go back in time and find a long copy ad and replace whatever the hell product you see with words like web and click and tech and blog and user and surf. Just like this:

You're the master of the liveliest and most luxurious technology ever offered at a low price when you sit at your desk and surf the web.

You can step ahead of all other low-priced forms of infotainment, for you have at your command the fastest accelerating medium in the field.

You can zoom over the crest of a steep hill in high with greater power and ease than can the suser of any other low-priced technology.

You can click more swiftly and effortlessly- blog over smooth or rough roads with a greater degree of analytics luxury - thanks to the web's exclusive CLICK here technology. Blog royal.

Something's telling you, "better eye it, try it, buy it" and enjoy the thrill of using a medium that out-values and out-performs all others - a blog!

(The copy is re purposed courtesy of this ad right here)

And then read it and believe it! Trust it is the truth. Count backwards from 10 until you make it true. You have to believe in the power of greyskull. If you believe that it makes a difference then it does. You may reach someone.

The problem is no one has ever said that blogging is something special. We like to distract ourselves with shiny objects and this is something we've defined MISTAKENLY as a shiny object and we need to start accepting that blogging is crucial and exceptional and powerful. We need to stop taking it for granted. Okay so start thinking about it like it's a product you can't live without. Or a product that will improve your life. Or get you laid. Or get you a job. Or get you that raise. Or whatever....just start thinking about it like it's the best new THING like all the other new THINGS that have come before it but have stuck around and become a part of our every day lives. Just do it. Pretend it's a clothes washer:

New Blogging Freeware saves as well as while you surf....sleep....or just play!
Here's the only app unite ever developed to save as well as spellcheck your one continuous operation. A single setting of the Blog prefs and your ideas are thoroughly published, then completely ignored....while you're waiting....while you're working.....while you sleep. No wondering, no worrying. You're feed burner will tell you who and who is buying your thinking in seconds.

The Blog works in warm or hot weather...indents paragraphs, creates numbered lists, bullets safely....and allows for BOLD and ITALIC accents - all automatically. In addition, you have an automatic spell check that takes only a few seconds to tell you you forgot everything you ever learned in elementary school english class.

Before you even consider twitter or facebook, you owe it to yourself to try Blogging. See a free demonstration right here.

Hey by the look on your grill I can see that you think that last one was repetitive but all I did was modify some long copy from an old ad so don't shoot the messenger.

Look how easy it is to apply blog as a verb, adjective, ingredient, toenail, death of a disco blog blog blog anything and everything is blog:

Do you believe in blog?
In the name of blog what are you talking about?
Tubbs and Crockett on Miami Blog
Blogdogs and hamburgers
Blog blog blog the man down

Nike: Just Blog It
Apple: Blog Different
Amex: Don't Blog Home Without It
Burger King: Blog It Your Way
GE: We Blog Good Things To Life
Fisher-Price: Play. Laugh. Grow. Blog.
Milk: It Blogs A Body Good
Macdonalds: We Love To See You Blog
Rice Crispies: Snap, Crackle, Blog

And on the 7th day blog rested.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

get your hands of my teats, ben and jerry!

Okay finally something INTERESTING happened in the media! Elections what elections? No no I mean INTERESTING in that it was enough to really make me wanna jump up and BLOG. Throw open my window and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!"

What is up with PETA? They want Ben & Jerry's to stop using cow's milk and start using human breast milk to make their ice cream? WTF? Who is running that place? Hugh Hefner? Larry Flynt? Raquel Welch? Seriously. That's just gross. The only people that should drink breast milk are babies and new age parents who want to tell all their goofy new age friends "Of course I TRIED it. There's nothing wrong with it. It's....sweet."


With all the unethical treatment of animals all over this planet THIS is what you're brainstorming on, PETA? You can't save a bunny from being tested with a shot of hair spray to the eyes? Or a rat from having a human ear sewn to it's back? You have to focus on dairy cows who probably have nothing better to do than milked all day anyway? It's not like they're cute or anything and it's not like they don't WANT to be milked. They're gaggin' for it, as my friends on Coronation Street say.

Okay, while I agree that cow's milk is not meant for human consumption WE DRINK AND EAT IT ANYWAY. I know we don't really have the enzymes required to break down the lactose. I get it. We shouldn't smoke. We should exercise. Fine. But I don't see how I'll get healthier by eating someone stranger's breast milk. I don't know WHERE SHE'S BEEN! I don't want a stranger's breast milk in my ice cream. Not in my cheese. Not in my roux. Not in my birthday cake. Not in my STARBUCK'S frapplattamochaccinasloppa.

Never mind the health. THINK ABOUT THE MENU! Even on a really basic level you totally RUIN the Ben and Jerry's list of flavours. No matter how you look at it these basic items are never going to be the same:

  • Coconut Seven Layer Bar (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Everything But The...(Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Oatmeal Cookie CHUNK (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Karamel Sutra (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Berried Treasure (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Berry N'ice (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Oh My! Apple Pie! (Now with Breast Milk!)

