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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mad Magazine Fold-Ins

The New York Times has a spectacular interactive Flash feature on Mad Magazine fold-ins. Remember those? I used to love them! They were in the back inside cover of almost every issue of Mad since 1964 and I also remember seeing them in Archie comics. Invented by comic book artist Al Jaffee, the fold-in was an image that you would fold over to reveal a hidden picture. I'm pretty impressed that even the text at the bottom folds over to reveal another statement - I had forgotten about that. According to Wikipedia, fold-ins were Mad Magazine's response to popular fold-out features like the Playboy centerfold.

The Times features 23 original Mad fold-ins dating back to the 1960s. The page allows you to use your mouse to drag and fold the graphic on-screen - far more efficient than having to do it manually, by the way.

The interactive feature is an absolute pleasure to navigate. I have to say I love the way the New York Times has fully embraced and integrated interactivity into the online version of its paper. This is exactly the type of thing newspapers have to do in order to stay useful and relevant. Sorry, blogger's tangent.

Via NotCot.org

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dear Starbucks

Two parts PR grab, one part gimmick and one part genuine interest in their customers ideas? It's anyone's guess, really. Either way, MyStarbucksIdea.com is Starbucks' Web 2.0 way of harnessing the collective intelligence of its clientèle.

Similar to Should Do This - a site I wrote about a few months ago - MyStarbucksIdea.com is a forum for Starbucks regulars to post their ideas on how Starbucks can improve on anything from products to service to the customer experience as a whole. All ideas can be voted and commented on and they are reviewed by a team of Starbucks "partners" (employees).

Currently the most popular ideas include:

  • Adopt a frequent customer reward system (punch card, loyalty points, etc.)
  • Offer free Wi-Fi internet access in all locations
  • Create separate lines for brewed coffee and for special orders
The Ideas in Action section is Starbucks' way of showing us that they're actually paying attention. So, Collective Mind of the Internet, what say you?

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Duck or the Peanut

A little while ago I wrote a post about niche blogs. I wish I knew then what I know now. This Peanut Looks Like A Duck is a blog about things that look like ducks. Inspired, presumably, by this very peanut. Behold:

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Sound Bites

Did you know that Franz Ferdinand lead singer and guitarist Alex Kapranos is also an accomplished food critic? Oh, you did, did you?

Well, did you know that he wrote a food column for the Guardian called Soundbites where he reported on his adventures in food while on the road with FF? Yeah, you knew that too. In 2006 he also wrote a book called Sound Bites (get it?) where he...yeah I guess I'm a bit late on this one. Still noteworthy though, right? Ugh.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mojito Cupcakes

Rum + lime + mint = mojito.

Mojito + cupcake = mojito cupcake! Obviously.

Via Cupcake Takes The Cake.

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Waiting For Garfield

Garfield Minus Garfield is a tumble blog made up solely of of Garfield comic strips with the Garfield character removed from every frame. The result is a portrait of a sad, lonely Jon Arbuckle and a "comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life."

OK, maybe reading existential commentary into a modified comic strip is overstating it a bit, but after looking a few of these in a row, it does start to take its toll.

I think it's summed up best by a conversation I had with my friend Muriel:

sharelle says:
http: //garfieldminusgarfield.tumblr.com/
muriel says:
oh sweet
i hate garfield
sharelle says:
yeah me too
muriel says:
this is fun
sharelle says:
muriel says:
sharelle says:
god this is depressing
muriel says:
it always was
not like garfield makes it better
god that comic sucks

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

You Had Me At Maple-Bacon Lollipop

So I haven't posted anything for over two months now. That's not to say that I haven't seen anything post-worthy in the last little while, I've just been lazy. So what's the one thing that was interesting enough to rouse me from my blogless slumber? Could it be anything less awesome than Maple-Bacon lollipops? No. It really couldn't.

Lollyphile introduces their miracle of confection with: "Hey guys we made meat candy that's so awesome." That's pretty much exactly something I would say. So basically you're just sitting there sucking on an tasty maple lolly when you happen on a glorious bit of bacon. And not just any bit of bacon either, "sustainable, organic, cured bacon." It's just so...beautiful. Also available in absinthe.

