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Yours truly.

Original screencap: http://www.flickr.com/photos/extraface/2126347441/.

Slideshow: The Many Mercurial Moods Of The Zookeeper Boss

His head looks like a coffee mug, and he’s in turns sweet, bored, bitter, and brutal. I’ve played Zookeeper since it was a Web flash game, and now that it’s an iOS game I have renewed my addiction. This gallery will be an ongoing tribute to the cryptic, likely translated-from-Japanese messages that appear at the end of the game from the Zookeeper to you, the lowly janitor.

Can I give you extra points?
Can I give you extra points?
dave-coustan dave-coustan
You are growing a little bit.
You are growing a little bit.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
You are definitely fired!
You are definitely fired!
dave-coustan dave-coustan

But I just got a high score! Was that bad? Read More

Let's put a picture of you on the wall.
Let's put a picture of you on the wall.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
You're better than me!
You're better than me!
dave-coustan dave-coustan
I know what to look for in people.
I know what to look for in people.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
I think it's okay.
I think it's okay.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
Best of Zookeepers.
Best of Zookeepers.
dave-coustan dave-coustan

With the pompadour, no less. Read More

It's just okay.
It's just okay.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
Fight!
Fight!
dave-coustan dave-coustan
I am too nice today.
I am too nice today.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
You can do it when you feel like it.
You can do it when you feel like it.
dave-coustan dave-coustan

Is that a gentle suggestion to take it easy or a backhanded compliment? Read More

You are barely forgiven.
You are barely forgiven.
dave-coustan dave-coustan
You came this far because of me.
You came this far because of me.
dave-coustan dave-coustan

This is also my first test of the Slide Deck plug-in.

Today I am Lester Hayes years old

I still don’t feel a day over Rollie Fingers.


I’m Lester Hayes years old.

Judging by the sports uniform numerology, 37 could be a weird one. According to Basketball-Reference.com, only three players have worn the number 37 in the NBA – Nick Van Exel, Jack Smiley, and Metta World Peace, the former Ron Artest. This was Artest’s explanation to Fox Sports Radio for why he chose that number:

“I was trying to figure out a number, I was talking to my wife and kids. I was on my twitter, MySpace, and Facebook and asking everybody to help me pick a number. On my MySpace, somebody named Trish T he Dish came up with the #37 and said that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was 37 weeks at number one of all time. 23 I was going to choose, it was available, it’s a great number but, I thought (with) that 37 and “Thriller”, I can make that a new great number. I think more kids should start getting the #37 for a great human being, since Michael loved all people. I think I’m representing greatness in wearing #37.”

Brand Hijacking on Pinterest is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

My first clue that this “Victoria’s Secret” Pinterest account might not be what it purports to be was their liking of my pin about a man winning a real-life Mariokart:

I’m fine with brands engaging with users in this way, but this one felt a little off-brand to me.

I clicked to their profile, and everything seemed reasonably legit, except I noticed their URL is also a bit off-brand – there’s only one ‘s’, which I imagine is a big no-no over there, and there’s a trailing ‘l’ for no reason. The URL is: http://pinterest.com/victoriasecretl/. I’m not positive this isn’t Victoria’s Secret‘s official account, but this all gives me a strong suspicion. Another alternative, I suppose, is that the person administering the account “liked” my pin without realizing they were doing so from the corporate account. But I doubt VS would allow that URL to represent them even though http://pinterest.com/victoriassecret/ is being used by a regular person who got there first.

I don’t see any tell-tale affiliate monetization links in play here, but it would be easy enough for an affiliate marketer to pretend to be a brand, and then monetize all of the traffic they generate to that brand’s product pages using Pinterest as the middleman.

With all of the hype and traffic, it’s not surprising that enterprising brandjackers have started to take to Pinterest. There’s plenty of money and diverted traffic to be had there. This is perhaps an early warning sign that Pinterest needs to be smart, quickly, about ways to give brands a safe and profitable place to play in their sandbox if this is the next phase for their community. It’ll be interesting to see if they take any innovative approaches in this regard; sometimes clever systems and patterns emerge from challenges like these, like how pinboard.in uses a nominal registration fee (that slightly incremented each time a new user signed up, encouraging “real” people to jump in early) to keep out a certain significant cut of scammers and spammers for whom that would be a convenience barrier. There are some pre-existing patterns for them to follow from large social platforms but “Verified accounts,” for example, apparently quickly became a headache for Twitter to administer, and Facebook had a pretty significant infrastructure in place when they initiated that first gold rush for custom urls.

A Delicious Lunch Starring Storico Fresco, Spotted Trotter, and Hope’s Garden

I just whipped up and ate this truly memorable dish for lunch today, made with foods from all local vendors, all purchased within a 2 mile radius of my house, some much closer.

Here’s the rundown:

  • De-case, crumble, and brown a couple of parsley & cheese sausages from The Spotted Trotter while you bring a half-pot of strongly salted water to a boil.
  • When at a full boil, add four Pi Fasacc pasta pieces (filled with herb, taleggio, and ricotta) and four Cjalsons pasta pieces (filled with smoked ricotta, raisins, and figs), both from Storico Fresco and buyable on the Farm Mobile. Let cook 5-6 minutes, and then strain.
  • Add pasta to bowl along with browned, drained sausage, and 1-2 teaspoons Hope’s Gardens sundried tomato pesto
  • Stir to mix and coat, and enjoy.

