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May 4, 2009

Sage advice

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

— Plato


Work less, play more.

May 3, 2009

Um…Is this what I look like?

This evening one of our designers said he saw me on TV. Since I had no recollection of being filmed recently, I was confused as to what she was referring to. That was until I saw this image:

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Strangely, I have to agree with her on this. I have become very Roger-esque in my demeanor and hairstyles these days.

For those who are interested, yes, she still has a job and…

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…yes, I did ask for her to show me what I would also look like if I had a goatee.

May 1, 2009

1976: The year I had swine flu, the chicken pox and the FONZ!


Things were so much simpler…and scarier then.

In 1976 was the same age my daughter is now (to all you algebra majors out there, this means “NEAL = OLD”). While this commercial would scare the my kids to death, it is no scarier than them seeing 800 promos on PBS for the looming global pandemic in between shows like Word Girl and Martha Speaks.

So, I had them take a test to see if they had the swine flu. It is a very easy test and just takes a few seconds. All you have to do is click the button to see if you have it. This test right now is 99.9999% accurate as of this post and is touted as the most realistic Swine Flu test on the web today.

Take the test here – Do you have Swine Flu?

Good luck…I hope you pass.

April 30, 2009

10 Tools & Applications to Enhance Your Facebook Experience

There are a lot of tools, scripts and addons which can make your stay at facebook more fun and a bit less comprehensive. From downloading whole facebook albums to posted videos, these tools cover almost everything. I’ve combined a list of the tools that are actually helpful, skipped the spam.

read more | digg story

April 29, 2009

We’ve got that “New Blog Scent!”

Welcome to the re-launch of the BG Lounge; a collection of news, tips, tricks, thoughts, ideas, offers and incentives to share some of our observations and bring a bit more of a voice to Bauer Graphics.

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For many of you, this might be old news, but for our new readers, It is our sincerest hope that you can find some usefulness in our ranting.

ENJOY!

April 28, 2009

Found Treasure

While going through the garage this last weekend, I came across this gem:

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I remember having that cutout on my dorm fridge in my freshman year. From there it went above my art desk, in my first painting studio and it came with me all the way across the country on the dashboard of my powder-blue Taurus. It was on my computer at Kinko’s when I was a desktop publisher and at my desk at Imagebuilder Software (where I met my beautiful wife Heather). It was in my nightstand alongside lozenges and kleenex to provide that push to get up when I wasn’t well. The last place I remember this being was on my office wall when I was the Director of Internet Marketing at a company that let me go for “thinking different” (see post from 4/13/2009). It went into a box of my belongings which is where I found it this weekend.

This single panel in this one comic strip has provided so much inspiration in my life and I don’t know why it has been buried in my garage for this long. It is back out and posted on the creative wall here at Bauer Graphics for everyone to see.

If this inspires any one out there an n-th of how much it has inspired me, all that work in the garage this weekend would have been worth it ;)

Now get out there and enjoy the day!

- NEal

April 27, 2009

A Message to Clients

To all clients I cancelled meetings with on Friday and Monday,

My apologies for the short notice in canceling meetings at the end, and at the start, of the week. I was unexpectedly hit with an unknown sickness which causes me to sound like this:

Now, I know that most of you are wondering why a super-human-picture-of-health, like myself, is coming down with an illness like this. The cold and flu season should be months behind us and the transition to warmer weather brings afternoons filled with the sun’s warmth and vodka lemonades. Both have been known to destroy almost any known virus. So, why me and why now?

A quick look at twitter brought me these results:

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image courtesy of XKCD

So, it is possible that I have the flu. I highly doubt it is the swine flu as, according to the twitter post above, I didn’t eat pork all week. It would be more likely that I have Chicken Flu or Moo Flu, but since I haven’t seen these two on a running ticker on CNN, I’m guessing that neither of those illnesses exist yet. That is too bad because we have a great campaign built around “The Voodoo you do for Moo Flu.”

Until that project lands in our lap, let me provide our Lounge readers a bit of a PSA regarding the recent Swine Flu epidemic. The CDC has posted some basic information on the swine flu on their site. Some items you’ll be interested to know is that you’re very unlikely to get it from pork products.

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That will be great news for this lovable little scamp

Some basic (if obvious) public health advice: wash your hands often, and stay at home if you’re not feeling well. My apologies if I cancel more meetings this week, but I do it because I want all of our clients to remain happy and healthy. All clients with meetings cancelled this week will be compensated with extra drinks and/or deserts in our next meeting.

Stay healthy ;)

April 22, 2009

35 tutorials to create amazing vector graphics with Inkscape

Inkscape is a free vector graphic design alternative software similar to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, only it doesn’t cost you a penny. It is maybe not as powerful as its higher priced rivals, but certainly powerful enough to design high quality vector graphics. Here are some tutorials to check out if you’re thinking about using Inkscape.

read more | digg story

April 21, 2009

Oregon…Creative?

Foreword: Bauer Graphics was recently asked by Oregon Creative Industries to design the OCI logo. We are honored to have the opportunity to help grow the creative landscape here in our beautiful state of Oregon.

As Oregon celebrates its 150th birthday this year, we are reminded just how far we have come. This little west coast state has broken all of the molds set by stereotypes of the past, and has expanded its reputation from that of downtrodden loggers & beaver trapping brawny that occupied the minds of ignorant Americans for years prior.

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It isn’t much of a surprise to most native Oregonians, let alone those at the front lines of creativity that Oregon has got it going on! We have climbed the ranks, and earned our stripes as one of the world’s most talented, innovative, culturally-diverse, liberal, sustainable & above all CREATIVE states.

Oregon has a long tradition of creative-ness. We have managed to shimmy our way into the spotlight as a top-tier town with a knack for turning heads with our innovative beat brought through some of the top companies in the world. Perhaps you’ve heard of a small company called Nike? How about Columbia Sportswear? Or one of the thousands of other creative firms that call Oregon home.

