Monday, August 30, 2010

How to Make the Emmy Awards Less Boring Next Year

The Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, aired last night and let me tell you that they sure lived up to expectations. Too bad the expectations went somewhere along the lines of “Oscars wannabe…”

Let me make it clear that the Emmy’s will never be the Oscars. There’s simply a lack of full-fledged TV superstars to replace such huge Oscar regulars as Will Smith and Sandra Bullock. However, the best that television has to offer still constitutes some big time talent— talent that can surely put on a show that millions will tune into, just like they tune into American Idol or Mad Men.

Frankly, many people watch the Oscars simply because it’s one of the biggest gatherings of famous people that they can possibly see in any given year. On the other hand, there won’t be many people who’ll want to watch the Emmy’s, purely because of all the red carpet stars.

Thus, the Emmy Awards must be marketed based on a different attribute.

And I believe that attribute is entertainment value. I think that the Emmy’s should take a page from World Wrestling Entertainment’s book. Now, I don’t mean that TV stars should start performing suplexes and beating each other with chairs; what I mean is that the Emmy’s can mimic the WWE’s entertainment value.

The WWE is known for its ability to formulate intriguing plotlines to keep fans interested. What if the Emmy’s were based on a plotline that was portrayed by the various Emmy nominees? Maybe a big interrogation scene with Kiefer Sutherland, where he demands to know the whereabouts of the Emmy he is about to present. What if he then suddenly collapses, only to be taken into Hugh Laurie’s operating room?

This is the type of entertainment that people would pay to see. Why not attract some more viewers with it?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

7 Creative Things to Do During Your Last Week of Summer

It's the last week of summer vacation. BOOOHOOOO!!! School will begin in a week for most of us but here are some things to do during your last few days. These things have nothing to do with packing for school or studying notes. These are things that will keep your mind off of that horrible subject and let you savour your last moments of summer 2010.

7. Pet a bird.

You know those geese/swans/seagulls/pigeons that always waddle around your neighbourhood pond, just waiting to pounce on dropped fries? Yes, I’m sure you’ve noticed those little guys. And I’m sure you’ve also noticed how it’s pretty much impossible to get anywhere near them. Well, I challenge you to try and pet one! It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, you MUST pet one of those birds— I guarantee the sense of accomplishment that you’ll achieve will be absolutely amazing and will stick with you forever.

6. Have a food coloring fight.

Before scheduling your end-of-summer water-gun fight, consider stocking up on some food coloring. Then, mix a few drops in with the water source and you’ll all look like the Gatorade dudes after.

Or conversely, if you don’t want to look like you’re sweating orange stuff, you can clandestinely bring out your secret weapons in the middle of the match, unleashing the devastation upon the other team. Cheating at a water fight is the perfect way to end your summer!

5. Convince someone that they’ve been drafted into the CIA.

This idea was inspired by my favorite movie of all time, Agent Cody Banks 2. You can try this on some gullible little kid at a family gathering (don’t do it on strangers because you don’t want to look like a creeper). It works best if you plan out a story beforehand and supplement it with a few “spy gadgets” and a mission briefing report. And trust me, it’ll be a heck of a ride.

4. Bring $30 to Dairy Queen and spend it all.

The best part of summer is the ice cream. So why not cap off your break with an uber-awesome ice cream marathon? You can bring any denomination of money, depending on how rich you are, but more importantly, on how much Blizzard you’re willing to eat. Then, dig in.

And don’t mind all those people staring at you as you start your tenth Oreo Cheesequake. It’s summer.

3. Go into town with a Santa costume and give presents to random passersby.

This one is for the flamboyantly brave, who don’t mind being the center of attention in a bad way. If you have a Santa costume from last Christmas, whip it out and put it on. After that, you’re all set to go downtown and start giving away your, Batman stickers, half-used erasers, and limited edition Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

2. Create a treasure hunt for somebody at the library

Meticulously leave a trail of clues for some curious reader who has a lot of time on their hands. Stick Post-Its saying stuff like, “Go to the end of the aisle and look right,” or “Go to the gardening section.” And finally, write a clue leading them straight back to the beginning and see how long they can keep going in circles.

