Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Some Things Float

Ice cubes float in fruit juice as evidence that cool things float to the surface. Being nothing but frozen water they coolify all things that surround them. The magnanimous nature of ice cubes keeps them light hearted and this buoyancy raises them to the surface.

Of course, that doesn't explain Fruit Loops.

Fruit Loops float in milk simply because they are shaped like lifesavers with a hole in the middle. The force of gravity pushes down in the hole thereby elevating the cereal surrounding it. It's a pressure thing.

Unless you're a bubble. Then things are different...

Bubbles float in water for a very good reason. They aren't water. They hate water. And while both are made up of oxygen, the two are more like distant cousins that don't like each other. Bubbles can hang out with water but they make sure they're on top.

So if you float it's for one of three reasons: 1) You're cool, 2) You have a hole in the middle, or 3) You like it on top.

Hope this helps.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Importance of a Lopsided Noodle

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain

Dear ___________;

Oh my! After dreaming of you last night I got up and thought to get dressed in something special so I changed in a Mercedes-Benz (and put my socks on backwards). I did this not for you but just to reflect that indescribable (not uncrampish) feeling that you left in my mind.

I believe I gave you a claim ticket so you can pick it up again where you left off. If you forget I'll leave it hanging on the tree I took the branch off of when I promised a logo but forgot the second 'o' so I had to find a log.

"Let's eat peppermint nuts," I suggested in my dream – wondering at the same time if the mints would actually miss them at all, "and sing bad baritone impersonations of a Leonard Cohen melody."

On the way home we put corn flakes into the beds of people who couldn't seem to dance when they'd forgotten they had legs but found horned gurus for hire to jitterbug on lumpy brains. And then we found ourselves on vacation and forgot about being punctual about punctuation                   (.)

In the light of day, I've come to a realization we don't need lamps in this room at all. And the fridge should really be moved over just a tad to allow the plug to reach the socket. By the way, I think that dress looked much better on you than on that woman who stood screaming in her underwear.

So let's invent a sugar that doesn't dissolve in water so when you ask me how many spoonfuls I've put in your Orange Pekoe I can just hold the glass up to the light and say, "One and a half, would you like a bit more?"

Except... you knew there was going to be an except, didn't you? My, my, you're wonderful.

Love you to bits,

Rand

Next week: back to something serious. And it won't be about how to get spaghetti to stand up straight in your fingers without it flopping over. (Hint: It's much easier if you do it before you boil it.)

..."Spaghetti... I can't eat spaghetti, there's too many of them. No matter how hungry I am, 1000 of something is too many." Mitch Hedberg

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Character from Characters

Emoticons are in use all over the computer world. They're a fun use of type, used to indicate meaning and temper the sometimes stark written word. Everyone by now knows what a simple :), or the more traditional :-), or my clown version :o) says about the words that precede them. In effect, rather than making words from letters, we're making pictures from them – ready for interpretation. Here are a few I've done. They're sort of like a secret code from childhood days that everyone is not supposed to know but everyone does. What fun!

The use of type symbols in written communications is not new. This from Wikipedia:

"Typographical emoticons were published in 1881 by the U.S. satirical magazine Puck. In 1912 Ambrose Bierce proposed "an improvement in punctuation — the snigger point, or note of cachinnation: it is written thus \___/! and presents a smiling mouth."

Emoticons are the common man's art. They're friendly, unassuming and feeling-based. When used as a casual logosymbol, they lend meaning to company and event names. And as is often the case with wonderful design projects, if someone has fun coming up with something, the viewer might have fun looking at it.

That just doesn't seem right, really.

After all, we're supposed to be serious professionals with total commitment to the exclusive, artistic purity, integrity and complex meanings associated with the design rationale and graphic interpretation.

Oh my, the guilt! ;op

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Asking For A Sign

The Sign In My Backyard. 
"This sign I give unto you: every people speaketh its language of good and evil: this its neighbour understandeth not." Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book For All And None by Nietzsche, Friedrich

Time for another blog post. It has been a weird last couple of months and I say that without remorse. But I had been asking for someone to send me a sign that I was on the right path. So, in the last few days I've found myself thinking about Nietzche's book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This act itself seems to have lead to my sign. It's amazing that Nietzche predicted my becoming a Übermensch so long ago. It's a sign from the past. Something like the one in my backyard that I stole but not quite.

Let me explain. For those of you who haven't read the book, or tried but couldn't get through it, I'll give you a bit of a background (and I won't give away the ending). Suffice to say a it's a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality. The book stars a character coincidentally called Zarathustra, who in real life was an ancient Persian prophet who was the first to preach that the universe is engaged in a fundamental struggle between good and evil (which had a profound effect on the moral set up of both the Christian and Jewish faiths). This concept of good versus evil thing, of course, lead to all sorts of messes in today's modern world. So, Nietzsche names his character Zarathustra because as he puts it, “Zarathustra created this most calamitous error, morality; consequently, he must also be the first to recognize it.” In short, Nietzsche reinvents Zarathustra in order to correct the philosophical mistakes he felt the prophet made. It's like the first "what if" scenario in literary history.

