Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ice Art: A Critique

I believe I've mentioned before how bad the art on ice bags can be. I see a lot of different brands of ice (albeit early in the morning, when I'm already in a bad mood and not very charitable), and I thought I'd show you a few of the things I've had to withstand. In my own ridiculous style, here follows a review of several of the most common ice companies' bag art:

Generic Ice Bag: Simple, but no imagination. Then again, no news is good news, and this is much better than some of the crap designs that follow. I give it a C, just as much for not being bad as not being good.

Macondo Ice: I'm not sure what a Macondo is, but I kinda like the name. I'm on board already, and the retro "Price Is Right" theme only adds to the presentaion. However, this ice is clearly not crystal clear, as the bag posits. Thumbs up for style, thumbs down for truth in advertising. Again, a C.

Snowman Ice: This is one of the ones I hate. Here's what is ostensibly a snowman, but he could just as easily be made of dough the way his legjoints work. He's standing on one leg on a block of wood amidst clawmarks from an unseen predator. Illogical, ill-executed, and just plain bad. Its only merit is that it's labeled 'ice,' and it does in fact contain ice. D.

Jack Frost Ice: Ugh. OK, how long will it take for designers to realize that powder blue and light red are colors that, when paired, should exist only in the 60s? And let's take a look at Jack himself. Wearing underwear on the outside is neither smart nor fashionable. His left arm seems to have been twisted into a stump, yet we can still see his left hand. And he's doing the HEEEyyyy point, which makes him a douchebag. And what's with his eyes? Instead of pupils, he seems to have the lost Sankara stones from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. This one gives me nightmares. F.

Subservient Eskimo Ice: This one, again, gives me the willies. Here's a random shape that someone thought would look like an igloo if that someone just drew a few lines on it and made a door at the bottom. This guy's not going to fit in there, even if there is a party picnic going on. And let's take a closer look at this dude's face. Those are sharp teeth he's got. This may be the elusive predator that took a shot at the wood-block doughman. Plus, again with the sparkling. Sparkling water doesn't sparkle, and neither does ice. But I am down with monsters where you least expect them. C.

IceWorks Ice: Now we're getting somewhere. We got art deco going on here. Little problem with the proportions with the buildings in the front (or are those ice towers?), but look at the fade work at the top. This is good work. However: the bottom, the address of the factory is listed. Research Blvd., eh? If you have to build a factory on Research Blvd. to figure out the recipe for ice, you're trying too hard. Excellent execution, but lousy IQ. B.

Mireles Ice: OK, this just looks like the front of an 8th grade cheerleader's math notebook. Mireless is Spanish for 'look at this,' and I can't tell if that's ironic or not. Either way, I don't wanna look at it. D.

Home City Ice: We have some good art principles going on here, good use of negative and positive space, even if we are back to red and blue again. Home City... makes you think of where you live.. .a comforting setting in which to use ice. However, this is one of those that goes overboard with the description. Ice is frozen water. And here we have "Cube Size Ice Nuggets." Not sure if I want to have all that trouble in my glass. And something about not using the superlative of the word 'healthy' makes the slogan sound a little off. "Healthier than homemade! It's not the healthiest, but it's better that what you can do with your antiquated home ice-making equipment." Great art, but the wordage is a little on the snarky side. B.

Glace Ice: Now this one is just a pleasure to review. This is a first in all my years of ice looking-at: a three-color design. Blue, white, and off white, just to give the illusion of depth. This is a bear that actually looks like a bear. Also, the bag is translucent blue, which gives an extra touch of class. And, in a postmodern move:

...the bag is simply labeled 'ice,' in both English and French. Must be Canadian. A little pretentious, but the art backs it up. A.

North Hollywood Ice: They say when your enemy goes high-tech, you go low-tech. This approach also works here. You'd think that Hollywood would crank out a glitzy product, but what we have is a simple carriage. But it evokes the Old West days, where folk waited for the ice wagon to roll in and cool things off. You do most of the work in your mind here, but the end result is the image of an oasis of cool in an unforgiving world of hot. No one's driving the carriage though, and that's a little spooky. B+.

Arctic Glacier Ice: Here again is good work. Three color art, albeit with red and blue again, but the darker blue doesn't clash with the red as much. A trap skillfully avoided. 'Premium ice' is a little overblown of a claim, but while we're on that, let's look at the back:

...where an even overblowner claim is made: inside-out frozen ice! Just how does that work? And when it's fully frozen, can anyone but an ice scientist tell the difference? And again they're bagging on us for not being able to use the power of temperature in our own homes, while giving us the 'crystal clear' line again, and check out 'hard-frozen.' Isn't 'soft-frozen' called melted? However, they self-deprecate enough with the next line that I'm willing to believe that they're not all jerks in the ad department. Great art, complicated and dubious science, and a joke. B.
Spanish Ice: This here says ice in Spanish. Don't believe me? Well just look at the penguin! Direct, and bilingual. Well, single-lingual, because it's not in English too. But the penguin dressed up. B.

