Friday, December 31, 2010

"Next thing you know, they're going to take away our poi and our raw fish."

Touché Joe Valdez of Makakilo, who was recently quoted in a Honolulu Star Advertiser article concerning the Hawaii fireworks ban happening next year.  The fireworks ban, which takes in effect this Sunday, is A HUGE DEAL for the Hawaii population who grew up popping ground blooms, firecrackers, fountains and maybe occasionally an aerial here and there.  The new law ONLY allows adults to light firecrackers and ONLY firecrackers (not even sparklers are allowed).  I have spent the past five/six New Years Eves in Kaneohe with probably the biggest fireworks-pyro-enthusiasts on the planet.  No joke.  New Years Eve is the one day in the 365 days of the year that they look forward to the most, and why is that?  Because of the lingering smoke smell, the thrill of unexpected explosions and even the process of cleaning up the trash--pretty much because they love FIREWORKS.

So when Joe Valdez of Makakilo compares the fireworks ban to the government taking away our poi and raw fish, I nod my head in agreement.  This ban is taking away years of tradition that has brought friends and families together to celebrate the new year.  Tomorrow night will be bittersweet, as it is the last New Years Eve my firework-obsessed friends will get to play with their beloved smoke-inducing, ground-shaking concoctions.  So in memory of the last five NYE, h
ere are some photos:
NYE 2005
NYE 2006 
NYE 2007
NYE 2008
NYE 2009
I wish everybody a safe and happy new years!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hawaiian Kine Christmas

Five words to summarize the last five days: games (more specifically "dancing games"), food, beach, family and friends.  There's nothing better than ending the year at home in Hawaii and hanging out with my siblings and old high school friends.  Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I can't wait for New Years!

Photo Recap:
Home Sweet Home  
Board games with the Siblings & Cousins
 Searching for Dog the Bounty Hunter
 Christmas Potluck at Arlen's
 Christmas Eve at Crazy Box
 Just Dance on the Wii
 Grandparentals & the Huang Grandchildren

Monday, December 20, 2010

Justin Bieber Doesn't Stand A Chance in South Korea

The past four days I was in South Korea visiting my college roommate Reese who is now a Visiting Professor at KAIST (a Science and Technology University in Daejeon).  There was no question that I would love Korea because I love Korean food--but I've discovered that like every Asian country, the shopping and markets are also awesome in Korea.  We spent two days in Seoul and two days in Daejeon, which was perfect because I was able to relax the second half.  I have concluded that Korean boys have better hair (and by "better", I mean "girlier") than Justin Bieber, fruity soju drinks are quite possibly the best alcoholic drink ever and old Korean grandpas and grandmas can out hike me any day.  I ate a lot of Korean food, especially the common street food tteokbokki (tok-boki), which is a chewy cylindrical rice cake in a spicy red sauce.  I'm now boarding my flight to Narita Airport in Tokyo, so more updates later!  Annyeonghi Gaseyo!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When Digital Does Good Good--WWF, Chrome For A Cause, NogPong

In the past few years, I have seen many corporate-sponsored, large scale digital charity campaigns like American Express' Members Project and Pepsi Refresh--all which follow a submission, vote and select format which may feel like it's months before any positive change occurs; however, recently, WWF, Google Chrome and Saatchi & Saatchi LA have created some unique and simple ways to digitally "do good" (seemingly) very quickly.  These ideas are a response to people's need to feel like they ACTUALLY can make a difference in the world INSTANTLY.  No registering, voting, submitting or writing, simply with a save, ctrl+T or click--we can all feel like we've made the world a better place.

I really recommend checking out Chrome For A Cause and NogPong since those will end soon.

1) Save as a WWF, a neat way to actually save trees by not allowing people to print their docs

2) Chrome For A Cause, With every tab you open in your Google Chrome browser from today until December 19th you could donate water, books, shelter, vaccinations or trees.  I've already gone psycho on the apple+Ts and currently have 15 tabs open, but guess what?  I just helped provide 6 persons' worth of clean water.  I am hoping Google will share the results of this project in a colorful trend graph and YouTube videos of the donations.