Via NotCot.org

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Monday, December 31, 2007


So I ordered a set of 100 minicards from MOO.com a couple of weeks ago and they finally arrived a few days ago. I can't tell you why little pieces of paper with cute pictures on them can elicit extreme levels excitement, but trust me, they can.

If you haven't already heard of MOO, they're a UK-based printing company that allow you to upload your pictures from most large photo aggregation sites (Flickr, Facebook, etc.) and use them to print out greeting cards, post cards, etc. You can also use images by illustrators that have submitted their designs to the site (that's what I did).

Minicards are super cute (and mini) and judging from the Flickr group devoted to these little wonders, they're primarily used as business cards or promo cards or they're mashed up to create super duper collages.

I suppose I should also admit that these unboxing photos were staged. I was so excited to finally get them that I kind of tore into the package. As an afterthought I put everything back together and opened it up all over again for the cameras.

P.S. Happy new year!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Breaking News: Simpsons' Writers Turn To Internet For Ideas

I watched a new Simpsons episode last night for the first time in a long time. The episode was Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind and towards the end Homer experiences a near-death experience that triggers the old life-flashing-before-your-eyes bit. The sequence was pretty well done and the music soft and tragic. All in all, very entertaining.

They even did a fake YouTube "share/watch again" ending (although it should be "replay").

Immediately after seeing that sequence I went online to see if I could find the clip but to no avail. I also couldn't help shake the feeling that the sequence was vaguely familiar. Leave it to the bloggers to figure it out. The sequence was a parody of photographer Noah Kalina's Everyday video that has gained a certain notoriety online:

I wonder what you're supposed to do with rest of your life once you've been parodied by the Simpsons. Awesome.

Note 1: See Noah's note on the Simpsons parody here. Apparently they used the music without permission.

Update: Looks like the part about using the music without permission was an oversight. The Simpsons people are trying to make it right.

Note 2: According to the YouTube spoof at the end of the parody, Homer is 39 years old. Who's gonna update Wikipedia?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Skelewag Love

As soon as I saw a little thumbnail of a Skelewag image on NotCot.org, I knew something delightful was lying just a click away. And boy was I right! I love love love these little bits of street art by an artist known only as "Chewie". He (I'm assuming it's a he) is extremely creative in using the urban landscape canvas as part of his art. His Skelewags' style is extremely reminiscent of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride - who doesn't like that?

This is truly one of the neatest things I've seen in a while. Not sure why I'm so excited by these images but they do make me really happy! Unfortunately the official Skelewags site is under construction but you can find more images here and of course with a simple Google Images search. [love!]

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Hand Painted

Not sure about the exact origin of these photographs (who took them and who painted the hands), but they're quite amazing to look at. I wonder if that paint is sweat-proof. Lots more here.

Via NotCot.org.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

You Will Never Be This Good At Games

Coming to you all the way from Too-Much-Time-On-Hands Land (actually Japan, where else?), comes the most skillful Tetris player you have, and likely will ever see. The deftness and agility of mind that this player possesses is absolutely mind-boggling. My eyes alone don't even work as quickly as the combination of his eyes, mind and fingers.

Amazing. Complete flabbergastification.

Thanks Roy!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Update: Connection Made!

Remember that post from a couple of days ago about the guy who was trying to find a girl he saw on the New York subway? Turns out he found her! And only in a mere four days after putting the site up.

Hooray for modern day love stories!

Updated update: Dream girl has been identified as Camille Hayton. I know you needed to know.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Neverending Good Things

I absolutely fell in love with this flash site as soon as I saw it. As part of mobile service provider Orange UK's campaign for their new Speak Easy pay-as-you-go plan, the site Good Things Should Never End is a gorgeous interactive "never-ending" page that offers tons of little nuggets to click on and play with. It's really hard to explain.

The idea is you scroll down this rainbow and interact with the various characters you meet along the way, each offering a different activity. The site was created by a London-based company called Poke. One of the most interesting elements is the use of "share" links throughout the site.

