Monday, March 31, 2008

weekend update.

so usually i relish in a weekend where i do all of nothing.

this past weekend was quite different. i did alot of stuff, which didn't really amount to much personal gain.

some would argue that this was not productive, but rather, simply busy. i beg to differ. while it did not all ladder up to any personal goals, i got a lot done, and myself, and many others benefited (which in turn, makes me happy). so here's the rundown:

  • "work."
  • sang "Funky Comadina" (karaoke) at a work happy hour (built up credibility with brand team).
  • made a healthy salad for dinner.
  • read Jim Lee's 1996 remake of the Fantastic Four - "the world's greatest comics magazine."
  • played Rockband at Bridge's Rockathon (sang Boston's "More than a Feeling", drummed. "Celebrity Skin", and "Sabotage" and rocked out on various guitar solos).
  • went to a friend's birthday party.
  • drank.
  • made fun of people.
  • talked career options w/ a coworker.
  • facilitated "making friends" amongst two mutual friends (you know who you are).

  • took care of Condo Association financials (since i'm now the official Treasurer) w/ el new Presidente.
  • stopped by the local library + stocked up on comics.
  • convinced some neighborhood kids about why Batman could TOTALLY take Spider-man in a fight
  • walked up through the park for lunch - took lots of cool pictures (to be shared).
  • ate Sardines for the first time.
  • watched the latest disc of Avatar: the Last Airbender (quite possibly the coolest cartoon out there).
  • ran by the comics store to pick up my monthly fix (Bendis: New/Mighty Avengers AND Spider-Man!).
  • helped a buddy (who i admire) figure out his future career ("Cinema Owner" and/or "Savior of Democracy" beat out "Astronaut", "Dog Whisperer", and "Speling Teecher").
  • met up w/ an old friend at a crowded, noisy, annoying hillbilly bar downtown (but the friend made it worth it).
  • discussed politics w/ old friend's boyfriend (who is also a friend).
  • watched MORE Avatar (seriously, you need to be watching this show).

  • slept in.
  • made a late brunch w/ girlfriend (pictured above).
  • read comics.
  • watched more Avatar.
  • paid tribute to my neighborhood Kroger (Kro-ghetto).
  • made dinner for family and friends.
  • ideated on the Week In Review 1-year anniversary bash (coming soon to a bar near you!)
  • played Guitar Hero w/ roommate.
  • HAD dinner w/ family and friends.
  • helped my sister make a PowerPoint.
  • read more comics.
  • started flossing again.
that's all. now if only i can translate this productivity to this week at work. we're off to a slow start...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

try to act cool.

not gonna happen.

what's going on here? Bridge Worldwide's Rockathon, that's what. 24 hours of solid rock. over and over again. my ad-hoc PG band of Derrick, Shanan, and Ranade only made a short appearance for some primetime hours, but it was solid man, solid.

kudos to Bob for the vision + will to set this up. i might just stop by in the AM to see it wrap up. here's a cool time-lapsed video of the setup from the official site. i'm sure there will be many more videos made available post-haste, so stay tuned.

oh, and jason made a friend-friend tonight. go jason.

wingman (accomplice!) raman out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

the end of the world.

so i stumbled across another buddy's Marketing blog and stumbled on something that was cool (and troubling) for 2 reasons:

-the content (sick = awesome)
-the ability to embed a PowerPoint presentation (slick & twisted).

without further adieu, the thing of which i am writing:

even better than the air guitar.

what i plan to be doing most of my Friday night (and maybe some of Saturday morning):

one of our agency partners (and the employer of my industry buddy + fellow rocker Bob) is hosting a Rockathon - 24 hours straight of Guitar Hero + Rock Band insanity. something tells me i won't be there for the full 24 hours, but i plan to play like a champ (or at least bribe my way in w/ some Red Bull).

they even Photoshopped up some sweet posters:

it's for a good cause (the Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund) - so stay tuned (pun intended).

