Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

31 July 2008

Thai School Does Tranny Toilets

I like how they were all, "Yeeeeaaah. It could be more pink. Flower pattern, maybe?"

I went to middle school with a Thai transsexual boy-turned-girl called Sushi. Tying this back to the news story: As a guy, he used the girls' room and changed into his PE clothes in the library, where I was the TA. He also sported a Baby G watch and a Polo Sport messenger bag before any of the girls did. Sure he got beat up a lot, but hey: he was fashion-forward.

When her parents finally agreed to the sex change (we were maybe 15), she was gorgeosity. Standing next to her, even I felt like less than a woman. (And you know I'm all the woman you need, baby.)

Not sure what's happened to Sushi since. I saw her one last time on the streets of Berkeley, maybe during my sophomore year of college. I was with my boyfriend. Sushi walked by us, gave me a knowing grin, flipped her hair and kept going.

Dude on my arm did a complete 180, stopped walking and stared after her for at least 30 seconds. Girl's got range.

29 July 2008

Twitter down for Unplanned maintenance

That's "Unplanned" with a capital U, mister. (More serious than garden-variety unplanned maintenance?) For a moment during loading, I thought they weren't going to use the Failwhale picture -- and I was prepared to freak out like whoa. Couldn't tell you why.

Question to the powers that be: why did this have to happen when I was soliciting aid for my hurt neck?

28 July 2008

Quicken-Induced Aging?

You need a little Mint in your life. Mint is a hosted* financial management service that ports data directly from your accounts. It helps with budget management, keeps track of where your money goes, makes money-saving recommendations, and compares your spend to others in your area. (Gotta love rivalry.) 

I'd say the benefits rival Quicken's -- maybe even exceeds them -- but Mint is so much easier to deal with and understand. Plus, it's FREEEEE! Plus, it's got CURVY CORNERS!

The service is currently in beta. I'm not sure how it makes money** (some sort of deals-oriented kickback? Maybe it could get chummy with Experian?), and because I love it so far I have this horrible fear that, post-beta, it'll castrate my functionalities and demand a subscription fee.

After a few months of Minty freshness, I might just pay it, too. 


* That means Mint hosts your information. No downloads to your desktop -- you can access your account info from anywhere.

** After perusing the website slightly more than casually, I discovered it sells your information. Well shucks, that was obvious, wasn't it.

25 July 2008

Helicopter Mom

Earlier today I paid a visit to the business park cafe.

The cafe is small, a 'front for a catering service that happens to have a lot of extra inventory. It pretty much feeds everyone in the building that can't drive away at noon, and typically only one person mans it. You end up developing a rapport with whomever you see most.

But across the counter today was a guy I'd never met before. He was maybe 25-27 years old, lanky and awkward given his height, with a trendy haircut.

"You're new," I said.

"I am." We introduced ourselves and shook hands. Witty banter was exchanged, approving once-overs conducted. We were clearly in the same league of Millennial Cool.

"So what would you like?" he said.

Before I could respond, a woman started banging on the employees-only door.

The boy was distracted. He turned toward her and shook his head no. She said something inaudible and he kept shaking his head.

I reached over to open the door.

"Don't," he said quickly. "She'll manage. She's very resourceful."

An awkward silence passed as the woman glared through the glass, turned and left.

"I'll have the chicken Caesar salad," I said.

"Coming right up!" He was bright and witty again. "You want your chicken hot or...?"

"Hi-iiiii." The greeting came from behind me and I turned to face the same lady who'd been banging on the door just seconds ago. With her matronly navy cardigan and khaki pants, she seemed comfortable with her surroundings, even as the guy behind the counter devolved into a jittery goo-pile.

"What do you want," he said flatly.

"Oh, I haven't decided," she drawled. "I'm not in a hurry, you take your time with her." She smiled significantly at me as the boy, clearly agitated, began chopping my chicken to ribbons.

"You know, he's a great cook," she said suddenly to me.

"Is he?" He can 'great cook' me into a salad, goddamnit, I thought, eyeing homeboy's cutting board hijinks.

"Oh yes. He makes the most amazing Thai-Rastafarian pasta at home."

"Thai what?"

"Rastafarian pasta. It's this thing, you know, with vegetables. He's mine. I'm his mother."

"Ah!" I grinned. "Do you work in the building? Or are you just here to be supportive?"

"I buy lunch wherever he works," she confided, "but it's not about support. I come to see about the people." Her son wandered away to grill the chicken. He suddenly seemed sullen and lethargic. His mother leaned in toward me. "Between us, I think he needs me around."

"A mother keeps a boy on his toes," I joked.

Awkward pause. Then:

"You know," she said, "a working woman needs a cook at home."

"I'll keep that in mind." The salad arrived. "It was very nice meeting you." I reached forward to shake her hand.

"No need to do that, honey," she said, waving me off. "We'll see you around?"

She smiled winningly. The Prize Boy looked away sharply, Napoleon Dynamite-style. And I ran upstairs to relay the awkward goings-on in the cafe to the rest of the world.

24 July 2008

The Origins of 'Jump the Shark'

The expression "Jump the shark" refers to when a show has passed its prime. It came from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie literally jumps over a shark while water-skiing:

I'm only mentioning it here because when I heard it was from Happy Days, I was like, "No way. I can't picture the Fonze water-skiing, let alone jumping over a shark." But he did, and here's the proof, and henceforth Happy Days began to suck.

23 July 2008

Capping the Lens on Shoot! the Day

Here's a picture AdWeek took of my panel making awesome faces:

Gotta love the awkward.

I just posted a fairly complete synopsis of my Shoot! the Day thoughts on Adrants. A few things I didn't say for lack of space:
  • PhotoShelter's got passion behind it, including friendly employees and PR people you genuinely want to know. Not to mention good online outreach (they kept hitting Adrants up even when we talked shit, which we like to do), and social media savvy. (I overheard agency peeps and photographers confess to reading PhotoShelter's blog; plus, all panels will be podcasted. Not even ad:tech does that. The irony.)
  • I don't think anybody in the audience was Twittering. Okay, totally different world.
  • The vibe was way casual. Couldn't work out whether it was a freelance thing or a PhotoShelter thing; they probably feed into one another.
  • Not much mention of Flickr or Creative Commons, which I thought was odd given the licensing concerns. It's possible nobody really knows about compfight, which enables users to search Flickr specifically for Creative Commons-protected work. It's also possible that most Flickr stuff is hit-or-miss, and most Flickr users simply aren't professionals.
Onto the next project: ad:tech Chicago in less than two weeks!

22 July 2008

Schwarzenegger on Obama, Environmentalism

Excerpted from Schwarzenegger Suggests He’s Open to Post Under Obama:
Mr. Schwarzenegger endorsed Mr. McCain in January, in part for what he called Mr. McCain’s “great vision in protecting the environment.” But Mr. Obama, a Democrat, has praised Mr. Schwarzenegger’s efforts against climate change in California and mentioned his name in discussions of possible cabinet officers.

That apparently prompted George Stephanopoulos, the moderator of “This Week,” to ask Mr. Schwarzenegger whether he would take a phone call from Mr. Obama if he was calling with an offer to be his energy and environment czar.

“I’d take his call now, and I’d take his call when he’s president — any time,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “Remember, no matter who is president, I don’t see this as a political thing. I see this as we always have to help, no matter what the administration is.”
I know this is an unpopular position, but I really like Arnold Schwarzenegger and what he's done for California. I like his idealism and his life story. I like that in so many ways he is young and politically naive and he doesn't care; he's a force that feels conviction and acts on it. And his convictions match mine.

Post link-love, here's a verbatim reaction from a blog buddy: "Wow. What a whore." Yeah, well.

Ernest Hemingway Lookalikes!


19 July 2008

Interrogating Agency Art Directors and Buyers for Shoot! the Day

Hello, Bessie. Via RoyaltyFreePhotos.

Tomorrow I'll be moderating a panel for Shoot! the Day, a stock photography conference put together by PhotoShelter. (See a recent study related to the topic.)

My panel is at 12:15pm. It will include:
  • Belinda Lopez, Senior Art Buyer, Strawberry Frog
  • Wanda Lau, Senior Art Director, Greater Than One
  • Jen Santiago, Managing Art Buyer, G2 Direct & Digital
  • Molly Aaker, Art Buyer, Unit7
My two biggest fears: 

1) making a Twitter joke

2) boring my audience, which will consist of professional photographers. I'm clearly not one of them, and I won't do justice to their angstiest stock photo/ad agency concerns, so I'll be leaving plenty of room for Audience Questions!.

Read about other Shoot! the Day panels at the PhotoShelter blog. And if you'd like to come watch me make awkward jokes and commit cheesy faux-pas, here's how to volunteer for a free pass.

I realize this is extremely last-minute. That was intentional, to minimize attendance and reduce the likelihood of damage to my id. (She is vixeny, but sensitive.)

18 July 2008

Diggin' Dr. Horrible

See trailer above, watch episodes at Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Put together by Joss Whedon, the first three parts will be available until midnight on Sunday. After that you'll have to buy your fix on iTunes or on a series DVD.

Read more about it at The Globe and Mail.

I love Whedon's work, and the show's already got some geektastic zealots behind it, but I'm not convinced fans will pay to float it online. (It would be nice, given that this is probably one of the best web series I've seen.) I guess we'll see.

Late last year Radiohead released its album In Rainbows online and on a pay-as-you-wish basis. Only 38 percent of downloaders made a payment, with US customers paying an average of $8.05 and international ones $4.64. But comScore claims the album nonetheless gleaned $3 million in its first month, and Thom Yorke considered it a success: "In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together forever."

Big statement. The point is, there's money online for a great product, even if the payment model looks less than promising. (And it definitely helps to have a religious fan base like Radiohead and Joss Whedon do.)

I suppose you just have to trust the crowd.

17 July 2008

Mixed Messages

Last week I went to Felicia's Atomic Lounge, a semi-divey Ithaca bar that happens to have a high concentration of lesbian patrons and really good hip-hop. After three requisite "loosen-me-up!" vodkas, I met this girl and we had a great conversation. 

Ten minutes into it, she confessed she was only talking to me because her ex-girlfriend "thought it would be super funny."

Serious buzzkill. I spent the last six days thinking (only 46% in jest), "I'm one of those chicks that bitchy girls send their exes over to because they think it'll be funny!" -- but then I went to Felicia's last night, and saw that same girl, and waved to her, and she slammed into a pole while waving back, and now I feel better.

Hel-loooo, validation.

There Are Still People Left that We Haven't Fucked Over and Conquered.

And they use bows and arrows! And BODY PAINT!!!!!

Benj sent me the link early this morning. The people depicted are part of a tribe in the Envira region of the Brazilian-Peruvian border. We haven't made contact with them yet (with the exception of having flown above them), but a number of other uncontacted tribes in the region have been forced to migrate because of illegal logging.
The history of contact, between indigenous tribes and the outside world, has always been an unhappy one.
Knowing there are still people whose societies were left to evolve at their own pace gives us a good opportunity to correct wrongs made in the past -- mostly by avoiding them altogether. (Let's just hope they don't discover totalitarian agriculture or gun powder anytime soon.)

More photos in the above link. They're amazing.

Update: @stutts pointed out the above tribe was first documented in 1910. The photographs were part of an effort to seek them out for publicity purposes, specifically to compel people to keep them safe, and also to prove indigenous tribe still do exist.

[Photographer] Meirelles ... [argues] that the pictures and video released to the world were powerful and indisputable evidence to those who say isolated tribes no longer exist.


But he is determined to keep the tribe's location secret – even under torture, he says. "They can decide when they want contact, not me or anyone else."

Cold, hard reality: reason #4343008594 why Twitter is useful.

16 July 2008

You Wanna Blend Me a What?

In an ongoing quest to keep up with the non-luxury joneses, Starbucks goes into smoothies. Meanwhile, its stock plummets dramatically.

Update: actually, the stock's up 5.67 percent today (that's 0.77 cents). Maybe people like the idea of health smoothies at a coffee shop.

Then again, we already have one D*lush -- which has been doing coffees, blended drinks and smoothies for about seven years -- and it's got all the sex appeal SBUX left behind.

