greatbear: (aerial me)
That famous holiday, a favorite for the florists, chocolatiers, restaurants, candy makers, wineries, Hallmark and others, has come and gone. I hope everyone was able to make the best of it, and didn't fall into the "Singles Awareness Day" negativity. Valentine's Day can be whatever you make it. A coworker from years ago would get gag chocolates from another friend who worked at the company. It was a highlight of his day.

This week had been a downer for me, as it happened every year. My Mom's name was Valentine, and being that her birthday is four days prior, we used it as an extra day for something nice. Mom would say that my birthday fell on a holiday, so she was in her right to claim the next closest for hers, and none other would be more appropriate. Yeah, it was in the realm of silliness, but it was our little bit of fun. About two weeks apart, we had out own personalized days, mine thanks to that weather prognosticating critter from Pennsylvania, of course.

For whatever reason(s), the last week or so has been rougher than usual on me. Another winter in a row filled with constant pain and the side effects of narcotics play a part, so does the colder-than-usual weather, feelings of uselessness for greater than in the past, getting one more year older, I could go on. I've mostly salvaged the days for the better, and today seemed to be no different. Jeff had been asked to be a personal chef for some friends of mine. It seems he and his partner have decided to change up some things in their lives, and coupling that with buying some sort of business, he asked Jeff to take a shot at helping them entertain in a little bit more formal fashion. Tomorrow is the gig, a sort of test run for them as well as Jeff. We went to Wegman's today to pick up the fresh ingredients for the meal as well as our own weekly supplies. Well, wasn't the store a total mob scene, with the typical batches of self-absorbed Columbia patrons that normally tend to block aisles and snarl traffic with their carts and clustering, except at least three if not more the usual number of them. We didn't get into the store for more than two minutes before declaring it to be an absolute disaster, with Jeff's already busy mind planning the event and being more easily frustrated as a result, I put the single loaf of bread I managed to pick up on entering the store back on the rack and we both went back home. I went for a nap, and apparently Jeff did the same in order to cool off. After a while he went to our local supermarket instead, with me staying behind this time. I said we should just take care of this gig tomorrow and deal with our bit some other day. I conked out again while he made his run. Just as well we put off our grocery run, as our mostly empty fridge became filled with food for the party. Because of the setback, we ended up changing our dinner plans. We had picked up a really nice rack of lamb and other stuff to have for our VDay dinner. Because Jeff had to do prep for tomorrow, and I didn't want to overburden him with even more kitchen mayhem, I made us dinner for the night. My appetite has been shot for months now, and rather than attempting to enjoy an involved meal after a day of stress (and pain for me) we had a nice, relaxing meal of sandwiches and soup and chips and samples of tomorrow's big dinner. And you know what? For that moment, it was just as good as that lamb dinner would've been. If all goes well, we will have our postponed dinner in the early evening on Monday.

