Anyone else feel this way too?

I was inside a Target recently, mostly to admire #2’s prevalent presence in their baby section, and over the PA system, among the music that usually is tantamount to white noise, I was able to pick out the lyrics to Ricky Martin’s She Bangs.

The strangest thing to me, was the fact that it was actually Ricky Martin’s version of the song, and just how foreign and alien it sounded, hearing it for the first time in like, maybe 18 years.

Because in my head, when I think of She Bangs, the only version of the song I ever hear in my head is William Hung’s terrible rendition that he tried to audition on American Idol with.  In fact, while at Target, I was kind of awestruck at the simple fact that the lyrics actually continued past “looks like a flower but stings like a bee” because I practically expected there to be an interruption by Simon, Randy and Paula, except there wasn’t one, but instead a whole lot of unfamiliar lyrics.

It’s no secret that FOX and the internet gobbled all of William Hung up for making an ass out of himself on one of television’s most viewed programs, but in hindsight, Hung took it like a champion, and parlayed his abysmal appearance on Idol into all sorts of appearances and gigs afterward.  Given the crash and burn nature of so many Idol alum, I think it’s safe to say that in spite of everything, Hung still came out smelling a lot better than many who were probably a little bit more successful in the show than he was.

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, She Bangs belongs to William Hung.  Anyone else feel this way too?

It only took a year (and change)

But I finally have my Montgomery Kimchi cap.  Ever since I found out that the hicks in Montgomery, Alabama aren’t all racist shitheads and decided to have some Korean heritage nights, complete with renaming the Biscuits the Kimchi for a night, complete with new branding and identity, I knew that I didn’t just want to have a Kimchi cap, but that I needed to have a Kimchi cap.

Leading up to the event, I was eventually appalled when informed that there would be no ballcaps available.  “Next year,” is what I was informed when reaching out.   I was crushed, but settled on a Mr. Kimchi mascot t-shirt that was available, in very sparse and limited quantities.

Obviously, short of me setting up a long-in-the-future Google alert or something, it didn’t occur to me to keep an eye out on the Biscuits’ schedule for the 2022 season, but a KBO group on theFacebook that I’m a member of posted something about the Montgomery Kimchi a few months ago, and it jogged my memory to quickly check.  Sure enough, there were Kimchi caps for sale, but by the time I started looking at them, they were basically wiped out, and most definitely my NewEra size of 7 1/2 were all gone.  One again, I was disappointed, but I figured that once the 2022 Korean heritage night rolled up, there would probably be more stock, hopefully.

Except upon further digging, I found out that Korean heritage night had already passed, with the Kimchi emerging (and losing) way the fuck back in April.  I was mortified by this, because surely there was little reason for the team to go out of their way to restock merch for an event that had already passed.  And then the tab I kept open for the specific item eventually turned into a 404, and it seemed very apparent that my window to get the cap that I didn’t want but needed, had closed. 

Funny thing is though, I didn’t close the tab on my phone.  And one day, after a restart of my phone, I noticed that the tab’s thumbnail wasn’t the 404 page anymore, and upon refreshing the actual page, it turned out that Kimchi caps were suddenly back on the table once again.  Unlike 80% of the time I see something I want, but don’t pull the trigger, I didn’t wait at all to get my wallet out.  Furthermore, they still didn’t have a 7 1/2, but I wasn’t willing on taking any chances and risk missing out again, so I actually got a size up at 7 5/8.  A few minutes later, and my order was confirmed – I was finally going to get the Kimchi cap that I needed.

And here we are.  After a year and some change, I’ve finally got one of the greatest ballcaps to my collection.  The funniest thing is that the more prestige I put onto a cap, the less I’ll actually wear it, because I don’t want to risk them getting grungy and dirty or rained on, thus defeating the purpose of caps in the first place, but the most important thing is that I got it finally, and I’ll wear it with pride and joy; whenever the conditions are optimal for me to actually wear it.

I think this takes the cake

The ad on the left is the July 4th ad that my former team and I produced for the 2021 year.  The ad on the right is the July 4th ad that was produced by my former employer for the 2022 year.

Now I understand that there’s little sexy and glamorous about newsprint, especially considering the world has such a collective boner about digital-this, omnichannel-that, social, influencers and other forms of marketing approaches that constant insists that the print medium is dying or already dead, but I will fight you if you tell me this to my face.

