Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So hot right now

Happiness is the new black. Because, if you haven't already noticed, almost every company is aligning themselves in some way to happiness. I find it amusing that apparently a prescription medication store would feel somehow feel compelled to associate themselves with happiness ... unless, of course, they're giving out the good stuff like in Colorado and Washington State.

For example, apparently you can find Walgreens at the corner of happy and healthy - no matter the state... which sounds all parts silly. Oh, so is that also close to the intersection of chronic addiction, hypochondria and STD's? Also, you're apparently no longer opening and drinking a carbonated high-fructose corn syrup beverage that promotes childhood obesity; you're actually opening happiness. Thank you Coca Cola - now I know the actual ingredients to happiness. Apparently Golden Corral's believes that chocolate stream-covered bacon stuffed with cheese cake is the path to happiness - I think might get seconds if that's the case.  Of course, McDonald's started all of this off with a Happy Meal.

In conclusion, I honestly don't mind these companies attempting to associate themselves with happiness. I just find it funny that this 'subversive technique' could possibly persuade the general public to be more vested in their products. I honestly can't think of a time when I've had a coke to make myself happy ... I can't be the only one, can I?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hell hath frozen over

So I watched the new Disney animation film called Frozen recently ... and it was actually fun. Not that it was that much of a surprise, as I had gone over to Movie Bob before that. I have to say the visuals were incredible, with super sexy (yes, I said sexy) effects associated with every snow animation. Heck, they even created snow physics for the movie which looks mighty realistic. Needless to say the resulting visuals are brilliant. I think artists have finally mastered 3D with a greater degree of fidelity than 2D could ever offer. However, with the usual lack of imagination, Disney turns to a 200-year-old story by Hans Christian Anderson for the inspiration for this story. Although I truly wonder why they even bother. If you ever read the synopsis of The Snow Queen, outside of a few circumstantial similarities, there is little resemblance to the original story.

I guess that's a point for Disney for creating a movie that is inspired by a book but has almost nothing in common. Of course, in Disney's elaboration, it falls into its usual trap of sprouting sappy concepts of family, love conquers all and having a big bad with almost no discernible purpose. So that's one ragged mark against for their unrelenting adherence to formula. But then the film redeems itself with a nicely juxtaposed sister relationship and a hilariously funny coming of that age under-current that makes every Snow Queen moment unintentionally amusing. For those who have not clicked on Bob's review, I'll spell it out: The Snow Queen's uncontrollable 'magic' and pent up frustrations serve as a duality to her migration into adulthood with the associated sexual needs and secret woman's stuff. The point where the Snow Queen's womb-like ice palace takes on a reddish hue and ice crystals pierce inwards toward the vulnerable Elsa made me laugh out loud. No, I will never understand the discomfort, but, yes, I applaud the audacity that Disney would dedicate a metaphoric moment to the crimson tide.

The expression on Gene's face is priceless
There are also songs too. Of course, none of the promotional material for this film ever makes mention that there's singing, so I would say it's a little cheeky of them to sneak it in. Off topic: If they are so embarrassed to advertise the musical quotient of the film, why would they bother including them in the first place? Fortunately for me, they are actually quite listenable and I'm pretty sure I didn't look at my watch once (a rarity), so a begrudging point in the film's favour. Now, if you've got this far into the review, you might be wondering why I actually enjoyed this film. It is around this point that we are introduced to Olaf, ever-escalating clever dialogue and cute little rock trolls, weighted animation (i.e. not zippy for comedic affect) and many fun moments. The funny thing was, I was actually dreading the introduction of Olaf (the animated snow man) but he somehow escapes his stale comedic side-kick role to provide genuine laughs and a child-like innocence. Even the main protagonists had believable and weighted character progression. Yes, this film is still following The Formula but it somehow surpasses it with excellent animation, strong direction, some catchy songs and hilarious woman's stuff metaphors.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I have radio tourettes

It seems I'm a little hung up on censorship, so bear with me ...

Now, I enjoy Rage Against the Machine tracks as much as the next man - especially if I get the full (or non-neutered) version. Since moving to a region that is affectionately referred to as the Bible belt (Missouri / Kansas), I've noticed an increase in the number of Christian radio channels as well as words I would not have thought needed censoring. Case in point: apparently 'sex' is a word requiring censorship although I'm not sure why ...

I'll be happily listening to Bruno Mars' blue-balled rendition of Locked Out of Heaven up until the point where 'Your ____ takes me to paradise; your ____ takes me to paradise.' It incenses me to such a degree that I involuntarily blurt out 'SEX!' every point where the word would have been. It can be a little weird if I'm driving along with others or have the windows open at the traffic lights but I think I have a valid reason to do so. 

Other examples:
I listened to 'Teenage Dirt Bag' and apparently 'Her boyfriend's a ____ ' required censorship. I listened to Everlast's 'What It's Like' and if the radio was the only source of this song, I would never know what 'He pulled out his ____ and wound up dead.' meant. What was it? His schlong? His middle finger? His High School Diploma? And so, I don't mind censorship for a valid reason but Sex is not a dirty word. Still, the impetus to de-censor the censoring might still come with the proviso that the cops are not within earshot; especially if I'm filling in the blanks to '____ Da Police' by NWA.

Off topic ever-so-slightly: I went to Kroger and the contraceptive section had been rebranded as 'Family Planning' as in I'm planning not to have a family any time soon. Need I say more?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Waging war against food

Living in America, I notice an unerring rule when it comes to the ads shown on TV: it's either about car insurance, some kind of drug or health-related product (flexible self-lubricating catheters .... mmmm!) or food. I have a feeling that food generally takes up the largest proportion of the Ad break ... or is it that my brain more readily remembers the ads because, hey, I likes my food? I don't know. All I know is I start to see trends when it comes to food advertising.

First Law: Colouring
When it comes to the colours used, I think they take their styling cues from a horror film because if the packaging and surrounding elements aren't doused in primary reds, the food has a disturbing over-saturated reddish hue that, to me, looks like it's trying to attract Satan himself.

Second Law: Slow Motion
Liberal use of slow motion of a glistening and succulent patty bouncing onto a mountain dew (not that kind of dew) kissed lettuce base on a wholesome bun; slow motion of someone prying a molten cheese-drenched salami slice of pizza whilst a cornucopia of cheese slowly oozes over the sides ... you get the idea. I liken this to food porn because all they show are 'the money shots.'

Third Law: Steam
To show it's freshness, post-production steam is added to every shot of whatever fast food product they're attempting to sell.

Fourth Law: An aggressive slogan promoting liberal consumption
The best, I mean the best, slogan I have ever come across in my 35 years of existence has to go to Carl's Jr's:

Eat Like You Mean It

Isn't that horrendous? Let me break it down for you (for those in the back row); they are prompting you to eat your food like they are evil dictators that need to be overthrown. When did eating food become about more than simply the enjoyment, comfort or, dare I say it, sustenance? I'll leave it for you to mull over while I open a can of whoop-ass on an apple.

Fifth Law: Bacon 
If, for whatever reason your sales are lagging, add bacon to it. Got a salad drenched in vinaigrette that isn't selling? Add bacon to it. Got a poor-selling ice cream flavour? Add bacon to it. Got a souffle that's not rising to the occasion? Add bacon to it.

And so, in conclusion, it amuses me that this kind of advertising can work. Yes, I know that red makes you hungry, I know that everything looks better in slow motion and yes, a catchy slogan is something you're going to remember but still, at some point these companies or patrons will have to be held accountable. This kind of warfare can only go on for so long before people such as this or (shudder) this pop out of the woodwork.

Friday, October 18, 2013

You were so nice when I first met you

Why, hello there Democracy, my old friend. I remember how personable and well-meaning you were when I first happened upon your presence. I know when you were first conceived that you were the darling of the circuit with many Countries soliciting and marketing your influence as the second coming. They spurred us on with promises of 'halcyon days' and 'every person has a voice.'  Little did they realise that all this picketing and spruiking would also attract those with less than the best of intentions. And this was the beginning of your downfall. That is, you are only as good as those you choose to associate with and, unfortunately, you chose to associate with those who have yet to comprehend the concept of ethics and only know greed. If only humans were at an evolutionary stage where they would naturally choose for the benefit of those around them.

Sure, your sleek promises and altruistic heart counts for a lot but, when you open your mouth and only garbled Satanic noises come out, I find it hard to go back to first impressions. Even if there are people who still attempt to prop up your downward spiral, there are far too many in the game just as willing to hinder any progress while remaining staunchly aligned with the questionable affiliations of their generous party contributors. The poor situation occurring in the US is a prime indication of how your endeavours can be distorted by greed and those with ulterior motives.

Herein lies your weakness. 

Who is to say that your lesser cousin, Dictatorship, is so bad? Sure, he can be quite evil a lot of the time and even though his track record is far from stellar, who is to say that one altruistic (and more-than-likely martyred) individual couldn't rule by force for the benefit of his/her fellow man? I would bet that this individual wouldn't last too long in this world if the organisations who ruled you had anything to do with it ... but think of what kind of affect an altruistic Dictatorship would have.  Isn't that something worth striving for? Sure, we would still need state/province representatives but The Martyr (as I will choose to refer to him/her) would have the ability to overrule any task that was deemed not for the benefit of the general public. Maybe I do not see the pitfalls of this path but if that person is truly for the people, then I don't see the harm. Am I looking at this too simplistically? Maybe. But all I know is what a lot of countries have now is not working.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer chills

Am I the only one that thinks that we're doing it wrong? When the large majority of us wait half a year for Summer to finally arrive just to switch on the AC to arctic temperatures and negate any benefit that Summer brought? When Winter spews forth its frozen icicles our way, we bring up the heat on the AC to Sub-Saharan temperatures?

Yeah ... makes perfect sense; but only if you're a schizophrenic masochist. When I have to wear a jumper (or sweater) on a balmy 30 degree C (or 85 degree F) day just to get through the Siberian Colditz-style working conditions, something has to be wrong. I can understand taking the edge off the highs and lows but not to the point of going full circle towards the Winter chills you had just been complaining about six months ago. If I were to ever run for president, the first thing I would do is abolish AC (or at least regulate it so you cannot adjust it above 20 during Winter or below 20 during Summer). Either humans are getting soft or we've simply chosen to live in the least hospitable places in the world ... just because we can. Something's gotta give and I think it's about time the air conditioner did, don't you think?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Is it any surprise?

For those of us who have been living under a rock, apparently the US government really wants to get to know you on a personal level. Of course, a government cannot simply invite themselves over for tea without the appropriate introductions. And so, as any desperate unloved individual would, they go through our garbage, break into our houses and rummage through our personal effects. That's the logical thing to do, isn't it? Right?

I cannot blame them. As international government bodies go, they're like the crazed and brash individual you might meet at an open house party who blurts out to anyone within earshot that they're morally grounded while aiming their gun at slow-moving children. Maybe I'm being a little harsh but their modern revisions to international policy have left a lot to be desired. Where was I? Oh, yes. And so, I come to the shock-horror moment: it was leaked that the NSA has been extracting and parsing personal information from Google, Facebook, Yahoo (and even Bing) for the past few years. This is, of course, all under the pretense of protecting you from all those evil-doers and members who make up the coalition of the unwilling.

I really hope this did not come as a shock to you. In the world of all-encompassing connectedness, the diminutive impact of our activities on the 'net have all been categorised as "pertinent" to the various organisations wishing to glean whether we're, like, into Justin Bieber or into into Justin Bieber. For the record, I'm very not into the Biebster, Mr Shambling Corporate Presence. I guess this is also the only way that they can truly know whether the Teletubbies have finally reached the point where only I am exercising my right to momentarily halt their movement over the cliff of irrelevance; or even whether the latest in breaded lolcat imagery is fully reaching its potential target audience. Consider for a moment that the government's super computers are trawling through pages dedicated to breaded cats. It makes me smile for a moment ... even if they also have access to highly sensitive information that no one should have ever witnessed in the first place. I am, of course, talking about those awkward hobbledehoy images which chronicled your teenage years. I've always posted under the expectation that some organisation would be reading this. I guess I should feel privileged that I made the cut ... and you should too. Now, I think it best if we all sit in a circle, rocking slowly in a foetal position, as we embrace the death of our privacy.