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Musings on advertising

Studying english does make you read everything you see slightly differently. Mind you, England is a fascinating place to view packaging. They really have gotten it all down to a fine art.

I bought a scotch egg. The packaging does not allow me to see the contents, let's face it a scotch egg is not very pretty. But it does have a photograph of a scotch egg cut in half on it... the egg yolk perfectly placed in the centre of the rustically rough mince, and the perfectly smoothly cut egg white. A few artfully placed crumbs lie beside the egg. The label says “A fresh whole egg (as if they had the option of using a stale partial egg) wrapped in premium seasoned pork mince with a light golden crumb”. Not just an egg, but a whole egg, and a fresh one too. Not just wrapped (lovingly I assume) pork, but premium pork, and not just crumbed, but lightly golden. Turn over the package. Here you find facts such as ingredients, storage and serving suggestion, and access to feedback.

Well, the ingredients list is entitled “The ingredients we used to make your day”.
The storage instructions read:

Where to put this egg (apart from your stomach!)
Fridge. good. Airing cupboard, bad.
Seriously, that is what it says! Then serving:
Serving suggestion perfection
Remove scotch egg from fridge, wait 15 agonisingly long minutes, eat.
Lastly, the satisfaction guarantee:

How was it for you?
If this scotch egg's in anything other than great shape, and you're less than delighted, don't make allowances or excuses for it. Tell our horrified customer service department when and where you bought it, quoting ref. NO 013 and use by date.

Not just customer service, no no no, we have a horrified customer service department!
(It is quite a decent scotch egg by the way)

But EVERYTHING in the supermarket was like this. My pre-made butternut soup is “An East Coast secret; unexpectedly light and smooth, with warm cumin, peppy paprika, and a flash of mango”. It has a personality too you know. Let me give you some more of the labelling:
Any allergies? I contain celery and milk. I've been known to hang around near Nuts, Peanuts and Sesame Seeds, and I may contain them as well.
Let's Chill. Keep me in the fridge, eat me within 3 days of opening and use me by the date on the lid
Freezing me? Best do it right now and eat me within a month
Microwave cooking instructions <snipped> take off my lid, rest it back on top and stand me on a plate in the microwave. <snip> Make sure I'm nice and hot before serving
From Frozen: defrost me fully and follow the same cooking instructions as above. Don't refreeze
OUCH! My pot can get a little wobbly when it's hot, so stand me on a plate when you're reheating and mind your fingers when you pick me up.
Hob cooking instructions
Pour me into a saucepan, then heat at medium temperature for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Letting me boil over will spoil my GLORIOUS flavours, so don't overdo it
(note, all the the capitals above are as they wrote them, and the missing full stops after 'refreeze' and 'overdo it' are also theirs.

It is vegetable soup, but I suddenly feel guilty about eating my dear little anthropomorphic meal.

My sausages, sorry that should be my BRITISH pork and apple sausages are “specially selected cuts of prime British pork with Granny Smith apples and seasoned with black pepper and coriander”.

Quite quite fascinating.  Let me finish off with an illustration of dodgy claims. I bought some hot cross buns. Tell me what the problems are...

This poem is by Jamaican poet, journalist Jean Wilson and has become a bit of an anthem for the movement for the elimination of violence against women, and is entitled
"No more smalling up of me"

No more meekly saying 'yes'
When my heart is screaming 'no'
No more taming of my feelings
So my power won’t show
No more hiding my exuberance
From disapproving eyes
No more watering down myself
So my spirit won't rise

No more 'smalling up' of me
Pretending I am not here
No more running from the music
And the spotlight's glare
No more living in this prison
Barricaded by my fears
No more turning and retreating
In the face of new frontiers

Even as I am speaking
I am taking shape and form
Harnessing my powers
Like a gathering storm
There's no obstacle so bold
As to dare stand in my way
I am taking back my life
And I am doing it today.

Support White Ribbon Day: From the White Ribbon campaign website
"Violence Against Women
In Australia, one in three women will be assaulted or abused in her lifetime. These women are our mothers, our girlfriends, our wives, our daughters, our colleagues and our friends. How have we allowed this to occur?

Not only is it unacceptable for this violence to take place, it is unacceptable that we allow certain behaviours and attitudes to go unchallenged.

Some of us experience violence first hand. Others hear stories of violence against women. Others observe it or look on from afar. The worst part? We remain silent.

If we are to move our society forward and prevent violence against women from occurring, we must speak out. We must take action to challenge attitudes and behaviours. We must not remain silent.

