a contingent state

At least one interview remains: career prospects are unclear.
The doors have been left open: alternatives will appear.
My consciousness is aware: yet thoughts scattered here and there.
The seeds have now been planted: and we will see what will grow.
Events are in a contingent state: simply waiting to unfold.

feet on the air

with your feet on the air and your head on the ground, you’ll ask yourself… ‘where is my mind?’

branding banter

I never really noticed, well I never really thought, that I could be vulnerable and helpless to the power of our commercial society. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I buy things, simply based on the ads and/or the brand image created from the ads. But rather they have a different effect on me – they inform me of the products existence. Essentially, I believe that is the goal of some advertising campaigns, especially if the product is new and if the product is not actually needed for human survival. I remember reading an article way back in second year (in my advertising class) and it outlined how Gillette basically started it all… they created a product (the disposable razor), and marketed it as if it was the best a man could get. The goal was to replace the traditional way of shaving with this new, better way. Of course this new way was only better for Gillette, since the whole disposable razor is based around the reoccurring revenue it could generate for Gillette. And the kicker is, the razors are cheap to buy initially (but expensive to make). All the money to be made by Gillette is in the selling of new (inexpensive to produce) blades that these consumers will have to regularly purchase, to continue shaving the new, better way. This same logic applies to many products out there, especially ink jet printers. But you all know this, and it has pretty much become common sense, so how about I start writing about what I really wanted to focus on which was the brand image attached to these products. Now this brand image is the reason why you want to continue buying those razor blades. Something has been implanted into your head, telling you that you need this product and that your life will be better with it. This logic cannot be more clearly demonstrated without looking at Intel. In case you don’t know, Intel makes computer processors, the brain of all computers. Chances are you already knew that, because you may have seen the Intel ads, or you have heard the ‘pleasant’ Intel sound at the end of every computer manufactures’ ad, or have seen the Intel stickers on nearly every computer. Intel’s goal is to create an image, and to generate sell-through demand for their processors. It’s kind of like buying a car, based on the type of headlights it has. Too bad car’s don’t have ‘Acme Lites Inside’ stickers on them. And the thing is, their marketing works. People fork out an extra 300 bucks just get Intel inside. Does spending this extra money give consumers any benefit in the life? Not really… it only gives them what is associated with the image portrayed through the marketing. Intel really stretched this with their new Centrino based notebooks. They were trying to sell their processors, based on improved battery life, the physically design of notebook cases, and of course their wireless capabilities. And in reality, when you pop the marketing bubble, you can have all those features without an Intel processor (well maybe not the extended battery life, but then again.. screen, optical drive, etc.. all play a role in that number)… Anyways, all I am saying is that your life does not get any better by buying a Gillette razor or a computer with an Intel processor – You only think it does.

So basically it’s all in ‘the brand’ image, and we as ‘informed’ consumers have become accustomed to relating certain attributes to brands. This applies to any product or service, since I don’t believe any market segment has been untouched by ‘the brand’. This infiltration in our society has created resulted in people becoming very brand loyal, and I mean loyal in general. Not just to a specific brand, but rather any brand. Just think of the last time you went to a ‘Jon’s Subs’ for lunch rather than Subway or the last time you ordered pizza from a non franchise. People resist not going with established brands. People feel safe, consuming a consistent product, that lives up to certain ‘standards’. I know that no matter where I go, I can go into a Staples, and pick up some Hilroy paper, Bic pens and an HP printer, and everything will be a-ok, and if not I know Staples will be there to make me happy. This homogeneity can’t be healthy.

That’s all I have to say right now, because this topic is way to broad (there is like 8 topics up there!!). But this brand/marketing topic really interests me, so I know I will revisit it, but next time I will take a bit more of a narrow approach.

RSS and the CBC

Over the past few weeks I have really been on a RSS kick. RSS is great!! It allows you to automatically receive live updates of news sites, blogs, etc… so when I went to make all my Live Bookmarks (in FireFox), adding the CBC was a must (being the Canadian public broadcaster and all)… but then something disappointing happened… i realized the CBC has no official RSS feed…. I found this quite odd, the BBC, NY Times, Reuters.. etc all have RSS feeds, so guess what… I emailed the CBC.. and this is what they said:

Dear Joe,

Thank you for your email requesting use a RSS feed for headlines.

At this time uses the Klip format, which is a way to allow users to receive headlines at no direct cost to the user. However we are looking at implementing an RSS feed in the near future.

We will certainly send your comments on to the Director of New Media and record them on our Audience Reaction Report, which is circulated throughout our New Media Department, and amongst our senior producers and
programmers within the CBC including the President and CEO, Robert Rabinovitch.

We appreciate your taking the time to contact us.

Parker Bishop
Communications Assistant
CBC Audience Relations

It was a pretty generic response, but I was glad to get a reply, and I hope the CBC implements RSS feeds soon.

UPDATE: 2004.12.12: CBC has RSS now

‘real’ dreams

Damn, it’s morning already, and I just started to have some good dreams. My curiosity of where these dreams are heading begin to battle with my body, which is saying ‘get the fuck up, you lazy ass’. Of course the harsh reality is that these dreams never start until about 11AM (local time). You know these dreams will continue to be good, so you give it all, to try to stay asleep. You pretend to enjoy the sun shining in your eyes, the roofers banging, and of course the phone ringing. Your imagination starts to take over the subconscious dream creation process, and you start to conceive a fantasy world. Then it kicks in, you realize that you are no longer dreaming anymore, and you wake up and go ‘damn’….