So fine. The old list is RUINED. What do you do? Rename stuff? That's even worse. I DON'T WANT TO SEE THIS LIST OF FLAVOURS ANYWHERE. EVER.

  • Boob Batter
  • Triple Ariola Chunk
  • Bananas on the Mum
  • Chocolate Chip Boobie Dough
  • Boober Pecan
  • Chunkey Mummy
  • Cinnamom Buns

I have to believe this is some kind of joke. Some kind of mistake. Some kind of sick prank that PETA is playing on the whole www. Are they suggesting we herd a bunch of mommies and feed them grass all day and wait 'til they moo for relief? Hey, let's herd them in the farthest reaches of Alaska to save time. It's pretty cold up there. That's animal friendly AND cost efficient. Supply meets demand. Frozen t(r)eats. "Is it just you or is it cold in here?" "No, it's a bit nippy."

Yarf and barf.

Go home PETA. Go home and sleep it off because you must have been wasted to come up with this idea. Too many shrooms while you dance your ritualistic purple circle of healing dance in the forest. Back to the Shire with you! Shut 'er down before it's too late. Know your limits. You're going to embarrass yourselves and puke in the cab. This is taking the milk of human kindness way too far! Don't make us bust out any more puns!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Game Shows, Television and the effect on your BRAIN

I was at lunch with a colleague the other day and I was ACCUSED of watching what he labelled MINDLESS game shows. Sir, to that I say pistols at dawn. Pistols, I say!

First of all let's start by addressing television as a technology. M'kay.

Though very few studies have been done, we do know that while watching TV your brain goes into an alpha wave state, which is relaxing and is similar to a hypnotic state. You become more passive, less alert. The feelings of passivity do not end when you turn off your TV. Back in the day that was because your TV had cathode ray tubes, which produced a flicker that the conscious mind does not detect. Kind of like the flicker from a campfire.
Theory suggests that because HDTV involves staring at a more detailed picture the alpha state will be even more pronounced. You will be even more entranced.

This ain't no joke, kids. Human beings "habituate" to repetitive light-stimuli light flickering light. If habituation occurs, then the brain has essentially decided that there is nothing of interest going on. The left half of your brain is in such an alpha state it's like being asleep. The left half is for logical thought and analysis. The right half of the brain, which deals with dream images, fantasy and intuition continues to receive TV images but because the bridge between the right and left brains has been "turned off" due to habituation, all the processing of the information is "turned off". You're not learning anything you'll be able to recall. In a nutshell the neurophysiology of watching television amouts to this: you space out.

Even if you're watching a documentary on sharks, the technology of TV and the inherent nature of the viewing experience actually inhibit learning. Very little cognitive, thought-based learning takes place while you're watching. Very little recall. Very little analytical thought. So that means when you watch any TV program you're doomed to numbness. That includes documentary television, people. That includes Mutual of Omaha's National Geographic. That includes Polkadot Door. That includes Flip my Frikkin House or whatever.

You know what that mean? The more that political issues are confined to television, the less knowledgeable the public is about them. The voter cannot process information he or she is receiving. And you wonder why they keep voting republican. They're not learning!

Love the sinner and not the sin, Gladys because all of it, ALL OF IT is an OPIATE for the masses. That's not a cliche, it's a fact. And from now on I'm not calling it traditional or mass advertising. If it goes on the telly then I'm calling it opiate.

Now that we've got that everwith -- UP WITH OPIATES!


1. Match Game
I don't need to tell you why this is great. See for yourself and imagine this episode if it starred people like Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Fox, and whoever else your little heart desires. You may not recognize them but these folks were real celebrities who stepped down off their pedestals to play with the common man, matching punch line for punch line. Rim shots welcome. They were film actors, broadway stars, TV celebs. You name it.

2. Jeopardy!
Staying power people, staying power. This is a tough game for folks with METTLE. Jennings anyone?

3. The Price is Right
If it wasn't for the other two shows this would be right on top. What a concept! It's brilliant. An hour-long TV ad that people watched daily for decades. You can't measure the ROI. Remember to spay or neuter your pets!

4. Password
Hey this is a hard game, people. Try it for yourselves. The one word clue is not an easy thing to master. Some people were really good at this and some people were terrible, which is why you switched partners. When you got stuck with a lemon, it cost you.

5. Let's Make a Deal
Canadian Monty Hall. Really. If this guy isn't the love child of a magician and a car salesman I don't know who is. No matter how silly it might look now, there are countless websites and videos devoted to the mathematical explanation of what has come to be known as the Monty Hall paradox. Come on.

6. Pyramid
Uh uh. Well if it isn't a winner then explain this.

7. Hollywood Squares
You know why this show was amazing? These are celebrities. No, like famous ones. A list celebs. The ones in the tabloids. And they didn't mind looking like dorks. And they were smart enough to be funny. And they were accessible and they didn't make 15mil just to show up and wipe their arses. You couldn't recreate this if you tried. No one would bite and if they did it would suck because the biters would be has-beens. Er...take Whoopie's version of Hollywood Squares. Sucked. New password. Sucks. 1. Because they made it FAST and EASY for their fast food nation. 2. Because (with the exception of Betty White, the queen of game shows) WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE? I can't tell the difference
(with the exception of Betty White, the queen of game shows) between the contestant and the celebrity. Alfonso Ribero? Give me a break. He ain't no A lister. The show is based on B listers (with the exception of Betty White, the queen of game shows).

