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  Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Monday


1:57 AM , # , |

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Drivel

It says a lot about theatre writer Richard Ouzounian -- as a human being -- that he could peddle this PR firm's wet dream of a paragraph about Steven Page's drug bust in today's Toronto Star:

It says a lot about Page as a human being that, during his evening from hell, his primary worry wasn't about his career or his future but for his children and how they were going to take the news.

It says even more about all those parents -- as human beings -- who didn't get busted for being cokeheads in Syracuse.

"Only I can know whether or not I trust myself," he concludes, "and realize that I'm making decisions that are the right ones not just for me, but for my kids and our future."

What the hell does that mean? And people wonder -- as human beings -- why newspapers are going belly up. Did Paris Hilton's PR strategists come up with that "children" crap? From wikipedia:

Page also hired the Sitrick And Company public relations firm, who reportedly also managed Paris Hilton's legal issues, to help him handle his situation.

When Page was first busted, I liked hearing about a music star actually acting the way you'd expect. But seeing him choose this 'Second Virginity-Disney-Purity Ring' career PR strategy over the more appropriate 'Tortured Artist' explanation ... well -- as a human being -- you've lost me.

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Friday, April 24, 2009


As you probably heard, the city announced its pick for the new streetcar model.

4:11 PM , # , |

Imagine How TLC Breaks Down


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Thursday, April 23, 2009

New 'Toon

For the man who has everything ... gold robot pants:


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. That's right ... I trash Earth Hour but recognize Earth Day. You gotta draw the line somewhere. Earth Day at least has its heart (if not exactly its brains) in the right place and isn't a focused, idiotic ad agency branding stunt.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Incoming Kittens


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Subprime, a cool short using retro 3D graphics (via DRAWN!):

subprime from beeple on Vimeo.

And, Ugly on the Outside, a series of Unflattering Portraits.

3:35 PM , # , |

Thanks to the Miracle of Atomic Mutation


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Mess With Texas

Spacing takes a trip to the lonely streets of Dallas and Forth Worth.

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Oh No!

As the stock markets wobbled today, I cried out, "But what about Leah McLaren's inheritance???"


7:30 PM , # , |

The End of the World

I guess I'm not the only person who stopped reading Leah McLaren, because her self-pitying column in the weekend Globe barely sparked a peep from the internet. Nothing from Torontoist; nothing at Sooey's. I used to love to hate the nepotism it-girl, but gradually stopped bothering to read her column as the years wore on, she began to repeat herself, her ink persona became dated and even her own enthusiasm for fluff flagged. I began to feel about her the way you felt about Susan Boyle the other day, "Isn't it nice that someone with nothing really going for them at least has something ..."

Several weeks ago I stumbled across her column and only felt pity as she described an acquaintance who worked in the financial industry and was finding life much more deep and meaningful since being laid off. I imagine that's what a lot of auto workers are thinking: "This is great! More time for yoga!" Oshawa and Windsor are going to be the happiest -- and most limber - places in the country. McLaren's recession optimism lasted up until this weekend's column ... when it was replaced with utter panic:

My grandmother grew up during the Depression. As her family's fortunes fell, she remembers hobos at the back door begging for table scraps. For my mother, growing up in the fifties, it was all pony club and tennis lessons. There were no ponies for me as a child, but things were comfortable. Just comfortable enough that I always assumed that, with a little hard work and perseverance, better things were coming my way.

Turns out this was a naive assumption.

Ok, remember that this is the person who pretty much walked into a job as a columnist at the Globe and did nothing with the opportunity but provide colour commentary about the shallow set. I think that almost counts as a pony. No, wait ... three ponies.

She goes on:

Just the other day, my mother called me up to tell she was worried about her husband...

"I told him it could be worse," she said. "We could be like you - no job security, heavily in debt, just starting out in the world. I told him we shouldn't be worried about ourselves; we should be worried about you."

She's not just starting out in the world ... she's in her mid-thirties.

Who are these people? Are they acting overly dramatic because they're jazzed about the Fame remake? McLaren is a high profile columnist at a national newspaper. But wait, there's more ... there's going to be a CBC tv movie based on her next season. Leah Mclaren didn't just get laid off from her job making brake pads in a factory in St. Thomas. She's not going to starve.

The column concludes:

Which was when it hit me: Not only was I unlikely to get through this recession unscathed, I probably wasn't going to get an inheritance either. It had never occurred to me that I might need one, and just as I thought I might, the prospect was evaporating like a distant mirage.