Reddy Ice: They fell into the red/blue trap here, but the clean design and translucent work dig them back out. They should perhaps learn to spell. but the repetition of the Ds draws your eye in toward the snowflake. Design principles at work. B-.
Crazy Cubes: Now here's crappy. What colors are these? Yup. And as patriotic as that may be, whay exactly is crazy about ice? Or a cube, for that matter? A square six-sided object is about the most stable and predictable thing I can imagine. Plus, with all this GHB scare going on, do you really want crazy in your drink? I don't. Oh, but look where it's manufactured:

...yup, New Orleans. That explains it. And you gotta love the translation of "Cubitos Locos." Typical N.O. production...broken all up but with a lot of heart, and that's what gets this one by. C+.
Glace Ice (again): I don't know if this is the same company with a new design, but it's pretty good too. Stark blue with fade work almost makes you feel the cold, right? And look, a warning to keep frozen...why do all ice companies think we're complete idiots? B+.
All Season Ice: Thought I'd end on a good note. Now this is brilliant. Though one color, the clean lines and use of space knocks out the competition. The sun/snowflake icon is something you'd look at in a magazine or in a gallery, and here it is on a bag of ice. I'd get a tattoo of that. Wonderful. And no bigger-than-science claims about how technically proficient this frozen water is...just a reminder that you can use it anytime. It'll be there for you, whatever the season. Stellar. A+.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Name To Live Up To

Today I was the aft FA, and sitting next to me was a family with a small baby. "Cute," I remarked, watching his head bobble around. "What's his name?"
The dad grinned and flipped over his bib. Embroidered there was 'COBRA.'
That's gonna be one bad-ass kid. That is, until he meets someone named Mongoose in middle school.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Flight 3407, Buffalo

Capt. Marvin Renslow, pilot.
Rebecca Shaw, first officer.
Matilda Quintero, flight attendant.
Donna Prisco, flight attendant.
Capt. Joseph Zuffoletto, off-duty crew member.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


A satellite fell out of orbit this week, and on the weather report that HAL in the cockpit prints out, there was actually an advisory for space debris. Now THAT is my kind of weather.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mad Libbing In Houston

This last trip I flew with a British FA who we'll call Shona, because that's her name. She does model work when she's not flying, and so armed with the accent and the looks, she's the kind of girl that's going to get into whatever there is in front of her because she can. The second night we landed in Houston, and we all met downstairs to try to figure out what we were going to do for the evening. Shona pointed to a group of folk at the other end of the hotel lobby and said, "Oi, they luke loik an interesting lot, they do." She vanished for a moment, then came back exactly one moment later.
"We're goin wi' them," she said with a grin.
Turns out they were a group of Norwegian mud scientists, and we were going with them to do sushi. I'm going to say that again. Norwegian mud scientists. To be fair, they weren't all from Norwegia... one was a Scot, and some of them were good ol' Southern boys, including one from my home state. But 'sushi in Houston with Norwegian mud scientists' sounds more completely random, and that's what I'm sticking with.
Over dinner, the obvious question was asked: what's a mud scientist? Well, now that I know, I'll tell you...a mud scientist helps oil drillers drill holes in mud. Why do you need a scientist for that when everyone plays with mud from earliest days? Well, because when you drill a hole, you've got a big column of mud around the drill, and knowing the exact cubic amount and consistency of said mud is the difference between breaking the very expensive drill in too-hard mud and losing it altogether in too-soft mud. There's a lot to it, they explained, and they get paid infinitely more to know all of it than anyone would imagine. I giggled out loud that a company would pay someone, anyone to use a slide rule and an abacus to play in mud, and the Scottish guy said, "Great, innit? Now shut it and drink." And having been so ordered, I did.
They've all graduated by now, and are out on the force, mud-calculating. Go to it, guys... MUD AWAY!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


A while ago, I met a girl in L.A. who was actually friends with another friend I met there. We call her Gallo, because that's her name. But it's her last name, and I'm not sure why we call her that. Anyway, she ended up dating a talented documentary maker, and he works at Sundance every year.
"Wanna come hang out?" Gallo says.
"Why yes," I say. "Yes I do."
Park City is where Sundance happens, and that's about half an hour east of SLC, through a great big canyon. It's a small ski town, and I'm sure you've seen pictures of the celebrities that swamp the place during the festival. We stayed in one of the local's houses. Turns out they do just like the locals in New Orleans do during Mardi Gras, which is to get the hell out and rent their houses out to yahoos that want to come have no space for parking and nowhere to go to the bathroom. And pretty much all you do for a week straight during Sundance is go see movies.
Well, you do if you got tickets seventeen years in advance. I hadn't. But I knew Gallo, and she knew Todd the documentarist, and so we got in to see Tyson, which turned out to be a surprisingly human view of Mike the boxer. Yeah, everyone knows he's the guy who bit that other guy's ear off, but when you hear him tell you that he was getting head-butted (which is an illegal tactic), you suddenly see it in the slo-mo replays, and you wonder how you could have missed it. Of course, cannibalism is probably not the best way to respond, but really, who can say what they would do in any given situation, blah blah blah. And the film reminds you that under all that goofy hoopla, he really was one of the most amazing ass-beaters of all time.
He looks funny in a tux. Yup, he showed up. Tuxedos are meant for people who can't lift Winnebagos. He was soft spoken and friendly, and answered the audience's questions in an amusingly frank way. And when someone asked him if he was meeting Paris Hilton later, he didn't kill them like I would have.
After that, I saw Elijah Wood on the street. He looked taller that I thought he would.
While we were walking back to the house, a car full of locals that couldn't get out idled up. I guess they were brain-dead, because they had spraypainted the car with the word LOCALS and were wearing no shirts in the 30 degree weather. And they all hung out the windows and continually screamed, "I WISH I COULD WALK AROUND WEARING A PEA COAT!" I'm pretty sure they were brain-dead, but I have to admit that just about everyone who came to Sundance (including me) was wearing a pea coat.
Sundance is now done.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I know the pilot whose name you've already heard (along with First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, whose name you haven't) did a fantastic job getting this plane down in one piece and with no fatalities, but I also wanna say out loud that the three reasons that you have all these front page pictures of people standing on the wings of a floating plane are Doreen Welsh, Donna Dent, and Sheila Dail, the flight attendants on duty. The reason I want to say this is that no one else in the media did.