Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

24 December 2008

'i made this. you play this. we are enemies.'

Jason Nelson makes my most favourite games in the entire world. He's like what would happen if Douglas Coupland made whoopie with Hasbro ... and then they used Google to swaddle their lovechild.

18 December 2008

Peanut Butter as American Virtue

Next month I leave for France. And now that I'm back with my parents for the next couple of weeks, my dad's working tirelessly to keep me from going. (He did this before I left for New York, too, up until the day I stepped onto the plane.)

To keep arguments from becoming repetitive, he offers a different reason every day. Today's rationale was lobbed early this morning, after passing me a cocktail of multivitamins.

Dad: "Take these now. It's probably the last time you'll have all your nutrients before coming back from France."

Me: "They have multivitamins in France."

Dad: "Those people can't do anything right. They couldn't even win the war." Thoughtful pause. "They don't have peanut butter in Europe."

Me: "Is that why they appealed to the Americans for aid?"

Dad: "Don't be a smart-ass."

Me: "Did you look everywhere in Europe?"

Dad: "They don't have peanut butter there. Can you believe that?"

Me: "I don't like peanut butter."

Dad: "What do you mean, you don't like peanut butter? You grew up on peanut butter."

Me: "That doesn't mean I have to like peanut butter."

Dad: "Peanut butter is the reason why you're smart."

15 December 2008

Back in Cali.

Primary objective: to sell the merits of the Mac to my PC-crippled famille. Photo Booth's proving helpful.

Me, Charysma and mum.

12 December 2008

A Charlie Brown Agency Christmas

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Thoughts on Bailouts

Capitalism makes success possible for those that reach forth. The possibility of failure is necessary to the equation.

"Success" ceases to exist when gluttonous industries begin perceiving their survival as a right, not a privilege.

11 December 2008

On My Current Emotional State.

06 December 2008

ZuneGate: A Potential National Crisis, Averted.

This is me, rolling my eyes.

04 December 2008

Google Adds Search Box to Embedded YouTube Videos

A bit bulky. I like how that big fat bar doesn't appear when the video's playing. Search reappears if you hit the little data button in the lower right-hand corner (the one that lets you gank the link or embed code), as well as when the video is paused.

Like with Hulu (didn't I tell you that was a sassy feature? I totally said that), query results appear inside the embed window. (That means you won't be redirected to YouTube if you run a search.) You can sift through search results, click on videos and watch them without leaving the site you're on.

High-five, GOOG!

Death as a Salesman

One very lonely calorie. Pepsi Max.


Variants here, plus poll.

03 December 2008

Probably the Only Time 'Mad Men' Ever Won a LOL.

"There's funny captions right under the picture so you think the cat is talking."

Via. See ep 2 of "Digital Mad Men." Kinda reminds me of the GI Joe appropriations, except you don't have to be high to enjoy them, and being at work makes them all the more pleasurable.

02 December 2008

Death by Bargain

Food for thought: so far, 24% of Adrants readers polled think WalMart should be held accountable for an employee that was trampled to death in its Long Island store on Black Friday.

WalMart's suffered Black Friday stampedes, and potential lawsuits, before, which naturally leads to questions about why it didn't make a better effort to organize crowds. (Consider the painfully orderly iPhone launch.) New York Times writer Peter Goodman even went so far as to call the event a "shopping Guernica." (Oh, to see Picasso paint that.)

And while crazed deal-seekers did Friday's trampling, some bloggers -- like Adam Frucci of Gizmodo -- agree WalMart is at least partly responsible:

Why was there no line set up? Why didn't they let in a reasonable amount of people at a time? What kind of method is it to just allow hundreds of people to cram up against the doors, waiting for them to open? They may have wanted some photo op of people surging through the doors, but they willfully created a very dangerous situation.

Other cyber-spectators, like commenter Scott Crouch on the Dallas News Opinion Blog, suggest maybe WalMart and the holiday stampeders be held responsible.

26 November 2008

Kim, With Love to You

I just found out about a schoolmate of mine who died. Her life ended with emotionally resonant exclamation marks -- which suits her better than any eulogy -- and, because of the strange way death moves, every living memory I have of her is back with me in vivid colour.

A year out of high school, she found me on AIM and randomly asked, "Are there ever nights you can't turn your brain off? And you're tired but you can never never sleep, because the thinking won't stop?"

I didn't answer, probably because I wasn't sure how. It was the last time I heard from her. But years later, when nights like the one she described became frequent spectres in my life, I remembered Kim and wondered what she'd been looking for.

The question now is futile, but it still wants asking: What could I have given her?

24 November 2008

Twitter as Service or Utility.

21 November 2008

Obama Gets the FDR Treatment

The current cover of Time magazine is a ready-made archive piece:

Comparisons between President Elect Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt began in earnest when Obama launched his first fireside-chat-style weekly address to the people -- on YouTube. Voici:

Seems like, for the meantime, John F. Kennedy's slipped off the juxtapo-radar. Which suggests people are thinking less about Obama's youth and charm, and more about how his communication strategies will actively change the political face of the States. (FDR was, after all, a talented piper of both mice and men.)

