Saturday, March 29, 2014

Magic and Roadtrips

Hey Everyone!

You know what's awesome (besides us... we mean, you)? Roadtrips! There's something about the open road (heavy traffic on the interstate, road rage), clear skies (sudden torrential downpours, no one turning on their lights), good tunes (probably Ke$ha), and your bestie by your side that inspires creativity. Things are infinitely more amusing when you're stuck in a metal box with no escape; and the jokes that are created turn into the best stories of your life.

We were recently on our own roadtrip, just a couple hours from home. By this point exhaustion from our epic adventure was setting in and our normally totally coherent ramblings were taking on lives of their own and becoming the stories of truth in the world as we see it.

The story below was inspired (and written) in the car that day. It's an enchanting tale of two best friends who overcome all odds and obstacles and prevail in the end. We know that sounds like we just gave away the whole story, but trust us, you aren't prepared for what you are about to read. We hope you enjoy.

Alice Quinn Presents: Always Use Your Head

Once upon a time, there was a rainstorm. The storm was relentless and created havoc on the streets below. But in the midst of disaster, a beautiful rainbow was formed and stretched fully across the sky. Each colour glimmered of magic.

Two unicorns were running through the fields and saw the rainbow in the distance. They could hear the rainbow calling out to them, promising a better world of peace and happiness. For unicorns, a rainbow was a sacred gift from above, a bridge that held their fate. So the unicorns sprinted toward the rainbow, never questioning its will or power.

As the fateful arch came into view, the unicorns noticed a shadowy figure lingering at its end. The shadow was roaming and confused, seemingly mindless. The unicorns ignored the figure's random shuffling and focused on the rainbow. But as they closed in on the rainbow, there was an obvious recognition in the figure's eyes. The unicorns were  threat and the figure approached them with an obvious hunger.

The first unicorn, Azarrah, was able to edge past the figure, instantly recognizing her luck. The figure was a zombie, and zombies have a particular interest in unicorn brains. If a zombie consumes the brain of a unicorn, it will be free to roam and eat and kill forever. Not even a shot to the head could stop it. Azarrah picked up her pace, sprinting up the rainbow.

The second unicorn, Khadilsa, was not as lucky and got trapped at the bottom of the rainbow. With steady nerves and a focused mind, she took in her surroundings and her attacker. She knew the mayhem he could cause with her powers, and she could not allow that to happen to mankind. And she absolutely refused to be eaten on a rainbow. With no other option, Khadilsa lowered her head and ran full bore into the zombie, stabbing him right in the eyehole.

 She raised her head, but the zombie stayed with her, kicking and reaching and baring its teeth, and stuck to her horn. She knew she couldn't stop or turn back, so she continued running up the rainbow. Right as she reached the peak of the arch, she flung her head and the zombie went flying down the side of the rainbow.

Azarrah watched in horror as her friend struggled with zombie and breathed a sigh of relief when it went flying through the air. But the fall would not stop the zombie. There was only one way to kill it - a double tap to the head. She lowered her head and steadied herself. As she descended the arch on the other side, she made sure to gain speed and direct her aim. Right as she reached the bottom of the rainbow she stabbed the zombie again, right through the other eyehole.

Azarrah laid the zombie by the side of the rainbow and the sky opened up. The unicorns proved their worth to the rainbow and they were granted the happiness they were promised. Without pause, Azarrah and Khadilsa continued on for their adventure. And they never looked back.

There you have it. This is our reminder to use every opportunity, even deadlock traffic on the highway, to fuel your dreams and creativity. Never stop being awesome.

-Alice & Quinn

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Product Plan: Sweet Ending Gym

The major problem that most of us have with exercise is instant gratification. It's a flaw of our generation. When we do something, we want someone to acknowledge it, even if it is as trivial as going to the gym and putting in a few sets.

And let's face it, our nation is growing... in waist size. And the media isn't getting any nicer to anyone they don't deem "attractive." We are constantly being told how we should look, how we should dress, and what we should eat. Or more forcefully, what we should not eat.

But isn't that part of why we go to the gym? So we can eat the things we love and not feel bad about them? I mean, that's why I go to the gym.

There is a problem in our society. We should not have to defend the 6 cupcakes we ate for dessert, or the loaf of bread we ate instead of a proper meal. If I want to eat a bag of Doritos for dinner, that should be ok. I don't owe anyone an explanation.

