Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nethologica - Prologue Part 2

Here's the continuation of the prologue. Note that the story will be mainly fantasy, but there are some instances of sci-fi mixed in. I'm very interested in hearing what people think of this story, so please comment and let me know your opinion.


Willow was not cheap with her bullets. She stepped quickly, but lightly, towards the double glass doors that were the entrance to the restaurant. She used the flashlight attachment of her rifle sparingly, relying more on the intermittent night guides left on by the night janitor and the natural lighting from the sky that filtered in through the windows, skylights, and the main entrance.

As she approached the front of the restaurant, her ears noted a rhythmic tapping and scratching sound ahead of her. Squinting her eyes a bit, she noticed a shadow—no, a silhouette, blocking some of the glow that penetrated the glass doors from the street.

She raised her rifle almost entirely on reflex. Resting the butt on her shoulder, she checked her aim briefly before squeezing the trigger. Her finger held the trigger down as her weapon fired two short bursts of bullets that she traced from the body of the rat to its head. The sound of gunfire and rodent screams would have surely awoken any neighbours, but pest control rarely got any complaints.

Willow had already pressed the call button on her vest to report to the captain before she noticed that something was wrong. Bullets were meant to embed themselves in the object that they were fired upon, coupling with the target and causing more damage that way. However, Willow’s shots had gone clean through the rat and the glass doors, giving her an eerie view of the street through the silhouette and body of the rat.

Rodents of unusual size and girth existed as a result of a slight mutation, a slow process of evolution that humankind had, in their error, ignored for the last few centuries. In the extermination industry, there had been stories about some recent mutants encountered. Though usually dismissed as tall tales, people in the industry still made it their business to know everything, even things that seemed too fantastic to be true. Still, as the captain says, truth can be stranger than fiction.

Willow was still holding down the call button when she swore under her breath. The captain, who was still in the kitchen calculating the service tax, tried to respond but Willow’s hand was still gripping the call button, effectively blocking others from communicating. However, Willow recovered quickly from her shock and continued to hold down the button just long enough to fill in the rest of the team, who were now nervously straining their ears to listen.

“Guys, we got a shifter.”

As she spoke, the holes in the silhouette that gave Willow a view of the street, the holes that were gouged by her bullets, began to shrink. The rat turned its long face to look at Willow, uttering a low squeak that started off more as a growl. Carefully, Willow moved her hand from the call button on her vest to the grip of her rifle. Perhaps sensing that more pain was on its way, the rat immediately bolted.

Willow quickly brought her rifle up and pivoted to keep the rat in her sights. She squeezed the trigger repeatedly, pausing only long enough to recover her aim from the recoil. The radio was alive with buzzes, clicks, and chatter, but Willow could not focus enough to understand her teammates with her gun firing rounds in a deafening manner.

She lowered her gun as the rat disappeared from sight. Removing her earpiece, Willow allowed all her senses to absorb her surroundings. She calmed the pace of her heartbeat with a few slow breaths and followed the path laid out by the rat. She could make out the clamour of her teammates in the distant hallways, but ignored their shouts, pushing it away from her attention as she focused her hearing to seek out the tapping and scratching of claws on the tiled floor.

A soft scuffle drew her towards the door leading to one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms. She paused in front of the door, her head turned and tuned to pick up any sign of the rat. A second, more distinct, scurry convinced Willow to move through the door, gun aimed at rat level.

Willow’s trigger finger faltered as she traced the barrel of her rifle upwards, searching for the head of the figure that the shape-shifting rat had assumed.

The rat had filled the room with its body in an almost impossible manner, breaking all laws regarding the conservation of mass. Willow felt as if she had shrunk as the head of the creature was almost directly above her while its body was at the opposite corner of the room. Willow afforded herself a glance at the door, which had closed behind her. She doubted her ability to open the door and get through it before the rat attacked her exposed back.

Looking back at the creature, for it was no longer shaped like a rat, Willow judged, based on the size of the door, that she had not shrunk, but instead the room had scaled to accommodate the expanded rat.

