Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New York I love you but I need more space

My bedroom is tight. But not this tight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Initial thoughts on Twitter

I realize that I've barely scratched the surface of Twitter's capabilities (or dysfunctions), but I think it's worth commenting on it because peoples initial reactions and judgements seem really important to continued usage. It's like if someone told you on a first date that they like to light puppies on fire for fun. Would you continue dating that person? Is that a deal breaker?

Coming from Facebook, it's difficult not to compare the two . If I were sitting at a coffeeshop looking for something to do - which I never have the time to do anymore, I could turn to Twitter to get the up to the minute updates about what's happening around town. But content-wise, those updates don't seem to differ from Facebook's updates. I think I learn just as much about what's happening, if not more because more people I know use Facebook. Below is a recent study conducted about content on Twitter. It's about what I expected and what Facebook more or less looks like, though my friends (the ones that I haven't hidden) don't engage in as much pointless babble unless it's somewhat ironic or an interesting addition to the overarching narrative of humanity.

I think the difference in the content is very slight. Reading through my friends tweets, they seem more direct, succinct, and tend to be more okay with being more informational and less clever or snarky or profound. I've also noticed that some people post a lot more than others. I mean a lot. Yet it doesn't quite feel as obsessive if that person posted with the same frequency on Facebook. What the implications of this are, I don't know. As it stands, I already spend too much time on Facebook, and it already seems daunting to me, and quite frankly, fundamentally unsound to spend more time social networking. At least LinkedIn requires little attention. I liken it to having multiple children. The first one or two, you devote a lot of energy to but then for subsequent offspring, there is usually more of a "what will be, will be" attitude.

Again, this post is meant to be about initial reactions (I'm talking about spending maybe 20 minutes on Twitter tops) so before you start getting all up in my grill about how I'm wrong about this or that, remember that I can't be wrong about my first impressions.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Left my heart in New Orleans

Here are a few pics from my visit to New Orleans last week for the Super Bowl. That city just does it for me in ways that no other city in America does. Every time I go there, I feel like people really know how to live, have fun, eat well, and enjoy the company of their neighbors. Not to say that doesn't happen in other places, but the intensity in which it happens there is incomparable.

I've never seen an entire city embrace a sports team the way N.O. has the Saints. They are treated like gods here, and for whatever reason, the hyperbole doesn't seem totally undeserved. Even if you don't appreciate sports (I'm talking to you, my progressive, artist friends) it is pretty undeniable how much it has transformed this city and brought everybody together. For at least a few days, it didn't matter what color you were or how much money you had or whether you were a tourist - everybody was just happy. Together.

Another great thing about N.O is the reverence towards tradition. Now I'm all for new ideas in art and culture, but marching along the streets with brass bands after the game singing When the Saints Go Marching In, it struck me how much other places in America lacked strong, unifying culture. Can you think of a song that all the citizens of a city could sing together in a display of civic pride? Maybe Sinatra's New York New York, but that's it. Miami by Will Smith doesn't count. And that's only one of many songs everyone sings together in N.O.

Delicious breakfast at Butcher, a butcher shop/cafe from the owners of Cochon

Eating crap just got easier

I drove by this sign the other day near campus and thought this marquee had been tampered with by pranksters.

That's what would have happened in my world.

In the real world, it is a national ad campaign by Taco Bell with commercials starring their female version of Jared from the Subway commercial. At least with Subway, you actually have to get out of the car and actually walk to your sandwich. My first reaction was that no one would take this seriously, but the fact of the matter is, there are a lot of folks out there who do - not because they think that gorging on beyond low quality food while reclining behind a steering wheel would help you lose weight, but because some people will believe anything. Anything they watch on the t.v. Anything Wal Mart tells them. Anything their friends tell them. Anything that somehow validates their lives and who they hate and what they eat. And for some who may not believe things at first, if you pound it into their heads enough, they eventually will (remember when they kept telling us Al Queda was linked to Iraq?). That is why 31% of Republicans still believe Barack Hussein Obama wasn't born in the United States. Now granted, I don't think any of us know for certain whether he was born in America or not (even though he did furnish a copy of his birth certificate and put it online), but how could somebody be so certain that he wasn't?

Because some people will believe anything they're told.

I don't know for certain either how much of the information I consume daily is legitimate, but I'd like to think that the sources I glean them from are credible. For instance, I don't know whether drinking a glass of wine a day is good for my health, or if Albert Pujols really hit that home run in last night's ball game, but I pretty much trust the American Journal of Science and the AP sports wire. I generally trust that my friends are smart enough to look for credible sources, but after they tell me something, I'll still usually look it up. And yes, some journalist or editor still may not be reporting the truth, but at least they are not telling me that I will LOSE WEIGHT by eating crappy food that I don't have to get out of my car to consume! I realize that Taco Bell isn't marketing to people like me, but it's sad that they're exploiting a segment of the population who will believe anything told to them by such a successful, authoritative corporation.

I can't wait for the day when the drive thru tellers will actually chew the food for you as well. Below is their actual new campaign slogan...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tragedy. Comedy. An alternate reading of Dwell.

"It was unclear how her life had become so riddled with obvious metaphors."


Then again, maybe obvious metaphors are a worthwhile tradeoff for owning a super-sleek modern home.

Genius, or uninspired advertising?

I feel compelled to finally sit down put into words what I feel about American Apparel's 70's porny ad campaign. For a couple of years, my reactions to them have ranged from mild disgust to appreciation for its originality, but I've never thought about it beyond my initial reactions - and I've never really formed a strong opinion about them. But this ends now. They're plastered all over the city these days, which is a bit unusual for Austin because there isn't the same kind of illegal, wheat-pasted, corporate advertisement poster culture like in New York.

So let's start with the things I like about them…

1.Their models look more like everyday people (that is if everyday people looked like pale, unkempt hipster types which is what it's actually like in Austin). At the least, they're not your typical pouty, blonde waif with makeup detonated on their faces. I imagine them having armpit hair, or modeling to support their voracious appetite for consuming Dostoevsky novels in a dark library while the sun shines outside. I can envision them knowing all the words to Hatful of Hollow. They're saying that not just beautiful people can be sexy, but kinda beautiful people can be sexy too!

2. John Ashcroft. Let's not forget that it has only been eight years since our Attorney General had the statue of the Spirit of Justice covered up with an $8000 curtain. The opposite of blatant eroticism is much worse.

3. As militant as I am in avoiding the use of Helvetica, I actually really like it, especially in contrast with expressive imagery. The white space is nice too.

What I don't like about them…

1. Everybody knows that sex sells, so why sell it? As a creative choice, it's uninspiring and lazy.

2. The company began with a conscientious angle and continues to support progressive movements like pro-gay and pro-immigration campaigns, and fair wage employment. Why not highlight these facts? My first positive experience with A.A. was hearing about their endeavors - and it actually made me want to buy their shirts. Also, it's not like they farm out their creative strategy - A.A. does its own design, advertising, and marketing. The guy who takes those porny shots with his camera at his house - he's also the CEO.

I'm not sure if I ever will feel strongly either way about their advertisements and perhaps that's why it makes a good ad campaign - it forces us to confront our own moral boundaries and our own opinions about how the society we live in should function. So for now, they'll continue to distract me while I walk down the street, either disgusting me or titillating me with their refreshing, unsanitized sexuality.

For you, my readers, I leave one last nugget...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to blogging

I've lost track of how many blogs I've started, and resultantly fizzled away. In a way, not having a consistently read and produced blog is like being single - up to the point you're at, all the relationships that have come before, for one reason or another, has either failed or come to an end. And yet like relationships, I'm drawn back to the playing field, the desire to share myself with others, a hope that someone comments back. Now if only blogs provided the physical perks of a relationship.

Maybe I'll try Second Life instead.