I first came across D*lush in San Diego around 2001. I totally dug the brand experience -- enough to buy a shirt -- but then again I was heavy into pink and blue. =P Plus, when you walk in for the first time, all the employees shout "WE'VE GOT A VIRGIN!"

They're so cute. And apparently they shimmied into Dubai this year. See D*lush promo stuff here.

15 July 2008

HBO Puts New Vampire Show on the Pipeline

You gotta love the concept of vampires. They're young, immortal, and bound to the enigmatic night. Making them sympathetic would destroy their mystique; making them political might make undead life more appealing.

True Blood -- a new HBO show where vampires struggle for equal rights among mankind -- aims to do both, at least with its debut campaign by Campfire, the people that promoted The Blair Witch Project.

See video from the effort.

One thing about True Blood that bugs me: the creator, Alan Ball, has allegedly never watched Buffy and never read any Anne Rice. How will we find common ground without zany one-liners, legacy egotists and reinstated souls?

10 July 2008

Unexpected Encounter

Dead duck in the water.

I strode into the office bathroom today and found myself face-to-face with a tanned, grinning man with crisp-cut silver hair and a baby blue polo shirt. He was holding a gigantic roll of paper towels out toward me like a peace offering.

"How are ya!" he shouted.

"Hello," I said. "Am I in the right bathroom?"

"Yes!" he shouted. "Don't mind me. I'm just installing these." And he freed one of his hands to pat a plastic paper towel dispenser sitting on the sink.

"Oh," I said. "All right."

I went into a stall to wizz, but I couldn't bring myself to do it with him out there whistling, so I shuffled some paper around and flushed. Then I walked out to wash my hands, moving one of the dispensers over to access the sink.

"I'm sorry about the inconvenience," he said, still smiling gamely.

"Not at all," I said. I reached over to an already-installed dispenser for a towel.

"These machines are great," he said, patting one he'd just set on the wall. "All recycled material. Motion sensor." He waved his hand in front of the machine to demonstrate, then tore the paper out and threw it in the trash. "Great for the environment. In fact, this company is one of the most environmentally-friendly ones in its field."


"No!" He looked offended. I'd never seen a janitor so passionate about his towel dispensers. "Tork."

"I've never heard of them," I said. "They must be new."

"No, they're not. In fact they're global. See, look here." He ran his hand in front of the sensor and some towel slid out. "You have to take what's there. It won't dispense more if there's something there to take. I'll show you." He slid his hand over the sensor again and another foot of towel slid out.

"Usually it works." He tore the sheets, stuffed them into the trash and tried again. This time the dispenser held its ground; no more towel for the greedy towel man.

"Impressive," I said.

"Also, we'll be installing foam soaps over the sinks instead of that pink liquid. Foam doesn't drip all over the counters, see."

"Delicious!" I said.

A moment's pause. I twitched my foot forward to go. He stuck his hand out. "I'm a salesman for Tork," he said with a pearly-white grin.

"Hello," I said. We shook hands.

"You let me know if you need anything."

"Oh yes," I said. "I will." And then I escaped before he could pitch me a bidet.


Thanks @redrabbit for helping me find a handy-dandy paper towel dispenser photo. =P

09 July 2008

Agency Diversity? Not So Much.

Here's Ad Age's take on the agency diversity hearing that occurred Monday night. It was a full house -- 27 people! -- but of the 16 major NY ad agencies invited, only two sent reps: Arnold and Saatchi.

For what it's worth, Make the Logo Bigger went too. Apparently things got really heated and a lot of old topics were flayed by newly-angry agency attendees: minorities' inability to afford ad school, lack of ad career awareness in ordinary high schools, and the classic "Where are all the black people?" question.

Collective conclusions:
  • Hit agencies in the wallet. Get angry about stereotypes in ads!
  • The diversity problem cannot be addressed until agencies admit they have a problem.
  • This is everybody's challenge to solve: creative, account management, strategic planning, even clients' (via Kenji Summers).
I suggested Bill cover the event in the style of a pulp comic, but he wasn't amused. I think one of his eyelids twitched though.