Here's the name of one person who is going to get through this recession unscathed: Leah McLaren. I'll bet my pony on it.


1:13 AM , # , |

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fresh Image

Army vs. Alien Slugs.

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Cartoon Winner

Patricia Storms was not only just honoured to be nominated, she also won Cartoon of the Year at the OCNA awards. The image below is not the Cartoon of the Year ... I just like it because I was a mall Santa.

But if you want to see her real work, check out her extensive online portfolio.

The Gleaner pulled out of OCNA some time ago ... otherwise, you know this one would clinch it at the '09 awards ...

12:41 AM , # , |

Friday, April 17, 2009

TV Sucking

Sometimes I watch shows on tv and hope they'll be good. Sometimes they aren't so good. Here are reviews of two show I watched this week that weren't so good even though I wanted them to be good. It's a sad thing. Spoilers follow:

Battlestar Galactica Final Episode
In the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, we are instructed that everything is cyclical and all of this has happened before. That's true: in the 90s, there was a sci fi show called Babylon 5 that showed early promise, kicked the genre on its ass in its third season and then stumbled and wheezed through it's final season before collapsing into a heaping pile of jelly in its finale.

Galactica's final episode was a huge, annoying wank of stupidity and sentimentality. Somewhere along the line the show actually morphed from rule-breaking rebel to being like the 70s original ... although the final scene with "imaginary" Six and Baltar is more like something from one of those Gilligan's Island reunion tv movies with the two of them acting like the Howells. The notion at the end is a fitting nod to the 'Chariots of the Gods' roots of the original, but it's not played well.

The first hour is dramatic and things blow up real good, but the second hour showed that the creators had become too sentimental and too attached to the characters to give them fitting resolutions. Every single character has a romantic conclusion and good-bye forced on them ... which was disappointing for a show that never pulled its punches and betrayed the running theme of things being cyclical. I finished watching the last season of The Wire last month, and they delivered a solid final episode -- also showing how things are cyclical -- without the pablum.

The hardest part to watch was the final half hour, when I found myself saying "That's stupid. That's stupid. That's stupid." every 2-3 minutes. That last half hour ranks up there with some of the dumbest tv ever produced. Worse than Friends. I can't stay up all night detailing how annoying it was, so you'll just have to go watch it for yourself on the Space website.

Now, the other show:

Wow, it's amazing that they could create such a boring version of the show I was born to love. Fringe, an X Files knock-off, suffers from a bad case of Unnecessary Ensemble Cast Syndrome. The show has a big cast of cardboard characters who are as appealing as using lard for shampoo. Josh Jackson is the only person who really stands out because of the same "I'm acting! Why isn't anybody else acting?" attitude he had on Dawson's Creek.

The episode I watched featured a "scientifically engineered" monster that goes round scratching people. All the write-ups used the term "scientifically engineered" instead of "genentically engineered" ... were they worried about complaints from Monsanto? Scientifically engineered? Why didn't they just say that a "fantastical whiryl-majig conjures a magical beastie"? Monsanto ain't gonna complain if you phrase it like that! Isn't it weird that copywriters have to limp around the words "gentically engineered" because of the baggage of a large corporation that practices genetic engineering ... wasn't there a scene in Blade Runner where Tyrell tells Rachel to change the wording of a memo from "genetically engineered Nexus 6 replicants" to "scientifically engineered sexbots"?

Anyhow, lots of boring stuff happens and the creature turns out to be an unconvincing computer graphic that's looks like something borrowed from 1994. The big problem with the show is that it's far too much like the X Files and has an X Files sensibility about "fringe" phenomena. Well, the X Files started almost twenty years ago, before the internet and Google searches made fact checking as simple as grabbing your phone. You could have a really interesting show about cryptids and aliens and stuff like that if you came at it fresh ... but Fringe is mired in the 90s.

In conclusion, the above forementioned televisual entertainments lacked the sparkle.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sandwich Sayings

Ironed sandwich at night, sailor's delight!
Ironed sandwich in morning, sailor take warning.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

City Scenes

Torontoist's 'Reel Toronto' tracks down the locations in the excellent 90s apocalypse flick, Last Night. When the big blackout happened a few years ago, I remember the really eerie thing was seeing dead streetcars everywhere, just like in the movie ...

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Sunday, April 12, 2009


1o Myths About Freelancers.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Mass Hysetria ...

Funny response to anti-gay marriage ad:


There's a tug-of-war going on as the anti-gay audition tapes gets posted and pulled from video sites:


3:09 PM , # , |

Thursday, April 09, 2009


"Canada is like mashed potatoes without gravy ..."

