Thursday, July 19, 2018

New Young Pony Club, Power Users & Outsiders Pizza

Weekly Update 2018-29: A strong sense of identity and power comes through in the music of New Young Pony Club, watching other people use their phones and Zeus Jones' brand for Outsiders Pizza.

Music: New Young Pony Club
For such a light-sounding band name, this London five-piece packs quite the auditory punch. Band founders Tahita Bulmer and Andy Spence mix catchy vocals with heavy synths and hypnotic drum beats to create music that is powerful and really sticks to you. I consider their 2007 album Fantastic Playroom one of the most important albums to my formative music growth, finding something real and true that would never be played on MuchMusic in my high school days. And of all places, I discovered the band through a webplayer on the clothing site for Paul Frank. Surprisingly, they had some truly choice music selections that I still listen to today.

Check out Fantastic Playroom and see how it easily slides into different moods as the album progresses. Truly fantastic.

My real estate project is live and running on my website. It was quite the process to write the case study, organize and update all the assets, and then finally code everything into a working, responsive webpage. I even found a bug in InVision that auto-redirects a page with an embed directly to the website, which is no bueno for me because the pages are designed as case studies and have much more content than just the final piece. Luckily, the InVision support team was quite responsive and I got the issue fixed within 24 hours.

My dad was throwing out his old BBQ, so I managed to sell it for $20 on Facebook so that it wouldn't go into a landfill. It still works really well, so it felt like a major accomplishment to save a huge appliance from being thrown out.

I also finally got to treat my family to a dinner. This may not seem like a big deal, but we hang out a lot and my parents try to pay for everything. I understand why, but sometimes it's gotta be my turn. We all went out for specialty new-age Bi Bim Bap, which is a dish everyone in my family enjoys. It's weird how long we've all eaten Korean food, I have fond memories of our old favourite Korean restaurant Walker Hill on Highway 7, I can't have been more than 4 or 5 the first time we visited.

I'd actually really like to know what happened to Walker Hill, perhaps Charles Yu can answer that question on Chowhound. So my first goal of the week will be to make an account and create my first post.

I have a couple of freelance projects on the go, including digging through a complicated custom-made backend of a Wordpress site, and creating a Geofilter for an upcoming Jewish holiday.

Perhaps most importantly, I will finally be able to participate in a neon bike party this Saturday. Yes, Toronto Cruisers are finally throwing a bike party not on a Wednesday (drumming practice) or day that I am out of town (annual Labour Day camping trip). I have been collecting glowsticks for over a year and by George, I am ready for this. See more about the event here.

Random Thought: Power Users
We've all been in that old situation, where you're bored on the rush-hour bus or waiting in a crowded bar for your date to return from the bathroom, when your eyes wander to the phone screen of a stranger beside you. The curiosity and boredom are simply too strong a mix, often exacerbated by the high contrast of the bright phone screen against a dark background. Plus, other people's phone activity is always much more interesting - especially if you've ever gotten drunken permission from a friend to commandeer their Tinder account for a few sloppy minutes.

I happened to be in this exact situation (waiting for a subway train) and my eyes wandered to the phone of the woman beside me. She was using an app that I also use, and that I didn't think many other people even knew about. Not only was this already quite interesting, but then I happened to notice her using a feature that I didn't realize even existed. She inadvertently taught me a power feature without even realizing it.

So I wondered if there could be a YouTube channel where power users of apps take users through a complicated workflow that they've got down to a science. Bunz comes to mind - I have a lot of saved text replacements in my phone because I'm always responding to people with a version of the same three kinds of responses.

Studying the behaviours of others is a great way to learn new things, but I find our society dictates that whatever we do on our phones should be kept to ourselves...and this is probably correct to some extent, but why not try a little mobile pair programming? Who knows what you might learn...

Inspiration: Zeus Jones
If ever you need an agency to create a frozen pizza brand that is outstanding and unique in this day and age, look no further than the Minneapolis-based creative collective of Zeus Jones. Yes, they drew me in with pizza.

It looks soooo good.

I guess pizza may be an easy sell to yours truly, but I appreciate how the story behind the flavours comes into play, making it a personal and connected decision to try this particular pie over another. I also really appreciate the notion of a "party cut" - square slices are pretty good.

It's funny how we take some design styles for granted, like the fact that I have never seen an inspirational frozen pizza box design in my grocery store. Using clear packaging to show the pizza itself is also unpopular with other pizzas, which shows the fresh and earnest ingredients instead of hiding the processing.

But then, maybe I'm just hungry. Check out the Outsiders Pizza project, or Zeus Jones themselves.

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