June 30, 2009


Banner ads are usually nothing more than annoyances that we are trained to not even notice. They aren't the kind of things that win awards, and I can't think of the last time I actually noticed and remembered a banner ad. I certainly don't remember a banner ad ever going viral. But this one has, and deservedly so. Created by Bridge Worldwide, its a seemingly never-ending quirky story that is played out with each click. And best of all, it never even takes you to the Pringles website. Even more impressive, it just won a Gold Cyber Lion award from the Cannes festival. Click on.
  • Pringles banner ad
  • June 29, 2009

    four to fourth

    July 4th is one of my favorite days to be living at the beach, and it always amazes me that I lived here for 7 years without even knowing what a big event it was in the beach cities. The highlight of the day is earlier than I care for, but the best things always are. The Hermosa Beach Ironman kicks off the day between 10 and 11am, but this is no ordinary Iron Man. This unofficial renegade event features several hundred guys and gals braving a one mile surfboard paddle followed by a one mile run before downing a 6-pack of beer. The first contestant to hold the beer in for 20 minutes wins. Needless to say, its a spectacle. As much as the suburbanite nouveau Hermosaans whine perenially about the event, it has managed to survive for more than 25 years, and is always a good spirited romp with no trouble. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The entire strand from Manhattan to Redondo takes on a party atmosphere, and its the perfect day for the ultimate beach barhop on bikes. Along the way we have run across hot dog eating contests and margarita wrestling, so you never know what to expect. We naturally make a stop at our favorite watering holes, including Naja's, which is also the perfect place to catch the fireworks at the end of the day. If you're in the area, feel free to come along for a beachin 4th.
  • jbd blog: all ironman posts
  • June 27, 2009

    traveltip: kayaks go farther

    I've posted before about my love for kayak.com. I have no connection to them and no benefit from plugging them, but they are far and away the best airline search service I have found. To really get to love it takes a while - at first all the thousands of options seem overwhelming, but once you start playing with all the buttons on the left after getting your results, you can easily learn to love its flexibility. While I've always found it to have cheaper fares than Orbitz, Travelocity, etc., I've recently had an odd thing happen. First off, you don't book through kayak - it finds the best result on other sites and when you click on the fare it links you to that site. But a couple times recently, I have searched a fare on kayak and linked to the Delta Airlines website as the cheapest fare. For whatever reason, I also searched the fare starting directly on Delta.com. But for the exact same flights, the fare was cheaper coming to delta.com from kayak than starting from delta.com, despite Delta's low price guarantee. Not a lot, but hey, thats your baggage fee. Speaking of which, that's the new option that I really love on kayak and was posting about: You can now search with baggage fees included. And as I learned with United last Christmas, it may not matter even if your bag is a legal carryon and fits in the carryon test box display - they can still tell you that you can't enter the secure area of the terminal and you have to pay to check it (which by the way now costs a new extra fee if you pay at the airport instead of online). So its a good idea to assume you may have to pay the fee even if your bag fits in carryon and at least make your travel searches that way. Then if you join the carryon-folks who delay takeoff and make boarding unpleasant for everyone, you at least have a little bonus cash. That is, unless you use it for the fees to reserve a seat or buy a drink: Kayak also has a page to help you keep up with all those extra fares being added continually - a good thing to check before you fly. Or save yourself the hassle and just fly Southwest. (and by the way, you can click on any image above to see it full size)
  • kayak.com: megachart of individual airline fees
  • June 26, 2009


    random recent slivers from here and there...

    June 25, 2009


    Today was, as many have said, definitely one of those days that will be a 'remember where you were when...' days. But to me, an interesting development of it was how technology shaped the day - specifically with regards to the internet and social networks, both from the spread of the news to the communal expressions afterward (including this one). Twitter went crazy with early reports of Michael Jackson's death first, followed by facebook about a half hour later. Once journalistic sources that actually confirm reports before reporting them (imagine that) confirmed the news, you could watch the expressions change. It was an interesting phenomenon to watch how people shared the experience. We didn't have those when Princess Diana died. Yet the best piece I found to reflect on Michael Jackson was a commercial created in 1992 for Pepsi. Its commendable for how subtle the product message is in it (though there are other versions where both Michael's grab the Pepsi bottle on the piano). In both its way of bridging the child Michael Jackson and the adult Michael Jackson, as well as the tone that is pensive but tinged with joy - it fit the mood of the day strangely well to me. I don't remember this commercial, and many versions I found included titles in spanish and latin languages, so I wonder if maybe it wasn't a US commercial. I found no information of who wrote or directed it to credit, but its a really nice piece. And of course, I found it through Google and YouTube. As for expressions on Michael Jackson's passing, the best of the day was a short tweet from Andy Cohen: "He wasn't meant to get old...."
  • YouTube: 1992 Pepsi Commercial: I'll Be There
  • June 24, 2009


