Friday, September 30, 2011

Are You Fine? We Can Help.

A short post today. The world is going to hell in a handbasket. If you agree, you can go now...

But if you are happy, content in your lot in life, looking forward to tomorrow, sure that the universe is unfolding as it should: there is definitely something amiss.

If you aren't angst-ridden by continuing reports, haven't heard all the warnings and haven't woken up lately in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, there is something wrong. If you are fine, you may have a problem.

We have assembled a team of experts in environmental, philosophical, scientific, medical, psychological and global issues that should have you developing a facial tic and eating your fingernails in no time.

Research shows there are simply too many people that are content with their lot in life, paying their bills, doing their jobs, raising their families and hoping that things turn out for the best.

If you are one of these poor, "fine" people – pull the handle. Sound the alarm. We can help.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

6 Ways Social Media Has It All Over Real Life

Social media is such a wonderful place. Real life could take some lessons. Here's how:

1) You get to talk with people from your past (who are alive, online and sociable), and from all over the world. Folks you might never have met, connected (or reconnected) with otherwise. If you're living with someone and you're not talking for some reason, you can message them from your chair and they can answer from theirs in the same room.

2) You get to delete any comments you may have made in the passion of the moment, or had second thoughts about and went "that was stupid". A deleted comment no longer exists and therefore has no recourse or guilt factor.

3) You can go "stealth" and peruse conversations, posts or tweets without anyone ever knowing you were there. This is tantamount to eavesdropping (note: not the same thing as "eavestroughing") even though you're doing so with the other parties understanding that this might happen. Still, pretty cool. You can learn, compare opinions, muse and laugh with full anonymity.

4) If you're in a chat room, a discussion thread or a forum and want to leave, you can. Instantly. If you don't like what people are saying, or a "noob" has invaded, or the direction of the conversation has taken a stupid turn or if it begins to bore you: you can hit "unsubscribe" and it disappears. No longer to be a part of your existence. Try doing that with the chatty neighbor, the nosy but well meaning colleague leaning over your office partition, or the telemarketers, religious, charitable or political well-meaning folks calling on you during dinner.

5) There is essentially no such thing as bad breath, and/or body odor drifting your way from people you are talking with. Unless the poster is inappropriately explicit, there is literally no way you can tell if they had raw garlic for dinner, haven't bathed in days, have stinky socks or are suffering from flatulence issues while you're sharing thoughts. This can be a benefit in oh so many ways when you'd like to concentrate on other people's words and not the toxic environment they may be coming from. And,

6) As long as you have picked a good photo for your profile, you cannot suffer from a bad hair day. No one need know about your rash, your facial tic or that zit in the middle of your forehead. You can be in your bath robe with curlers in your hair if you like, and no one will know. This allows you to be the wise person you want to be, unencumbered by mere physicality. Or the person you wish you were...

...or hope you will be sometime in the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The 1950's Mother Conspiracy: Revealed

Long before the JFK assassination theories, the Area 51 Aliens suspicions and the Paul is Dead thing, came the mother of all conspiracies.

Those of us born in the '50s came from a different, more terrifying world. Kids like me had like a thousand mothers. Yes, I'm talking about the Mother Conspiracy. There were neighbor mothers, mothers of friends, mothers of friends of friends, supermarket mothers, other people who weren't mothers but thought they should be, teacher mothers, babysitter mothers. They were everywhere. All out to wreck a kid's life every time you turned around.

Your own mother was the Real Boss of course, but you never knew who amongst The Conspiracy were able to report back to the Boss. So you had to mind your manners. All the bloody time.

Of all the mothers of the day, June Cleaver, the mother on the "Leave It To Beaver" show was the most nefarious. She appeared nice but to us kids that was a dead giveaway. She seemed just too good to be true. She always dressed like she was ready for a social gathering, said things like "Ward, I'm very worried about the Beaver" and "Wally, you know, I think you're a very nice young man." Oh man, when mothers said that you knew they wanted something.

I believe she was the Grand Poobah of the Mother Conspiracy. Mothers in the fifties took lessons from her. She demonstrated how to always be asking questions, like:
June: [cooking breakfast in the kitchen] What's in the paper, Ward?
Ward: Nothing.
June: Then why have you been reading it for the last twenty minutes?
Ward: Well, you have to read it, before you know there's nothing in it.

She instructed on the art of seemingly innocent but probing personal comments, like:
June: Ward Cleaver, you have no romantic instinct at all!
Ward: Dear, I'm a married man!

And she gave lessons on how to be as bossy as all get out:
June: [in the boys' bedroom] Good! You're just in time to help me turn the mattress.
Ward: Well, at least that's a change. I'm usually just in time to yell at the kids. 

Not to mention teaching how to dictate social morals to your children:
June: You know, both of you boys should watch your grammar.  
Beaver: Gee, Mom, this is Saturday - they make us watch it all week in school.

So you see what those of us born in the fifties had to deal with. You young pups have it good... Sorry for the long post today. I just had to get it out. It's been very therapeutic.

Happy birthday Mom. I hear your laughter still. Miss you...

Note: (Barbara Billingsley (December 22, 1915 – October 16, 2010) was a distinguished film, television, voice and stage actress who played June Cleaver on the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963) and was a real life mother to two sons, Drew and Glenn, Jr.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guys: Hit The Bald Button.

Today I began to write about the benefits of social media when I was stopped in my tracks by a facebook post from one female colleague to a friend that featured a beefcake guy. Apparently one that was particularly alluring. Okay, the guy had a body that wouldn't quit complete with a six pack. And okay, maybe he was a major sports star with a seventeen-thousand figure income. But it all seemed to center on the fact that the guy didn't have a single hair on his head. Or anywhere on his body, from what I could tell, except for those adorable eyebrows. It hit me then. What I've been missing. Baldness.

Guys, those of us with hair are just a poor substitute for a bald guy. Think Telly Savalas, who not only made the quote "Who loves ya, baby?" famous but also wisely stated, "We're all born bald, baby," He rocked the world with the the lack of hair as a sign of virility. Look at guys like Vin Diesel, Yul Brynner, Billy Zane, Michael Stipe, Howie Mandel (really?) Bruce Willis, Sir Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart... Austin Powers... They're all heralded for their sex appeal.

I wish I were bald. Oh, to be follically challenged. My kingdom for a bald button...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Things We Keep

Yet another week and, in preparation, yesterday I went hunting for something that I knew I kept because although I thought I would probably never use it again I was certain I would need it if I threw it out. You know that stuff.

I knew exactly where it was. It was in the drawer where I put little things I think I might need again. Call it the junk drawer in my brain.

It was there amidst the things that tie things together, small tools that fix stuff and things to give power to other things. It was sitting on my late mother's hand-written recipe for her holiday turkey stuffing beside toothpicks, measuring cups, thingamajigs, whatchamacallits and do-hickies.

I'm always amazed at how much stuff fits in such a small space...

Might-come-in-handy-someday things.

I may be a little late for work today guys. I have to put all this stuff back...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Someone's Been Watering Down My Water

I can't prove it but I know. Someone's been diluting my reverse osmosis, remineralized, highly scientifically generated designer water with (shudder) tap water. I can tell.

And it's not the manufacturer. They have strict internal regulations and things like unions. No, it's got to be something that happens en route to the retailers. In some dingy warehouse off the highway by teams of unshaven men in sweaty undershirts, suspenders and big bellies. Fedoras covering balding heads, mouths chewing on cigar stubs. Turning whole crates of bottles upside down and inserting needles into the bottoms to switch the good stuff – not all of it, maybe half of it. Then a quick dab of crazy glue and back on the highway to unsuspecting customers.

Not only that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the same group is putting dirt into my soil. Last spring I bought six bags of customized garden soil at the garden soil place and I swear they all held a good percentage of common backyard dirt...