17 November 2008

Shepard Fairey Takes on Prop 8

Read up. Feelin' it? Sign here. (V-v-v-via.)

15 November 2008

Facebook, This Far is Too Far.

Well and good if you're gonna feed on my love handle complex, but whether I pass a razor over my Holy Grail is between me and God -- not me, God and your ad board.

13 November 2008

Low-Hanging Beef

Dear Editor/Reporter/Producer:

Please click on the link below to take a very brief survey (less than 5 minutes) to help us to educate public relations practitioners and allied professionals about how to work effectively with you; the media.

No. But here are a couple of bones:

  • Use my name. Or do that nifty direct mail auto-replace thing with Word. (You have Word, right?) Nobody needs to know how wide -- how very, very wide -- you cast your eager net.

  • Master the (subtle) difference between a colon and a semicolon.

God help those public relations practitioners and allied professionals. Full letter here.

Wyclef Jean and Cookie Monster.

Need more be said?

Off-topic, I like how Hulu has a video search feature right inside the embed. (See upper right-hand corner. It's slightly cut off, but still usable.)

Go ahead, try running a search on it. Results hosted by Hulu are returned within the window, meaning whatever site you're on -- in this case, my blog -- instantly becomes a streaming media dashboard.


12 November 2008

Star Trek Movie Footage.

For those of you not in the know: JJ Abrams, creator of modern-day serial masterpieces Lost and Fringe, is releasing a prequel to Star Trek in May 2009. Early on I heard Winona Ryder was cast as Spock's mom, but that's nothing on this still curiouser discovery: Sylar, my favourite unhinged Heroes sometimes-villain, is young Spock.

What am I even supposed to do with that information?! 

Comforting FYI: Leonard Nimoy will reprise his role as old Spock. He also did the "Space: the final frontier" voiceover in the trailer (available on the website, linked above, or at the BBC, linked below).

10 November 2008

Worth Noting.

Diggin' how, like, 10% of the search traffic to my blog comes from people Googling "I sent that bitch a smiley face."

09 November 2008

Hoarding History is giving away free stickers commemorating Barack Obama's November 4 win. Headed "Yes we did," a play on Obama's speech "Yes we can," they're designed by Shepard Fairey, one of my favourite street artists.

Tasty, tasty. Would've ordered a print, too, but they're already sold out. Guess I'll have to settle for vacuum-sealing my Nov. 5 copy of the NYT.

Neat how there's also an option to let MoveOn shill the stickies on your Facebook page. It was one of those rare instances where I was like, "Yes, marketer, please use me."

07 November 2008

By the Way,

Obama won. And I'm saying this now because it's the first time in days that I'm sitting in near-complete silence -- you know, far away from ad-heads and musicians and newsmen and cab drivers and grinning kebab vendors prattling about how they feel about it.

Lo and behold, I can finally react. And hmm, this is pretty neat.

It's Gov 2.0! Bring on the mash-ups.

Two Really Good Quotes I Heard at ad:tech

Not remembered to scale.

Social media only further reveals who you really are.

And in response to me, addled by some separate thing, asking whether she has always taken criticism well, Susan Bratton replied thus:

When I started public speaking, I'd get back comment cards that said truly awful things -- that I'm fake, or "who do you think you are?" -- and then I realized there might be something there. I realized I wasn't authenting enough.

What she said stuck out because critique like that can seem really personal -- like the whole world hates you, not because you're doing something wrong (and thus fixable), but because you're damn unlikeable.

Instead of drawing a warm bath and putting on the last-night-on-earth music, Susan saw this as a chance to glimpse a part of herself you can't always see on your own.

It might have been a gift, and she used it.

04 November 2008

Democracy's Trendy with the Tech Elite

Websites that've playfully reminded me to vote:

Facebook, right in the header.

Google AdWords -- in the Campaign Management dashboard.

MySpace, between pages. This is actually an interstitial ad for E-Research Council, but still.

Meanwhile, traditional media entities like PBS have partnered with Google to make this year's election the most transparent ever. Got a mobile cam? Covertly video your experience at the ballots. Twitter and My Fair Election are also using crowdsourcing to police the polls this year.

Other sites jumped the gun: betting destinations cast lots for Obama, and even Facebook Lexicon "suggests" (eh, I'm iffy about this) an Obama win.

We'll know in 12 hours.

03 November 2008

Let the Games Begin.

I'm in Manhattan for ad:tech NY, staying at a fatally swanky place called The Time. The video above is of the winner of last night's bikini bull-riding contest, which took place at Johnny Utah's at a party hosted by

No one I spoke with has any idea what XY7 does, and I'm willing to bet it's out of business before it can impose another mechanical bull onto us. To be fair, I have been wrong before. The Rubicon Project, for example, continues to pour chocolate fondue fountains on seething throngs year after year.

