Monthly Archives: January 2009

25 things you probably didn’t know about me

I’ve been suffering a bit of writer’s block lately. Well not really, I’ve been really good at starting blog posts (I have about seven drafts in waiting for eventual completion) and I’ve been writing TONS of cover letters for jobs, but I’m not sure that qualifies as real writing. Anyway, it’s been awhile since the last post, so here goes…

I’ve seen this “25 random things about me” posted all over the blogosphere, and I figured I’d take a crack at it myself. I loved my friend Katie’s version… here’s mine:

  1. I have a very bizarre obsession with everything North Carolina. I have no idea how it started, since I’m Virginian, but I know I loved the southern neighbor since I was in elementary school. The beaches, the food (mmmm Carolina BBQ), the landscape, the weather. What’s not to like?
    I may or may not have invented this “piece of flair” in the past year.
  2. I’m the oldest of three; I have two younger brothers.
  3. I was a lifeguard for seven years. Seven! Granted, I’m mostly counting summers, but that’s over 1/4 of my life that I was certified for aquatic rescue.
  4. I earned 12 varsity letters in high school. Can you guess what sports?
  5. According to my elementary school diary (which I found the other day), I wanted to go to Duke and run cross country.
  6. When I was in high school I was bound and determined to go to college out-of-state. I wanted to apply to Florida, UNC, Duke, NC State, Michigan State, Pepperdine, and Tulane. My parents said I could pay the difference if I went out-of-state, so I applied early decision to one school, UVA. Luckily I got in, so no more applications after that! (By the way I’m relieved it’s where I went to school, even if I picked it for all the wrong reasons.) Probably needless to say, my preferences were shamefully based on sports. (Though obviously Pepperdine was for its Malibu-ness.)
  7. Speaking of Tulane, I’ve always wanted to go spend a week in New Orleans. I’ve been collecting travel brochures for the city since high school. I’ve been ready for beignets, Cafe du Monde, jazz, the French Quarter, and of course Cajun food, for years. No clue why I haven’t been yet.
  8. I’m gaga for vinaigrettes on salads. I love going to restaurants and trying different variations of this simple dressing — pomegranate, cilantro lime, balsamic, citrus, blue cheese, whatever. Most of the time the trials are a resounding success.
  9. Every year I seeeriously consider taking off the opening day of March Madness. And I’m not counting that day with the #65 versus #64 play-in game.
  10. Ain’t nothin’ like some sweet tea. ‘Cept maybe skim milk. I crush around two gallons of moo juice a week.
  11. My dad named the street I grew up on.
  12. When I was about 7 or 8 my brother and I got in a shouting match. He threw a Matchbox car at my face and I chipped a tooth. Oddly enough, I chipped the same tooth as my boyfriend who also chipped his when he was around that age.
  13. I LOVE driving. Most people don’t know that because I always call “not driving” when there’s uninteresting driving like driving across town or running errands. But few things top being behind the wheel on a road trip or on backroads, where you really get to see the country.
  14. In elementary school I had a gigantic crush on Christian Laettner (I imagine this is what sparked the desire to run XC at Duke). In middle school it was Danny Wuerffel and Chipper Jones.
  15. Hotness, as determined by a fourth grader. And a seventh grader. Methinks my tastes were better as a younger youngster.
  16. Some people dream of one day going to a Super Bowl. Others Wimbledon, The Masters. I’ve always wanted to go to the ACC Tournament. And the Summer Olympics to watch the swimming.
  17. I’m super into U.S. geography. Don’t know why but for some reason I had the states and capitals memorized for fun by about age 6. I find this country unbelievably interesting, with its vast differences in landscape and climate. I love knowing which interstates go where, how far X is from Y, what time zone a city is in. I love that it’s rare when someone names a place in Virginia that I haven’t heard of or vaguely know where that is. No clue where these interests stem from.
  18. The summer before grad school I drove around Oregon for a week and a half. I drove around 2000 miles and saw Crater Lake National Park, Mt. Hood, the Wilhammette Valley, the coast, Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge, beautiful forests, rose-laden Portland, Bend, and funky Eugene. Loved it.
  19. Speaking of, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to is a tossup between Crater Lake N.P. and Big Sur, on the gorgeous California coast.
    Left: Crater Lake, Right: Big Sur Which do you prefer?
  20. I never left the eastern time zone until 2005, when on a trip to Chicago with some college buddies.
  21. Never left the country til last summer, when I went to Cabo, Mexico.
  22. I love getting souvenirs. Silly things I like getting: maps, state flags, postcards, license plates, silly t-shirts and shotglasses. But what could be better than going to a Stuckey’s (redneck central!) and buying state magnets?
    Geography geekiness meets souvenir silliness. The two most recent additions to my collection, both in the past month. Bonus: got the NC one at a Stuckey’s that was half in VA, half in NC. I believe that’s what we’d call heaven on earth. It did have both Carolina BBQ + a Dairy Queen after all!
  23. Other than my year and a half in Austin, I’ve only lived in Virginia.
  24. In college I was part of a group of 10 students that camped out 17 days for tickets to a home UVA basketball game against, you guessed it, Duke. We scored front row seats and some of us met Dick Vitale. He autographed a poster at the game that looked exactly like this (though for other people). Oh yeah, and UVA won the game!
  25. My dad taught me how to back dive by bribing me with a Strawberry Scooter Bar. Apparently everyone else in the world calls them Strawberry Shortcake Bars.
  26. When I was younger I was embarrassed of my southern accent whenever I visited my grandparents and extended family in Pittsburgh. As a result, I phased out the word “y’all” for several years. Then one day I finally decided it was stupid and ever since used the word y’all as much as possible around them.
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Filed under family, food, North Carolina, nostalgia, sports, Virginia