(*Apologies for the sub-par cameraphone photo)

I love my neighborhood. Note: The Farm Mobile is parked outside of the Midway pub on Thursdays from 4-6ish.

What To Get For The Giant Eddie Murphy Head That Has Everything

Previously: I still enjoy looking at this.

…And The Winner Is…

Congratulations Jeremy P! You won the Palpatine action figure with firing force lightning. I’ll have it on its way to you shortly.

Thanks to everyone who entered for helping me test out Rafflecopter. It was extremely easy to administer.

Enter To Win A Palpatine Action Figure And Help Me Test Rafflecopter

I’m looking for some help testing out a new tool for conducting giveaways on blogs, and I’ve enlisted the assistance of Emperor Palpatine himself in order to get it done. To one lucky tester, I’ll give away this Emperor Palpatine action figure, still in unopened package (though the box is no longer “mint”), complete with Firing Force Lightning. It’s the perfect gift for a Star Wars nerd, a child of the appropriate age, or anyone who attacks their career duties with that particular cackling zeal.
Emperor Palpatine with Firing Force Action

Emperor Palpatine with Firing Force Action

All you have to do to become eligible is follow the instructions below:

Rafflecopter will be updating their widget soon, and if this test is successful I’ll run another giveaway when they release their new code. *Note: If you don’t see the entry mechanisms, you may be in an environment that doesn’t support JavaScript. Visit the page directly via a standard web browser if you are having problems seeing it.

Affect The Quality Of The Day

When I think about doing work that strives to affect the quality of the day, I try to bring my mind back to this project and its (now historical) context, and what Shepard Fairey did with such a simple gesture.

This is Shepard Fairey’s initial well-known public work, a Buddy Cianci sign where I grew up in Providence. I used to see it out the bus window as my bus went from the East Side to Smith Hill or downtown. This piece had an amazing and inspiring outcome. It inexplicably traveled like memes do today, except in the purely offline world of 1989 and the early 90’s, via sticker templates that organically traversed the world:

Andre the Giant by Shepard Fairey

Shepard sold groovy one-off t-shirts of the Andre sticker design at Thayer Street sidewalk sales and RISD sales. I wish I still had a couple now.

As a now-cancelled Kickstarter project for a documentary about Shep’s early years explains:

“…Shepard received a historic assignment that would later establish his legacy in Providence, Rhode Island. Each student in the class was given a fortune cookie, and tasked with illustrating his or her respective fortune. Shepard’s fortune read: TO AFFECT THE QUALITY OF THE DAY IS NO SMALL ACHIEVEMENT. He then decided to paste his Andre graphic over the face of notorious Providence Mayor, Buddy Cianci, on his re-election billboard, located in the heart of the city.”

I wonder if the documentarian eventually came across the work of my friend Helen Stickler, who did essentially the same thing years and years ago.

[Found via LaughingSquid]

Forming Like Voltron at Voce

I’ve read, and written, my share of “I’ve accepted a new job” blog entries over the years, and I always cringe a little when they invariably sound a bit over-earnest or too dramatic. I’m aiming to keep this one on an even keel. I’m thrilled to announce that today is my first day as Vice President, Content Strategy and Planning at Voce.

In the last 2+ years, I’ve done lots of different types of work for different partners and clients. Working for evolving agencies with evolving visions has afforded me the chance to be a part of many projects that I’d otherwise not necessarily be in a position to take on. It has also given me a chance to stay closely connected to the direct, productive work of making things, which is and has been absolutely essential. Although the core of my focus has continued to be in creating, planning, and supporting content initiatives, in practice as the needs, goals, and make-up of agencies and their clients shifted, that focus tended to drift over time into wherever I was needed. Important attributes like flexibility, situational awareness, the ability to apply known approaches to new challenges, and broad perspective develop from those utility infielder roles. There’s a lot to be said for all of that, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to grow a bit in so many directions.

The time came when I was ready to shore up and focus my energies a bit more pointedly on what I’m most passionate about, what we talk about when we talk about content strategy. As I drew out in a WordCamp talk, I believe that to be a crucial and central function that agencies can help companies execute, at a higher order than and no matter how the various things that “social media” has come to mean may evolve. I considered taking on the challenge on my own, but after careful consideration and introspection, I decided that this time around I’d rather hit the ground running as part of a team of smart people that already operates at a high level, who I can learn from and be inspired by. I sought a group that already had something of a focus in this direction and a shared understanding of its value. Having counted many members of the Voce team as respected industry leaders and trusted friends, theirs was the name at the top of my list. After extensive exploratory conversations, the initial suspicion that we had something of a shared vision was confirmed. I’m excited to get started today.

The changing of the “Feeling Most Like” icon on the Extraface “about” page has become a customary part of all of my transitions. Today I switch from Brother Mouzoune from The Wire…

…to…

…a guy Breaking Bad fans will know simply as “Mike.”

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