Read the post, and keep up with all the general grokking and fun-having at the ad:tech blog.

28 October 2008

Just How Patriotic Are You?

...Enough to put out for your Presidential candidate of choice? Yowza.

The poster at left, featuring a set of anti-Palin Brooklyn girls, plays on the '60s-era image (at right) of Joan Baez and her sisters. The original slogan read, "Girls say yes to boys who say no" -- to the war, that is. And while in most cases vintage is a good thing, was less supportive of the "obnoxiously retrograde" vote-for-sex concept. From the mouth of one:

The idea of any kind of political action being taken to impress the opposite sex -- or that guys would only vote a certain way if a woman promised sex at the end (that's also totally the only way you get them to pay for dinner, incidentally) -- sort of makes me want to drown myself.

As an addendum to that, I just wanted to say that's not the only way to get men to pay for dinner. Just smile and lean forward a lot. Once the check is paid, say thank you, yawn and run. You can actually squeeze a few dinners out of them this way.

But I digress. Among people my age, it seems like peer pressure has become a major component of this mostly private political decision. Obama's cool, but his campaign -- flashy, fresh and exciting -- just reeks of the Irresistible It factor. Some people take that sensation and make it playful, sexual; others show us the other side of the same fun, engagement-building (and logic-devoid) coin: what if you were publicly thrashed for choosing the "wrong" candidate?

22 October 2008

Treehugger's Take on Working from Home

Why working from home makes sense for the globe and for you, plus tips on doing it with ease. (Experiential hint: don't do it from bed. You will turn into Jabba the Hutt.)

The end of the article grants a voyeuristic glimpse into other peoples' work-at-home environments. I'm partial to the set-ups of Alan in Portland and George in New York (shown above).

The dual screen workstation makes a big difference in terms of efficiency and OS desktop organization. And I highly recommend afternoon naps. Does wonders for morale.

20 October 2008

And in Other News...'s Stuttering Awareness Day.

Remember When Good Looks Were Integral to Good Service?

And while we're on the topic of that-which-no-longer-is, remember when imagery compelled you to read the copy, and copy fed the visual mythology, and together they conceived a better product in your mind?

Sometimes I miss those discriminating days.

15 October 2008

Are We All Just Chubbettes Obsessed with Movie Stars?

This afternoon I sat around on MySpace, hitting "Refresh" to see what ads I'd get. Must be a slow month in ad sales; every new banner was a weight loss pitch. Here they are, in order of how I received them:

And it isn't just MySpace that thinks my trunk could use less junk. Last month, Rachel Beckman of the Washington Post wrote an article about the "muffin top" ads that barrage her when she logs on to Facebook. I see them too. All that fleshy muffin-toppiness leaves nothing to the imagination:

So what's the deal, socnets?

A study from earlier this year found women are generally more concerned about weight than disease. And because I'm guessing this passel of tacky, over-obvious and insulting ads don't actually improve perceived site value (MySpace, whatever happened to your Cartier days?), there's just one explanation: women must actually click on these things.

I guess that's cool if you feel açai berry juice will really solve your deep-seated problems. But what about me? Why am I attacked with potshots of love handles five times per visit?

Does persistence ultimately persuade? Or maybe every chick just has a day where, in a rush of self-hatred, she finally wants to read Jen's fucking Weight Journal.

10 October 2008

You May Long for the :30 Spot After This.

Obama buys 30-minute ad on network TV. That's a long time. Hope it's better than the McCain family's Rachael Ray appearance. Kiss the candidate!

09 October 2008

Guess Who!

"Microsoft is classy, it's a timeless brand, and it means something to the world."

Give up? Answer here. I never saw that coming.

On Why I'm So Quiet

Later today I'm driving up to Vermont (pictured above) for Watershedapalooza, an annual meeting of Watershed Publishing minions. We'll review how to make spreadsheets, pet each other's dogs and smuggle the publisher's home-made maple syrup across various borders, among other Really Important Stuff.

Before Yammer, this was the only time any of us ever got in contact with each other (beyond the occasional email). Oddly, I'm looking forward to when 'palooza ends so I can see whether it changes our Yam dynamic.

Will it be like Twitter, where people (myself included) say dumb shit like "@yournamehere OMG so good meeting you finally! =D"? Or will we be more subdued, knowing now -- and for certain -- that the only way to ingratiate ourselves with the COO is by playing World of Warcraft?

It could go either way, and I'm tingling in anticipation. Also, I haven't dealt with someone on a professional basis for months, so maybe I should get a trim. Because seriously, I'm giving these dudes a run for their money. Or their moonshine, or whatever it is rednecks use for currency.

06 October 2008

From the Front Lines of Bad-Ass Cascadilla St.

My landlord has become passionately embroiled in an effort to keep the city of Ithaca from turning the park across the street into a full-sized basketball court, complete with floodlights.

