Archive for the ‘advertising’ Category

Self-Storage: A place to keep your crap

August 26, 2016

I used Self-Storage once, while between apartments, and had an odd, melancholic conversation with an uber driver on the way to pick something up out of it.

Self-storage is to private property what obesity is to great food in America – a serious problem. A kind of addiction. A greedy perversion of what should be a pleasure and a human right.

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This inspired my latest News24 Column.

Recently, I was about to move in with someone, and realistically needed to ditch 90% of what I own. Plates, cups, furniture, duplicate soda stream machine, microwave, toaster… you get the picture. That’s okay. I thought it was. I’ve been forced to reduce, toss, get rid of and let go of things many, many times over the years, though I will confess to keeping an entire 500 LP and 600 CD record collection at my Ma’s house, and the record player and a few other boxes at my Dad’s. But aside from that, I’m willing to let go. Yet I thought, for a moment, about getting self-storage. You know, just in case his soda stream broke and we, you know… needed mine.

And then I realized how crazy that was. How sad. How utterly expensive. I realized this urge was all about the fear of change – that somehow my identity was – is – tied up in this mere stuff. And in disgust, I made a list of only what I wanted to keep. Everything else, anything I can’t remember, must go.

In the process of researching why I was having so much trouble doing this, using my favorite analyst, Google, I also found these entertaining advertisements, mostly from one New York company, Manhattan Mini Storage. New York city may be the only place where self-storage is justifiable, and these guys’ adverts are like an American version of SA’s Nando’s Chicken’s, which make fantastic use of opportunities to satirize politics in South Africa and Southern Africa.

Nando’s agencies do their jobs so well that their ads get banned, as they did for this takedown of Zimbabwean Dictator Robert Mugabe.

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Gay marriage is just as annoying as straight marriage, as it turns out. It’s very hard to de-clutter a shared space. It begins to be about territory.

 

Ouch.

Ouch.

 

People don't know what they store. The reason it's in storage is it's of no use to them.

People don’t know what they store. The reason it’s in storage is it’s of no use to them.

 

New York political snobbery. Another billboard mocks "secret republicanism"

New York political snobbery. Another billboard mocks “secret republicanism”

 

I know people like this. My desk used to be pretty messy, when I had an office job. No longer.

I know people like this. My desk used to be pretty messy, when I had an office job. No longer.

Wait, what is this? This looks like something I need in my life right now. A service that comes and cleans up my future room mate’s junk, so that I can easily move 10% of what I now own into the space I’m sharing?

No such luck, baby. It’s just another storage place.

I saw a billboard for this in LA. I thought it was a decluttering service. Turns out it's physical "cloud" storage. They pick up your items, catalogue them and store them with other folks', and retrieve them when you ask them to.

Turns out it’s physical “cloud” storage. They pick up your items, catalogue them and store them with other folks’, and retrieve them when you ask them to.

 

Shots from a shoot

July 16, 2014

I worked background (as a film extra) last night, on a feature film shooting night for day in an LA coffeeshop. Now anyone who’s ever worked as cast on a film set knows you spend most of your time waiting to be called to set, and we were stationed on the sidewalk to make space for the shooting and setups inside. So I divided my energy between wandering around taking pictures of what I could find in a 30 foot radius, and reading a novel called Jamesland (pretty good, if you like stories about messed up women) on my kindle.

The great thing about Beverly Blvd is it’s paradise for sign-bloggers. Stenciling has taken off, and is very hard to remove from pavements. Obscure alterations dot traffic signs. And there’s always someone with a lost dog or something weird to sell you or tell you.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he's peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he’s peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

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Stingers curled around a cool stencil saying “Publish Enemies”. It’s a viral (probably illegal, but I’d bet the fine is less than doing it legally) campaign for a comics / TV brand you can follow on Twitter as @publishenemies

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“Sheep needs a facelift. Draw here.” I think personally, I’d rather be a live sheep than a dead crosswalk activist. But I’ve seen mothers using their kids and babies in strollers as human shields to jay-walk, so perhaps I’m just not as trendy as they are.