So what does this all boil down to? Why am I even blogging about this?

You can't put someone in a BOX because they watch reality TV vs. game shows vs. sitcoms vs. documentaries. It's all the same flicker.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the good, the bad and the oh no you didn't

***Warning. You might find sarcasm on this page.****

What is up with this?

Is it phenomenal because they've broken the laws of physics with that type size? Is it phenomenal because they had enough insight to code it in 1992 and beam it into the future? Like, is this the first cryogenic site? Has it been dormant for 15 years and now it's come to life because the Internet is "hot"? Is it like a colony of termites that has been resurrected? Is there wood to ground contact? Or is it phenomenal because the projections on the number of people attending versus the pittance they've spent on the site will put the ROI through the roof? In that sense, it may very well be phenomenal.

But that's not what they mean by phenomenal. I have seen these two speak and they're smart and successful. Fine. But if they're offering up phenomenal in my life, your life, people's lives, why does their site look like it was designed in very dim light by a student who is taking maths (plural intentional), who just got dumped by his girlfriend, and has a huge paper cut and who's in the hold of a tall ship in the middle of a hurricane and is being gnawed at by plague-ridden rats that look like Liza Minelli?

One word to consider before you hit the PUBLISH button on your site is brand promise.

What is so phenomenal about using the EXTRUDE filter in Photoshop to make the price seem PHENOMENAL? Does that extrude filter make you feel you can trust these people? Who wrote the badge on the left that says you can get "Two inspirational speakers for the price of one!" Does that inspire you? Did they trawl the dregs of infomercial writers to find the only one left wearing a button down sweater and a fedora? The one whose pants ride up to the top of his rib cage? The one smoking that stank-pipe who calls the woman in his life (read, receptionist) "little girl" as he stares at her "bosom"? Did they find that one writer? Is he cryogenic too? Is he a George Romero corpse? Because nobody writes that stuff unless they're looking to sell unwanted hair removal systems or knives that cut ripe tomatoes or things that make the beef jerky. Does this type size make what I'm saying more phenomenal? What if I add !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and ?!?!?!?!?!?!? and some NEW NEW NEW NEW. What if I show ACORNS? That's a good metaphor for...for growing and...saving up....and falling far not from the tree and gum - together at last!

"Have you seen the burgeonverger!?!?!?!?!?!? It's phenomenal."

One word to consider before you hit the PUBLISH button on your site is credibility.

So this blog is rather a stream of consciousness and it's sometimes hard to get through as a result. I know. I know. But it's supposed to be. And I'm not selling anything other than thinking and ranting and violins. (See previous posts.) The grammar on that site is absolutely hideous. Just read the first paragraph. It's not good. It doesn't really make sense. Not really. It's a self-improvement site! How am I supposed to believe I'll self-improve when what I'm reading is so badly written? The conference is a few hundred bucks and the folks running it will be selling those who've paid their few hundred bucks another few hundred bucks worth of material they can't live without! Confused? Don't be. If you go they'll try and sell you a bunch of stuff they've written. More of what you already heard and paid for - but chocked full of daily exercises so you can put your learning into practice ... and blank paper so you can take notes in the blank paper book you just paid $30 for. Some of their products will be priced in the HUNDREDS.

But if that's the kind of writing I'm seeing on the site, why would I pay for more? No one has taken the time to edit it. I wouldn't even buy a thong that isn't stamped INSPECTOR 35 and that only costs a coupl'a bucks.

One word to consider before you hit the PUBLISH button on your site is integrity of your product.

I have no problem with this "self-improvement makes good business for the common man" business that's surfaced due to the consciousness raising of Umrricah and all that. Fine. But the least you can do is have someone edit your sh!t so I don't feel like I have to turn my head and cough when I sign up. Leave me some semblance of dignity when I write you the cheque.

See you at the conference! Be there or be an acorn!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LHC ate my homework

I will officially be using LHC as my excuse for anything that can go right or wrong in the next 10 years. This is an amazing opportunity because just about anything can happen as a result of that beam of proton smashing zingdiddlything they fired 'round the planet.

Sample excuses:
  1. "I was on my way to work when LHC activated my dyscalcula and I lost my sense of direction so I'm going to be a bit late. Where am I NOW? Vegas, yeah. I got turned around on the 401."
  2. "I know I told you the house was termite free but the colony has jumped from one part of the string to another and in a parallel universe, they're eating your home. LHC treatment is $15000."
  3. "Yes we agreed the deadline for layouts was this week but what you need to understand is the space time continuum has been warped by LHC so the workback sched is now a workforward sched. I'll need you to sign off on that, by the way."
  4. "Are you there LHC, it's me, Margaret."

Et cetera.

For those of you who aren't interested in LHC and what's been happening take a look at any news feed on Earth and ask yourself "Why?" This is important stuff, people.