1. Start a food fight at a fruit farm

This is probably the hardest one of these to pull off. It’s a summer must-do though. Pick someone who either looks really moody or really fun-loving, and fling something at them. If you get lucky, they’ll return the favor and then you can watch as the mayhem starts. MUAHAHAHAHA!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

How Marketers are Putting Advertising in Your Next Camera

Marketing and advertising are growing constantly. Various sources say that the average American is bombarded by anywhere from 254 to 5000 advertisements a day. How is that possible? Well think about the radio ads you heard in the car or the billboards you saw while driving. Think about the ads you saw on the bus that just passed by and the Goodyear blimp in the sky. How about the ads on the elevator's new TV or the site you were just surfing?

No doubt, humanity is awfully good at finding more and more ways to satisfy an addiction to furthering consumerism, for the sake of the economy. In other words, we're finding more and more places to put our ads.

And here is another example of an incredibly innovative idea being developed. Some might call it just more visual pollution, while others would dub it marketing genius.

But like it or not, new cameras are now being fitted with a system software that will create a new million-dollar industry.

Basically, a program will be able to detect the logos or products of a particular brand, in the photos that users take. In turn, the user will be shown an ad to correspond with the brand featured in their beautiful photography. For example, if someone were to snap a picture of a party, where a bottle of Coke happened to be present in the scene, the camera would be able to detect the bottle by its logo and colors. After the photo was taken, it would then proceed to show an ad for Coca-Cola or perhaps even a competitor like Pepsi.

This would mean that millions of dollars could be paid out for the advertising spots, to camera companies that adopt this type of software. And the additional profits could mean lower camera prices to convince users to brave the ads.


OK fine, this idea is nowhere close to being in development but I just thought it might be where the camera industry goes next. I believe it would be a very valid business model and a creative way to make profits and sell cameras.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back-to-School Special: How to Suck Up to Teachers for Good Grades

Now I’m sure that you’re easily intelligent enough to get A’s the old-fashioned way— with good ol’ determination, work ethic, and discipline. However, being the creative person that you are, I thought that you might be interested in a more efficient method.

The art of sucking up is not a difficult one to practice and if executed properly, it can boost your grades by up to 15%. And the funny thing is, you don’t have to be an A-student to be able to suck up and better yet, you don’t even have to act like a loser. Here is a guide to getting good grades the creative way, come September:

Make a good first impression.

The psychologists don’t lie. If you make a bad first impression, you’re digging a deep hole for yourself, very early in the year. The first few weeks are the time when it’s most crucial that you’re totally on top of your game. You know the deal: Don’t be late for class, hand in homework, work hard, don’t talk too much in class, etc. etc. If you put on those trusty goody-two shoes (see what I did there?) for the first little while, you’ll be able to establish your image as one of being a perfect student in your teacher’s head.

Then, as the months go by, you’ll be able to slowly fade back out to slacker mode, without too many repercussions.


In the first few weeks, you’ll want to go all out with the volunteering. Be the first to raise your hand when she asks who wants to take the attendance down or who wants to take the recycling out. First of all, your teacher will automatically think of you as an enthusiastic learner and a responsible person. Further, as an added bonus, your peers will likely interpret that you just want to skip class and won’t treat you like a complete egghead.

Compliment them.

OK, this is a given. For amateurs, there’s always the “nice haircut” line but for the especially ambitious, add some “heart” into it. A girl can definitely get away with something like “I love your outfit today. It really matches well!” A guy should stay away from complimenting a female teacher on her fashion sense… However, if you have a male teacher, “Yo, those shoes are sick!” is not a bad line. Remember, every teacher loves to be respected by his or her students.

And speaking of that, complimenting a teacher on his teaching style or content is always a good idea. Everyone loves to be thought of as good at what they do.

Treat teachers like human beings.

This tip is without a doubt, the granddaddy of them all. This is pretty much the principle that all the other tips are based on. Treating teachers like human beings may be tough, but inside, they crave acceptance just as much as we do. Talk to them coolly and casually; crack some jokes and even ask them a bit about their personal life, (pretending to be) interested. And always talk about what they’re interested in, not what you’re interested in— you’ll be rewarded. If they like classical music, you’d better speak like Beethoven’s your idol.

Treating teachers like people will make them feel that you think of them as a friend, and thus, also feel an obligation not to disappoint you in your grades.

Trust me, this stuff is the real deal.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Your Very Own Survival Kit for Getting Through the First Day of School: A Back-to-School Special

The First Day of School Sucks
The first day of school is usually quite tame compared to how madly boring the rest of your year will be. But think of it as a diagnostic test for your school survival instincts and a great way to hone these crucial skills. Here is what you’ll need to do in order to get through the the first day:

STEP #1: Understand the Teacher.

You’ve been given a mission— to get past this year of school unscathed— and the only person in your way is, of course, your teacher. The first day is the best time for you to establish a good scouting report on each of your teachers. For your reference, here is a list of some basic types and the characteristics they will exhibit on the first day:

The Pure Meanie (severuso snapey):

-will likely make a show of how strict he is, perhaps handing out a few punishments

-will introduce about 5362345423 rules (may include “Loud flatulence is prohibited. Hold it in or make use of the “SBD.”)

The “Strict but Fair” (dumbledorio):

-will lecture you on his high expectations and standards

-will also likely try to have a little bit of fun with you, albeit academic fun.

The Nice One (hagrida):

-will play cheesy games with you

-will emphasize getting to know you better or having a positive outlook on school

The Fun One (lupine):
-will be funny

-will have some awesomely creative way to introduce herself and entertain you

STEP #2: Have Some Fun!

Each of these types of teachers will have something planned for the first day. They’ll undoubtedly think it’s super-awesome and really interesting, but unless you’re lucky, you probably won’t. Thus, here’s what you should do with each of the types.

The Pure Meanie:

You do not want to be a pure meanie’s scapegoat on the first day of school, so it would be advised for you not to try too much with this sort of a teacher (sad face). No matter how good your intentions, he’ll make you pay.

The prank to pull: Bring him a pet spider and say it’s a gift from your Uncle Earl. Pure meanies are very “ethical”; they think it’s morally wrong to judge people and will likely accept your gift. (happy face!)

The “Strict but Fair”:

“Strict but fair” teachers love the smart people who ask questions but that doesn’t mean that the C-students can’t have some fun too. Challenge all of his viewpoints if you can, citing made-up statistics to back up your arguments. If he says, “No chewing gum,” you go ahead and say, “Well a recent study by the Harvard University has shown that students who chew gum regularly while doing schoolwork have 34% higher grades. What do you have to say to that?”

The prank to pull: Ask her a bunch of extremely personal questions. As I said, they have a soft side for question-askers.

The Nice One:

With these teachers, you can literally get away with anything on the first day. Take advantage of this opportunity. Find loopholes in all of his cheesy games and complain loudly about them, or just mess them up totally. Talk with your friends, open a bag of chips, etc. etc. Today is your lucky day.

The prank to pull: Pretend to be someone else or better yet, act like a foreign exchange student from Zimbabwe. Again, you can do anything.

The Fun One:

Don’t do anything harsh to these teachers. You can probably have fun without screwing with their heads. Here’s the rule: If they’re cool, don’t be a tool. WHAT A TRIPLE RHYME!!!

OK, so you’re pretty much set. Go out and show those teachers what you got!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Worst Infomercial EVER

The Hawaii Chair and the Tiddy Bear are legendary in the universe of stupid infomercials. One sells a gyrating chair and the other sells a seatbelt pad. On the other hand, this one sells a wand that turns pickle juice into pickle slices...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Biggest Pool in the World: The Endless Pool

I’m not going to lie. The second I saw the ad for Endless Pools, I wanted one. I mean, the fact that this pool was endless seemed so exotically awesome to me. (Hippie voice) Like, whoa… You can swim…forever? Radical… (End of hippie voice)

How it works is that there’s a pump on one edge of the pool that pushes a constant stream of water towards the other side. And so when you swim against this “current”, you don’t move forward or backward, making the pool effectively endless. Think about it. You could swim for miles in your own backyard. Now, think about the pleasant conversations you could now have with your rich friends:

“I could swim 5 miles in my backyard pool without turning.”

“Whoa… Our pool is only 3 miles long. What do you do for a living?”

“I’m with the Men in Black (satisfied smirk).”

And not only are they great to boast, they’re actually really practical too. I mean, for a thoroughly incompetent swimmer like me, no turning is a nice perk. And how about the fact that you don’t need much space for an Endless Pool, since you can swim forever without moving?

All in all, if I had a choice, I’d sure as heck make my pool endless.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Handheld Electric Bug Zappers: Too Much Fun?

Handheld Bug Zapper
Bugs are annoying. That's why they're called bugs. Sometimes they're even frightening and probably somewhat detrimental to our health.

See, bugs are one of the few animals that humans have never really befriended. You'll never see a happy-go-lucky tween going nuts over how adorable a spider is, like they do to dogs, dolphins, and mice (for the really weird ones).

It's pretty natural to kill any bug that really gets on our nerves. As a child, we all stomped on ants for recreation (the especially sadistic burned them with magnifying glasses) and now, we'll go to unbelievable lengths to keep our homes bug-free.

There are thousands of little knick-knacks that help satiate our collective appetite for bug destruction, but this one was definitely one of the most creative ideas I’ve seen.

Bug zappers aren’t uncommon to see in backyards. They’re those lights that feature a few specks of insect remains. But for the especially proactive bug haters, there’s the handheld bug zapper. These babies look sort of like those mini tennis racquets that we used to flail around as kids except for the fact that their strings are electrified, to really dust off those pesky bugs.

In fact, the inventors of handheld bug zappers were even audacious enough to put listings of the number of points you score for each bug you kill, so you can almost make a game out of it. It’s 10 points for flies, 30 points for wasps, and I believe the king kill was a dragonfly. Now, the packaging says that the device is environmentally friendly and I suppose it probably could be better than those toxic insect poisons. However, what if indeed, people began making a game out of killing insects? What if it became a recognized sport: The Bug Zapping Federation of America (BZFA)?

I mean, people might even use the bug zapper as stress relief and entertainment, among other things. Trust me— if over 15 million people enjoy mowing down pedestrians with machetes in Grand Theft Auto IV, there will be some people who enjoy killing bugs.

It’s just simple probability. There’s an idea.

The 10 Most Creative Sports Training Equipment: Must-Have Pieces for Any Athlete

10. Cushioned whistles

A must-have for any referee who wants to penalize in comfort. The actual whistle is attached to a handle that features a cushioned grip. Now that’s what I call indulgence.

9. Basketball shooting sleeves

These sleeves tighten around your arm to force you to shoot with proper form in basketball. They keep your arm aligned with the basket and emphasize the arc of a shot.

8. Belt tennis ball holders

Tennis, especially for us beginners, usually involves a ton of picking up balls that have landed in the net on unforced errors. Thus, it’s now convention to keep a bunch of balls in your pockets instead of having to run after every fanned shot. And this little invention lets you keep an extra tennis ball clipped onto your waist.

7. Extreme slideboards

If you’re an American, first of all, just know that hockey is Canada’s game. Why? Because here in Canada, we get to freeze our butts off playing hockey year-round. 365-day rinks are everywhere and ponds are frozen for 5 months of they year. But for you Americans, there’s the extreme slideboard, which simulates the ice surface so you can practice your shots, passes, and handles. Now, you’ll never beat Canada at the Olympics but you can have some fun sliding.

6. Parachutes

Parachutes are awesome. Whoever thought of harnessing the power of air resistance as a method of fitness? We can run with parachutes dragging behind us, and we can even swing bats, sticks, and arms with parachutes to provide resistance.

5. Radar balls

The radar ball is great for amateur ballplayers who don’t want to spend 200 bucks on a radar gun when they can get a decent reading from a $20 item. The radar ball detects the impact of the ball on the glove in order to determine the velocity of it. An idea that saves me $180 is a good idea any day.

4. Roller skis

With a pair of roller skis, you can simulate the experience of cross-country skiing in any temperature. Roller skis are just skis with wheels at the bottom. Sure, it’s a dead simple idea but it took someone to come up with it.

3. Curveball trainers

Baseball’s second contribution to this list is the curveball trainer. Basically, these are foam balls that have spiral grooves in them to create the crazy movements of a slider, screwball, and curveball. This happens because the grooves in the ball are able to manipulate the way air travels around it, convincing the molecules to push the ball a certain way, and allowing you to practice hitting them.

2. Golf ball-finding glasses

These babies almost made it to number one on this list. How could you not love ‘em? Your cousin gives you a lucky golf ball but after 3 straight eagles, you lose it in the rough. Time to pop on the golf ball-finding glasses and voila— suddenly a little white speck begins to stand out.

1. Passback footballs

I absolutely adore the people who mass-produce those “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” ideas. This is definitely one of those. If you’re friends prefer drinking Mountain Dew and playing Call of Duty to playing catch with you, you can now finally train your spiral on your own. Passback footballs are flat on one side so they can bounce back to you after hitting a wall of some sort. Brilliant! It may not bounce back as well as it does off your friend’s belly, but you’ll just have to live with it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A New Product that Cracks Your Eggs for You

So last night, I was watching some TV and this infomercial came on. You know the whole deal— a way-too-enthusiastic voiceover, narrating a day in the life of an aggressively smiley actor. Yup. Same-old, same-old.

But for some reason, I just watch a little closer when an infomercial comes on, sort of like we all do when “the man your man could smell like” starts talking to us. I mean, c’mon. You gotta admit that some of the ideas that are advertised are pretty amazing. Now, I’m not talking about Vince’s Shamwow (which I own and doesn’t work) or Slap-Chop (which you can’t make an edible salad with).

I’m talking about stuff like the EZ Cracker. So apparently the EZ Cracker can cleanly crack your eggs for you, without getting any of the shell into the eggy part.

A lot of people know that I’m no cook. I couldn’t make a bowl of rice for you without messing something up. Let me tell you that on the grounds of fear of causing the apocalypse, I haven’t even tried cracking an egg.

Finally, there’s a device that looks like it can help me conquer my fears.

And looking at the device, it’s actually quite astounding what a feat in engineering this is. Basically, you squeeze a handle and that forces two rings that are gripping the egg, to suddenly separate. This spurs the eggshell to separate into two different parts, allowing you to watch as the yummy part, as it miraculously drops out.

What amazes me the most though, is the fact that it claims that it can crack an egg of any size. My question is how did they engineer this device so that the rings could grip onto an eggshell of any size, without applying too much or too little force onto the shell? Too much force would obviously crack the shell, while too little, wouldn’t grip the shell hard enough that the two rings could pull the eggshell apart.

On the other hand, however awesome the engineering is, I highly doubt that little thing could separate an ostrich egg. And the infomercial does claim that it can crack an egg of “any size”. I’d like to see who else scouts this error out and pursues another one of those stupid lawsuits.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Creative Condiments: The Infamous Costco Onion Dispenser

The Costco Onion Dispenser
We know we're lazy when we need a specially designed machine to help us garnish our hot dogs. And what better way to make money then to cater to our work-shy needs?

That's the basis of Costco's famous onion dispensers. They're those big metal boxes that say "ONIONS" in big letters on them. And they're awesome.

All you have to do is turn a handle and out comes a stream of flavour. I can't believe we used to actually lift tongs and manually spread onions in the old. Hah! We were so naive back then...

But seriously, while it may seem like a very trivial little invention, having your onions neatly come out of a little machine lets us bypass so many troubles. I mean, with tongs, a number of things can go wrong:

1. You might take too much and then it’s impolite to put it back so you’ll just be forced to down a double helping of onions.

2. You might spill some. Then you’ll have to scramble from the condiments station before a Costco employee comes, making you feel guilty that they have to clean up your mess.

3. You’ll have a hard time spreading it properly. Usually, unskilled onion-putters just put a big glop on one part of the wiener, and then face the task of spreading the onions evenly with the yucky tongs that have gone who-knows-where.

So I was interested in what else the onion dispenser’s, manufacturer made. I did a little research on the company that makes these babies, Perfection Manufacturing, and apparently they specialize in condiment dispensers. Ketchup, mustard, cheese, you name it, they’ll dispense it.

Wow, there’s a company for everything these days.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Don't We All Carry Around Glasses Repair Kits?

Glasses Repair Kits!
So I’m waiting for the washroom at a gas station the other day, and I spot something really funky. I’m not really the gas station convenience store type guy, so I’d never caught a glimpse of this idea before. Hanging from the bottom hook on the shelf was a row of “glasses repair kits”.

Now, I was sceptical at first— how often do you need a glasses repair kit? But then I noticed that I don’t wear glasses and thus, obviously have never had to endure the heartbreak of them breaking up on you. And if you think about it, it sucks not being able to see.

I mean, what if you’re playing basketball one day and you’re jostling for position in the key. Then suddenly, that mean bully behind you knocks your glasses off. After miming around on the ground for awhile, you’re relieved to find out that your glasses are alright.

Then a raccoon comes and steps on them. NOOOO!! THEY’RE BROKEN!!

Well if you happen to be playing right beside a gas station, you can go in and buy yourself a handy glasses repair kit! It comes with a beautifully crafted mini-screwdriver, a pair of mini tweezers, and some mini-screws.

So while that mean bully can’t miss a shot on the court, you can be on the sidelines fixing your glasses for only $2.99!

Honestly though, how do these things sell? Do you really need to be carrying a remedy to broken glasses around with you everywhere? Next thing you know, we’ll all be sporting grab sacks of Tylenols, sewing needles, and mustard packets. Not a very practical fantasy.

Anyway though, if you just happen to break your glasses right beside a gas station, it’s your lucky day because you can get yourself a glasses repair kit.