Some things simply must be blogged

Some days the universe gives generously. After an extended period of non-blogging, today I have been hit by a torrent of things that simply must be blogged.

First up we have an unfortunate piece of art direction. Or a brilliantly subversive piece of advertising sabotage by an ideologically-opposed designer. (via Copyranter)

Then we have Hipster Hitler. I hate the phrase ‘wrong on so many levels’. I hate it almost as much as I hate the word ‘special‘. But it does seem apt when describing a comic strip that re-imagines Hitler as a slightly wet Hipster. (via StopPress)

Lastly, we have what I believe I may state without fear of contradiction is the greatest achievement in the history of the internet. I give you, Otters who look like Benedict Cumberbatch. (via Sell, Sell, Sell)

Some things simply must be blogged

Gelatin Bouncing. A great video. And, coincidentally, my new nom de plume.

So it’s been quite a while since I posted anything.  I’ve been ducking and diving, bobbing and weaving, rolling with the punches and generally bending in the breeze.

Anyway, here’s a video of what bouncing gelatin looks like in really slow motion. Really slow, like a winter’s day in Oamaru slow. Really slow, like me returning your call slow. Really slow, like 6200 fps slow.

It’s amazing. (Courtesy of Modernist Cuisine and NotCot)

Gelatin Bouncing. A great video. And, coincidentally, my new nom de plume.

Where the Foursquare users at?

I really want to like Foursquare.  But if I’m honest I don’t.  It’s not really a problem with Foursquare.  It’s a problem with Foursquare enthusiasts.

I tried Foursquare for a couple of months, used it to find a place to have lunch, became the Mayor of somewhere inconsequential, and then just kind of lost interest.  I’m sure it’s a great idea, it just it didn’t deliver much to me at the time.

And then Foursquare enthusiasts started to get a little bit annoying.  At a distance they’re cluttering up my timeline with irrelevant check-ins. In person they’re telling me how they can’t believe that they’ve checked into Melba 43 times in the last three days and they’re still not the mayor, or that “the most amazing thing happened the other day and, like, I was in O’Connell St, and a friend checked-in, and she was, like, in High St, and we were, like, maybe fifty feet away from each other and if it weren’t for Foursquare…… we’d never have known”. I’m sure they’re nice folk, those Foursquare users, just a bit zealoty.

Which is why I got quite excited about this –  It’s an app that let’s you find out where ‘the ladies’ are at, based on Foursquare check-ins at venues close to you (the App uses a complex, lady-gauging algorithm, that can determine the number of those check-ins that belong to ladies).  This is great, not because I’m interested in an app that lets me find places where I know lots of ladies will be, but because surely there’s an opportunity for variation on the app that allows me to avoid places where lots of people who really like Foursquare are.

Because that’s a use for Foursquare I could get enthusiastic about.

Where the Foursquare users at?

The ‘confident walker’ and the ‘preemptive solver’

I often traverse Queen St (which, for the benefit of my vast international audience, is the main street of Auckland’s CBD). This traversal is made easier, and surprisingly more entertaining, by the fact that as a very busy street, traffic in all directions at major intersections is stopped roughly every 90 seconds to let pedestrians cross.

There are two things I find entertaining in this.

The first is that it gives me the opportunity to mention that this kind of crossing is known as a ‘pedestrian scramble’ or, more lyrically, as a ‘Barnes Dance’.  When history judges this blog, never let it be said that it did not expand minds.

The second is that these intersections are where you find the ‘confident walker’.  This is the person who strides out boldly before the ‘walk now’ signal goes green.  This individual is keen for all to understand that he (and he is always a he) is an unnaturally capable pedestrian. He has memorised the phasing of the lights, so committed is he to his pedestrian craft. Or, as I prefer to imagine it, rather than memorising the phasing he simply possesses some preternatural affinity for traffic lights, an affinity so advanced and inexplicable that in certain town planning circles he’s referred to, in appropriately reverential tones, as ‘the crossing whisperer’.

This ‘confident walker’ believes he is sending a message that says ‘I am a very busy person with places I need to be.  In the course of being busy I cross roads regularly, this road in particular.  So much so that this road is my domain, and as you can see, I am its master.  I am a leader and I wait for no (green) man. You may follow me with confidence for I am the Lord of the Barnes Dance’.

The message he’s actually sending is that ‘I am a loser of quite desperate sadness. My life is so bereft of genuine meaning that I derive my greatest sense of personal accomplishment from believing I am a member of an elite class of pedestrian’.

I’m genuinely amazed I’ve never seen a ‘confident walker’ get hit by a car.

It also occurs to me that there is an obvious advertising agency equivalent – the ‘preemptive solver’.

They’re the people who insist on answering every question before it’s been asked.  Before a need’s been identified, they’re in opportunity mode.  Before a problem’s been defined, they have a solution proposed.  They’re never happier than when finishing a sentence on your behalf.

They are keen for everyone in the room to appreciate that they possess both uncommon sagacity and extensive experience. They wish the meeting to understand that no one is closer to the client’s business than they are. They would also like the meeting to know that it can relax, secure in the knowledge that they have clearly spent a great deal of time in the agency environment, and no matter the eventuality, they have it seen it, done it, and contact reported it.

They believe they’re sending a message that says ‘I think of nothing other than your business.  As will be obvious from the promptness of my answer I am a step ahead of you. This is because your needs occupy my every thought. Your wish, before you’ve even wished it, is my command.  It should therefore be clear to everyone in this meeting that I am indispensable.’

The message they’re actually sending is ‘I’m not actually listening to what you’re saying. It’s therefore very likely that what I deliver you will be wrong. This is because I am significantly more interested in demonstrating what I know than I am in understanding what you need.’.

I’m genuinely amazed I’ve never seen a ‘preemptive solver’ get hit by a client.


The ‘confident walker’ and the ‘preemptive solver’

If you love merchandising and you love sarcasm…

Absolutely my favourite site of the moment – Catalog Living – captions the most spectacularly over-art-directed decor shots you’ve ever seen. (The site is the fine work of Molly Erdman.)

Hi Nancy, it’s Elaine. I’m going to be a little late for lunch. I can’t find my hat or my back-up hat.
Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”
While Gary and Elaine were in the kitchen getting popcorn, the brave yellow sweater attempted its escape.
If you love merchandising and you love sarcasm…