Friday, August 15, 2008

Aside: Flash Mob? Viral Marketing? Who Knows Anymore.

I really need to finish the Icelandic saga so I can stop entitling these other entries with "Aside."

Today I drove downtown to meet Rebecca for lunch, and we took part in a flash mob/viral marketing thing hosted by spark24. Since ImprovEverywhere has not come to Minneapolis to perform their "everybody freeze" stunt (also see), spark24 decided to host one. A couple dozen of us meandered around the Crystal Court in the IDS Tower and, at a signal, froze in the middle of whatever we were doing, holding in place for three minutes.

I've never done anything like that before so I paid close attention to what it would feel like, freezing in the middle of a public area with people staring. I was able to bring my racing pulse back down to a steady snare roll, but I noticed my eyes started to water copiously. They weren't dry, I was blinking and breathing normally, but for some reason they watered. Weird, and Rebecca reported the same thing.

I listened carefully to what was going on around us, and the people seated on benches nearby were completely unfazed. Toward the end, a woman with two or three little children had a hard time corralling her kids as they needed to ask questions about us and she didn't know how to explain it. In the NYC video passers-by are really freaked out and stare, but in Mpls. they just kinda went on about their business, like they didn't want to get caught registering shock at something going on. Very, very internal population here.

Still! It was fun, it was my first time doing anything like that, and hopefully soon I'll have a video to post here featuring a second or two of my wife and me.

On the down side, I went to National Camera to pick up my 120 film and discovered that "processing" does not mean the same thing to a professional photographer that it does to a consumer or amateur/hobby photographer. The clerk boldly wrote "processing only" on the envelope containing my negatives, so instead of a pack of processed pictures coming back to me, I received (and paid for) a roll of negatives, and no photos.

I've brought in many, many rolls of 120 film to this very store and had them processed successfully on all other occasions, receiving a pack of pictures like anyone would expect, having turned in film to be developed. I don't know why this time, out of all other times, "processing" shifted meaning and I had to pay for a roll of negatives I can't do anything with. The clerk happily re-accepted the negatives and is going to re-submit them to be magically turned into photographs (I don't dare use the word "processing" anymore, when referring to negatives being developed into photographs), and I'm granted permission to wait another week for the proc-... development as well as being given the opportunity to pay all over again for the pictures, on top of paying for a service I didn't want.

This is why I love America. If you tried to do this in other countries, you'd be imprisoned, interrogated, beaten repeatedly, and then sent home with a pack of photos just like you requested.

Update: Yup, it made it online: go to the Star Tribune website and look for the "One Two Three... Freeze" video, I guess they're calling it.

There's a clear shot of Rebecca and me standing, she's going through her wallet and I'm reading a pamphlet and wearing a courier bag. Very clear shot, how cool.


Shanna (Crabbit) said...

Funny, my dad and I were just talking about these sorts of things last weekend. Except our plot was to put out a broadcast to hold a giant foam #1 finger fight in the middle of Peavey Plaza (the original idea was to use foam LARP weapons, but those can't be concealed so easily).

Christian said...

Last year, there was a huge Pac-Man chasing huge Ghosts around in the City Center, unattached to any formal function or event at all. I thought that was kind of cool.