June 30, 2008


Its a gift that keeps on giving. In case you missed it, several weeks ago, after John McCain's disastrous speech in front of a green background meant to contrast himself from Obama (and boy did it), Stephen Colbert took advantage of the campaign-provided backdrop for one of his recurring "green screen challenges" - this one: "Make McCain Exciting". Hundreds of people have accepted the challenge and submitted entries, many of which can be found on YouTube. By far the best that I have seen is "Gray Ambition," inserting McCain into Madonna's Vogue video. Others worth seeing are "He Was There", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Pulp McCain", and "Wizard of Oz". While its fun watching, its also a testament to how brilliantly shows like the Colbert Report understand and harness the power not just of viral video, but of turning the power back over to the users. Some of the results are pretty impressive and well done - ones that the show might have come up with themselves and hired effects artists and compositors to make. But instead, by throwing it out to the viewers, they acknowledge the participatory and democratic nature of the internet, giving viewers personal and emotional involvement as well as a wide variety and scale of actual results. Large return for minimum investment. And good watching too.
  • Make McCain Exciting: Gray Ambition
  • Make McCain Exciting: He Was There
  • Make McCain Exciting: Blue Suede Shoes
  • Make McCain Exciting: Wizard of Oz
  • Make McCain Exciting: Pulp McCain
  • June 28, 2008

    slow game

    Some random observations from the ballgame the other day... School or Camp groups wearing matching shirts look like they should be part of some opening ceremonies for the Olympics or something... Budweiser is doing something interesting with their ads - they say "the great American Lager" with no Budweiser logo or name anywhere on the ad... Why do the White Sox wear black sox?... CocaCola's packaging as applied to the soft drink cups was evident everywhere, and worked well...

    June 27, 2008

    star crossed

    As I mentioned last week, my friend Eryk suggested I do a weekly recap of Design Star, which we are watching because our friend Matt is one of the competitors. This weeks was a pretty boring episode, so you didn't miss much if you missed it. One good takeaway is that from the editing, its clear they are giving Matt a prominent role, which to me says good things about how the show may end up... In the meantime, here's what happened this week:

    Shiny open. Host guy wakes up group. Group goes outside. Matt - um - accidentally - forgets his shirt. Host tells group to pick something on the lawn 'yard sale'. Group scrambles. Group picks items. Group goes to a house. House has four identical rooms. Group gets paired into teams. Teams get challenge. Group woos. Picture falls off wall. Teams deliberate. Teams shop. Jen nags Tracee. Mikey nags Stephanie. Teams work on rooms. Host stops teams. Matt shows more skin. Teams go back to house. Tracee and Jen bicker. Mikey puts the reigns on Stephanie. Matt cuts up his statue. DPaul hangs molding. Tracee lolligags. Jen fumes. Tracee and Jen argue. Everyone scrambles. Host stops teams. Teams work again. Jen and Tracee fight. Tracee cries. Teams scramble. Host blows horn. Time ends. Group woos. Everyone goes to shiny room. Jen and Tracee show their room. Lots of whooshes. Judges hate room. Jen and Tracee bicker. Matt and Michael show their room. More whooshes. Judges love room. DPaul and Trish show their room. Even more whooshes. Judges don't love it. Mikey and Stephanie show their room. Still more whooshes. Judges like it okay. Group waits. Judges deliberate. Tracee fights with everyone. Mikey, Matt, Stephanie, and Michael get top scores. Jen and Trish get okays. Tracee cries. DPaul stares. DPaul gets kicked off. Door slams. DPaul cries. Tracee cries. Tracee rejoins group. Group is silent. Stay tuned for next week.

    June 26, 2008


    Almost a year ago, I wrote about the new design of Coca-Cola's packaging that took a bold but beautiful turn toward classic simplicity. Gone were all the extraneous bubbles, bursts, squiggles, gradations, dimensions, etc. I found myself shocked and overjoyed. Oddly enough, that post has become the most clicked-on post of the blog. The only thing better than seeing great design used well on such a universal scale is seeing it recognized. The firm responsible for the Coke redesign, Turner Duckworth of San Francisco, just won the first ever Design Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions for the Coke redesign. "We know when we see something that's great," said the head of the jury for the awards. I still am amazed that this ever made it through the approval process. It's just too good. Only tonight did I discover a comment on my original blog post from David Turner: "As you guessed, it was no small task getting Coke to use such a simple design, but we had some strong advocates within Coke who helped push it through." The more I see it applied to more varied uses, the better it gets. Turner Duckworth also won a gold for the new red aluminum bottle, which as they say "feels at once familiar and new." The links below take you to a .pdf case study of the redesign and a short video about it. Congrats to TD and Coke on the awards. Enjoy.
  • Turner Duckworth - Coke redesign video
  • Turner Duckworth Coca-Cola redesign case study (pdf)
  • jonberrydesign blog 07.03.07: classic
  • June 25, 2008


    These water glasses were in the hotel room at the rodeo - I couldn't figure out whether the 'waterglass' as one word was intentional or a typo. Something about not being able to tell both fascinates and amuses me. Go figure...

