Showing posts with label amusing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amusing. Show all posts

Technology Conference Bingo Take #2!


Last month, I created a Social Media Bingo card that I shared at a conference on social media.  It sparked some interest but it need some more development as it was done very last minute.  

So here is my second go round with Technology Conference Bingo, revised and some rules added in to make sense of it.  


Technology Conference Bingo Sheet
Click on the image to get a better version!

Rules for Technology Conference Bingo


1.  You must announce that you are joining the game.  The best way to do this is by talking a selfie with conference elements in the background (to prove you were actually there) and posting to Twitter with the conference hashtag and this hashtag: #TCBingo

2.  Whenever you find a spot, claim it on Twitter by identifying


  • The session (can be abbreviated)
  • The Bingo slot (use numbers and letters, e.g. "N2").
  • Use the tech conference & #TCBingo hashtags.
  • Tag the Game Judge (person should identify himself/herself early in the conference but using the conference and TCBingo hashtags.

3.  The first person to fill a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) should tweet out: "I win!  [Conference Hashtag] #TCBingo with [provide full listing spots claimed:  "N1, N2, N3, N4, N5".  

4.  In order to claim a win, you had to have actually posted captured slots as you went along (that is, you can just sum up at the end).  

5.  Judge will confirm winner.  Award (real or imagined) prizes (if they are offered).  

You can find all of this in a more pliable form at this link and if you wish to comment on the actual Bingo for critiques or other ideas, you can also do that here.


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The Ultimate Bingo me for Social Media and Other Techie Conferences

Today, I'm attending a social media conference at UMASS Boston.  I am looking forward to it and figure that it should be a good time with lots of inspirational ideas, some great tools, and a lot of gabbing away on social media (#UMBSocial).  

While social media is somewhat new (depending on who you ask), there are still some clear and consistent things that happen while at an event.  With that in mind, I decided to create and share this Social Media Bingo chart.  

Try it out and use it at your next social media conference.  I'm sure it will be easy to get a straight line of Bingo but I wonder how easy will it be to fill them all up.  








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Of Bunnies and Logos: The Playboy Icon

My Informational Design and Visual Literacy course provided me with a challenge this week to explore and discuss a company's logo.  Basically, to break it down and explore how it captures the company's message and purpose.  After aimlessly googling company logos trying to find inspiration, I randomly thought of the Playboy logo and what follows is what I wrote.  I should warn you that several people who read an excerpt on Facebook said they wouldn't be able to look at the logo the same again.  So enjoy!
Image: Playboy Bunny.  Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a8/PlayboyLogo.svg/500px-PlayboyLogo.svg.png

There's lot to cover with this logo and the more I think about it, the more ingenious I find Playboy to be with their logo.  This logo conveys much without actually saying anything formal and much of what it suggests is more risque without having to be blatantly raunchy--something that Playboy aspires to over other entities like Hustler and the like.  Playboy is a multimedia empire that largely caters to men’s sexual interests. What started initially as a magazine has evolved into books, television, film, websites, events, and facilities (e.g. The Playboy Mansion). The key style that Playboy has employed for decades has been sex through the prism of sophistication; the equivalent contrast of an escort versus as street-level prostitute. Playboy is the escort, purportedly offering class and sophistication with its sexual steam.   Though the extremely sexually-conservative folk would see all elements of sexual capitalism vanquished, sexual moderates and liberals tend to view Playboy with much more acceptance or amusement (except when of course, one delves into the niche of feminism that claims that all pornography is exploitative of women and detrimental; I do not agree with this branch of thinking, though I can understand how one gets there).   While celebrities, politicians, and other high-profile people seek to avoid being “caught” with lower echelons of sexual capitalism, many regularly interact with Playboy and are comfortable with this association. As one of the best-paying magazines in the country, many popular and skillful writers have at some point published in Playboy magazine (those famous “articles” that no one reads).


Researching the logo can be a little tricky.  After all, each search is prefaced with "playboy" and that invites all things sex related--which only speaks to the prevalence and success of the company and its aforementioned logo.  However, it did yield some interesting sites such as this Tumblr site that presents cartoons from Playboy magazines throughout the years.  


The famous bunny logo balances the prestige and sophistication that Playboy as an organization has attempted to uphold while in subtle and sophisticated ways, communicates that sex is still the subject on hand.  For those that don't know, the Playboy bunny originated in an cartoon in an early issue of Playboy magazine by Art Paul.  It evolved into what has become the icon of Playboy fairly shortly after that.  



Time to explore the logo.  First, there is the singular contrast of black and white. This makes the logo bold and stick out; grabbing the viewer’s attention. Also the mixture of black and white could also be read through a moral lens in that despite the questionable elements of sexual capitalism (represented by the color black—a color traditionally meant to indicate the negative), there is purity mixed with impurity.  The black and white contrast also connects to the bow-tie and more strongly elicits the bow-tie's metaphor as a stand in for a full blown tuxedo.

The rabbit head silhouette is continually referred to as the Playboy “bunny.” This is a curious but impressive feat by Playboy because it plays out several themes simultaneously and across the sexual divide that’s worth acknowledging.  These ideas could be mutually exclusive if one thinks about it too much, but funny enough, no one ever does.  The bunny is used in many ways and thus the icon can be embraced by many.

  1. The icon “bunny” appears to be male (indicated by the tux—more about that later).
  2. The tux also invokes a sense of class and wealth.
  3. The “bunny” is a rabbit; well known for its proclivity for sex.  
  4. With these three consideration, the bunny embraces the "playboy" who is wealthy and looking to sexually score.
  5. Yet, a bunny is typically a young rabbit; as in, a newly born rabbit, not yet capable of reproducing.
  6. “Bunny” is the term referred to the women that work at the Playboy clubs and the term many refer to when talking about women who work for Playboy in some form of exhibition. 
  7. Taking three, five, and six, here again, we have an interesting presentation of women:  sexy but non-procreating exhibitionists.
  8. What about the bunny presented in side-profile. The bunny doesn't look forward which might be a direct invitation.  Instead, it looks to something the viewer can't see. Therefore, the viewer must ask what the bunny is looking at and must become the bunny to see what the bunny sees.
  9. But given that the only action permitted to the bunny is to look, we also discover the centerpiece of the Playboy industry.  The visual.  Looking at "bunnies".  It promises us nothing more.   Laura Mulvey would be proud.
Image:  Word cloud of this blogpost

So why is the tux important? Firstly, it indicates class and sophistication, a key element of Playboy. It also indicates that the icon we are looking at is a male (e.g. a sophisticated man).  Some would argue this is questionable, but given the bunny's origin as a male "playboy", it seems rather moot.   Since the icon is abstract (yet clearly male), it does encourage the viewer to project himself into the role of that bunny who is presented as looking (leftward). Thus, the image tells the male viewer that he too can see what this icon sees (an abundance of women in various states of undress). This idea of abstraction comes from Scott McCloud who discusses that abstraction enhances one’s tendency project himself or herself into the abstract. That is, the more abstract (to a certain point) a drawing is, the easier it is for people to picture themselves therein.

Of course, there are more sexual hints within this logo still. The bunny ears spread out in a way that they could simultaneously be considered phallic (from a state of flaccidness to an erect state) and yonic (the two ears forming the “V” of a woman’s legs as well as the “V” of the pubic mound). The curvature of the bunny in contrast to the straight-lines of the tuxedo tie also hints at a contrast between the constraint of the male viewer and the sexual abundance of the women within the Playboy establishment. And of course, the bunny’s face with its particular curve simulates a curvaceous buttocks or even a breast (supposing the bunny’s “eye” to be the nipple).

All in all, this logo does a fantastic job at capturing the tantalizing and complex sexual dynamic that Playboy represents.  The question of whether it is intentional or not (much like when the student says, "but did the Shakespeare mean all that stuff") isn't relevant.  The fact that it can be all found there makes think about the direct and indirect ways information is communicated.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words--and I blew past that a few paragraphs ago.  




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What I Learn from My Cats Part #1

Yes, we knew it was going to happen.  At some point, I would blog about my cats.  I'll reserve rambling on about how adorable they are--we all know there are hundreds of pics on my Facebook that illustrate this truth.  Instead, I want to talk about what my cats have showed and taught me over the last 18 months since they first came into my life. To be sure, I haven't had any epiphanies per se, but I've definitely found my perception informed by my interactions and caring for them.

First, let me introduce them.

PUMPKIN
Pumpkin is a short-hair Persian cat.  I got her in August, 2011.    As you can see from the picture, she as a "smooshed" face.  This can make her look both wonderfully adorable and somewhat perpetually grumpy (which then feeds into her adorableness).  She's a small cat, weighing in at about 7 pounds.  She's also a bit more timid and skitish.  I think this in part comes from her size and her lacking snout.  She doesn't appear to have the capacity to be a good fighter and regularly loses in her (playful) tussles with Bear.  Her smooshed face means, she doesn't have particularly great jaw strength and an extremely small nose also interferes with her ability to smell as well as other cats. She is not a cat that will do well out in the wild.

BEAR
I don't know Bear's breed; I'm guessing "mutt."  I was given her by a friend in June, 2012.  She's all black, which apparently are the least liked.  Yet, I find her an absolute delight and maybe all of this black cat crossing my path is actually accumulating good luck.  At ten months right now, she comes in around 9-10 pounds.  Of course, when she pounces on me, it can feel like 30-40 pounds.  She's still in her kitten stage in many ways.  She's continually playful with me and Pumpkin.  She continually wants to be on my lap or near me when I'm sitting or lying down.  She's also a headbutter, which I absolutely love.  When I come home at the end of the day, she will find the nearest counter to me and get up so she can headbutt my chin and purr--loudly...like a motor boat.  She's also has determined (and achieved) herself to be higher in the hierarchy than Pumpkin.  This is apparent when I may be lying down with Pumpkin on my chest and Bear comes in and nudges, paws, or pushes Pumpkin out of the way so that Bear and sit on my chest.

What I've Learned

First and foremost, I've learned how awesome cats are.  They get such a bad rep by many and growing up without any cats, they were unfamiliar.  My only experience would be with street cats that would run away and/or hiss.  Friends' cats never seemed entirely friendly and I always felt like an intruder in their presence.  But first Pumpkin and then Bear relieved me of such thoughts.

Who knew that they had such distinct personalities and quirks?  Well, besides everyone whose ever had one, right?  They do entail different means of interaction.  Bear is always underfoot and next to me, wanting my undivided attention, except when she's sleeping.  Pumpkin is more elusive.  At times, she's a bit skittish and if I move towards her, she darts away.  At other times, she roams the apartment crying out for my attention until she finds me.  She looks up at me with that adorable smooshy face and lets out a cry that just melts my heart.

She's done this enough that Bear too seems to have learned the trick and regularly cries out to me.  I think that was one of the biggest surprises.  I knew that cats meowed and a friend of mine even had a cat that downright talked when scarfing down her food.  But both Bear and Pumpkin cry out for me regularly to get my attention.  In fact, Bear does this when even when she is two feet away and as best as I can interpret it, it seems to be a cry for attention because as soon as I start petting her or holding her, she goes right into hyper-purr mode with a purr that sounds like a motorboat.

Both have a great inquisitiveness that's fun to watch.  They are naturally curious creatures and are continually trying to figure things out.  Even though Pumpkin is less bold than the fearless Bear (except when Bear's scared by the vacuum cleaner--no joke--she hides and trembles with terror), they both are constantly exploring within the apartment and anything I bring in.  Pumpkin is cuter in this regard. As she explores any new or questionable terrain, she's very light-footed and is constantly sending out a tentative paw to explore before stepping forward.  It's cute to see

As predators, their desire to be in control of the situation encourages them to find higher ground in the apartment.  I've found them on the fridge, on top of a wicker cabinet (they climb up this all ninja-like), atop a doorway gym, and atop a very narrow ledge of cabinet door.  I keep waiting for the day I come home to find them swinging from the ceiling fan (Gremlins style) or somehow have broken through the ceiling tiles and are wandering the netherworld between my ceiling and the apartment above's floor.

People assume that because cats are not dogs, they lack intelligence on the level that dogs do.  I don't know that I buy this as I find my cats are intelligent and much more manipulative than most dogs I've met.  My mother is quite amusing with my cats.  Early on, she got frustrated because they were not as responsive to her or won't let her hold them when she wants to hold them.  So her response to this has been to give them treats every time she comes to visit them.  What this did to the cats was to train them to associate her with treats and so when she does visit, they instantly bother her for treats (hanging out in the area she regularly delivers the treats).  Thus, they have taught her to give them treats.  Bear and Pumpkin may not roll over but they know how to purposely manipulate the world around them.  Pumpkin and Bear know that if they want my attention when I'm at the computer, they need to come directly into my eyesight and thus, stand in front of my screen.  They know if they want me to play they need to make a noise or distract me with a mess of some sort.  They may lack the obedience of the dog but they are quite intelligent as far as I've seen.

Pumpkin may be older and at least initially was bigger than Bear (Bear is now bigger), but Bear quickly established herself as higher on the hierarchy of the household.  She is constantly by my side and when I lie down at sit down, she is right onto my lap.  Occasionally, Pumpkin may get onto my lap when I'm sitting or onto my chest when I'm lying down to sleep, but Bear always arrives and chases her away to assume her position.  This happens with treats too in that  Bear assumes the right to all treats and then, if there's any left, Pumpkin can have the leftovers.  The only time I see a variation with this is the dry-food feeder.  I do wet food in the evening (to which Bear always takes first dibs).  But when the automatic dry-food feeder goes, Bear always stands back and gives Pumpkin first dibs before jumping in.  It's a curious switch given all the other times Bear seems to be the dominant figure.

Ok, that's it for now--there will be more to come, but these are the thoughts occupying my mind right now.

My 3 Favorite Internet Cat Videos


Scientific Proof that Cats Are Better Than Dogs


Cat Person, Dog Person

Cats Talking


#OwnedByCat
So I've taken to posting to the hashtag: #ownedbycat on Twitter about the different experiences and rules one learns as his or her cats come to adopt their human.  Most are silly, but occasionally, I might have a deeper thought of 140 characters.  Here's a Twitter widget for those interested in seeing some of those thoughts:



Questions about Cats
  • What is the headbutting all about?  Is it just their form of greeting?  I also wonder if it's a degree of comfort.  I usually have facial stubble so I wonder if it feels good for Bear or just is a sign of greeting and affection.  (Pumpkin doesn't do this and doesn't seem a big fan when I do it).
  • In my bathroom, I have a small linen closet next to the shower.  Every time, I go into the shower, Pumpkin insistently goes into that linen closet and onto the second shelf.  Every time, without fail.  I have to wonder if that's where  she does her deals with the Russian mafia.  What's that all about?
  • Pumpkin constantly scratches at the ground around where she goes the bathroom and where she eats.  In fact, she'll do this for up to 10 minutes after the fact.  Anyone have any ideas why?  Is she just a bit neurotic?  



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.