...sprouting ordinary weeds. At first I thought I purchased a "bush in a bag" and didn't know it. Maybe it got mislabeled at the soil factory. Maybe I got a deal and should have paid more. But I don't think so. It was then that I first started suspecting.

It's probably a huge underworld thing. Unlike flagrant knock-off imitations it's practically undetectable.

It's like taking a box of specially formulated, premium, energy-saving, cold water clothes detergent and replacing half of it with budget hot water detergent from third world sweatshops. Who's going to know?

I was thinking of calling Interpol's organized crime unit but I'm sure they've already got an active file. After all, if I can figure it out...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Off On A Tangent

Sometimes it's nice to get back to some pure poop. Design can get so complex at times. Like life. The hardest thing to do is something clean and simple. Something that looks like it belongs on paper.

I don't know whether you'll get off on this or not, but an interesting logo development project for a friend's new venture (can't go into it – sworn to secrecy) led to an exploration of type, shape, format and color. We took our time. We explored different fonts, formations and mathematical relationships of circles (that I didn't quite understand but my friend did). What matters is when the design is completed all components work together to convey an appropriate and unique personality.

Design-wise, the process took me back to the basics. Make sure it works in black and white, reversed, on color and dropped out of a color. Let it breathe. Canada flag red seemed appropriate for a hot new enterprise and has stuck... for now. Keep it simple and give the graphic the ability to blossom in later collateral.

We're still tinkering. Hopefully it's nothing to do with more mathematics although I'm afraid it does. lol Thanks to Daniel for the nice collaboration.

Have a happy weekend everyone! (In spite of it all :o)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Measurement Of Mirth

I came across this shareware meter on the web the other day. There is lots of neat stuff out there. This one allows for real time monitoring based on interpretations of readings from the moisture level of people's fingers on their keyboards. Cool, eh?

You are witnessing the reactions of people who are currently watching reruns of the Charlie Sheen Roast on the Comedy Central site...

Oh, wait. My mistake. I dialed the meter into a number of sites. This one is data from a certain unnamed politician's site.

My bad.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Those Nasty, Disagreeable Foods

You'll be glad to know that I never talk to my food.

I find holding a conversation with something I'm about to eat somewhat disconcerting. Food has talked to me though. (Occasionally I'll hear a "eat me, eat me" coming from a plate of moo shu chicken.) I've learned to accept that.

Lately though I've been having an increasingly difficult time with food that is blatantly disagreeable. I don't understand quite why. It's not that I go out of my way to aggravate it. I love food. I'm not disrespectful and I've never had a food fight. And I've never ever spoken badly about an egg salad when one is in the room.

Rather than getting into an argument I've chosen to stay away from some foods. Maybe it's a Canadian thing – avoiding conflict. Spicy foods, who I used to love, have now become tops on my list of foods that love to disagree with me without reason. Still, rather than cause a fuss, I stay away.

Broccoli has spoken back to me (in an elevator no less). And I've learned a tasty Enchilada con chile colorado holds the power to clear a full floor of an office tower. Potato salad, meatballs, borscht, sauerkraut, certain species of dim sum, and escargot have all been downright rude. It's affected my life. I've completely stopped going into big box stores after being caught completely unawares in the middle of one after a heaping helping of seafood chowder (try to find a washroom in a store the size of several football fields).

So, I've been forced to carefully pick the foods I associate with. Now, with autumn coming and windows being closed and all, I must remain extra vigilant. I may be down to weak tea and digestive biscuits by early December...

...they're very polite.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gotta Love Those Figures

Trending on the last post (learn, grow, share), one of the less sexy but more interesting aspects of my work is teaming with esteemed lecturers to help explain, illustrate and educate the next generation.

But figures? What's with those? They're the stick figures of art, one step away from (shudder) tables for crying out loud! Until I met Milos and his study of epidemiology I would have agreed. Now I know in some cases it's not about the art, but what it says.

According to Wikipedia, epidemiology is "the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a society. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive medicine."

As in medical diagnoses, marketing decisions for treatment can be either appropriate and inappropriate. Indeed, creative directors diagnose their clients' needs everyday.

In the above Figure 2.1, (with apologies to Milos) I finally find scientifically reasoned validation for the inclusion of the cartoon illustration in marketing materials. Woo-hoo!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Thing About Threes

My mother, the daughter of a Nova Scotia train stationmaster, first introduced me to the fact that things happen in threes.

If two things happened, there was sure to be another. "There's the third one," I can still hear my mother say. We all knew what she meant. It was a simple rule of nature in our house, one that may or may not have to do with luck.

Luck itself (from the 1480's Low German luk) somewhat ironically has three aspects: it is either good or bad, it is by accident or chance, and it applies to a person (it's a personal thing).

We live in a 3 dimensional world. We have: the past, present and the future; up, here and down; in front, here and behind; Larry, Moe and Curly Joe and the Three Musketeers. It's only natural that things happen in threes. Processes also happen in threes. The beginning, the middle and the end of great story lines. Meeting, connecting and doing of great partnerships, and the learning, growing and sharing of great innovations.

Gotta go. Want to be early to prep for an appointment. Hope the client shows up on time. Otherwise I'll be late for my next one.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Everything's Worth Nothin' Until It's Paid For

As of the mid-2010's there were 15 million IT professionals, 9.5 million physicians and between 10 to 15 million engineers worldwide. All highly paid professionals, all with a healthy disposable income, and all known for leading generally humorless lives.

Laughter boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, improves the function of blood vessels, increases blood flow and reduces the chances of heart attacks. But professionals, especially those in the fields above, won't take the time for a snort, a guffaw or a chortle. They are humor deprived. Why? Because it uses up valuable time and it's free. Laughing is considered to be a waste of time. But what would happen if they paid for it?

You see where I'm heading here. Charge people to laugh? Ridiculous?

How many of us have been on vacation and it hasn't turned out to be the splendid time we wished it would have been but we've said to ourselves, "Hell, I've paid a lot of money for this vacation and I'm damned well going to enjoy myself!" Or imagine not paying a shrink several hundred dollars an hour to talk about our neuroses. What value would that be then? We might as well be talking to an absolute stranger about our innermost thoughts. User fees are all around us in night classes, community services and parking lots. We have pay-per-view movies, pay-per-use cell phones and pay-per-click ads. Nothing is valuable until you pay for it. And if you're paying hard-earned cash to do something you tend to find time to work it into your schedule.

By 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 2,125,700 top executives just in the United States alone. All earning from hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million annually. You won't find many of them laughing, I'll bet. Unless someone were to give them the opportunity to pay for it. Picture this: soundproof, strategically situated pay-per-laugh kiosks outfitted with two things: a fun house mirror and a list of laugh-at-yourself tips on the back of the door. Brilliant, right?

If I'm not around in the coming days I'm out trying to find old pay toilets to renovate.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm Fine Thinking Inside My Box, Thank You

"I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it." – Terry Prachett  

I have a box. I fill it with stuff. You have one too. Sometimes I put stuff from my box into yours and sometimes you put stuff from your box into mine. I do all my best thinking in there.

If, for some reason, I'm not happy with my box and the thinking I'm doing inside of it – I'll renovate. It's my box after all. I own it free and clear. I can move my box, downsize my box, expand my box, and/or redecorate my box. Why on earth would I want to leave it in order to think, just because someone says I should?

The wise amongst us know that it's not really about the box at all. It's about what we fill it with. Hopes, dreams, wisdom, life's lessons, facts, loves, memories, worries, happy thoughts, favorite food thoughts, wishes and bad hair day thoughts. What we choose to have in our box gives us perspective. And perspective gives us maturity and independent thought. It's our unique point of view. (Even if it is wacky at times.)

So to those of you who think I should think outside my box: go away. Just go away. You don't know my box. You're so cliché.

Maybe your box could use some freshening up. Just saying.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Miraculous Discovery

We have this machine at work. I didn't know what it was for. They don't normally let me near anything mechanical.

But yesterday when no one else was around I innocently sauntered over. The screen said "enter quantity." Liking the number three I pressed three on the keyboard. Instantly a round green button began flashing. I pressed it. Glory be, if three sheets of clean, freshly-made paper didn't appear in the tray!

A paper-making machine!

I'm thinking we must have been picked to test a prototype. This could save the rain forests of the world!

I kept the three sheets as evidence. If I can I'm going back in today to get some video.

Gotta go. The refrigerator is making ice!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Brother Exhibits Himself, Gets 45 Days

So I have this brother named Rod. He's like REALLY old (and ugly). He has had a camera strung from his neck since he was like fifteen (which is about when the camera was invented). An award-winning photojournalist, he is now so old he is RETIRED. His hair is totally grey, he drools at times and wears spectacles.

But there's nothing wrong with his vision...

...or his sense of drama...

 ...or his love of nature...

...or his poignant depictions of the past.

So, if you're sailing around the Ottawa/Almonte area in the coming days, you might want to pop by his exhibit/sale at the Heirloom Café Bistro, 7 Mill Street, Almonte. It begins this Saturday (the 17th of September – it's his 65th birthday) and the opening is between 2:30 – 4:30. The show continues until the 31st of October.

I hear it's a nice place and you can get fed while you're feasting your eyes.

Hours and map information here. Or call 613 256-9653.

If you go, give him a hug for me. He's not so bad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where To Dispose Of Your Unwanted Yorks

These days it's difficult to know just how to properly dispose of our unwanted items. We must be both vigilant and responsible.

Recently, I discovered Yorks must be a special concern along the line of asbestos, nuclear waste or yesterday's cabbage rolls. Evidently you can't just chuck them in a bin along with your regular household trash. After all, they have their own dumpster disposal site.

I don't exactly know what a York is but I posted a notice on FB as a public service once I discovered this location. In response, a relieved friend told me he had several dozen unwanted Yorks stacked up in his shed. Another said he got so tired of looking at his, he tried to bury some in the backyard but they killed the plants around the burial site. Evidently the tomatoes in close proximity plucked themselves and made themselves into Gazpacho. And yet another asked if they took new Yorks as well as old Yorks (although I suspect she was punning me).

I still don't know what they are but these folks appeared relieved to know how to dispose of them properly. And that's good enough for me.

So let me know if you have some Yorks you want to dispose of and I'll shoot you the coordinates...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Show Me The...

Something about summer coming to a close that gets the blood a-boiling. No more lazy summer days, lollygagging in the hammock with small, cute forest creatures catering to my every whim. I'm going to make some money. And I don't mean the wishy-washy chump change. I'm talking serious bucks. No more Mr. Niceguy. No-o-o-osir-r-rie Bob. From now on, it's all about the money.

Cold hard cash. Buy low sell higher. Dollareenies. Moolah. Gimme the green. I'm opening up a big can of whoopcash and putting a million dollar bill on my forehead. Bring it on. I'm gonna to brush my teeth with hundred dollar bills, travel to lands far away in my own private jet, cruise down to the islands on a whim, heck, buy the islands, set the people free and let them pay taxes to ME. Six mansions in six different countries around the world including a chateau in France and a villa in the Riviera. My staff will have staff. I'll be courted by the rich and famous for membership in their golf clubs, attendance at their polo parties, sought after to marry daughters and asked to be godfather to their grandchildren.

Ummm, so got a spare million? Seed money. I'll give you bragging rights.

Tomorrow: how to spend a million dollars in 24 hours.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Understated Vine

"Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine,
Whose weakness, married to they stronger state, 
Makes me with they strength to communicate."
– William Shakespeare

I'm celebrating vines today because I wanted to celebrate something and when I looked out my bedroom window this morning I discovered some vines had grown up the outside of the screen. And like the old tribes who named their babies after the first thing they saw when they walked out of the teepee after the birth, I said to myself, "Right, vines it is!"

