The 60 Days of Christmas

November 3, 2009 at 12:27 am (advertising, Branding, economy, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, marketing, South Florida) (, , , , , , )

 

Snowball

Is it just me or does Christmas keep getting earlier every year? No, not the actual day, – that’s hasn’t changed much in roughly 1500 years – but the commercialization of Christmas starts earlier every year. Yesterday I noticed a JCPenny decked from mall entrance to parking entrance in winter holiday décor, and a Target that already had their Christmas salutations flying – THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN!

Remember when Christmas would not even be thought of until the day after Thanksgiving? Now it’s like our fine pilgrim friends never existed. No more turkey decorations, or pilgrim hats. No cornucopias filled with a bounty of veggies and gourds that no one really eats. For the first time a Hallmark Holiday has actually trumped a Hallmark Holiday. What will we see next year, kids dressed as Santa, elves, and Chanukah Harry for Halloween?

Today I actually saw a tent selling Christmas trees. For those of you in states where the temperature drops below 50˚ F for more than two days a year it might not be that uncommon, but for us in South Florida where at 11 pm in early November it’s still nearly 80˚ with 70%+ humidity. I don’t care if you call them evergreens, those trees aren’t gonna last 2 months.

I miss the days when Christmas was just fun. Now it’s more burden than anything else. I understand that businesses are trying to promote early savings on gift buying in this new economy, but c’mon, with every passing year the holiday season becomes less fun and more like a chore. Marketers, advertisers, and promoters of holiday cheer; I implore you, please give the holiday season its soul back.

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Joshua Hoffine – Master of Horror

October 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm (photography, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Joshua-Hoffine

When you close your eyes at night, what nightmares come creeping in? In the case of photographer Joshua Hoffine I think we can tell this very easily. That is because he painstakingly creates beautifully staged photographs of all manner of horrors with a little help from his friends and family. I encourage you to check out his website and blog showing the behind the scenes work that goes into each shot.

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Transforming Halloween

October 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Halloween is a fun time of the year – especially the costumes! Here’s a few examples of Transformers costumes I came across. Even though I gave the second movie a well deserved harsh review, these costumes are cooler than most.

This more homemade version has an cool way to close the hood:

And this one is just fun – sometimes kids rock:

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College Prepares for Zombie Attack

October 19, 2009 at 11:23 pm (Florida, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Is your emergency plan of zombie attack up to date? Rest assured if you are in the Gainesville, Florida area that the University of Florida has you covered in the event of an undead uprising. In fact they have reportedly developed a procedure to help you identify and detail how you “dispatched” a member of the living dead also known as “zombiesm” or Zombie Behavior Spectrum Disorder (ZBSD)

The document leads us through the stages of ZBSD:

Part 1 of this exercise will be to identify characteristics of a zombie outbreak that might precede official notification. These might include:

  1. Disappearance of isolated citizens, initially in relatively remote areas;
  2. Increasing numbers of gruesome unexplained deaths and disappearances, especially at night;
  3. Identification of difficult to kill, flesh-eating perpetrators;
  4. Recognition that the numbers of perpetrators is rapidly increasing and that those previously identified as victims have reappeared as perpetrators;
  5. Increasing isolation of survivors;
  6. Breakdown of peace-keeping and medical services;
  7. Documentation of lots of strange moaning.

Part 2 of the exercise will be a discussion of how the overall impact of a zombie outbreak will affect use of and support for the course management system and will address such issues as:

  1. In general, zombified users will be inarticulate and unable to clearly describe technology problems and use cases;
  2. Some support staff may be infected and unable to effectively and efficiently carry out their support responsibilities;
  3. The rapid breakdown of civil society and declining numbers of uninfected users may have adverse budget impacts resulting in a reduction in staffing levels;
  4. The spread of ZBSD to institutional administration may complicate policy making;
  5. Conversely, the spread of ZBSD to institutional administration may simplify and streamline policy making resulting in dramatic improvements in administrative responsiveness and service delivery;
  6. Additional security measures will need to be implemented at service delivery points (i.e. the Hub and SSRB).

Phase 3 of the exercise will cover important operational topics such as:

  • Proper hygiene during an outbreak;
  • Most effective hiding places and refuges should you encounter zombies at home;
  • How to properly process and route inarticulate zombie-calls to avoid being accused of failing to adequately support infected UF faculty, staff, and students;
  • Situational work practices such as covering windows, barricading doors, and distinguishing between zombie moans and other moaning encountered in the workplace;
  • Dispelling myths. For example, contrary to Lawrence (2007), garlic will not stop true zombies, only vampires; and zombies do come out during the day, though they are most active a night because they typically do not like sunlight;
  • Policies and procedures for dispatching an infected co-worker

My favorite part of the document is the “Infected Co-Worker Dispatch Form”, which includes:

“This is to verify that at the time and place indicated above I was required to kill (last name) (first name), UFID # (if known) because he / she was displaying the following…

Based on these symptoms I killed (name of dispatched zombie) using a…”

Many of these symptoms seem to be part of the standard college experience:

“Documentation of lots of strange moaning, users will be inarticulate and unable to clearly describe technology problems and use cases, some support staff may be […] unable to effectively and efficiently carry out their support responsibilities.”

Maybe I attended school with zombies without even realizing it! Though highly unlikely that this is an actual UF policy, it’s nice to see that someone is preparing for any emergency.

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Aliens vs. Halloween

October 17, 2009 at 5:44 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , )

Illegal Alien Costume

Halloween. It’s a time for fun, candy, costumes, and an excuse to party (as if we needed one). For kids, costumes usually concentrate around their heroes from tv, books, movies, and music. As adults we tend to add in some sexiness or humor, especially humor with its roots in politics and pop culture. This week Target and BuySeasons, Inc were asked by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles to pull one of their costumes off the shelf because of its political humor.

The costume in question consists of an alien head, green card, and prison style jump suit with “illegal alien” emblazoned across the chest. The Coalition calls this “distasteful, mean-spirited, and ignorant of social stigmas and current debate on immigration reform.” A report by Minneapolis based Star Tribune cites other immigrant groups up in arms over the issue.

What I don’t understand is why one group would feel that this costume is directly targeting them. The costume has an alien mask, though the mask is not green it does not  depict a specific race. There is nothing on the costume or props that suggest a specific ethnicity is being harassed by it. It is not saying “all aliens” or “legal aliens” – just illegal aliens. “Illegal Alien” is a blanket term. In fact according to the 2007 statistics, between 2005 and 2006 the number of illegal aliens from Mexico diminished from 7M to 6.5M while the number from India rose 125%.  Between 2005 and 2006 China, India, and the Philippines were all ranked in the top six countries for illegal immigrants, not to mention the nearly 75,000 undocumented Canadians.

So what do you think? Is this costume directly offensive to a certain culture, or merely a satirical embodiment of a political issue? In a pole on the AOL website out of 186,945 people this offends 9% of them while an overwhelming 91% of voters find this costume inoffensive – 91%! That’s nearly a third higher than Obama’s approval rating in January 2009.

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