free markets, free culture

Archive for June 2009

Molecular gastronomies

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Fancy Fast Food is a blog about re-mixing fast food, fancily.

From the blog: “These photographs show extreme makeovers of actual fast food items purchased at popular fast food restaurants. No additional ingredients have been added except for an occasional simple garnish.”

High-brow or low-brow? Despicable or brilliant?

In other words, where on the New York Magazine Approval Matrix would this blog belong? Here are some sample works:

McSteak & Potatoes

  • Popeye’s Chicken –> Spicy Chicken Sushi
  • White Castle –> Tapas de Castillo Blanco
  • Burger King Croissan’wich and Biscuit –> BK Quiche

Other extreme food makeovers:


Written by @hellopanelo

June 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Posted in food, hack, remix

Gestalt advertising

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Frank J. Oswald’s latest Mental Shavings post is about the new Scientology commercial: Chocolate and Football Games

Frank notes: “Of the smattering of comments on YouTube, nearly all are positive, like this one: ‘This makes one of my friends cry every time. So beautiful and so true.’ ”

Filmmakers know that any sweeping montage of opposites — life, death, up, down, yin, yang — tends to have that tearjerker effect.

Or at least some kind of awe-inspiring, holistic, gestalt effect, like those commercials for multi-national conglomerates. These are the Koyaanisqatsi type clips of ships, airliners, wind turbines, planets… The viewer asks, “What does this company do?” The campaign says, “What we do is everything.” (Think Dow, GE)

Who doesn’t like a good, random collection of nouns? Shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages, and kings. I dare you to read one page of Adrian LeBlanc’s Random Family and not be spurred on to read the next 100 pages, just to see where all these nouns lead. Perhaps to chocolate and football games… roast beef, and trampolines.

Written by @hellopanelo

June 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm

One Picture, Many Paths: a new tool for prez-entations

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The Big Picture

Prezi is the kind of presentation app that could possibly make you excited about public speaking. It’s based on a shared understanding with your audience of a “big picture” and the ability to smoothly drill down and focus on details as needed, without ever losing sight of the top-line messages.

Instead of a PowerPoint deck with a series of linear, chronological slides, Prezi is essentially a giant picture. At different points, you can zoom in and zoom out and zig zag your way throughout this giant picture. The “presentation” itself is really a map, a pathway, you create through the picture.

The fluid motions as you transition from one cluster of ideas to the next makes the presentation more.. smoothly cinematic than, say, a typical series of PowerPoint animations.

This would be an awesome way to break down those large infographics that GOOD Magazine just posted to Flickr! (See their Transparencies archive.)

*Edit:  Just saw the Prezi designers had something like this in mind as well :)

*Edit: Just saw the Prezi designers had something like this in mind as well 🙂

Transformation Zebra

As you create text and images, you manipulate everything by a series of spinning discs in the top left hand corner. You basically judge a lot of things by sight, and by rotating a circle, instead of messing with numerical values. Kind of like using a mouse trackball to make things bigger and smaller.

For example, when you are typing text, there are no font sizes to choose from — only the zebra rotator tool that lets you inflate and deflate the scale, visually.

Picture 4

(Tangent: this use of manipulating data “by sight” reminds me of some innovative market research questionnaires I’ve seen that use visual metaphors instead of numerical values. For example, instead of asking you to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how satisfied or dissatisfied you are, it allows you — via an animated illustration — to pour liquid into a tank until it reaches a level in the container that you feel represents your level of dis/satisfaction. At the least, it makes for a fun, game-like experience while slogging through a survey.)

I can’t wait to use Prezi for… something. Hot Pot??

Please comment if you have used this tool before, and would like to share the results. (Or if you thought the narrator in the video tutorials had an amusingly familiar accent. I guessed Armenian. The company appears to be based in Budapest, but I can’t confirm.)

See a sample Prezi showcase here. Where’s your masterpiece?

Written by @hellopanelo

June 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Penny Blossoms

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Monday nights on ABC are my nerdcore TV time: The Big Bang Theory at 8pm, about a group of physics geeks (one of which is Johnny Galecki) living in a San Fran apt with a pretty girl next door. Adventures include: Super Secret Spy Agent Lunch with laser limbo, robot wars, and all manner of dating fiascos. The script isn’t always “on” but the actors are a goofy bunch, and I like their liberty in coining new terms. (My Twitter name quarkblocker was taken from one of their episodes.)

It’s a pretty smart show, much like the one that follows it: How I Met Your Mother at 8:30, with the scruffy and loveable Neil Patrick Harris. How absolutely brill that a talented gay actor plays the best womanizer in situation comedy today.

Anyway, last night’s Big Bang featured an especially entrepreneurial episode about Penny trying to escape her waitressing job by creating “Penny Blossoms” — flowered hair barrettes with a rhinestone center. Sounds really Etsy, right? Of course they’ve got it covered.

She ropes the guys into helping her manufacture a rush order of 1,000 Penny Blossoms for the East Rutherford, NJ Gay and Lesbian Center. Lots of great cracks at the factory worker culture and the invention of work and union songs to help the time pass as you hot-glue-gun a thousand plastic flowers together. (In the makeshift living room assembly line, the Indian geek Rajesh retorts, “If I’d wanted to spend my Saturday nights doing this, I would have stayed in India!”)

The boys also have an idea to market the Penny Blossoms — use it to help men disguise bald spots. How to target this demographic? ADD BLUETOOTH! “Everything is better with bluetooth.”


Sheldon: 10 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = $2,600

Penny: That’s all?

Sheldon: If you took advantage of modern marketing techniques and optimized your manufacturing process, you might be able to make this a viable business.

Penny: And you know about that stuff?

Penny… I’m a physicist. I have a working knowledge of the entire universe and everything it contains.

Penny: Who’s Radiohead?

Sheldon: ….

Written by @hellopanelo

June 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Posted in crafty