Bookzilla SketchOnce upon a summer’s day, Daren and Tom, the masterminds that run the Decatur Book Festival, asked Lenz to create the identity for the 2009 festival. They wanted the imagery to be a departure from the previous year, which was a serene, fertile literary garden of Eden. This year’s festival is going to be filled with surprises, twists and turns, and unexpected events. Obviously, this was not going to be your run-of-the-mill book festival.

Daren and Tom told me that the 2009 festival was going to rock Decatur like a book hurricane and attack the downtown area like an H. G. Well’s story.

What would this festival look like? Apocalyptic imagery started racing through my mind. Attack of the 50-foot Woman, the marshmallow man that almost killed Bill Murray, King Kong clinging to the Empire State building, the 80’s video game Rampage, and of course the long-legged Martian machines that emerged from the ground.

You know who else emerges from below? Godzilla!

I could see a hipster poetry-slamming Godzilla emerging from his slumber in Lake Avondale blazing a path down College Avenue to destroy Decatur with a hail of firey adverbs. Sounds great, right, but how would I take the Godzilla imagery and apply it to a literary event? Easy. I’ll just give ol’ Godzilla a book for a head with razor-sharp pages for teeth, the kind that would give you one heck of a paper cut. I added the wayfarer style glasses for a nice scholastic, yet hip flavor. The menacing bookmark tongue was the perfect way to finish off his noggin. Of course, he ended up with book spines and a fountain-pen tail.

My monstrosity needed a name, and Bookzilla was it.

Since I created a monster, Bookzilla needed something constructive to do, or rather destructive. Bookzilla decided to go directly down to the Decatur Square and mow down some of Decatur’s most beloved landmarks. The Old Couthouse, the Gazebo, a drinking establishment, etc. Total Decatur Demonic Destruction from above!

I quickly sketched the idea in my trusty sketchbook—handcrafted by Daren Wang himself—and showed Daren, Tom, and Mary Flad the grisly scene. It was complete with soccer moms running for their lives. Since they all have a unique sense of humor, they really seemed to like it. Bookzilla was born!

Since I don’t use a laptop as my production machine, I sometimes find myself away from my production computer without that important file that I need to work on after hours. It became frustrating, because I knew there were plenty of choices of software that would allow me to create a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, but I didn’t know which software package to choose. Paralysis by analysis.

After a few weeks of research, I found an unobtrusive and secure VPN tool called Hamachi that allows me to connect to my office computer from my home computer and vice-versa. Wikipedia offers the following definition of Hamachi: “Hamachi is a centrally-managed zero-configuration virtual private network (VPN) freeware application capable of establishing direct links between computers that are behind NAT firewalls without requiring reconfiguration (in most cases); in other words, it establishes a connection over the Internet, to create conditions very similar to that as if the computers were connected over a local area network. ”

There are three reasons I ended up choosing Hamachi:

First, it is easy to install, runs easily without configuration headaches, and is platform-agnostic. All I did to get it working was download the software and install, type in the passwords, and the network was running. Both my home computer and work computers sit behind NAT routers, and my Mac at home and my Windows XP machine at work acted as if they were peers on the same network.

Second, it is free. At this price, it is easy to download and test, and I don’t have to worry about byzantine licensing issues.

Finally, there was a good review and discussion about the security features of Hamachi on the highly-regardedSecurity Now podcast. Basically, Hamachi encrypts data in a manner that makes it almost impenetrable: When a Hamachi peer sends data to a member of the network, it encrypts the data before sending it through the Internet. At the other location, the authenticated peer verifies that the data has not been altered or duplicated and decrypts it.

I feel like I made the right choice: Hamachi has saved me countless hours, and it can save you time too.

Lenz, an integrated marketing company located in Decatur, GA, recently assisted DeKalb Medical in launching a re-branding effort that includes a new hospital name and logo. Lenz also worked with the hospital and another agency, Milwaukee-based BVK, to develop an advertising campaign centered around the tagline, “Pushing Beyond.” The campaign features print, TV, online, and radio ads, as well as billboards and bus wraps.

“‘Pushing Beyond’ is descriptive of a new attitude at DeKalb Medical that says we are dissatisfied with the status quo in healthcare. Our culture as an organization is to stretch further, address the broader issues patients and families with illness face, and to do whatever it takes to help. Sometimes we do the unconventional and sometimes that surprises people, but we embrace innovation and respect the passion our employees and physicians have for their work. Our patients feel it and it’s time to share this attitude with our community and those unfamiliar with us,” said DeKalb Medical president and CEO Eric Norwood.

With its newly improved and strengthened services, DeKalb Medical found a new name would help “reintroduce ourselves to our community and signal a new era,” Norwood said. By dropping “Center” from its former name, “DeKalb Medical Center,” the hospital hopes to more clearly communicate its three-campus system that includes DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, and DeKalb Medical at Downtown Decatur.

Richard Lenz, president and CEO of Lenz, said he is “proud to support DeKalb Medical because they care about the health and overall well-being of the community.”

Cheryl Iverson, vice president of business development and marketing at DeKalb Medical, expressed gratitude for Lenz’s hard work. “We’ve been thrilled to find and work with Lenz, which is right here in our own community. Their approach to helping us launch the name, logo, and campaign actually personified the “pushing beyond” attitude we’re communicating. It’s been a great partnership.”

DeKalb Medical is a not-for-profit hospital system serving approximately 500,000 patients annually. A leader in progressive medical technology and compassionate care since 1961, the hospital system includes the 451-bed DeKalb Medical, the 76-bed DeKalb Medical at Downtown Decatur, and the 100-bed DeKalb Medical at Hillandale.

Leadership DeKalb has a new look and added functionality thanks to a grant from AT&T and help from Lenz, Inc., a Decatur marketing, public relations and design firm.

Executive Director Sara Fountain selected Lenz, located at 119 East Court Square in Decatur, to create a new Web site for the organization.

“We wanted a site to capture the energy, vitality and unity of Leadership DeKalb,” Fountain said. “We selected Lenz from a number of firms because of their design and technical expertise and their commitment to our community.”

The new site is leadershipdekalb.org.

Founded in 1986, Leadership DeKalb is a non-profit leadership development program that trains and builds a network of ethnically and culturally-diverse, well-informed leaders and emerging leaders who are committed to addressing and resolving issues that impact the quality of life in Georgia’s DeKalb County.

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2009 is comprised of 56 business and professional leaders who either live or work in the county. Participants will complete a 10-month education program in June 2009. Topics include DeKalb’s police, justice, health and education systems; opportunities and challenges related to the county’s ethnic and cultural diversity; and issues surrounding business, development, and social services.

Leadership DeKalb, in short, is a group of leaders dedicated to making a difference in their community. However, with members spread out across the county and across varied professional fields, communication amongst the organization was becoming an increasingly difficult obstacle.

The web, among other things, is the tool of the 21st century to connect people. Lenz understands this basic premise, and was therefore delighted to provide Leadership DeKalb with not only a modern and attractive online presence, but also a powerful means for connecting their members.

The new LeadershipDeKalb.org allows members to update their information, pay member dues, view photos and videos, check the program schedule, and volunteer for upcoming events – all with a few clicks. Thanks to a custom developed CMS (content management system), program leaders can post the latest news releases and feature fresh content on the homepage by filling out a simple online form.