I ended up being more than a bit on the cranky side today, anyway. I know, what else is new. I slept worse than usual the night before, with the weather alert radio going off four times in the middle of the night, warning of high winds and extreme windchill from the nasty weather system currently beating up the northeast. During most of the day, the weather was very calm, and a late afternoon snow had begun once Jeff returned from the store. So much for all the noise that kept me up the previous night. Jeff couldn't get a couple items while out, the store was out. So I did the deed going to another grocer nearby. There was already a couple fluffy inches of snow everywhere, and during the short time I was out, perhaps 15 minutes or so, the snow had erased all the signs of me leaving the house. The footprints, the dry area where the truck had been, the tracks on the street were completely gone. I had recently bought a little cordless snowblower to keep the walkways and deck clean, and I've been jonesing to use it since. Knowing how my actions here at home can affect statewide weather patterns, buying this snowblower as well as getting the big monster blower all set for use at a moment's notice meant there was a good chance our area would remain snow-free. Sure enough, though it amounted to maybe three inches of accumulation before stopping, the long-promised wind had finally shown up as well, and unless there's going to be some drifting, my maiden voyage of the new toy snowblower might end up being a disappointment. I love how technology is blasting ahead in so many ways. For years, I used an electric snowblower to keep the decks clean. I used to shovel the snow from the deck, and I had engineered in a means to make this task a bit easier. The railings have a six inch space between them and the deck floor. All that is needed is to push the snow off the edge rather than heaving it over the top. I hadn't considered what would happen to the snow once pushed off the deck. Being a story in the air, and with bushes and shrubs below, the snow would crash onto the plants and break them. So, I had gotten a little electric blower to fling the snow well beyond the area of the plants, with the bonus of giving Mom something very easy to use as well. A couple years ago, though, I inadvertently ran over a stray bungee cord hidden in the snow, and it wrapped around the spinning axle and blade. The resulting friction melted the plastic housing and the bearing mount. In my attempts to cut the tangled rubber with a utility knife and slicing open three fingers quite badly, the damaged blower has been sitting in the basement since, waiting for me to fix it. Last year became the time that cordless, battery operated outdoor tools such as lawnmowers, edgers, trimmers and even chainsaws and snowblowers had finally matched the power of corded electric and even some gas engine powered equivalents. I decided replacing the old corded blower with this new cordless thing would be even easier for me to use than the old one. It's lighter, I don't have to bend over and pick up the icy cord, and it's even more maneuverable. I really, really detest not being able to do even a fraction of the tasks I would think nothing of. I've been spending a lot of money on effort-reducing things to help me along. And I am that fucking stubborn to want, nay, need to continue doing some stuff on my own. I mean, I already am burdening Jeff with a lot of things. And this is a man that suffered a heart attack not long ago. I have to pull as much of my own weight as I can, no matter any consequences. And I absolutely can't change that.

Since I'm in the social media space here, I can talk about things I can change. I'll be cleaning up my LJ presence, streamlining it some, perhaps freshening things a bit. I paid for it, so I might as well use it. This will remain my primary point of presence on the net. I already ditched a lot o other things, and those remaining, like Facebook, will most likely only have links to here rather than any substantial posts over there. I have gone on a lot about how I don't like FB and how it handles information. Sadly, most, if not all of the people I knew from LJ have migrated over there, and seem to have lessened their once detailed posting for lighter fare. The remaining few that have continued their long-form posting style have ended up being boxed in by the format of other social media, and more often than not, I never see these posts because Facebook decides to let me see what they think is important, and not what I want to see. A good many if not all of my posts are not seen by anyone there at all, once again due to how the site works and not including my stuff in what others might want to read. Of course, I can pay the fucker(berg) to put my posts in the streams of friends. Nah, never going to do that. If people really care, they'll come looking.

Tonight the wind is howling outside, gusts so far at least 30mph. And it is only 8 degrees F as I write this. However, we are reaping some of the benefits of my earlier work last year. The drafty front door is gone, the cold air that used to come in through the recessed lighting in the kitchen is gone too. These were the most major air infiltration points upstairs, and there is a big difference in comfort levels as well as energy usage. As I write I am also babysitting the upstairs woodstove, keeping it filled with wood and making it undeniably cozy. When the wind blasts outside like it does, it blows across the chimney and creates a vacuum. This "turbocharges" the draft through the stove and makes the fire burn very hot. The stove has a catalytic converter, similar to the ones in cars. This captures and burns unburned smoke and gasses from the wood fire, and adds to the heat. The studio here is a balmy 80 degrees. Snickles, who never misses a chance to sleep under the covers with us, is instead parked in front of the stove hearth. A warm dog in winter is a content dog, that's for sure. Since having these damn spine troubles, my legs absolutely can't take the cold anymore. I park a little space heater under the desk to keep them warm, also so I can keep the rest of the house cooler. I don't need it now. This was also planned way back when I was designing and building the house. A woodstove was intended as a form of backup heat and as an occasional thing to use, like a fireplace. It didn't take long to find out the stove is much more enjoyable in the winter than previously thought. And on a night like this, it's one of the few things that make me feel secure and happy in a time where I feel less of these things.

Anyhow, I've rambled on enough for one night. I hope everyone has some way of escaping the cold if it's currently causing grief. And I hope you had a good Valentine's Day. Even if the highlight was only sandwiches.