Monday, March 24, 2008

the sound of a setting car alarm.

spent the last weekend in New York visiting friends, wandering around, etc. but most importantly, we got to see the Daily Show on Thursday. this post has nothing to do with that (maybe later), but rather the Stewart response to Obama's last Tuesday speech on race in America (from the day BEFORE we went to the Daily Show):

and the following response/dialogue was EVEN better:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

a break from political precedent.

given all the media static going on RE: Barack Obama's pastor, this is a speech Obama gave TODAY in Philadephia, PA, at Constitution Center, discussing matters not recent remarks but of more importantly, race in America.

the transcript of the speech is below the video as well if you'd rather read/skim through it.

thanks to my buddy Karl for pointing this one out.


“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so na├»ve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

the dominoes of life.

i clearly have not been meeting the [self] expectation of posting SOMETHING every day. what can i say? it's like one thing after another, in work + life, keeping me from actually being productive (creative?) here. which reminds me...

thanks to my friend kana for sharing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

[not] as seen on TV.

a few weeks ago i shared a pretty random consumer-generated ad from a sweepstakes of a certain brand i do SOME work on (to be clear, this is the brainchild of people at the company waaaay more talented than i).

well the deadline was last night, and some really great stuff came in at the eleventh hour (literally). this is by far my favorite:

my favorite part is the last two thing the stain says in the ad. i'll give some free Tide to the first person who can correctly tell me what that was, and how it made you feel as a person (i wasn't going to just give away the stuff for free). overall, a well-made, engaging ad. not that my opinion it matters though [as i am told, it does, in fact, NOT], as ultimately, now that we're in the homestretch this is being put in the hands of consumers to see which one makes the final cut (and ultimately aired on TV).

there were actually quite a few other great spots (you can soon see all the finalists on the official YouTube channel. just for kicks, here's another one i think is great:

a number of other brands in + outside of our company have been aggressively moving in this space (of consumer-generated ads). some better than others. in the interest of fairness + inclusion, i share a soon to be classic from ANOTHER category which i usually don't pay attention to (though i certainly did whilst traveling in Asia):

outstanding, and [maybe] coming soon to a TV near you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

mother nature takes a white dump.

holy crap! it's the Cincinnati Blizzard of 08!

seen here is my house early Friday evening. the picture doesn't really do it justice, but we're talking the beginnings of what soon became a Level 3 snow emergency (ie, no vehicles are allowed on the road).

Friday night's crazy festivities were cancelled given the guest of honor's cancelled flight, so we stayed in, made dinner, bought plane tickets to NY (and the Daily Show) for Easter weekend, and watched some Naruto.

Saturday's birthday lunch was cancelled, so we stayed in and made omelletes. Saturday night's wedding was also postponed to Sunday, so my sister came over, and we wandered the park and neighborhood with our makeshift sleds from a used old laundry basket, a cookie sheet, and some cardboard boxes. we were like the poor kids on the street (especially given all the punk kids with their pro sleds and snowboards).

walked over to beth's + played with her way to hyperactive dog (Jackson), and then made our way over the wedding venue where we made a snowman (seen here with trademark afro) with the bride and groom to be. before walking through the bad parts of the neighborhood back to my sisters house for dinner. now we're off to Davinder Bergstrom's going away party. all done on foot and mass transit. ain't life grand?

Friday, March 07, 2008

"it is the best of times, it is the worst of times."

coming off the political soapbox of earlier entries for a bit, let's get back on the geek one.

2 videos that talk about where the web has brought us, and where it is taking us. for the less nerdy/tolerant of dorky music, skip to the 2nd video.

#1: the first video: thanks to my buddy Karl for sending my way:

#2: the second video. i actually saw it a a few years, but kind of eerie how similar stuff has been happening as of late (Google buys DoubleClick. Microsoft buys Aquantive. NewsCorp buys MySpace. Google buys YouTube. Newscorp buys the WSJ. Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo. Yahoo thinking of buying AOL to retaliate. etc, etc). enjoy:

now it's time to catch the bus home in the snow.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

an Obama plug (and why).

alright. it's now the day after the day after (you can quit blaming me for Ohio). my Facebook + Google status are back to normal. who knew that (1) not updating it [as] frequently, and (2) changing it to something ambiguous + depressing would draw such a crowd response. now if only you losers (not you Mom, i love you) would actually READ my blog , that would be GREAT. i know who you are. Google Analytics is mad scary.