When you consider how much sterilized, pre-packaged corporate celebrity goop is floating around out there, it's refreshing to see a celeb act human and get pissed off over some little thing. We all act like idiots all the time ... why do we expect celebrities to be so "nice"?

7:43 PM , # , |

Red Eye media

Suz has a website,!

12:29 AM , # , |

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

More Smooth


10:31 AM , # , |


Ok, let's cool things down a bit ...


12:42 AM , # , |

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Other Side

Suddenly, the mob begins to realize (although at this point, people are still linking to the original version of events) that they look like a bunch of idiots. And an hour ago, Jon Engle himself twittered the most accurate comment to date:

As long as there's blood spilled, no one cares who it belongs to.

The Logo Factor finally took the logical next step and actually talked to the lawyers and posted a more fleshed-out version of the story. They learned:

And if that wasn’t enough, Jon had previously been billed for other Stock Art licensed work, after it was discovered that it may have been used without permission. He paid that bill.

Logo factor also provides an extensive comparison gallery so you can judge for yourself.

8:03 PM , # , |

Monetize the Controversy

Here, why not engage in a little more groupthink and buy some junk:


4:01 PM , # , |

The Bigger Idiot

It's internet mob madness again ... get out your torches and pitchforks!

A guy named Jon Engle posted an article claiming that he'd been accused of pilfering images from; they sent him an $18,000 bill last year:

This was a bill for new images. Very familiar images. They were images from several of my logos; 65 of them in fact. That breaks down to about $275 per image. They actually wanted me to pay them $275 for each one of MY images!

But then the stock company stepped up their tactics:

They are calling or emailing every one of my clients they can find. They inform the client that I’m being investigated for copyright infringement and that the logo I designed for them may have been stolen from their client.

Digg and Reddit and a load of other sites piled on with headlines reading: Designer gets accused of stealing his own work and billed $18,000 and then links to client and company email addresses appeared, encouraging people to write and let people know "what's going on".

Except nobody knows what's going on yet because, so far, the only thing on the record is Jon Engle's accusation post. The stock site hasn't responded and their contributor in question seems like he might be on the up and up.

Somebody stole something from someone -- that's all that's clear at this point -- and either Engle or the other guy are going to be exposed as the bigger idiot. Engle's posts seem a little fishy and it raises some flags: why didn't he deal with this six months ago? And why hasn't he provided examples in his post where it would be easiest to prove his case?

All of the internet lynch mobs I've witnessed over the years (that Moxiepop thing, the Dooce plagiarism thing, the Blogumentary thing, the suckling off the government boob for life thing ... and on and on) didn't have their facts straight ... if you want to make a wager, I'll put $2 against the mob.

UPDATE: It's not looking good for the mob. A couple of people on reddit did two seconds of legwork and found that Engle's art matches the work of at least two different illustrators at who work in different themes ... and one artist's work dates back to 2001.

Meanwhile, a legal defence fund for Engle already has almost $2000 in pledges, a twitter feed continues to spread the story and blog after blog relays the tale without an ounce of skepticism:

Matthew High shows how these things start and spread, "
Since and their pit-bull lawyers don't seem to be willing to listen to reason, then perhaps they might respond to overwhelming public shaming and disapproval. So feel free to spread the word."

TechDirt wrote about it, but only the people in the comments were suspicious.

Adland wrote, "Now, I don't know John Engle or his designwork but I don't think this story is too crazy to believe."

Unbeige raved, "A creepy story from start to finish and we're hoping the third act ends up with all things made right in the world."

The Beat wrote, "The tactics being used by the people who are suing him are quite alarming."

The Blog Herald used the dust-up as a reason to post some useful information, but regarding Engle they don't go any deeper than his inital post and cover their butts this way,"However, it doesn’t matter who is in the right in this case. For either side to clear their name, they are going to have to prove that the work is theirs."

And a copy of an email from the DIGG thread:

Dear Stockart

You better be careful with your next move, the people of the internet are going to come down and launch a jihad on your asses. It think it is disgusting - they way that you do business, and the way that you can bully small independent artists the way you have. You should really be a shamed of yourselves.

I suggest that you check your facts, upon review, drop the case against Jon Engle immediatley - I believe you used no win, no fee lawyers anyway - so cut your losses NOW!

I shall try and get in contact with some of your clients to try to let them know about the situation, and I shall be contacting the lawyers you used with the same advice and information.

##### #######
p.s. ***** you, go die in a hole

MORE UPDATE: The mob hits the mainstream with the Guardian relinking the original story and Drawn! posting it on their Twitter feed.

MORE UPDATE: I've set up a cafepress shop to commemorate the mob experience.

1:42 AM , # , |

Monday, April 06, 2009

$6 Birds

With The Twitter busting out all over, Simon Oxely's little bird is everywhere these days, including this revealing article in WIRED:

An iStockphoto spokeswoman told that Twitter paid between $10 and $15 for Oxley's bird design. Considering that iStockphoto pays 20 or 40 percent to content creators depending on their membership, Oxley made somewhere between $2 and $6 for designing the Twitter homepage graphic. Carolyn Davidson, who famously earned only $35 for designing the Nike swoosh, actually made out pretty well by comparison.

The article spawned a small avalanche of blog posts relating the tale of an artist getting taken for $6, but all seemed to omit a key point that's only mentioned at the end of the article:

Oxley's bird design remains on the site where it can be licensed under the same terms Twitter received. Nothing is stopping people from making sites that ape, mock or build upon Twitter using its own official graphic.

Unlike the Nike Swoosh, Twitter doesn't have exclusive use of the little bird and Simon retains full ownership. Oxley, who is always recycling elements, has three versions of that file with two thousand combined downloads and many more sales from other variations ... do the math and you'll see that, financially, he's left the Nike woman in the dust (except that she went on to work at Nike and was eventually compensated for her inspiration).

10:44 PM , # , |

Saturday, April 04, 2009

None Spots

Sunspots have yet to return:

In a way, the calm is exciting, says Pesnell. “For the first time in history, we’re getting to observe a deep solar minimum.” A fleet of spacecraft — including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin probes of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and several other satellites — are all studying the sun and its effects on Earth. Using technology that didn’t exist 100 years ago, scientists are measuring solar winds, cosmic rays, irradiance and magnetic fields and finding that solar minimum is much more interesting than anyone expected.

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Friday, April 03, 2009


Dave Devall retires:


11:35 PM , # , |


Something awesome to make your Friday awesome:


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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hot Docs

The Hot Docs screening schedule hits the street today. You can ind it inseretd in EYE WEEKLY and NOW.

4:20 PM , # , |

Fast 3am Review: Being Erica's Season Finale

After so much promise, Being Erica's first season ended with the ratings in the toilet ... the result of stories that didn't adequately milk the show's premise. The final episode was one of the weakest of the season BUT the bit in the middle of the show demonstrated the kind of playful storytelling that should have run through the series: Erica returns to the present, having changed the past, to find herself living the life she wanted and it's great ... but is sadly bookended by a tonne of melodramatic tripe and, at the end, some dialogue and a sex scene with the new boyfriend that make tooth decay seem like sweet relief in comparison.

Playful storytelling is something Canadian tv in general and the CBC in particular seem unable to grasp. By 'playful', I'm not talking about silly and fun like Ugly Betty. By playful, I mean "lively": high, low, sharps, flats ... things happen and things matter. The Wire used a great recipe of lively storytelling and was really playful at times.

The last episode also falls into the CBC trap of being a downer. Remember MVP? The show about the sexy hockey wives? That show could have been great if they'd just stuck to the sexy premise but instead they veered off on a bunch of dark, downer storylines. It's still baffling why they threw in all that weird shit. That's typically what happens on CBC shows. In the last Being Erica, it's Dr. Tom who gets all serious and it just doesn't play. In fact, it didn't even make sense. Erica screws up, then she gets a do-over and fixes the issue and learns her lesson ... and it's so easy, it doesn't seem like it should be a big deal. The consequences are too arbitrary and forced. "Downer" is not the same as "drama". Know the difference.

Actually, my least favourite part of the episode was the casting of Dr. Tom's replacement ... in my suggestion post I said cast Lisa Ray, dammit! Hey, Joe Clark left a comment about that:

Um. Lisa Ray? A total zombie of a performer, and the whitest Indic in the country? A wax doll? Rilly? You must be straighter than I thought.

Yes, she still would have been a good choice.

Sophie was just cancelled for low ratings so the creators of Being Erica are probably under a bit of pressure to pull up those numbers. Hopefully they'll stick to raising the storytelling game and not tinker too much with everything else that mostly works. And hopefully we'll never have to see Erica have sex with Ethan ever, ever, ever again.

2:13 AM , # , |

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


It's my Free Vector of the Month ... you can download it now for free.

4:43 PM , # , |


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