ETA: I almost forgot to include this lovely little ad for the holiday. It's from a Spanish department store chain called El Corte Ingles (colloquially: The Tailor's Cut) As such, it's in Spanish, but you don't need to speak the language to tell what's going on. Click the "CC" button on the bottom right of the frame to turn on English subtitles) If you click the YouTube button on the bottom right of the frame, it will take you to YouTube itself, where you can also see it closed captioned. Do what I initially did. Watch it in Spanish, and see if you got the gist of the story. My Spanish is rustier than the Titanic, and I got pretty close. Love knows no language barriers anyway. The guys are adorable, with an awkward, dorky charm that's nearly squee-worthy.

greatbear: (oh schnapp)
Automotive advertising is inescapable. It has been for at least a century. Print, billboards, television, even entire movies and TV series have been thinly disguised advertising vehicles (see what I did there?) for the automobile industry the world over. Some are clever, some are annoying, some are so pompous as to not even show the actual car (looking at you, Infiniti). But all of these ads have one thing in common. They introduce new marques and models. The latest, if not greatest, things. The shiny stuff of dreams and dealer showrooms. Macho truck ads. Those you-have-arrived spots for luxury models. Snow flying off of SUVs. Tire smoke and speed for the sports and muscle cars. You know the drill. Many of those cars and trucks are familiar to lots of people, being made for decades. Honda Accords. Toyota Corollas. Chevy Impalas. Ford F-150s. Sure, some nostalgia creeps in, and the new models pay homage in styling or in resurrected models from their heydays past. Still, it's all meant to get feet into the showrooms and butts in leather trimmed seats. No one would ever advertize an old model, or even yet, spend screen time and print space telling people some vehicle is going to end production, not to be replaced with something new, would they?

Well, if you are Volkswagen, a brand familiar to just about everyone on the planet, and the vehicle is the Type 2, aka Kombi, better known as the Bus stateside, a sight seen on roads the world over for over a half century, an icon of pop culture and counterculture everywhere, sometimes a good run has to come to an end. Rather than silently letting the model die off as the industry is known to do, it is instead a cause for celebration, even if it is bittersweet. Still being produced in Brazil much the same as it had been at the start, the last models rolled off the production like in September, 2013, ending an era of automotive production of a particular model since, well, that other bug-shaped car from VW. This is a sendoff, a goodbye, a farewell, but, oh, what a wonderful sendoff it is. Betcha never got choked up at a car ad before.

I think practically anyone old enough to drive has memories of these quirky buses, even if they never owned one or knew someone with one. Thing is, despite no longer being made, there will be another half century filled with people who will know of the humble Type 2/Kombi/Bus. This touching tribute has stops all over the world, including practically my back yard, in Baltimore. They are still quite plentiful in these parts.
greatbear: (forearms)
Here's a short guaranteed to tug at the heart strings like a kite in a gale force wind. Beautiful locale, gorgeous photography, perfect soundtrack, wardrobe and scenery spot on, and Oscar-worthy performances from the primaries. Not a single spoken word, but unnecessary anyway. A thousand words probably couldn't tell the story any better.

Did I mention it's only 30 seconds long?

I guess I didn't mention it's a dog food commercial either.
greatbear: (forearms)
This commercial seems appropriate today.

Jeff's dad is poised to be living in the new place today. He's barely waiting for the final use and occupancy permit. Just in time, as the generator I loaned him to keep the trailer batteries charged bit the dust. No good deed goes unpunished I guess.

Speaking of houses, the new house across the road from me is practically flying up. This is a conventional, stick-built house, and yesterday most of the first floor and a part of the second story are up. I expect the majority of exterior framing to be done today, and probably under roof by the weekend. It won't be long before The House of Seven Terlits is complete either. This crew is working overtime and on weekends.

