Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quitting in the Mushroom Kingdom

An Australian game developer channels Super Mario and announces his resignation via his own game creation. Totally, completely, out-of-control A-mazing.

Play the game here. I'm sure you can get further than I did. My keyboard skills aren't quite up to snuff.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Xs & Os: Couple takes kooky to next level.

This couple really takes the cake (no pun intended). Featured in this past Sunday's NY Times' Weddings & Celebrations section, Michelle Rosen and David Zornitsky pronounced their 20 year love before love before family and friends (this is his second and her third nuptials) at Dylan's Candy Bar in Manhattan, where the bride wore a dress of candy wrappers and "their 50 guests dined on peanut butter and jelly tarts and candy sushi."

Ok, I get it. You gave him gummi bears on the first day you met. Love is sweet. Your lips are like sugar. So on and cheesy so forth. But really--couldn't you have left the candy references to cliches and gotten married at Tavern on the Green or somewhere respectable? I mean, some couples have begun their romances on line for lattes. You don't see them getting hitched at Starbucks and forcing a menu of Venti Chais and coffee mints upon their guests.

But hey, love is love and I'm a sucker for a happy ending. So, if this kooky couple has found their happy ending beneath a lollipop canopy, I won't judge. Not too much anyway.

P.S. If you think celebrating life's milestones at a candy store is a neat idea, Dylan's is happy to host your special day too. Check out their Special Events page for more details.

[NY Times: Vows - Michelle Rosen and David Zornitsky]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Knock knock. Who's there? The Swine Flu.

While I had my head in the sand at the Festival of Books last weekend, the Swine Flu apparently became the most talked about topic in the news since the election. It's serious. It's spreading rapidly. It's killing people for godsake. So why is it so inexplicably funny??? From jokes about bacon to hahas about flying pigs, people across the globe are taking the pandemic with a dose of humor.

A few of my favorite jokes found across the Web...

"So Pig Flu has started in America. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour?"
- Unidentified Source on the Web

"Great to be back. As you know, I was sick for two days last week. Had to go to the hospital" after "I ate a raw pig a friend brought back from Mexico."
- Jay Leno

"If you flip over to the cable news channels they'd be all 'swine flu, swine flu swine flu, ahhhhh, it's hamageddon, it's the pigpocalypse, it's snout of control.' They just want to scare the crap out of you: 'Is swine flu deadlier than the grim reaper? Stay tuned!"
- Craig Ferguson

[Image Credit: BBC]

Thursday, April 23, 2009 sells its soul. Apple buys it.

Did anyone catch the amazingly cool interactive ad that flew across The New York Times online today? With 2 fixed positions in prime position on the homepage, 1 billion apps zoomed from one leaderboard ad unit into another skyscraper to the right (forgive me if my ad unit lingo is off) to promote the iPhone 3G's 1 billion apps.

Notice how the apps even even across the Times logo itself. Now, how much did that cost?

While this is yet another unsettling sign of publishers' shifting standards (heck, my own company practically invented 'innovative' ad units) due to the economy, I must give kudos to Apple on an amazing ad. I, for one, refreshed the page multiple times just to see the ad again. Apple should be charging the Times.

Terror strikes. Platform sneakers make a come back on Melrose.

I was shopping in Sportie L.A. tonight for some sneaks to tramp across UCLA's campus in this weekend (for Festival of Books. yay, plug!) and I came upon this eye-catching platform sneaker on an otherwise unimpressive and cluttered check-out counter. The sign--fastened on securely with a paper clip--boldly announcing:

Custom Made Platforms
Special Events

And I wondered...did stores still add platform layers of rubber on to walking shoes? Hadn't this stopped after those awful years of misguided fashion in middle school? Someone surely must have alerted the footwear retailers across the country that no, this was no longer an acceptable 'fashion' practice. And then I panicked...would some girl--some girl who'd not gotten the memo--who'd spent the last 15 years under a very distant rock--see this sign and customize her very own platform bridal adidas?

I paid for my own, non-customized kicks before I could have my sense of style violated any
further at the register. But the image won't leave my head. The sneaker nightmare lives on.

The Prada Tranformer: innovative or idiotic?

Is Prada's Tranformer innovative and interesting? Or a $10 million toy for a really bored fashion designer?

[Source: WWD - Prada Unveils Its Transformer Project in Seoul]

[Photo Credit: Nasha Lee]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day. Let’s fix this sh*thole up.

Happy Earth Day everyone! In honor of our planet--and it being the only on we can live on and all--here are my 10 tips for cleaning up the sh*thole we’ve let the place become.

Recycle your paper. Those flirty emails from your boyfriend that you printed when you first starting dating? He dumped you already. Chuck the evidence. And recycle all your old porn while you’re at it too.

Turn off the lights when you leave your house. I know your mother taught you this was a good idea so burglars would think you were home. But you and I both know that no one wants to steal your crap.

Use less toilet paper. I know with certainty that many of you are TP offenders. None of your parts are that delicate. You do not need half the roll to wipe.

Take the stairs. Your office is 5 flights up? Well, let’s be honest—your gluts could use the workout and that elevator could use the rest.

Hug a tree. No, don’t really please. Plant one with Forest Aid. Or pay someone else to plant one for you.

Stop buying leather bondage gear. And other leather goods. I know—they’re soft and supple. But they’re not eco (or animal) friendly.

Reduce your water consumption. I’m not suggesting you stop showering. No, no—none of us would want that. Just don’t shower for soooo long. It will help the water drought AND will save neighbors extra minutes of hearing you sing Les Mis in the bathroom.

8. Use a re-usable tote at the store. You’ve probably been given a hundred free ones by now. Stop using them for dirty laundry and start taking them to the bloody grocery store.

Don’t have 20 kids. I know babies make you happy. They make me happy too. But you don’t need that 20th one. Seriously. I’m talking to you, Octo-Mom.

10. Utilize public transportation. Public can be frightening, especially here in LA. But no one told you to start dating that chick who lived all the way across town. And the mileage is putting a serious damper on the ozone.

* Feel free to ‘recycle’ these tips for green living with your not-so-green friends. Even your pals who hate granola and think organic is for dirty hippies can start to clean up their act.

xo * Jessie B. R.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Simple Life.

I hope soon to stop selling people things that they do not want. I hope to stop wanting the things I am being sold. I hope, specifically, to stop wanting the new Gucci flats and the Marc Jacobs handbag and the Bond No. 9 eau de parfum before their refund windows expire. I hope to move to Austin, Texas where the rent is low, or to Bennington, Vermont where my memories tell me I was happy, before I lose myself and my money to more handbags and high heels and other such things that don't keep well over time. I want to want a simple life.

[Image Credit: Andrew Wyeth - Christina's World]

Grey Gardens, the crumbling kingdom.

Tonight was the premiere of Grey Gardens on HBO. As cable, let alone premium cable, is a luxury afforded to those who earn a decent wage, I did not watch the movie's debut. But I did--last night--watch all 10 parts of the original documentary on You Tube.

I am uncertain which was more disturbing--the dependency between needy mother and damaged daugther--or the latter, feeding Wonder Bread to the raccoons living in the attic of their decaying 28 room mansion.

What an incredibly haunting portrayal of fantasy, desperation and regret. Though I'm sure the dramatized version of Little Edie and Big Edie's crumbling kingdom is powerful, I recommend viewing the real deal. Because nothing's so frightening as the real deal.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter: bonnets and bunnies.

After expressing on Facebook last Friday that I wished I was home 'celebrating' Good Friday, it was explained to my by my dear colleague that one doesn't celebrate Good Friday. One observes it. Because Good Friday is the day that Jesus was killed. And one just doesn't celebrate such things. Got it.

I also learned that Easter, marking the day of Jesus' resurrection, is the day we do celebrate. Why we celebrate with eggs and bunnies and bonnets, I'm still not sure I understand in full. Jesus rose from his grave and I, in turn, search for painted eggs in my backyard, donning a large, decorated hat, new baby bunny in tow, eatting jelly beans and chocolate. Hmm. I just don't know that the plight of an egg hunt pays full homage to--oh, ya know--rising from the dead. But I do like the chocolate part and so I'm off to my first ever Easter brunch. Jews for Jesus! [Or at least for wearing fun hats.]

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Is Just to Say

On this week's This American Life, the show covered a poem I'd long forgotten by William Carlos Williams. It is short and it is wonderful and I'll share it with you here.

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

-- William Carlos Williams

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Matzoh and mayhem: the plight of an unleavened Passover pastry.

I am back from the shortest seder I have ever attended. This is the way seders should always have been. I might not have abandoned religion had Passover dinners always been this brief. Growing up, dragged to family members' houses for yearly torture at the dinner table, I used to count the pages in the haggadah, over and over and over again. 'We've gone through 4 pages, there are 77 left,'...'On page 5 now. Only 76, godawful, painstakingly slow pages left to get through.' And so on and so forth. Tonight, the story of the Jews' exodus from Egypt read more like a tabloid than a religous service. I heard 'Moses.' I heard 'Matzoh.' I heard 'wine.' And that was enough for me.

To all of you Jews more religious than myself--well, you're probably still reading about locusts. I'm sorry.

To those of my beloved Goys out there, may you find a chocolate bunny in your easter egg this weekend and may you celebrate the resurrection of Christ in the most fabulous bonnet you can find.

