IDEA ~ ~ I came across this statistic a few weeks ago.

75% of people use their phone on the toilet. 

First, I think I went to use it myself. I thought of a stupid/good(?) idea moments later.

These days people crave every moment to be filled. It’s a never ending cycle of digital consumption, down to the most human moment of privacy- pooping. Everyone’s doing it, so why not create something for this unique time frame? Why not develop a stream, like so many others, of hilarious/interesting/random data that’s perfectly timed for the four-seven minute toilet experience? Try to bare with me here. I’m thinking it could be a small, low-involvement, high reward app hosted by a toilet brand… or just privately owned. Either it’d be funny to call it… #2 “everyone’s doing it”? Too much? And what if featured only the second bests and second worsts of the world?Obviously, this could be anything- photos, gifs, interesting facts, etc. Hmm…. well, concept pending.

3pylgn source: http://www.digitalspy.com/odd/news/a464219/75-percent-of-people-use-their-phone-on-the-toilet.html

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Moving Back, Thinking forward, Pissed-off Texan Women.

Here’s something I wrote on my cell phone during a long drive home from California.

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I grew up in the suburban, middle class sprawl of round rock, Texas. The most I had known about California was the pastel abstractions of Rocket Power, a nickelodeon staple about a group of spunky skater kids in Santa Monica. In the fourth grade Spencer Clark moved to my school. He came with spiked blonde hair, like Jason from N’sync, and lots of ten year old stories on snowboarding culture (something I wouldn’t see in person for another ten years). Spencer had an air of confidence and took complete command of our room of quieter Texan kids. I remember mixed feelings of of impressed and intimidation, unusual sensations from a kids age at the time. Even the fifth graders didn’t seem as cool as spencer.

This random memory popped in my sleep deprived brain just now at a gas station. Not coincidentally, I’m on the return trip from my first extended stay (a summer internship) in Los Angeles, CA. I found a gas station-Wendy’s hybrid and pulled over. I’m back in Texas, alright. I didn’t need more gas, not yet, just some pavement to stretch my skinny extensions and a urinal to piss in.

Today I’m wearing grey shorts above the knee, with bicycles symmetrically embroidered on them, black flip flops, the ray bands that miraculously survived the summer, and a saggy white tank top, exposing my side tattoo and sort hardly noticeable chest fuzz. I swept through the place, hung out by the urinal, then washed my hands. The largest man I’ve seen in months scrubbed his hands next to me, talking to his equally hefty son about which snacks he wanted for the road.

A Wendy’s ad chimed overhead, “make sure you try out new pretzel bacon burger today!”

“A burger sounds good”, remarked another teen outside the bathroom, who as just filled a extra large slurpee.

I slipped between families while checking the map on my caseless, white iPhone, heading to the door. It was open so I stepped through, head up and then down again… only to rethink my last ten steps. An older smiling lady had been holding the door open for myself and many more, now filing out. I heard the thank you’s then realized the absence of my own.

The chivalrous woman, in her neon green shirt, with visor and shorts to match, was shaking her head at me. I noticed just after my short window of opportunity to thank her. An even older woman had followed me out, issuing an extra audible “thank you!”, as if making up for the both of us. Her thank you pricked the back of my neck like an irritated bird. This woman happened to be parked next to me, great.

At first I didn’t understand why she was glaring at me. She stood next to her door with the irate expression of a grandma on edge. Oh, I thought, she needs me to pull out before she could open her driver door and I’ve been taking my time fixing this seatbelt.

Damn: strike two. I put my sisters Camry, with the purple fuzzy steering wheel, in reverse and apologetically smiled. No change in her face. Grandma was pissed, and she shook her head as opened her door.

Apparently I’d gone too far. I had let an elderly women, probably native to this tiny town, hold the door open for me without any recognition. I can only imagine the kind labels she stamped to the thought of my skin-showing, post-California face. Had I just added a bad chip to big-city’s reputation in this small western town? Maybe. Probably not. But the whole encounter made me laugh, then got me thinking on the drive that followed. I’m still on right now.

(Don’t worry there are no cars around me and I’m using cruise control and speaking most of this for Siri to translate.)

Friends from New York have told me that people aren’t rude there, they just don’t have time for manners. To me, that’s still a laughable absolute but there is a slight truth to it. Obviously I’ve already shed some of my southern politeness already… And I’d say I’ve grown more mature and empathetic this summer in LA, not the opposite.

In Los Angeles everyone is on the phone. It’s a huge place with pockets of intense energy, and traffic, that you’ve got to basically weave through to get anything done in time. This congestion was overwhelming at first. Tangled highways. Domino lines of Mercedes. It took me by surprise. But two months, down to earth friends, and a full time job swept that worry away. Soon I was another oiled gear in the greater city of angels.