Superb owl

Feb. 4th, 2013 03:32 pm
greatbear: (Default)
These days I have more of an interest in football than I ever had prior, thanks to Jeff. Any time his beloved Cowboys or Penn State are on TV, he's there yelling at the set. He had warned me of becoming a "football widow" during the season, but rather than trying to beat 'em, I joined 'em, as it were. Jeff dutifully answered my questions regarding the finer points of the game, along with the not-so serious ones ("Why is it called 'football' when they rarely use their feet and it's not technically a ball?") and in no time I started getting pulled into the action. I would often watch the Super Bowl throughout the years just for the spectacle of it; it would occasionally fall on my birthday weekend like this year. The programming preceding the game often shows the personal side of the game as it relates to player, coaches and whatnot, this adds to the human side of the game, reminding me that it is not just all about the game itself. Stories like that of O. J. Brigance, former Ravens linebacker (as well as linebacker from the defunct CFL Baltimore Stallions) stricken with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) who, despite the advanced stages of the disease is still active with the team as Director of Player Development. It was a touching story, made even more so at the end of the game when they dedicated their win to him. The win was also a huge one for Baltimore, which, after years of mediocre activity of their major sports teams, economic issues and so on, have been buoyed recently by improving economic conditions, an almost-World Series from the Orioles, a successful Grand Prix that will be held again this year, and lots of external good will. It is easy for me to dismiss the success of a city's team, especially when I hear of rioting and destruction in the wake of a major win. No, the effect is real, with local businesses doing well, folks upbeat for more than just a winning team, and lots of positive benefits for the city and the people as a whole. Sure there will always be negatives, but even seeing the old folks wearing team colors in public along with the very young, brings smiles to faces.

Of course, the big draw of Super Bowl Sunday, for some even more than the game, is the commercials. Those who know me well are aware of my love/hate relationship with advertising. Yes, there is more hate than love, as I see advertising a parasitic relationship with the environment and most times quite dishonest. Super Bowl Sunday, however, is a time when advertisers pull out the stops to make some really good commercials, often with the actual product being secondary to the overall message. No one does this better than Budweiser with their ongoing series of ads featuring the trademark Clydesdale horses. These have always been very entertaining and some quite moving. I really fell in love with the ads when the Dalmatian was brought on board, and recent years have made the ads something I look forward to even more than favorite movie sequels. This year didn't disappoint. I dare the viewer not to get even slightly misty-eyed at this one:

Anyone who knows horses can probably attest that this is not a far-fetched scenario (I'm looking at you, [ profile] badgerpdx).

The Big Game is over, Baltimore can hold its collective head a bit higher, along with the entire state of Maryland, and I can dote on Jeff as he goes through pangs of football withdrawal. :-)
greatbear: (Default)
I have lost just about all faith in LJ. Because of the unfortunate circumstances that made LJ a historically significant primary blogging platform for Russians and the fact that anyone from the region that happens to post something critical of the Russian government or political groups causes those parties to unleash a tsunami of DDoS attacks making the platform completely inaccessible, well, let's just say that a rusted out Honda Civic with a blown head gasket and a dead battery is more useful. Were it not for the really cool people remaining in my circle of LJ peeps, I would have pulled the plug (permanently) a long time ago. However, the viability of this thing has become so poor that I am finally going to move on to other pastures, but I won't (as of yet) leave entirely. I do have a Dreamwidth account, as well as one on Blogger, both of which are idle at the moment. Perhaps I will hang my shingle there, if I decide that "blogging" (whatever the term means these days) remains something something I still want to participate in. Granted, I am beyond frustrated now with the bullshit that crops up and I might eventually change my mind (again). I should actually be patient with the course of events that affect the service because it has huge political and free speech/information ramifications, but I am sick of being collateral damage. Oh well. For now, I am going to kick this thing in the corner and weather the storm while I take on other meaningful tasks.

Lest many of you miss my social intercourse and presence, I will attempt to post something truly interactive in the meantime. If you manage to get to this post, use this entry as a reminder of good times. Try not to leave fingerprints on your screen.

greatbear: (dash face)
I can envision the parking lots at the various furry conventions having a preponderance of Kia Souls because of these commercials.

Okay, what do the other "vehicles" represent? Toaster has to be a Honda Element. The cardboard box has to be aimed at the Nissan cube and Scion xB. This version of the commercial has washers/dryers, I am assuming aimed at the appliance-like nature of some other cars. What's y'all's take?
greatbear: (mike wazowski!)
During Tuesday's episode of Glee, among all the commercials for cell phones, cars, fast food and other silly sundries, an ad aired for Google Chrome (the web browser). It stood out not because it was an ad for a bit of software, but what can be done with it.