What good is your digital medium if the internet goes down?  Or you can’t connect to the wi-fi and your 5G can’t make it through the concrete and medal coliseums of the stores you’re in, needing to access the internet?  Or you catch me on a bad day and I slap your phone out of your hand and break your phone for telling me that my occupation is obsolete?  Alright then

I’ll be the first to admit that the 2021 ad isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, or remotely close to the best work that my team has ever produced.  We were still amidst pandemic-this and supply chain-that, not to mention that my team was forced to work in a program that was the equivalent of a Chevy Cavalier trying to compete with NASCARs on the track.  But compared to the ad on the right?  Suddenly the 2021 Cavalier looks like a spaceship compared to the stone and chisel produced ad in 2022.

In short, my old team was completely gutted, laid off and the company’s newsprint was outsourced to an agency in Austin, Texas; literally a week after I had my final day with the company.  I was pretty upset about it despite having dodged a massive bullet, because I still had and have a tremendous amount of care and shits to give about all the people on my old team, because there’s a ton of talent and good people there who were put into a horrible situation.

Fortunately, almost all of them have landed on their feet since, but the point remains that the old newsprint team was effectively killed, with our primary task being outsourced; in my opinion, one of the biggest professional insults to anyone who’s ever taken pride in what they do for a living.

I blame my old boss for all of this.  I’ve made no secret of the disdain, contempt and general hate I have for her, and how they were easily the #1 factor for why I decided to leave the company.  I could list of numerous things I hated about being under their thumb, but I’d be better off saving those 50,000 words for November and completing NaNoWriMo with them instead.  However, of all of the horrible shit she said, did and behaved to me that made her a horrible Bronn of a boss, I genuinely think this is the worst thing she ever did; as the title of this post says, I think this takes the cake.

This piece of outsourced shit,  the July 4th ad for 2022, is a goddamn joke.  The photo does no justice to how poor the entire ad is, because all throughout the circular are errors, alignment and consistency issues, bad crops, obviously distorted images, and zero quality control.  A hundred things I caught in a hundred seconds of scanning through it, that would never have made it past mine or any of my team’s eyes on our numerous proofing rounds.  Ancient Egyptians pounding hieroglyphics on reeds had better brand standards than this sad circular.

She killed our medium.  No matter how hard my team pushed back against evolving trends and proved our positive ROI year after year, she came in and killed us, because no team in the world can survive in the league when their own coach is deliberately and determined to kill them.

Continue reading “I think this takes the cake”

Pretty sure the Hardy Boyz are the only thing keeping JNCO jeans alive

Of the little bits of wrestling that I actually catch here and there, usually through what social media spoon feeds me, I know that the Hardy Boyz are back together, in AEW of course, where seemingly all older WWE talent seems to go to finish out.  Naturally they can’t use the Hardy Boyz name, but the point and brand is still fine, when they’re referred to as just The Hardys.

I admit that back in 1999, I was a fan of the Hardy Boyz, when they were repackaged and paired up with Gangrel.  I remember thinking, aren’t these those two jobbers who wore plaid?  But then Jeff Hardy is doing these picture perfect swanton bombs, and next thing they’re upsetting the Acolytes and they’re tag team champions, and I was kind of sold.

But that was 1999, and a few years after that, after the memorable and outstanding classics that they did with all the ladder and TLC matches.  Throughout the passage of time, they were broken up, reunited, repeat, numerous times, Matt left, Jeff left, Matt came back to feud with Edge over the Lita cheating scandal, Jeff showed up in TNA, Matt went to ROH, Matt went to TNA, both went to ROH, both came back to WWE, split up, Matt went to AEW, Jeff was relegated to 24/7 segments, left and then went to AEW and here we are.

I could also mention the 20+ times Jeff was busted for substance abuse in between all that, but all anyone has to do is Google the Jeff Hardy vs. Sting to get the big picture.

Anyway so the Hardys have been at it for well over 20 years at this point, and good on them to try and squeeze one last substantial run at a place like AEW where they’ll likely have a better shot at it than in the WWE.  That’s not the point of this post, to be one big retrospective on the Hardy Boyz, what served as the impetus of this post is the fact that over the last 20 years, and regardless of the fact that JNCO jeans basically died 20 years ago, it appears that the Hardy Brands® seem to be the only thing alive that’s keeping the clothing company intact, based on the fact that they still wear them or some knockoff variation of them, as their ring attire for the last two decades.