Because there's nothing better to do, people are getting really emotional about it. Landlord walked up and down the street, circulating a petition against it. His work's won some press, not least because there are people that believe protesting the installation is a racist act, I guess against the black kids that use the (constricting?) basketball courts that are already there.

Well, hell. You say a thing like that and it starts to be true. Sometime over the weekend, people crept up and down Cascadilla, slashing tires at random. We were scandalized: it's like being in Boyz n the Hood, except anticlimactic and painfully suburban.

Never mind that this house is chock-full of minorities. Given our selfish, irrational despise of jumbo basketball courts, we apathetically await burning crosses on the lawn ... or maybe a really mean chalk drawing on the pavement.

01 October 2008

Seeding Branded Videos

My friend Josh Warner of Feed Company wrote an awesome How-To for MarketingVOX this week. It provides tips for seeding branded videos. This isn't just a topic he knows well; it's one he's exhaustively passionate about. (Seriously. We'll be sitting over lunch, and he'll whip out his iPhone and go "Look at this, look at this, look at this." And it'll be wacky stuff, like ants doing battle, or breakdancing bees, or ... you know, some dude leaping into his own pants.)

The article provides useful examples of both successful and unsuccessful campaigns, in addition to a few handy guidelines for incorporating your brand in a web video.

I'm trying to make a point of publishing more material like this: helpful tools that don't just evangelize, but provide an actionable starting-point for marketers inexperienced in these areas. Let me know if you ever want to collabo, or if you have something you think we should syndicate.

Gandhi Day

Yesterday on the BBC's day in pictures:

Children dress up as Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi during a peace rally in Amritsar on the eve of his 139th birthday.

Almost as fun as the Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest. Far more sober, though: the kids bear the slight scowls of perpetually hungry sages. See friendlier shot of Gandhi.

Roll Your Smokes for a Treat

Explanation here.

27 September 2008

Peering into the Future

Just livetweeted the first Presidential debate. For me this felt like a dealbreaker, although overall response on Twitter and on TV was mixed.

I was disgusted by McCain's condescending attitude, coupled with his refusal to examine complex matters closely before doling out prospective punishments and languishing in war stories. He also struck me as dangerously impulsive (a blanket spending freeze on nearly everything but defense? Where did that come from?).

I think people expected Obama to score major points here, but he seemed disinterested in point-scoring. Instead of reacting to jibes, he clarified; his attitude seemed almost professorial. He also demonstrated quality of character: addressing McCain head-on, acknowledging valid points (which Rudy Giuliani has already tried positioning as a concession of his inexperience), looking him in the face, and, at the end, reaching out to shake his hand as McCain prepared to walk offstage.

This late in the game, it's foolish to expect either candidate to go out on some kind of radical limb. Who "won" the debate came down to how they fielded unexpected questions and addressed each other. These characteristics will determine how, as President, they will manage bipartisan grievances and negotiate space with other countries on our behalf.

McCain believes in forcing "preconditions" on proud leaders that are angry with us; in contrast, Obama drew a distinction between "preconditions" and "preparation." He believes these people should be acknowledged, face-to-face, and given the opportunity to speak their piece before the US reacts.

A guy like Ahmadinejad isn't going to kiss the US's ass with "preconditions" before agreeing to have lunch. Demanding that he do so is neither respectful of his power nor productive; it's poking an angry animal. That Obama would look him in the face, without reservation, and listen before exercising retribution on his country, speaks volumes about how he can repair our global reputation.

More analysis on The BBC. Also read Fox/AP coverage of big points made.

25 September 2008

McCain to Suspend Campaign Until After Economy is 'Saved'

From The New York Times:

[Following their telephone conversation], Mr. Obama was left with the impression [...] that Mr. McCain was “mulling over” suspending the debate as an option, not a final decision.

“Apparently, this was something that, you know, he was more decisive about in his own mind,” Mr. Obama told reporters.

Mr. Obama conceded being taken by surprise by the afternoon announcement from Mr. McCain, which Obama aides said occurred about 10 minutes after the phone conversation between the two men.

Taking Obama by surprise like that, McCain's managed to position him as the candidate with screwed-up priorities that revolve around his self-interest. That Obama also pushed back against McCain's wish to cancel their Friday debate only deepened this perception -- even if, in the back of our minds, we know there's no real reason the debate should be shafted.

Gov. Sarah Palin also indicated she might suspend her campaign.

Thanks to BL Ochman for the NYT link.

24 September 2008

Make Way for the 'Economic Pearl Harbor'

Warren Buffett voiced support for Henry Paulson's $700 billion proposal to buttress the buckling US financial system, calling it "absolutely necessary." I found that surprising. The move certainly saves our asses for the next couple of weeks, but we're facing deeper, potentially fatal problems with our system if its checks and balances (the market, essentially) can no longer support it.

Regular injections may sustain a diabetic, but it's hardly appropriate for the powerhouse of global consumption.

Now for some comic relief.
"It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever," Buffett said. "I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it's a little like saving sex for your old age."

He said sex!