 

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I am convinced this is a joke. But in Hollywood, you really never know. All I can say is that if this dog is “like their child” I hope we never have to watch the live birth video of its exit from the vaginal canal, because that would be gross.

 

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later.

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later. He looks happy, but not like the type to wear pearls or care about cash.

 

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Grumpy Cat says more money should go towards providing shelters for homeless animals, but Republican cats think this will only encourage more cats to be homeless. Snapped on La Brea on the way home from set at 6am.

As massive as LA is, as huge a hub as it is for the film business, I was struck by how small it was when I arrived on set to discover that half the crew (including the Cinematographer) were from Chapman too, and the producer was South African. You can always tell when a set is full of Chapman alumni because of the singing and friendliness that comes with the hard work and long hours. And despite any gripes I may have against the school, I say that with some pride in my former film school.

Who’s the best? Art Contest in a Koreatown Mall

June 1, 2014

“A Brighter Future” – that’s the topic assigned by Korean bank BBCN, who sponsor the national baseball team and also this student art contest. The winners and honorees were displayed in my local mall, the Galleria. I wandered in there late at night while killing 15 minutes before an appointment for a foot massage.

It happened to be a time when I was thinking a lot about winners and losers, and not feeling like much of a winner. What’s great about what I saw is that I realized that the judges are crazy. The winners deserve their prizes, but that doesn’t mean the “losers” don’t deserve to win as much or more.

This got me to thinking that you can’t make good art if you do it for the sake of approval, and not for the sake of passion. I recently saw a film that cost about $2 million to make. The filmmakers stated up front that they wanted to make a commercial film. Everything about it screamed manipulation, right down to the fact that the music was like an action movie trailer soundtrack looped for about 90 minutes. Watching it, I felt dirty and annoyed. What a waste of money and all the participants’ talent. No, you don’t make art “for yourself”. It needs to be seen. But you also don’t cynically make it to score points, or it will suck.

With that, you be the judges.

I had the gallery mostly to myself.

I had the gallery mostly to myself.

I like this one. It's very teenaged - like the kid had to conform to the "Bright Future" thing but was in hormonal mood on the day.

I like this one. It’s very teenaged – like the kid had to conform to the “Bright Future” thing but was in hormonal mood on the day.

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A prize winner. I like it, but it is feels mostly decorative and doesn’t move me much. I predict this artist could probably make a living, though, unlike most, as nobody wants to hang trauma on their walls.

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This is really cool. I love the speeding devil-bull. By Heather Choi. Title is in Korean.

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Again, lovely for a lounge. Not sure why it’s a winner but I like it. Ashly Haine, “Italy Trip”

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I think this is brilliant. I love the sense of perspective, the choice of angle, the sky POV and the family of birds hanging out right there with her. This should have won a prize. Can’t read the artist’s name but the title is “Helping Hands”

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I picked out this one because it reminds me of the kinds of things my brother used to draw as a kid. He was really talented but went into Medicine, leaving me to flounder around in the art world. Andrew Kim’s “Energetic Crane”.

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Hilarious – a protest against the horrors of homework. I remember feeling like that, like I’d die if I had to do my maths problems. I’d avoid it until 10pm every time. Of course, not quite suitable for BBCN bank’s yay the future theme. by Theresa Oh. Can’t read the title. “… Camp”

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This being a school art contest, I saw a lot of eyes, hair, and clocks. Being a kid is difficult as you get older. You are not free, but you have all this pressure on you. People who feel their school years were the best of their lives puzzle me. I always liked learning but institutions blow. Can’t read the title or artist name… sorry.

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This is awesome. So many stories in this, like a memory of riding the bus, or of one day around town. Again unfortunately the title and artist name are blurred!

A playground picture. I like it a lot.