Samples of who it might be important to:

  1. If you're a creationist, it's important because you can argue that this whole experiment is as blasphemous as the island of Dr. Moreau. Didn't he get what he deserved that wicked, hubris sucking freak?
  2. If you're a contrarian, you argue that it's a waste of taxpayer dollars or whatever. Just fill in the blanks here.
  3. If you're a Kabbalist, you can argue that you knew this experiment would happen 4000 years ago and "So what? You want I should I lie down and die, already? I own houses in each of the 10 dimensions."
  4. If you're Morrisey from the Smiths you can say "Some Protons are bigger than others and some Protons Mothers are bigger than other Protons Mothers. Regardless, the sun shines out of their behinds."

Just form an opinion about this. If you don't know what it's about, find out. How you'll see the world around you will change. People say that and you're so used to seeing things the way you see them that you don't get what a big deal that is. It's COLOSSAL. LHC should stand for LONGTIMELOVEYOULONGTIME HOLY CRAPCOLOSSAL. I'll say it again: It will change the way we all see the world. No, really. THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD WILL CHANGE. Did I mention you might gain a different perspective on things? Or more like, your world will change whether you like it or not. "What is she on about?" you say? Um, birth canal, anyone?

It will be like being born except you'll be aware of it this time and you'll have to deal. Your birth was a shock you repressed. YOUR BRAIN WON'T LET YOU REMEMBER CUZ IT'S TOO BIG BIG BIG. You can't hide this time, man! You're going to have to deal with the stupendous impact it will have on your life. Not because it proves or disproves the big bang. That's only one aspect of the conversation. It will change your life because it's quantum, man. It's like, acid but for realz. It's about parallel dimensions, man. Like, Jumper and Memento and stuff.

From WIKI:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of protons with very high kinetic energy. Its main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the Standard Model, the current theoretical picture for particle physics. It is theorized that the collider will confirm the existence of the Higgs boson, the observation of which could confirm the predictions and missing links in the Standard Model, and could explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass.

The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and lies underneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over eight thousand physicists from over eighty-five countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. The LHC is already operational and is presently in the process of being prepared for collisions. The first beams were circulated through the collider on 10 September 2008, and the first high-energy collisions are planned to take place after the LHC is officially unveiled on 21 October.

Although a few individuals questioned the safety of the Large Hadron Collider in the media and through the courts, the consensus in the scientific community is that there is no conceivable threat from the LHC particle collisions.

Okay so what has LHC done for me lately? What do I care from collisions?

Scientists figure that if micro-black holes, which are smaller than the nucleus of an atom, exist, they can be used to determine the number of extra dimensions in our world. If scientists smash two high energy protons together they could theoretically make a micro-black hole. They can try that with the LHC. Once created, the micro-black hole decays quickly and emits over a dozen different kinds of particles such as electrons, neutrinos and photons, which are easy to detect. Using the predicted decay properties of the black hole into neutrinos, scientists then do complex equations and determine if our universe has 10, 11, or more dimensions, which is even too many dimensions for conventional (irony here) string theory. People, this is a big deal.

All that being said some major science dude that's kind of in charge says that even if there's a black hole created it will be, like, mosquitoes colliding. I don't buy that. And who on Earth put that guy in charge? WTF with the mosquitoes colliding thing? Bad example, Scientist Sir. Everyone knows how annoying one mosquito can be, let alone two so you might want to pick another creature for your metaphor. Make it like two bunnies colliding. We love bunnies. Who doesn't love a bunny? Where was I?

So science dude is trying to allay our fears telling mosquito metaphors because people are screaming "Don't go into the woods!" at the screen right now. Science gets a bum rap if it gets a rap at all and here is the first time science ain't got a bum rap and you just can't ignore this can you? And speaking of bum raps...holy mother of all that is good and pure what the eff is this all about:

LCH Rap Video by some white girl science student...oh no you didn't...

Did that freak you out? It was meant to put your mind at ease. You want to talk Armageddon? That video has a squillion hits on yoube. That is something to be a'skeert of.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Integration in the Ad World

Picture it...

There's a corner in BigCity, North America. Walking down one side is Lady Tradagency, in a suit, carrying a briefcase, chattering on her PDA about Bigclient and their TV ads and media buys and placement and deadlines and budgets like 6 mil.

Around the other side is Boy Digitalshop, on his roller skates, wearing an iPod, listening to Radiohead, thinking about updating his blog and following Don Draper on twitter and deadlines and budgets 60K.

Neither of them is paying attention to their surroundings and BLAM! they collide at the corner and her chocolate bar goes flying up into the air, spinning, somersaulting whooosh whooosh until PLOP it lands right in his open jar of peanut butter.

"Hey you got your digital in my Mass!"
"Hey you got your TV on my web!"

Integration is born!

That's how random things can feel when you try and integrate "new media and old media" or "interactive and traditional" or "chocolate and peanut butter" or "hohan and ronson". What's the plan, Stanley? What is the plan for integration? Will it work if there's no plan or is integration supposed to be a randomly successful accident. Some people are allergic to peanuts. What about them?

