Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Encounter with the Naked Cowboy at Nike + Human Race

After living in NYC for a year and a half, I finally come face-to-face with the Naked Cowboy! He made an appearance at the Nike Human Race (NYC) and I just had to have my photo taken with him --- He's famous for struttin' around Times Square playing his guitar wearing only his white cowboy hat, white cowboy boots and white underwear briefs, with a guitar placed over his goods. The Naked Cowboy is usually found in Times Square posing with tourists year-round - in the sun, rain, or snow!

The Nike + Human Race took place at Randall's Island in New York City (in addition to 24 cities worldwide). It's the largest global running event EVER! You couldn't have picked a more beautiful evening to hold the race. Before the race began, Lopez Lomong, US Olympian 1500 meters, and Nate Robinson, NY Knicks Point Guard, greeted the crowd as the runners anxiously waited for the race to begin. I'm not sure what my time was for the race, but I'm hoping I did it under an hour. Stay tuned for results!

This is my attempt to "train" for the ING New York Marathon taking place on November 2, 2008 (62 days). I only qualified for the marathon because I was picked out of the lottery --- still trying to figure out if that was based on good or bad luck!

Can you see the fear on my face as he whispers into my ears? Guess what he was saying...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Viral Videos: Secrets Revealed

Authentic user-generated videos like "Where the Hell is Matt," "Evolution of Dance" and my personal favorite, "Ha ha ha (laughing baby)," have captured the attention of companies - big and small. These videos have each been viewed by well over 20,000,000 people and the best thing about them is that they cost close to nothing to produce. The ROI is infinite!!! Of course companies want a piece of this action, but creating a video with the intention for it to go viral is not easy.

Below is an interesting video that reveals the secret strategies behind many viral videos.



Some of the tips provided seem shady to me. What do you think?

* Applying "strategic" tags (fake)
* Paying bloggers to post content
* Commenting on your own video to elicit participation
* Placing a thumbnail image not related to the video for the mere purpose of "tricking" people tp click on your video.


Perhaps that's the difference from PR and marketing...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hilary Clinton Supports Barack Obama

If you missed it, Hilary Clinton addressed the Democratic National Convention with a compelling and charismatic speech.



Some of my favorite quotes from Clinton:

"No way, no how, no McCain"
"We do not need four more years of the last eight years!"
Clinton thanked the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Paint Suit."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beware of Antivirus XP 2008

ATTENTION: DO NOT BE FOOLED!

I downloaded an evil virus a couple days ago called Antivirus XP 2008. It enabled 286 separate viruses to access my computer!!! The virus downloaded 300 MB of malicious files into my temporary folders and 312 extra Windows registry values were conceived. OK, so in plain English, these nasty lil' viruses controlled my computer's settings and options for my operating system, which means they controlled what information I was able to access and collected data (username and password, cookies, etc.) from my computer.

So how did this happen to savvy little ol' me? No, I was not downloading PORN! I was just surfing the web minding my own beezwax Googling for work-related articles, when all of a sudden I recieved fake security alerts and warnings that said I needed to install an updated version of antivirus software. I immediately closed the dialogue boxes because I had a feeling it was a virus. Unfortunately, I was not able to open Internet Explorer because the page failed to open and I received a pop-up prompting me to purchase the latest antivirus software. I know, I know --- you're thinking no idiot would fall for that, right? But this idiot before you did because I desperately needed to access the Internet and didn't have any time to waste. Besides, the security alert looked very convincing so I panicked and whipped out my credi card. Within seconds, my wallpaper changed and all my folders were being scanned and I said HOLY$#*T!!!

I didn't know what to do, so I called my one and only tech-savvy computer geek of a friend Phippsy! Phipps is sitting besides me now installing an opensource virus scanner, a spybot thingy, and some other nerdy things he mentioned that I can't remember for the life of me.

Three hours later...my computer is disinfected! Thank God! Now, I can access my Facebook and upload some new pics from Jamell's 27th Birthday last weekend.

YouMail - check it out! Courtesy of Juanito

One of my dearest friends, Juan, shared an interesting service called YouMail. This service transcribes voice messages sent to your cell phone into a text message for you to read. Sounds cool, right? I signed up, but haven't had the opportunity to check it out just yet, but will keep you posted. BTW - it also sends your messages to an e-mail account if you'd like (so that you can save all those intexicated messages, both in a text or audio files). I have a feeling I'll get a kick out of saving recorded messages from friends after the consumption of alcohol! You can even forward it to them the next day for laughs! xoxo

Monday, August 18, 2008

Texting Under the Influence - Intexicated

Intexicated: Sending texts to former lovers or the wrong person while inebriated. Usually leads to regret and undesired consequences.

Interesting Statistics

According to a survey done by Virgin, a whopping 95% of those surveyed (some 400 drunken sots, apparently) admitted to drunk dialing or drunk texting following a drinking session. Nearly one-third of the phone calls went to an ex, and 19% went to a current partner.


And oh, the imagery: fifty-five percent said that on the morning after, the first thing that they did was reach for their cell phone to figure out who they had called the night before.


Perhaps the US should jump on the bandwagon and implement some of these services to prevent irreversible dialing and texting:

Virgin’s “dialing under the influence” service allows people to program numbers into their cell phone which they don’t want to call during a bender. Those numbers become undialable until 6:00 a.m. the following morning.


Earlier this year, LG released a cell phone in Great Britain and South Korea that included a built-in breathalyzer for measuring callers' blood alcohol content. The goal of the breathalyzer in the phone is to put an end to embarrassing drunken phone calls and, more importantly, deadly drunken driving. (The Daily Free Press)


Do you have a drunk texting/dialing story to share? You can use pseudonyms!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

08-08-08: My Lucky Day

At exactly 11:40pm on Friday, August, 8th, 2008, I was told it was my lucky day.

I was in Toronto on a connecting flight to London, and decided to pick up some snacks while people anxiously lined up to board the plane --- you just never know if there will be meals served on planes anymore or if you'll end up paying $5 for a bag of chips! As I paid for my snacks, the cashier told me she could only give me change in Canadian dollars --- uh, no thank you! I quickly handed over my Visa.

As I approach the flight attendant at the gate, he asked me, "Are you traveling alone?"

I sadly replied, "Yes."

He took my boarding pass and ripped it up and handed me a new freshly printed boarding pass and said, "Today's your lucky day."

I looked at the pass and it read, "Executive First/Super Affaires."

OMG --- was this really happening? I entered the plane and the flight attendants were ready to point me toward the right of the plane (economy class). He looked at my pass (he actually did a double-take on it), and a smile quickly apppeared on his face as he happily guided me to the left. It was incredible! I didn't even have the chance to put my baggage in the overhead compartment and the flight attendant was already offering me champagne. Of course I kept my cool and pretended like I fly first-class regularly, but deep down inside, it was kind of like losing my first-class virginity. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's the best way to describe what went down at that moment --- lost, confused, excited, and did my best to keep my cool.

I opened up the little travel kit. It included the usual items (not sure exactly what I was expecting --- perhaps Kiehl products?): toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, breathspray, travel shoes, and a sleeping eye mask. As I looked around, the man next to me was sprawled out and dead asleep. How did he turn his seat into a bed? No wonder there was all that space between the seats! I discreetly tried to search for the buttons (can't let people know I've never flown first-class before ya know). UGH! I couldn't find them...there were so many levers and buttons around me! Just as I was about to give up, I reached for the eye mask and TA-DA! It was on the left side panel of my seat....ahhhhh! I got comfortable, put on the eye mask and the next words I heard were, "Miss, we're about to land in thirty minutes, would you like to order breakfast?"

I SLEPT THROUGH THE ENTIRE FLIGHT!!! It was magnificent! Thanks Air Canada! This was an experience I'll never forget --- I was well rested and full of energy for Nick when I landed in Heathrow. Perhaps there is something to why Chinese astrology considers 08-08-08 to be lucky.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I was right all along!!!

My boss at work forwarded me the Montauk Monster: Hoax story on Gawker just minutes ago...with the subject line: I KNEW IT!

PR and Marketing professionals can smell a stunt when we see one. After the story spread across the nation for days and no one figured out it who was behind it, I slowly started doubting my PR nose for BS. Especially, when I heard someone had found the darn thing and dissected it.

I even came up with an idea about how my traval clients could have taken advantage of this stunt and piggy-back off its success --- but there was a part of me that thought, "What if this thing is just a sea turtle or whatever?" UGH! I should have gone with my instincts.

Well, so the viral marketing guru behind the whole thing finally came forth and told his story. Life goes on. But hey, it was fun while it lasted...it was fun to talk about.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Montauk Monster -- publicity stunt? real monster? government project gone bad?

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Ahhhhhh!!! Everyone's talking about the Montauk Monster this week. It's taken over the Internet! This creature washed up on the beach of Montauk, NY (also know as rich people's haven) and the photo taken by a local resident immediately became viral. It was up on Gawker.com and within minutes was picked up by news stations and online media within minutes. I checked the stats yesterday and it has been viewed on Gawker by over 11 billion people with comments being posted every ten minutes. That's incredible! It was even reported by CNN's Wolf Blitzer and rampantly spread all over the blogosphere (that's why I'm obviously blogging about it). Can you believe it even has its own Wikipedia page? I'm sure once we get to the bottom of this, the Wikipedia entry will hopefully dispell all these theories and myths.

My first instinct is that this "monster" is probably a publicity stunt for some movie coming out. If this is the case, BRAVO to the geniuses behind this stunt.

Other speculators say it's a government project gone wrong from nearby Plum Island Animal Testing Facility. Another great theory. Here's a quote from a Plum Island rep:

The validity of the picture has been further established by the numerous eyewitnesses who saw the animal on the beach in front of Montauk's Surfside Inn. Theories abound as to what the animal is and where it came from. Marci Caplis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted that rare and unknown sea animals did surface after the Asian tsunami, and although the recent East Coast storms are not of comparable magnitude, the animal did wash up on a particularly stormy day in the Hamptons. Others have speculated that the animal escaped from Plum Island Animal Disease Center.


Some actually believe the darn thing is a REAL monster! Ah those funny Lochness monster-Chupacabra-Bigfoot-believing-folks. Monsters are not real! Oh and fyi, I'd hate to break it to you, but Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don't exist either.

Some say its just a decomposed racoon or dog or maybe even a sea turtle without its shell.

Here are some tidbits that may make you think it's all a publicity stunt:

* Photo came from a woman that freelances for a viral marketing company.

* The creature is no where to be found. They say an old man removed it and threw it in his yard (or something like that). Oh c'mon! That's the best they can think of?

* Cartoon Network is coming out with a new show called Cryptids are Real. Surprisingly enough, the show is about scientifically undocumented animals. Huh --- coincidence?


So decide for yourself. Gotta love this stuff, right? Makes life a little more interesting.

I also wanted to give a proper shout out to Rachel, a dear colleague of mine at Quinn & Co. Public Relations, for forwarding this story to me. She advises not to stare at the photo too long --- it might give you nightmares.

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