Saturday, July 30, 2005

chicago go go can we go back please.

Today we talk Chicago. Chicago at night. Chicago-car-go. Chi-town is the right town for me. I have fallen sadly and rather hopelessly in love with this city -- it has chewed me up over a short weekend, and spit me out a convert, a bleary-eyed stalker, in raptures over a metropolis I hardly know, but hardly want to live without. After a lovely drive down, all highway and high-fives between good driver and not-so-good-but-darned-enthusiastic navigator, we arrived in the windy city, where the skyline put our little T-dot dot dot right to shame. There were actually more than 2 buildings! And they were interesting architectural specimens, not a tower called CN and some just-barely-scrapin' skyscrapers. Fancy that!

Now, the love at first sight, love at first night, might have been tinged by our delightful hosts and lodgings -- an absolute stunner of a loft, all 30 foot ceilings and exposed brick and general minimalist beauty, right in the heart of a factory/art gallery district. This place took my breath away, and I like to think that I am somewhat beyond saying shit that makes me sound like some sort of Cliche Guevara. So yes, the times was good.

And the city. The kind of place that is teeming with history -- where you can practically feel echoes and ghosts and stories oozing out of the bricked buildings, rusting off the ancient fire escapes, rising from the worn out sidewalks. And of course, like every fine city, A River Runs through it.

I could probably wax pseudo-poetic for days. I'll try instead to make use of some real insight that I've learned at work -- people apparently like to look at pictures more than they like to read. ("So d'you think you could cut down that paragraph detailing that SUV to like, maybe 3 words? But keep all the specs please. Thanks!") So here are a few pictures taken in the big bad photo competition -- 2 disposable cameras embarking on a mission to take hopefully not so disposable pictures. Voila. My 2 favourites. And boy are they huge. But in their hugeness, they capture some of the larger than life delight I took in this great city.

Ltrain is a swell train indeed.
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Alleys perfect for dilly-dallys
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

rock it to the moon

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

smoke city

I'm not supposed to smoke, I know
And yet the good pack tells me so
That fire and ash will soothe my stress
That smoke goes down smoother than watercress
That nicotine's a deity with the power to bless
But I really shouldn't, I know.

I'm not supposed to smoke, I know
And yet the workplace tells me so
That while one hand with beer is occupied
The other must busy itself, out of pride
And so booze and tar form a sickening tide
Oh I shouldn't, I know! I know!

I'm not supposed to smoke, I know
And yet the weekends tell me so
That the main attraction's "waiting to inhale"
That a butt is delightful, no matter how stale
And though unholy binge leaves my little lungs frail
Oh I shouldn't, oh no, oh no.

I'm not supposed to smoke, you know
And yet the dark side tells me so
That you only live once so why should it matter
That quitting's for those with weak knees and weak bladders
That if my heart's broken, who cares what else shatters
I know, I know, I know.

an upper for your day

Imagine all softdrink signs looked so rad. It's easy if you try. Or rather, if you hit Lennon, Michigan.

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kick out the jams: adventures in sadvertising part II

Ah so where were we. I was distracted by a mountain of copydecks -- 20 page documents full of headlines so stupid, even yo mama would understand them.

Back to the jams. The bejam jam jams, the jamboree, the jam on toast. There have been frequent jam sessions in my office of late. Desperation breeds a certain type of creativity -- the hyper! oh! my! god! we! are! so! conceptual! type of creativity. The type that makes everyone stay really late, hashing out ideas into the wee hours of the morning - sighing and eye-rolling about the long hours put in, but secretly getting off on being away from their significant others and families, out late on a "schoolnight".

And the bestest part about jam sessions? They're such a, like, much needed break from all the boring meetings we creeeeative kids have to sit through. Yes, you got it - the status meetings, the meetings with our account people -- otherwise known as the dreaded Suits. No, they don't wear polyester three-pieces. They don't even rock the tie or blazer. The poor fuckers are given this nickname because they're apparently stuffier than we are (because they aint creative, see!), and have to deal with client all the time, and so, they are worthy of the name "The Suits". Anyhow, we sit through meetings with the suits, we put up with their charts, neatly typed up schedules, earnestly written strategies. But we, of course, think we're superior (because we're creative, see!). And oh, how we would rather be jamming.

But let's face it -- late night thinking, early morning status meetings -- it's all the same. Turns out pushing the envelope isn't so far off pushing paper. They're made of the same shit after all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

kick out the jams: creative thinking in sadvertising part I

So today has been all about jamming. And I don't mean the kind of jamming that Bob Marley did with all his various Wailers. Or even the kind you do to your pockets when you're trying to steal candy from the 7/11. This is the kind of jamming that you do at advertising agencies. It involves real "creative" thinking.

Everyone gets together in a boardroom. There is a buzz in the air, the buzz of creative minds coming together like hot & heavy teenagers in the backseat of a Toyota, like AA failures on a case of shitty beer. The energy! The enthusiasm! Ok, there really is none of that, it's more like an awkward silence, puncuated every so often by bad joke attempts and equally bad guffaws.

Creative sessions that run on really tight deadlines are way too serious to involve light-hearted "jamming". Board rooms become "WAR" rooms. Strategies are battle plans. Ideas are ammunition. You can almost see the crazed look in the eyes of the really sincere -- these guys really think they are saving the world through brochure composition, toppling totalitarian regimes one self-mailer at a time. Do they have what it takes? Will World War III be all about direct marketing letters and bill inserts? Doubtful. But we'll continue this discussion once I return from my 2 pm JAM and my 3 pm BATTLE.


Monday, July 25, 2005

yo. yo. yo.

well, here it begins -- the downward spiral into self-indulgent twitter twatter -- where pseudo-intellectuals go to die, and talk endlessly about it. The blog. The long-winded monologue. The monoblogue. The techno-craze that picks up where seventh grade diaries left off -- except instead of logging what exactly you had for dinner, or rhapsodizing naively about that boy you like, you yammer about politics, obscure bands, and rhapsodize naively about that guy you love.

so, what's in this for me? Everything. i get to talk and talk to myself. And then read it later. i'm thinking of chronicling life in the big bad city where i live, ie the city that thinks it's God's gift to cities - Toronto. Something about its paltry skyline, its smug attitude, and depressing lack of mexican restaraunts seems to call out for a story. Or else, I might dip into ranting and raving about the often idiotic job I have found myself in - as a copywriter in a high-profile advertising agency, where I spend my days composing junk mail that no one will read, flashy words in envelopes that will flutter pathetically to the ground from mailboxes across the country, on brochures that sit untouched at grocery counters, in websites that get less hits than an acid junkie in rehab. Such a silly profession screams for satire -- a desperately un-hip cast of characters roams the hallway of this agency -- has-beens and never-has-beens spend their days coming up with the next big idea -- as long as it's small enough to fit into an 8x10 envelope. We'll dig further into that goldmine another day.

For now, I stick with introduction. Aimless, shameless, blameless. Clearly a believer that rhyme is good in any situation, even if it makes little to no sense. I'll attempt to make fun of everything and anything, including myself. We'll call it Zinging 101.