But also, society doesn't change over night. And those habits I detailed above are not necessarily the most healthy decisions. So what can we do to alleviate the pain from these important social problems?

This is the part of the infomercial when someone busts through the wall and exclaims "Sweet Ending Gym!"

Here's the idea.

On the surface, the gym looks like an ordinary gym. Except that everyone inside is working really hard and enjoying themselves instead of pretending to do another set and considering giving up on life.

Every person proudly carries around an identification card that tracks all their activity in the gym. The card is inserted into each piece of equipment and records your movement. And it's calculating. So every time you run a mile, that card is tracking your distance, your steps, your speed, and the number of calories you burned during that time.

That's not the exciting part.

Now imagine you are at Dave and Buster's because this is about to get crazy. At the end of your workout, you take your ID card to the clerk. The clerk will swipe your card and tell you how many calories you burned during your session. That number will be converted for you in any way you choose: cookies, pizza, milkshakes, whatever you want. When you make your conversion choice, you will receive your instant gratification, in the form of delicious snacks.

Wait, you may be saying. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of working out in the first place if you replace the number of calories burned with calories eaten?

The short answer is, kind of. Sure, you aren't going to lose weight that way, but are you going to feel bad that you indulged a little that day? No. You won't. Because you worked for those cookies. You earned those french fries. You'll eat those precious goodies with a smile on your face and a light heart. And that's the society I want to live in. The one where people feel good about themselves for being themselves. Not where they work hard to achieve an ideal that doesn't exist.

We aren't perfect people. We have flaws. We have vices. And if I want to run 50 miles a day to support my Doritos habit, I think that should be ok.

Owning It,
Alice and Quinn

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Guide to Being Successful : Holding Meetings

This is us in every meeting ever: “Man, this could be way more efficient,” “Why do they always feed us donuts when they know that we are all going to sugar crash in 15 minutes?” “Nothing is ever getting done. Ever. Seriously, ever.” “God, Jerry is snoring again. Someone put a napkin under his face so he doesn’t drool all over the table.”
Have you ever had an experience like that? Of course you have. It probably perfectly sums up how you spend 5 days of every week, all the while wishing something would come crashing through the ceiling just to give you something new to mindlessly stare at.
Well, today you are in luck! We hold the secret to having interesting meetings where decisions will be made and it won’t take 20 hours to do so.
We present to you, Alice and Quinn Teach People How to Hold Effective and Efficient Meetings.

