Who said Powerpoint was useless? This is quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen — hip-hop and rap tracks represented in the form of Powerpoint charts and graphs. (Note: Each slide is a link to the YouTube video of the song referenced.)
Archive for 2007|Yearly archive page
I always wondered if this actually ever happened. Every time I see the FedEx guy and the UPS guy enter the office at the same time, I expect a melee. I suppose a Coke/Pepsi brawl makes even more sense.At the end of the day, should Coke and Pepsi be upset about this? I mean, these two mooks were so proud of their respective brands that they took to arms. Brands need advocates and evangelists and champions…what about brand gladiators? (P.S. – I hope Coke kicked Pepsi’s ass.)
I attended the Austin City Limits Festival last week. Despite the Texas heat, described to me by a friend as “Africa hot”, it was amazing. Austin is a wonderful city, ans the festival is an extension of everything that makes it so: great music, good food, and really cool people.In the course of three days, I saw more interesting bands than I can remember. Some peformances leave you underwhelmed. Others solidify your respect for a band. You fall in love with new artists, and you renew your vows with old favorites. That said, my favorite moments are those where you see a band you have always appreciated and walk away with newfound respect.For me that was LCD Soundsystem. I already own their CDs. I throw them on in the car now and then. A few tracks appear on my iTunes playlists or on my iPod for working out. Their live show, however, took it to whole new level. There something about seeing them perform live that adds some soul to the proceedings. It stops being clever lyrics and electro-production and becomes a living, breathing thing. What was a bit cold and removed on the CD becomes a visceral, urgent thing.I tried to find a decent clip from ACL, but alas, there were none. The clip above it a live TV performance, and gets the point across.There’s also this video for the same track, All My Friends. Pretty amazing stuff.
I was trolling through the hundreds of Safari bookmarks I have collected over the years, hoping to organize and purge a bit. I came across these two sites, Strange Maps and Radical Cartography. I’m not sure why I bookmarked them in the first place. It may have been as simple as the fact that they’re just plain-old interesting. Who new cartography could be so cool? Now, I’ve seen some good-looking maps, and some that just work better than others. This is something entirely different. These maps provide insight. They transcend simply giving you a sense of size, distance and proximity. They tell stories. They shift perspective. You leave them with a sense not only of place, but of meaning.Take the Hungry Gulf Crocodile, seen above. More than just being a map, it tells you somthing fundamental about that place. The Persian Gulf can be a dangerous place, but risk hazard becaise that’s where the oil is. Granted, it has a distinct Western (American) bias, but that’s fine. This isn’t intended to be journalistic fact, rather op-ed rhetoric. In any event, it makes its point.
After the debacle surrounding the London 2012 logo, it was refreshing to see what a great job Vancouver seems to be doing with its Winter 2010 identity. I’m in “Canada’s San Franciso” this week on a little ethnography project, and there’s Vancouver 2010 merch everywhere. T-shirts, mugs, hats, even little wooden figurines, all featuring the logo. There’s even a countdown clock in Robson Square, where I took the photo you see above.
The beauty of the logo is that it speaks to several things at once. The figure in the logo recalls the style of the native inukshuk rock art and colors hint at the multicultural nature of the city itself. I overheard someone refer to it as “the goalie,” reaffirming the extent to which Canadians are hockey-mad.
Despite its obvious problems (herion and homelessness), Vancouver is just one of those cities that really has its shit together. They’re going to do a wonderful job with the 2010 games.
I’ve been in sunny Calgary for the last week on business. (That actually isn’t sarcasm, it has been sunny and nice.) Anyway, I’ve had some free time to check out Canadian TV, and I have to say, it’s generallly nothing to blog home about. The sports stations cover a lot of Canadian football, the weather is in celsius, and they tend to show only the crappiest American shows (So You Think You Can Dance?).