Football’s Yellow Line Explained

How do they get that yellow line to show up on-screen in a football game? The one the offense has to cross to pick up a first down?

Will the day ever come that the players will see that line? Probably not, but here’s an interesting video about the making and implementation of the yellow line we’ve so come to love in watching NFL and NCAA football on TV.

What on earth did we do before this? Guess where the first down line was based on where the orange stick-holding chain gang was on the sideline? That is so 1995.

The technology was unveiled in 1998 by Sportvision and adopted first by ESPN, landing the network an Emmy for technical innovation. It was aptly named 1st and Ten.

“That yellow line has become such a staple in U.S. football that no self-respecting network would think of televising a game without it,” according to the IEEE Spectrum article.

This despite the hefty $2 million pricetag for development.

Thanks Twitter, for pointing me in the direction of this and many of the most interesting articles/videos I’ve seen in the past few months.

Further reading: HowStuffWorks.com

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Filed under broadcasting, college football, NFL, sports

G

I’ve known for a little while that Gatorade had been planning to unveil new packaging, since I had “read” this blog post about it on TheDieline, the self-proclaimed (and can’t say I disagree) “leading package design website.”

Gatorade redesign. Photo courtesy TheDieline.
I wasn’t a fan of the design at first… It seemed a little Adobe-ish for some reason, even though Adobe uses a sans-serif font and this G has a quasi-serif, but I thought the lightning bolt logo would save the design from being a total dud due to easy recognition. I say Adobe-ish because the label blends in exactly with the color of the contents and is straightforward, simple, brightly colored and easy to read, just like these Adobe product logos:

Adobe logos from The System.

While in Ukrop’s (the best grocery store in the world) last week I saw several “new package Gatorades” but they were missing the signature lightning bolt. Yeah, it was in the sports drink section, and yeah I knew the brand planned to redesign its package, but I wonder if anyone else had walked by looking for product, got confused and left. Probably not, but you never know.

Anyway, I’m not a fan of those Gatorades lacking the lightning bolt, and I’m also not wild about the related “G” commercials that have flooded the airwaves these past few days. First of all, I was actually aware of the packaging change, and still didn’t recognize right away that the commercials were for Gatorade. Truth be told, after the first watch I sorta thought, is this a commercial for Georgetown? Why are all these athletes on here? What’s G? The G reminded me of the Georgetown G (see below). It also briefly crossed my mind that it could be for some new line for Nike.

The Georgetown G. From georgetown.edu.

Anyway, here are some of the new “G” ads. What do you think?