Sure, lots of long-time wrestlers establish a look and maintain them throughout the duration of their careers; the Rock ‘n Roll Express are both well into their 60’s and still bust out the tights and tassles, but the thing is, they’re still wrestling in wrestling gear.  The Hardy Boyz built their brand on pretty specific 1999, Avril Lavigne/emo boy street mallrat festival fashion, and for the last 20 years, they’ve stayed more or less the same, the whole time.

In one hand, good on them for consistency and really sticking to their guns, and establishing their brands.  But in the other hand, I just have this scenario in my mind, where I’m imagining Matt Hardy at his home, packing his rollaboard luggage for his next tour, hollering out to his wife, baby, have you seen my JNCOs??  With his heavy southern drawl and how he hangs on words like a real southern boy.  Matt Hardy is currently 47 years old, and is still going to work in JNCOs.  Jeff Hardy is 44 and is basically the creepy old guy at a My Chemical Romance concert.

I make myself laugh with this thought.

Anyway, good for the Hardys for always being fearless in the face of change, as far as their career directions go.  But from a branding standpoint, guys like Chris Jericho are immortalized for their creativity and ability to reinvent and repackage themselves.  Sticking with JNCOs for the last two decades seems more amusing than entertaining to me for some reason, and I have a hard time taking them serious as all-time greats as long as they continue to do so.  And I admit that I had, maybe two pairs of JNCOs myself; but that was in 1999, and by the time I started college, they were already relegated to the bottom of the closet, before quietly being thrown out when it was all but confirmed that the style was dead.

As if Vanderbilt had a hard enough time existing in the SEC

Impetus: Vanderbilt changes their logo to their athletic department; impresses nobody

A long time ago I saw some quote that I never really committed to memory, but the gist of it is something that always stuck with me.  It went something along the lines of, there’s few better ways to hide mediocrity than stashing it behind a new logo and branding.

When it comes to college athletics, Vanderbilt is pretty mediocre.  They suck at football, they suck at basketball, and they’re occasionally good at baseball, but college baseball has a level of parity that most other sports wish they had, so it’s not really saying that much.  What doesn’t help is that Vandy is part of the SEC which is obviously the biggest football conference in the country, and they’re also not that terrible at basketball either.  So they’re mediocre at just about everything, but also in one of the most competitive athletic conferences out there.

But as far as logos are concerned, I had to give it to Vandy’s old logo, for standing out.  Sure it was just a letter V inside of a silhouette of a star, but there really weren’t many other teams or identities out there that were similar.  No interlocking letters, no script fonts, no abstract bullshit, just a letter V inside of a star.  They came before the Houston Astros rebranded, so they had a lock on that concept first too.

It wasn’t my favorite logo out there, but it was identifiable, and one of the more noteworthy things about Vanderbilt athletics in general.

But then for whatever reason, they decided to change it up, and in a horrific, downgrading manner.  They basically have turned into a generic high school logo, with their plain old V, with some instances of it having a thick stroke, and others having a slight bevel in the center.

It reminds me of playing a video game where someone makes their own team in an established league, but custom teams only have a selection of generic letters to choose from, so someone made the Valdosta or Vinci, and they have this boring looking V on the marquee going up against the Chicago Bulls.

The link above has a lot of the initial greatest hits of internet snark and armchair comedians sharing their takes on the new logo, and there’s really not much else that I can add to it, plus I’m too lazy to write stupidly long-drawn out posts anymore.

What really spurned me to post something at all, was the claims that this new logo was two years in the making, and came after extensive research:

Updates on the Vanderbilt identity come after extensive input from across the community, with more than 500 completed surveys, 70-plus one-on-one interviews and dozens of workshops and group engagement sessions conducted during the past two years.

Yeah, that’s all bullshit.  Either Vandy is lying about how it really took two minutes to come up with such an unoriginal and boring concept, or this is a textbook example of overthinking and overplanning something into oblivion.  By adding as many cooks into the kitchen as 500 surveys and 70+ interviews and workshops and focus groups, every person who thinks they’re an artist or a designer chips more and more away at something with potential, until it turns into this new Vanderbilt V logo.  I do a lot of surveys; I’m a Senior Manager of IT for a Fortune 50 company if it helps me get $1.58, I’m sure I’d be a fan of a boring generic V too if the price were right.

