In my first industry-related design job out of school, I designed t-shirts for a local commercial screen print shop. Most of the stuff I did was for local small businesses and churches and schools. You know, crappy, unimaginative one-color stuff featuring a lot of clip art, Comic Sans, and Bible verses — and almost always on white tees.
Occasionally though, I’d get a project with multiple colors and more complex designs, which I was then directed by salespeople to quickly replicate or mimic with fewer colors. I’d hear things like “reproduce this EXACTLY…but use two colors instead of four, and we need it to print and ship tomorrow, so I need a mock-up to send for the client’s approval in 30 minutes.” In the Art Room, this became shortened to “you know, use the Photoshop button.”
“The Photoshop button” was the magical, mythical, non-existent cure-all button that non-designers are convinced exists in reality — they just never see it action. As though we artists just hang out by the water cooler with unicorns and yetis discussing sports and politics until we hear salespeople down the hallway and everyone disappears and/or “fakes” working hard to avoid getting handed new projects.
This is only tangentially related to the video below, but any time I hear or see something advertising the wonders of Photoshop, I always pause for a split-second and ask myself, “I wonder if the version they’re using came with a Photoshop button?”
Look familiar? Probably because that was your aisle-mate on the last time you flew on an airplane. Well, some countries’ airlines have finally realized that more than any other aspect of air travel, your seat-neighbors are the things that can make or break your experience.
Whether it’s a screaming or hyper-active child, a smelly unwashed person, a smelly heavily-perfumed person (did you know Brylcreem and Aqua Velva are still manufactured? And USED? By living, breathing humans in the 21st century? True story), or somebody that will just not shut the f@#k up while you’re trying to pound mini-bottles of booze to assist you in passing out and sleeping through harrowing turbulence (truly, the only way to fly), cramped seats, minimal legroom, shitty in-flight entertainment & food, or surly flight attendants have NOTHING on the annoying aisle-mate.
Fear not, though, my jet-setting friends! According to this article at Springwise.com, Malaysia Airlines and KLM Airlines are on the cutting-edge of using social media networks for something other than updates about what you’re watching on TV at any given moment (full disclosure: I fully enjoyed back-to-back viewings of Leprechaun V: Leprechaun In the ‘Hood and Leprechaun VI: Back 2 da ‘Hood on BET Friday night — and posted that shizz all over my Wall!)
Malaysia Air’s MHBuddy Facebook app allows passengers to see the profiles of friends (and likely friends of friends with public Wall’s) to coordinate travel dates with friends who are heading to the same destination within that time-frame, and to even elect to sit next to or near one another during the flight. KLM’s Meet & Seat service is even more interesting because it incorporates both Facebook and LinkedIn. This means that even if no direct friends are on that flight, you can still peruse the LinkedIn profiles of fellow passengers and choose seating based on those in similar industries or with similar interests. As Bob says, baby steps. There are still no guarantees that your seat-neighbor is a big fan of personal hygiene — but at least the conversation is interesting.
Remember a couple months ago when I was all excited about the advent of 3D printing, aka Star Trek replicator technology? Well, my past and our future have collided into this present happening, and it freaks me out!
Some smart cookies have already decided to monetize this amazing future-tech in the coolest way possible: by building and selling customized robots!
My Robot Nation gives robot enthusiasts the chance to design unique robot figures online and then uses a 3D printer to fabricate them to your specifications. The do a pretty good job of explaining the process here, as well as showing some of it here:
It’s no small secret that the punditocracy feels pretty dismissive about the whole Occupy Wall Street movement. Even those on the left-ish side of things always sound like they’re sort of grasping at straws in an effort to articulately defend the movement. Unfortunately, a lot of that is because those that are actually doing the occupying have difficulty doing that as well.
In a twist of irony that any young hipster can appreciate, credit bank behemoth American Express is promoting Small Business Saturday, the Saturday that falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, that’s November 26th. It’s a pretty cool initiative to urge consumers to spend at their favorite local, independently-owned shops as an alternative to the big box stores this holiday season. Check it out:
Saturday was the first annual Baltimore Run For Your Lives zombie 5K obstacle race, and this guy had a front-row seat!
The race was very much a full-day affair, with the first group of runners heading out into the course at 8am and the last one crossing the finish line around 6pm, followed by live music until midnight! This of course meant that Meredith and I had to get to the event around 5am to finish setting up our booth before the attendees showed up for registration at 6am—which meant a 3am wake-up to load the car up for a 4am departure time!
Totally worth it, though—a very fun experience, and a great place to meet new fans and make new friends.
I even snapped some pictures throughout the day, though I had to wait until around 7:30 or 8 for the sun to come up and get over the treeline. Here’s the booth in the early morning—we were soooo excited to see the sun, and big-ups to the folks in the Funtastic Foods tent for keeping us warm with a steady stream of hot chocolate!
The event area itself was the perfect setting for a mock-zombie apocalypse: remote, lots of forest, and very cold and overcast for much of the day. Our stuff went over really well, and it was especially gratifying to see my newest designs get lots of love from the crowd, though pretty much every design I’d brought with us carried its weight—it’s always nice to see that Fuzz has still got it! Even nicer to see older fans already in-the-know:
I love this sort of thing—I imagine it’s a lot like being a musician and never getting sick of hearing your song on the radio.
All in all, it was a great day, but really long—the booth pretty much looked like this from 8:20am (around the time the first survivors made it to the finish line) until we started packing up around 8pm:
And sad as I was initially that I had to work the booth instead of run the course, I eventually realized it was definitely for the best; way too many reports of broken legs, serious cuts and gashes, and sprained ankles, not to mention that fact that there were two water obstacles that necessitated running around in soaked shorts & tees in sub-55˚ weather, followed by a thorough hosing down to remove caked-on mud. The weather was miserable enough being dry and fully-clothed, thank you very much!
But ultimately everyone seemed to have a blast—especially this guy:
Many thanks to all the new fans I met this weekend! And those of you who couldn’t make it, fear not and remember, you can take 10% off your purchase now through the end of October by entering the coupon code HALLOWEEN10 at checkout! And Philly fans—we’re coming back up in December for R5 Productions’ Punk Rock Flea Market! $3 gets you inside to shop for awesome holiday gifts from a variety of vendors, and I’ll be there with new stuff on shirts, bags & belts! Even better: it’s indoors! Hope to see you all there:)
So I apologize in advance for all the Australia-related posts coming down the pike in the next few days—it’s just that it’s very exciting to be able to blog about weird stuff I’ve experienced first-hand, as opposed to mining the web for content. To that end, please let me introduce you to SYN.
SYN (Student Youth Network) is a youth-run media organization that operates and broadcasts out of Melbourne, Victoria. A lot of their marketing mentions it’s for young people aged 12-25, which is a pretty wide spread. The cool thing is that it’s 100% true—over the course of the week and a half I was there, I heard DJs in various time-slots that were anywhere from 12/13 to 25, with shows ranging from mall-punk music and horror movie critiques from 14 year olds to sex advice from 25 year olds. Among other show themes, there was a time-slot focused on Formula 1 racing, stand-up comedy, Korean pop, Cantonese pop, Japanese pop, a show devoted entirely to Radiohead (cleverly titled Radiohead to Tail), and even a show hosted by a pair of dudes with mental disabilities discussing their favorite cars and music. But the show that really caught our ear as we were driving around the Yarra Valley looking for good wineries? Happy Hour at the Cantina.
HHatC, sadly, was broadcasting their final show of the season (possibly ever?), but nothing quite prepares you for turning on the radio to hear adults (or close to it) discussing the pros and cons of living with an ewok housemate (“Well, you’d have to have a treehouse in the back yard for it to live in.” “CORRECTION: you’d GET to have a treehouse in your backyard for it to live in!”), and how unfair it is that outside of Wicket and the Chief, none of the other ewoks were given names. This went on for the better part of an hour, interspersed with Star Wars-themed songs, like a Russian klezmer jam about how Boba Fett and Grand Moff Tarkin were childhood friends but had a falling out. REAL. TALK.
And this is just the DJ’s conversing—by and large, the music on SYN is top-notch, and we were exposed to a lot of cool Aussie indie-rock that we otherwise wouldn’t have ever heard of (it seems like Pitchfork et al only champion a few Aussie bands a year). And the great thing is, you can stream it live online! I highly recommend tuning in periodically to get a taste. Just remember—they’re on the other side of the world, so the best time to tune in is in the evening for their morning programming, being broadcast from the future!
In case you hadn’t noticed, shizz just got a whole lot more orange up in this biatch: I’ve been furiously adding a ton of Halloween-themed designs to the collection of late, and not to get all sales-y on ya, but now is the perfect time to order your “I’m too old/un-creative to wear a costume on Halloween” costume!
And if you feel like picking one of these up in person, stop by my booth at the zombie-themed Run For Your Lives 5k in Darlington, Maryland on October 22nd! It’s bound to be awesome—I mean, c’mon; WE’LL be there—and we LOVE meeting fans!
And hey, those of you too busy or too far away—we get it. Life is busy. October is cold. Zombies (even fake ones) are scary. So to show we have no hard feelings, stay safe and warm at home and take 10% off your purchases now through the end of October by entering HALLOWEEN10 at checkout. Because 3-D or purely digital, we love you guys!