Archive for the ‘Pontifications’ Category

2010 Comes To An End

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

It’s almost done. And what started out as a year full of excitement around creating a Super Bowl spot and great mobile app for one client, turned into a very strange, humbling, surreal, and “full circle” kind of year for me and my career.

The year took me from Los Angeles to New York City, or home as it were.

In between those two points, January 1st celebrating the new year at the Viceroy with Monica in Santa Monica, and today at my desk here on Park Ave. there’s been a lot of turns. I went to Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, back to Seattle, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff Arizona, Roswell New Mexico, Dallas Texas, Little Rock Arkansas, Memphis Tenn., Nashville Tenn., Miami Florida, Boston MA, Denver Colorado, and Atlanta Georgia.

This year was a wild ride. I solidified a few friendships, made some new ones, met and dated a few new people, and all in all learned a lot about myself in 2010.

What do I want from 2011? I want that travel list to include many places outside the United States. I want to continue meeting new people and making new friends. I want, more than anything, to keep and grow the friends I have made over the years.

It wouldn’t be a 2010/2011 post without a list of some sort, right? So here goes… this is what I want to accomplish in 2011…

  1. At least 3 trips to Europe
  2. At least 2 trips to California (1 to SF and 1 to LA) to see friends and enjoy those two cities
  3. Spend more time with the family, especially my parents
  4. Less beer, more wine
  5. Continue to kill it at work
  6. Give to charity, find a few that I believe in and give to them
  7. Get that movie script started
  8. Invest my time wisely… more relationships and people
  9. Continue doing what I do well, not sweating the small stuff
  10. Connect with my nephew more, he needs my help
  11. Get more out of NYC, culturally, and conversely, get out of NYC more
  12. Read at LEAST 1 book a month
  13. Of course I’ll put the obligatory gym-3-times-a-week-thing in here
  14. Be inspirational
  15. Be less of a cynic (in NYC this actually more difficult than you might think)
  16. Really make an effort to write more often. This blog and my half-assed attempt to make it something interesting needs much more of an effort from me. 2011 will see that effort.
  17. ——–
  18. ——–
  19. ——–
  20. ——–

I’m actually leaving those last few blank for now. I’m sure that there will be stuff to add later. So that’s that. I’ve made my list. Let’s see what I write come December 2011 when I look back at this list. I really hope to write something along the lines of “I had a little more beer than I’d like, but overall, I got it all done.”

What Can :30 Seconds Do?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Until recently I used to say “it’s not a matter of life and death” or “it’s only advertising.” 

Those statements are meant to provide perspective; for the person saying it and for the people hearing it. They both do a little bit more than that. Those statements create an excuse. They can also minimize the impact and significance of what we can do.

That’s unfortunate.

Advertising isn’t like treating or curing a disease. Of course it isn’t. And it’s certainly not akin to, or even in the same ballpark, as providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, or sanctuary for abused children or battered women.

No, it’s not like that either.

At it’s very best, advertising can be a lot like art. I’m not saying those infomercials for Oxy Clean, Life Alert, or even the Snuggie, are forms of art. I’m definitely not saying that.

What I’m saying is that advertising can be a lot like art in that while the purpose is to inform a large audience of message or product “X,” a person can take something away from it that’s inherently more personal.

For instance, when my sister got married I wish I had done something like this, which isn’t to say I was chubby bumbling idiot like the brother in that commercial. Well, at least I wasn’t a bumbling idiot.

Tell me you can walk away from this longer-form ad without holding back a tear and I’ll call you on cold-hearted son of a bitch.

And this commercial just rips me up. My father is getting older. He’s moving more slowly, napping more often, and the thought of losing him has been on my mind more and more these last few months. It’s painful the mere thought. This commercial visualizes it. Ugh.

I think that after those three videos I’ve made the point and you’ve understood it. Right? Mass messages, pimping a product or service, can do, if done well, so much more than “sell” and “inform.”

I guess the reason behind my writing about this today is that I’m surrounded by what seems like meaningless, shallow, and sometimes empty opportunities to create an ad for a client. In taking a step back every now and then, I allow myself to think about what can be. And what these opportunities can be are inspirational, life-altering, and moving… but sometimes, they can just be funny. And to be honest, after writing all this gut-wrenching stuff, I can use a laugh.

AOL Is Malware/Spyware/Bloat/Etc.

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I’ve spent the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and the few days after, on Long Island at my parent’s place.

My mother is a typical 60+ year old in that she cannot fully understand the Internet or computers. My sisters and I have bought her computers over the years so she can use “the emails” and go to Marc Anthony’s web site (she’d leave my father and never speak to us again if Marc asked her to).

To make it “easy” for her to use the Internet we set her up with an AOL account. This is years ago when AOL was in version 6 or 7. I’ve been sans work laptop during this trip and have been using my mom’s computer.

One word. Wow.

I cannot believe AOL’s software install isn’t flagged with the Federal govt’s cybercrimes division. I did a bit of a test with it, just for sh*ts and giggles, and here’s some of the results.

First, my mom’s machine’s specs 1GB ram, 2.5Ghz processor.

AOL 9.1. I uninstalled, then re-installed it. Upon the install I answered a million questions and waited for a good 1/2 hour for it to download a bunch of stuff. What the software DID NOT DO was ask me questions about how I want AOL installed. For instance… it put AOL launch icons in:

  1. The systray
  2. The programs menu
  3. The start menu
  4. My desktop
  5. As a right-click option
  6. In the IE browser favorites
  7. AOL added an AOL search bar to IE
  8. The install changed the IE home page to
  9. Lastly, AOL has no setting or option/config menu to keep it from running in the background. If it’s on your machine, it’s running. End. Of. Story.

It’s insane how much AOL does to almost completely takeover someone’s experience with their computer.

Oh and the second phase of my test… I did a little alt+cntrl+del and viewed processes. AOL was absorbing, even when it wasn’t running (other than in the systray), 45MB of memory and putting CPU usage at a minimum of 25%!!!! WTF?!?

When I removed AOL and used IE-only, no CPU spikes, no screen drawing, no clicks that took 25 to 30 seconds for a system response.

I want to cancel my mother’s AOL subscription but I don’t have 2 free hours to try to get through their tangled web of customer “service” numbers and prompts.

It’ll be a good day for the Internet when AOL shuts down as a faux ISP and focuses only on the portal and content.

Until then AOL, expect your business to continue to dwindle. And ffs, can’t you see why?