    Tonight was another of our movie nights in the LA Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats series, which shows old movies in now-closed movie palaces in LA. Tonight's movie was "Streetcar Named Desire," yet another classic that I had never seen. We had planned some themed activities to go with the movie - Sazerac cocktails and dinner at a restaurant in the building that used to be the hub for LA's streetcar system, but I got behind on some work and messed up our plans. Luckily, I did make it to the movie itself. The Los Angeles Theater opened in 1931 and was the last of the great movie palaces on Broadway, and perhaps the grandest. The size of the theater, complete with a downstairs ballroom, childrens playrooms and enormous and elaborate bathrooms and lobbies, is impressive in itself; but its elaborate French Baroque-inspired decor explains why they are called movie palaces. Indeed this is.

    June 22, 2009


    I have to apologize if this post is a mood killer, but this is such a strong piece (and so different than we would ever see in the US) that it deserves notice. Adfreak.com today featured a recent PSA by Saatchi & Saatchi Paris for the French Alzheimer's Association. Its a bravely honest and brutally powerful glimpse at the ugliness of Alzheimer's. No sugarcoating, but then again, the French have never been known for sugarcoating. AdFreak compares it to a British PSA, which in fairness is probably similar to what we would typically see in the US. Its pretty clear which one leaves the lasting impression. It reminds me of a professor in one of my design classes making the point that design is about communication, not making things pretty. If the message isn't pretty, the design shouldn't be either.
  • French Alzheimer's Association: "Fortunately"
  • AdFreak.com: French vs British Alzheimer's Ad
  • June 21, 2009

    summer slivers

    Just a few slivers from Sunday on the beach with George and Joe. Its good having a friend in the neighborhood again to nudge me and get me outta the house. Somehow a day on the beach seemed appropriate for the first day of Summer.

    June 20, 2009

    traveltip: pocket this

    Today on Twitter, I replied to a question from @jaunted that I realized would make a good "traveltip" for the blog (while also realizing that I have forgotten to continue with the occasional traveltip theme altogether). They asked for tips to avoid pickpockets and what to do with your passport. I have no idea if he had this purpose in mind, but several years ago my cousin Chris gave me a small change wallet about the size of a standard credit card. When traveling overseas, I always use this wallet and keep it in my front pant pocket. I carry my drivers license and a couple credit cards (along with usually the hotel key and my transit pass). I keep my paper money in there as well. As for the passport, I have never needed it except when crossing a country's border, so I leave it in the hotel safe (or hidden in luggage if there is no safe). I carry a xerox copy of my passport with me just in case I need it for any reason (though I never have). @flyboyvancouver also had a good suggestion of keeping a scanned version of your passport in your email so that you can access it from anywhere in case you should need to. Not groundbreaking tips, but sometimes when traveling, the simple things are the ones you don't think of.

    June 18, 2009

    summer nights

    Another Dodger game tonight. The place was packed. We've had the best record in the majors all year I think, so I don't know if that's whats bringing people out. Maybe it's just the difference between a Thursday night and my usual Wednesday, when most of my games are this season. I never knew there were so many A's fans in LA, but there were a lot out there tonight. I have a hard time believing that the "free parking" promotion made a difference - but maybe so. It sure made the parking situation a mess, its been years since I experienced anything that bad at Dodger Stadium. But so it goes, who cares... the dogs were great, the game was great, and nothing beats a summer night at the ballpark. Except maybe one in October.

    June 17, 2009


    more beach slivers - a couple solid weeks of great sunny beach days are making up for those may gray/june gloom days before them. My friend Bill came down today and we walked down the beach to Simmzy's for some tasty grub and beer at lunchtime(ish). (Add the east-west wings to the pulled pork panini I wrote about earlier on the list of Simmzy's must-haves.)