When the day is over, it doesn’t really fucking matter and is more something for me to write about, being the logo and design snob I can be.  Vanderbilt is kind of the definition of mediocrity, but now they have the perfect logo to help visually exemplify their position in the collegiate ranks.

WTF is Capcom thinking with Street Fighter 6’s logo?

When I started seeing people posting about the recent Street Fighter 6 teaser, the very first thing I thought was that it was a fake and/or a joke, because there’s no way that this was going to be the logo for one of the most iconic franchises in video game history.

Ohhh, but it turned out that it really is.

Honestly, I couldn’t give two shits about the game itself, I’ve been so long out of video games in general, much less Street Fighter, that there’s a very high probability that I’ll never even play it in my lifetime.  I never played SFV once, and I only played SFIV a handful of times before I got pissed about there being a quick released SFIV champion hyper turbo or whatever new edition that made my version obsolete, so I never played it again.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sit on my pedestal and judge logos.  And SF6’s logo is fuckin’ godawful, and it really makes me wonder just what the fuck Capcom is thinking when they phoned it in and “designed’ this shitty piece of clipart and decided it to let it represent the franchise that basically made them who they are today.

I couldn’t even get home from work to point out how turrible the logo is before other sites had already sunken their teeth into the same observation, and a few have already gone as far as to call out the obvious low-effort low-key plagiarism Capcom has done in creating this “logo” that basically says all the same things that I would say.

Seriously though, this isn’t just another case of resisting change for the sake of resisting it.  Street Fighter’s general wordmark has been recognizable and iconic throughout every iteration of the series, and there are common elements and a color palette that continuously make it work no matter the number of sequels they put out.  The gritty, violent-looking delivery of brush strokes to create the words, to the signature yellow-to-orange gradient palettes used in every iteration up to SFV.

And then SF6 phones it in with this lame rip off of some Adobe clipart, and then typing out “Street Fighter” in a jersey typeface that appears to have been modified slightly so they don’t get sued to oblivion by the original font creator.  It’s a sad and insulting edition to an iconic franchise that doesn’t look like it’s real, but it is.

I know I already said that the likelihood of me ever playing SF6 isn’t very high, but I most certainly judge books by their covers, and seeing what is becoming of Street Fighter from the logo alone, would probably give me pause to give it a whirl, even if I were still avidly gaming.

This should mean war

I heard from one of my new colleagues about this, and I had to google it to try and see with my own eyes, because I hardly leave my house in the first place.  Fortunately, photo evidence of it exists, and yeah, it’s everything that was described to me, and I’m pretty much in awe.

Basically, Bojangles has decided that they give no fucks about copyright or decorum, and has erected this giant billboard off of I-75 that flagrantly uses lightly modified versions of the Chick Fil-A mascot cows as well as the Chick Fil-A typeface, in order to push awareness of their supposed new chicken sandwich. 

Which is funny to me, considering I would’ve figured they’ve had one for the last three decades, considering they’re a chicken joint, and they could just as easily take the slabs of chicken used in the cajun filet biscuits that I get exclusively, slap them in between an actual bun with some sauce and pickles, and call it a signature sandwich.  Or maybe they have, and are just releasing something a little in competition to all the other chicken joints’ signature chicken sandwiches, who really knows.

Anyway, this is somewhat notable considering Atlanta is the home of Chick Fil-A, so Bojangles marching into the metro area and propping up a billboard like this really should be a declaration of war to some degree.  But as entertaining as it would be to see an actual war brew between fast food chicken joints, we obviously won’t see anything as flagrant as this in rebuttal, unfortunately.  And Bojangles probably knows that, which is why they did it, because to the public eye, a shot like this that goes unanswered, is a point for them.

Either way, I hold no ill will towards either company, and I enjoy their products both.  Bo’s biscuits on Sunday mornings is practically a tradition in my household, which is the perfect thing to fill the void when Chick Fil-A is closed.  But Chick Fil-A’s app is the gold standard in which all fast food joints should aspire to be, and a large reason of why I go there as often as I do, as it saves me time and aggravation, two things that are in short order when living the life I do these days, all while amassing reward points for more free shit.

But make no mistake, as far as public score keeping goes, this is a huge point for Bojangles in the supposed Restaurant Chicken Wars™.  It would be nice to see CFA respond, but everyone knows they probably won’t.  At least not in Georgia.  It would be fun to see if they drop some cheeky billboards out in Charlotte, if they already haven’t.