Vines are a funny thing. They can't grow up (or out) unless they cling to things because their woody stems aren't strong enough to support their leaves. But in doing so they give us grapes, pumpkins, melons, peas and beans. So you can't really blame them for clinging on. It takes a special fixed object to allow them to do so.

On an exterior wall they cover a bad paint job, on a garden fence they drape nicely in a decorative fashion. And where would Tarzan have been without vines to swing on? Vines have been used for centuries in the creation of fiber art - particularly basketry and clothing. Some of the oldest archeological sites in southeast Asia include kudzu fiber clothing and basketry. Kudzu, a type of vine from southeast China and Japan, where it is cooked and eaten, is said to have medicinal properties that has shown promise for treating Alzheimers disease and is prescribed as a remedy for alcoholism and hangover in China. They grow quickly and have shown to be an effective defense against soil erosion in the deforested section of the central Amazon Basin in Brazil.

Vines are not the only things that cling, of course. Static clings to clothes, a child clings to their mother when they're afraid, fleas cling to cats, Linus clings to his blanket and we cling to hope that things will turn out for the better.

And they do, when we find things to celebrate.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just Don't Call Me Late For Dinner

Fun with words is a regular topic here and nothing is more 'funner' than a sentence with a double meaning, commonly known as a double entendre. (Sort of what puns become when they grow up.) For writers and other reprobates who do that on purpose it's a way of inserting wit and humor into their day and livening up their work. (How dare they assume their readers have a sense of humor.)

There are a couple of ways of making one, but mostly, double entendres make use of one word in a sentence that has two different meanings. In the example above, the word "call" could mean addressing you by name ("I'm going to call you Maurice, after the Rocket"), or it could mean making a call on a phone. ("Let me call you a cab.") But you knew that.

The most common examples use an innocent expression combined with a second meaning that is naughty in nature, like (cover your eyes Auntie), "I can't leave her behind alone." Groucho made good use of this kind. His most famous naughty double entendre may well be "If I told you you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" Benny Hill, Mel Brooks and John Cleese also made good use of this one.

Another Groucho gem, "I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know."

Used with a modicum of taste, double meanings of words can be great wordplay and engage listeners or readers. Even Sir Winston Churchill understood this. “A politician is asked to stand, wants to sit, and is expected to lie.” 

But my favorite double entendres have to be the ones that crop up innocently in the course of normal conversation, have me rolling on the floor with the person who uttered it going "What? WHAT?"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quick Response Code Play

Above, an ad currently running in the newspaper. You'll notice the weird graphic that acts as the main visual. If you can't read it, the text under reads: (code for: "better rates and cheaper loans").

This visual is a QR Code. With the use of a smart phone and a free app (mine's called QR Reader), viewers can scan the code and be taken to a web site, a restaurant's menu, a museum piece's historical information, a coupon, a résumé or a myriad of other information pieces. This one takes the reader to the credit union's web site. For those without a smart phone, the URL is placed at the bottom of the ad.

Emerging from Japan in 1994, a Toyota subsidiary developed the code for keeping inventory. During the month of June 2011, according to one study, 14 million U.S. mobile users scanned a QR Code or a barcode. 58% of those users scanned a QR or bar code from their home, while 39% scanned from retail stores. 60% of the 14 million users were men between the age of 18-34.

Last year I witnessed two young men talking while walking by a poster that had a QR Code on it. One interrupted the other by saying, "Hold on a minute." He walked over to the poster and quickly scanned the code. Two seconds later they resumed their conversation and walked on.

At that moment I was sold. It's not a total solution but it is a viable tool to connect viewers to more information. Used appropriately people will find it a valuable addition to their information sources.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trash Can Legacy

Once in a while I'll meet someone in the community and explain what I do and a little while later we'll run across each other and they'll ask, "Oh, did you do the garbage cans?" And I blush.

Artists throughout history have had that one big signature piece that defines their career. Michelangelo had his Sistine Chapel. Beethoven had his 9th. DaVinci had his Mona Lisa. Warhol had his Campbell's soup can. Henry Moore had his Reclining Figure. Groucho had his moustache...