Kisses and unleavened hugs,
Jessie B. R.

Sounds: Chester French - Full Length Album. Free Download.

Some of you may remember Chester French from their live performance at our pool party last summer at the W. The young boy band (they probably wouldn’t like the categorization), fresh out of college and onto the music circuit has been on the up and up since graduating from the Ivy League just a few years ago—debuting at SXSW ’08, making the rounds with mentor Pharrell, marrying socialites from the UK (still enjoying your green card, Peaches Geldof??), and now releasing their full length album, produced by Clinton Sparks.

Download 'Jacques Jams, Vol. 1: Endurance' now to give CF a listen and check out cameos by Pharrell, Janelle Monae, Talib Kweli, Lady Gaga and more notable and new names.

The skits that come between almost every song get a little hokey and prove an unnecessary bridge between tracks, but...they're trying. And what more can you ask from two white boys under 25.

Winning cameo: The Mad Rapper's skit on the album.

Losing cameo: Song 'Ciroc Star' featuring Diddy. Seriously Diddy?! You made the kids promote Diddy-owned liquor brand Ciroc on their debut album to get you on board?! C'mon now. That's low.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar turns 40.

Don't miss author Eric Carle when he celebrates the 40th anniversary of a storybook classic at the LA Times Festival of Books later this month.

I'm personally hoping for a picture with the caterpillar...maybe a hug...maybe, just maybe, a lunch date together.

Friday, April 03, 2009

An evening with Peter Saville. A genius and a gift bag.

On Wednesday night, good pal Renee invited us to an especially special event – An Evening with Peter Saville at the Paley Center for Media, the designer responsible for the album cover art of Joy Division and New Order, campaigns for Stella McCartney, Jill Sander, Dior and Yohji Yamamoto, and most recently, the creative direction of the city of Manchester.

I didn’t know much about Peter Saville, nor about Factory Records which Saville helped found, nor any of the legendary bands he’d worked with. I do, however, know the following now thanks to Saville and his genius, articulate, flippant dialogue…

Peter Saville on his work in the music industry…

  • “The first significant money that Factory made was made off of Ian Curtis dying. And no one knew what to do with the money…there was no plan for the money. So we built a hacienda.”
  • In the US, in the 70s and 80s there was a mandate from the album artwork to include the artist name and title of the album in the top 1/3 of the cover. Bollocks.

Peter Saville on cities…

  • ‘I liked Los Angeles when I had a ticket out.’
  • ‘We understand places from what they’re doing…the brand of a city is brokered by what’s going on there [as opposed to through logos, fonts and design].’

Peter Saville on fashion…

  • ‘I flipped through a copy of British Vogue last week and the whole thing was rubbish.’
  • ‘This kind of endorsement to a story [told by Prada, Gucci, etc] is desperate.’ Genius!
  • ‘Handbags—it’s fashion working its way off the body…very soon they won’t even need the handbag.’
  • ‘I had worked with Stella [McCartney]’s dad. So I was never really obliged to take Stella seriously.’
And lastly, Peter Saville on everything else...

  • ‘Pop culture is our culture now. It needs to be better understood’

Thanks to Emmy and Todd Kasten for producing the event, Manchester and Use Hearing Protection for hosting, and art darling Ramses for his contribution to the limited edition print found in the gift bag.

Photo Credit of Peter Saville: Anja Jahn

[LA Times: Peter Saville on the Manchester revolution]

Thursday, April 02, 2009

art in LA: Los Angeles Art Weekend

This weekend is Los Angeles Art Weekend, produced by our buddies at FourYourArt. Arm yourself with those glasses--you know, the ones that make you look semi-intelligent--and your smartest, artsiest friends and go get yourself some culture.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A musical karaoke interlude.

A great video from friend Courtenay Green. It's 80's. It's sing-a-long. It's all you need for your afternoon break at your desk. Oh, and it's directed by the SKINNY team, who've directed vids for Devendra Banhart and Gray Kid, amongst others.

Courtenay will also be performing at the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which I know you're all already planning on attending.


Gmail goes to Autopilot. I get lasier. And apparently stupider.

Logging into Gmail this morning I found a friendly note from the still-Beta email service letting me know that Gmail now provides an 'Autopilot' service. If you can't read the sections I've highlighted above, it states that Gmail Autopilot by CADIE...
  • automatically manages [my] inbox better than [I] can, with zero effort from [me]
  • automatically send[s] the right reply
  • Manage[s] Relationships
  • [is] just like [me], but automated
So, in other words, I've now got a machine that can communicate 'just like me' but better. Should I be happy? Terrified? Well, I Google this new product to find out more. And find out that Autopilot is a big, bloody prank for gullible morons like myself.

Happy April Fools Day to you too, ya big sack of techy expletive!