Branding change

The Obama camp has managed to brand their flavour of change. When I first saw their CHANGE signs, I had a basic gut reaction to it that I couldn’t explain. It made me think of pretty, sophisticated, smart … and that’s weird. Why did I think this? Well because they’re using a font that’s very similar to the CHANEL font (if not the same), it is in all caps, has the same first 4 letters, and only 1 letter is different between them. If you look through Chanel ads from the past 10 years, you’ll see a similar treatment of the “change” and it’s subhead with the Chanel name and it’s product names and taglines. 

My perception of Chanel is completely opposite of the Bush brand. The Bush brand perception is simple, dumb, and abrasive. Of course the Obama camp would want to look the complete opposite of the Bush brand. So since the Obama camp is essentially using a look of another brand that already has specific connotations for the American consumer, are they benefiting from that brand’s perception? And did the designer of the sign purposefully use a similar font to invoke the Chanel brand perception?

If someone asked me this question, I’d have said that they were over thinking it. But since Karl Rove, I’m a bit skeptical of any coincidences in campaigns. And it just bugs me.

Movie Reviews


I think I’m finally back to normal after seeing Cloverfield last night. I was so seasick that I think I only saw about 20 minutes of the movie. Most of the time my eyes were closed and I just listened, peeking once in a while to see what the commotion was about. The most that I watched at one full go was the credits. If you do see it, watch until the credits end and listen carefully.

***You might consider some of this spoilers***

It makes me wonder if J.J. Abrams ever thought about how sick this movie was going to make his audience. I’m a huge Lost fan, but it makes me question if he has the chops for directing for the big screen. There were scenes in MI:III that had feeling similarly. At one point in Cloverfield bright lights flash consistently, which made me feel even worse. So either he achieved his goal in making us just as uncomfortable as the characters in the movie, or he seriously screwed up. At some point, you’d think while watching the dailies that he’d want to see it on a full screen to make sure it was watchable. He could have easily adjusted the camera character into a film student to explain why the camera was steadier than your average joe would have held it. And it would have made more sense that the character wouldn’t want to be stuck being a glorified wedding videographer for the party.


At the end the couple is under a bridge in Central Park. Now if you’ve spent a good about of time in the park, you know there are bomb shelters or maintenance rooms around those bridges.  A girl who lives right next to the park would probably have seen these. So why didn’t they head to one of those?


Heading home

The packers are here building box forts. We’ve booked a place to stay. And we’re heading up to Vancouver on Wednesday morning. Four years have passed so quickly (well this past year went by kinda slowly, but that’s okay). I’ll miss my friends here (and the Mexican food), but I’m sure I’ll see them again. 

So now we’re apartment and job hunting (long story), and looking forward to being closer to our friends and family. As crazy as it sounds, I’m also looking forward to actual winters, cooler summers when we can go hiking in the mountains without getting heat exhaustion and sunburn, and unpredictable weather. 70F and sunny gets a little boring after awhile.  


I’m on Schmaps

Last month a photo from my trip to L.A. was short-listed for Schmaps Los Angeles guide. (Schmaps does online and downloadable travel guides for 200 destinations. ) Well it made the cut, and anyone who’s interested in the Brea Tar Pits can see the lovely photo. Maybe they picked it for my phenominal photography skills or maybe no one on Flickr has taken a photo of just the tar pit. So yay me.

They also have these cute little schmapplets you can customize to show people your itinerary, where you’re going on your hen night, or whatever. Scroll through the photos and you’ll find mine.


Save the dolphins in Anguilla

Since I used to live in Anguilla, I’m still subscribed to an email news list that gives me updates of what’s going on around the island. I seriously just wanted to cry over the weekend after I read the latest email and saw what the Dolphin Discovery in Anguilla (aka Dolphin Fantaseas) was doing to their dolphins.  A local man is so concerned that he put together a page full of pictures and says:

The Dolphin Discovery facility at Meads Bay is closed down. It appears to have been abandoned by the previous management. There seems to be only a handyman present on the site during the day. He tries valiantly and without management guidance to keep up with basic maintenance. The dolphins are left to swim in their own waste. The water has become badly polluted. It is now in what must be a dangerous state for the health of the dolphins and anyone else, for that matter, venturing into the water.

Yes there are more atrocious things going on in the world than these little guys getting abused, but this is something that could easily be fixed. Unfortunately, it’s the tourists that are driving the market for a dolphin encounter in Anguilla and the local government doesn’t seem to be doing anything because it’s such a draw for tourists.  I would love to swim with dolphins too, but I’d feel to guilty.

Other than posting to message boards, writing to travel magazines, newspapers, and Peta, (and creating as many keyword links to Don Mitchell’s site) there doesn’t seem much else that can be done from where I am. Unless someone knows a celebrity that would talk about it – because no one listens to anyone else these days.


We live in a magical age

Brendon and I talked with his grandmother (aka Nanny)  in Australia via video Skype a couple weeks ago.  It was the first time he talked to her face to face in about 24 years.  After seeing Brendon and talking to him for a bit she said, “We live in a magical age.” And you know  – she’s right.

His aunt surprised us with the call and after getting the web cam and Skype to cooperate it was like the Jetsons video calls. As a kid I thought that would be the coolest thing ever and laughed at Jane wearing her fake face when she answered calls in the morning. Needless to say I kinda wanted one of those when they called.

What seemed improbable as a kid starts coming true the older we get. Today another thing happened. Whenever my sisters and I were being complete grumps when we were little, my mom had this little mantra she would say to us: “I don’t want to be happy. I want to be sad.” She always told us it was from her favorite cartoon from when she was little.  We never saw this mysterious cartoon –  I never thought we’d ever see it, and it was lost to history.

Fast forward 25 years.

Boing Boing featured a cartoon today that sounded like it just might have that line it in. And it does! The cartoon is on YouTube and is called “The Sunshine Makers“. I immediately emailed it to my mom and sisters. It’s a funny, sweet, and silly part of my childhood that suddenly makes a little more sense.

That little discovery might not seem as magical as talking to someone on the other side of the world, but to me it’s on par.


Paris souvenirs

Things to remember about Paris, in no particular order.

  • Itinerary
  • Photos
  • View of the Eiffel Tower from the apartment at 1am when only the sparkling lights are on
  • Police concert
  • American sandwiches at the Police concert – two hot dogs on a baguette topped with French fries and special sauce (dead-on name, just never have seen it before)
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Getting lost in the Louvre
  • Dinner at Alain Ducasse
  • Seeing fashion shows, parties, and photo shoots
  • Nuit Blanche – Choir and organ concert at Notre Dame
  • Watching France vs New Zealand rugby match on the big screen at Place de Hotel de Ville with thousands of other people – and France won
  • Chocolate chaud at Angelina’s
  • Tea and macaroons at Laduree
  • Tea at Mariage Freres
  • Chocolate
  • Fauchon cafe
  • Following Amelie’s footsteps in Montmartre
  • Shopping in the 8ème
  • Sunday morning wake-up call
  • Finding a painting of Brendon
  • Wandering the city
  • Schedule – wake at 9, breakfast, explore, lunch, explore, tea, explore, go home, have dinner, sleep

In the city of blinding light

Well after months of planning we got to Paris. Everything was going perfectly until we tried to find the apartment. The was no number 52 on Quai to Grenelle. In fact, there was no even numbers on the street. Of course all the worse things started flooding through my head at this point, filling my ears with something that sounded like Doctor Who’s tardis taking off, and pulling me down to the ground and my head between my knees. Well it was probably more like I had forgot to breathe, hadn’t slept, nor ate any proper food in the past 24 hours. This is when Mom’s fainting advice with box breathing and putting your head between your knees came in very handy. (Women tend to faint in the heat in my family) So after about 2 minutes of me with doing my best impression of a dog licking its balls on a bench near the La Seine, I felt somewhat normal. And Brendon went to see if it was the next building over.

Now my impression of a dog must have been quiet convincing, since a cute little salt and pepper terrier came over to say hello. And he quickly wanted to claim me as his own…by peeing on my suitcase. But it must have brought me good luck – Brendon came back and said he found the apartment. Number 57, not 52 — they look similar, right?

After finally getting into the apartment we took a nap. (I know, I know…you’re not supposed to do that. And that’s why I’m up at 5am.)

The rest of the day we walked around our neighborhood, found the local bakeries, went walking along La Seine to the Eiffel, dodged the ‘did you lose your ring’ and ‘do you speak English” scammers, happend on the Diana make-shift memorial, ate at a local cafe, went grocery shopping, watched a bad/funny French variety show, and went to bed.
But the apartment is lovely, and the view spectacular: overlooking the Seine, and 3/4 of the Eiffel Tower, top-to-bottom, along with the lovely light show every hour from dusk to 2am. But at 5-in-the-morning, the tower is dark now, and the city is surprising quiet.

Off to make breakfast. Pictures to come on Flickr.


Break in the Honeybee Murder Mystery


Originally uploaded by Ashley Richards

Looks like they might have found what’s killing off the bees. I blogged about this before

It’s a virus that’s never been seen in the U.S., but has been seen in Israel. So I guess it’s another thing to blame on global warming and our appetite for foods that aren’t in season. Ship in foods that have the virus and with make the environment nice an cosy for them to multiply…and you’ve got yourself dead bees…well that’s if the theory holds true. They still have to do more testing…

I hope they cure it. I’ll miss my honey and 1/3 of my food that depends on them.