Tuesday, March 31, 2009

blogging in English

A lot of people say technology is to blame for the English language becoming base, boring, monotonous and just plain old blah when compared to other languages.

I know you don't care and it's a miracle you're even seeing this but I say, "I emphatically disagree."

Technology isn't the problem. Excuse me, but technology makes it
easier to write, share, publish, expose the masses to the word. Word is bond and technology is word so technology is bond. In this case I am on the side of technology. The reason people have stopped appreciating our very own tongue is "Scriptus Interruptus". Yeah I made that up. So what?

Scriptus Interruptus is a disease of excuses and what it amounts to is this -- as of late, people are terribly uninspired. They're uninspired because they can't read and they can't read because they are too busy typing with their opposable thumbs. Wow. What made us special has led to a real problem. Am I making any sense to you?

This is English:

OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, [ 5 ]
Sing Heav'nly Muse,that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning
how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill [ 10 ]
Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues [ 15 ]
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all Temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread [ 20 ]
satst brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark
Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert Eternal Providence, [ 25 ]
And justifie the wayes of God to men.

It's by Milton. It's the first bit of Paradise Lost.

This is English:

This week the insomnia is back. Insomnia, and now the whole world figures to stop by and take a dump on my grave.

My boss is wearing his gray tie so today must be a Tuesday.

My boss brings a sheet of paper to my desk and asks if I’m looking for something. This paper was left in the copy machine, he says, and begins to read:

“The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.”

His eyes go side to side across the paper, and he giggles.

“The second rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.”

I hear Tyler’s words come out of my boss, Mister Boss with his midlife spread and family photo on his desk and his dreams about early retirement and winters spent at a trailer park hookup in some Arizona desert. My boss, with his extra-starched shirts and standing appointment for a haircut every Tuesday after lunch, he looks at me, and he says:

“I hope this isn’t yours.”

I am Joe’s Blood-Boiling Rage.

Tyler asked me to type up the fight club rules and make him ten copies. Not nine, not eleven. Tyler says, ten. Still I have the insomnia, and can’t remember sleeping since three nights ago. This must be the original I typed. I made ten copies, and forgot the original. The paparazzi flash of the copy machine in my face. The insomnia distance of everything, a copy of a copy of a copy. You can’t touch anything, and nothing can touch you.

My boss reads:

“The third rule of fight club is two men per fight.”

Neither of us blinks.

My boss reads:

“One fight at a time.”

I haven’t slept in three days unless I’m sleeping now. My boss shakes the paper under my nose. What about it, he says. Is this some little game I’m playing on company time? I’m paid for my full attention, not to waste time with little war games. And I’m not paid to abuse the copy machines.

What about it? He shakes the paper under my nose. What do I think, he asks, what should he do with an employee who spends company time in some little fantasy world. If I was in his shoes, what would I do?

What would I do?

The hole in my cheek, the blue-black swelling around my eyes, and the swollen red scar of Tyler's kiss on the back of my hand, a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.


Why does Tyler want ten copies of the fight club rules?

Hindu cow.

What I would do, I say, is I’d be very careful who I talked to about this paper.

I say, it sounds like some dangerous psycho killer wrote this, and this buttoned-down schizophrenic could probably go over the edge at any moment in the working day and stalk from office to office with an Armalite AR-180 carbine gas-operated semiautomatic.

My boss just looks at me.

The guy, I say, is probably at home every night with a little rattail file, filing a cross into the tip of every one of his rounds. This way, when he shows up to work one morning and pumps a round into his nagging, ineffectual, petty, whining, butt-sucking, candy-ass boss, that one round will split along the filed grooves and spread open the way a dumdum bullet flowers inside you to blow a bushel load of your stinking guts out through your spine. Picture your guy chakra opening in a slow-motion explosion of sausage-casing small intestine.

My boss takes the paper out from under my nose.

Go ahead, I say, read some more.

No really, I say, it sounds fascinating. The work of a totally diseased mind.

And I smile. The little butthole-looking edges of the hole in my check are the same blue-black of a dog’s gums. The skin stretched tight across the swelling around my eyes feels varnished.

My boss just looks at me.

Let me help you, I say.

I say, the fourth rule of fight club is one fight at a time.

My boss looks at the rules and then looks at me.

I say, the fifth rule is no shoes, no shirts in the fight.

My boss looks at the rules and looks at me.

Maybe, I say, this totally diseased fuck would use an Eagle Apache carbine because an Apache takes a thirty-shot mag and only weighs nine pounds. The Armalite only takes a five-round magazine. With thirty shots, our totally fucked hero could go the length of mahogany row and take out every vice-president with a cartridge left over for each director.

Tyler’s words coming out of my mouth. I used to be such a nice person.

I just look at my boss. My boss has blue, blue, pale cornflower blue eyes.

The J and R 68 semiautomatic carbine also takes a thirty-shot mag, and it only weighs seven pounds.

My boss just looks at me.

It’s scary, I say. This is probably somebody he’s known for years. Probably this guy knows all about him, where he lives, and where his wife works and his kids go to school.

This is exhausting, and all of a sudden very, very boring.

And why does Tyler need ten copies of the fight club rules?

What I don’t have to say is I know about the leather interiors that cause birth defects. I know about the counterfeit brake linings that looked good enough to pass the purchasing agent, but fail after two thousand miles.

I know about the air-conditioning rheostat that gets so hot it sets fire to the maps in your glove compartment. I know how many people burn alive because of fuel-injector flashback. I’ve seen people’s legs cut off at the knee when turbochargers star exploding and send their vanes through the firewall and into the passenger compartment. I’ve been out in the field and seen the burned-up cars and seen the reports where CAUSE OF FAILURE is recorded as “unknown.”

No, I say, the paper’s not mine. I take the paper between two fingers and jerk it out of his hand. The edge must slice his thumb because his hand flies to his mouth, and he’s sucking hard, eyes wide open. I crumble the paper into a ball and toss it into the trash can next to my desk.

Maybe, I say, you shouldn’t be bringing me every little piece of trash you pick up.

That's from Fight Club.

Both Milton and Palahniuk wrote brilliant pieces. Both pieces are inspired. Both are a bit overwhelming. Both are inspiring despite the fact that they are overwhelming.

The problem is not technology. Palahniuk is gen X (pretty much) so he's "grown up" around the same technology the rest of us have and it hasn't had a negative effect on his writing. In fact, he's embraced all the aspects of technology in such a manner that it adds a wonderful flavour to his writing.

The real problem is multitasking. That's where the opposable thumbs come in. Due to multitasking we don't READ in the same way we used to. We don't JUST read. Who just reads anymore? If I need to be tweeting and blogging and updating my profile and texting and surfing and reading all at the same time......(gasp) how can I really take in the literature portion of my multitasking effort? How do I absorb the overwhelming Palahniuk and Milton? Neither are scanable reading. Neither are the type of reading you want to do when you're on the treadmill. Or watching LOST. I can blog and watch LOST but I'm not going to read and watch LOST. Not even pulp fiction. Not really. So what do I do? Fall behind on all the other stuff that takes up so much of my free time? Or read. How do you stay connected and read enough to learn from it?

Not sure. But maybe you're supposed to do different types of reading now that there are so many different types of things to read. Maybe you can use SCRIBE on your iPhone while you jog but make time for books on paper. They smell so good and it feels amazing to crack the spine of a new book. You can't get that anywhere.

Note to self : develop spine crack app for iPhone.

What was I saying?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

multitasking real time LOST EMAIL SCOTCH

I don't know has anyone ever blogged RIGHT WHEN THEY WERE MULTITASKING? And what would that blog look like? Like this, probably.


I'm watching lost and checking email and blogging. Right now we're in flashback mode and Sayid is killing a chicken in his home land. Well he's killing a chicken cuz his fat older brother won't kill a chicken clearly and oh. Sayid even has a chicken catching strategy and here is a bad shot of little Sayid breaking its neck. Bah. Didn't look anywhere near real.

You gotta love lost in HD. Now there's a backwards ad for Joe, the clothing company. It's neat but it looks like backwards Gap ads. Pag. Or Old Navy BEFORE the mannequins campaign. What exactly should I think about that campaign? What do they want me to think?

Now we're in present day but there is no present day on LOST. Sayid is in leather killing someone in Europe. Oh god it's Ben again. Ben is in control.

Remember, I'm blogging while I'm multitasking so now I'm reading copy for a client. It's good stuff. And now Sayid is in prison and ooooh are they going to cut his finger off like he does to others? Nah. They're cutting his zip tie hand cuffs.

Sip of scotch.

Check a link I got via email. Interesting article. Delete.

Back to not really present day but really 3 years later on LOST. It's a new character I already DON'T CARRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEE about, Horace. He wants to know why that guy violated the truce. Sawyer is still pretending he doesn't know Sayid.

This is a cop out. It better get better. And now Sayid is being judgemental about Sawyer spending time with a 12 year old Ben in the past/present and Sawyer clocks Sayid and we're supposed to be surprised that he just punched that chicken killer in the eye.

Does Sayid really thing Sawyer will let him go? Come on. Why am I supposed to believe this. Wendy's ad about crispy chicken.

Lot's of chicken talk. Time to check my email again. Nothing there.

Wondering how fast I can type that Blue Ray was made for Bond with perfect sound and perfect picture. WTF? Oh here's an email.

This is an experiment you might think is stupid and boring but I really am wondering what a multitask blog might look like. Somebody loves their Escape, which is fuel efficient. If you ask me any escape should be fuel efficient. Otherwise, it's a vacation, not an escape. I think an escape has to happen in your head.

Back to lost and now Hugo is in the Dharma overalls serving pancakes. Yeah. They're so picky but they've recruited an obese dude and made him special overalls. Will we ever find out what the hell those lottery numbers mean? Seriously. Oh not another new character. And he has a broom. Great another character with no status that gives some cryptic and stupid advice and now he's challenging baby Ben for bringing Sayid a sandwich. Oh wait that's his kid. I get it cuz he said "You've never made me a sandwich in your whole life." and that establishes him as a dad but no...that's not enough. The writers need to tell us that is Ben's dad and oh. He is abusive too.

Well that explains everything.

Back to the past/present where Sayid is building for Habitat For Humanity. Yeah right. Ben delivers the news that John is dead. (But we know he killed him so .... oooooohhhh.... we're supposed to yell "Don't trust him, Sayid! He killed John!" Like we'd yell "Don't go in there!" in an old school horror film.

And now Ben is mentally manipulating Sayid, who, by ALL RIGHTS COULD NEVER BE MANIPULATED. But I'll buy it BECAUSE I'M DESPERATE FOR SOME ANSWERS HERE.


No. Sawyer is going to TAZE Sayid instead. Why do I watch this show again?

Sip of scotch. Check my email.

OH MY GOD IT'S DARRYL OR HIS OTHER BROTHER DARRYL FROM NEWHART. Guys, you've lost me on LOST. Wrong casting choice. It's not cute it's distracting. And now?

Check my email because this is just bull.

Respond to several emails and watch a weird ad for another movie where Russel Crowe plays yet another disheveled and intense character. Now an ad with Rick James music. No idea what it's for. Don't care. I should mention that I'm watching this episode on and HD American channel and so I get to see American ads. They're different. We're so different.

I don't know how long I can keep this up but it's exhausting. Tomorrow ABC delivers hilarious comedy with Sheryl Hines and Meghan Mullaly. Awwww...a show about dysfunctional moms, like we need that. (Still I'll give it a shot.)

Jesus now we're back to the past from 5 episodes ago when Sun pulls a gun on Ben. WTF do I really need to see this AGAIN? Do they think ANYONE who hasn't already watched this show will join NOW? Oh and look SAYID IS DRINKING SCOTCH TOO! What a bizarro coincidence. And the lady orders a bloody steak. Who orders a bloody steak? NOBODY, that's who.

Well she's good looking at least. But she is on the pull and that means she can't be trusted. Dollars to bloody steaks she's an assassin. This is a bad episode. BAD. Not slang bad=good. BAD. I don't buy this particular flirtation and SURPRISE back to the past/future where they've given Sayid TRUTH SERUM.


Check my email. Drink some scotch.

Officially give this up. Check my email. I'm laughing cuz I'm emailing with someone and we're comparing neurosis about public twalettes. And now Julia is belittling Kate cuz she ain't know nuthin bout no flat somaat engine. Whatever.

I'm bored of this episode.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

liza minelli ring tone and the power of the Internet

Ok. I'll buy that you might want a ring tone of her version of New York, New York. You might even want her version of Use Me because it is so weird. You might want any of her cheesmo Broadway stuff because someone out there, beneath the pale moonlight might actually recognize the tune. But this ring tone?

It's Liza with a Z
Not Lisa with an S
'Cause Lisa with an S
Goes "sss" not "zzz"
It's Z instead of S
Li instead of Lee
It's simple as can be
See, Liza!
I'll do it again...

It's Liza with a Z
Not Lisa with an S
'Cause Lisa with an S
Goes "sss" not "zzz"
It's Z instead of S
Li instead of Lee
It's simple as can be
See, Liza!

Now - if my name were Ada,
I'd be Ada,
Even backwards I'd be Ada
Or if my name were Ruth,
Then I'd be Ruth,
Because with Ruth,
What can you do?
Or Sally, or Margaret, or Ginger or Faye
But when you're a Liza
You always have to say...

It's Liza with a Z
Not Lisa with an S
'Cause Lisa with an S
Goes "sss" not "zzz"
It's Z instead of S
Li instead of Lee
It's simple as can be
See, Liza!

Oh! And that is only half of it
There's another way
Fate treats me cruelly.
How often I remember someone saying
"There she goes, Lisa Minooli!"
Or Minoli, or Miniola, or Minili, or Minelie
So is it a wonder, I very often cry?

It's M-I-Double N,
then-E-Double L-I,
You double up the N, thats nn, not ll
Then E, double the L, end it with an I,
That's the way you say Minnelli...
Liza Minnelli,
It's Italian,
Blame it on papa,
What can I do?

Every Sandra
Who's a Sondra,
Every Mary who's really Marie
Every Joan
Who is a Joanne
Has got to agree with me
When I've announced
I don't mind being pommelled
Or trampled or trounced
But it does drive you bats
To be miss, Miss pronounced...

It's Liza with a Z
Not Lisa with an S
'Cause Lisa with an S
Goes "sss" not "zzz"
It's Z instead of S
Li instead of Lee
It's simple as can be
See, Liza!

Then M-I-Double N,
then-E-Double L-I,
You double up the N, thats "nn," not "ll,"
Then E, double the L, end it with an I,
That's the way you say...Minnelli...
Liza Minnelli!!
It's easy!
It's easy! See, it's Leezy!
No! Liza........!

Um. Can you tell me who would download this? Not even the biggest Liza drag queen impersonator on the third planet from the sun would bother. It's hard enough to recognize the most famous Beatles song once it's been reduced to a ring tone and this would be unrecognizable to anyone but the most obsessed fan. And yet it is here. This is why the internet is a wonderland.

Behold the power of the Internet! From now on, I shall speak of the Internet as though it were the impetus of He-Man. SHAZAM should have one more letter! SHAZAMI! Eventually the Internet will be so powerful it will feed Niagra Falls. It will reverse global warming and you will be able to see it from the other side of the rift in space that will be created when the LHC finally starts working again. In fact they'll use it to power up the LHC and bring back the El Camino when the Internet can rollerblade across parallel universes and go back in time but not really because time won't be linear because the Internet will have changed that!
The Internet is like Jesus. What would the internet do? The internet is the ultimate YES. There is no NO on the Internet. There is only NO in your heart. The Internet will kick Chuck Norris' ass.

No matter how obscure the fact, it resides somewhere on the web. No matter how useless the ringtone connected to the obscure fact, it too, resides somwhere on the web. Facts are knowledge is power!


Monday, March 16, 2009

i take it back skins 3 is not a sell out

It got really good. I can admit that I was quick to pull the trigger but is that my fault or did the producers purposely create the impression that this season would be nothing but fluff in order to entice the young'uns in and then give them some quality television? Because we all know that you can't lead a gen y horse to water unless you tell them it's Red Bull.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ode to the creative brainstorm

This post isn't about poetry it's about the recent opining over the creative brainstorm. People are mourning it like it got hit by a car or something. But it hasn't. The opportunity to have a great brainstorm is right there in front of us but we can't see for looking cuz we're all too busy politicizing the process. Most of the time, even when we spot the opportunity to brainstorm proper, someone will murder it in the library with a candle stick before anyone even gets a chance to cop a feel. And when that happens, it's no accident.

Let's agree that whatever the brainstorm is supposed to look like, it has to happen. If you think it's useless altogether - stop reading. You're wasting your time. This post is not for you. If you agree that a brainstorm is like required reading a first-year sociology class, you may proceed.

A brainstorm is an event. You invite people. You can serve drinks. There can be entertainment. You can even include a raffle if you like. So you have to give it a location and then decide what form it will take. For example:

The knuckle buster:
Some folk say things just is what they is and a brainstorm has to be traditional. Don Draper style. That type of brainstorm consists of a glass of whiskey, a pack of Lucky Strikes and dame or a skirt. You could take this angle if you wanted to. There's nothing wrong with doing it missionary style. Old school. The way our parents used to do it. Lock yourselves in a room, pitch ideas and git at er pitter patter. Be forewarned. The traditional brainstorm often creates traditional results.

The bezzie mate:
Other people like to create a more "supportive" atmosphere wherein
no ideas are criticized
it's about quantity, not quality
wild thinking is encouraged
build on ideas put forward by others before exploring your own

How nice. If it works for you, go ahead and put that hop in your bunny.

The technological marvel complete with reports:
Some people even sell software...(which I happen to find a little scary) that can aggregate all the ideas the creative group comes up with. It will prioritize and rank those ideas and then...it creates reports! And SWOT’s and scenario building and it slices and dices too. Brainstorm and scenario building software. "No more hard copy sticky notes and flip-overs. Every participant creates, moves and groups ideas using his own mouse and/or keyboard on one screen at the same time. Vote for ideas and groups of ideas, create sub sessions, generate visual and textual reports on the fly. Twice as fast as traditional brainstorm and scenario building methods and very flexible." That's real copy I took from their site and, Sham-wow, this type of brainstorm is the opposite of what Don Draper would do.

But whatever, you get my point. A brainstorm can be a lot of things but it has to be SOMETHING and here's what it can't be:

The Sit and Surf:
If a bunch of you are in a room and you decide to launch a browser you're asking for trouble. I know it's tempting! But the sit and surf is just like a surf and turf. You order it because you think you want a little bit of this that compliments a little bit of that but in the end all you get on your plate is a bottom feeder and bite-sized piece of the protein. I am all for getting inspiration from the web, but unless you're going to interrupt your meeting to settle a bet about how leeches reproduce because you SIMPLY CANNOT CONTINUE TO BRAINSTORM WITHOUT THAT INFORMATION, you will inadvertently shut down your brainstorm. People get distracted. Death knell.

The Oh-no-you-di'int:
Don't tell people to shut up. Let them have their insanely rude, ridiculous, offensive way-off-brand thoughts. It will get you somewhere. It's easier to shave a bunch of hair off your face than to grow the perfect moustache. That being said...

The shovel:
Once your idea is on the table and you feel you've been heard, let it go. If it's worthy of further discussion, it will come back. Someone else will bring it back. Then you know it's a good idea. If you are so impassioned that you cannot let your idea go it's all about you and your ego. Leggo your ego.

There are so many dos and don'ts that this post could go on forever. What you need to have a successful brainstorm is the right people who all have open minds and one goal. The rest is just subjective. How you and your peeps get there is up to you. You want a white board? You want a bottle of scotch? You want a lot of sunlight? You want technology? Whatever works for you is great.

Pick someone to lead the meeting and have that person keep you on track. Don't waste time arguing about the merit of the product. Instead, know what the benefits of the product are. Don't waste time debating who the target is. Instead, have your personas at the ready. Don't waste time discussing advertising from an existentialist perspective. You're in advertising. You don't like advertising? Don't do advertising. Do something else. Just because it's digital doesn't mean it's not advertising. You can call a banner ad display but it's still a banner ad. Love what you're doing in that brainstorm or exclude yourself from it. Know what your role is. Know what your job is. Know where to find the integrity in what you do.

Once you're in that territory just start talking and the ideas will flow.

are you lost on lost?

For those who are watching the ABC repeats with the pop-up video style information...you must be as dizzy as a whirling dervish.

Did you miss the Lost Experience? My sympathies. Really and truly.

But here's a quick summary of the entire show in case you don't have time to read the wiki entry:

The Ballad of ABCs LOST (*sung to the tune of - guess what - Gilligan's Island)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from Australia
Aboard flying ship.

The nut was a lottery winner,
The doctor brave and sure.
Some passengers set flight that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The latitude was a mystery,
The metal ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the ABC crew
Oceanic would be lost, flight 183 was lost.

The ship hit ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With James Sawyer,
Jack Shepard too,
The Korean mafia dude and his wife,
The mental patient,
The British punk and Kate Freckles,
Here on ABCs LOST.

So this is the tale of the castways,
They're warping all through time,
They'll have to deal with string theory,
And the power of Jacob's mind.

The Smoke Monster and Benny too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others uncomfortable,
In the tropic island nest.

No babies, no raft, no rescue planes,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As primative as can be.

So join us here each week my friends,
You're sure to pay the cost,
For watching Oceanic castways,
Here on "ABCs LOST."

(Yeah I'm not the only one making this parallel. So into the wormhole you go!)