If Your Not Going to ACL

Austin is alive this weekend with the third annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. For various reasons, I have made the decision to pass on spending the next three days in the heat, spending five dollars on beer and then standing in line for an hour to use the portopotties. Don’t get me wrong, I’m dissappointed to miss the music all 130 bands (of which I might have seen a third of the acts) but time is money and I was offered the chance to make some time this weekend.

Which leads me to the title of this post. If you are like me and have some spare time this weekend, but aren’t dropping the $72 for tickets check out Yahoo’s Launch. They are airing live feeds from the festival all day long. You might not be spending six dollars on a hot dog, but you just might catch the set from a band you were remiss to be missing.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

After swearing off football during college (a combination of marching band overload and a horrible college team) I have finally found the fun again. Even though I watched the spanking of UNT by Texas last Saturday (thanks for the pay-per-view Brad), this week marks the beginning of the football season in so much as my participation.

For the last two years I’ve been part of a friends and family pool for NFL games. Less time consuming than fantasy football but just as much fun. Of course it has as much to do with the company and “friendly” competition as it does the game, but I’ve followed the NFL much closer since I started playing in our pool.

My picks for the week are in and I’m waiting for the kickoff. Are you ready for some football?

From Parkesine to Emeraldine Base Polyaniline

So after only 140-plus years, scientists have finally discovered a way to create plastic magnets that pass the elementary tests of magetism (without being cooled at less than 10 degrees Kelvin). Applications being discussed are computer storage media, dentistry and other medical purposes. Although (standard scientific disclaimer coming) “practical applications are probably still a long way off.” Still pretty cool.

Coke Machine Surprise

Pulled a t-shirt out from the bottom of the stack to wear today. This wasn’t a choice, as in, “Hmmm….I think I’ll get my t-shirt from the bottom of the pile today.” It was more analogous to, “Well that pile of dirty clothes seems to be taking up all of the floor space in my room, I wonder if I actually have any clean t-shirts.” As Neil Young persuasively titled a song on Harvest, “A Man Needs a Maid.”

Amazingly there was a clean shirt, and one I hadn’t seen for a long time. I think I’ve kept it around because it illustrates both a strength and weakness in nontraditional advertising. Back in the summer of…okay let’s not date this…back when I was taking summer school classes at SWT (not TSU-SM but that’s another rant) I headed towards the coke machine during a ten minute break from an exciting lecture on something that happened in our American History. So fantastically exciting I needed a caffeine jolt to kickstart my attention span. I started to clink the quarters through the change slot and make my selection.

Side note: even though I said I was heading to the coke machine, anyone who knows me is aware that I mean Dr. Pepper and have just not been able to break free of the classification system that makes others say pop or soda. (Of course soda has to be pronounced so-DA in a thick Fargo accent.)

As I made my selection I noticed that the can seemed quieter or softer coming down the chute. Pulling out what roughly approximated a can of, uh… Dr. Pepper I was a little bewildered by the plastic-wrapped 100% cotton can. “This is NOT going to help me stay awake during the War of 1812,” I stood contemplating to myself. Allowing students behind me to get their fix, I stepped aside and unwrapped my present. It was the white t-whirt emblazoned with the logo of Citra, a drink I assumed was just being introduced or hadn’t been selling very well. They had pressure packed this t-shirt into the form factor of a cola can and randomly placed it in the distribution chain.

Every college student knows that free t-shirts are a wonderful thing. They must be or the credit card companies wouldn’t have lines at their booths to get their t-shirt for signing away your credit history. And Coke must know this too if they were advertising via slot machine handouts. It’s not quite Vegas but at least you know your going to get something from the exchange.

The good news for Coke, I’ve never forgotten their ad method or which product was being pushed. The bad news, I’ve never even tried Citra. I wasn’t completely convinced to try a new product. But to reinforce a brand, which obviously anyone standing in front of the red glowing caffeine distributor is aware of, the freebee is a powerful reinforcement of whose sugar you are going to consume.

For everyone out there saying to themselves, “Well, you paid 50