BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Slight Delay Ben Levy 30, April

Gentle readers, I beg your indulgence. Between packing, moving, and transferring cable, things are gonna be a little messy here. I There will be a post this week, but it won’t be for a few days.

Comments Off

For some reason, they disabled the embed function on this video, but I’m going to feature it anyway. Partially because this is one of the first videos I remember watching on youtube.

Click Here For High Voltage Cable Inspection Video

And partially because there’s one thing I really love about this video, and that’s everything.

Comments Off
Problem Solving. Ben Levy 24, April

Ever since I got my new Mac, I’ve been meaning to transfer all the files from my six-year-old, pre-pentium, 40-lb aluminum G5 desktop. This was important to me, as I didn’t feel like moving a 40-lb aluminum paperweight to the new apartment if I didn’t have to.

Power_Mac_G5_hero_left

And so, in the midst of all the boxing, organizing, and throwing out, I backed up and transferred all my files. The final step was to reformat my hard drive. After all, there’s six years of tax information, embarrassing photos, and swedish-tentacle-dolphin-porn on there that I didn’t really want anyone to find.

And that’s when I discovered that formatting the hard drive required the original boot disks that came with the machine. I had those. They were in a box that looked like this:

osx_box_leopard

I knew it looked like that because I’d just seen it two days before. When I threw it out.

But that’s ok, because I knew another way to format the hard drive. All I needed was to connect my old machine to my new machine using a cable I didn’t have, and then boot up the old machine in target-disk mode.

I really didn’t feel like doing that.

But that was ok too, because I had another idea about how to keep my old hard-drive from being a security risk. I called it Plan C:

SledgeHammer

And, as I explained to my father, the idea was to use his sledge hammer to break my hard drive into two separate pieces and dispose of each one on a different side of the Hudson river.

I was mildly surprised to discover the amount of punishment a hard drive can take. Those things are built tough. Like, Ford Tough. It was pretty impressive. Especially in light of the three separate warning labels foretelling doom if it came within 30 meters of the refrigerator magnet your mom has holding up your perfect spelling test from the fifth grade.*

In short, it actually took a whole five minutes to smash the drive to my satisfaction. Roughly four minutes and 58 seconds longer than I would have thought.

When you wipe a hard drive using the boot disk, it generally takes a few minutes for the progress bar to travel from 0 to 100 (or from 100 to 0 in this case). The Plan C method of formatting doesn’t have a progress bar. You start with this:

enclosure

And you stop about 5 minutes later when it looks like this.

IMAG0284

IMAG0285

*Yes, I could have tried to wipe the drive with a magnet. I didn’t for two reasons. First, my father actually tried that experiment years ago, using a frighteningly powerful earth magnet. It had no discernable effect. And secondly: SLEDGEHAMMER VS HARD DRIVE. COME ON.

Comments Off
Friday Feature: Beach Body Ben Levy 22, April

Since it’s finally starting to warm up around here, I thought I’d share one of the exercises I’ve been doing in anticipation of summer. It starts with fairly standard stuff you expect to see in any routine, until you get to around the 1:40 mark. Then shit gets crazy:

Comments Off
Smurf You, Hollywood. Ben Levy 18, April

Perhaps you have heard about, or been afflicted by, the trailer for the new Smurfs movie coming out. If not, I’m sorry to do this to you:

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 11.17.05 AM

Their expressions accurately reflect my own.

At this point, I would normally launch into a hate-fueled rant against Hollywood’s latest thinly-veiled attempt to cash in on nostalgia. But I felt this deserved something special. So before you go any further, please begin playing this video. Then sing along with me:

“SMURF You”
(sung to the tune of “Fuck You” by Cee Lo Green)

(Chorus)
I see your movie remake,
of a show I knew and I’m like
“Smurf You”.
Oo, oo, oo
You saw the bills in my wallet,
Want them for yours, I’m like,
Smurf You!
Smurf you blue!
You wanna be richer, so you made a big picture
Ha, now ain’t that some smurf? (ain’t that some smurf)
And although there’s pain in my chest
You’ll still profit I bet, so….
Smurf You!
Oo, oo, oo

You won’t get no glory, from ripping off a story,
That we all watched when we were eight.
It takes more than 3D, for you to sell me
So all you’ll get from me is hate.

I wish there were rules, against reboots done by fools
(3D won’t fix issues)
Well
(don’t even try that excuse)
Ooooooh
You can write this one down too-
ACT1, SCENE 1: Go smurf yourself.

(Chorus)

I know it’s hard to, write a new script
But that don’t mean you should rape these shows.
Hoping to fake it, you’ll never make it
Cause even your preview trailer blows.

I’d rather be reamed, than see this farce on screen.
(3D won’t fix issues)
Well
(don’t even try that excuse)
Ooooooh
You can write this one down too-
I really hate yo ass right now.

Pause the song. Imagine the sound of a record scratch. Music stops, singer breaks the fourth wall and addresses the camera:

No really, I hate you. What the hell is your problem? Look, I’m fine with introducing the next generation to the Smurfs, but these things don’t even look like them. It’s like you applied a blue filter to a movie about garden gnomes. Even the fucking chipmunk movie looked kind of like the chipmunks. Do you understand what I’m saying? YOUR MOVIE IS ALREADY WORSE THAN THE CHIPMUNKS! AND IT’S NOT EVEN OUT YET!

Music starts up again and singer breaks into the chorus as though nothing happened. You may begin the song again.

(Chorus)

Now Holly- holly- Hollywood, now what the hell can we do with you?
(with you, with you, with you)

If you were just one person I would force you
to commit seppuku.
(seppuku, seppuku, seppuku)
Like “Stab! Slice. Uh! Slice. Uh.”
It’s over! Oh!
I hate you. Oh!
I so hate you! Oh!

(Last Chorus)
I see your movie remake,
of a show I knew and I’m like
“Smurf You”.
Oo, oo, oo
You saw the bills in my wallet,
Want them for yours, I’m like,
Smurf You!
Smurf you blue!
You wanna be richer, so you made a big picture
Ha, now ain’t that some smurf? (ain’t that some smurf)
And although there’s pain in my chest
You’ll still profit I bet, so….
Smurf You!
Oo, oo, oo

“SMURF You” written by Ben Levy, with apologies to, well, everyone.

Comments Off

Unless by “it” you mean “abstinence”. In which case, I guess, good job? Maybe?

Comments Off
A Universal Truth Ben Levy 11, April

I’ve had a ton of stuff to bitch about recently, and I’d like to think that I have bitched about them in artful and varied ways. In comparison, moving to a new apartment just didn’t seem like that big a deal to me. After all, it’s not everyday that someone gets laid off. But moving? Everyone’s gone through a move before. Whatever.

But no matter who I spoke to, or how casually I said it, everyone who learned I was moving immediately offered their most effusive, heartfelt sympathies:

“Ohmigod I’m sorry. Moving is the worst.”

“Dude, that sucks.”

“Someone once told me I wouldn’t have to move if I stabbed my own Mother, and I actually had to sleep on it for a night before declining their offer.”

Which was when I realized that moving really does suck. For everyone.

And then I realized- this is it. This is the single piece of common ground we’ve all been looking for. This is the shared experience that will bring about world peace. In every culture, on every continent, people from every walk of life can agree on this one thing- moving blows.

Every international arms treaty should open with a conversation about the last time both parties had to move a couch. Could you imagine? The Cold War would have lastest a week:

MODERATOR: Would the speaker for the USSR like to begin?

USSR: Nyet. American dogs do not respect us. Is nothing to say.

US: Like I’d listen to anything you commie bastards said anyway.

USSR: You are not coming over here to say that!

US: Don’t try me, Ivan!

MODERATOR: Gentlemen, please! Now, I understand the representative for the United States just moved into a third floor apartment last weekend. Is that correct?

US: Yeah. Third floor walk-up.

USSR: You did this thing yourself?

US: Damn straight. Three flights with that stupid bedframe. At least the couch was a sectional.

USSR: This is, how you say, small miracle? Mine was not. Carried up stairs, only to learn does not fit in door.

US: You’re kidding!

USSR: I never kid. Had to take back down stairs, then carry up to outside patio, push in through window. Was -30 degrees.

US: Stuff like that is why I’m using a moving company next time.

USSR: In Soviet Russia, company moves you.

US: Yeeeees… isn’t that the point?

Obviously, there would still be some bitter debates. Who carried the heaviest thing the furthest? Whose friends were the least helpful? Is it worse to move in the dead of winter or the height of summer? But I think just acknowledging that we all share this one thing in common will usher in a new era of discussion and understanding for the world.

We may not see eye to eye on everything, but on this point we can all agree: Moving fucking sucks.

Comments Off

Man, twelve year old me would have loved this. Good thing we didn’t have the YouTube back then.

Oh yeah, I’m old.

Comments Off

I decided on two rules when I started this (slightly forced) job search.

The first was the rule I’ve always had when seeking employment: To find a happy place.

I believe the people you work with are way more important than the building you work in. You’re spending a minimum of 40 hours a week with your coworkers. For most people, that’s more time than you spend with your friends, your family, and your significant other. And advertising is not a 40 hour a week job. Not even close. Which means you better find an environment and people you like working with, because you’re going to be spending way more time with them than you are with your bed.

So. Rule 1- find a happy place.

Rule 2- no “digital agencies”.

My first job was at a digital agency, and I loved it. But I found myself getting typecast as a “digital copywriter”. So when I left my first gig, I made it a priority to work at a full-service shop, where they did traditional and digital advertising. Having achieved that, I didn’t want to go back to digital again.

I told all my recruiters I wouldn’t work full-time at a digital shop. Flat out refused. Hard stop. No. Nyet. Nuh-uh. When one of them sent me to an interview with a primarily digital agency, I only went because I thought I might get a freelance gig out of it.

And now I should probably mention Rule 3.

I didn’t know there was a Rule 3 when I started this process, but it turns out there is.

Rule 3 is very simple: Rule 1 trumps Rule 2.

Yes, I could have gone to a traditional agency. Yes, I could have taken offers at agencies that guaranteed I would never be described as a “digital copywriter” again. I had an offer like that.

But I also walked into a little-known, digitally-focused shop that felt like home, damn it. They were easy to talk to. They were playing music throughout the whole office. They had nerf guns on the couch.

They had nerf guns on the couch.

Which is why I completely ignored Rule 2. And why I’m gonna be the new Senior Copywriter at LBi.

Friday Feature: Ouch. Ben Levy 1, April

Everything about this video is terrible, from the faux neon lettering in the title card to the screaming emo music in the background.

But the most terrible thing is the uninterrupted montage of acrobatically spectacular fails. And by terrible, I of course mean fantastic.

I watch a video like this every few months to remind myself why I don’t try parkour.

Comments Off