who watches over you?

This may been the finest piece of marketing ever to grace my Facebook sidebar.


the bastard-child of functionality

vans and the places they were” may be the only website I’ve ever seen that makes good, intentional use of horizontal scrolling.  What could have been one-trick, internet gag fare (that is, shots of custom vans) is tied together in an engaging way by its sideways-sliding gallery.  Though the shots portray stillness, the scrolling imparts on them a semblance of their natural motion, and invites the viewer to dwell in the differences between the images–not just differences of space and design, but of color and feeling.

BoingBoing makes an interesting argument about these shots as ephemeral art–that is, the placement of the vans in their respective environments is inherently fleeting (none of these fellas are up on blocks, rotting away), making the appreciation of their juxtaposition keyed to a limited period of time.  One might argue, of course, that photography–especially photography posted on the internet–is the opposite of ephemeral, in that it takes a passing moment and makes it (relatively) permanent.  The artist himself adds another dimension to the conversation:

Over the course of the project the vans themselves have become more and more of a rarity. The reasons are as simple as rust and changing tastes; and as complex as government “cash for clunkers” initiatives encouraging more fuel-efficient transportation. Notably, at the same time these vans have been disappearing from our roads – film photography as a visual medium has also begun it’s slow death. Consequently the goal of the project is to one day shoot the last remaining van on the final frame of photographic film in existence. Then the project will be finished.

What, then, of horizontal scrolling, the bastard-child of functionality?  If the conversion van and the film camera are technologies that are fading away to make room for the new, horizontal scrolling is a technology which, despite its irritating near-uselessness, is unavoidably here to stay, necessary in order to preserve the integrity of web-design, but never (well, almost never) used with artistry or intention.  Is this a sad tale of neglected dimensions?  Or a heartwarming yarn about the potential of the underdog?  Scroll to the right to find out.

republican values OR how to use web design to look like a jerk

While doing research for my previous post, I happened to visit the websites of our nation’s two dominant political parties.  I took a couple snapshots, so that we could compare them.  I think what we’ll see will reveal something about the state of American politics right now:


Democratic site: clean, simple, dignified.  Not sure I’d want my head put up real big on my website, but I guess if you’ve only got one popular kid at your table, you play the hand you’re dealt.


Republican site:  Well, let’s see here, we’re ridiculing a respected colleague and elected official, we’re trying to swell our friend list, we’re being sassy about voter fraud…  Oh and look!  We’re hiring!  Wonder why?

Also, here’s some samples from that Welcome Memo Generator:

This is change that makes sense. Welcome to the Democrats. I look forward to working together to borrow more money from China and the Middle East. Worry not, the next generation won’t even miss college.

(from “The White House Teleprompter”)

Now that you have officially joined the spend, tax and borrow Democrats, I can get you some sweet, free flights on military planes!

(from “Speaker Nancy”)

Senator Specter: Too bad you won’t be on the GOP ballot in Pennsylvania. I know you didn’t want Republican voters determining your future in the Senate. Enjoy the Democrats.

(from “You”)

Hm.  I can’t imagine why Specter wouldn’t want to ally himself with the keen intellects and razor wits that came up with this crap.  I wouldn’t want those people determining my future, either.  Not only is it pure snark, it’s Grade D Industrial Snark, the kind of stuff they’ll be scraping off the bottom of Jon Stewart’s chair six hundred years in the future, when planetary catastrophe has reduced the human race to a humorless assemblage of nomads who use the remnants of our civilization’s comedy to power their jury-rigged roadsters.  Maybe once the Republican leadership graduates from the ninth grade, they’ll have some time and attention to devote to building a decent platform and giving the Democrats a run for their money.

civony: the hotness of your naked queen

civony1I have gotten hundreds, literally, a couple hundred google hits on this entry I posted about Civony, the half-assed-looking new browser game that is sweeping the nation with its blitz of extremely low-budget ads. I must say, the campaign is brilliant.  Not only are they combining cheap sexiness (and by “cheap”, I mean “ripped off from a costume catalog“), total market saturation, and absolute scamminess, but they seem to be consciously not disseminating information, so that a quick search brings up no significant results beyond their homepage–not even a Wikipedia entry.  We are forced to keep googling, driving up its page ranks or whatever, in a desperate attempt to figure out what the hell it is, and how such a crappy-looking thing can have such a large ad budget.

I guess the real question is, can these guys put together enough money to but a drug villa in Mexico before various copyright holders descend upon them like a plague of sexy, sexy locusts?

(If you got here via a Civony search – are you playing this game?  Are you just as baffled as the rest of us?  Or are you just a search bot, morosely clicking about your duties until someone does you the kindness of cutting your power and letting you fade away, putting this miserable life behind you?)

start your journey now, my lord

civonyWhile doing research for my previous post, I came across this ad on YouTube.  I have not clicked it, nor googled it yet, as I would like to first react to the ad itself, before diffusing my confusion with actual knowledge.

So, what are we looking at here?  It’s like, one part Civilizations, one part Castles, one part softcore porn?  Perhaps you build structures to fend off other players who are attempting to steal your hot young queen, who you just abducted from a neighboring monarch, and whose sexual favors you unlock by impressing her with your martial conquests?

Okay, let’s just look it up before things get out of hand.

Nope.  It’s just Age of Empires, but they couldn’t find someone to draw a half-naked scullery maid, so they put an ad on Craigs List.  I guess ads on Youtube are cheaper than I thought.  Waaaaay cheaper.

Great Cats of the Internet (Japanese Edition)

I don’t plan on becoming one of those guys who just writes about internet cats all the time, and posts pictures of internet cats, and eventually through some strange apotheosis becomes an internet cat, spending the rest of eternity in a Buddha-like state, gazing out of screens all across the cosmos with my shiny slitted eyes and regulating the karmic lols with my endless feline data mind, but it must not be said that I do not appreciate a good cat every now and again.  Here, then, are some of my favorite internet cats, straight from the Japanese internet*:

This fine fellow is called Winston-san, and I’m told he has been featured prominently on Cute Overload.  His fame means little to me, but I am quite impressed by his table manners and his sheer fluff.

Papi-chan is possibly the fattest cat in all of  the internet.  I am not sure whether his size is a result of unwise care, or a natural condition, but his adorableness is undeniable.  Also, it is amusing to hear the narrator say “Norwegian Forest Cat”.  (I know a couple of Norwegian Forest Cats, and they are certainly characters.)

I believe Maru-chan may be the king of all internet cats.  Having come to the attention of the online community due to his amazing love of boxes (above, and remixed here), Maru is the epitome of feline entertainers:  round, curious, active, comical.  Here’s his (lengthy) info video:

(I might pause here to note that Maru is fond of a relaxed position also popular among my friends, the Norwegian Forest Cats, which is commonly termed “The Superman”.)

(* I do not mean to exclude cats from other parts of the world–these Japanese fellows just happen to be on my mind.  I may address cats of other locales, foreign and domestic, in the future…  barring apotheosis.)