Friday, December 18, 2009

Looking Ahead

'The life of a drinker in four pictures'

Omitted by this admittedly charming bit of teetotaler propaganda are the high times undoubtedly enjoyed by this dissipated roué on the way to his premature grave, evenings begun with apéritifs and two bottles of Château Lafite at Les Ambassadeurs, our hero in full raconteur form, sending out sallies of wit at the expense of Dupuy and the Dreyfusards, quoting de Vigny from memory*, the voice firm at first but starting to go slushy once he's tossed down his second digestif, off to wend his way across the Place de la Concorde (almost knocked over by an omnibus), to stain his lips with gritty plonk at a piss-reeking assommoir, followed by clumsy coupling in a gray room in Pigalle with a menopausal Hungarian péripatéticienne who squats over a basin of greasy water and scrubs her exhausted loins with a gray rag that might have swaddled a newborn Christ, while the buveur finishes the last drops of cordial from his flask with a dyspeptic belch, leaving to be hit by an atavistic stab of guilt after his vague, instinctive genuflection when passing Sainte-Trinité, discreetly retching in the rotunda in front of the Parc Monceau...

There's more to life than organs, ya know???

*- Aimons ce que jamais on ne verra deux fois.
Ah! qui verra deux fois ta grace et ta tendresse.

(Let us love what we shall never see twice.
Ah! Who will twice see your grace and tenderness!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Adman Paul L. Tilley, who, while working for the Chicago office of DDB Worldwide Communications Group, Inc, was instrumental in creating McDonald's "i'm lovin' it" campaign, will in all likelihood never see Avatar. He committed suicide on February 22nd, 2008, jumping from an "upper floor" of the Fairmount Chicago Hotel.

Our knowledge of Mr. Tilley's private pain should not, though, dissuade we the living from queuing up come Thursday, midnight, for a voyage into James Cameron's phantasmagorial brainpan. Nor should the contemplation of whatever irrevocable realization Mr. Tilley reached before stepping into the void or the feeling of terrible permanence he felt as the concrete rushed toward him prevent us from enjoying the wonderful promotional campaign the new occupants of his office have devised for we pampered consumers of the World, as lovingly chronicled in this fine Wired article, dated December, 10:

There’s no McDonald’s restaurant on Pandora, the intoxicating alien world created by James Cameron for his sci-fi movie Avatar — at least not yet. In the almost-inevitable sequel, all bets are off.

“There might be [a McDonald's] at the human base,” Cameron joked during a Thursday morning webcast announcing the massive Avatar promotional partnership between McDonald’s and 20th Century Fox. Cameron and Avatar producer Jon Landau laughed that they could envision unique regional cuisine for Mickey D’s Pandora franchise...

“We do have some arches in the movie,” said Landau.

“My God, that’s right,” Cameron said. “You know, people are gonna assume we knew about this tie-in before.”

The director... said the giant, arched rock structures on his incredibly detailed fictional world have nothing to do with McDonald’s.

“Honestly, that was pure coincidence,” Cameron said, “but every time we watch it, it’s like, ‘Oh, those are the Golden Arches‘ — especially at dawn. You could have sturmbeest burgers, you could have a hammerhead Big Mac, Quarter Pounder. It’d be like to be a quarter-ton, though — hammerhead, that’s a pretty big animal.”

“That’s why we like the Big Mac,” Landau said. “Everything’s big on Pandora.”

Diners at earthly McDonald’s will be getting a supersize helping of Avatar, which opens Dec. 18, thanks to high-tech commercial tie-ins with the movie...

In the United States, Big Macs will come with an Avatar Thrill Card that gives them access to interactive online experiences known as Pandora Quest and an augmented-reality game called McDVision. Completing Pandora Quest, in which players search for hidden objects within Pandora’s alien landscape, will give Avatar fans a chance to drive a virtual Pandora ROVR, a rugged off-road vehicle that lets them explore Cameron’s vivid sci-fi world online.

In Latin America, Avatar photo backdrops and augmented reality table stations bring the movie into McDonald’s dining rooms. In Australia, hidden codes on cups and trays give McDonald’s customers a shot at $80,000 in prizes. And in Singapore, Avatar commercials introduced a premium chicken sandwich. (OK, so that’s not so cutting-edge.)

“In the movie, we want to transport people to this world, and we want them to leave wanting to return to it,” Landau told in an exclusive video interview (embedded above). “So through McDonald’s, you know, they have the opportunity to do exactly that through their various digital online experiences.”

Avatar’s gorgeous 3-D world brims with never-before-seen beasts and vegetation. But Cameron’s elaborate vision for the alien world — complete with a built-from-scratch language and other innovations — goes well beyond what’s seen onscreen.

Marketing efforts like the McDonald’s partnership are “all about expanding that world,”
Landau said, “and utilizing technology to bring to the consumer different types of experiences, but all of one world.”

So, why the Big Mac and not some strange new sandwich? “It’s about thrilling your senses,” said Neil Golden, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s USA. “There’s so much going on with a Big Mac — the special sauce and the two all-beef patties. We think it’s a perfect match to tie that product in with a movie like Avatar, which is clearly about thrilling one’s senses.”

What can we say but: "Me rikey velly much!"

Paul L. Tilley 1967-2008

“I think he always wanted to be in advertising... He loved words, and he loved wordplay. The thing he loved about advertising was that it involved words in the service of an idea.”

Slow Your Roll

RELAX - DRANK is a sort of anti-energy drink. The purple can (just as ugly as energy drink cans) advertises it as an "Extreme Relaxation Beverage" that will "slow your roll". I felt this seemed perfect for a late night beverage, so I picked one up at the Late Night Deli (along with a Snapple Apple for tomorrow). The can explains, "We have combined Rose Hips, Melatonin, and Valerian Root with a great tasting beverage to create the industry's first 'Relaxed Lifestyle Beverage'. These ingredients have the ability to relax your body, mind and soul, so when life comes at you fast, just remember to 'slow your roll' with DRANK."

Well, life has been coming at me fast lately, and so far this bev is not relaxing me noticeably. It tastes very unnatural but has a mild grape finish that is semi-appealing. I'll have to follow up this review later with any update on the relaxation effects. After a few more sips, it definitely tastes too much like Sparks. But again, it's drinkable, if not a bombev. Probably won't drink again, but I like the idea of a Sleepytime Tea for soda lovers.

update: gave me mild hallucinations a couple hours later