3) NogPong, this one is actually fun which makes it even more awesome.  Saatchi & Saatchi LA created a site that streams live video of Saatchi workers responding to real-time pong throws into cups of eggnog.  Anyone with an internet connection can take a shot simply by clicking (you're able to adjust the aim and strength of the throw).  The charity portion is that with every cup made they will donate to selected charities.  NogPong was definitely made with the user experience in mind--engagement rates must be out the roof.  Good job @SaatchiLA!

What I love best about all three of these ideas is that it started with a natural consumer action e.g. saving a file, opening a tab, throwing a pong ball and tailored it to be relevant to the organization, company or agency i.e. file type = "WWF", tabs <3 browsers and Chrome is a browser, and agency holiday office parties are just fun!  Plus all sites were fully equipped with Facebook and Twitter sharing functionality.

Stuff like this makes me very happy because it reassures me that humanity and this industry is still very clever and that digital is progressing in a positive direction.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Red & Yellow, Like It's Quidditch--Club Bangers Made Better

2010 is the year of awesome music parodies and legendary YouTube stars.  Here are two of my recent favorite club banger remakes:
ORIGINAL: Wiz Khalifa's "Black & Yellow"
REMAKE: Escapist's "Red & Yellow"

ORIGINAL: Far East Movement's "Like A G6"

REMAKE: The Station's "Like It's Quidditch"

Monday, December 13, 2010

Profile Manipulation, Is Facebook Becoming More Like MySpace?

Facebook did something right this time around.  The new profile format, which debuted last week, is much more photo focused (we all know we love those Facebook photos!) but better yet the new layout allows some personal creativity to seep into the once rigid, uniform Facebook page.  Check out some really inspiring profile updates that I found on BuzzFeed:

Being able to creatively manipulate your profile page reminds me of the days of MySpace when you could tweak the HTML code to change your profile's background photo, layout, border colors, music, etc.  I highly doubt Facebook will EVER let anybody, not even Mark Zuckerberg, skin their own profile but I will settle for the 5-box photo line below my name as a tipping point to some potentially amazing creative and viral marketing ideas.  If you are interested in tweaking your profile, first you will need to hide photos tagged of you in your privacy settings and then in backwards order upload your five photos (exact size 97 x 68 pixels) to your profile picture.  I decided to rep the "From A to Zeny" blog on my page since the website info or personal blurb no longer exists on the left.  The possibilities are endless so go CRAZY!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NYC SantaCon 2010

There may just be another day that rivals Marathon Monday--NYC SANTACON.  According to the official NYC SantaCon website, "Santacon is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political, non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason."  That's a good enough reason for me to participate!  Full Santa suits were apparently sold out at Ricky's and the Union Square costume shop so I settled with just a Santa hat and some festive red jeans.  The weather was perfect, 40s and sunny, and we started off in the East Village at The 13th Step.  I knew from last year, that Santacon would be crazy but I didn't realize how absolutely bizarre drinking at 11 in the morning with a bunch of drunk Santas, slutty elves, Grinches, reindeers, walking presents and Christmas trees would be.
The best part of Santacon is when the final location is revealed and everyone in all the different Santacon starting points meet up for a giant, public Santa party.  This year the insanity happened at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, so uptown on the 6 train we go!  Santacon is more than just a day of drunken camaraderie for the big man of Christmas but a day of giving (can food donations are encouraged), spreading holiday spirit and just simple good-humored fun.
The after party, which started at 3pm, was in the West Village but by then I had to head home for a nap and prepare for the 10 course Chinese wedding banquet meal for Amber & PJ.  I had an awesome time roaming the city yesterday, and will definitely be doing it again next year!  In the words of my Jewish friend Noah, "Ho Ho Ho, Bitches."