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SAW A GOOD IDEA

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Dandy Doodles

  
  
  
  
  

Think back to the days when you used to actually write on paper. I’m talking about school papers, journal entries, and letters to your pen pals. Okay, are you back there, before the days where everything started as a Word document, a blog post, or an e-mail?  Just how often did your paper wind up looking like this?

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I know, in my life at least, doodling has overtaken many a sheet of paper as I search for an idea... or admittedly just procrastinate. Therefore, it should be no surprise that this blog post starts with the modern-day equivalent.

How often do you find yourself staring at the Google homepage poised for greatness, if only the right inspiration would come? There I was just a few days ago. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button was particularly grating my nerves, as I was feeling quite the opposite. So I clicked. With that single click of the mouse (okay, tap of the touchpad) I opened the treasure box that is the Google doodles archives. 

Most of us are familiar with Google doodles, even if we don’t know they have a specific name. A doodle is the way Google modifies their logo to celebrate a special date or person. This practice started back in 1998. Google explains it best:

“In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd "o" in the word Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were "out of office." While the first doodle was relatively simple, the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable events was born.”

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Google has come a long way since the days of the Burning Man doodle. Gone are the days where it looks, well, like an actual doodle, as we are now living in the world of HTML5, JavaScript, and Flash.

Some doodles are more memorable than others. Some are reminisced about long after their 24 hour featured life-span, while others fade into oblivion. Some doodles made a big cultural impact. There are many doodles you may have never seen, because some are specific to a country other than your own. Personally, I wonder what the Google doodle will evolve into next, but for now, one thing is for sure… everyone has a favorite. Without further ado, here are my top 5:

 

5) 30th Anniversary of PAC-MAN

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In my experience, this is by far the most talked-about Google doodle. In fact, Google keeps a playable version here. According to Mashable, the PAC-MAN doodle consumed 4.8 million hours of time, which was broken down to cost $120,483,800 in productivity. Truthfully, I don’t want to admit to how many hours I contributed to that total, but I am happy to say I didn’t factor into the monetary productivity hit, since I was still a student.

 

4) Scientists Unveil Fossil of Darwinius Masillae

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Find a kindergartener and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You are likely to hear answers such as “doctor”, “teacher”, and “police officer.” I was the strange five-year-old that replied, “paleontologist,” and often had to explain to the questioning adult what that word even meant. (For those of you who don’t know, a child-like explanation is a person who digs up dinosaur bones.) For many of my younger years, I put a lot of effort into learning about dinosaurs and trying to become an actual paleontologist. Although I have since set aside this goal, paleontology still sparks a glimmer in my eye.

 

 3) First Day of Spring 2009 - Design by Eric Carle

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I am very thankful that a love of reading was instilled in me during my impressionable childhood years. I don’t know exactly who to thank, but I’m sure my bookishness can be attributed to my family and first grade teacher. Anyway, one of my favorite books was Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I loved the format, and style of the book. This doodle conjures up fond memories of an easier time. As an aside, I recently bought a finger puppet version of this book as the “perfect” first birthday present for my friend’s son. Terrified doesn’t even begin to describe how he felt about the caterpillar puppet. Needless to say, I don’t think this will be on his list of favorite doodles when he’s older.

  

2) SOPA / PIPA

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This one might only make the list because it’s fresh on my mind. That being said, there is no denying the impact this doodle had. Users who clicked on this doodle were directed to a petition to tell congress not to censor the web, and over 7 million people signed it. I probably particularly like this censored Google image because I love books such as Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and 1984 in which the government CONTROLS and CENSORS. And while I enjoy works of fiction dealing with these themes, I have no desire to live in a world of censorship.

 

1) Alexander Calder's 113th Birthday

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I’m an artsy person (notice I didn’t say artist!) and if forced to choose, I would pick Alexander Calder as my favorite artist. I’ve written a couple of reports on him as a matter of fact. I love whimsical, I love bright colors, and I LOVE 3D design. What makes this doodle really noteworthy is the fact that it was Google’s first doodle made entirely with HTML5, so it was the first doodle that really did something. I happily recall my excitement that day as I made the doodle mobile bob serenely. So, the fact that this commemorates my favorite artist, coupled with the game-changing nature for Google doodles, makes this the number one doodle in my book.

Have you been inspired to create a doodle? While there is already a team of illustrators and engineers (called doodlers!) in place at Google specifically for this purpose, Google accepts submissions for future doodles at proposals@google.com. Also, they run an annual contest, Doodle 4 Google, with the winning doodle being featured on the homepage. Unfortunately, I certainly stand no chance of winning a Doodle 4 Google contest in the modern era of doodle animation, so instead I’ll continue to enjoy the doodles of others in times of procrastination need.

What are your favorite Google doodles? Did you know you can buy customized items with your favorite Google doodle?

-- Allison Rossi

Joyful (Inappropriate) Art Viewing Gains Popularity on Web

  
  
  
  
  

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  What I consider socially acceptable is often not in line with the views of others.  Here are three examples of the inappropriate (I call them
joyful) acts I commit on a weekly, if not daily, basis: dancing to my iPod in public, calling my superiors "Dude," and playing with other
people's children (being a stranger).

While other art students from my old school in Boston would quietly sneak touches of artworks by artists they adored (if you're shocked,
get over it – artists frequently touch each others pieces), I would get hyper and jump and shout when a piece really knocked me out.  I have
received the nastiest "Your-behavior-is-SO-inappropriate!" glares in the gallery setting.   

