Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Economy 101– What every American should know about today’s economy

October 14, 2012

Economy 101– What every American should know about today’s economy.


High Tech Low Life

June 26, 2012

Today’s temperature: 87 degrees minus the humidity. Not a cloud in the sky, only robin’s egg blue from horizon to horizon. I’m quite comfortable where I am, typing in bed wit the A/C on full blast, the lights dimmed. Some like it hot. Introverts like it cold and dark.


Get used to it. Soon we will exist between the margins of a digital page; in black and white, sterile, emotionless, colorless, the humanity bleeding out of our asses while we sleep. Living 2.0 means we’re not quite cyborgs yet, but on the fast track. Anyone with a slice of economic empowerment is hooked in. The chromatic wheel never stops turning. Phones and tablets and laptops and apps and plugs and chords until one day we wake up and our own flesh is indistinguishable from a lifeless machine.


Cyber punk is no longer speculative fiction; it is the fact of human living in the 21st century.


Earlier this week I attended a marketing focus group. You get paid a hundred dollars to tell advertising consultants what you think about various campaigns. While it’s easy money, it’s no longer any fun.


Used to be focus groups were about talking about your feelings with a marketer. Now they file 33 of you into a small room like cattle, filled with a projection screen and 33 tiny metal chairs. There is no elbow room; no personal space. They ask you multiple choice questions which you answer by pressing a remote control.


Press 1 if you strongly agree with the statement

Press 2 if you kind of agree with the statement

Press 3 if you may or may not agree with the statement

Press 4 if you disagree with the statement

Press 5 if you strongly disagree with the statement.


After a couple rounds I resort to answering exclusively with 1s. But I couldn’t get off that easy. Some geek in an attached room thinks this means my remote is malfunctioning, so they take a minute to examine it. I decide not to jeopardize my hundred dollars, banal and boring though it all may be. For the rest of the questionnaire I reply: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, and so on.


The campaign was for an energy shot called WAKE YO ASS UP. The tagline was “smack YO brain in the face!” The ads featured photos of famous people, celebrities, newsmakers getting slapped by an invisible hand. Another concept showed a donkey kicking a sleepy office worker in the back of the head, throwing him through the adjacent wall. Another a Mexican genie popping out of a lamp with WAKE YO ASS UP. An impenatrable blur of stupid.


Once the first hour was done the pretty pregnant lady leading the study told us she wanted to pick 6 of the 33 for another extra special session. These lucky participants would get to stay another 90 minutes, and be paid an extra 500 bucks. The 6 came out to be numbers 3, 19, 26, 41, and 17. Number 17 as it turned out was the guy sitting next to me. When he got the good news he almost went into apoplectic rage at his bad luck, and the pity of the unchosen washed over him.