Flea market Montgomery: Just like a mini-mall

Every once in a while there’s a meme. Living rooms. Dinettes. Yeah, I’m talkin’ bout flea market! Mongomery! It’s just like.. it’s just like.. a mini.. mall.

I have basically been living life through this commercial for the past couple of days, so I had to make a historical note of it; it’s infectious like Empire Carpet. The brilliant salesperson is Sammy Stephens, a Montgomery, Alabama resident where his ad currently graces the airwaves. It was launched into the public Ellen Degeneres’ audience’s eye recently when an anonymous person sent Degeneres a tape. I would love to see Sammy sucked into the big media world, doing ads for Nike or Budweiser, but I’m afraid he’ll probably fade away like Bubb Rubb and the whistle tip.

Update: The Montgomery Advertiser is hosting a remix contest! Download the audio and make a new song or download a bluescreen video. There are no prizes, but they’re embracing the randomness of the mini-mall.

Firefox autocomplete: how much?

One of my favorite parts of Firefox 2.0 is the autocomplete functionality built into the search bar. Every time I start typing a random query, I am completely surprised to see what the rest of my brethren are searching for. Recently I started typing “how much” and came up with this amazing list:

How much?

You thought that all of those mortgage banner ads were overkill; it appears not. Besides the iPhone your car and your weight, mortgages account for 7/10 how-much searches.

Graffiti research with Flickr

So you took a picture of some cool looking graffiti and it has piqued your interest. You want to know what it means, where it came from, and who put it there. Gone are the times when tags were a mysterious, obfuscated communication only to be understood by other artists and anthropologists. These days, you can be your own graffiti researcher with the simple use of Flickr. Here’s how it works:

1. Snap a picture of the tag. Here’s one I took the other day:

Les Crabs

2. Decipher the tag. This can vary in difficulty. If you’re not blessed with tag-deciphering skills, you can ask one of your more graf-savvy friends, or ask the Wooster Collective. In my case this is simple; I’m dealing with someone named “les crabs.”

3. Search on Flickr for the name. Also look at the Flickr tag for the name. If you come up with a big list of graffiti photos, you’re on the right track. If not, try adding the word “graffiti” to your query.

4. Do some research. Look at the other photos and take note of the Flickr tags, titles and comments. Graffiti photographers will usually give some details about the location. I see that les crabs is most prolific in San Francisco, but has also been seen in Oakland and Brooklyn:


Les Crabs in San Francisco


Les Crabs in Brooklyn


Les Crabs in Oakland

5. Upload your photo to Flickr. Add tags it with the city and the the name of the artist, maybe even geotag it. Be proud of the fact that you’ve joined the ranks of graffiti anthropologists around the world.

Orkut to take over MySpace?

Orkut logoAlexa has recently been improving the global coverage of their traffic statistics. Their Global 500 now shows a number of sites that have almost zero attention in the US market (e.g. Baidu, QQ, and Yahoo Japan). Many on this list had a negligible presence on Alexa a year ago, most likely due to their marketing of the Alexa Toolbar in foreign markets.

While I was looking at the list of top 10 global sites, one was extremely startling: Orkut, Google’s social networking service that has been extremely successful in Brazil. Since January of last year, Orkut has grown by a factor of 10, moving from a daily reach of 3,000 to 30,000 per million. Since MySpace’s traffic has been more or less constant over that time period, it’s not surprising that Orkut has covered some major ground towards being the world’s largest social networking service:

Orkut vs. MySpace 1 year

Looking more specifically at the race for top ranked social networking service, it appears that the two will be neck and neck from here on out:

Orkut vs. MySpace

Orkut gets no attention in the US market mainly because their US presence is tiny compared to Facebook, MySpace or even Friendster. If they take the number one spot worldwide, will Americans respond? Google paid $900M to be MySpace’s search provider, a partnership that might lead people to believe that their business interest in social networking was diminishing. Another explanation could be their interest in monetizing a mature social networking service while Orkut continues to grow. As the service continues to drive traffic globally, it is inevitable that the press will take notice, and Google can take this opportunity to grow their domestic user base.

I hadn’t logged in to Orkut for years, but upon returning I realized that very little has changed. Same strange photos, same hearts and ice cubes, same periwinkle-and-purple color scheme. Orkut’s growth reinforces the fact that the value of social networking services, and social software in general, comes from the base of active users, not the set of features they offer.

Lady not so Sovereign in SF

This is a story about one man’s brush with celebrity, and a donut.

So this guy (Zach Slow) goes to Coachella and sees a cute girl who goes by the name of SOV. Mesmerized and inspired, he sets up a website to get her attention by raising $10k for a date with said girl. After some serious media coverage, girl agrees to go on said date, but only if he reaches $10k. The amazing part: he succeeds.

Boats, champagne, and some other things happen. MC Jelly Donut is present. The final Mastercard bill:

Yacht and private chef: $5,000
Stretched SUV limo for 5 hours: $1000
First class flights to LA: $1000
Hotel rooms plus a suite at super fancy hotel: $1500
Overly priced primo booze for 7 people: $700
Tips for staff on yacht and limo: $180
Limo to airport: $150
Gifts: $200
Paypal charges: roughly $270

The date goes so well that the girl has a hard time at her show the next day in LA. She claims she was sick.

Round two. The girl comes back to San Francisco for a second tour only a few months later, this time with a bigger posse. She plays the bigger venue for a bigger crowd. In an interview, she talks about her date with the boy. For whatever reason, she decides to lay in on the poor kid from SF. His grandma has cash. It was a horrible night. Somehow it’s all his fault because the donut came along. Then she plays her worst show yet, and people demand a refund. She says she was sick. She does it again the next day in LA, and someone actually catches it on tape. Still sick, apparently.

The boy responds to the press, but no one is listening this time.

Round three. I get an email last night about another show. Apparently she is back for a third visit, this time because her previous show as so bad. After the last interview, the boy is ready for action. He’s ready to take her on… er, the donut will for him:

tomorrow night (monday the 8th), my good friend Lady Sovereign is playing at the Mezzanine. i say “good friend” with a sense of irony because she has been kind of a jerk-face to me.

if you don’t already know the story… it’s long and boring, so lemme just skip to the good part.

monday night, our buddy Jelly Donut is trying to pull off one of the most amazing stunts ever conceived. he is going to try to battle Lady Sovereign at her show. yes, you heard me correctly. HE IS GOING TO TRY TO BATTLE LADY SOVEREIGN DURING HER SHOW.”

WE WANT JELLYDuring the show, supporters of the kid handed out images of a Jelly Donut with the instructions, “hold this up and chant for Jelly Donut after the fourth song.” The girl leads off with her most popular jam, followed by a couple of forgettable tracks. The crowd is anxious (well, at least I was) when the fourth song arrives. Some people hold up their donuts. Nothing happens.

After the fourth song, the girl notices the guy in the audience and starts taunting him, “you fucking kid. You stoner. I love SF but I hate this kid. You fucking grandma’s boy. You stoner.. you’re just a Beavis! Hahaha (lauging at self) Hahaha.” Meanwhile, people have started chanting “JEL-LY… JEL-LY… JEL-LY…” and the bouncers are running around the audience and hopping up on stage. The girl spits her drink at the donut, and the audience retaliates with some more liquid, tagging her square in the face. Bouncers continue to bounce, the girl drops another song, the crowd is quelled, and the donut is ejected.

Donut needs a drinkMeanwhile, MC Jelly Donut, Zach, et al. are hanging in the parking lot. They reenact the scene where the girl spits her drink all over him. All he wanted to do was battle her, no violence intended; just a merry prankster dressed up as a donut. The donut’s final words: “Anyone know a good dry cleaner? I got SOV all over my donut. Hold on a sec, I need a ride home. Lemme take this thing off.”

Will there be a round 4? Maybe when the girl grows up someday. Wait, she’ll probably be sick that day.

Update: Thank you Flickr for documenting everything.

Update: plans for Lady SOV domination on Flickr.

Update: Perezhilton and Idolator on the Lady Sovereign/Jelly Donut showdown.

Update: Yahoo! News is covering the Jelly Donut/Lady Sovereign battle.

Update: A YouTube video of the incident has appeared.