So you then, ponder your dream, and you try to determine if you can make it real… you then come to the realization that you can’t and you adopt the attitude of “it was only a dream”… you brush it off like it cannot become real, simply because it was once not real… Dreams just like everything else, start as not being ‘real’… you cannot perceive them directly through your senses – they start in your mind. Creativity, ambition, happiness, love, etc… all begin in the mind. Well actually they are always in the mind, they only become ‘real’ when you act on them via some surrogate object or event. This is the only way people can experience these with their senses. Dreams are the same way, you can’t make a dream ‘real’ but you have the power to create situations where you can experience the feelings felt during the dream. You know you have the ability to do this because “it once was a dream”.

one relatively [in]expensive tit

if you think back, way back in time, like i mean, way way back… back to february 1st 2004…. you may recall seeing an unusual event on your television screen… you may of seen a female breast exposed on american network television… and this tends to be a rare event… mainly because americans have stronger indecency rules than canadians (merely an observation of mine based on seeing tits on canadian tv)… and you know americans.. they get tough (or tuff) on crime… so guess what… viacom has now been fined for this ‘wardrobe malfunction’… that’s right… fined… viacom one of the worlds largest media conglomerates has been issued the largest penalty ever levied against a TV broadcaster… a whooping $550,000 US… all i can say is ‘big deal’… first of all.. it was just a tit… sure it was exposed during the most watched television event of the year… but hey it’s just a tit… also… do americans regulators think a fine.. the largest one ever.. will prevent this from happening again? hell no… viacom/CBS have a huge bankroll and received huge press… and plus.. who doesn’t like to see a tit…. ok fine… let’s focus here… let’s actually determine if viacom in simplest terms will suffer a loss due to the fine… here’s the math:

1 tit * 2 seconds = $550,000
cost per second = $275,00

1 superbowl commercial * 30 seconds = $2,250,000
revenue per second = $75,000

CBS only needed to sell commercial time for approximately 3.67 seconds to cover this fine.

i don’t have any stats on the number of commercials aired during the superbowl, or how much the NFL charged CBS for the rights, but you get my drift… $550,000 is small beans… and as a matter of fact so is janet’s tit.

the first step in becoming interesting

looks like i have now completed the revamp… looks pretty good.. and works in all good browsers (doesn’t work in opera 6 mac for sure though)… ie and firefox, on mac and pc.. work wonderfully… i have even made alternative stylesheets for you firefox users who find the writing on this site too small… you can easily switch between styles by clicking on the icon at the bottom right of your firefox browser (right beside the rss feed icon)….

now it is just time for this site to grow… i would like to see it become more writing based, it should still be kind of abstract as it tends to be now… but in the future i will aim for a more organized and purposeful web log… basically less whining and more insightful writing. i don’t want it to become too formal though… but rather more fun, interesting and ultimately thought provoking.

blockquotes and tv trash

well i want to test out how blockquotes are going to look… i don’t think i have used one yet to date.. but they are handy and i am sure i will use them in the future… so here it goes, here is a quote from ‘The economy of televised trash and class‘ by Charles Demers:

But to complain endlessly about this bottom-of-the-barrel, becleavaged decline of civilization is to miss the fact that television is offering some real, intelligent, inspired and progressive contributions to the much-maligned, small-screen medium. Last Sunday?s Emmy awards saw top honours in their categories go to the profoundly engaging and forward-thinking Sopranos (best dramatic series, best supporting actress in a dramatic series Drea de Matteo, best supporting actor in a dramatic series Michael Imperioli) and Jon Stewart?s hilarious, Bush-skewering Daily Show (best variety series). Both shows trade on intelligence, exposing hypocrisy, and challenging viewers instead of pandering. And both are products of the same breakdown in television responsible for Reality TV.

This was a pretty good article… check it out.

the colour grey now has a new look… it seems to be extremely grey.. this is mainly due to the fact that i was having some troubles matching colours… i did start with colours… but yeah… i when i was done… i noticed it was all grey… i like this layout better than the old one… but the fonts on the PC kinda suck….. i like the looks of it on the mac… renders nicely in safari and firefox… and on the pc… its seems to render pretty good in ie and firefox… ie is kinda buggy… but we all knew that… anyway… hope you all like the new look… i know i do… well.. i think… maybe… wait… i need some colour… ahh not now… maybe later…

movie watching

i think i am going to go watch a movie, rather than write in my blog today… i could write about anything… i just dunno what…. so why think about it at all… watching a movie is much easier… much more passive and possibly even more relaxing than writing a blog entry and the pain of carpal tunnel… damn, i hope there is something good on… and i hope these fucken roofers get off my roof.. kuz they are banging and making way to much noise to comfortably watch a movie….. hey maybe i should just leave the house.. and get my camera… naaa… not quite yet… still need to determine if i can afford it.. kuz i am going to need every last penny, for my mid october trip!!

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