ANYHOW. the other day my longtime-ago roommate John, emailed me, asking me to check out his recently resurrected blog + share my thoughts on a very recent post (I voted for Ron Paul. Now what?).

the gist: he was a Ron Paul supporter. Ron Paul's now out of the race. he's torn between Obama + McCain. McCain speaks more to his politics (which i'm assuming are fiscally conservative republican), but Obama has him inspired. what to do?

i was initially going to just write a few quick snarky (smarmy?) points and get out, but it turned out to be more just me getting out what i've been thinking politically these past few weeks (why i really want Obama to win the nomination, and ultimately, the general election). i thought it was a pretty good rant, so i'm sharing it below for everyone in the raman-verse (to be clear, there is little to NO mention of Hillary in this post...we'll save that one for later). i would love to use this to incite a conversation, so please respond (via comments or directly to me) this post:

the way our democracy was constructed (pluralistic) is a “winner take all system,” which effectively means it can only support 2 parties. while Ron Paul ran for president as a Republican, he honestly felt more like a Libertarian (individual liberties are maximized by small government, which, in turn, means minimal taxes). all that being said, the only value of an outlier candidate (such as Ron Paul or Ralph Nader, the latter of whom i voted for in 2000, sorry!) is to force issues to be discussed by the front runners. so what are the issues you cared about Ron Paul bringing to the table, and who best embodies them? honestly, that takes you to John McCain. but i’m now going to spend the rest of my column talking to why Obama is a better candidate than McCain :)

without bashing on the current president too much, it is clear that the executive branch has more overstepped its bounds in recent years. whoever takes over the mantle of the presidency needs to restore balance to our system. a president’s ability is to lead and influence, but not to take direct actions, or interpret the law to his/her whim/convenience. most of this influence is put forth on the legislative branch, but one should not forget the international community (”speak softly and carry a big stick”), as well as the citizenry (which has become increasingly apathetic about politics over the years).

so you need someone who, in a worst case scenario, can convince an opposition party legislature to enact policy in line with his/her ideals. but also build global consensus (in a very hostile anti-American imperialism world), and inspire an ambivalent populace.

as far as legislative influence is concerned, both McCain + Obama are both well suited to do this, given their ability to "reach across the aisle.” to me, the biggest differences between the two are (1) age (some would cite this as “experience”), and (2) and inspirational quality.

this is an easy to explain one. McCain has LOTS of great experience. but he is OLD. this office ages people (look at bush). my grandfather (80) is cool, but as the years have gone on, his views have become more erratic (and sometimes stubborn). and he forgets things. it happens. it’s part of life. i see the same thing happening to my father, who is one of the sharpest, most disciplined men i know. he is 64. again, it happens. it's part of life (in small ways i see it even happening to me when i compare myself to Raman of 5 years ago). McCain would be the oldest president elected (70+). bundle on the strain of being [one of] the most powerful person[s] in the world, and well, i’m not sure how i feel about that.

lots of people will cite Barack’s lack of experience, but if you look at all of the presidents of the US, some of our greatest presidents (Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy) had minimal experience compared to the people who came before and after them. i’d focus on character. someone who could have taken ANY corporate job he wanted coming out of Harvard Law, and rather chose to work in civil rights? that speaks to character. someone who spoke out against a war when it was NOT the popular thing to do? that speaks to character. there is such a thing as “bad experience.” i prefer to bet on character that will drive “good experience” (to be clear, i’m NOT saying McCain’s experience is bad or invalidated, BUT he has been known to be quite the hawk, especially on the Middle East, which frankly, scares me)

McCain also is NOT an inspirational character. i’m sure he can influence the Congress, but what about the people and the international community? i’m not so sure. this is where Obama leads in my mind. the movement he’s created (based on many of the same common democratic policies of most candidates, eg. Edwards and Clinton) is not something we’ve seen since the 60s. granted, it took the past eight years to put us in a position where we were NEEDING to be inspired, but you can’t argue with the importance of the inspiration factor on the US citizenry to get us off our couches and involved (and i'm usually a cynic/pessimist here).