The White Ribbon Campaign is the only national violence prevention campaign, and it is unique in that it aims to raise awareness among Australian men and boys about the roles they can play to prevent violence against women. The campaign calls for men across Australia to speak out and take an oath. An oath swearing never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. The campaign culminates on White Ribbon Day (25 November) each year, when men and women across Australia are called to wear a white ribbon or wristband as a visual symbol of their commitment and oath. "


http://fvpfstore.stores.yahoo.net/coaching-boys-into-men-playbook.html has a "playbook" which is designed to help high school sports coaches instruct the next generation of men about the attitudes and behaviors that can lead to violence against women and to prevent violence before it begins.

Redbubble art on sale

As you know, I have a redbubble site where you can buy postcards, posters, prints and cards of photographs that I have taken across the world.  Well in a fit of enthusiasm, the site has given me a special discount voucher to share with you, which is purely for buyin my photos.  To use it, head over to my redbubble site, and use this discount code when you order:  


Nov. 1st, 2010

So I went away to this sort of retreat up in the mountains. It was organised by my singing teacher and had a mixture of singing practice, and an introduction to the "Methode Resseguier".

It is a bit hard to describe Resseguier with any brevity.  The basis is a sort of meditation I guess, but with a more internally physically active method. You kind of give a central inner push with the muscles in your pelvis, and then slowly breathe out, trying to empty your lungs and squish yourself down around your lungs as much as you can (without curling up).  Then you sort of very slowly and with little sips, breathe in (and I say "sort of" as the emphasis appears to avoid actually inflating your lungs) .  Then you relax.  

The effects include giving a sort of heightened perception, and super relaxation.  I have decided it is not entirely useful for my singing in that I relax enough that I lose fine control over my upper register, but it is certainly interesting, and it appears to have affected my posture in that I am standing straighter (seriously noticeably!).  I am willing to give it a bash for a while and see how it all develops.

But since I have friends who suffer with fibromyalgia,  I thought I would share this link to a study of the method recently completed in Florence: 
Today, for my sins, I am sitting in an interminable meeting.  All that keeps me from running screaming from the room, is the fact that at least I only have to be here for one day of this five day meeting.   Tomorrow I am off to a five day singing workshop. I haven't ever done anything quite like this before, so I am a little nervous, and very excited. 

I believe that there are only about 8 students attending the workshop, with 2 teachers.  The idea is that we will work not so much on learning a particular song, but playing and working on songs we already know, to see how we can develop and change our production.  I get the horrible feeling that there will be tears before bedtime but that it will still be invaluable. 

I am working on: 

Claire de Lune - Faure
Lascia chio Piangga - Handel
Che faro senza Euridice - Gluck
Dido's song - Purcell

So there is a mix of periods, languages and styles for me to screw up. <grin>


My statement on anyone thinking of crossposting from my livejournal: DON'T.  My facebook and LJ accounts are separate for a reason.   Do it and you will rapidly lose any access to me on either.

Making a small step...

I have had a photograph printed in a book recently,  http://www.knowitall.ch/ and that inspired me to create a RedBubble shop, to sell prints/cards/posters of some of my photographs.


It is a fascinating experience to go through my photos with a different eye. Most of my shots have been taken with a view to providing information for other people with similar interests. I take photographs of paintings and then of details such as rings, hairstyles, or shoes.  I photograph objects from multiple angles to try and find the details of how the objects were made, to enable others to make similar items in the future. 

Consequently 90% of my photos are functional rather than decorative. It seems unlikely to me that anyone is going to pay money to get a card printed of the inside of a coat of plates (although one never knows!).

So I am trawling through my photographs trying to find, well, art.  Thinking "would this make a good poster?", "would someone want a card of this?".... I have concluded that I haven't a clue. I will just have to post up photographs I like and discover if there is a market out there.  I doubt I will make my fortune with this wee project, but as it costs me naught but a few minutes of my time to post up the shots, I am going for it. Wish me luck!

J J J Julia

YAY!  I honestly thought it would not happen in my lifetime.  I hoped, I wished, but I didn't think it would. But it has. We have a female PM.  Now what I really hope for is that she can be the first ELECTED female PM.  Cmon Julia, we are behind you... go for it!

of books, DVDs and the joy of catalogues

I got my copies of Readerware. So far I have scanned in most of my DVDs and all the books that are in the apartment, but not the ones down in the basement or the BOOKS which I keep at work.

It is a very satisfying experience I must say.  187 books so far, at a value of $4536.  The two BOOKS of course would make that monetary total go nuts, being worth (at the moment) about $8,000. I think there are probably another 200 books or so in the basement so I guess that is another $4000.  I might have to rethink my home insurance!

I have 137 DVDs which apparently are worth $37,000 - something I find a bit hard to credit. Apparently (according to the internet search) my goodies DVD is worth $83 and A Little Princess $70. I am sure I could replace them for significantly less than that!

Next stop, CDs.