As a minority I feel pretty ambivalent about the diversity topic. I have never worked at an agency, so I don't have any real insight on how overt the racial ceilings are. I do know that there are a lot of minorities that are happy to take advantage of condescending "affirmative action" policies, even if those policies tarnish their merits among peers. And there are minorities that would prefer to fight their way to the top without a boost from some guilty white execs. Some see any attempt by Whitey to reach out as a personal affront. (Berkeley was full of these kinds of groups.)

I also don't think most agencies are consciously prejudiced; they might just be behaving in ways they find common and familiar. "This is the way things have always been done. And anyway, minorities stay together; they start their own agencies!"

Seriously. Ever been to ad:tech Miami? The LatAms are pretty stringent about sharing business cards with people they aren't already planning to work with. The diasporas stay together, and they seem to like it that way.

So we've got defensive minority groups on one end and defensive white agencies on the other. Tough nut to crack. And reason #485 why margaritas should be free in Manhattan.

Somehow This Parade Doesn't Seem as Fun as the Ithaca Version.

Beverly Farms, Massachusetts holds an annual Fourth of July parade where, with help from papier-mâché and their meanest jokes, participants get to "comment on local, state and national events."

Can you think of any easy national targets for satire? Bush jokes are old, and Spitzer ... eh. Hey, wait! How about a teen PREGNANCY PACT?

Oh, and the townfolk were vicious. ('s still reeling!) See below. Gotta say, I didn't think it could get any worse after the dancing knocked-up teenagers. But then it did. And it did. And it did again.

The finale: manbabies escape a giant vagina! (And I thought the Volvo ballet was wack.)

08 July 2008

Chain Letters: Social Media by Early Man

Today I got a chain letter from someone I haven't spoken to in years. It was so deliciously retro.

It also presented an opportunity to explore how, with high-speed convenience, we started replacing face time with dancing GIFs, colorful platitudes and cause-related CTAs.

This particular email did a spam-tacular job of demonstrating: 1) my childhood chum continues to think highly of me, and 2) she has an earnest, deeply meaningful desire to save people from cancer. All that, and we didn't even have to dodder about the weather!

Subject line: "Pink Ant."

Hello, Pretty Lady!

You have been hit.
You have been considered one of the 10 prettiest ladies with a kind, warm and loving heart. Once you have been hit, you have to hit 10 pretty ladies with kind, warm and loving hearts. If you get hit again you know you're really pretty and kind. If you fail to forward this, you'll have ugliness for 10 years. So hit 10 pretty ladies to let them know they are pretty -- both on the
inside and the outside - and that they are loved and cared for.

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating (even if to one person).

In memory of anyone you know that has been struck by cancer.

That rhinestone effect really gives it somethin' extra.

07 July 2008

Mad Men Goes High Fashion

Courtesy of Michael Kors, which pretty much puts Mad Men in the same promotional sphere as, I don't know, Lagerfield safety vests.

03 July 2008

Big Brother's Watching, and His Name is Viacom

This news gives me that not-so-fresh feeling.

01 July 2008

Who Says Suzy Homemaker's Dead?

Really old people like to say the '50s and '60s were all about liberating women from the bondage of Domestic Homemakerism.

But after perusing this month's Real Simple, I'm not convinced the homemaking goddess is dead. That isn't to say I think homemaking is bad; I just think the ad messages we find quaint, antiquated and even manipulative still have a home in today's magazines. 

What complements a happy marriage, great kids and a successful career? Miles of perfectly clean stemware, courtesy of my Electrolux dishwasher:

Pork and nail polish -- a match made in heaven. Or possibly Hell's Kitchen:

Don't just make a cheesecake; make a patriot:

But wait! The ad comes with a (sponsored!) recipe! I know I've seen that gimmick before.

Be the big kahuna just for preheating your oven:

But you really should serve a delicious square meal, not a frozen disc:

If the pressure's on, there's always wacky Uncle Ben -- who may like to party, but appreciates the importance of a wholesome meal. I can almost hear his twang:

Long day? Reward yourself with Jell-O's low-calorie rice pudding, which comes in très chic flavours like cinnamon and crème brûlée: the dessert of queens!

And remember: if you get an illicit itch that keeps you up long after Hardworking Hubby, a good fiber-rich cereal will put you right at ease.