Using food to increase attendance is the oldest trick in the book. This meeting conflicts with lunch? Don’t worry; we brought you a box with an airport sandwich and a cookie inside. Problem solved. The meeting tomorrow is absurdly early? Don’t you worry about that either; we covered that conference room in donuts and pastries and washed it all down with terrible coffee.
The basis of food as an incentive is brilliant. People love eating and they enjoy it even more on the company’s dime. But this can backfire on a large scale. There are a number of negative side effects that can be avoided, but are always overlooked.
  • Donuts are pretty cheap and they are a crowd pleaser. But they are also super high in sugar. While everyone is shaking in their seats for the first 10 minutes from the day-and-a-half worth of sugar they just consumed, the rest of the meeting will look more like 15 toddlers trying to avoid naptime.
  • We’re going to list delicious pastries and baked goods again, because there’s another important point to be made. Foods high in fat and sugar immediately segregate a room. There’s going to be a group of people who are trying to hide the fact that they hid 3 donuts/cupcakes/whole cakes in their pockets while washing it all down with a Mountain Dew, even if it is 8:00 in the morning. Then there’s going to be a group of very vocal people who couldn’t possibly eat a donut because it would ruin their very strict exercise routine, which will be outlined in detail, and OMG, I can’t even remember the last time I ate something that tasted good, let me just sip on my vitamin water. That’s an uncomfortable dynamic for everyone.
  • Especially for big meetings, eating causes ergonomic concerns. There is never enough space and people are concentrating harder on how to bend their elbows in the opposite direction to avoid hitting their neighbor (again) than what topic is probably super important or whatever to their job.
  • Providing coffee is such a cop-out for meetings. Sure, you could get complimentary coffee whenever you want from the break room, but we have it right here and you barely had to walk to get it. Plus, coffee makes people have to poo, and trying to hold it can be very distracting during a meeting.
With all of this going on, productivity and effectiveness take a huge hit. The only reason to use food in this way is if you aren’t prepared for your presentation and you hope the whole audience is too sleepy or distracted to notice you are really just reading the screenplay you wrote instead of working.
Here are a couple of the suggestions we have come up with to utilize food as an incentive, but also maintain optimum productivity out of your group.
1.        Save the food for the END of the Meeting.
Think about what we said above. We aren’t just talking about a boring boxed lunch sitting at the back of the room. We are thinking much bigger: Crock-pot Surprise or Panini Press. We particularly like the crock-pot idea for large groups. Crock-pot recipes are easy, and most importantly, THEY FILL THE ROOM WITH DELICIOUS SMELL. You know how your parents always said, “No dessert until you eat your vegetables. You can’t play video games until you finish your homework.” They use those ultimatums because they work, and let’s face it; we are all just overgrown children, especially during meetings. So we promote the “Get this meeting done/make decisions/solve problems effectively and efficiently and then you can eat this delicious food you smell” concept. 
2.        Feed them something messy, like spaghetti.
This sounds like a bizarre strategy, but hear us out. Have you ever had to hold a meeting for people you knew were going to be jerks the whole time? Or with people who are super judgmental? This is the perfect situation for this technique. If not strictly for your own comedic pleasure to watch jerks struggle with pasta sauce on their faces (or sloppy joe, whatevs. Get creative), this method will help level the playing field. Everyone is going to struggle eating messy food, keeping it off their faces and clothes, so the ones who are used to judging will have to deal with the fact that they’re being judged too. And no salad option here, ok? God, its whole wheat pasta, just indulge a little. Plus, everyone is going to want to rush out of the conference room to make sure they still look as flawless as they did before the spaghetti fiasco, so work gets done faster. This is the “Everyone is a Loser so we’re All Winners” strategy. With everyone on the same page it is more likely that things can be done in a civilized, efficient manner.
Music is used everywhere to enhance people’s feelings. Movies, TV shows, commercials, sleazy guys trying to put the moves on, etc. Music will make you feel exactly how She-Who-Controls-the-Stereo wants you to feel. We suggest utilizing it to your advantage. Of course, not everyone has the same taste in music, but we have a few ideas that should help with that.
1.        Use Disney Songs.
Everyone loves Disney movies. Everyone. That’s a scientifically proven fact. And the best part of Disney movies? The music. Obviously. There are people who will try to tell you that they don’t enjoy all the Disney magic, but those people are either:
a.        Lying
b.        Douchebags
c.        Lying Douchebags
d.        Living under a rock that was hurled here through space from a planet that is so technologically inept that Disney hasn’t reached them yet. Those people need their own special course in How to Live On Earth.
But Disney music is super relevant. They are really good at controlling your emotions and feelings, which is probably how they so easily took over the world. This means, of course, that you could temporarily hold that kind of power during your meeting. Plus, Disney songs remind people of their childhood, and will hopefully promote the desire to get things done quickly so they can go home and play.
2.        Use Pop-Punk.
This genre as a whole isn’t for everyone, but there are some songs that are universally loved and have just enough edge that they will put people in the mood to accomplish their dreams. Or rebel, you know, like punks do. It’s a fine line, tread lightly. We suggest sticking to something people will recognize, not some super-cool, obscure band that only toured garages and basements on the east coast. On the flip side, we also suggest introducing music from other countries. It probably won’t be familiar, but it may speak to someone’s lineage and provides some diversity. It’s also a great ice-breaker and way to get people to lighten up a little. dARI is a much-recommended Italian pop-punk band that we love and listen to on a regular basis. 
3.        Ke$ha, Ke$ha, Ke$ha!
Do we really even need to explain this? Ke$ha has mastered the art of creating a pop song. She’s like the McDonald’s of the music world. Even if you claim to hate it (which you are lying because you don’t), the tunes are so damn catchy that you are bound to be bopping and smiling along. Just keep the glitter out of reach; that stuff doesn’t come out of anything. That’s right, we are the crazy people.
Using this guide, you are bound to have the most effective, most exciting, and most-attended meetings in the office. And don’t you worry your fantastic little heads people, there is more to come.

Alice and Quinn