July 2, 2009 by Colin
You could say the wire walker in this short film has intense short term focus, but is easily distracted by new opportunities. You could say that he is agile enough to react to changing situations, but acutely aware of the many competing interests around him.
If you’ve met me, or know my job, you could see why I feel some affinity for that wire walker.
In fact, if I was the type to build some sort of horribly overextended and barely consistent business talk out of the correlation between my personal life, professional life and this wire walker, I could type out three or four overwrought and barely personal posts meant to inspire you and increase my subscriber count. After all, I AM a capable strategist and thoughtful person.
His name is Florent Blondeau, and he wants you to “let your mind wander” – or at least that’s what The Economist magazine would like. This 70 second clip is the centrepiece of a new campaign that hopes to remind Brits that The Economist covers topics they seem to be interested in: domestic politics, world affairs, business, and travel. Apparently, surveys have identified 3 million of them as flighty, brainy or shifty enough to be targeted as potential readers.
I’ve read the magazine for nearly 25 years. Strangely enough, I appreciate it most for it’s dry and sometimes wry sense of humour. That’s hard to accomplish while discussing Indian economic reform, you know.
The campaign, to be launched on July 3, will play primarily in theatres. I have to imagine the clip will play much better on a large (or as large as a multiplex will allow) screen. (Faris has added his own thoughts about this and past campaigns.)
In 2008, Blondeau and some colleagues from the French wire walking fraternity (apparently, there’s a close kinship between the wire walking fraternity and the clown school alumni) showcased their skills in a regional performance called le fil sous la neige – a brief excerpt can be found just below.
June 29, 2009 by Colin
Answering The Phone in a Movie Can Be Tricky at First — powered by Cracked.com
June 28, 2009 by Colin
Anne Engright, tired from months of book tours, provides some wry observations on international travel:
” … And this perhaps needs to be said: the amazing thing about hotels is that nothing happens in them. Lights get left on, taps drip, trays are left in hallways, and the cleaners make their sad rounds every morning. You hear them as you open the door and scan the room one last time and wheel your bag down to the lift, the sour whine of a distant hoover, as you approach and then pass the stainless steel trolley that waits outside some non-medical non-emergency, the abandoned sheets of an uninteresting night; rumpled, bare, slightly stained. What did they get up to in there? Murder? Sex? Organising their receipts? …
But, you know, you take a shower and nothing happens. The endless corridor is often empty. The men in suits with conference lanyards nod as they get in the lift and, in Toronto, one of them said: ‘Great shoes!’
… Hotel bathrooms are highly fetishised, with their rows of toiletries, and the possibility of a sewing kit. I love the showers and have a faint, geological interest in the tiling (so much marble!), but I hate the toiletries, most of which could strip paint … “
- Anne Enright in the London Review of Books
June 27, 2009 by Colin
Earlier this week, I had a chance to walk through an exhibit of art commissioned under the Public Works of Art program – a 1934 initiative meant to get artists to work during the Great Depression.
One painting, Underpass — New York, was especially compelling. A rather routine urban setting, with clear and precise composition, but not a jaw dropping work of art like many of the others found at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Still, I was drawn to it. The scene seemed awfully familiar.
Reading the adjoining plaque, I realized why. I had seen this underpass. In fact, I had gone out of my way to look at it. It was/is in Binghamton, New York.
I’ve had reasons to visit Binghamton and the adjoining towns of Endicott and Johnson City over the past few summers. During one of these visits, I realized that the area housed some remarkable architecture from the early 30s, largely due to the influence and investment of the International Business Machines Corportation.
Even seventy years later, the buildings have their clean white modernist lines, embedded International Business Machines logo, and soaring yet thin windows. They’ve managed to retain the sense of optimism, inspiration and ambition first articulated by their architect and the commissioning executives.
Much like this underpass.
June 27, 2009 by Colin
Over the past fifteen years, I’ve had an offhand awareness of the seeming abundance of ketchup, relish, flavoured water, detergent, cleansing auto fuel and Moleskine notebooks. But I HAD NO IDEA of the true plague of brand extensions and varietals that had been conjured up by test labs, anonymized focus group meetings, data-fuelled marketing meetings and retail executives looking to populate their planogram.
According to the WSJ, the number of products in the average grocery store jumped 50% from 1996 to 2008. Retailers and manufacturers have been trying to pare back those numbers over the past few years, but were wary of consumer backlash. The recession has provided a perfect opportunity to begin some gentle trimming.
