One more thing!

...did I mention I have another blog?

It's at planningplusone.blogspot.com. I think it's a lot better.

Nicer banner, any way :)


If something's worth doing, it's worth doing differently and well. And worth having fun about.

And because I'm having more fun doing other things differently and well, IIP is on hiatus. Just think of it as in care for a bit - you can't see it, but it still loves you.

A really exciting project is underway - see you in another guise soon :)

Til soon,


Truly, the geek shall inherit the earth

It seems the world's best computational search engine has finally come online for the public to try and crash. And with a kickass name like Wolfram Alpha, they will. The aim is that eventually it'll be able to tell you anything:

But for now, it's a case of God making man in His own image:

Still, how long till 118 118 jumps on this baby?


Whoever thought 'viral' could become an even dirtier word?

Ha. I waited ages to make that joke. Nicely gone off the boil now, though. We got a nice "don't worry about swine flu and for god's sake, wash you hands" email in the office, promptly setting off a torrent of jokes. Isn't it wonderful how a minor crisis sets of the comedian in all of us?

-Tried to ring the phone line, got crackling
-Something about a black guy being president when pigs fly, swine flu etc.
-Summer seems to be trotter than it was last year
-Seems like avian flu has come 'back' for more
-'Snout that bad

...okay, the last three didn't happen. I just wanted to see if there's any stray drops of pun to be wrung out here. But it's got everyone thinking about other pandemics, as well it might. For my part I humbly submit possibly the best and yet least-researched internet phenomenon - the World of Warcraft Corrupted Blood Outbreak.
Here is a picture of lots of dead people. If only characters stayed dead in WoW, the plague might be considered a mercy.
How fantastic is that? The Corrupted Blood incident is, apparently, lauded as the first "real world" event in the game - that is, the first gamestate where the parameters of reality rather than fantasy were what caused players to adopt certain behaviours.
Briefly: A curse that killed players over time was introduced into a new, high-level area. The idea was that the characters in that area were strong enough that they'd certainly be hampered by the affliction, but it wouldn't actually kill them - not if they were careful. But Blizzard (the developers) tried something knew with this curse - it was, as the WHO would say, Level 5: "Human-to-human transmission in at least two countries".
The idea being that players within the area would 'infect' each other and it would all be a really exciting laugh, though nothing serious.
But, as anyone who saw 28 Days Later knows, you can't contain a virus forever. Evil life found its dastardly way, incubating within the summoned creatures and pets of characters, escaping the area and spreading across the other, low-level areas, where characters who 'caught' it were too weak to, well, not die. A map of the virus' spread would be so cool, but alas, none.
The coolest thing was in the way people reacted:
-A couple of the early carriers adopted a malicious Patient Zero-like attitude, purposefully infecting as many as possible before they were put down by vigilante mobs.
-The well-meaning players attempted to heal the sick, almost certainly at the cost of their characters.
-Plenty of people ran for the hills. Cowards.
-Blizzard attempted to enforce a quarantine - which, you guess it zombie fans, was broken by some idiot and caused chaos, since it allowed the virus into areas where players has been deliberately packed into a high density.
Couldn't find a good video, so just watch this and pretend it's nerdier:

As an epilogue to this, the Corrupted Blood Incident has been used a springboard by anthropologists who may now use online world to test models of both viral infection, and terrorist cell formation.
How cool is that?
Shh, it is.


People Of The Now 9: Gemma

A shop space in Kingly Court. Beer and ink flow freely, intermingling with synthpop as the evening glides along.

Me: So, this is pretty awesome.
Gemma: It is? Oh, thank you! I'm so glad everyone likes it!
Me: Well, I think you've tapped into a zeitgeist here. I mean, everyone wants to draw, right? But something stops them...
Gemma: Yeah! I designed the new t-shirts and I can't draw, really...
Me: This a one-off thing?
Gemma: Not at all! We try and do something with every new line release at Lazy Oaf; this time we just wanted a bit of a drawing party. Only had two weeks to organise it, but its worked!
Me: Well, you've hit on the kind of thing where the people make the event. It's changing the way people act, you can see it.

Vlad: And maybe they'll come up with some new designs for you!
Gemma: Oh no, its nothing as serious as that! We just want people to come and well, draw! How are you guys getting on? Drawn yet?
Vlad: Yeah!
Me: ...I had my drawing inhibitions for a while. I've been trying to shake them for a year, and then something like this comes along and smashes it...
Gemma: Have a beer!
Me: We certainly shall. Oh and, isn't this basically the best job ever?
Gemma: It's got its good points!

The Lazy Oaf drawing club stays open all weekend in Kingly Court, Carnaby. It's awesome as all hell and deserves YOUR support.


One And Other - because i can't think of plinth pun right now

Anthony Gormley's new venture to occupy Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth, One & Other, has now been opened for registrations - and its gathered over twice the number of applications to places. Shit. Even shittier shit for those of us in London, as you're looking at a 10% chance of success right now, which is set to change for the worse.

What? Oh right, well basically: it's a project spanning the summer months whereby a different member of the British public gets to occupy the plinth for a hour, every hour, day and night - that makes 2,400 slots. And once on the plinth, you can do whatever the hell you like - except:
-drinking/drugs (and you can't be affected by them when you start, cheeky rulebenders)
-bringing weapons or 'dangerous items' (fireworks, surely)
-race hate (tut tut! Naughty!)
-infringing copyright. So no freebie client work.

That all said, there's the potential to use your hour of fame to do something genuinely thought provoking and memorable. You can bet that's what Gormley is banking on. Alternatively, it might very well be an equally unique and valuable experience to just sit there and enjoy a unique view. I'm still undecided as to which is best.

But go on, sign up. It's gotta be worth a punt.

What would you do?


Yes, Client

Last night, I got to watch the hilariously scathing In The Loop:

The website has a nice flavour to it: a Guido Fawkes-style political blog that provides enough to entice people (e.g. the actual trailer), but isn't afraid to to have a lot of slightly impenetrable extras for the benefit of those who saw The Thick Of It and have been crying out for more Malcolm Tucker adventures for years now. Oh, and you can follow him on Twitter.

...and yes, it is 60, no, 70% about Tucker's capacity to work the phrase "Lubricated horse cock" into polite conversation, but he doesn't rule every scene. The beauty of the film is that every single character has a weakness, all of which are exploited at some time or other by someone else, and - oh yes - when the film reaches its conclusion, you have no doubt that every one is culpable in some way. And that's gotta make you think about what's happening today.

But don't despair! It is, at its core, very funny indeed. The mix of humour, human interest, and unabashed voyeurism at a secret world is irresistible. Which makes me think - we need one of these for ad agencies. Imagine! The toadying young account exec. The bothersome head-in-the-clouds planner. A foaming, psychotic head of traffic. The Client - always referred to with a mix of reverence and disdain, never seen. And various other one-dimensional stereotypes.

What d'you think? Any more compelling agency 'personalities' (not people!) the world needs to see? And who on earth could play them?

Bonus footage: