Dec 29 2010

a year in pictures [day 216]

Honestly, some of these might be more than a year old, but they’re all the same, year after year… lots of stuff.  Most of these were taken in abandoned places, houses, farms, buildings, vehicles, you name it.  No matter where I go with my camera, I always find lots of stuff to shoot.  There’s something about each place that intrigues me, saddens me, excites me and disappoints me.  Take a look.


Dec 10 2010

Oprah's favorite things or advertising by the big O? [day 197]

Oprah always has her list of favorite things at Christmas time and gives them away to her viewers or audience.  A lot of this feels like advertising, although she has a few things to say about each of these and why she likes them.  Unfortunately that doesn’t rules out paid advertising.  If Oprah mentions you or your product, you’re an instant success.  When I worked for Barnes and Noble 15 years ago, we would have to order 100+ of any title she mentioned on her show.  She has a lot of power to make a difference.

I pulled up her list several weeks ago for my blog, but decided to pull it up this morning while I write this post.  Surprise!  Oprah has added over 10 new items to her favorite things.  Among the new items?  An iPad, Scrabble for the iPad, glittery Uggs and Coach bags.  I had every intention of believing she actual uses these things, likes them and then features them on her show.  Clearly this is not the case, this is yet another creative, and very expensive, advertising vehicle.  Why do I think that?  The answer is in the iPad…

Apple iPad. Read the blurb under the photo.  She says, “Words cannot describe what I feel for this magnificent device.  I really think it’s the best invention of the century so far.”  She continues on with, “Thanks to my iPad, I now read about four newspapers a day.  I write my column for O magazine way before the deadline because I love writing on it so much.”  Really Oprah?  If that’s true, why is it late making your list of favorite things?  Could it be that Apple contacted you to market this magnificent device?  If they did and you accepted it, good for you and good for Apple.  It’s a win-win for Applrah.  What I have a problem with is lying.  If Oprah really uses this and it’s one of her favorite things, then why is it late on the list?  This is advertising, plain and simple.  She writes on it way before her deadlines, yet this is a recent favorite things addition?  It doesn’t add up Oprah.  Maybe you should stop playing Scrabble on your treadmill and find a truth-in-advertising app.  It’s okay to advertise, it’s okay to say you like stuff you don’t use often, but don’t act like you can’t live without it and that you do things with it you clearly don’t do.

Now, let me take the direction I planned with this post.  I had planned to talk about a few of her items, then my next post will be Jody’s favorite things.  So I think I’ll go to the Apple store and see if they’ll sponsor me?  In the mean time, take a look at a few other Oprah 2010 items.

kiva.org. I started with Kiva because this is a great thing to do for Christmas gifts.  For $25 you can help someone from anywhere in the world fund their small business.  This is a great gift for many reasons.  It helps people in need, it allows you to help them, the person receiving the gift doesn’t collect a bunch of stuff they don’t need and you can see who you’re helping.  Once that money has helped someone, you can choose for that money to go out again to help another project or person.  Groupon.com is doing a matching program too!  This will be on Jody’s favorite things as well.

Hope by Philosophy. Oprah has been using this moisturizer for over 10 years.  Again, this was a late addition, so i took 10 years and 2 months for her to decide to make it a favorite?  Nope, I think it was a late addition, because it features a picture of a “certain little girl from Mississippi.”  I wonder who that could be?  Good thing she decided they’re a favorite or this company would be investing in some 3M stickers with some other not-so-certain kid from Montana.  If Hope really costs $38 for 2 ounces, it’s no wonder there’s a lack of hope in our culture.  My philosophy?  I can’t afford hope, although this topical type hope might be easier than the psychological hope.

Nikon D3100 SLR camera. I’ve been using Nikon cameras since the early 80’s.  My first Nikon was an 8008 film camera.  I have to admit, I’m more into electronics than clothing or girly stuff.  Whether you’re buying a camera, a tv, a sweater or a necklace, just make sure is something that will be liked and used, not something to add to the pile of stuff you or your loved one doesn’t use.

Baker’s edge baking pans. Here’s something Oprah really does like, as it was on the original list and she’s always talking about dieting.  First of all, this pan would be a diet for me, as I like the inside pieces of lasagna and cakes, not the crusty outside stuff.  It comes with Ghirardelli brownie mix too, which is a little funny since she’s also featuring a book, A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson.  A contradiction?  Yes Oprah, it is.

My point in featuring Oprah is that she’s sold out to the money making.  Anything will be on her favorites list if the company supports her.  What are your favorites and why?  Don’t sell out to culture or anything else people are selling unless you believe in it.


Dec 1 2010

you know they're good friends when they let you dive in their trash bin [day 189]

I was at my friend’s house finishing up a painting project when I noticed she had cleaned out the garage.  Upon opening the garage door, I also noticed a truck full of junk.  Now this is an invitation for me at anyone’s house.

