Friday, February 27, 2009

(RED) with Frustration

So the other day I'm sitting in my front room, watching T.V. (likely something on either the History Channel, ESPN, or the Discovery Channel) and I see an ad wherein a handsome, young hipster - straight out of the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog - struts down the streets of a European metropolis. The denizens of the city swarm him like teenage girls to a Disney Network television star, smacking his butt, patting his shoulders, and even kissing him passionately. I sat there wondering why he was being lauded with such hormonal, almost fanatic, praise. Had he just found Osama Bin Laden? Did he create the cure for cancer? Surely, he must have done something that will change the lives of our children forever, right? Not quite. The answer sat in a stylish, red laptop he had tucked under his arm, branded with the ever-growing, trend-setting phenomenon called (RED).

If you haven't heard of (RED) yet, here's a quick rundown. This is quoted from official website here:
(RED) is a business model created to raise awareness and money for the Global Fund by teaming up with the world's most iconic brands to produce (PRODUCT) RED branded products. A portion of profits from each (PRODUCT) RED product sold goes directly to the Global Fund to invest in African AIDS programs, with a focus on women and children.
Great. I'm all for abolishing AIDS in third world countries. In fact, I am a huge proponent of prosperous countries like the USA doing their part to help with the various crises that plague so many less fortunate countries around the world. (RED) seems like a noble cause. So what's my beef with it?

My problem with the (RED) idea is that a brand has been created that focuses so much on trendiness and popularity, it almost entirely overshadows it's charitable purposes. The Dell ad, for example, places obscene emphasis on how popular and beautiful you will be to others when you purchase their cherry red laptop. There is no mention of where the money goes or who it helps. If you want that information, you're left with a very small link to the (RED) website at the end of the commercial. I noticed that there was no mention of the cost of the (RED) Dell laptop over it's typical counterpart, nor how much of the money goes toward charitable purposes. With my curiosity piqued, I did some research and found this from
Counterspin Cynics, including our tart-tongued droogs over at Consumerist, have raised some important questions about Dell's (RED) pricing scheme. The laptop featured in this ad, for example, costs US$150 more than its plain-Jane peer, yet only US$50 of that goes toward the Global Fund. The only spec difference is that the (RED) model runs a tweaked version of Vista. Is that really worth an extra US$100? Or has Dell built in a way to make a little coin off consumers' best intentions?
Now, whether or not Dell is making more money off of their (RED) brand laptop computers is up to debate. Nonetheless, I have always held contempt for businesses that spin charity to heavily market a product, because more often than not, that company formulates such marketing tactics to self-aggrandize and build profits rather than to actually help those in need. Likewise, I disdain consumers that buy said products only for the sense of popularity and trendiness they bring. My opinion is that if you're going to donate, do so privately. Don't perch yourself on the allegorical street corners of life to show everybody how wonderful you are. With that in mind, I hope that most consumers do their research before buying a (RED) branded product. I did find that the 8GB (RED) Apple iPod costs the same as it's vanilla-flavored twin with 10 dollars of proceeds still going to the charity. (Apple fanatics, rejoice.) Even then, though, I ask myself how much of that money (RED) spends on branding, marketing, and developing costs and how much they actually put toward helping people. (RED) makes it very clear, on their website, that they are NOT a charity. And something about that worries me.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

David After the Dentist

If you haven't already seen this, you MUST watch it. This legitimately makes me wish I had friends that do drugs.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Traffic School!

Today I spent two hours in traffic school for what happened here.

This was my impression:

(Click on the picture for a larger version if you can't read the graph)

No, I didn't have a bathroom emergency. It's just that when the officer began the meeting he said "Don't go to the bathroom unless it's a bathroom emergency." So, with all the graphs and charts and stuff we saw, I'm surprised there wasn't one like this.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ladies, watch out!

I've been without cologne for the past month or so, relying instead on my can of old-spice body spray to impress the ladies. Body spray, however, doesn't really do what cologne can. So I was excited to see, this morning, that this finally arrived in the mail:

Don't let the brand name confuse you. I hate Abercrombie and Fitch as much as the next guy. To me, the brand has prostituted itself out too much to the demographic of guy models that look like chicks, and girl models that look like dudes. It's not my cup of tea. I wear this cologne, however, because it has evoked more "oh-wow-what-are-you-wearing" type responses from the ladies than any other cologne I've worn. With that being the primary reason I wear cologne, (secondary is to fend off vampires) I figured I'd stick with what works. I am considering a second bottle of something else, though, because one cologne all the time makes jack a dull boy. I think the polygamists put it best when they say, "Why have one, when you can have two?"


P.S. Please offer your suggestions on what my second choice should be!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Traffic, as seen from my room...

This was a 30 second exposure. Thus, cars that were there for only a few seconds at the light take on a ghostly, semi-transparent quality.

You may notice the blotches of light near the streetlamps. That's what happens when you shoot through your window. In the summer I'll open it up and take out the screen and maybe use a filter to give the light a more star-like beauty.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 People for a Whopper

Burger King recently ran a promotion in which if you sacrificed 10 of your facebook friends, you'd get a free whopper. Everybody knows nowadays that we all have friends on facebook that we don't even know - people that wandered in one day from the plain of society to graze in our pastures for a moment, only to disappear into the sunset of the next day and never be heard from again. I have a handful of these kinds of "friends": a guy from England that I've never actually spoken to, an Egyptian man that likes my art, a girl from California that dated my brother for a week, among others. The circumstances under which they became my friends were varied, but all held a common denominator - my inability to push the "no" button when they asked to be a part of my electronic life.

Having friends in strange places isn't necessarily a bad thing. Neither is having friends in low places, where the whiskey flows and the beer chases my blues away. (Garth Brooks) Really, though, it doesn't hurt to have friends you never talk to. There's no facebook tax for the quantity of friends you have, so you're welcome to add anybody and everybody that crosses your path. It is nice to know, then, that every once in awhile somebody like Burger King will come by to reward you for cleaning house. It's nice to get rid of those few stale kilobytes that sit idly at the bottom of the list, ya know? Make life just a little bit less complicated. And if you can get your hands on a thick, juicy whopper while doing it, I don't see how you can go wrong. Unless you have a heart attack. Yes. Then things can go horribly wrong, especially when you consider that you'll have ten less people there to console you when it happens.

For now, Burger King has discontinued the carnage. But according to their website, 233,906 friends were removed. Which means that 23,390 Whoppers were consumed - grossly thickening the arterial walls of America.

Maybe next year Jamba Juice will do something similar: "Heart-wrenching, heart-healthy fun! Ten friends for a free smoothie! No limit!"

Now THAT's a promotion.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brilliant Bloggers

I have tried to keep a current list of the blogs of friends and family there on the right side of the page under the title "Other Brilliant Bloggers". However, from time to time new blogs/friends are made and I just plain forget to put their blog in the list. This had led to some wondering why they're not on the list.

That's where this post comes in. If you regularly read this blog and feel that I have forgotten to put you on the list, let me know! I'd be happy to add it. :)

Thank you!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This blog is currently in the process of renovation. You may notice that the background is no longer just black. Clouds of hope and light have taken the place of the darkness, and soon all of the blog will be beaming forth with bright newness and bushels of fun.

Bushels of fun?

Yeah, I didn't really know where that was going to end.

Keep an eye out for changes though. Cause the winds of change are a blowin!

Only one of the GREATEST rock ballads ever. Video's a little hokey, though.

And for those of you who habla the EspaƱol, I give you the Spanish version. (Yes, I did hear this on my mission... many, many glorious times)


Sunday, February 15, 2009

A light matter...

On Friday I drove up to Draper to go through the open house for the brand new LDS temple they've built up there on the mountain. My friend, Shana, who flew in from California for the weekend, had tickets and invited me to come along. As was expected, the temple was absolutely stunning. One thing, in particular, that really impressed me was the lighting. And, I know this is going to sound really weird, but part of what I loved about the lighting was that it reminded me of some lighting I'd seen last year in Las Vegas.

Yes. Vegas. In a casino.

I know that sounds really counter-intuitive, but hear me out.

In the past few visits to the city of sin, I've noticed that one thing certain casinos do extremely well is their lighting. I'm not talking about spotlights in palm trees, tacky neon, or the epileptic light shows jumping around the slot machines. The lighting I speak of is something more subtle. It was in the Bellagio, I think. There, as I remember, the ceiling was lit in such a way as to make it appear that the material it was made from was actually luminescent. It was exquisitely beautiful - almost fake looking, as if it had been rendered with a computer. I'd never seen anything like it. The light was soft and white with hints of pink and orange - like a sunset - and the way it filled the deep arches and the soft, even curves of the molding was astounding. I distinctly remember stopping in my tracks and just staring up at the ceiling - thinking that something that beautiful belonged in a place more deserving than a casino. In fact, I remember the temple crossing my mind, but quickly brushed it away for fear that I was doing some injustice to the temple by associating it with a casino.

Well, you can imagine my surprise then, when on Friday, in the Draper temple, I looked up and saw that same, nearly transcendent quality of light. If anything, the experience taught me that beauty can and should be appreciated everywhere - in holy places and not-so-holy places alike. Your thoughts?


Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm on a Boat!

This is hilarious:

Disclaimer: All cuss words are bleeped over in this, but you still have a good idea of what they're saying. If that offends you, do not watch. Also, if you don't particularly find Andy Samberg's style of comedy funny, you may not think this is as hilarious as I did. However, if you want to see one of the most excellent rap parodies of recent make, check it out.



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scrubbin' Away!

Last night Scott and I were watching the History Channel. We'd just finished working out and were stretching when Kevin, another roommate of ours, ran in to the front room. He'd come from the bathroom and was carrying a small, silver scrub brush - the brush we've always used TO CLEAN OUR DISHES.

"Umm, I dunno what Patrick was doing with this in the bathroom ... *pause*... but he had it in there and it looks like he was scrubbing something pretty hard with it."

Sure enough, the bristles on the brush had been grotesquely bent from their previously healthy, upright position. Aggh! We could only imagine the horrors this innocent little scrub-brush had been exposed to in the bathroom.

Now, before I go on, a little background information is needed. Patrick is from China. His real name isn't even Patrick, but something that we supposedly can't pronounce. Because of the cultural differences, he does things ... differently... than we, in America, are accustomed to doing. And we understand that things might be different. That's okay! BUT it does not excuse using our wonderful little dish cleaner for something as vile and wretched as cleaning the freaking bathroom!

Plus, who's to say that the brush hadn't been in use previously, say, to get the gunky stuff off from around the base of the toilet? Then maybe a few hours later I use that SAME brush to wash my dinner plate. How many times might something like that have happened!?

We tried not to think about it to much, and just threw the brush into the back of the cupboard under the sink. There it will reside forever, unused, with an old towel and some crusted-over dish soap.

Rest in peace, little guy.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

A New Habit

For those of you who don't know already, I've recently taken up cigarettes. People ask why I use them, and, frankly, it's for the flavor. You just can't get that robust, mature flavor elsewhere.

I had my first Hillburry a few days ago, and I've been hooked ever since. To me, there is no better smokeless, tobacco-less, tobacco on the market. And the way I feel after I've eaten a cigarette is simply indescribable. There's a feeling of calm, cool confidence. Confidence that only comes after you've eaten a cigarette. Sometimes, I'll have a Hillburry and then finish off with one of my classy "KINGS" brand cigarettes. The smooth, mellow aftertaste a KINGS brand cigarette brings to my palette makes me remember the days I spent in my youth at the old lakehouse.

There aint a nothin' like it in the world.

Welcome to Hillburry Country


P.S. Yes, they're fake. Deliciously fake.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I've got a golden ticket!

Haha! Guess what! My ticket isn't actually golden. It's more of a white, paper color. It was given to me last night by a police officer.

Yup. It's my first traffic ticket since I was 16. Now lemme get my tiny violin out so I can tell you my sad, sad story.

There we go. :)

So last night, I was heading back to Provo from Lehi. I had gone up to visit my best friend, Justin, and spent a few hours playing with his Wii. (Don't you dare even smile at that.) If you've never played Boom Blox, you need to find a friend with a Wii and buy them the game. It's a blast!

The fun times we had enjoyed, however, would soon be overshadowed by the menacing glare of an angry, constipated cop. (He had that grunty, hurried expression in his face with just a tinge of excitement, as if he thought he were about to poop for the first time in months, but was incredibly mad at me for delaying this intestinal milestone.)

I was pulled over at the corner of 500 N and 700 E - a three way stop - at about 1:15 in the morning. When the cop asked me if I knew why I was pulled over I responded with an honest "no". He told me that I had failed to obey a stop sign. I almost asked him "which stop sign?" but thought better of it, even though I honestly couldn't remember seeing a stop sign I should have stopped for - hence the reason I was being pulled over. I reluctantly gave him my license and began to ask him if I could get a warning (I'm a damn good driver, and law-abiding, too!) but you can't reason with a man who appears to be consipated. He hurried (waddled) back to his squad car and returned a few minutes later with my freshly printed ticket. After a brief explanation of what to do with the ticket, he grunted some more, wished me a good night, and sped off. I imagined he returned to the station, disappeared into the bathroom, and, minutes later, raised his gun to shoot the ceiling; whooping and hollering in triumphant celebration.

I, on the other hand, returned to my apartment where in all of the underground parking we have here, there was not a single spot to be found. Mind you there were a few trucks that had parked so poorly, they rendered the parking spot next to them useless for all but a Smart Car. I eventually found a spot on the street, outside, a block or so from my place and, dejected and cold, walked home with my ticket in hand.

It was a rough night.

I need to appear in court in no less than 5 days and no more than 14 days. Once there, I have three options apparently. One, I pay the fine (which remains a mystery, as there is no mention of the fine on the ticket.) Two, I contest it (which I really can't do because I totally just ran the stop sign - a stop sign that stands in plain sight and that I have lawfully stopped for probably 200 times previously.) Three, I go to traffic school - the obvious choice, since it's probably much cheaper than the fine and will, with six months of ticket-free driving, remove any points that would have been put on my record.

I hear you can do traffic school online now, too. :)


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scary Place!

Last night we decided to go visit an old, abandoned house in Spanish Fork, Utah. I don't know the history of the house, nor do I remember what it is called, but my friend, Scott, calls it the "redrum" house - a reference to some graffiti on a back wall that pays homage to the movie, "The Shining."

Due to the horribly bitter cold, I didn't take many pictures. Also, we were out there only a few minutes when we heard a dog start barking like crazy from what seemed like inside the house. When the bark suddenly grew louder (as if the dog had run out of the back of the house) we ran for our lives. It sounded really big and really mean.

(Scott and Laura brave the cold for a picture with the house)

As you can see from the pictures, the house is quite beautiful. It's a shame it's abandoned. I think it could be stunning if renovated. You wonder why it's been abandoned. These places are rarely haunted, but you never know. I look forward to going back when it's warmer. :)

Click on this one for the larger version. You can tell that the poor house is in really bad condition by the way the interior is rotting away.