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.