A playground picture. I like it a lot.

Sweet. A self portrait.

Sweet. A self portrait.

A prize winner. I am surprised this one. It is interesting, but not really on-message. It reminds me of Kentridge or Jane Alexander. Can't read the text.

A prize winner. I am surprised this one. It is interesting, but not really on-message. It reminds me of Kentridge or Jane Alexander. Can’t read the text.

I think the overhead is fun. A portrait of a life that seems crammed with possibilities.

I think the overhead is fun. A portrait of a life that seems crammed with possibilities.

The title of this is something like "families reunited" and I suspect it is to do with North/South Korea. I loved it and I think it should have won something.

The title of this is something like “families reunited” and I suspect it is to do with North/South Korea. I loved it and I think it should have won something.

Hilarious. That french bread looks like a you know what.

Hilarious. That french bread looks like a you know what. And the dude on the stomach seems really surprised by how big it is. I don’t think this was the artist’s intention. But that’s another thing about art – you can’t control what you make, entirely.

Joyce Yo, "Drowning without Soul". Weird. I don't know if I get it. Is it about prostitution?

Joyce Yo, “Drowning without Soul”. Weird. I don’t know if I get it. Is it about prostitution?

So cool. A girly giant lizard.

So cool. A girly giant lizard.

While I was looking at this, a random guy came up to me and asked "Is that your daughter's picture?" I was really insulted at the time, because it looks like a portrait of an addict mother. Why do strangers think it's okay to ask you personal questions like that? Then again, what kind of weirdo wanders around an empty mall on a Saturday night.

While I was looking at this, a random guy came up to me and asked “Is that your daughter’s picture?” I was really insulted at the time, because it looks like a portrait of an addict mother. Why do strangers think it’s okay to ask you personal questions like that? Then again, what kind of weirdo wanders around an empty mall on a Saturday night.

The eye thing again. There were a lot of them.

The eye thing again. There were a lot of them. This seems like a portrait of a talker. Or is it a lonely person watching a group of friends and wishing they could be there, with them?

This picture is so vary LA - "Urbanization of Sophistication" by Erica Lee. I love it.

This picture is so vary LA – “Urbanization of Sophistication” by Erica Lee. I love it.

Jennifer Bae "Movie Theater" captures a moment from Frozen, which the Sound Designer on my thesis film, Christine Hals, worked on. I love this because it captures the magic of movies as a child, the way they fill your head and your heart.

Jennifer Bae “Movie Theater” captures a moment from Frozen, which the Music Composer on my thesis film, Christine Hals, worked on. I love this because it captures the magic of movies as a child, the way they fill your head and your heart.

Cell phone age art. All those smileys seem to be chattering, overwhelmingly and annoyingly happy. Not sure if that's what Kyle Son meant by "Smart Phone with Emoties".

Cell phone age art. All those smileys seem to be chattering, overwhelmingly and annoyingly happy. Not sure if that’s what Kyle Son meant by “Smart Phone with Emoties”.

There's a singer like this on a hundred stages like this in LA right now. The color and style reminds me of Kandinsky. Allen Manjae Chun "If I were a singer".

There’s a singer like this on a hundred stages like this in LA right now. The color and style reminds me of Kandinsky. Allen Manjae Chun “If I were a singer”.

Another awesome teenage self portrait by Scarlett Chang. I love the energy of this picture and I would probably have given it a prize.

Another awesome teenage self portrait by Scarlett Chang. I love the energy of this picture and I would probably have given it a prize.

Earnest, interesting. Not really sure about it. Well executed though, and the bank note probably helped make it a winner.

Earnest, interesting. Not really sure about it. Well executed though, and the bank note probably helped make it a winner.

"Face Painting at a Korea Party" - the colors in this remind me so much of the pictures sold at traffic lights in SA. By Jaimie Yoon.

“Face Painting at a Korea Party” – the colors in this remind me so much of the pictures sold at traffic lights in SA. By Jaimie Yoon.