Now I’m driving again, into the throat of an endless, flat sky, also known as I-10. I wonder how many people make this 22-hour drive regularly, even more than two times in their life. I wonder if it makes a difference on the migrating personalities, to soon assimilate in a place far from southern cal to southern comfort? I think it has for me. Flying home would’ve definitely been easier- I’d just like to be back in Austin, really- but this drive through a cultural gradient is worth something, too. Austin feels like a big oasis of forward thinking spunk (ask anyone who visits) but it’s still surrounded by hours/miles/deserts of something very different. Polite gestures. Slow drives Trucks. Open fields. Power plants. Hills with flat tops. Dust devils. Poor cell service.

Funnily enough, my service just dipped. Now my Spotify account is frozen and only the windy hum outside is left. Sporadic but predictable.

If you’ve made it this far into this over written vent-session, you’re probably hoping for a conclusive point, and I’m afraid I don’t have one. At least not the one I’d initially conceived. I guess this is just a view from an unpaid intern road tripping back to school, back to home.

People around me are changing, again, and I’ve gotta keep my eyes up- off my phone- if I want to keep up. But after LA I’ve realized the difference in cognizance and conformity. Spencer Clark probably had the same realization in his ten year old move from California to Texas. That must’ve been a hard move for a kid, though his confidence showed the opposite. From now on I’ll say thank you to every polite Texas woman I see… but they’ll have to deal with my queer tank tops. There are some things a change of scene can’t change about you.

A Final Dose of Happy Spam

One of my duties as concept/copywriting intern is to compile and write about various inspiration. Some of my favorites were included in the bi-weekly, agency-wide email,The Creative Corner.

Here’s my final collection of the summer.

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cups

Cheeming Boey turns Styrofoam trash to treasure with just a Sharpie Pen and patience.

Take a look.

golfball

Photographer, James Friedman, finds a spectrum of wonder in the most unassuming place: a golf ball.

Crack it open. 

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The Guardian’s Jill Filipovic creatively questions the social implication of melt-down publicity– i.e.: Amanda Bynes.

Consider the following. 

 

It’s All Relative

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My mom used to say that all the time. I should show her this site. It’s simple interaction has aided my day more than once. It’s nice to see how tiny we are the scheme of the grandiose for-ev-ur, especially within four or five clicks. Apparently everyone agrees; I’ve seen this link posted and reposted on more advertising news/inspiration sites than I can count.

This graphic only shows the relative size and name of each period in question. That’s as scientific as it gets. Why is it so popular? Why does it make us feel introspective enough to share? I’d say because it does a great job of attacking our romantic interest in our own existence. “This Is Today” is really saying, “Here You Are!”.

It’s not like it’s a bad thing to be intrigued with your own existence. That’s what makes us hairless and human, I suppose. But it is funny to see certain graphics like this and ask yourself what aspect took it to such a level of popularity. Graphically comparing your life to the history of everything makes you apart of the story. And that’s romantic.

Feel tiny for yourself: http://hereistoday.com/

Dickish Attitude: Optional.

“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” – Bill Gates

Hipsters aren’t inherently mean.

Bosses aren’t assholes by design.

Creative competition doesn’t have to mean creative warfare.

A tiny bastard in my brain had planted a vision of creatives with thick-rimmed glasses that doubled as razor blades. Luckily, this wasn’t my experience. This summer’s work environment has shown that the advertising universe isn’t inherently caddy, as I’d half expected.

Here are a few example of things around the office I found especially nice/ impactful.

– prompt thank-you emails from my boss’ boss, totally unnecessary

constructive criticism, usually following an introductory compliment

– the use of “we” and general teamwork morale.

– frequent, quick games of shuffleboard during stressful days

– the occasional company huddle for a YouTube lulz

This probably sounds cheesy. It is. But it made a difference to know some coworkers don’t just put up with your presence, they enjoy it. Long live office harmony, I say!

Emoji’s Uncovered

What if we’ve been using Emoji’s wrong this entire time?! What if that smiley was not meant to satisfy your girlfriend, but to creep-out a victim. Sure, emoji’s can have many meanings. But if you asked them- they’d have one reason for their expression, and I want to know what it really is.

So began my friend’s delve into uncovering the truth behind those oh-so-lovable icons.

Beware, it’s a dark journey.

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Only about 400 more to go…

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A Bit of Reddit Glory

Read this entire thing, it’s fucking brilliant.