I have my garbage cans. I can die now knowing that my contribution to mankind will go down into the annals of history.

They're a set, of course, and originally meant to be exhibited not only together but in the proper order with the proper lighting. A prompt to deposit refuge into the proper bin and a testament to the cluttered cultural makeup of my familial ancestry; all in one. While I leave their multiple installations throughout the community up to a very capable crew, sometimes circumstances prevail and they may be presented out of sequence. But then a friend goes, "Okay wait. Maybe this is allowing the pieces themselves to speak of the revolt against societies prescribed order of things." And another chips in, "Yeah, the vagaries of inanimate expression." And I shrug and say, "Cool."

Mere garbage cans no more. A social statement. I may need a manifesto.

I jest, of course.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Idiomatic Conversation

A – "I think you have a chip on your shoulder. You've been acting antsy all week."

B – "Where did you get that cock and bull story? You're barking up the wrong tree."

A – "I might have been going out on the limb a bit, but I don't think so. Do you have an axe to grind?"

B – "If you don't put it to bed I'll have a bone to pick with you."

A – "See? The proof is in the pudding."

B – "Why are you on my case all of a sudden?"

A – "I meant it tongue in cheek, of course."

B – "Oh, go jump in the lake. Did you come up with that out of the blue?"

A – "No, a little bird told me."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Along The Way

They say we're all going somewhere. Sometimes we get there and find out it isn't as good as we thought it would be. Sometimes we never seem to arrive and those of us who do often have somewhere else to head after.

And sometimes things happen along the way and find ourselves faced with a huge gap we can't cross. Ever since nature created the first fallen log across a stream, bridges have been a wonderful way fix that problem.

Symbolically, if you dream of bridges they say you may be going through a transition in your life: from one state to another. Single to married. Employed to retired. Rags to riches. Conservative to liberal. VHS to Blue Ray.

Freud once said that women who wanted to be men dream of bridges that don't connect to the other side. I suppose that went for men that wanted to be women as well. Then again, medicine and technology wasn't as advanced back then. These days, I suppose they dream of fully connected bridges.

Social media, email, the telephone and Skype gives us ways of connecting. And when we connect, people can build bridges.

If you're building a bridge for me please allow me to decide whether I want to cross or not. I'll know whether I want to when I come to it. It may not be on my route right now but if I should feel like a detour down the road I'll be sure to check it out.

And if it's the one about a man wanting to be a woman don't be surprised if I give it a total pass.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Six Ways To Tell If You're A Big Dog

1) You don't have to be mean: You don't growl or threaten or bite. You know you don't have to. You'd rather walk away from a fight than bring yourself down to their level.

2) You like small critters: This includes cats, rabbits and birds, although they may not believe that. You're even kind to small, yappy cousins.

3) You listen more than you bark: Other dogs confide in you. A lost bone, nasty fleas, trouble with the bulldog down the block... others come to you because they know that you'll be supportive and won't betray their trust.

4) You don't need a leash: Only unpredictable, angry and insecure dogs need to be tethered to a pole, or worse, caged. You know your limits and given a situation without them, you set your own.

5) You share your bones: You're not protective of your dog dish. You let others eat first. You are more concerned with the well being of others. You don't need old Lassie movies to teach you how to be magnanimous.

6) You don't run with the pack: You own the dog park and don't have to prove it. You know you don't have to change who you are in order to fit into the crowd. You know you're physically as big as you're going to get but always manage to grow a bit more inside everyday. In ways that matter to you.

Have a great weekend everyone! Have a cookie on me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Living The Dream

Once in a while the opportunity comes along to work on a job that, from beginning to end, is a pleasurable experience.

This sixteen page booklet promoting volunteer programs was one.

Working from photos and quotations provided by previous participants, page spreads were devised to convey the depth of the experience and build interest and excitement.

Some of the images were shared a few posts back. You can visit them here.

Thanks to clients Adam and Jacquie. When we get excited about a project, that excitement is passed along to the end reader. And that's what it's all about.

(Well, it's one thing about what it's all about.)