This by Paul Seo won a judges award.

This by Paul Seo won a judges award.

So you see what I mean. They’re all lovely – I photographed all the winners and then all the ones I thought were interesting. I enjoyed this little exhibition easily as much as any I’ve seen in a famous museum. I wonder where these kids – some of whom are six years old now – will be in 20 years. Who knows, they might be famous film-makers, artists, animators or photographers. I hope they are happy, whatever the future holds.

 

 

Photos from a heatwave in LA

May 4, 2014

It’s been an amazing week. There have been some moments of relative hell. I froze up while trying to pitch a screenplay. My toilet broke and I’m still flushing with a bucket.

But those are not what I will remember.

This is where I live now.

Every time I see the city, I have to remind myself this is now home.

I live here. Every time I see the city, I have to remind myself this is now home.

Saturday night at Paul's in Orange. I've seen people get slapped by girls there. And when I say "girls" I mean it loosely.

Saturday night at Paul’s in Orange. I’ve seen people get slapped by girls there. And when I say “girls” I mean it loosely.

Noticed this protest flag above a bar, commenting on Turkey's laws against twitter.

Noticed this protest flag above a bar, commenting on Turkey’s laws against twitter on my way to a party on Sunset on Saturday.

There’s a heatwave happening. No sign of rain. No wind, really, unless you count the millions of fans, and in richer neighborhoods than mine, air-con units.

I set my alarm for 4am to make set by 6am. Went to bed at 12.30. Fell asleep at 2.15. Woke up at 2.30 to a massive car accident outside my window. So much for sleeping in Koreatown on a thursday night.

I set my alarm for 4am to make set by 6am. Went to bed at 12.30. Fell asleep at 2.15. Woke up at 2.30 to a massive car accident outside my window. So much for sleeping in Koreatown on a Thursday night.

The next day, I went to work. Not a bad office, right? Even without sleep in the hot sun running up and down stairs, I loved it.

The next day, I went to work. Not a bad office, right? Even without sleep in the hot sun running up and down stairs, I loved it.

It's a city where every electric box can be a sign.

It’s a city where every electric box can be a sign.

Where a Frieda Kahlo exhibition is not just in the museum. Although it's there, too.

Where a Frieda Kahlo exhibition is not just in the museum. Although it’s there, too.

Where I have no idea what this is about, although I see it everywhere.

Where I have no idea what this is about, although I see it everywhere.

Where there's a new weird billboard every day.

Where there’s a new weird billboard every day. This one from http://www.inthemeantimemen.org/ puzzled me enough that I looked it up. Inthemeantime is an organization that provides non-homophobic counseling, awareness, and testing.

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Another day, another perfect 8pm sunset as my turnoff approaches.

I have no idea why this is there, on an empty building.

I have no idea why this is there, on an empty building. “how do you feel here right now?” I felt stuck in traffic, which I feel a lot…

Took a walk to my local market - in a Korean mall. They don't sell cheese but everything else, they got.

Took a walk to my local market – in a Korean mall. They don’t sell cheese but everything else, they got. I noticed this mural, titled “Butcher”, on Olympic. I have no idea what it’s about.

At the mall, I found this Random Heart - something I began noticing after fellow blogger and friend Dorothyblack.net began documenting them. I always thought they had to be accidental - this one, like mine, probably is. It's a grease spot.

At the mall, I found this Random Heart – something I began noticing after fellow blogger and friend Dorothyblack.net began documenting them. I always thought they had to be accidental – this one, like mine, probably is. It’s a grease spot.

Home made stop sign. I love that someone made it. You can't buy them, probably for legal reasons.

Home made stop sign. I love that someone made it. You can’t buy them, probably for legal reasons.

So tempting... Would I have a legal leg to stand on if I parked there?