Buffett recently announced intentions to infuse Goldman Sachs with $5 billion. The latter must be relieved beyond measure. If Berkshire Hathaway were a blanket, I'd be trying to crawl into it too.

(Thanks, Benj, for the Bloomberg link.)

Red Alert 3 Remix

"The only thing I can say about that is ... oh, snap."

Love this. 77,775 views and counting on YouTube, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars (665 ratings total). Find out why.

22 September 2008

The Changing Face

We were sitting across from each other on the couch late last night, tapping away on our Macbook Pros, when Benj glanced up at me and went, "Ang. Ang."

"Mm?" I looked up from what I was doing.

Benj cleared his throat for dramatic emphasis. "As of a few minutes ago, investment banks have ceased to exist."

"Mmm." It didn't much sink in. We went to bed, and around 8:30am this morning I woke up drenched in chilly sweat, writhing from a dream where the banks distributed all my funds to an evil female landlord. Everything was empty: the savings accounts, the IRAs, the investment fund...

"The banks --" I sputtered, "the banks..."

"It was a dream," said Benj. He made me mint hot chocolate, and waffles covered in banana, and sent me off to work.

For ye marketers out there, feeling all safe and warm, Search Engine Land is publishing 11 ways the Wall Street meltdown affects digital marketers.

19 September 2008

'I'm a PC and I Sell Fish!'

Love love LOVE the new "I'm a PC" ads. They are contagiously friendly. Also, Pharrell Williams is my secret boyfriend.

Want more? See "I'm a PC and I wear a suit" and "I'm a PC and I am not alone."

18 September 2008

Microsoft Shafts Seinfeld Campaign

... in favor of a direct rebuttal to "Mac vs. PC." What's more, it claims this was its plan all along.

Ugh. Nobody knows how to commit anymore.

17 September 2008

Tampax Pearl: Too Sassy for its Own Good

Meia (my sister): Uncle C cleaned out Chelsea's car the other day and ran inside shouting, waving a handful of tampons around.

Me: Why?

Meia: He was all, "You should know better than to keep firecrackers out on the seat like this! The car could explode under direct sunlight!" He was, like, so pissed off.

Me: Dude. Awkward.

Meia: Yeah.

16 September 2008

Pondering the Lehman Brothers Collapse

Big ouch for the global economy. Seemed to come out of left field. Sound familiar? It should, because this has happened before -- and not all that long ago.

The question now is, who stands to profit from the collapse of these Goliaths? Somebody is. And we'll see this again and again until we can pinpoint the source.

Meantime, we have front row seats for this theatre of mass destruction. Bonus points if you can guess where that line came from.

15 September 2008

'Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office'

I'm at a Starbucks near Cornell University, listening to a college-age girl make employment calls at a table nearby. Some of her responses make me wince, mainly because I remember saying them myself: "My weaknesses? I think I work too hard ... Well, in five years I hope to be working at a firm much like yours..."

As a co-ed looking for white collar work, my rejection count was way higher than the job offers I received. At first I thought I was just unlikeable (in fact, I still kinda think that), but then I came across the book above.

If you're the kind of woman I am, you'd feel really lame getting caught holding a book called Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, but it's direct, pragmatic and damn useful -- well worth the minor nick to your dignity. (Don't take my word for it; check out the table of contents.)

After a few minutes' perusal, I became conscious of three really dumb things I do in professional settings:
  1. I tilt my head and giggle.
  2. I turn nurturing execs into father figures.
  3. I position hard statements as questions, not facts, as if I'm seeking approval for having an opinion.
Learning the above facts about myself was pretty humiliating -- an emotion I think is crucial to feel if you're serious about changing your game. Once I became aware of this behavior, I could start making the necessary changes. (It was hard. You wouldn't think so, but it was.) 

After a month or two, I got a job that eventually became an executive position. It was a first for a woman in that company, and the department I headed -- marketing! -- never formally existed before.

Not bad for five minutes, a little embarrassment, and the willingness to make a tectonic mental shift.

Why Yammer Rocks Well

One of the hazards of remote employment is the immense feeling of isolation you get after the hazy honeymoon weeks of beer, donuts and ironic pyjamas have passed. Most of my team members at Watershed Publishing are accessible all day via email, but the messages feel more like tasks than conversations. Have I said the right thing? Do I need to act on this? May I archive you now?

So, possibly because I nagged him like a teeny bopper, the Chief Operating Officer at Watershed created a Yammer account for us. (Think intra-office microblogging.) I just downloaded the desktop app, which is a lot like twhirl for Twitter -- an interface I happen to be intimately familiar with.

Yammer was quiet for the first coupla days (see image above? ALL ME! ALMOST ALL DAY!), I think because we weren't sure what to do with it or how we should present ourselves. I secretly worried we'd feel constricted by its inherent corporateness: the platform was provided by our superiors, and they'd also be using it, so would they quietly judge us if we logged in one morning and went, "Ugh. Long night"?

