The Ranting Wren The Wren Forum Banner
The Glorious Wren The Movie Wren The Photo Wren Old Man Wren

Exit ArchiveArchive for January, 2007

Speaking of corporate images, Apple has launched region-specific Get a Mac TV ads in Great Britain. (Great Britain is the big islandy thingy up off the north-west of Europe.) This follows region-specific ads for Japan. (Japan is the big islandy thingy over off the east coast of the various Koreas.) It’s fun to compare three versions of the same commercial, linking below.

The American Version: “Work vs. Home”

The Japanese Version: “円グラフ” (Pie Chart)

The British Version: “Pie Chart”

Interesting that the American one has a different name. “Pie Chart” makes much more sense. You can certainly tell how they’ve refined the same ad as it’s been re-shot for the other countries. For instance, the subtle differences between the American and Japanese versions demonstrate a more clever attack on the humor. When the Japanese PC says, “This light gray area can represent activities representative of fun and activity shameful to our ancestors,” not only did Apple shift the tone for the culture, but also made it more laugh-out-loud funny. (Translation provided by Jim’s Auto Body and Foreign Cultural Translation Service Station.)

The British one is a culmination of all that Apple has learned. The use of a physical pointer is key, because not only is it funnier than a laser pointer, but the Brits probably don’t have laser pointers yet. But the clincher in the British spot is the dialogue used for the pie chart sections themselves. “Hang-out time” and “kicking it” are good and all, but “shenanigans and tomfoolery” and “hijinks” are much funnier. Splitting “hijinks” further into sub-categories with yet more archaically British language is brilliant. Or, as the Brits like to say, “brilliant.”

The performances themselves are interesting… Maybe I’m nothing but an over-patriotic immigrant-hating Minuteman American redneck trailer-park floozy, but I believe the best acting comes from John and Justin in the American ads. The way John says “pie charts” is nothing short of comedic genius. The PC guy in the British ads is very funny, true, but the Mac guy seems a little… stiff. He’s stiffer than the Japanese guys. How is that possible? Must be all the bangers and mash and bubble and squeak. (If you think the Japanese guys are totally, like, so totally stiff, please take a moment to watch the Japanese PC guy boogie.)

I simply can not contain myself when I ponder the excitement of viewing Kazakhstani and Ugandan versions of the Mac ads. I do hope those are in the works!

Well, this is pretty amusing:

I couldn’t tell if this was oldish, or newish, or what. But then that new Kodak logo comes up at the end… Huh! Guess Kodak has a new logo! This must have been a CES video.

My parents got a new puppy. My GOD, could anything be any cuter? I have some pics posted over in my gallery. Here’s a sneak peek:

Dad and Tucker Take a Snooze

Let’s ignore the fact that the newest version of WordPress broke my Wren Peeps and Linky Link Links and concentrate on the very, very cute and touching e-mail I got from Eddie and Nathan, Robbyn and Jeremy’s boys.

I always have a great time with all my Colorado friends whenever I get to see them, and now that some kids have sprouted into the picture, it’s made things even more special. Ed and Nate are about the cutest things in the universe (right up there with Cameron and Garrett), and the adventures we have together are certainly (nearly) making up for the fact that I do not have any kids myself.

Here’s what they wrote (smileys here are mere approximations of the smileys I received):

Dear Steve Hat,
I hope you enjoy a picture that I’m going to send in a couple of days to you. I haven’t figured out what yet, but you will get it in a couple days. I’m planning to dig a tunnel to California because I don’t get to see you very much. I could sleep underground and then at day I would come and eat breakfast with you. And then I would go in and do some things while you are at work. Then at night I would come out and eat with you and do some fun things. Could you send me a map of the state and show me where you are in the state? I think we should move to California. Mom says we would miss our friends and family here but I said you are my best friend. Love, your friend, Eddie 🙁 😳 😥

Dear Steve Hat,
I wuv you and I wuv you bery much. I hope you have a good trip. Have a great day. Love, your friend, Nathan 😡 😉 😯

1023123nfkkgeog0yu u67p4444444444p

Isn’t that just about the cutest thing you’ve ever read?

Now, the Steve Hat thing is not something I can explain. It’s not something I think any of us are able to explain. Eddie, when he was very little, started calling me Steve Hat. I do not know if I happened to be wearing a baseball cap one day and it stuck, or what, but there it is, and now I am Steve Hat. In fact, this last trip, on New Year’s Eve, Eddie divided all of us party revelers into groups. I, of course, was in the Steve Hat group, which also contained Eddie, Nathan, and, for some reason, Darren. Every group had their own style of Happy New Year hat.

A couple nights later, at The Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Denver (much, much cooler than the ones here in So Cal, but not nearly as cool as it used to be when I was a kid), the ranks of the Steve Hat group were solidified: I was Steve Hat 1, Eddie was Steve Hat 2, Nathan was Steve Hat 3, and Darren was Steve Hat 4. Perhaps the next time I visit, Eddie will have a bandanna color chosen for our gang.

It takes a lot of energy to keep kids engaged. I always love it. I have a flavor of the unwavering energy it takes for parents to raise kids… but only a flavor. Robbyn and Jeremy, Michelle and Alan… I commend you and others. Kids take a lot of work.

