Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ponder the future of media and advertising.

Being in the media world, I am particularly aware of the state of media, in fact, I'm inundated with it, and the picture isn't pretty.
As with most, media, my sites (iMoms.com - network of local mom websites -shameless plug) is dependent on advertising to exist. So, when media companies are going through huge layoffs, putting property up for sale, filing for bankruptcy, it's a little scary.
But as a consumer, I was just thinking... if advertisers are pulling back, what does that mean for us? More self promotion running in newspapers, magazines, websites -- seriously, how many subscription cards does a rag need? Or on TV? Since I doubt we're they will add a few more minutes of content on to our favorite shows, are we destined to see the same commercials over and over? Because if that's the case, I quit. I can only handle so many Geiko wolfmen ads and I'm already far past my quota.
If this is what's in store for us, then it's time to buy stock in TIVO, because I'll never watch live television again!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's my life and I'll Santa where I want to!

Done, finished, OVER IT. Every year it's the same thing, the drama, the tears, the anger, the cursing and the exhaustion caused from holding on to my rules for all their worth. And every year I think we've come to an understanding, yet every year, the entire thing comes right back up. Only with more drama, more tears and more tantrums. Yes, tis the season to be jolly. Jolly my jelly ass.
So here's the players:
Husband: 37 Eldest son, one sister
MIL: 53some year old drama queen, spoiled princess, comes from whacked out home with psychopathic institutionalized mother who had a rotten childhood
FIL: 55+ year old quiet, uber geek, has Pavlovian response to wife's tirades, probably just wants to make her shut up - so he does what ever she rants
SIL: 30 spoiled princess, feels completely entitled, new mother, wife to second husband who is in for a big awakening
ME: 42, fourth daughter of five children, lives ten hours from my parents, 3 hours from in-laws, probably know as a bitch - definitely doesn't care, mother of 3 year old only child (who will stay that way) and wife to a husband who travels half the year. Also, run a new business unit for my company and really doesn't have time for any of this.

Here's the conflict:
ME: Family, quite large (last count 22), only gets together once a year, parents, in their mid-seventies, Christmas -- HUGE DEAL, decorations are even in the laundry room, family ten hours away, told in-laws, since they don't do much for Xmas, we'll be going to Florida every year until we can't any more. My parents, no hassles, no emotional manipulation, no obligation, no guilt and a lot of fun - particularly for son or any kid who believes in Santa. Oh, my family also has a place for us to stay, requires no hotel rooms or boarding of dog.
THEM: Gives head trips like "You love them best because you see them first" or "We're just a detour on the trip to-from Florida", got a new one this year "Second stop, second loved" (really, I did - have it in text on my phone if you require proof), you get the picture. By the way, we see them about 10 times a year.
HUSBAND: Just trying to keep it all together

This conflict arises this time every year. And every year, I think we are all in an understanding that we will always go to my families for Christmas and we will have a Christmas before/after with them. They don't do anything for Christmas anyhow. Shit, their tree and all decorations are taken down by 10:00 AM on Dec. 26. None of them can cook worth a darn and I don't care to see my sister in law's in-laws, because they're redneck, backwoods, self-absorbed high class trailer park inhabitants.
Every year, I explain, Christmas is the only time all the family is together, the only time that all 22 of us hook up. My parents are in their mid-70's, this won't continue many years further. Every year, I go through his mom's drama, every year I think we have reached an understanding... Every year it happens again.
And here is how it's posed to me... You love them more. Are you kidding me? Seriously, who says that kind of thing? A six year old? Apparently, a 53 year old mother in law in serious need of some psychotherapy.

Look, yes, call me unreasonable, tell me I'm being a baby and I may secretly agree - or at least understand. But here is the deal. Christmas at my family's house is magical, every room is decorated, my mom wins awards for her outside lights, the place is a madhouse. There are fights, there is screaming, there is drinking, there are little ones and bigger ones and sports on tv, there is big meals and great food and wine by the box. There is no guilt (all i would have to say is that we weren't going and my parents would completely understand) and no expectations, or hassles. My parents are just more then happy that we're all there. It is their one joy to have us all together and they know those days are becoming fewer and fewer. I want my son to know that Christmas, it's important to me.