I just had lunch with someone in the biz and we had a long chat about people and how to staff up a shop that's integrated. The irony is, you can't staff up a shop that's integrated because they're already staffed up. Up to here. Up to there. With people that don't necessarily know what the plan is. With people who don't necessarily care. With people who don't know "where to start" because they think the web is about technology and they don't know how to "program".

I'm not being critical. I'm pointing at the big pink elephant. Look there it is.

Integration is the big pink elephant. I'm sorry but it has yet to work the way everyone says it's going to work and it's been nigh on 10 year that people have been aiming toward it. It's the ever elusive bull's eye, the v.gasm, the Yeti, the Easter Bunny, you name it. It amounts to a promise that cannot be fulfilled. Sorry. Get rid of it. Don't use the word. Try ANYTHING else but you'll not staff up a shop with the promise of integration because it doesn't exist. It can't exist because the whole idea of it is wrapped in MYTH. I don't mean falsehood. Look up the meaning of MYTH. Ask Northrop Frye. I mean integration is fraught with beliefs that someone just poof created out of thin air because they needed to believe. Not lies. Beliefs. Myths about integration. The myths you create around integration are the myths that negate it. Now what? We can dispel a few of they myths to start.

Mythbusting 101 point oh:

As in "Oh! I didn't know that." As in " Oh! crap we just blew our budget." As in "Oh, God. Save us from webmaggedon."

  1. If you don't know how to program a website, you don't know how to think for the web. (Bust: The web is more than a website. Cut it out.)
  2. Advertising on the web is putting a banner ad on line so the creative teams can just think "tv ad but smaller". (Bust: Is wearing make-up equal to plastic surgery?)
  3. Creative web folk don't understand TV. (Bust: Most people who work on the web did nothing but watch TV, do nothing but watch TV, eat drink man woman TV. We get it. We just don't work in that head space.)
  4. Web is the same as TV because you see it on a screen. So you should use it the same way. (Bust: Come on.)
  5. Creative folk that work on MASS hate people who work on the web because they are trying to steal their jobs, budgets, awards. (Bust: You put your job at risk the moment you become afraid you'll lose your job. It hinders your performance. Clients are moving the budgets. There are plenty of award categories that have been NEWLY created for newer media. When did they stop giving out awards for TV? MASS folk are not haters, they're just new at this web stuff. Stop thinking they're afraid of you, webbies!)
  6. Teams of 3 or more multi-disciplinary creative people won't get anything done and they can't meet deadlines. (Bust: The only reason they don't get anything done is because they're afraid to share ideas and lose the credit they oh so deserve because their egos are too big. Nothing to do with interactive folk vs. MASS folk. Same happens with two competitive teams who specialize in TV. Same happens when two competitive interactive teams work on interactive. Creative people are competitive. We have big egos and that is not a criticism. It's an observation, an elephant of a different colour. Look up the definition of the ego, it's the voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough and that you need to get credit for every little thing that comes out of your mouth because if you don't bad things will happen. Like....that OTHER guy will get the credit and lawdy forbid...the coveted AWARD.)
  7. Buying a web shop and making them sit in your office makes integration easier. (Bust: This is obvious. No it doesn't. Just because you get staff that knows web doesn't mean everyone will play nice. Or even know how to play nice. What are they supposed to do?)
  8. Integration means adding interactive to a MASS campaign. (Bust: Try this on for size: Force your team to come back with an idea that is born on and lives on the web and THEN after they sell that idea....only THEN can they come back with TV and print. I dare you to get your teams to do that from now on. By your team, I mean your whole team, including account folk. Keep telling people integration is about Flash on the web to extend a MASS thought and see how strong your results are. Back to the Easter bunny and the banner ad.)
  9. If you build it they will come. (Bust: Just because you say the team is integrated doesn't mean you'll get to hire that all-star. It's been a while. People are moving around. The secret is out that integration is not as easy as it seems.)
  10. Winning web awards when you didn't win them before means you're integrated. (Bust: What are your results? What is the purpose of the award? What did it do for the brand? There are 100+ questions I could ask here that makes this a MYTH of epic proportions.)

Is anybody seeing integration is a snake eating it's own tail?

Solution? If I had the answer, I'd be RICH. We can only try something else at this point but I'd start by asking people what they really think. Sure, I'm on the interactive side so I have my opinion but I have yet to meet someone who says integration has worked. Or is working. Ask anyone whose worked at an Agency that's integrated if they're really satisfied with what is happening around them. If they feel they're standing in a place they can identify.

Maybe changing the language is the place to start. Try calling it something else. Integration is not a good word because we've tainted it. Once you stop telling the world that you've got an integrated shop, you have a clean slate. Tabula rasa. You know....


Call it an existentialist shop, I don't know. Just try something else and let it come from THERE.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Electric Light Orchestra. That is a very cool name for a band.

Also, I'm going to say that beyond how cool the name is is how cool the music is - in that holy crap someone had an idea way as opposed to that hey they dropped acid and used a MOOG way.