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I’d like to make future jokes of all of our online obsessions. Will we still  compulsively sharie poorly colored, hipster photos of our food in 2113? Will  I “check-in” at the cell regeneration bed for 30% off my next scan?

Probably not– I just really hope someone invents a pocket whale before I die.

The Renegade Who Had It Made, Retrieved For A Bounty

Amnesty International, the global org for human rights, has a new interactive app called “Trial by Timeline”.

In seconds it’ll show which foreign laws you’ve broken based on your Facebook activity. Then a bright map highlights your many punishments, all of which contradict freedom in America.

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My own “Trial by Timeline” (above) was impactful, to say the least. In some Middle Eastern or African nations I could be hanged for “liking” Jack Daniels because it suggests alcoholic consumption. My sexuality could also have me tortured or executed in over seven nations. These global injustices have been infographed over and over again, so it’s interesting to see how the right adjustment, like this bright UI, can bring the problem to the forefront in a  tangible manner.

Personally linking my freedom to another’s struggle for it was an ingenious move by AI. I’m curious if scanning Facebook Timeline will be so helpful for other causes/campaigns.

Try it yourself.

Enjoy your freedom.

A Visit to Los Angeles’ Palace on the Hill

The Getty Center is an elegant museum and research center that overlooks Santa Monica. Last week, I had a free afternoon to explore The Getty and I didn’t want to leave.

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The first surprise was a spotless magnet-tram that took us from the parking garage and up the mountain, to the museum. It’s a brilliant way to keep traffic and exhaust poops far from the Getty’s quiet beauty. On the return tram ride, we realized how well it divided person-traffic, too. The place was packed and somehow we were driving away in minutes.

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For the first hour we practically ran through the grounds, surprised and hyper. The Getty’s design, finished in the early 1950′s, was incomparable to any outdoor architecture I’d seen before. Sleek, white stone tiles went on forever, spilling up onto the separated buildings and pillars. A shallow, rectangular pool centered the stone foyer, ending in a fountain that changed color after dusk. Surrounding the main foyer were more layered pavilions, followed by grassy hills, perfectly manicured gardens, and more fountains. Lots of fountains. Shiny couples were sprawled across the hills, picnicking. A forty′s big-band echoed off the stone and into the gardens, while  black-tie wait staff served white wine and snacks to anyone looking famished. Ryan and I felt like we’d stepped into a movie set from 2054. Except there was also an eery element of nostalgia. Basically, Aeon Flux IRL.

 

The best exhibit was called Overdrive: La Constructs the Future. This temporary section focused on the creative work in architecture, urban planning, commercial development, and engineering of Los Angeles. Sketches and blueprints taller than me opened our eyes to some colorful reasons to look past the LA traffic.

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My favorite was the section on LAX, the world’s first true airport. Today flying is routine, like chewing. Air traffic fills the sky, so good airport design is expected in anyplace with a flight plan. But this wasn’t the case in the 60′s, when flying was new and exciting for anyone that could afford a ticket. LAX was a fresh thought at this point. Something attractive, utilitarian, long-lasting.

Airports weren’t the only addition during LA’s cultural rise; the automotive industry was also changing fast. Cars became more prevalent for housewives and teens and quickly altered the day-to-day for most people in LA. As it did, bleak auto design warped into chrome wonders of gas-powered art. These were my favorite of the sketches in the exhibit. Exaggerated angles made models, like a ’54 Impala, look brand new. Those sketches realigned my perspective of what “vintage” means. Pretty strange.

Overdrive even had a room dedicated to the construction and early parks of Disneyland. I managed to snap this guy before the security guard yelled at me.

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I used to think Disney World and Disneyland were just Six Flags + childhood. Apparently I’m still an ignorant Disney-virgin… and now I know. I. must. go.

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I’d suggest The Getty Center to anyone. Also, it’s free- what more could I say?!

“I’m undaunted in my quest to amuse myself by constantly changing my hair.” — Hillary Clinton

I only have one question. Where did they get it all?

behind the scenes: http://http://vimeo.com/69204699

seeing different differently

Joe and I were thinking of moving closer to the beach. With traffic it’s a thirty or forty minute drive to Santa Monica. Without traffic it’s only fifteen. But distance from the beach wasn’t the only motive to move- we live in a ghetto part of LA. Our first week here it was funny. The second and third week it began to feel inconvenient. Food4Less is the only thing in walking distance and driving anywhere in LA takes three times as long as it should. Now that we’ve lived here for almost a month, the area is beginning to feel comfortable. It’s been nice to leave the shiny, crowded areas of LA to cross I-10 into our shabby, familiar hood. This feeling first hit me the other day on a run. Here’s what I wrote right after, you could blame the whimsical drama on my heart rate.