finally, as someone who’s spent the past 6 months living abroad, with a pretty diverse range of WORLD citizens (from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and YES, even Australia) - most of the rest of the world wants someone like a President Obama. and not just because he’s a non-Bush Republican, or because he's a very inspirational figure, but because he PORTRAYS a better understanding of the rest of the world. he went to school in a MUSLIM country (Indonesia). his grandfather STILL lives in Africa. now McCain has a lot of foreign experience as well (and i will not doubt his bravery/courage in war time), but he was in the VIETNAM WAR, another war that never should have been waged (i’ve been to Vietnam, where they call it “the War of American Agression," do your homework and read up more on it. the parallels are eerily familiar). regardless of how YOU feel about Vietnam, the rest of the world has a clear opinion on it (and yes, that applies to John Kerry as well).

so in the end, if any of my rambling makes sense, you should vote for Obama. but not because he’s the small government candidate (because he’s not). but because he’s the right candidate.

but if Hillary wins the nomination, i might just have to vote for McCain (in just of course, but in all honesty, i would find myself in somewhat a conundrum).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

2/29: making computers leap off a building.

in the aftermath of the OH primary (quit blaming me out-of-state friends!), i will strategically change the subject to something pretty cool that happened last week (organised by my good buddy [krazy] Karl):

"Karl Preissner, president of Lily Pad Wi-Fi, throws a desktop computer from the top of a parking garage on the campus Friday at the University of Cincinnati. Students dropped 29 desktop computers from the fourth floor of the University Avenue garage as part of a leap day celebration."
[excerpt from "the day in pictures" - Cincinnati Enquirer/Ernest Coleman]

other official article. video to come.

kudos to Karl for pulling this one off.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

go vote. (+ why Obama is cooler than Hillary).

granted, one should not make political decisions based on the quality/cool-factor of fan-videos, but humor me, and watch the first 2 fan video of Hillary's, then watch the final one for Barrack...

Hillary #1:

Hillary #2:

i mean seriously. this is the kind of "cool" that you think your parents are when you were in junior high. now let's go see the competition...

and yes, i can actually coherently argue why Barrack is a better candidate than Hillary (and REALLY hope he wins this Tuesday), but this was a way more fun[ny] and cool way to do so on my blog, since all i know how to do is post videos [vs typing].

although there is something to say about the power of a person to influence others. and that's what the executive branch is all about, bc it's powers are quite limited. granted, the current administration has overstepped its bounds, but in a not to distant future, let's hope the executive branch roles back some of the liberties (pun intended) that it's taken with our government and actually has to go back to leading and influencing. then at least we'll get some cool videos

...and potentially 1:
convince an opposition party in legislative power to partner to enact game-changing legislation, and/or 2: inspire a national constituency to get off their ass and actually care about government)

and yes, i know that second point is a little too hopefuly. kind of weird coming from a cynic/realist like me. but that's teh power of obamania!

you know who DID endorse Hillary? Tina Fey, and boy is Tina Fey is hot. damn you Tina Fey, for making me question my loyalties...

i'm still voting for Obama.

chick magnets RULE* the cinci iditaord.

this past Saturday was the Cincinnati Urban Iditarod. you heard that right. but unlike the Alaskan dogsled race of the same name, there were themed shopping carts instead of sleds, and people tied to said carts instead of mush dogs.

some buddies (Jason, Zilch, Becker, Chris + Denis) mushed their way to *2nd place as "the Chick Magnets" on their 5 mile romp thru downtown Cincinnati + northern Kentucky. i chased along in my bike (which was sabotaged early on),
took pictures, and stopped traffic. Kat + my boss/pal Mandy (not to be confused w/ my sister of the same name) also ran in a pirate-themed cart helmed by rad chick Aruna.

check it out - we even got some local news coverage.

overall, the event was a LOT of fun to partake in (however remotely). tip of the hat to the fountain square group for reapplying a GREAT urban concept. wag of the finger to the same group for not publicizing it enough. hardly anyone i knew had heard about the event. with the right grassroots marketing, the city could EASILY get 100+ teams running around town in funny costumes pushing shopping carts...
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