After a bit of feeling-out time (and a few non-work contributions by the COO himself), my reservations felt inconsequential. Yammer has the dual effect of making everyone immediately aware of tasks that need handling, and of investing us all with a sense of community. 

Oddly enough, it's also a really good way to get to know everyone you work with. Even in an office setting,  that's difficult because people like to cluster and clique. (Of the 20+ in-office employees at my old job, I got to know maybe 5 or 6 on a really personal level. And that's because we were all forced to have lunch together at one point or another.)

So yeah. Yammer: highly recommended, especially for an enterprise team that's geographically far-flung.

Worst. Night. Ever.

Couldn't sleep at all last night. And when I finally did, I dreamt Haitian cows and hyenas were trying to push me off a cliff.

Then the alarm went off, and I thought I'd gotten up, but really I was still dreaming. And in that next REM torture session, I was sitting before a long stream of marketing blog posts that needed intensive correcting and were missing HTML. It was horrible. Just horrible.

12 September 2008

Bill and Ted, Ben and Jerry, Bill and Jerry.

Two of a kind? Birds of a feather? Something like that.

See the review.

10 September 2008

Politics As Usual

Last night my uncle sent the following chain letter, titled "Reason to vote for McCain," to all 498325948540930849 members of the family:

Okay, let's work this out logically without a lot of emotion.

If you vote for Obama....

You get this.....

But if you vote for McCain....

You get this...

I don't know about you guys, but looking at this in a logical manner, McCain appears to be the better candidate.

This is the kind of thing anthropologists will use to pad future anthologies about the political circus. (Which is a really nice euphemism for Wacky Crap that, in Lieu of Thoughtful Campaign Research, May Actually Affect the Appointment of a World Leader.)

If nothing else, though, it's hard proof that someone out there is still producing chain letters. The only thing scarier than that is who. Maybe it's Zany Uncle Tad, who just got broadband installed on his office computer. But what if it's your very own mutti or vati?

The thought is enough to chill the blood.


Yesterday Benj decided that I'm spending too much time at home. Around 8pm or so he pulled me out of bed, where I was lying in sort of a fetal position, and gathered up a hoodie, jeans and some shoes I could step into.

Stringing my white iPod cords around my neck, he looked me firmly in the face and said, "It's a crisp beautiful night. You need a walk. You need to REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE." Then he pressed three dollars into my hand and said, "Go get a marshmallow square."

I picked up my leaden feet and walked out the door, taking care to slam it and stomp so he'd know I wasn't doing this willingly. The air was nice, the music depressing. (Why do I listen to so much Sylvie Lewis?) I walked to DeWitt Park, located a dry bench, and reclined upon it so I could watch the sky and contemplate ways to punish Benj for shoving me out into the cloying air.

Thoughts rose up, volleyed, congealed. I made no big emotional breakthroughs, but I did decide now was not the time for a marshmallow square. I walked to Starbucks, had an iced coffee (sweetened!) and watched college girls pick out travel mugs. 

I used to do lame shit like that too, under the premise they would actually help me study. They did not. I sometimes wonder what happened to the mugs I so copiously collected. Did they go to the same lost place as my Christmas music? My favorite ring? My Urban Outfitters arm socks?

I sipped noisily, using my finger to wipe away the fog around my plastic cup. Beside me, a boy called his friend to ask for her notes on The Great Gatsby. "I'm at Starbucks," he said. "No, it can wait, I'd never ask you to walk somewhere. I said I'd never ask you to walk somewhere."

He repeated that last sentence two more times, which led me to conclude he was damn well trying to get her to walk somewhere. I finished my drink. My fingertips were frostbitten and I did not want to sit around chewing the ice, so I threw the cup in the trash, buried my earbuds back into my head, and walked out into the damp blue night.

Near home, I saw someone running toward me and waving his hands. It was a confusing gesture and I pulled out my earbuds (why?) and stopped to see if I could recognize who it was.

Benj grabbed me before I even identified him (could I use a new prescription?) and breathlessly cried, "I was running up and down the street, looking for you! I didn't want to leave home because I thought you might come back before I did, and I kept popping my head out at the same time as the girl next door, so I think she thinks I'm mad."

He bubbled happily on and I put my arm around his waist. It was a nice solid feeling. Close to home, he raised an arm expansively and said, "Look, neighbours, I'm not crazy! I was looking for someone. I was looking for my little love." And he squeezed, and I was happy, and together we watched the last half-hour of Fringe.

09 September 2008

Online 'Companion Piece' to Kirchner's 'Street Scenes'

Kirchner and the Berlin Street is just another art exhibit I wish I could catch. Thankfully the MoMA, that mecca of innovation in art and design, put together an online companion piece where you can see all the work, compare them side-by-side to artist Ernst Kirchner's original drafts, and even peruse his sketchbooks.

The site was produced by Behavior Design, which tricked it out just enough to make it intuitive, but not so much that the site becomes another drive-by victim of Web 2.0 hype.

More about it here.

05 September 2008

Oh Yeah, and Before I Forget...

Here's "Shoe Circus," the Microsoft ad with Seinfeld that everybody's going all bananas about. (And not in a fun way.)

Went live yesterday. I actually sorta liked it. But after reading all the negging, you start seeing what other people are seeing, and then you start to think the ad objectively sucks.

I don't want to be that kind of blogger, so put me on the record and try me thus: I liked it. That's right, I liked it!

*flinches reflexively*

Way to Pass the Buck!

AdBusters blames hipsters for its failure to remain relevant. Says the Guardian (arguably the hippest of international print-based news sources): "[Hipsters are] just fashion people, doing what fashion people have always done. Don't blame them for the demise of counterculture." Hear, hear.

Hey, speaking of hipsters...

Random Work-at-Home Discoveries

Never again!

If you're a lazy bastard cursed with an incurable affinity for kiwi, I've got news for you:

YOU CAN EAT THEM WITH THE SKIN ON! Just make sure the kiwi's a little on the overripe side, otherwise things can get hairy.

Reason #486 to NEVER. WALK. IN. PUBLIC.

information I never wanted shared with Creepy Neighbors & Co.


Invent your own caption! Big ups to @cdny for this jewel of a find.

In other news, Palin's speech at the RNC last night drew 37 million viewers -- about 1.4 million viewers shy of Obama's acceptance speech at the DNC, which appeared on two more networks than Palin's did.

One growing variable fueling GOP passion is perceived media bias in Obama's favor. More on that in the link above. If what you want next year is a party switch as well as a change in administration, I suggest picking your battles (especially if you blog), providing compelling data -- and making sure to vote.

03 September 2008

What, McCain Can't Deal with Tough Questions?

The following interview between CNN's Campbell Brown and McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds resulted in the McCain campaign canceling an anticipated appearance on Larry King Live:

The tempest stirred when Brown confronted Bounds about why the McCain campaign elected Sarah Palin, a relatively inexperienced running-mate, after "[making foreign policy experience] a big issue in this campaign." Bounds said Palin served as head of the Alaska National Guard, experience Senator Obama lacks.

Brown then asked Bounds to furnish "one decision [Palin] made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard." He failed to provide one, and tried wriggling out of the topic, but Brown doggedly pursued a straight answer. (It never appeared.)

The next morning, McCain aides announced the Senator would not honor his appearance on CNN's Larry King Live. According to spokeswoman Maria Comella:
After a relentless refusal by certain on-air reporters to come to terms with John McCain’s selection of Alaska’s sitting governor as our party’s nominee for vice president, we decided John McCain’s time would be better served elsewhere.
Thanks Benj for the link.

All Talk, No Action. Still Stealing?

Could this be construed as creative theft? I want to say yes, but I'm not sure. Seems like Amalgamated manipulated the original idea just enough to slip out of the line of fire.

02 September 2008

Google Debuts Chrome Browser -- Today!

Curious? Read the comic. Puzzled? Here's help.

Also see screenshots.

30 August 2008

Don't Wiki Too Zealously, Cyveillance Sees All

Cyveilliance normally trawls the Internet for data on behalf of clients seeking open source information in advance of a corporate acquisition, an important executive hire, or brand awareness. For example, an executive updating his Wikipedia page or resume on may be an indication of that person's plans to change jobs, or even that the company is in financial trouble.

Heavy Wikipedia action on Sarah Palin's bio page yesterday. That's what you call "sculpting a WINNAR."

29 August 2008

Sarah Palin for Veep?!

McCain/Palin '08! Not a bad choice of bumper sticker. (Certainly not the ick-fest I thought it would be.) But is it better than the Democratic alternative?

The Alaskan governor -- age 44, anti-abortion and alarmingly photogenic -- is expected to split women voters that would've otherwise put their weight behind Hillary (and, failing that, her choice of POTUS). According to The Weekly Standard, honey's got an approval rating in the 90s and is allegedly "the most popular public official in any state."

Sounds like a dish the media won't be able to resist, even at the expense of the latest Obama mashup.

Right about now, McCain chuckles to the tattered Obama photo he doubtless keeps by his bed: "That was cute, your little text-messaging racket with Biden. Kept your pulse steady on the blogosphere for at least another day. But when the going gets tough, true red-blooded Amurricans know to hide behind a woman!"

Cheap shots at ye olde Maverick aside, the move nullifies two issues: Obama's age (he's three years older than Palin) and the so-called "novelty vote." What's America most ready for: its first black President, or its first female Vice President -- a position playfully speculated to be the real seat of power?

The plot thickens.

27 August 2008

Duality of Humanity

Street artist Shepard Fairey is a master at juxtaposing the values we love and hate. A lot of his work is difficult to look at, especially if you fall hard on one side of any ideological fence. It's thinky-thinky and rebellious at heart, but also fairly inexpensive living room fare. =P

"Duality of Humanity" is the name of his latest exhibit, another send-up of the Cult of Man. From the pressie:
"Duality of Humanity" is inspired by the peace-sign wearing US soldier in Vietnam, 'Joker,' in Brian DePalma’s Full Metal Jacket. [...] That theme of soldiers and weapons bearing peace signs, or peace signs comprised of military effects, runs through many pieces in the show. [...]