Clicking on these links pops up a window with code that enables you to embed that particular element of the site into your blog, share it on your MySpace page or Facebook profile or post it to del.icio.us or StumbleUpon (with one notable omission: Digg). Behold:

More and more, marketers are becoming savvy to grassroots online marketing, particularly with the popularity of widgets taking off in recent months. They seem to be recognizing blogs and social networking sites as virtually free, far-reaching advertising vehicles - not that they didn't realize the potential before, but I feel like they're becoming significantly more creative in terms of how they tap in to that medium. Peak the bloggers' collective interest with a neat and innovative nugget and you could just make morning blogrounds™, reaching Jebus knows how many (surely lots!) of eyeballs.

P.S. I was too lazy to make it all the way to the end of the page (it's really long and takes forever). If anyone has taken the time to do so, please let us know if there's reward at the end!

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mark Verhaagen

Mark Verhaagen is a Dutch illustrator and animator that creates beautifully surreal characters and scenarios with a varied cast of fuzzy wuzzies, cute robots and bipedal rolly pollies. His work is slightly reminiscent of Jeremy Dower's style, whom I previously blogged about here. His Flickr page is also definitely worth a gander. I'd love to get copies of some of his prints if someone can point me in the right direction.

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From what I can tell without speaking Dutch, HEMA is an Ikeaesque department store in the Netherlands. This doesn't really matter to me considering I live in Canada however they do have a neat animation on their online shopping page. And if it's entertaining then it's blogworthy.

Do give it a click and have a look for yourself.

Via Notcot.org.

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Missed Connection

The romantic part of me wants to help illustrator Patrick Moberg find the Girl Of His Dreams. The blogger in me wants to post this cute picture. He saw her on the subway in New York City on November 4th. He made this flyer and set up a website dedicated to his search. It's like Craigslist's Missed Connections (which, by the way, are a perfect read for a rainy Sunday afternoon) with pictures.

Via Sam Reich.

Addendum: This reminds me of an article I read in the New York Times a few years ago called I Saw Her on the L Train. Man I'm a sucker for this stuff.

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I read the book If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino about six or seven years ago but there's this one passage in the first chapter that has always stuck with me and I was recently reminded of it by this quote in Crissy's tumblog.

The passage describes a jaunt through a bookstore and lists different categories of books that somehow ring very true (at least to me). I've been meaning to revisit this for a while and, well, here we are:

  • Books You Haven't Read
  • Books You Needn't Read
  • Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading
  • Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written
  • Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
  • Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
  • Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered
  • Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback
  • Books You Can Borrow From Somebody
  • Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too
  • Books You've Been Planning Top Read For Ages
  • Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without Success
  • Books Dealing With Something You're Working On At The Moment
  • Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case
  • Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer
  • Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves
  • Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
  • Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread
  • Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them
  • New Books Whose Author Or Subject Appeals To You
  • New Books by Authors Or On Subjects Not New (for you or in general)
  • New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Completely Unknown (at least to you)

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Paint By Light

I saw an amazingly magical commercial on television a few months ago and was absolutely smitten by it. The animation was unlike anything I'd seen before, slightly imperfect like a flip book but also refreshing in its simplicity. Unfortunately when I finally sat down to blog about it I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the company! I searched everywhere but couldn't find it. So needless to say I was super happy to come across it again recently. The ad was for Sprint as part of their Sprint Ahead campaign. Have a look here:

According to Jamie Kivisto, one of the artists that worked on the project, "all the animation was done with flashlights...there's about 100 frames for every two seconds of footage." The commercial also features the song "Souvenirs" by Architecture In Helsinki (one of my favorite bands).

The stop-motion animation flashlight technique was also used in a couple of other commercials in the Spring Ahead campaign as well as the Sprint Ahead flash website. And if you're super interested in these commercials like I am, have a look at the behind the scenes video as well.

Addendum: Have a look at this Japanese site for more of the same. Via Taylor McKnight.

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This Is Your Breakfast

Photographer John Huck has taken pictures of people and coupled them up with pictures of what they had for breakfast that morning. And then he posted them on his site. That's it! Not sure exactly what part of that is compelling but I did find it engaging enough to click through every one of them so there's got to be something there. Anyone else find this interesting?

Via Kottke.org.

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