“Is it illusion then?” Willow whispered to herself. The form that the rat had assumed was not one that was familiar to Willow. It still had a long face, but instead of fur, the skin was bare and looked rough. The head was no longer triangular in shape, but narrow like a horse’s. The long neck that allowed the creature to loom over Willow connected the head to a body that looked almost humanoid. Willow was a student of anthropology and found that the body reminded her of a grotesque and demonic fat Buddha.

Gripping her weapon tightly and moving swiftly, Willow aim at the head above her and fired. The figure reeled, pulling back the head. But, as it was stooping before to fit in the room, the head now ripped through the ceiling and Willow could see the night sky through the falling rubble.

The creature turned suddenly, its tail lashing out and catching Willow on the side of her arm. Willow’s body spun in place and she fell against a wall. She dropped down to stay low and rubbed her arm, feeling the swelling of a forming bruise. Her gun was now half way across the room from her, removed from her possession when she was lashed and carried away by the momentum generated by the creature’s swift rotation. She considered making her escape while the creature had its back turned, but instead she watched in awe from her corner as the creature ripped open the rest of the ceiling and climbed out.

Without knowing it consciously, Willow followed the creature out, somehow scaling up the wall. From a distance, she could identify the creature roughly as a giant lizard. She pitied the flora it trampled before realizing that she was no longer in the city. The creature looked back at her and stretched out its neck as it screeched, making effort to shake the leaves of the trees around it with the sound it made. Then, it spread its wings, for it had wings, and created such a backdraft that Willow nearly lost her footing. She could still see the silhouette of the creature against the bright moon for several minutes before losing sight of it in the surrounding clouds.

Finding herself breathless, Willow sat down against the building she was defending and tried to recap the events that had just unfolded. Unable to do so, she closed her eyes and huddled against the oncoming cold.

In the distance, a tribe seeking the source of the dragon’s cry spies a figure lying prone against the weathered stone wall that encircled a willow tree.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nethologica - Prologue Part 1

Hm...I'm falling behind a bit as I failed to update last week. I'll have to update twice this week to make up for it. The reason for my tardiness is my unique gift to combine procrastination with perfectionism. I wanted to put up a short story this week, but couldn't get it the way I wanted it to be. And so, I tossed it.

As a sort of emergency, I'm posting the prologue for the novel that I'm working on: Nethologica. I'm not particularly happy with the prologue either, but I've decided that I'll forge on ahead first and simply write without looking back. I'll return to edit for quality and plot after I'm done everything. I've separated the prologue into two part, partially so that I'm guaranteed to make two posts this week and partially because it's pretty long. Enjoy!


A lone man stood on a half-lit block. He took a quick glance at his watch, barely registering the time, as he tried to determine whether it was safer to stand under the streetlamp or in the shadows. If something were to happen to him, it would be better to stand in the light, where things were more noticeable and help was more likely to come. On the other hand, being in plain sight might make him more of a target to opportunistic thieves, or worse, psychopaths.

Hovering over the boundary set by the lamps overhead, he paced back and forth like a stray dog; indecisive as to whether he wanted to follow a stranger home or continue his carefree, albeit uncertain, life.

Finally, he settled against a bricked wall sparingly illuminated by reflected lights. He checked his watch again, more carefully this time to ascertain the time to himself. No longer moving about, he started to feel the city air and pulled his jacket tighter around him before crossing his arms over his chest.

It is late in the evening for the man, but early in the morning for the people that was keeping him waiting. He managed a scant peek at his watch before his wall was illuminated by the headlights of a car. He looked up hopefully but the vehicle is small, a Personal Automatic Transporter. Most likely it was a night janitor, enjoying an enviable nap as the PAT took him home.

The man is also a night janitor. Normally at this time he would be resting comfortably, enjoying the soothing driving motions of his own PAT as it guided itself to his home. The transporter had become essential in the last decade. It allowed business folks to focus on other things as they moved about in the city. However, it was not a cheap investment. Those in the lower-middle class, looking to own one for aesthetic and conspicuous reasons, had to take on a second job in order to afford the lease. This meant that their treasured time-saver would end up costing them more time than it saved. It was the latest modern inconvenience, after virtual reality and the internet of the last millennium.