Thankfully, thedre has been one very pleasant surprise, The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. The best way I can describe the program, and its host, is to say that is is a sort of hipster version of Fresh Air. The host is a young, seemingly-cool, definitely smart, Canadian lad. On consecutive nights, I saw him interview Gore Vidal and the Barenaked Ladies with equal verve. Given any guest, theme or topic, Stroumboulopoulos is always looking for the insightful point of view.
Check it out. George Stroumboulopoulos is definitely smarter and more interesting than Anderson Cooper.
Wes Anderson’s new film, The Darjeeling Limited, comes out on September 29th, and I can’t hardly wait. In an world where Transformers, quite possibly the shittiest piece of shit I have ever seen in my adult life, can may a few hundred million dollars, I’m glad there are directors like Wes Anderson. He’s had his ups and downs, but his worst work is still better than 99% of the movies released in American cinemas.
I would rather watch his Amex commercial on a continuous loop for two hours than have to sit through Pirates of the Carribean 3 again.
If nothing else, I’m sure the soudtrack will be awesome.
So, it’s been about a month since I last posted to this blog. The hiatus is mainly due to the fact that I have a new job. About a month back, I started working at a marketing research consultancy called W5. The firm is small, only twelve people. (Fortunately, they seem to be twelve of the smartest people I have ever worked with.) W5 does both qualitative and quantitative work, with a certain knack for in-depth ethnography. Our clients include ad agencies and corporations of all shapes and sizes.
Things are going well – interesting clients, good work, and plenty of travel. I’m on a two ethnographic excursion to Calgary and Vancouver as we speak. Hello, frequent flyer miles.
So, if you’re in the market for the services of a marketing research consultancy, feel free to contact me at my business email. For those of you who may be at the AAAA Account Planning Conference in San Diego, W5 is a sponsor. We will have a table in the registration area. Stop by and say hello.
I can’t say I understand the motivation to get a corporate logo tattooed on your body, especially that of the Microsoft Zune. I’ve watched enough Miami Ink to know that the only worthwhile tattoo is one that tells a story about who you are, where you come from, or what you aspire to be.
I have to wonder – What association is this fellow trying to make between himself and the #4 mp3 player on the market? It is a product that can best be described by comparing it to another product, the iPod. It has no defining quality that makes it iconic, in the marktplace or on your arm. Quite simply, it has no soul.
That said, it is a nice tattoo. If it didn’t have such bland connnotations, it might be really interesting.
Thanks to my favorite music blog, Stereogum, for bringing this to my attention.
I just finished reading Outside Lies Magic, by John R. Stilgoe. Stilgoe is a professor of landscape history at Harvard, and as word has it, his courses are among the most sought after at the university. He must be relatively popular, since I first heard about him via a 60 Minutes profile back in 2004.
This is an amazing little book about the beauty and complexity of the ordinary world. Early in the book, Stilgoe describes himself as an explorer. Not an explorer of faraway places, but of the ones we see every day. His mode of exploration isn’t characterized by focusing on the rarely-seen, but on the oft-overlooked. He takes us through urban neighborhoods, suburban strip-malls and country roads with the intent of instilling within the reader a renewed curiosity about the world around them. The book meanders, but in the best possible way. It reads like a travelogue written by someone so curious and observant that they never felt the need to leave their hometown. You ultimately find that there is tremendous detail and history behind the ordinary environments we float through every day.
Another major theme is un-learning what we assume we know about the world. Stilgoe isn’t trying to educate you concerning matters of history and fact about landscape of the built environment. He is attempting to invigorate your sense of perception and curiosity that has been flattened by television, computer and the automobile.
Discovering bits and pieces of peculiar, idiosyncratic importance in ordinary metropolitan landscape scrapes away the deep veneer of programmed learning that overlies and smothers the self-directed learning of childhood and adolescence.
Anyone whose work involves intellectual curiosity or observation of the human condition (basically, everyone) can benefit from reading this book. At just under two-hundred pages it is a quick read. Thankfully, Outside Lies Magic provides a framework for looking at the world that resonates well beyond its pages.