I have been counting my time with kids as very special. Here I am, getting on 40, no prospect of a partner in sight, and so no prospect of kids beyond that. I’ve wondered, however cursorily, if I would be able to adopt a kid and raise it myself, kind of like Jay is doing. Could I do that? Would I? The way my life is set up now, with the apartment living and the easing into more acting and, maybe someday, away from Disney, kids might not be a good idea. But I would be very sad if I got through life and never became a father. When I think of never having a kid, I get a twinge of sadness, right there, where twinges of sadness tend to attack.

So I am very grateful and happy that I can be “Uncle Steve” to some of my friends’ kids. Even if it’s only a few days of the year total, being with them is a treat. If I never get to try the joy (and difficulty) of being a parent myself, at least I can get some good kid time by leeching off my friends. Thanks, friends with kids!

The empty space in my heart is filled! Joy has returned to my wrist!

Chococat Returns

Chococat is back! He/she/it comes by way of eBay, and I thank it forever.

Permalink Comments Off on The Other Steve: A Study in DummyComments Off on The Other Steve: A Study in Dummy By

Oh, Steve Balmer! I know you have to say these things, but do you have to say them like a goober? It just means when Apple kicks your ass in the phone market, you’ll have one more overly-cocky, dumbass remark to attach to your Marley chain. (And what I hear from Windows Mobile users is that Windows Mobile sucks… Sure, the Q you mentioned does the things you said it does, but it does them poorly, which was the entire theme of Steve Jobs’ iPhone announce.)

Steve Jobs Teases the Audience

I put that title in quotes because it is stolen from a Wired online article by Momus. Go read it now, because I won’t be nearly so eloquent in what I have to say.

Being at Macworld last week was important for me. As pathetic as it may sound, Apple and its products are a huge defining detail for me and my life. I’ve always liked computers, but when the Mac came out, I was astounded at what computers really could be. Everything before it was nonsense. Baby stuff. I would guess that, by this point in my life, were there no Mac, no well-designed, beautiful, thoughtful, groundbreaking Apple products, I’d be merely ho-hum about computers. My young passion for them would have been lost in the mire of pathetic interface and ugly design.

Part of my enthusiasm and thrill is using a Mac. People who do not use computers enough, or who truly, genuinely do not care about a quality “user experience” (I hate using that phrase), will not get this, and will find using one computer OS the same as using another. But working on a Mac is a pleasure to me. A joy. Like riding in a very fine car or eating some beautifully crafted chocolate. No one gets this, because most people use Windows. To them, that a computer could be a pleasurable experience is laughable. Maybe the Yugo driver would be the same way until he tried a BMW for the first time.

Apple is the one company in the world that can stab me with a product or announcement and garner tangible, visceral reaction. Sitting in Steve Jobs’ keynote last week was an utter thrill. Knowing I was watching, live, the unveiling of what will be (not what may be) an industry-defining device, was true excitement. And I wasn’t alone. Watch his keynote. (Click the “Watch iPhone Introduction” button to cut to the chase.) Listen to the audience in those first few minutes as he builds to the iPhone intro. These people are watching a tech keynote by a tech company? You’d never guess it. Listen to us all in that room! We love this. Forget sports or concerts (though the end of the keynote was a mini concert in and of itself). Give me Steve Jobs announcing something revolutionary any day.

I am being rushed in this post because I’m at work and don’t have time to spend writing it as well as I’d like. But Momus is right on the mark. Read his column and see what I mean about Apple moving people emotionally and, maybe, why it happens.

Permalink Comments Off on SabotageComments Off on Sabotage By

Yes, the Get a Mac ads are surely hitting a creative stride.

New ones to enjoy: “Sabotage” and “Tech Support.”

Permalink Comments Off on WJDYMCA?Comments Off on WJDYMCA? By

Okay, so I have a bunch of things to write about, but again, I am choosing to procrastinate and instead post this:

Y, Jesus? Y?

I do not know who these guys are or what terrorist cell they are with (those who mock Jesus can only be terrorists), but I have to call them traitors and hooligans!

Steve Jobs announcing the iPhone at Macworld 2007

My dreams have come true… It’s gorgeous… (This picture, on the other hand, is decidedly NOT.)

Permalink Comments Off on My Beautiful MacworldComments Off on My Beautiful Macworld By

Macworld San Fransisco 2007 Banner

Yes, I’m at Macworld. Yes, I get to see Steve’s keynote tomorrow. Yes, I’m as giddy as a Japanese schoolgirl with a new cell phone charm.

Permalink Comments Off on I was Robbed by Two Men, but That’s Okay, Because I Got the Body I’ve Always Wanted!Comments Off on I was Robbed by Two Men, but That’s Okay, Because I Got the Body I’ve Always Wanted! By

I’m back in L.A., back at work, and back at whatever. Until I have some time to write down my summary of the trip and post pics in the gallery, I’m going to once again rely on the lazy man’s version of a blog posting: YouTube! Herewith, another peculiar Japanese video. Enjoy!

I wonder (among many, many other things) at the chubby American’s interesting headdress. Something has gone awry. While the henchman has obviously read the Ne’er-do-Well’s Handbook of Handkerchief Disguisery, there appears to have been no time in this hurried stickup plot for him to disseminate the information higher up the chain of command.

Thanks to Sven for forwarding this one.