    June 24, 2008

    tidal wave

    Ever since I've lived in California, I've heard of Grunion runs, but I never really knew where or when they happened, or how they worked, other than that a Grunion is a fish. I saw in the paper that the aquarium was hosting a Grunion run event, so while my friend Kevin was in town visiting for the rodeo, I checked online to see what was up with the Grunions. Several times a year, Grunion swim ashore on the beach and they mate and lay their eggs in the sand on the beach and then swim back into the ocean. Their eggs stay in the sand and hatch at the next high tide, which carries the newborn back out to sea. It turns out that the Grunion mating ritual is so predictable based on the moon and tides that they publish a schedule - down to the days and specific hours. I wasn't sure if they only spawn at specific spots or not, but we walked down to the beach during the hours the schedule said. Sure enough, the edge of the beach was covered with silver fish jumping into the sand and flopping back out. It was really amazing. But what was even more amazing was that at near the end of the time window listed on the schedule, suddenly there were no more fish. It was like someone just turned off the switch. Even in LA, the best shows are often by nature.

    June 23, 2008

    in the heat of it

    LA Rodeo was this weekend, so was away from the computer for a couple days. The grounds were beautiful, but were way out in the far-beyond-crazy-sticks-bumfk-egypt way west valley where it was hot. Way hot. The good side of it being out in heat-ville was that it kept the botox/sequined-cowboy-hat crowd away, leaving a more genuine rodeo crowd than you usually find at the LA Rodeo. Did I mention it was hot?! Not much to show except all animal pics... (like that Dad?) Oh, and the cowboy riding the bull with the number 218 (second and third pics)? That's a cowgirl. She was teeny, but she was a damn good rider. Fun weekend. But it was hot.

    June 21, 2008


    Yesterday I left the house and the ocean had disappeared. We were ensconced in a fogbank - or marine layer - or june gloom: take your pick, I think they're all the same thing. Apparently there was a heeatwave going on in LA. Who knew? The best part is that it didn't stop the surfers, they were out there like it was just another perfect day. By the time I came back a couple hours later, the ocean had reappeared. If you look closely, though, you can see the fogbank rolling out along the horizon line.

    June 19, 2008

    star wars

    My friend Eryk suggested that I do a recap of each week's Design Star. Mind you, Design Star isn't one of the fun trashy reality shows that I would normally recommend, but our friend Matt's on it, so we're watching. Here's what happened this week:

    Open is very shiny. Matt wears a funny hat. Home challenge is a ruse. Group goes on boat to McMansion they'll live in. Group yells 'wooooo'. Host talks. Groups woos some more. Group gets challenge. Group woos even more. Matt wears another hat. Group splits into teams. Matt and Mikey take a bedroom. Matt tells Mikey its tight. Michael gasps over a leaf. Matt comes up with a cool idea. Another team debates sunroom. Tracee grimaces. Teams go shopping. Jerome picks some ugly stuff. Matt grimaces. Stephanie tries to figure out how to use a ladder. Rooms get painted. Work ends. Matt snores. Teams do more shopping. Boys see a pool table. Michael gasps. Tracee doesn't like it. Matt and Mikey build. Matt wears a headress. Girls use assets to get a bargain on a table. Group carries a table. Group woos. Work ends. Matt snores. Girls ruin pretty table. Tracee nags. Teams scramble. Time ends. Group woos. Girls leave painters tape on wall. Stephanie cries. Group goes in shiny room. Everybody smiles. A lot. Judges critique living room. Tracee says she was left out. Team squabbles. Everybody makes faces. Judges hate sunroom. Vern lectures Tracee. Tracee disagrees. More faces. Judges hate upstairs bedroom. Judges hate it some more. Judges rave over downstairs bedroom. Judges scowl over dining room. Group leaves shiny room. Group squabbles. Judges deliberate. Stephanie cries. Tracee cries. Group comes back into shiny room. Trish, Matt, & Michael get best scores. DPaul and Mikey get good scores. Tracee and Jennifer get okays. Stephanie and Scotty are left. Stephanie cries. Scotty gets kicked off. Door slams. Stephanie cries some more. Tune in next week for more.

    June 18, 2008

    here kitty

    If you ever had dreams of owning "Kitt," the car from the cheezy 80's tv show "Knight Rider" that made David Hasselhoff famous, well...I'm afraid its too late. I stumbled onto this after the auction was already closed on Tuesday, but it seems that a seller in Carlsbad just sold the car on Ebay. It was also featured in the Knight Rider tv movie (who knew there was one?) and a 2006 Adam Sandler movie, not to mention the Nick & Jessica Variety Hour! I have to admit that I didn't really watch knight Rider as a kid, though I remember it and I'm sure I saw a few episodes. I actually caught some recently on some obscure cable channel at 3am, and have to say that my memory of the car seemed a lot cooler than it actually looked. In case you would have wanted to buy it for yourself: Though Kitt does have all kinda of airfoils and light screens, it has no warranty.
  • Ebay: 1984 Pontiac Trans Am Kitt
  • June 17, 2008