James E Blogwick

You know, stuff I find interesting

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Friday, December 30, 2005

Friday Foto

Smooth sailing

Overheard on the radio on the drive into work this morning: “Either the computer is broken, or there is absolutely nothing happening on the road this morning.” Wheee!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The reason we need the scaffolding...

is to repair all these holes from the... well... the... the scaffolding.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas contractions

Why is it that the only time you hear ‘twas (‘twas the night before Christmas...”) and ‘tis (‘tis the season...) is at Christmas? After much debate and some googling, it was discovered that both are perfectly good contractions through out the year - “it was” and “it is”.

So resolution #1: At some point this year you will hear me say, “’twas a wonderful fireworks display” and “’tis time to get ready for Labor Day”

You know this seemed like a good idea, but ’twasn’t.

Monday, December 26, 2005

"He Came!"

Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday Foto

Things I can’t find in the Bible

Jesus was born on December 25th in the year 0

The Christian calendar is off 6 years (from faulty data in the 6th century when Dionysius Exiguus converted the Roman calendar to the Christian BC/AD system), plus Clement of Alexandria (an Egyptian historian) writes in 200 A.D. That, The birth of Christ took place in the 28th year of Augustus, the 25th day of Pachon” the best guess is May 14th, 6 B.C.

Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem

No mention of a donkey, but if they had one, Joseph would had rode it according to accepted practices of the time.

The couple traveled for weeks

Nazareth to Bethlehem = 70 miles, or a three to four day journey

They were all alone

Everybody would be on the road for the Census, plus Joseph’s entire family would be converging on Bethlehem (because like Joseph they were all from the “house and lineage of David”)

Mary and Joseph came stumbling in at midnight on December 24th, and had the baby the minute they got there

The census would be a well planned public works project with lots of notice, and pregnancy has a well defined time line, so there’s no reason for M & J not to get there days if not weeks early. Luke 2:6 simples says. “while they were there”.

It would be too dangerous to travel at night, and there would be no need.

There was no room at the inn

The word that is translated “Inn” is is the word “kataluma” and it refers to a guest area in a private home (the same word as in Luke 22:11). If it had been a hotel, the word would be “pandoceion” (like Luke 10:35)

The manger was the hotel parking garage

Livestock was very valuable. Archeology suggests that the home would be built over a cave, where the family could keep the animals, or a two story house, with the family upstairs, and the animals on the ground floor.

They lay the baby in a wooden A-frame feeding trough

Probably carved from stone, or carved out of the cave wall, the manger would make a relatively safe bed

M & J’s last name was Christ, so they named the baby Jesus Christ

Christ is the title, his name was Jesus. meaning “Jehovah saves”. He is “The Christ” (the Greeks translation of the Hebrew "Messiah")

Also, his middle initial was not “H”

The shepherds were in nearby fields, watching the sheep graze

They would have found shelter for the sleeping sheep, probably in a cave outside of town.

The heavenly choir bursts into Silent Night.

Luke 2:13 states “the angles were saying”

The three wise men showed up just after the shepherds

The Maji were probably a year or two later (travel time) and it is only assumed that there were three, because of three gifts. If you are making an extended journey with valuable gifts to see “a king” you would want to bring a large party.

Does this take anything away form Christmas? On the contrary, it just makes it that much more real for me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Getting what you expected

A major part of packaging is setting and meeting expectations. Is this an expensive product or a cheap product? Is this a product I can relate to? And most importantly, when I open this package up, does the product deliver what’s been promised. Billions of dollars are spent on fine tuning the message of packages to say just the right thing. Big companies do this so well, that it’s really expected 100% of the time.

Last night I opened a new tube of toothpaste that looked like this:

Colgate sparkling white mint zing

Looking at that packaging, that color toothpaste would you expect? Of course, it’s green and white. Almost an American would say green and white. I picture a green spearmint gel blended with a white baking soda more traditional paste. You would want the white part (the baking soda) to be really white, so you think that it really whitens your teeth, and the green spearmint part has got your breath’s back.

I know I’m a geek when I was shocked by a blue on blue product:

Footnote #1: Your wife will think you’re weird if you go to the bathroom in the morning, go out and get your camera, and go back into the bathroom.

And footnote #2: From looking at Colgate’s site I discovered that, Colgate mint zing promises, “A fusion of Natural Spearmint & Peppermint Essential Oils that will dazzle your mouth!” while the Cinnamon Spice is, “A burst of Cinnamon Spice that will invigorate your mouth!”

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Choose your own headline

Flashing your rack on the 210
Buck in a Truck

Monday, December 19, 2005

Las Posada

The diversity of living in East LA. On Friday night we went to a local Posada celebration. While I’m very familiar with traditional American Christmas celebrations and traditions, this was a first for me. I apologize if I misrepresent the symbolism, if you know better than I, please leave a comment. Here’s a reference that tells a more complete story.

Basically the Posada is a Mexican tradition that recounts the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, where the baby Jesus was born. We met at the community garden, and candles in hand, proceeded down the street looking for shelter.

There was no room at the inn. We were lead by a small nativity scene, and a boy and a girl dressed as Mary and Joseph.

The crowd sang songs and prayed prayers, the Spanish song sheet didn’t do me a lot of good, but I joined in with Silent Night.

When we returned to the garden the gats were closed,

we asked for entry and lodging, and after some back and forth, the gates were cast open and the party began. There was a very tasty fry bread with cinnamon sugar, "Ponche con Piquete” (Punch with Sting) (rum), and Pinatas for the children.

The Posada continues for nine days, until December 24th, a progresive party starting each night where the party was the night before, and lead by Mary and Joseph to that night’s festivities. Each time being turned away before reaching the final destination.

A wonderful time was had by all, and there was no mention of Santa, selling, or for that matter, English.

feliz navidad

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Foto

Viral ideas

Working in advertising, I am very interested in how ideas spread. Why do some things catch on, while other great ideas flounder in obscurity? Seth Godin has some great insights on this. Viral videos, a hotmail tag on every email, flickr, etc. If I can get my customers to sell my product to their friends, it’s going to save me tremendous resources. Plus the message is believed and accepted much more readily.

But what about strangers, how can someone that I never meet sell me on an idea. The idea has to solve a problem that we share in common. Here is the case study that I found this week:

I went to the hospital. Everybody who goes in the building gets a sticker, that says where you are suppose to be going. You shouldn’t be wandering around the maternity wing when you are wearing an orange radiology sticker.
OK, makes sense. The problem: What do you do with the sticker when you leave the hospital? Nobody wants to walk around announcing “I’ve been hospitalized!” So when you leave the building, the first thing everybody does is remove the sticker. The hospital strategically places a trash can right outside of the elevator doors just for this purpose.

Unfortunately, their strategy is 20 paces too late. Now I am nearing my car. I don’t want the sticker in my car (a. It’s sticky, and b. “At least I was able to drive myself to my hospitalization”). I just left the hospital, I don’t want to go back to the trash can/elevators. But it’s a very clean garage, and mom didn’t raise me to be a litterbug.

If I could just find an obscure place to stick this thing...
It’s funny to me that hundreds of people choose the more difficult bending over and sticking in the ground, and nobody just slaps it on the wall. The group is giving permission and solving the problem that we share.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Getting inside my child’s head. Part 2

Well, after many delays, we finally had the MRI. Little A did awesome, apparently she has my veins (making for an easy IV). Having a board taped to her arm didn’t slow her down as she thoroughly explored Radiology. I think that the worst part for her was the removing of the sensors taped on her chest (which the nurse made me do). Results, no we wait until after Christmas for that.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

People's Republic of Capitalism

My brother John, the world traveler:

me: are you in china?
john: yep
me: cool!
john: listening to the Chargers on the internet
me: nice
me: i got your email

email: When I got off the plane, this young Chinese gal in a long black coat met me and rushed me through the airport, customs etc. They took me to a private car provided by the hotel. A brand new Audi A8, with a driver. Pretty nice. You would not believe how modern they are in China. At least what I saw…

Buildings are going up everywhere… The cars were all new, many German cars, and others I did not recognize. I did see a Yellow Hummer on the same road I was on. The hotel is nice. About 5 people check me in. Turn down the bed etc.

Satellite TV in the room a lot of English programming. I am going to venture out to the front desk, the China office left me a cell phone. There is a happy hour on the 18th floor I will check out. Hi Speed internet, all pretty good. Its hard to believe I am on the other side of the world and how far China has come, when you think about all you read about, news etc.

john: cool
me: sounds great
john: so far so good
john: gonna jump in the shower and get some breakfast then head over to the office
me: is it Monday morning?
john: yep
me: it's 3:30 Sunday afternoon
me: what time is it there?
john: 7:30 am
me: have a great day
me: good luck with everything

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Foto

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The new phone book's here!

The new phone book's here!

This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now.

Thanks Nate!

2 'fer

Thanks ensie

"2 by 2"

2 Names I go by:
Jim and Papa

2 things that scare you:
Abandonment and sick kids

2 of your everyday essentials:
Physical contact and my Mac

2 things you are wearing right now:
Gold ring and a silver watch

2 favorite songs:
Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

2 things you are looking for in a relationship (other than real love):
Fun and Trust (yeah, go Sweetie!)

2 truths:
Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight
What goes around, comes around

2 physical traits in the opposite sex that appeal to me:
Sweetie’s beautiful eyes and hair

2 of your favorite hobbies:
Fishing and rolling on the floor with the kids

2 things you want really badly:
A shorter commute and more time

2 Places you want to go on Vacation:
Del Mar and on a boat

2 things you want to do before you die:
Get really old and catch a 10 lbs. bass

2 ways that I am stereotypically a dude or chick:
I don’t pick up dirty clothes and don’t put the seat down

2 things I am thinking about right now:
“Remember to put the seat down” and “Is it too early for lunch?”

2 People you want to play:
Sorry, strict anti-spaming policy. Do what you want.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


This morning as I got into car, still slightly groggy, I turned on the radio and clearly heard the following commercial:

“Last year, Bob hid a Cadbury chocolate egg in the kayak in the garage. Susan hid two under her sewing supplies...” and on it went explaining the strategy of hiding Cadbury chocolate eggs in unusual places, so that you would be assured to be the only one who could find them.

I’ve been totally ripped off! I had no idea that the Easter bunny did double duty and came with Santa to other people’s houses at Christmas. All I ever got for Christmas were a bunch of toys. Never eggs. Do Santa and EB keep separate lists? Am I nice with Santa and on the outs with the bunny? You would think that they would compare notes to save time.

I can heard the conversation at Cadbury:
boss guy in chocolate brown suit: “You know, we could really increase sales if we sold chocolate at Christmas!”
worker who only gets a chocolate brown tie: “Yeah, but we only have egg molds”
chocolate brown suit: “Oh, Nobody will notice, run some radio spots!”
chocolate brown tie: “But the only spot we have...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Why in the world would anybody choose to live here:

When you can live in Southern California:

Ok, well the ukulele is a good reason, but other than that, it's pretty darn pleasent.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Growing community

Yesterday I took the kids and stopped by the garden plot. The two things that I miss about not having a yard are play area for the kids and a gardening area. Enter parks and starting last June, the local community garden. What a community builder... I am meeting neighbors that I probably never would have talked to, plus there is something that is just amazing about watching things grow.

Yesterday we mostly just watered and took inventory, that drizzle on Friday just didn't cut it. We're going to be eating a lot of fresh broccoli in the next two weeks, and we should have really good pumpkin pie for Christmas. Beans, chard, herbs, tomatoes, and a nice border of flowers are all doing well.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday Foto