Suffering and hope are seamlessly merged in a visual mash-up that defies expectations and easy answers.
Wish I didn't have to miss it. Don't you dare if you can avoid it. Catch the show between September 13 and October 4th at the White Walls Gallery in San Francisco.

26 August 2008

@drtobiasfunke Singlehandedly Restores Love of Show, Faith in Twitter

I am a huge Arrested Development fan, going as far back as when the show was actually running (which is rare!). And my loyalty only improved with age: I turned at least five people (now enthusiasts!) onto it, and watched Seasons 1-3 at least five times straight through.

It was my religion.

But even zealots move on. The last time I touched my AD DVDs was maybe summer of last year. I've since rediscovered Buffy, Angel and Star Trek: Deep Space 9. If anybody asks me, sure, I still dig the show. Have I got high hopes for its return, or for a full-length movie? Not really. The fire's become ash; I have officially Ceased to Care.

So it was with surprise and pleasure that I returned from vacation late Sunday to find @drtobiasfunke following me on Twitter. For non-ADers out there, Dr. Tobias Fünke is a (blazing!) closet homosexual, prone to awkward Freudian slips and just generally icky.

As a character, Tobias is totally rich. His clothes are disgustingly frumpy, he can never be completely nude, and he has anal-rapist -- short for psychoanalyst and therapist -- printed on his business cards. He's also married to the gorgeous and sex-starved Lindsay Bluth, played by Portia de Rossi (who's gay in real life! IroNY!)

In contrast, Dr. Fünke's Twitter personality is newborn and still sorta fætal. Whoever's behind it depends heavily on jokes that were thrown around during the short life of the show. But he's willing to interact and try giving the character off-network legs, which is ridiculously appealing. To my Twittered glee at him following me, @drtobiasfunke replied, "I'm only electronically following you. Physically, I'm attracted to women that have more of a Redford-esqe quality."

Hilarity ensues. I'm in love with a dead show all over again.

There's a lot to be said for an emotional connection forged by brand appropriation. If the cats behind Arrested Development hope to build momentum in its existing fanbase, maybe to help hype some future film in the make, microblogging is a good place to start. (A Dr. Tobias video blog would be awesome, too. I would watch it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Or maybe week.) I'm looking forward to seeing how @drtobiasfunke develops, and to following other AD characters as they appear.

Other fictional characters thriving on Twitter included the cast of Mad Men. Twitter personalities like @Don_Draper and @PeggyOlsen enjoyed a good run until AMC pulled out its bitch pistol and sent Twitter a legal takedown notice. Way to be wet blankets, guys: nothing like hosing the people that made you. UPDATE, 8:58pm: Looks like the Mad Men team's back on Twitter. Three cheers!

But back to the point. I'm not sure whether @drtobiasfunke has ties to Arrested Development's production team, but he got me into the show again. Hit me with ads, invite me to groups, send me petitions. I'm back on the team, ready to bring my favourite TV icons back to life.

When You're Randomly Feening for a Tall Glass of Calcium

Seek thee out an organic raw milk vending machine. At a south of France near you. Might be best if you bring your own container.

Meal Ticket Withdrawn, Social Niceties Follow

Just got the above comic from a friend who works at Google. We haven't spoken in a long time, but after two or three underhanded comments sprinkled subtly amidst casual prattle, I'm about 54 percent sure he's all Irky Ian for reasons he won't explain.

Those Googlers. Tough crowd. But hey, if I lost my dinner, I'd be a little Moody Mary too.

21 August 2008

Get Your Party Pants On!

Check out all that water!!

I'll be on vacation for the next four days. This is the first tech-free vacation I've taken since I-can't-remember-when (two years ago, actually?), and I am very excited, and also extremely freaked-out. 

Try not to miss me because I will probably not miss you. I'M GOING TO SEE NIAGARA FALLS! among other things.

19 August 2008

Why Does Ebay Still Exist?

Burn baby burn.

Some dude won one of my auctions on Ebay and refused to make payment in the allotted seven days. I can't file a complaint, because Ebay's site keeps timing out on me. (It does this all the time.)

And get this: I can't leave negative feedback, due to some new policy that they hope will make buyers feel better about closing purchases. (Hey, idiots. If you're going to admonish us to leave "honest feedback," why don't you empower us to file public complaints?)

Ebay, you have ceased to be a feel-good experience. And in case you think this is a one-time rant, I'd like to remind you of the last time I sold something on your site, when you blew up my inbox for days with an ostentatious bill without explaining in clear terms where I could pay it. (Here's a bright idea: how about PayPal, asshats?)

Ebay = ultimate fail. No wonder all your key people are leaving. If you were a person, and by some wild fortune also my next-door neighbor, I'd slash your tires.