Today, I found a sister in art reaction, Allison Reimus, a MFA student at American Univeristy in Washington DC.  Her blog, a compilation of
user-submitted photos gathered since 2007, is titled Jumping in Art Museums.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

iTouch Texting

  
  
  
  
  
Picture_9   Who needs the latest generation of iPhone when you have an iPod Touch? If you aren’t ready to make the jump to AT&T, you can have all the same SMS text functionality at your fingertips with an iPod Touch. MogoTXT is an online service that let’s users with or without cell phones send text messages to anyone as long as they have internet access. It’s a pretty neat idea. Incorporate that with the VoIP/iPod set-up and you have a makeshift iPhone. Way to go, MacGyver.
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Walmartopia - The Musical

  
  
  
  
  

If you think about all of the strange events that have hit Off-Broadway, this has to be one of the stranger ones. Walmartopia, a musical targeted as a satire of Walmart, debuted last week. The plot: A mother/daughter duo, after getting passed on by a less experienced male co-worker, get transported 30 years in the future, where they have to help a rebel faction in Vermont. Their enemies include the talking head of Walmart founder Sam Walton, as well as an army of Smileys.

The point of this column, however, is not to point you to the show, but for you to sit and think about your own office. If a former employee decided to create a musical about your company, what would it look like? Would it be a comedy, a satire, or a tragedy? Is your company managed well enough so that it’s a tightly run ship, or would the office’s dirty laundry be aired out quicker than Britney Spears flubbing her lyrics at this past weekend’s MTV Music Awards? Image isn’t everything, but sometimes, it can be very important. Just ask Walmart.

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Down with the Sickness

  
  
  
  
  

Raia02The amount of Purell I put on my hands on a daily basis has destroyed at least five layers of my skin.  Between the subway, the bathrooms, and volunteering at the Ebola research facility, germs are all around me.  I just don’t like to be reminded of them. 

And we’ve all felt the spray.  That sprinkling of water you want to attribute to a light morning mist, but more likely flew out of the mouth of the guy standing next to you on the subway following his seemingly exaggerated sneeze.  A Brazilian company has zeroed in on this phenomena and created ads where water vaporizers mimic "explosive" coughs and sneezes.  The tagline reads "Flu is in the air."

It’s worth noting that Sao Paulo has banned all outdoor advertising as it contributes to visual pollution. The creators of the ad worked around that challenge and came up with the effective and fun campaign.

(Via Creative Social Blog

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Popping the Questions

  
  
  
  
  

Poptarts_frosted_strawberryYour Pop-Tart knows more than the average breakfast pastry.  That scone you had yesterday?  It doesn’t have the cognitive ability to sharpen the #2 pencil your Pop-Tart used to take theMensa test.  That’s right, it’s Stephen Hawking, "Let’s calculate quantum-gravity," smart.

Kellogg and Hasbro have teamed up to produce Pop-Tarts with Trivial Pursuit for Kidsquestions on them.  (Don’t worry, the questions are placed on each tart’s frosting with an edible ink.)  Adding to the trivia environment, the Pop-Tart boxes contain fun facts as well.  So your kids will finally have that nagging answer to how deep 20,000 leagues under the sea really is.  (60,000 miles)

Personally, I restrict the "expanding of my mind" to reading Choose-Your-Own-Adventurebooks and only on Arbor Day and bank holidays.  But the dual-promotion is a great partnership, especially if it averts your eyes from reading what’s exactly in that delectable little breakfast sweet.

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Dunkin’ Prizes

  
  
  
  
  

Logo_lrgDonuts are part of a balanced breakfast.  It’s just cold-hard fact.  Your day will be much better with a jelly donut sitting in your stomach.  Most of this science can be attributed to my favorite nutritionist, namely myself*.  And nothing goes better with a donut than a new car or a trip to Florida. 

Dunkin Donuts has hopped on the Starbucks Card train and is offering their new Dunkin Donuts Card complete with chances to win prizes.  Part of their "Use it.  Win it." promotion, it increases awareness of the card as well as driving customers into stores to play the contest.

*This from a man who ate DoubleStuf Oreos for breakfast throughout college.

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All You Need is Bruce Campbell

  
  
  
  
  

No words necessary. I highly recommend heading to this site for more information … and learning.

Little White Flakes

  
  
  
  
  

H_sWe didn’t want to be the ones to break it to you.  But if not us, who?  We’ve established a trust these past few months and, quite honestly, we only want to help. 

That black sweater you bought which, in your words, is fiercewhen combined with those new shoes, makes for a great outfit.  We agree on that.  But your dandruff problem makes your shoulders look like a Colorado mountain pass five hours after a blizzard. 

These conversations don’t have to be so awkward.  The gently-reassuring folks as Head and Shoulders have placed a camera on the ceiling of British photo-booths so those concerned about psoriasis can get a bird’s-eye view of their noggin. 

A good secondary use is keeping track of that rapidly expanding bald spot. 

Divorce is Tasty

  
  
  
  
  

Divorce_cakeIf you’re getting a divorce, chances are you’re distraught over the collapse of your marriage. But if you’re Shanna Moakler, divorce is the natural next step after milking all you can (a reality TV show, a stint on Dancing With the Stars, 3 kids, and the promise of heaps of alimony) from your marriage to blink-182 band member Travis Barker. To celebrate her new single status, Ms. Moakler threw a divorce party in Vegas with all her best friends, and served up this amazing piece of confection. There’s something captivating and beautiful about it, and not just because i’m sure it tasted delicious.
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