This is the first time I have seen the "It Gets Better" project hit mainstream television, outside of a talk show or something similar. It was touching and amazing to see it in this context. More ironic is the fact that Glee airs on the Fox network, where the dichotomy of rather progressive series programming stands in stark contrast to their idiotically right-leaning news and talk programming. Bravo to Google and Fox for bringing this commercial into the living room of millions.
greatbear: (speaker)
So I told y'all earlier that Jeff and I had dinner at Red Robin (yummmmm!). Those familiar with their TV/radio commercials know of their very brief "jingle" (the aforementioned a capella singing of "Red Robin" followed by "Yummmm") on the outro of the spots. Each time either one of us mentions Red Robin (or for that matter, sees a red robin in a tree, or Batman's sidekick) the other will almost inevitably hum the "yum" part. In my odd little brain of Mayhem, I would always associate the jingle with Paul Simon. Actually, one Paul Simon song in particular. The "yum" in the Red Robin is the same pitch chord as the intro to "Loves Me Like A Rock." Yeah, I know, seems odd, but with my pesky perfect pitch somehow crosslinked with an intermittent case of OCD, tonight I fired up the studio paraphernalia to prove the point to myself, not to mention get rid of a persistent earworm. Sure enough, I was right on. Here are two pitch-unaltered clips merged into my own version of "Loves Me Like Red Robin." Enjoy.

Loves Me Like Red Robin
greatbear: (superhero me)
Yet another clever ad spot from IKEA. With a twist.

Whatchyall think? Constructive criticism welcomed.

(A doff of the derby to JMG)
greatbear: (Default)
It's the season when I become a "football widow" as Jeff becomes glued to the various college and pro games on the telly. Of course I join him now and again (hell, ya can't beat 'em, right?). We saw this commercial for the first time and could not figure out what it was for until the very end. We both thought it was cool. Not to mention thought provoking. And cute.


Aug. 19th, 2010 10:31 pm
greatbear: (glasses)
I managed to roust myself out of the house and did a few things in the garage, that made me happy. I also cooked the approximately 2 gallons of tomato juice down to just under a gallon, it's nicely thickened, rich and pulpy, ready for the second stage. I'll get some fresh herbs, onions, mushrooms and other goodies tomorrow and finish the stuff off. The house had that wonderful smell of sauce cooking, it brought a lot of fond memories back for the both of us.

Poor Jeff is laboring under his own constant pain at home and at work, all the while doing the work of three people. He brought some work home with him as well, got that done, then we had dinner, it was not soon afterward that he started conking out while trying to watch TV. Poor guy deserves better.

I was reminded of this video I saw earlier this year (but not embeddable at the time) by [ profile] furr_a_bruin. It's a wonderfully gentle, yet very effective public service announcement from the U.K. reminding people to wear their seat belts. Unlike something you'd find produced in the US using scare tactics, crash footage, or even some corporate interests, this one is all heart.

This is art, but you'd never know it at first.
greatbear: (forearms)
This makes me want to go and have a Big Mac. Actually, the Angus burgers are much better.

This is a charming ad from France for McDonald's. Despite it airing only in France, this YouTube video had gotten well over a million views already (add one for you!) and is growing as word gets out by leaps and bounds. All is not sunshine, lollipops and rainbow-pooping unicorns, as the religious crazies, their right wing enablers (and their gay Quislings) are mounting campaigns against this ad over here. Same as it ever was.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
It seems that the NOM ad drama I mentioned earlier today has been looked into by the LJ staff, who made an effort in posting an explanation not only in the source journal entry but in my comment stream as well. Plus, an entry made by the ever vigilant (and possibly damp!)[ profile] wet_in_sf detailing his contacting LJ staff about this issue got a prompt reply as well. It seems that work was done by LJ to nip this mess in the bud before it got out of hand as sometimes happened in the past. Good show.

It appears that LJ/SUP does take an active role in controlling what sort of ads show up via the third-party add service, and this one seems to have been crafted in a way to evade such controls using keyword combinations and other means. This reeks of typical Rush/Rovian tactics and the sort of means championed by smarmy far-right wingnuts. These sorts have no honor or scruples.
greatbear: (shit pile)
Uh oh.

While quietly tinkering in the Workshop of Mayhem I sensed a disturbance in the LJ Force. Actually, I was just hungry, but during my break for lunch, I discovered this:

Of course, this is to be expected around teh intarwebs these days. But that's not the whole issue. This ad has been popping up in ad-supported LJs and is being hosted by SUP, the outfit that owns Livejournal.