Luckily, night janitors did not have to take on a second job. The restaurant, whose exhaust-stained bricks provided the wall that the man was leaning on, paid the man very well for his cleaning services. However, tonight he was unable to sweep the floors. And in the day, the restaurant may not be allowed to open.

The building had suffered a sudden onset pest infestation, a discovery the night janitor had just made a few hours ago. He called for pest control and it is for them that he waits.

Another vehicle passed by, much too quickly to be the right people, even though the vehicle was the right size, roughly that of a delivery van. The night janitor checked his watch once more before sighing and averting his gaze upward, as if questioning some higher deity, though contemplating nothing in general. He tapped his shoes against the wall and sidewalk impatiently, shifting his foot from the back of the shoe to the front, and alternatively.

His heart was anxious for sleep. He was not tired, but was addicted to the other world that he visited in his dreams. It was a good thing that he had but one job, he would be able to sleep through the entire day, waking only when it was time to come to the restaurant again to clean. Since the start of his obsession, the janitor had only seen sunlight a few times, when he had to take time away from resting to restock food and other supplies. At that thought, the janitor reminded himself to make another day trip soon. Though sunlight had become foreign and blinding to him, he did not resent it. It brought warmth and, once he was able to open his eyes fully, it enabled vision that humans were not entitled to in the night. He would leave his house to enjoy the sun more often, if it were not for the overwhelming desire to remain asleep in his bed. His habit was beginning to border on the unhealthy side. Simply thinking about it caused the Pavlovian effect of salivation. He licked his lips contemptuously to exercise his slacken jaw.

Engrossed in his thoughts, the dim headlights of the pest control van nearly escaped the notice of the night janitor. It was an armor-plated, military-issued van, typical of pest control. The man in the front passenger seat rolled down his window to address the janitor.

“You the one that called for us?” he asked.

The janitor simply nodded. The crisp city air had frozen the saliva between his lips, effectively sealing his speech with the threat of tearing pain and chapped lips. Even if he could talk, his tongue was momentarily tongue tied as he spied the face of the van’s driver. A fierce and striking young woman looked back at him before turning off and exiting the vehicle. The janitor’s gaze followed her figure as she walked to the back of the van and opened the large double doors so that the rest of the pest control team could hop out.

They numbered six in total, there was only enough room in the back of the van for four people to sit among the weapons, baits, and traps. There was another woman besides the driver, noted the janitor, but she was not as striking as the other, who was now sternly giving out orders to the team. The man who first spoke to the janitor, presumably the leader, broke away from the group to gather more information from the janitor.

“You said on the phone that it was a large rat,” he said. His tone of voice made the question seem almost like an accusation.

“Y-yes,” stammered the janitor. The cold was reaching its peak, just before the Earth started to face the sun again. He rubbed his lips together tenderly as he watched the exterminators arm themselves.

They worked together well, passing body armor, rifles, and other equipment between each other in a practiced fashion. The janitor could hear the soft cracking of their helmet radios breaking the night silence before it faded, obscured by the head that now occupied the protective hat. They looked formidable in their gear, worthy of the descriptors they gave themselves in their ad.

The janitor uncrossed his arms to search his pockets for his keys, exposing his chest in time to feel the full effect of a chilly passing wind. His hands had begun shaking when he opened the back door to the restaurant. Not wanting to stay any longer than he had to, he told the leader that the door could be set to lock automatically, instructing him to leave the invoice on the prep table and to lock up after they were done.

The team captain nodded slowly, making a mental note for the janitor’s instructions. He shook hands with the janitor and watched him as he left. The captain then turned to face his team, they immediately stopped their conversation and looked back at him.

“Chief complaint is a large rat, but as usual we’ll clean up anything we find. Willow you take the direct route to the main entrance and take care of anything that comes your way. Andy and Sherry, you take the left corridor. Chris and Anjay, you cover the right.”

His team stood still for a moment to ascertain that he was finished before breaking apart sharply to execute his orders. The captain himself remained behind to watch the backdoor and to coordinate the operation. His earpiece buzzed as the teams reported in.

“This is Willow, I’m skipping the rooms as I head down but I’ll check the ones near the entrance.”

“Left side team here, we’ll cover your slack Willow. Sherry and I are in the first room right now.”

The captain allowed himself to tune out the radio slightly so that he could focus on filling out the invoice. The second in command, Willow, had constantly berated him on this bad habit. Pest control was a high-risk career, but years without any excitement had caused the captain to be complacent, taking shortcuts whenever he could justify it. A large rat was as standard as they came, only dangerous if you approached it unarmed or if you were cheap with your bullets. The captain noted that some of the food stocks in the kitchen had been rummaged through and assumed that the rat had already eaten its fill and was most likely trying to find a way back to its den in the sewers. This meant that Willow would encounter the pest first.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ethos and Garfield comics

A quickie from me this week, but I've been looking forward to it.

I figure around now would be a good time to note the ethos, or mission statement, of the blog. Timing wise, I'm aiming to post at least once a week. If I'm threatening to burst at the seams, I might take the time to write a second post for that given week (as I did last week). Posts will come in two flavours: rambles and musings. So far I've done rambles only and it's pretty much like my past blogs. What is going to be different is my musings. I've labeled this post a musing only so that I can test the musing filter on the right. In reality, this post is probably a good, even mixture of rambling and musing.

Ramblings are your typical ranting blogs that, on occasion, sound intelligent. Musings, on the other hand, will be details or samplings of my creative endeavours, whatever form they may take. So, in other words, this blog is meant to showcase my writing and ideas in various ways.

As such, it is important to me that I write well. However, it is also important that I don't try too too hard. To better illustrate my point, I'll guide your attention to another blog: Permanent Monday, a daily commentary on Garfield comics. At the beginning, the comic had a pretty good draw, at least to me. I really enjoyed the sardonic perspective on Garfield comics and the author's delivery was pretty good and insightful. However, it quickly got too intellectual and academic. It was almost like a case of the author forgetting his audience, or attempting to create a new one. The blog has since fallen on the wayside, but you can follow through a few of the earlier and later ones to see my point.

In contrast, I will attempt to maintain a high level quality of writing while keeping everything accessible and relatively informal. Naturally, I'm relying on my readers to tell me if I start sounding fake.

Anyways, let's get to the musing stuff. Hopefully next week I'll have something even nicer for you guys to enjoy, but for now...since we're on the subject of Garfield, I thought I'd present another interesting look at the comic.

A few months back I came across a link to a forum that edited Garfield comics, removing all of Garfield's thought bubbles. This action lead to some interesting results as Garfield's replies now had to be inferred by the slight twitches in his expression and from Jon's responses. I won't link to the forums directly as they seem to become resentful of the Garfield thread and you never really want to invite the ire of an anonymous collective on the internet. Other edits that were performed included removing Garfield completely from the comic and also some custom comics created by throwing three random panels together. All of these worked well with Garfield because of the universality of the character. If the edits were shown to someone with no preconception of Garfield (but does such a person exist?), I doubt that they would enjoy the edited comics as much.

Here are some of this year's comics that I thought would be interesting to edit. Let me know what you think!

Same expression throughout, I wonder what that means? Perhaps he's hungry...

Note the subtle changes in Jon's expression, the amount of information these twitches convey is just one of the miracles of the comic.
And here we have Garfield with the subtle changes of face.
Hm...although Garfield's face does not change at all (might as well been a copy/paste job). You get the impression that his expression in the last panel is more meaningful that the others.
No words are necessary.

And, indeed, somehow these comics seem funnier without Garfield adding anything else to the comic. I'm sure I'm not the only one that read through dozens of volumes of Garfield during their childhood meanderings. Again, it's our preconception of Garfield that allows us to "fill in the blank" with our favourite Garfield antics, living up the show more than the comic could ever do on its own.

And here's a few from my birthdays of the past, in random order:
I'd rather not look, thanks.

You're a sad man Arbuckle.
I'm actually torn between the text version and the edited version for this and the last one. Garfield's thoughts did add a little bit extra, but I suppose it's a rare occurrence.

Hehe, an excellent example of how ingrained Garfield is in our minds. This comic makes absolutely no sense, but I'm sure that you can almost guess the exact lines that goes here.
And sometimes it's hard to imagine or understand that there were lines there in the first place. Was it really necessary?
I removed the text for Garfield and the Mice, the comic looks much better without the clutter.

Well, that's it for this week. I might do this again if I'm in a jam for a post. Maybe I'll try it with another comic, we'll see. Most likely I'll try for relatively fresh stuff, but I'm sure that I'll be in the mood for this and that sooner or later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cellphone Dump 2

Ah feck it. Since I'm in the mood, let's double post this week and continue looking at the pictures I snapped from the corner of Nelson and Seymour.

Item 5: Richmond Auto Mall - Nelson and Seymour

I like the vast majority of the Richmond Auto mall ads. They're often time both clever and effective. They have a good slogan, something about better selection = better end choice, that hits home. I'm sure that any serious car shopper would at least *think* about going to the Auto Mall before making a final purchase and that's a good thing.

This particular ad actually took over the entire billboard, using all three "slides" to show three different cars. The last slide, which I didn't get (but should've), it includes the Richmond Auto Mall logo and the slogan.

Here's another angle of the billboard. You'll note that the three figures are actually mannequins, so that they stay in place as the pictures of the cars change. It's an example of how advertisers try to differentiate themselves from each other. Not too long ago, we had billboard ads that expanded beyond the boundaries of the billboard. This has carried over to the ads on buses expanding toward the roof of the bus, like the My 5 ads.

Speaking of bus ads, I also like the Canadian Tire and 3M ads that uses the bus stop ad windows in a different way: emptying them out and putting real objects in it. If I can, I'll find an example of such an ad for the next cellphone dump.Item 6: EA Canada - Unknown

I believe my lovely girlfriend snapped the picture for this ad, but from the surrounding landmarks, I would assume that it is close to the Main/Terminal Skytrain station.

This is a good example of an ad nailing their target market. The message here, when deciphered through the use of computer programming language, is simply one noting a job opening. You can almost treat it like a preliminary test or interview. The only people that would "get" the message would be those that take the time to copy the message and decipher it; or those that already have everything memorized, allowing them to get the message right on the spot. Both types of people demonstrate a good understanding of the programming language and a strong passion for it. These qualities are what EA is looking for in their employees and the ad enables them and their candidates to meet up. And that is what marketing is all about, it is the constant effort to bring producers and consumers together at the right time, place, etc.

Item 7: Flick Off - Zephyr in the Sky (bathroom)

Urinal ads are great, unless they're boring. Nonetheless, I really don't mind them as they provide a ready way to avoid looking at other men's nether regions.

They are many great examples, but I always feel kind of conspicuous when I take pictures in a public bathroom. This picture is not a good example, but it is funny. I was rather taken aback by the large message and it wasn't until I took the time to look carefully that I realized that it wasn't telling me to scram.

It's an unfortunate example of bad copyediting and it happens all the time. Reminds me of a hilarious story of a snack product called HITS. The name was written across the width of the box, so that when you stocked them on shelves side-by-side, you could read HITSHITSHITS.

Item 8: Reitmans - Skytrain Station

Reitmans is another company that has a good campaign. I've actually criticized their prior campaign in a past blog, which used the same slogan but different images. They had models in the Reitmans clothes doing typical super model poses. The twist, however, is that the context is that of "real life." So, for example we had women mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs, and getting toilet paper for their kids (though, to me, it looked like they were keeping it away from the kid). It is a good that, since then, they've come around, and so have I.

In particular, I like the message they present. It is one that encourages the consumer, a real woman, to subvert the world of high fashion. It is not unlike the Dove Real Beauty campaign. Naturally, they encourage people to express their rebelliousness by buying the so-so clothes from Reitmans, but the message/suggestion is there for people to consider as they shop elsewhere. They may not end up buying from Reitmans, but they may not end up buying from anywhere either.

I, personally, would not mind a clothing line that is uber-practical. And by that, I'm thinking of things like super cargo pants or hats with a zip pouch in it for cash or soda cans. One idea I'm particularly fond of is the jacket with dangling pouches that you can hide under the jacket when they're not in use.

