Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Welcome to Destructoville.

Welcome to my own personal place to break things and run rampant as much as I want. Please pardon the mess, step over the broken glass and watch those rusty pipes over there. I put them there on purpose. It's exactly the way I want it.

So, anyway, watch this space for more of the stupid things that make me ... me.

What? Why Destructoville? That's easy. When I was a kid I had this nasty (and viciously untrue) reputation for breaking things. So much so, in fact, that my delusional family had a nickname for me - Destructo. I wear it like a badge of honor, and I love it. So here we are in Destructoville. Welcome.

Now get off the lawn!

What's in a blog?

After my last rant on this site, I got an e-mail message from Kristi: "quit posting that crap on our family blog." That led invariably to discussions about what exactly this blog is for. I was under the impression that it was about who we are - personality, opinions and just goofy things that interest us. But Kristi reminded me that it was originally intended just to be a way for our family and friends, who are scattered literally across the world, to keep up with us, to see what's going on in our lives and to help keep in touch. She asked me to please start my own blog if I wanted to post geeky advertising stuff and opinion.

I thought about it quite a bit. At first I was dead set against it. This is partially my blog, after all. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Kristi was right. This should be an innocent place about family. It should be G-rated, and it should be about family. The beauty of the internet is that I can have my own little space where I can rant about everything - and nothing - until my heart is content. In my own little world I can post to geeky things like typography and new logos. And people can read it if they want - or not.

So, today I'm announcing the creation of my own little blog, Destructoville, at www.destructoville.jamespharaon.com. You won't get the posts in e-mail like you do with the Pharaon Family blog, but I will post a link here when I've posted something that might be interesting. And this space will be reserved solely for family matters.

That being said, I think I should take the time here to clear up what exactly the Pharaon Family blog isn't. It isn't meant to be a day-by-day recounting of our lives. In no way can we possibly post every picture we take on the blog or relay every story. There just isn't time. We'll continue to post the highlights as we have time. There are a lot of things that, while they are notable and cute, just don't make it to the blog, and we're sorry for that. Kristi has her hands absolutely full with a baby who thinks that sleep is for the weak (and trying to get any actual work done for her job, to say nothing of running the house.) I've got a day job that keeps me busy and I try to find time to be a good Dad in the evenings. And then there's the mountain of freelance work I try to get done late at night and in the morning.

Not whining here, just trying to illustrate that we've got actual lives going on. The blog is our way of letting the world into our lives when we can slow down long enough to share. There's so much that we could put on the blog if that's all we did.  I've got a great post in draft - for someday - about the Pharaon Boarding House.  And Soccer practice.  And  backyard camping.  And so on...

All that being said, we've discovered that we really like this whole blogging thing.  And we especially like the feedback we get from family and friends.  So keep it coming, and we will, too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Morons, Idiots and Horrible Parents

For those of you who may not be aware, the Houston/Galveston area over the weekend suffered a direct hit from a strong category 3 hurricane - Ike. Beginning on Wednesday, people on Galveston Island were given MANDATORY evacuation orders, along with people from areas near the coast, including the Bolivar peninsula. They were told that this storm had a larger than normal storm surge and that if they stayed that they were on their own. Early reports were that 90% of the island had evacuated, but on Friday that was amended to 60%. A full 40% of the island decided to stay.


Then came the pleading from the government. The residents that decided to stay in the MANDATORY evacuation area were told that they faced "certain death" if they stayed and that they would be on their own. And they stayed anyway. The news was full on Friday of people walking around on the seawall in Galveston taking pictures and watching the giant waves slam against the seawall.

Then, Friday afternoon the storm surge began and the wind started to pick up. The water went OVER the seawall, even before the hurricane had gotten there. And they stayed, even as police went door to door BEGGING people to evacuate.

There were reports that the reason some didn't evacuate was because they couldn't afford the gas or because they didn't have anyplace to go. So they rounded up a bunch of buses for people to board which would take them to a shelter. Some went, but most stayed.

Then the winds began to howl at hurricane force and the rains began. And the calls began. Morons called 911 begging and pleading to come be rescued from their homes because the water was rising or because their roof had already been blown off. And the police and the Coast Guard put themselves in danger to save as many of the booger-eating morons as they could before it was simply too dangerous. God bless them for trying, but I don't think they should have. Those who stayed were given LOTS of opportunities to go. They can't say they weren't warned, and they thumbed their noses at the same people who ended up saving their sorry butts. It may sound callous, but at some point there needs to be some accountability. And yes, even with loss of life.

How many resources were wasted because of such stupidity? Thank God there were no reports of the first responders suffering any casualties.

Why did they treat Ike like it was a joke? So they could have a hurricane party? Really? What part of MANDATORY was unclear, exactly?

Because "I survived Carla and Alicia and Rita and I'll be fine this time." First, Carla was in 1961, and you were a lot younger. Second, Carla hit further down the coast, sparing Galveston a direct hit. Alicia (1983) hit square on, so kudos to you for surviving it, but yet being too stupid to remember all the death and destruction that it caused. Rita (2005) hit the Sabine pass. Galveston was again spared and was on the good side of the storm.

So now we're treated to their sob stories and "heroic" tales all over the TV and newspapers, as if we're supposed to be proud of them and their remarkable feat of staying alive. And as the photos of the survivors start to trickle in, what amazes me and yet incenses me at the same time is how many parents decided to to keep their families either on Galveston or on Bolivar. I saw one guy on the news talking about how he stayed, but had to leave his home during the storm and hopped in his speed boat with his family, including young kids (wearing life jackets, luckily - thanks for that, father-of-the-year) and somehow managed to navigate to the Galvez hotel, where the emergency response teams were holed up.

And then I saw the following photos, which were taken from the Houston Chronicle's web site, showing "parents" with children as young as four months (!!!) who stayed and had be rescued and taken care of after the storm. Be stupid with your own life if you want to, but PLEASE don't force your kids to stay in harm's way because you think playing chicken with a hurricane is a game.

Just look at the kids. They're obviously exhausted and, I'm sure, traumatized. I'm not a big fan of CPS, but I think someone should seriously question the judgement of these "parents."

The caption on the Chronicle's slide show page said that this baby is only four months old. As a father of a six-month old, I find this kind of irresponsibility unconscionable.
Morons on parade. Actually, waiting to be spoon-fed.

The caption on this one read that this lady is assessing the damage to her fiance's car. So, let me get this straight... you had transportation, obviously fairly new and most probably in good working order, and yet still decided to stay? And now there will be an insurance claim that will contribute to yet higher insurance premiums. Thanks, moron.

Old enough to know better.

Again, old enough to know better. Wipe that smirk off your face, lady. Those guys who are helping you have families that you're keeping them from.

I'll end this little rant by saying that I hope that every last one of these morons gets a bill from the local authorities, itemized with such things as "officer's hazard pay, helicopter fuel, bottled water, etc." I also think that the next time they call a MANDATORY evacuation, they should wait until the traffic out of town dies out and then go around arresting all the fools who think they know better than anyone else. Charge them with a felony for disobeying a direct order from the governor, mayor and local officials. At least in custody, they won't need to be plucked from some rooftop somewhere.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My eyes! My eyes!!!!!

I have new thing to add to my list of top ten things I never wanted to see.... Bill Gates shaking his rump.

In case you haven't heard, Microsoft's new pitchman is Jerry Seinfeld. I'll wait a minute while the irony of that sinks in... done yet? no? ... okay. good.

Ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky out of Miami was hired to create a $300 million ad campaign to try to rejuvenate Microsoft's image and to complete with Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign. Their first task was to find a spokeman who just reeks of "fresh" and "hip" and cutting edge." Naturally, they picked Jerry Seinfeld (for kids in the audience, Jerry Seinfeld is a standup comedian who had a hit TV show that ended in 1998.) And the collective advertising and internet community said, "huh?" while Apple fanboys everywhere wet themselves with laughter since Seinfeld's apartment frequently had Macintosh computers laying around.

So a few weeks pass and we finally get to see the train wreck we were all waiting for:

I think parts of this ad are really, really funny. Jerry Seinfeld cruising around the mall eating a churro, for instance. The irony of Bill Gates shopping at a bargain basement shoe store wasn't lost on me - I just didn't think it was funny. But the best part of the whole spot was Bill Gates' lack of acting ability. And the fact that he's still using his 1977 mop-haired jail mugshot photo on his ID. That is what makes this spot funny.

Too bad Bill just retired and isn't the "face" of Microsoft anymore.

Where was this spot ten years ago? It would have been timely when Seinfeld's show had just gone off the air, while he was still on the top of everyone's collective mind. Bill Gates was still the face of Microsoft back then, which was in dire need of some good PR while it was knee-deep in its Internet Explorer anti-trust case.

There's no doubt that Microsoft needs a shot of positive PR. Following the Vista debacle, it's seen as a bloated, unwieldy giant that is out of touch with the mainstream. Choosing two aging icons of the '90s was a mistake. Someone like Jon Stewart would have been better. That would have also served as a subtle link - a little jab at Apple - because John Hodgman (PC) is a correspondent for the Jon Stewart show. Using PC's boss to pitch Microsoft would have been classic. That, and Stewart is still relevant and funny. Seinfeld ... not so much.

BTW- it should be noted that Bill Gates KNOWS that he's this wooden, dorky figure. He plays it well, and he's done a good job making fun of it in the past. Just check out his hilarious retirement video. He's definitely a better choice than Microsoft's current CEO, the always scary and never loveable Steve Ballmer. But Seinfeld? Seriously?

Microsoft continues to make a joke of their brand. Even though I'm an Apple guy, I still find it sad.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In a world ... without Don LaFontaine

Don LaFontaine, the man behind the most ubiquitous voice ever, died over the weekend at age 68. While this isn't exactly HUGE news, it is interesting to me because I used to work for a guy named Bill Moffett who had a lot of the same mannerisms and a voice very similar to LaFontaine's. Sometimes, while sitting around with the staff in his office or while cutting a radio spot he would launch into a spontaneous parody of LaFontaine that was always very funny. There's just something funny about hearing one voicever guy mimicking another voiceover guy perfectly.

Also, I got to thinking in the past couple of days... LaFontaine's voice was almost literally EVERYWHERE. Movie trailers, TV show promos, radio ads and on and on will never sound the same again. Let's hope they don't get some imitator that sounds kinda like him to pick up where he left off. Now that their go-to guy is gone, this could be a real chance for the industry to break some new ground. I hope they do.