The ads are the work of TBWA\Chiat\Day. I think the music is catchy (it’s been in my head off and on all day long, with the exception of Texas’ “give ’em hell, give ’em hell, make ’em eat shit” chant from the Fiesta Bowl) and the use of celebrity endorsers certainly makes it memorable (Lil Wayne’s voice, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Serena Williams, etc.). But what difference does it make if people don’t know what the product is?

In my non-scientific convenience sample of my family (five), I was the only one to know what the product was within three views. That’s pathetic for the brand considering at least three of us drink the product semi-regularly and all five of us are passionate about sports and recognized the majority of the athletes.

In a more reliable, though still unscientific poll on CNBC‘s Sports Biz with Darren Rovell blog, the survey found that 37 percent of the 287 respondents “don’t like the spot, don’t like the ‘G’ idea.” Though 57 percent of the respondents did enjoy the ads, but were almost evenly split between “OK with the ‘G’ idea” and “just say it’s Gatorade.”

According to the blog post, one reader said, “I don’t know why this is so awesome, it just is.”

Bleh. Can’t say I agree. I stop paying attention to the voiceover about five seconds in, though I keep wondering what celebrity will next cross my screen. And the song never quits!

Additional reading: AdAge on G

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Filed under advertising, celebrity endorsement, commercials, sports

Thunderstorm of miscellany… and welcome 2009!

Hi all! Hope your holidays and 2009 are treating ya well so far! Apologies for going underground again… It’s been a whirlwind with graduating, job hunting, moving across the country, the holidays, and visiting with friends and family. An enjoyable whirlwind however.

Hopefully I’m back for a while, but here’s a smorgasbord of thoughts… Sorry in advance, it’s quite the hodgepodge:

  • Should I get a job immediately? Or should I take up other pursuits for a while before getting back into the working world? While I’d prefer to get a job sooner rather than later, I’m not killing myself to get my job tomorrow. Here’s an interesting article in last week’s AdAge weighing in on the merits of waiting versus full speed ahead. Good comments in feedback section too.
  • Holy monkey I’ve become so into Twitter. If measured only by time spent on the network these past few weeks, it’s safe to say it’s surpassed Facebook as my favorite social network. Granted I use them for totally different purposes. Will post on this topic soon.
  • Building an advertising portfolio online is quite the daunting task. It’s consumed my life the past few days. I’m learning a lot, but am realizing it’s quite the steep learning curve. However, things to thank for my little bits of success thus far: the few HTML tags I retained from CS 105 or whatever computer science class I took undergrad, and copious use of tips on forums. Thanks internet… though I have a long way to go.
  • I’m in love with Adobe’s Classroom in a Book series. These books introduce the reader to the Adobe software of choice and assign relevant projects that can be completed step-by-step. Cheapest prices I’ve seen since the release of their CS4 line has been on Amazon with about $34 per (Adobe’s price is around $52). They have titles available for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash and more. I have varying experience with the first four, but am hoping to add Flash to my repertoire in the coming weeks thanks to this series (and Christmas). And I’m a big fan of offline solutions to software problems and reading something tangible.
  • Not into the clunky book idea? You can always try lynda.com tutorials. They’re available for tons of graphic design and web software and other computing topics. Examples of a few you could find: creating games for the Wii using Flash CS3, essential training for bloggers, and typographic principles. I’m already making notes in my head of potential classes I’d like to take on the site. You can get access to ALL the training on the site for $25/month (as often as you want). Or I recommend using this (copy and paste): http://www.lynda.com/deke to get a free 7-day trial before committing.
  • I have tons of commercials I’ve seen lately that I’d like to comment on. Stay tuned.
  • I have decided that I’m going to treat Feb. 1 as the new year as far as resolutions go. That way, I can use all of January to come up with a good one. And, should I choose a gym- or fitness-related resolution, everyone else will have broken theirs by then, so I’ll have less competition for treadmills, rowing machines and the pool.
  • I have the best family and friends in the world. Seriously. Way to make 2008 rock and I’m looking forward to the continued fun in the new year. Stay warm all!

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Filed under advertising, goals, graphic design, jobs, Twitter, web design