Item 9: "I Want Out" - SFU

Parodies are awesome.I did a double take when I saw these posters at school last week. Did I mention that they're absolutely brilliant? I'm not sure if you have noticed the "I Am CFS" skytrain ads that are all over the Millennium Line, but they're ridiculous.

Here's a quick rundown of the events that lead to the CFS ads. First, SFSS decides somehow that the CFS that lobbies for all Canadian university students is not accountable and, well, just plain doing a shit job. During a regular meeting, which any SFU student can attend, the SFSS votes strongly in favour of ditching the CFS. Now, note that these meetings cannot run without a specific number of students present. As well, all the students present votes and the meeting is representative of the entire school as a collective.

The CFS jumps in a vetoes the vote, saying that they didn't get a chance to present their side well enough. I'm not sure what gives them the right to veto a vote, but I agree that the meeting was probably one sided, although neither myself nor the CFS was present.

What bothers me, however is that the CFS is suddenly very visible (whereas, before I never knew they existed). The ads pop up all over the place, graciously stealing the Molson Canada slogan. As well, they show up at SFU and hand out free agendas. It always looks bad when someone suddenly pays too much attention to someone. It's like those people in the swimming lanes that only speed up when you're trying to pass them. If you're not going to put in the whole effort right from the get go, we know it's only for show and it will not impress anyone.

Well, that's all the ads stored up in my phone right now. When they start piling up again, I'll be sure to empty it out here. I should probably stop rambling and maybe get a few musings up too...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cellphone Dump 1

***Mind the load time, there be many pictures in this post.***

While strolling about the city, I occasionally see an advertisement that strikes me. It could be a good or bad thing, but in either case I get the urge to whip out the ol' cellphone camera and snap a picture of it.

Cellphone cameras are such fickle things. The quality of the following pictures are ludicrous (due to the minuscule nature of the camera and the shakiness of my hands) and yet it is so convenient that we don't mind. I remember an odd comic strip a while back, it might have been in the The Peak newsletter (the dedicated weekly from my campus), it had a character that complained about the pointless nature of a fridge with a built-in television set before saying "Oh wait, I took a picture of it with my phone." And while the joke was clever and funny, it got a silly grin and a chuckle out of me anyways, it does not quite hold true.

The main reason being that the camera add-on feature on phones is just simply convenient while a television in a fridge is decidedly the opposite. In my household, we have a television in the kitchen and the furniture is arranged so that people can be seated at the dinner table and be able to watch TV. This means that, in my household, we would not need a second television in the same room. At the same time, said television in fridge would only take up valuable storage space in the fridge. I can think of at least one friend that is constantly thinking of creative ways to cram more foodstuffs into his fridge. The last thing I'll say on this matter before moving onto the pictures is that sitting down to watch your fridge, and arranging your furniture to enable the action, is just plain silly. I don't know about you, but I would feel like I just turned my chair towards a freshly painted wall for a few solid hours of entertainment.

Anyways, enough rambling, let's get to the good stuff.

Item 1: 7up lite - Richmond Centre

At first I couldn't decide if I liked the ad or not, despite having my attention drawn to the ad and spending a good few moments contemplating it. However, I then recalled the other lite/zero ads for other drinks. You know, the one that included nak3d people. After that, it was easy to say that I prefer these ads as invoke more emotions and stimulate better discussions that straight forward sex appeal.

The campaign is more capricious as well, as the bottom picture would demonstrate, allowing 7up's marketers to flex their collective creative muscles.

An aesthetic element of the ad that you can't see here, is the fact that they were hung, in giantesque form, from the ceiling of the shopping centre entrance. This added to the "lite takes flight" message that the ads were trying to produce.

I'll mention it again and again, but it is always amazing how we no longer care much for the actual product itself. People may deny it, but the marketers certainly think so and they're the ones spending billions on research. The messages that these soda ads are sending out have little to nothing to do with the physical qualities of the product themselves. Instead, they work with a reflection of a particular lifestyle, allowing those that wish to live that lifestyle (or to look like they're living it) to do so by copying an existing reflection.

Item 2: Richmond Centre - Richmond Centre

And it works to some degree, if you think about it. Ads are so saturated in our daily lives that they make up the vast amount of "white vision", akin to white noise, that we absorb and dilute in our consciousness. Thus, when presented with the simple equation of product=lifestyle, we learn to interpret it as such, even if we aren't invoking it ourselves. What I mean by this is that we are utilizing a kind of stereotype in classifying each other. When you see a person dressed in a particular way, you make assumptions about them with whatever signifiers are available. These associations are programmed into us by ads, making them almost our bible for judging each other. Naturally, assumptions are revised as more signifiers come to attention, but that is still within the context of what I'm saying.

Anyways, this ad from Richmond Centre I don't like. I don't understand it and I get the feeling that if I do get it, I won't like it. There was another ad campaign that Richmond Centre ran before this that likened the shopping experience at their mall to men on a fishing trip. I don't think that is quite the image you want to portray, nor one that you want your shoppers to emit.

Item 3: 30 Hour Famine - Richmond Centre

Last one from Richmond Centre. It's funny, I actually collected these images after a series of trips to Richmond Centre, but I just felt that it made more sense to put them all together.

I just like this one because it's eyecatching and clever. If you have never done the 30 hour famine before, it's great. I highly recommend it.

I've personally never done it before, but when my high school did it, my drama group put on a show for it. It was "An Evening of Monty Python" and for one sketch, Fresh Fruit Defense, I got to eat a banana. I enjoyed that banana a lot, and the booing from the hungry crowd as well.

Item 4: Dragonfly Business Solutions - Nelson and Seymour

This is an example of an ad that I don't like. I don't quite understand why a company would spend money promoting someone else's product. Sure, you may be a licensed retailer, but others will be as well. Instead, why not put those dollars towards showing why businesses should choose your company over Business Objects or Office Depot?

Also, "Dont Get Mad. Get a Xerox?" I'm sure you mean to say "Get Glad" right?

Wow, this took an hour to write and I still have more pictures. More to come in the following week, I'm off to kickboxing now. I'll have to remember to empty out the cellphone more often.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2008 everyone. I hope everyone has great resolutions that they're eager to tackle. Myself, this blog is a bit part of my own New Year's resolution. I'll be doing my best to update on a weekly basis and write something interesting each time, be it a thought piece or prose or poetry.

Now that the Christmas rush is over and everyone is gearing up to get back to the daily grind, I want to look back at some of the consumerist ideals that we were exposed to during the holidays and the boxing week that followed.

It seems to me that we are getting greedier. I noticed at Off the Wall that there were star-shaped stickers on the ground that said "All I want for Christmas is peace on Earth and a pair of great Jeans." Taken in another perspective, namely a satirical one, I'd be tempted to see the statement as a kind of bathos à la Alexander Pope. What I mean by that is that by even considering those two items as equal, you make yourself look silly and out of touch with reality. I'm not quite sure what Off the Wall was trying to do with their decorations, maybe humour, but I don't believe they achieved their goal.

Not that it really matters, they seemed to get a lot of foot traffic and business throughout December. I was at Metrotown on Boxing Day and there was a long line up in front of the store. I'm not quite sure when Boxing Day became Boxing Week, but I like the idea. Boxing Day has always been a good way for stores to get rid of excess inventory quickly and I've never thought that it beneficial to keep it to just one day. Now, people can take their time and not kill each other while in transit. As well, those that work on Boxing Day won't have to give up their own chance at savings.

The only thing about Boxing Day that I don't like is that it is after Christmas. Of course, it'll have to be after Christmas in order for stores to get a chance at getting rid of extra inventory. However, since it is after Christmas, people can't take advantage of the sales when shopping for gifts for other people. If people were smart, they'd ignore the statutory holiday and opt to nab belated presents for everyone. However, it it becomes common practice, then the "Boxing Week" would simple move back again and the cycle would repeat. I like the American idea of a single sale day a month before Christmas (Black Friday). With that, no one can really complain except about their own laziness to shop for others.

I'll stop here for now. I've still much to say and directions to explore, but brevity is the soul of wit, meaning it'll be to my own credit and benefit if I'm clear and concise.