His family, half the time they take off on Christmas, they barely have a tree and that's the extent of it. There is no room for us, so we have to stay down the road at an over priced hotel (which frankly does beat having to stay there, but inconvenient just the same). They will usually go out to eat because they sure can't cook and other then the drinking, that's the extent of the fa-la-la. I find it a complete let down, it's depressing and there is no joy in it. My husband doesn't enjoy himself, it usually is hit with a ton of guilt on everything else by his mom and my poor sister-in-law's new husband can't wait to escape.

And the biggest part is we've been through this, we have had this discussion, OK, lets call it what it is, this war every year. And just when I think we have all reached an understanding -- 11.5 months pass and we're are right back in our fox holes and ready to attack. And though I'm over it, I've dug my hole deep, and have no intention of retreating.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

1 big or 10 small

I am generally a fan of technology, you could call me a gadget geek. How great is it that everything is so much smaller now, cell phones, cameras, computers, why just last week I saw this pocket sized projector that weighs only 7 ounces and will project images/video from your camera or iPod! Seriously, that's cool.

But on a recent visit to Vendo-land in search of something sweet, I looked at rows D & E where all the candy bars reside. Locked in their own little mini-cubicle, were your standard fair of Twix, Hershey's, Mr. Goodbar. KitKat and more. I quickly moved on to row C which had your standard vending array of cookies and crackers and opted for that. But as I put my dollar into the slot, I thought... hmmm, candy bar and quickly thought, oh no, I can't do that.

As I left vendo-land I thought, why? Why not a candy bar and then it hit me. Since the introduction and increased popularity of miniaturized candy bars, I am no longer physically (ok, mentally) able to purchase chocolaty goodness in the size God intended them to be in, I can only eat the dwarf versions. A full size bar is indulgent, decadent, enlarges thighs and will raise eyebrows from my cube mates with in the office. Though they may not admit to their prejudice, my co-workers, find mini's the only acceptable chocolate to eat. And I would venture to assume, most the country share in that bias.

So as I reflect on my choice of cheesy crackers, when I really longed for creamy milk chocolate, I get up, wander over to the cube with the big blue bowl, filled with mini-three musketeers and mini-snickers and grab myself a couple handfuls. Yummie goodness in miniture form, acceptable to all.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hoping I bought some good gifts.

I avoided the roads on black Friday, but did my best to contribute to the cause and found I think some good and maybe slightly unpredictable gifts for the family. If you're uninspired at what you can get the siblings that would be useful but not a ton of money, maybe these ideas will help.

Mini Tri-Pod
I bought several of these MODO Pocket compact tripod. Ok, so you may think these are a little silly, after all, just put it on a table or counter or something, but with this, it attaches and can stay on the bottom of almost any camera and you can tilt and adjust where it points, which is the problem I have when I try to just put the camera on a surface to shoot. It folds up flat to the bottom of the camera when you're not using it. For $30 it's a good gift for my brothers and sister - or I think it is.

ePad Lap Desk
This is no way unique, but I used one at a hotel recently and thought - I've got to get me one of those! it's a padded lap desk for your laptop, currently on sale for $39.00 at Brookstone (and this weekend if you order more then $100, they'll send you a $20 gift card). They come in four colors and have handles. It pops your computer up just enough that it's far more comfortable to work even in bed. I got several of these and thought they'd make perfect gifts for my boss, my neice who's in college and one of my team members. I'm actually thinking about going back and getting a few more.

Toy RC Helicopter
Thank you Woot! Today they put these up for $8.99 and just ideal for my nephews who are tweens and always rough to buy for because we don't spend a lot of money on these guys but want to get them something else. Of course this will be gone tomorrow, but Woot has helped me several times find a gift that will be fun with out spending a fortune. I'll be checking them out to see if I find other things I can give as gifts on Woot right up till Christmas!