So tempting…

I found this David Bowie cat outside two broken down, deserted houses on a side street. There were about 10 other white cats and a white kitten camped out there. Neighbors leave their frying pans just inside the gate out to be cleaned.

I found this David Bowie cat outside two broken down, deserted houses on a side street. There were about 10 other white cats and a white kitten camped out there. Neighbors leave their frying pans just inside the gate out to be cleaned.

And then I got home and wrote for a while. Hit the end of act two of the rom-com I’m working on. Life is good, but South Africa and the elections feel strangely far away. They warned me about this – about America – that I’d begin to feel I belonged. And I do.

 

 

Little Los Angeles: Look closer for sad stories and small miracles

April 13, 2014

Look at LA. Isn’t she beautiful? What always amazes me is how much is hidden behind, around, and underneath the buildings that I remember from watching LA Law re-runs as a lonely tween on Saturday nights in South Africa long ago.

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Taken from the parking lot at Galleria Mall, Koreatown

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Oculus just released. It’s the story of two grown kids who destroy a killer mirror (yeah, for sure!) by the makers or Paranormal Activity and other horror gems.

Look closer: Someone has drawn red horns on the girl.

Look closer: Someone has drawn red horns on the girl, and made her eyes red. Probably a burned out Hollywood nanny on their day off.

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A building near mine on a cloudy morning. There’s a story poking through from under the fresh coat of white paint…

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Two nights before, I went to buy oranges at the Guatemalan market near my apartment. As I left the lobby, I saw a guy tagging the wall, as his getaway car waited in the street. They stopped and admired it and took a photo before they left. The police didn’t come for 25 minutes when I called 911 the other night to report a guy in a white pimp suit shaking a girl in his car, parked in the middle of the road. Just in case you thought the police in SA were the only slack ones. By the time they showed, 10 minutes after I called again, the girl had run off and the guy had driven away.

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A sign board at a queue for a ride at Universal Studios’ theme park, reflecting happy holiday-makers. Notice anything?

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A little snail made it’s way under the glass somehow. I guess it must have arrived when it was smaller and grown up inside the glass.

Sometimes it’s fun to do it in reverse. See this billboard?

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LIVE THE CALIFORNIA DREAM… A swimming pool lined with palm trees in the center of your courtyard. They don’t mention you need to earn a fortune to have that in LA. Apartments like that cost $3-5k a month.

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And look where it is! Above a fleabag apartment building with cardboard-thin walls, on a triple lane road full of pot holes and cracks, near the freeway underpass where people who don’t even have a home eek out a living from under tarpaulins by the bridge. They recently re-painted this block, but it’s another great LA cover-up operation.

What I love about film-making is how it’s taught me to really, truly look at things. Once you begin to do that, there are stories everywhere you go.

 

Parking in LA is the tampon of living in LA

February 10, 2014

It’s bloody hell. Actually that was a gratuitous pun. It’s a pain in the ass… no I don’t do that with tampons. Okay, done with the puns, then. Parking…

You can live in a suburb, like mine, where you rarely need to walk to do your daily stuff. I have coffee shops, supermarkets… and amazing 24 hour spas, cheap massage places, great takeout, all within 10 minutes’ walk of my apartment.

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Boba. Coffee Boba. Apparently this will kill me. But have you tasted it? It is heaven.

But even if I didn’t want to leave my neighborhood, I’d still have to move my car at least once a week, on Wednesdays, for 3 hours – and that’s if I were not parked in the anti-gridlock zone (move your care between 7 and 9am) or on the street cleaning street (move your car between 2-5am), or the no parking on Thursdays zone…

You can live without a car in LA – there is plenty of public transport everywhere except Santa Monica. But why would you want to? If you wanted to live in a village, you wouldn’t be in LA to start with. Only the rich people in LA want to live in a village (they live in Santa Monica) because hey, rich folks can leave the village in a limo whenever they like. The point and joy of Los Angeles is how much it has to offer. The small problem with it is that it’s so sprawling and crazy that you absolutely need a car to actually LIVE there… and that’s why parking is like tampons here. Why tampons?