Just went on another run through our hood. No really, it’s the hood. But this evening I realized some things. Maybe it was because I had my headphones in, and maybe it was because the music (lord huron) was inspiring, but things began to look appealing. Dare I say beautiful? I dare. I’ve been somewhat of a close minded jerk recently. This neighborhood is risky at night. It smells like the ass-pit of a circus sometimes. But it’s also different. Really different things happen on the corners and streets in low income areas, and I’ve noticed they aren’t all scary. Today I passed about six churches, all of them covered in posters, and loads of kids hanging out and kicking balls around the church schools. I saw two moms walking their twin girls home. Each had one hand full of groceries, the other hanging to their spastic kid. I saw about four packs of old people literally leaning against walls, smoking (cigs), laughing, and talking. It seemed like a familiar spot to meet, and none of them were in a rush to leave it. I saw an old lady with far too much make up on waiting outside a beauty salon in a broken chair. What looked lik her husband was standing up next to her, staring off across the street. She didn’t need another beauty appointment. Block after block I saw old vehicles that I haven’t seen in such quantity since I was about ten. Seriously, I saw two different colors of the ’98 Dodge Caravan my mom quit driving eight or nine years ago. I saw posters and ads that were obviously outdated. No one’s buying the space, but no one bothered to take them down either. The architecture in the area is interesting, too. All of the houses, buildings, businesses look like they were booming about thirty years ago. Gorgeous design but zero upkeep. My street is  like a ruin, waiting to be wandered. Colors, typefaces, words, behavior, sounds, and just general lifestyle that seems old and slow. It’s a rarity in that aspect. I like it.

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During the same run I took a breather break to Instagram these and more, captioned “#ghettobeauty”. Go see what else shares that hashtag. Seriously, search it. A real photo series (with my real camera) of life in my neighborhood is coming soon.

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The Pussy People

this would be make a great dog food ad

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It’s More Than Sugar-water (sometimes)

“With the Small World Machines, Coca-Cola continues its positive-driven multi-year initiative which sees Coke re-imagining its dispensers and trucks, turning them into gift boxes and carriers of happiness.”

Touchy-Feely Belongs at Work Too

This morning the interns were summoned into the front conference room. Actually, I had no idea of this meeting. I was busy searching for another intern who had accidentally deleted half of my life from our work computer. I may elaborate on that later. I may never speak of it again. 

In the search for Mackenzie I found a conference room full of people and realized why our intern tables were empty. They were ten minutes into a presentation and I was clueless.

There’s a lesson I apparently haven’t learned: constantly check your email, or get left behind.

Luckily I hadn’t missed much, the lecture had just begun. The morning’s shit-comtances would soon turned to a thoughtful lesson over something called “Emotional Intelligence”. 

Presenting was a nice man who teaches leadership, in this case intern leadership.  His voice made him seem approachable, relatable, but in control. I knew he had to be a teacher, then he told us he had taught at SMU. We, the college-aged interns, watched and listened to his presentation intently. Which is saying a lot for a patchy projection from Dallas, Texas. 

Pointers I gained from his style:

  • Use KeyNote, it’s more attractive and simple. 
  • Draw information from different sources then connect them in clean fashion. Though his presentation was over a theory for working style he used visuals, facts, and stories from all over. Newton, Bill Gates, himself, etc.
  • Be yourself, talk slowly. He might’ve said “you know” too much, but aside from that I felt like I was in a one-sided discussion, not a lecture.

But it’s his substance, not style, that really had me interested. 

Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotients (EQ), are sort of parallel to intellectual quotients (IQ). A person’s EQ is their cognitive ability to identify and control their own emotions to better a situation. Unlike IQ, your EQ should grow your entire life. So that’s how Annie seems wise and retarded at once!

Poor woman- that was harsh. My grandmother’s unbelievably cool.

To place EQ in context, he told us of historical genius’s that went no where after diploma day. 

Here’s a few gems took away:

  • Awareness of other’s emotions begins with a high awareness of your own.
  • Awareness of you emotions doesn’t mean you know how to control them. 
  • Know who you’re talking to and dial your diction accordingly. Communication’s easiest when both parties are comfortable.
  • Landing a jobs isn’t about being liked by the right person. It’s about being liked by all of them AND a skillful follow-through. 
  • know your coworkers, especially those you admire. names and titles are important. 

None of this is groundbreaking news to be, but it felt nice to be reminded. It also felt good to listen and learn from a lecture– it’s almost like I missed it.

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What They Said

– Milton Glaser, designer behind “I ❤ New York” logo