One organization that understands the magnitude of originality that the region offers is Oregon Creative Industries (OCI). A labor of love from networking mavericks, Steve Gehlen & Tad Lukasik, OCI was born in August 2008, from a discussion at Cre8Camp Portland in July. The desire is to unify the entire Oregon creative community, and hopefully brand Oregon as a creative metropolis.

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Creative Industries is defined as a set of interlocking industry sectors that focus on creating unique property, content or design that previously did not exist. In 2008, Oregon employed approximately 60,000 people in the creative industries. This number includes not only arts-related industries, but also the software industry.

The main vision behind OCI is to provide a backbone that provides networking, promotion and advocacy to a variety of creative industries-related organizations–both structured and unstructured–in order to increase business opportunities and revenue for the community.

In December 2008, The Oregonian described OCI as more than an organization, but rather a movement. Bauer Graphics believes that this hunch couldn’t have been more accurate. This new insignia, we believe, will serve as a proclamation to just how incredibly inter-dependendent the entire creative industry can be, as well as always has been.

April 20, 2009

Shampoo

We have all, at one time or another, purchased a bottle of Suave shampoo. If you aren’t a fan of Suave, I’m guessing that you’ve purchased some equally inexpensive, econo-sized bottle of hair cleaning product. It struck me this morning as I opened up a new bottle of Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific in the shower that our shampoo usage mirrors the workflow during these economic times.

How so? Well, if you have a minute to read you can smell my floral-smelling brain in action.

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When I (and I consider myself an ‘everyman’) open a new bottle of shampoo, that overly-full bottle just begs me to give my scalp a good washing. Because of that, I pour out an over-sized portion of shampoo into my hand. Sure, I can blame it on the bottle being too full or my zealousness on wanting to be cleaner than clean, but the fact of the matter is, I pour enough in my hand to wash an army of baboons. Why? Because, I CAN! I have a full bottle so why wouldn’t I splurge on my cleanliness?

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After the initial new-bottle sensation wears off a few showers later, I decrease from a Lake Erie sized pool of shampoo. Gradually I reduce to a Silver Dollar dollop, then to a quarter-sized squeeze and then all the way down to the recommended dime sized drop of shampoo. By that time the bottle is now about 3/4 empty and I have a solid week or two of showers in this way.

But then, I realize that the end is near and that my bottle of shampoo is about to be drained empty. The first shower I’ll try to ignore the fact and just tip the bottle upside-down while I wash until there is enough in the cap to perform the task of washing a Homer Simpson comb over.

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The next shower is the first real panic moment when I realize that I haven’t gone to the store for more shampoo and I have nothing left in the bottle but hope and the remnants of a scent that tell me how good that stuff was when I had it. “WHY? Why wasn’t I more frugal when I had more?” I question myself. I flash back to when I had a full bottle and imagine my past-self just squeezing the whole thing down the drain while laughing maniacally at my present self. Lightning strikes and I am back in the present filling the bottle of shampoo with the hot water from the shower and shaking the bottle to get one more treatment before I have to go get more shampoo at the store.

The next time in the shower, I pick up the shampoo bottle and have a nano-second of contentment thinking that I have gone to the store already and purchased a full bottle of shampoo. However, that glee is quickly replaced by shame as I search through my memory rolodex to see that there was no trip to the store since my last shower. The sobering reality is that there is now ice-cold, faint-scented water in the bottle and I will need to use this or nothing else to primp my dome today. I release the sting of frozen fireants upon my bald spot as I pour the bottle directly on my head. There is no sense of pouring it into my hand as I know their is no lather to work up and that any other transfer of this 97% water mixture than direct contact will result in me loosing precious clean molecules.

The next shower, I steal my wife’s shampoo for curly hair and wind up walking around like Art Garfunkel all day.

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As stated earlier in this article, I marveled that my shampoo usage mirrors the workflow during these economic times. When a client gets their new budgets for the quarter or the year, they are rife with new work, briefs and proposals for us to bid on. It is like PM’s and AE’s just came from Costco (Sam’s Club for you East Coasters) with a palette of Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special and a hankerin’ to do some hair washin’.

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Soon after though, the work still needs done, but the budget is like a 1/4 filled shampoo bottle. No matter how much we ask, plead or beg, you can only think that shampoo down so many times until it is just ice-cold water. Asking clients to ration is never an answer as shampoo can always spill (budgets cut), be used by guests (supervisor uses budget for boondoggle) or just be left at the gym (layoffs).

So what do you do to ensure that you have enough shampoo to remain clean all year round? Well, my dad always told me never ask a bald guy where he gets his hair cut…my guess is the same goes for washing too.

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“How do Howie do that hair washin’?”

Well, if I extend this metaphor out to its conclusion I would say this is how I’ve resolved my shampoo problem in recent weeks. I have put shampoo on my list every time I go to the store. If I need a loaf of bread, stick of butter and a container of milk, I always add shampoo to the list. That way I am always cognizant of my shampoo level each time I go in the shower.

Same is true with budgets. Every new project should be considered like a trip to the store and your budget is the shampoo. If you are in a meeting that adds new projects, scope or timeline, make sure your budget is compensated. Did IT come up with a new plan of simplifying something for your department you didn’t need simplified? Well, better make sure that budget is compensated for training. It is better to have your budget full and a shower full of shampoo than to have to pour that ice-cold water on your head and miss a marketing opportunity.

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Now if you will excuse me, I need to squeeze the last remaining angstrom of toothpaste out of the tube so I can brush my teeth. I’ll save that for my next lecture entitled, “Tootpaste and stretching budgets: Maximizing minty freshness all quarter long.”