That's what is missing from the series of tubes, the web, things ON THE WEB - an idea. Where's the idea? What's the idea? I keep harping on this because it's so important to have one. I don't care how good an album is, it's better if it's a concept album. Even if I don't get it. I don't need to get it. Tell me what the idea is and I'll give you kudos for having one that you wrote about/around. Now I'm not talking about an idea based around a fantasy novel you happen to have read, although there's nothing wrong with that. It's just that by now, they've all been read and sung about, if you know what I mean.

Seriously, if one more song is written about Mordor and Sauron I think I'm going to barf up a Hobbit. No more LOTR concept albums, people. It's gone and done. Past. You're not going to top one you're not going to bottom one. Don't do that any more. And calling your song My Precious doesn't count so don't tell me you have a great techno ballad you want me to hear called Go Ask Samwise or Merry Doesn't Live Here Anymore. I ain't listening. (Okay I'll listen but I might LOL and then what will you do? Hmmm? GHCTM?)

So the reason we're talking about ideas is that I think I finally figured out what it is from the 70s that we need to bring to the www. Are you ready for this? Violins, man. It's violins. We need to bring 70s violins to the www. Build me sites that have the same qualities that violins added to concept albums from the 70s and I'll show you AWARDS BABY. Better than that, I'll show you sites that people love. Sticky ones. With eyeballs. That people want to make out with!

So how do we bring 70s violins to the sites we build? That is such a tough question but the answer is simple, which then makes the question simple too. Circles. I'm going in circles. That's code and if you don't know what it means that is okay because I'll put it another way. Go download the first E.L.O album. Listen to it. It doesn't matter if you like it. It's one of their best and that is general consensus amongst people who know. Some people know more than you do so go on and take their suggestions. (I'm not talking about me, here. I did research before I downloaded a bunch of E.L.O today and that is that. I took some albums and not others based on research.) I happen to love their first album and I'm sure I'll love the others as well and I'm hearing violins. A lot of them. And E.L.O has a very distinctive sound that I've never forgotten. That many have never forgotten. We've already talked about staying power so I don't need to remind you why it's important what people don't forget.

Here's another thing. The ENTIRE discography downloaded in only a few hours while it's taken me many many days to wait for one or two Japan lps. So there are a ton of peers seeders and bottom feeders offering up the E.L.O and not very many offering up the Japan. Japan is great but Japan did not make concept albums so I don't think they have the same staying power and their best stuff sounds a lot like Roxy Music anyway so whatever.

Back to violins. It's a metaphor. Listen to the album and see what the violins do for the album. What they do is what you need to replicate on line. So if it's real violins KNOCK YOURSELF OUT AND SEND ME THAT URL CUZ YOU'RE A GENIUS. If it's the equivalent of violins and you figure that out DITTO. What you're looking for is something to fill out your content. Something that makes your site RICH. I am looking for the truth in RICH MEDIA. The violins. It's not RICH just because you add audio. It's not RICH just because it has video. That's so yesterday, people. I'm not being facetious.

When banners were animated gifs that barely did anything at all some people were really good at making them "sing". Those people had a kick ass idea and put it to work with that little something extra. Then flash banners came along and some people got good at making flash really work, not just punch the monkey. Then expandos with rolling point stuff and measurability and ROI and ROOIBOS and Captain KangaROO and blah blah blah blah blah. And now EVERYTHING IS RICH MEDIA AND IT'S BORING VIDEO SLAPPED ON THE WEB AND THAT IS NOT RICH.

VIOLINS ARE RICH. GIMME PROG ROCK CONCEPT WEB SITES AND I'LL GIVE YOU DEVOTEES. I'LL GIVE YOU THE WEB VERSION OF GROUPIES. They're called GROPIES. They'll grope your site until advertisers are begging to buy space. They will grope your site so voraciously you'll have to call the cops. They will grope your site for so many consecutive minutes they'll add a new category to Cannes called LONGEST GROPE and you'll win the GOLD GROPE for 2 years in a row. That's rich.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

mad men too real

I'll admit it I absolutely love AMC's Mad Men. It's just dirty. (Raw and buck, as Mia Michaels from SYTYCD is wont to spew.) But the gritty qualities are disguised ever so delicately by it's oh-so-frikkin-perfect for HD spic and span art direction. Yum, it's like doing the tasting menu at George. You want each segment of the program to come with its own glass of wine. It's eerie how the AMC people manage to keep it simultaneously viscous and crunchy. Oh how one does need to thoroughly masticate each episode. Slowly. Savour the dialogue. Sample the cigarettes. Swish the scotch. There's no throwing it down your neck, Battersby. You have to take your time. They make you take your time. And I love that. I'm impressed. I'm also mortified. Mad Men is just too accurate. It's too real. Things are being said. Things are being shown. Civilians can't handle the truth about our back-stage shenanigans and hoot-nannys and debacles and strangeways here we come! What goes on should back there should be on a NTK basis for anyone with tender ears and innocent eyes. We must protect the innocents. We cannot let them see us for what we are:


What I like is that everyone is portrayed as horribly and fallibly human. That's right, even though the characters are shady and despicable some of the time, each and every last one of them is still human. That's why it's eerie. It's not the truths being told that freak me out. It's the fact that I can see why each and every one of those beeyaches has done what they've done and that puts me in a place where I need to re-evaluate my own methods by which I process the politics engrained in agency culture. Or couture. Hoax couture. (I won't take credit for that play on used to be and maybe still is a shop down in the fashion district. However, I will take credit for applying it as a descriptor for the kind of agency depicted on Mad Men.) Back to the future:

Mister Marshall Mcluhan was correct. So was Anthony Burgess. There are two writers who were correct. They didn't even know they were writing about the same thing - Narrowcasting and Subculture. Narrowcasting is really podcasting but even better because it's roots are in the grass. And that's the basis of any subculture, right? Here's a stream of consciousness equasion that may mean nothing to you but something to someone, which is what qualifies this as a REAL BLOG. (Little thoughts typed into text boxes and expanded and expounded upon grow up to be REAL BLOGS. They don't need to be truthful. Pinochhio wasn't truthful. So there.)

Ahem. Podcasting=narrowcasting=mcluhan was right=mad men is such a specific thing isn't it? And it is too real. That means it's appealing to 1. ad folk 2. people who like too real 3. people who like Grace Kelly and if you don't watch the show you don't know what I mean.

But what does it have to do with Burgess? The language born from subculture. That's what I say. Because podcasting is narrowcasting and if you're not a webnerati you don't understand any of the language around podcasting and you are just SOOL because all this stuff is TGTBT anyway. Does your gulliver hurt? Exactly.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

what's next?

So my niece, who is 16 years of age, was telling me that there is an educator out there, Mister Ken Smith, has taken a rather unusual position on spelling words incorrectly. He suggests we label those misspellings as variant, not wrong. Here's a snippet from the article in Time Magazine:

Most teachers expect to correct their students' spelling mistakes once in a while. But Ken Smith has had enough. The senior lecturer in criminology at Bucks New University in Buckinghamshire, England, sees so many misspellings in papers submitted by first-year students that he says we'd be better off letting the perpetrators off the hook and doing away with certain spelling rules altogether.

Okay. Sleeves up. Gloves off. Here's a rant I'll ne'er be ashamed of.

Are you on crack, sir? What possible benefit is there in letting your students spell words incorrectly? Is this some kind of lefty, pinko, liberalist ISM? Is you so fixed on being inclusive that we support the lack interest in learning one of the basic Rs? Or are you just looking for solutions because your pupils don't seem to be learning? What's next? Letting them skip class? Letting them write on their desks? Are you looking for an earlier flight to Armageddon?

Admittedly, in advertising, we pulverize most of the rules of grammar and sprinkle them on our Corn Flakes but that's obviously wrong and goofy and everybody knows that you don't turn to a billboard for edumacation. We do those horrible things to our language in the interest of sales! But good god man, in the name of all that is true and pure, are you suggesting that because your students can't be bothered TO USE SPELL CHECK they should be rewarded with a degree?

(In fact, you should penalize them doubly for being so stupid as to ignore the spell check function that is what makes them bad spellers in the first place. Fail them for showing such a lack of intelligence. That's what I say.)

Come on, professor Ken, we're not talking about memorizing the entirety of the Yongle Dadian, written during the Ming Dynasty, when at least 3 000 scholars spent 4 years to write all 11 095 volumes with 22 877 chapters. We're not talking about having to memorize all 370 million Chinese characters. We're talking about the letter R in February. What's that? February has a silent R? Well I suppose you make a good argume...hey wait a minute. February doesn't have a silent R. We pronounce it as though it does. Oh, your students spell twelfth twelth? Because the F is silent? That's not silent neither.

You're fed up having to correct spelling errors? It's tiring? Let me get this straight : You're a criminologist and the biggest trauma you experience is using a red pen on a paper titled "Strategys Four Righting Effecsively."

As an educator, I would glorify the uniqueness of the inconsistencies in the English language. Glorify them, I say! You know, English is one of the most drab and monotone languages on the planet. We don't have any throat clicking. We don't have any sing-song inflections. All we have is trough and plough and draught and quay and queue! You can't take that away from us, Mister Ken. Does anybody see a freakish coincidence here?Ken Smith=Ken Lee.


Here's the TIME article
Here's another

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

frozen dinner and Betty Crocker

LOL people were really harshing my buzz with the "your blog is in boxes" critique. Okay. I hear you but it's a template, after all. I don't have many to choose from and who has time to build one from scratch? My mother is a great cook but when it comes to baking she will call the Sweet Talker for a birthday cake. When I'm in a hurry, I am not ashamed to use the microwave on a frozen entree. But I'm not going to do that for guests, now am I?

What I'm getting at is that boxes are only evil when you have control over your site. Boxes are only evil when you are selling a brand, creating an experience, designing for a box maker. (How cheesmo would that be? A box site in boxes. I bet $500 that exists somewhere.)

Boxes on your blog are OK. It's predominantly text. Tons of text we all need to sort through. Archives. Links. Gadgets. Videos. You post it daily and you are in rather a hurry, yes? Furthermore, you get what you get when you get something free. "Hey I know this service is GRATIS but I demand fluid templates and experiential blogging!" That don't fly.

So there are exceptions to every rule, like speaking in colloquialisms to emphasize a point. Like saying "Yatta Yatta" and "Meow Meow" instead of "Blah Blah". Like petting your cat in the opposite direction of its' fur to give it a mohawk. Whatever puts the hop in your bunny. UNLESS A CLIENT IS PAYING FOR YOU TO SOLVE A DESIGN ISSUE OR BUILD THEIR LOVELY BRAND ON LINE. THEN YOU DON'T USE BOXES. NO BOXES. BOX BAD. BREATHING SPACE GOOD.

So enough with the hateratin' while you're waitin'...gimme some wiggle room. That being said I chose a new template as I was due for a refresh. But...I think if you stretch this page wide enough you'll see boxes anyway. From a distance. But you don't surf like that. SO THE OTHER RULE IS SHOW YOUR DIGITAL WORK DIGITALLY ON A BIG SCREEN TO REPLICATE THE USER EXPERIENCE IF YOU'RE IN A BIG ROOM. SAVE A TREE. DON'T BOARD IT.


So no all caps. Unless you're shortening things like VIP, RIP, PMS, ADD, DTs (oh that's a combo job) and SWAT.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

are you missing anything like a metaphor?

A friend and I were at lunch the other day and it occurred to me that metaphor is most important when doing creative work. A strong metaphor can save you a great deal of circumlocution in your busy day. I'm guessing you're one of the masses who feels you're getting older just as the time between sunrise and sunset seems to be getting shorter. Which amounts to -- tired by 9PM. So if you're in the biz of being creative all the live long day and you have what we call "deadlines" then you might find this helpful at some point. Or not.

During lunch, Dave Allen at Large came to mind. Do you remember that show? Do you remember him? That's right, I am bringing up the 70s again. (See previous post.) But the 70s were chock full of wonderment so why Dave Allen? His finger came to mind. He was missing half a finger. Maybe your creative is missing metaphor. See? It's a lateral thought but a thought that lead to this thought...He was a story teller. His stories were rich with metaphor. And they were insightful so that made them funny and memorable and relevant.

If we agree that A = B and B = C then A = C and that metaphor = insightful, insightful is what makes your brand and your consumer jibe. Tango. Knock boots. Static cling. Whatever you want to call it. It's what you need to ensure a connection between your brand and the consumer. Buyer. User. Disco dancer, for all I care. Where is this going? Get an insight and you have a key. Use a metaphor to bring that key to life and you have CREATIVE. That's right, my children, without the metaphor you have ... well...just an insight. Which is also a driver for a strategy. Is strategy your creative product? No. Is insight your creative product? No. So now you get where I'm going.

What's the big deal about metaphor? Metaphors are part of a collective unconscious. Ask Carl Jung - although he might have articulated that differently. And probably in German. If you don't speak German, ask Northrop Frye. They're both long gone but they'd likely agree that a metaphor is something that can act like a endoscopic exam for all of humankind. It's the same for anyone - you swallow a scope and it and it reaches down down down into the core of your being! So you instinctively know, understand, comprehend, relate to something. You acknowledge your humanity if you've ever had a scope done. Am I right people? Metaphor is human and real.

(Aside: I'm aware that saying a metaphor is like a endoscopic is a simile. Not a metaphor.)

So what is a metaphor and not a simile? I can tell you PUNS ARE NOT METAPHORS. DON'T USE PUNS IN YOUR CREATIVE. Back to Dave Allen. He was very smart. He GOT metaphor the way you need to GET metaphor. Here's an excellent example of metaphor that I never forgot even though I saw this ONCE over 20 years ago. That's staying power.

Watch this: Funeral

That was funny, right? And insightful. Pretend his set up for the video is your brief. (Only in a perfect world would the client be something like So and So Sons Funeral Homes. That would never happen so forget who the client is and try to think outside the box. Did you catch that joke? Coffin? Box? That was a pun. How hard did you laugh? did that change your life? Don't use puns.) Aside...under no circumstances should you EVER use the term outside the box unless you're poking fun at boxes. No boxes.

Now I'm not going to explain the use of metaphor in that video because you don't need me to.
Besides, there's so many levels to that skit I don't want this post to scroll from here to eternity. But after 20 years that metaphor stands solid. The insight you get from it is solid. That is a rock solid ad for the Dave Allen brand. People didn't foget about Dave Allen's funeral skit and while everything on Earth seems to be on on Earth is not. That 20 year old metaphor was posted more than once for a reason. Some stuff on youtube is there for a reason, even though that is hard to believe.

Dave Allen at Large - not an ad dude but on a subconscious-collective unconscious-smoking-drinking -archetype level - he was a stand up bloke nonetheless. More importantly, he reminded me that metaphor=insight=commitment=brands we understand=brands we love=brands we eat drink man woman=timeless=relevant after 20 years. RIP Dave Allen.