Jimmy Dean, for instance, now ly offers 14 types of frozen breakfast sandwich – down from 25!
” … Pharmacy chain Walgreen Co. is cutting the types of superglues it carries to 11 from 25. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has decided that 24 different tape measures is 20 too many.
… A typical Target store has 88 kinds of Pantene shampoo, conditioner and styling products. A Target spokeswoman said the chain has “slightly reduced” its hair-care offerings this year … “
June 26, 2009 by Colin
TXT Island is a short stop-action film from Chris Gavin. Watch it.
June 24, 2009 by Colin
Wonder Woman. Bill Maxwell. Wonder Girl. Who even remembers that Debra Winger was Wonder Girl?
What was that about Bill Maxwell? That’s right. This is a remix with “Greatest American Hero.”
The moment when Wonder Woman deflects bullets with her wrist bands? Almost as priceless as Linda and Debra flying around in a plastic jet plane.
Oh – and doesn’t Queen Hippolyte look like Lindsay Lohan – in about 15 years?
June 24, 2009 by Colin
Sometimes, you just have to teach these kids that life is a hard, brutal and sometimes heartless world, where even your Dora the Explorer bike could get stolen.
June 16, 2009 by Colin
When Twitter is down … I
- don’t care about conferences I never thought about attending and really considered too expensive
- think about what I AM going to MAKE for dinner
- stop fondling my mobile like its some goddamn magic talkie box about to deliver the word of God, Warren Buffet, Jeff Jarvis, Steve Jobs, or Oprah to my eternal benefit
- speak to the person beside me in the elevator
- don’t give a f*ck about what, or who, is going to replace the mainstream media
- watch people walking by on the street
- suddenly realize that #hashtags are really just taxonomy for morons
- lose all interest in the new ‘viral’ video from CPB
- feel the soft, silky touch and gentle heft of paper
- actually give some money to the homeless guy I pretend to ignore every day
- lose that slight twitch in my eye
- remember that my life needs more than 140 characters to feel validated
- make plans to go out with my friends – in time to make reservations
- stop worrying about synchronizing social media streams in a never-ending quest to maximize my personal brand
- leave Ashton Kutcher in the $2.99 bin at Blockbuster, where he belongs
- talk to my wife and kids
- find amusement in things that are … funny. Not ironic, or critical or dependent upon wry hashtags.
- realize that politics, religion and literary criticism do not benefit from brevity – or inanity
- listen to my voice mails
- go back to not really caring about Comcast, KFC, Rogers, AA or any other company that may treat its customers like shit
- admit that there are VERY FEW people in the world that have a real need for a multi-user desktop Twitter client
- can compare retweets to Dane Cook or myna birds. Or three year old children that just learned how to use the toilet
June 16, 2009 by Colin
“Weekly haul: It’s dead now. My paycheck used to be $500 to $550 a week, but now it’s like $280 to $300. It’s all by commission and started to go down a year and a half ago. We never go to Wall Street now. It’s all basically the fashion industry. We risk our lives for models basically, bringing clothes and books to models. It’s all garment bags. Models’ portfolios. And candles.”
- NYT talks to a New York City bike messenger
June 15, 2009 by Colin
Dammit. I would really like to be in Bristol right now, to see the tremendous Banksy exhibition at the Bristol Museum.
Here’s the BBC’s breathless reporting on the transformation of the museum, and here is the Banksy promotional video:
June 15, 2009 by Colin
“… In reality, the cloud is giant buildings full of computers and diesel generators,” [former Microsoft data center manager Michael] Manos says. “There’s not really anything white or fluffy about it.”
- in NYT’s “Data Center Overload”
“I, for one, welcome our new Data Center Overload”
- comment on Slashdot
June 8, 2009 by Colin
” … His semiannual shows are not wildly produced fantasies of tomorrowland or yesteryear that send the fashion press into raptures. At his informal runway presentations, the clothes just look … good. You don’t think: Yes, it really is all about the 19th-century samurai right now. You think: I want those pants …”
- New York Times profile of Michael Bastian, a man who can convince you to buy $600 shorts,
June 6, 2009 by Colin
While most of Washington’s National Museum of Natural History has been renovated in the near past, it’s obvious that the reptile exhibits haven’t been touched in decades – which made this classic raised sans serif type a wonderful find.
Meanwhile, at the Canadian National Museum of Nature in Ottawa … rabbits and their poop.