He creates the concept of the Übermensch (roughly translated as "overman"– sometimes “superman” but should really be referred to without the male connotation) as his ideal of a creative, independent, spiritual genius. It's the final step in an evolution of humanity from the ape (I've met a few) through to man (meaning that not as a male thing) to overman. An overman is very sexy, highly intelligent (like readers of this blog) and he or she has his own morality, self directed and suited only to him or her.

In order for one to become a full overman one has to create their own values. You cannot subscribe to those thousands of peoples with their thousand different conceptions of good and evil: a conception of good that expresses the goals they hope to achieve. So, I looked, and voila, I have unknowingly been doing this for very many years. Alas, THE SIGN.

But I'm not totally 'there' yet. I must still remind myself to suffer. Suffering is evidently as essential to becoming an overman as ketchup is to french fries. And change is essential. The new Zarathustra asserts that life and wisdom are like dancing women: constantly changing, always seductive. Those who have a healthy attitude toward life and truth enjoy their constantly changing nature. People who see truth as fixed, which is what religion and politics would have us believe, have sadly grown tired of life. I'm okay with change, and have the laundry to prove it. And if I must I can put up with the dancing women thing.

The best part, and the one that convinced me I'm on the verge of overman status, is that Nietzsche states that only the most original in society can rise above the masses and shine. Therefore, an artist has a better chance to hit overman status than a political or religious leader.

So move over: I am about to arrive. I have seen the sign. Now leave me alone. I have a mountain cave to disappear to for quite a while and there is a dance floor to be installed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

With Friendship Comes Rewards

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.  Marc Chagall

This started out as a story about the fickle aspects of friendship, about how it comes and goes, about sometimes we kick friendship around like a tin can for a while and sometimes once we have it, it gets lost in a snow pile and then you find it later on when the snow melts and it's as good as ever; but I got sidetracked into thinking about how there are people that figure they can buy friends, or rent them depending on what is on their calendar that day or about how about when one person falls in love with another person's significant other or that sale of the '07 lemon of a car wrecked the friendship and what a mess that made out of my mind. (Was that a run-on sentence?) 

We need to clean this up. Maybe we could all have a huddle and come to a clear cut agreement amongst ourselves that we should hand out points that can add up to true friendship, because I'm totally confused. It could be just like large business awards loyalty points for return customers. We're all our own brands these days, after all. Why shouldn't we build on that? We could all carry around little cards that would track our traits and build brand friendship loyalty. Handshakes would be worth so many points. Personal references more. Picking up the tab for pizza lunches – definitely more. Holding one's head over the toilet when you're barking at the ants? Bonus points. And then whenever we wanted to we'd all get together for a tally-up and figure out who our friends really are.

We could all have cards with our names on them and a cool graphic of a bridge like the one above (available at a cut rate for the next 30 days but I retain the rights to the image and trademark) depicting the linking of souls or some such and come up with brand strategies complete with, instead of a CRM (customer relationship management) program, a FRM (friendship relationship management) program using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize friendship processes. Based on metrics. We have the software. Yes Virginia, there is an app for that.

Until recently this approach would have gone against my grain because personally I'd rather entertain gaining loyalty from my prospective friends by offering quality of experience, the occasional payoff or giving a better price than my competition for my company right off the bat. But that's so old school. We can do things much more efficiently now. 

The overall goals would be to find, attract, and win new friends, nurture and retain those you already have, entice former friends back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and friend maintenance services. If you don't have to buy the guy a Ferrari, why do it?

Loyalty born out of need, habit, coercion, convenience, downright greed or silly faddishness is the new reality. True loyalty may have come from an ancient place called the land of Integrity but now friendship is based on what I have that you can use to further your means to an end. It's you relating to me because I carry a brand image that you would like other people to associate with your own personal brand. Think of it as ugly people who normally wouldn't be allowed to do so, hanging out with beautiful people singing songs about world love on a hilltop in Switzerland. For a price, you could wear my name and logo on your shirt because my brand identity gives you personal qualities I have that you might never attain on your own.

We're building bridges here. Eliminating personal silos. And if I can't track your friendly habits today, how am I seriously supposed to maximize your experience tomorrow?

I ask you.

So let us build some bridges; bridges born of the greatest marketing minds the world has ever know. Bridges that never rust, never waver and never, ever give way.

Sign up now and reap the benefits of membership! (Reward points expire after 30 days if not used.)

This has been a Tongue-In-Cheek production.