Cause, sure, you could make do with rags, or pads, for a few days, or just squat over the toilet. But who wants to do that? Nobody, that’s who.

So of course, everybody overcharges like crazy for parking in LA. A spot with an automated gate will push your rent up by $300 in Hollywood. Something off street will be around $75. And there’s a queue for that. It’s about two years long in Koreatown. I often park about 10 minutes walk from where I live. I have a sure bet spot that opens up often outside what I suspect is a crack house.

Head to a popular beach for a dip? Parking is $15 flat at Huntington. How about Hollywood Boulevard? Well, it’s $5. I’ve been here so long I was excited by that price, tonight. That sounded cheap.

I parked in a 2-hour government run parking spot. $4 for that two hours. Then I ran back and fed the meter for another 20 minutes – 50C. Then I left the event I’d been invited to by Eventbrite, by someone I still have not identified. But thanks – a really cool gig called Hollywood Shorts. More on that sometime soon.

Can you read the sign? It says five dollars, right?

Can you read the sign? It says five dollars, right? Wrong. If you get to the gate, it says $5 per 30 minutes in very, very small print. Flat rate is $20 til midnight.

Stranger than fiction

January 13, 2014

Back in Los Angeles, land of traffic, billboards and unbelievable graffiti. Here, the irony of a TV program that’s all about the tough law people enforcing the law, painted with illegal writing.

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Don’t know what CAUSE LOER means. I googled it – if you can tell me, post a comment with the info.

I’m so impressed by whoever got up there, and wrote that without getting caught, however little sense it makes to me. I’m all fan girl. This is a definite case of graffiti making a billboard better. Some other examples in this ADWEEK blog which¬†¬† led me to 40 BILLBOARDS IMPROVED BY GRAFFITI on buzzfeed…

I pulled a few of my favorites and posted them below. Enjoy!

original source: Buzzfeed

original source: Buzzfeed

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via buzzfeed

via buzzfeed

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original source: Buzzfeed

via buzzfeed

via buzzfeed

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.45.18 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.46.12 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.46.03 PM

Perrier and Diesel redefine #LAME

November 12, 2013

Scary is: the perversion of great ideas. Taking something noble and using it as a veneer for greed or cruelty turns my stomach. So I want to throw up frequently – when communism is used to oppress, when faith is used to justify murder, when war is sold as heroism.

And don’t worry if you’re not creative. Diesel will sell you a lie you can buy.

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You didn’t write any stories, but you bought the T-Shirt, so you’re cool. Another similar shirt says “Creativity is my weapon”. Actually, if you shop for T-Shirts at Diesel, I’d say money is your weapon, 1-percenter.

Really?

It makes for a pretty bottle. I probably bought it for the label without thinking.

It makes for a pretty bottle. I probably bought it for the label without thinking.

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Perrier “inspired” Andy Warhol. No… you idiots. No… you didn’t. You amused him, at most.

And really, does nobody see through this? Warhol was commenting on pop culture, on commercialism. And here it is, exploiting him. Yuck.

‘Wherever you go, whatever you do, your intelligence will be unwelcome.’ – Albert Camus

American Airlines supports war

November 7, 2013

Being pro-war (usually phrased as ‘behind our troops’) seems profitable – tire companies, airlines, ice cream companies … They all think it’s good for their image or their business.

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This isn’t something I’ve noticed outside of America. Yet it’s absolutely the norm here to encourage kids to be heroes for the cause of “freedom”.

Dating advice: the puppy trick

September 14, 2013

Lonely? Want a hot girlfriend? Kill two birds with one stone by getting yourself a puppy. Better still, be like this guy and get two, then go hang out outside the trendiest vegan restaurant you can find.

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“Oh, come her, come here, come here… sit for me?” And they do.

If he hadn’t already been surrounded by much cuter blondes in their twenties…