First, let me say that if I really did this in my garage, I could fill up 4 of these trucks… one alone with paint.  I have made so many trips to the thrift store to donate things I don’t need that I can’t even claim it all on my taxes without itemizing it, which by the way, I’m not doing.  So was there any good stuff in the truck?  Not a lot, but yes.  I got a grill pan and a 5 gallon bucket I needed.  There were a few things that could go to the thrift store.

I did rummage through a bag of small toys and a few other things.  Just to make my point clear, we all have the things I’m about to show in some trashograms, my friends here are just being good and clearing out the clutter.  My point in showing this as art is to visually show our shopping habits and thought processes when making purchases, even the small ones.  Some small changes would mean less waste and less clutter.  If we have less stuff, there’s nothing to pick up, although I would have to find something new to harass my kids with.  Here we go…

Tiny plastic things. We all love tiny plastic toys if we’re over 3 years old and they don’t pose a choking hazard.  Plastic clutter comes in the form of toys, kid’s meals, impulse items in retail stores and are advertised this time of year as stocking stuffers.

What’s under your tree?  Is it things people want or is it things that will create more clutter in your house?  I purposely shaped the beads into an infinity symbol because it seems never ending.  Forget the crayon melting machines, maybe we need to have is a plastic melting machine so we can take all the tiny plastic toys and mold them into new and useful things.  Okay, so it’s a toxic idea, but probably only in California.  Maybe I’ll use this image for my Christmas card?  Oh yeah, I don’t send cards.   Continue reading


Nov 27 2010

BLACK FRIDAY: the video [day 185]

Any other day of the year, no retailer would allow you to walk around their store with a camera around your neck, they would stop you and make you put it away.  On black friday, that’s not the case.  With the busyness and chaos of the thousands of shoppers, extremely long lines and merchandise everywhere, nobody stopped me.  Here’s the black friday 2010 video to the tune of AC/DC’s Back in Black.

A few black friday observations:

  • It’s controlled chaos. The retailers are creating it and they’re prepared for it.
  • There’s a size relationship. The bigger the person, the bigger the packages.  Oh, how some psycho therapist needs to analyze this.
  • People like to get a deal. I’m not sure if they really want or need this stuff, but there seems to be an accomplishment once they’ve gotten a deal.  If they researched a possible purchase during the year, they could probably find a similar savings.  Is it really a deal if it’s cheap and not needed?
  • Loss leaders. There are some deals that can’t be found throughout the year, but these loss leaders are only available to the first 3-5 people according to the ads.  Not a bad deal, but I would do the cost analysis, time and effort versus cost savings.
  • Warranties. Many of the big ticket loss leaders have very limited warranties.  Before buying, you better make sure it works before you put it under the tree.  Many items have 15 days warranties.  They might as well just skip that altogether.
  • 2 types of men. The ones that like electronics with a willingness to get up early and fight for it and the “my wife made me do this and I better get sex tonight” male drag-a-longs.  I might start a line of t-shirts before next year.
  • Sporting event. I’m pretty sure most women see this as some sort of sporting event.  It’s a race for the best deals and to get all the shopping done at one time.  Most of them are getting lots of practice time during the year, so it should be a good game.

There’s much more, but that’s the big stuff.  Now, what to get my kids for Christmas without going shopping?


Nov 26 2010

black friday chaos [day 184]

I did it.  I got up and went out at 4am to shoot the black friday craziness.  Yes, that might make me crazy, but it was a blast people watching!  I didn’t buy a thing, I just walked around the stores.  I have lots of video, but no time to edit, as I have to work today.  Here’s a few highlights:

Most of the photos are uploaded, although I still have one camera card to download.  Most of the images are screen captures from my video footage.  Check them out on flickr.

To answer the most asked question I’ve had this morning, no, I didn’t see or capture any fights.  I will blog tomorrow, hopefully with some video.  In the mean time, enjoy the photos.  Here’s a few of my favorites.

The Best Buy bouncer…

Is that really a person without a head?

Continue reading


Oct 23 2010

who is Lee M. Cardholder? [day 149]

Let me start by saying I’m not a baseball fan, but I did watch the Texas Rangers game last night and it’s pretty cool that they’re going to the World Series.  As I typically do with any sports games, including the Superbowl, I watch for the commercials.  Last night was no exception.

Capital One had a commercial for their new Venture card.  I didn’t hear much of the commercial, but the image I saw on TV intrigued me.  The card pictured had the name Lee N. Cardholder.  At least I thought it was an ‘N’.  If it was an ‘N’, that would be ‘lean’ or ‘lien’, which being a graphic designer, I can recognize a subliminal message faster than the average bear.  I do it, all graphic designers do it.  It’s creative and fun, a hobby of sorts for us.  It’s like a designer’s secret language.    Continue reading