If I come across some other great finds, I'll keep you alerted, but I'm almost done and it's not even December 1! That is a first!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Santa's Road Kill

'Tis the season and I must confess, I'm a total goon for holiday decorating. I adore it, particularly, the outdoor lights. I think there that subconsciously, that is one big reason I married my husband. He's a big lighting guy, lights concerts, currently lighting director on tour with Smashing Pumpkins - an expert, he knows how to create the effects, do the wiring so that you only have one control yet it won't burn the house down. He unfortunately protests my desire for a major light show, one reminiscent of the planetarium shows we'd go to in high school on Friday nights that were set to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Last year I saw the video of the house that was completely lit up and synchronized to a score with music from the greats, Bach, Beethoven, Van Halen... and more! And I got excited. I thought, how flipping awesome, this too will be me and I have the perfect person to help me! I would have a great mix, a little traditional, some old school, driving backbeat, maybe even a little Salt n ’Peppa in there – surely they did a Christmas album. I envisioned grid marks and plots and me on the roof with a tool belt and pencil in my mouth. I even considered what I'd wear when the news media came to interview me.

Yeah, dream on. My husband is really very good to me and will usually give me my way if I insist -- to a point. The 40,000 lights I estimated it would take to create my masterpiece were more then he could take. As I was told, "Honey, all I think about is the load out!" So the roof trim is out, so is the music and for the first time ever he did assist me and we have a very nice but moderate display of swags, side walk trim and a seven foot Elmo on a sled, riding down a path of lights that would make any kid in the snow envy. It looks really cute and I do feel a bit of pride when I see cars slowing down to admire our work.

But it's the daytime that gets to me. There seems to be a growing phenomenon that was never around when I was a child, in fact, not even ten years ago! It’s what I like to call, Santa's Road Kill. It's becoming so prevalent I'm waiting for the city to send crews out to "deal with the problem."

Yes, I admit, I do have my one, but it’s unique and my son was an Elmo fan. I will get rid of it as soon as I can figure out how to recreate the face using only my lights. A bit of a light bright application I’m thinking. So I am calling myself out too an offender for sure, but to be true to me, I still have plenty of other traditional strands too.

Unlike other types, Santa's Roadkill occurs in the daytime, and only this time of year. I think it's come about because people have become too damn lazy to do the work. Yes, we're a society of instant gratification, give me a pill to get thin, a patch to quit smoking, give me some nylon with a fan attached and I'm ready for Christmas. And I find it upsetting that people think they can get away with buying a giant blow up snow man or Santa Clause shove it on their front yard and go back to drinking their beer feeling very satisfied they have crated a beautiful and coveted holiday scape.

Oh, and then ones that have three, four, eight of these inflated freaks of the season! What are they thinking? There is no pride to be had, there's no admiration to be gained! What the hell? There was a time when giant blow up things were strictly for use in the privacy of your own bedroom or the occasional practical joke. What happened to those days?

Christmas lights are all about hundreds of extension cords, blown fuses, tangled stands of lights. It's about standing out in the cold and rain at 10:00 at night trying to find the one damn light that caused the entire strand to go out. It's about cursing and yelling, almost falling off roofs and the thrill of the thousand watt jolt from sticking your little finger into an empty bulb socket, because you forgot it was plugged in.

That's what Christmas lights are all about... not these stupid nylon inflatable gimmicks when daylight hits, lay in a lump as if they were discarded lawn and leaf bags, looking like they've lost a war with the bb gun brigade or a bit like Santa's road kill.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Personal Meaning in Mindless TV

So after a fun filled, action filled, business trip, I am happy to be back home, with my little man and looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, with my own pillow! And though I could probably hit the sack, it's just now around 8 and a little too early to go to sleep now -- not to mention, Super G will pitch a fit. I'm just not up for the fight. So Super G plays games on my computer, I watch a TIVO-ed episode of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Celebrity Rehab is the newest on my list of mindless TV, shows I can watch with out really watching. And it's a fabulous train wreck, I mean seriously, these folks that really have so much, great fortune, great talent... or maybe just great luck. Yet they manage to totally screw themselves in ways that are pretty unbelievable. And I find myself thinking wow, how stupid are these people. And you know, you can't fix stupid. But then I think a little more...
My boss and I have had a conversation a few times about how we have it all together, yet... the one thing we can't seem to get a grip on is our food/fat issues. And you know... that's my celebrity rehab moment.
I know I'm messing myself up, I know I need to get healthier, I know I need to do it for my family, for my Super Griff, for myself. I want to be healthier, I know I'll feel better. I want to look smart, sharp and look good for my appearance on the Today show (not that it's going to happen, but a girl can dream). Yet... I can't seem to manage it -- or can't for that long.
I get tired, I lose the will, I get overwhelmed by the weight I need to lose - it's too big, and then poof, it's over. And then I'm in the drive through at Micky D's ordering breakfast.
So these great talents - yet they pee all over all they have... how stupid??? Well, look at all I have, a great husband who loves me silly and makes me laugh, a brilliant, funny adorable little boy, a great house, an amazing job and I'm accomplishing SO much! Yet... I still am peeing all over myself.
I suppose we all have a need for our own Celebrity Rehab... they're not so different. Maybe I too can change.... or do we all just keep using?

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Sometimes I wonder...
At what point did I stop understanding SNL?
How is it Gary Busey is so out of his mind, yet doesn't know? (Celeb Rehab)
The world must be a better place, because when I was a kid, if you stuck a bowl of candy on your porch on Halloween for a self-serve purpose, it'd be gone after 30 minutes. Last night, everyone left out bowls.
How come my son could stay awake for hours, regardless of how tired he is?
How come I'm always tired?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Boy in a Bucket

Yeah, so, who needs toys, when a bucket will do.

Who knows, maybe we'll be able to order this at KFC one day soon.

Yeah, I could have been a Martha

To many of my friends surprise, I am actually quite "crafty" and I can actually cook a real meal, please remember - CAN and DO - two very separate things. In fact, it's a good thing Big G travels so much, because he really has an expectation for me to cook much more then I have any ambition to do.

But all that aside, I can pull it out for a friend when I really need to. And because I've been rather neglect to her -- and she brought the wine, I was happy to lend a hand. So folks, I give you "The Duck" Created by yours truly.
Construction: 2 boas, a striped pj pant, a onsie, a turtleneck, pillow stuffing, yellow visor, a fleece cap.

Really Gwyneth, Really

In case you haven't heard, Gwyneth Paltrow has a new website, "Goop." Her tag-line is Nourish the Inner Aspect. (really, Nourish the Inner Aspect?? what does that mean?)

Gwyneth shares with us her favorite things, so that we can all benefit from her wisdom and wonder at all her good life provides her. I don't know who she's addressing - as she references her life as a mother and a socially conscientious being, but it sure isn't my world (I'm sure the real target audience is about five people).I mean seriously - she bought the heel-less platform PVC boots that you may have seen Victoria Beckham wearing a few weeks back, is this really someone in touch with the "every man"
And I just love it, can't wait for the next newsletter, but I'm sure if she knew, she'd say it was for all the wrong reasons and unsubscribe me from her email list. She tells her readers to work out and stick with it and to learn to cook with real food. It's brilliantly self indulgent and narcissistic, and aside from the lessons we need to learn from how great her life is - there isn't much on the website and doesn't exactly fulfill it's promise to share things to do/get, etc. Her newsletter offers more insight to this highly enlightened mind -- sharing her "favorite things." Which makes it one of my favorites.

I would like to offer our dear Gwyneth a few pieces of advice, a click through or two on the newsletter could be beneficial - especially if she is trying to make a few dollars on this effort.