I think it's time that Teh Gays pwn Livejournal. Again.

More info can be found here.

([ profile] snugglebitch via [ profile] nebris)

EDIT: It seems that LJ itself was blindsided by this about as much as those journal owners who were affected by it. The comments following this post include one by the LJ staff apologizing and referencing in greater detail what happened and what they are doing to prevent it from happening again. It seems this issues was pretty promptly dealt with before it became huge. Kudos.
greatbear: (face)
...Because anyone who knows me well enough would know I would So. Do. This.

For maximum effect, click through and play this in high definition mode, full screen.

Another version, set to Livin' On A Prayer... )

These are U.K. Cadbury chocolate ads, of all things. The ads are totally random and almost the last thing you'd expect for selling candy bars. The two versions are identical in every way except for the music beds. That change alone completely alters the 'feel' of the ads.

I'm hungry for chocolate now.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
Dick Wilson, far better known to millions as "Mr. Whipple" died Monday. He was 91.

He had become an advertising icon, admonishing people molesting toilet tissue in his store the pleas of "Ladies! Please don't squeeze the Charmin!" The humbled viewer then finds out that Mr. Whipple is himself a closeted Charmin squeezer.

greatbear: (fuzzy)
When I was trying to decide if I wanted to subscribe to satellite radio a few years back, the choice was fairly easy at the time. At the start, XM's music channels had commercials. Then Sirius came along. Their subscription rate was higher, but there was no commercials. A plus in the Sirius column for me, since the whole reason I was making the jump was to get away from the increasingly pervasive and annoying advertising on terrestrial radio. By that time, XM had matched Sirius in both commercial-free music programming (plus) as well as the higher monthly rate (minus). XM was created by the same people who brought us ClearChannel (big fuck fuckityfuck minus!), the hellspawn from Satan's bloody cooch which ruined radio. Sirius also had OutQ, the GLBT channel (huge plus). OutQ has Larry Flick, aka [ profile] lfkbear (another big furry plus).

So, Sirius it was. Lots of diverse programming, decent hardware and commercial free tunes. Great for traveling. OutQ became my drive-time channel, with Larry and the bunch in the mornings, and waaay-left leaning Michelangelo Signorile in the afternoon. Life was good. Then it began to happen. The commercials that are unfortunately carried by OutQ (and just about all the talk formats, there is no getting around it, plus that format needs the breaks for proper flow) started to multiply and sour. But these are not your ordinary commercials. They have leaned heavily into annoying ads for dubious work-at-home schemes, ambulance chasing lawyers, debt reduction and financing, snake-oil medicinal cures, you get the idea. And the irritation factor is compounded with most of these ads repeating the toll-free numbers no less than three times, sometimes more. Always the sign of hucksterism and sleaze. You've seen it on late night network television. So much for the notion that gay audiences are sophisticated. Most likely, these are the only outfits willing to drop coin to be heard in the gay ghetto, and Sirius goes for the bucks any way they can. And I pay for this.

I find myself growing weary of riding the volume control between the slowly decreasing minutes of actual programming. What is it with advertisers? Whoever came up with the notion that irritating the listener/viewer is a successful business model should be shot repeatedly starting from the feet and slowly working upward. Clever advertising is more memorable but far, far less prevalent. Were I to become king of the planet, I would seek out every writer/producer of these shitty slimeball ads and punch them repeatedly in the nose till there is nothing left.

Sorry, Larry and crew, there are days I have to shut off the radio and listen to the engine instead.

Is there any respite to be had against the tide of horrendous commercialism?

Here is one of the most amazing commercials I have seen to date:

And one of the worst:

I have already mentioned a couple times where a clever, fun ad will make me want to buy a product. Too much craptastic advertising makes me want to go postal on someone's ass.
greatbear: (forearms)
This ad graphic for Gamefly made me laugh.

I can imagine a Fark thread of photochops and captions starring our now ubiquitous screaming Spartan with the pearly-whites. Or perhaps this could be the start of a meme.

C'mon. It's so easy, a caveman Spartan can do it.
greatbear: (hey kool aid)
This invasive security check is brought to you by Mega-Mart Amalgamated. Always Stooping To The Lowest Depths™.

No escaping advertising. What else is new?


greatbear: (Default)

December 2016



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 05:37 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios