Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Soon to be Unemployed

I am at the design dept., which is not so much a department as it is an area of the giant room where everyone can hear you no matter how quiet you are (AMBER!!!), and in this area three desks form a semicircle. There. It's a department. Anyway, so that's where I am.

"Hey, anyone want to order lunch with me?" I ask.
(silence)
"Guys?"
(silence)
"Helloooooo...?"
Finally Ryan looks up. "Huh?"
"Yeah. Lunch. Order. Whatcha want?"
A chorus of answers.
"Beer." "Sleep." "Lobster."
"Lobster?!" (It says something about our workplace that luxury fine food is the entry that surprises me.)
"Mmmm..." Bob reminisces. "Two-pound steamer. Corn on the cob. Potatoes."
"Oh, you want a Massachusetts bake-thing."
"Yeah."
"My aunt lives in Wilmington, N.C., which is on the Outer Banks, and they do that with clams. You go out at low tide with a rake and get your clams and steam them."
He nods vigorously.
"And throw in some shrimp. And if you're lucky, there some crabs caught in your trap. And I don't mean that in a dirty way."

I Have to Stop Watching 'Shaun of the Dead'

So last night I had this dream where I'm standing outside the front of the Metro Spirit talking to my husband, who has pulled up in the clown car to snag the bank card from me, and I look over at the Chronicle's front door just in time to see a man stumbles out of it and falls down.

"Hey, look... do you think he's okay?" I ask Scott, who cranes his neck to see.
Then the man gets up... slowly... in a jerky manner... it reminds me of something.
"Maybe he hit his head," Scott muses, opening his car door. We walk over in the man's direction, intending to check on him when another person walks out beside the man, who is now standing in place, swaying slightly. We can't see them very well, but we're nearing the Confederate monument.

The second person, who I now can see is a woman, moves in the same way as the first. It hits me, right as we get to the edge of the monument - I grab Scott and pull him behind the marble, out of their view.

"Zombies!" I hiss, and he looks at me like I'm crazy. He peeks his head around the corner of the statue's base and watches them for a minute.
"I think they're drunk," he says.
"No! They're not dr - well, maybe," I concede. That's certainly a more plausible explanation than the undead rising from the grave (of journalism).

And then I woke up.

So is that it? Are those the only choices for Chronicle employees? Drunk or zombified?

Good Morning!

So when I pulled up at Emerson's day care and crossed behind my car to get her out of her car seat, I noticed something on my trunk.

It was a dead baby squirrel, or cat, or something. It was grey, hairless and about the size of a small rat. I imagine it died sometime during the severe thunderstorm we had last night, and I feel sorry for it. I stopped and stared at it, overcome by a feeling of horror. I didn't want any of the children to see it, so I grabbed the closest thing I could see - a whirligig bird on a stake in a potted plant - and tried to knock it off.

It was stuck.

How on earth do you remove the corpse of a nearly fetal animal without touching it?

I'm pretty grossed out right now.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Totalis Uterus Controllis

So I was driving from one interview to another last Saturday when I passed a yard sale on Wrightsboro Road.

"Ooooh, what a pretty fireplace screen!" I thought, and pulled over.
"Hey, how much for it?" I asked the nice lady running the sale.
"$5," she smiled.
"I'll take it!"
And I loaded it into my trunk with a set of canisters she also had for sale for $4.

I was immensely pleased with myself.
What thrift! What style! What luck!

Wait...
We don't own a fireplace.

What lunacy!

NERD ALERT: Vol. 5,098,574,021

KSo I just finished "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," and I have some remaining questions:

1. If Harry is Teddy's godfather, and Teddy's parents were both killed, why didn't Harry raise Teddy? And is he a werewolf?
2. What was the baby thing in the place where Harry went after he died-but-did-not-die? Was that part of Voldemort's soul?
3. Did anyone else think that the final duel between Harry and Voldemort was a little short, except for the three hours of speechifying?
4. So Snape was good? Or Snape was just a selfish poopyhead avenging the death of the woman he loved but could never have? If Snape loved Lily Evans so much, couldn't he have been nicer to her son?
5. Draco... I thought he wasn't on Voldemort's side at the end of Half-Blood Prince, and he obviously wasn't on Voldemort's side when he was sitting around the table with his parents. What made him try to capture Harry again? And then when Harry saved him, he turned sides again and tried to be a Death Eater. Then Ron punched him - rock on - and then later, they all nodded cordially to each other at the train station. Gah! It makes me want to punch him again.
6. How is Dumbledore not dead? People keep saying that it looks like he's not dead. He looked pretty dead to me.
7. So Petunia thought her sister was a freak because she couldn't go to Hogwart's too? She was jealous? Does anyone else think that's kind of lame?
8. How did the sword get into the Sorting Hat when the goblin dude had stolen it in the vault at Gringott's?
9. How did Kreacher know where to go for the battle? How did he rally the other Hogwart's house elves? Why didn't Ron and Hermione tell them to evacuate like Ron suggested? And speaking of Kreacher, so... all it took for him to stop being a Dark elf who hates Muggle-borns was for someone to be nice to him? But wasn't Hermione nice to him? So it had to be a pure-blood wizard who was nice? Does that mean he still hates Muggle-borns? I'm really confused.
10. Why was the Resurrection stone in two pieces inside the Snitch?
11. Hey, how come we never heard about Aberforth as the barman in earlier books? How is he connected to that mirror thing? How did he send Dobby? I don't understand this part at all!
12. Why didn't Rowland kill off that jackass Percy instead of Fred?
13. Did anyone else think that maybe Dumbledore's father was a werewolf at one point in the book? Or was that just me? Because he "mauled" three Muggle children, and his sister was hardly seen, I thought maybe that he was bitten by a werewolf before Dumbledore's mother conceived his sister, Ariana... Okay, fine. I'm a lunatic. (See the pun I just made right there? No? Well check your Latin.)
14. Anyone else have any questions?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Why Emerson will enter a convent... and attend private school... in a burqa

Just about the funniest assessment of the role technology plays in young lives:

Back in my day, if we wanted to “text” our school chums, we spent three days loading type blocks into the Gutenberg Press. And by the time that message finally reached its destination via carrier pigeon, the recipient was a fortnight dead from The Consumption. And we didn’t need your so-called first person shooter games. By our 12th birthdays, we were already enlisted in Uncle Sam’s Army gunning for Charlie in the trenches of ‘Nam.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A new ruler

I am trying to figure out the appropriate phrasing for a story.
"When you say, 'raising Cain,' how would you spell Cain?" I ask A.C.
"Like Cain and Abel: C-A-I-N," she said.
"Like you're making enough noise to raise the dead?"
"I believe that's the origin of the phrase," she said.
"Hm." I muse.
She grins.
"Because it's a much less unweildy phrase than 'Raising Lazarus.'"

I abdicate my throne. She may take her rightful place at the right hand of her husband.

Harry Potter & The Mysterious Ticking Noise

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Spoiler of Doom


Lucius Malfoy is killed by Professor Plum in the Forbidden Forest
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom

Deathly Hallows spoiler

This is real the end:

Harry, Ron and Hermione find the deathly hallows, giving them power over Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Harry kills Voldemort with the help of Snape.
Hagrid saves Ron but couldn't save Hermione.
After a long battle, Hermione gets killed by Voldemort.
Voldemort and Snape battle it out. Snape kills Voldemort but is mortally wounded in the process. Harry and Ron try to comfort him.
"Listen," Snape croaks. "This is a story all about how I became the Half-Blood Prince of Bel-Air. In West Little Whinging born and raised.
On the broomstick is where I spent most of my days.
Flying, crying, cool out conjuring
Outside of the school
where a couple of Death Eaters were up to no good.
They started casting spells in my neighborhood.
I got in one little jinx and my Mom got scared.
She said, "You're moving to Hogwart's School in Old Bel-Air."
I whistled for the Knight Bus and caught it with no fear.
We pulled up at the castle and Stan said, "You're here."
Dumbledore took me in and all was well
And I played the role of bad guy to protect the castle.
Now I've told you all about how my life flipped over turned inside out.
Voldemort is dead but still beware.
And remember me, the half-blood prince of Bel-Air."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bow to Me, My Subjects...

A.C. and A.W. are discussing the use of accent marks in the newspaper.

"Normally I'm not too big on it but in a case like that where if you don't have it people will read it as 'pate...'" A.C. says.

"Yeah, pate's an entirely different thing," A.W. says.

A.W. looks at me: "Pate is the top of the head, isn't it?"

"uhh... I think it's the top of a bald head," I reply, frantically googling it. "Oh, apparently, it can also be a pastry in French cuisine, analogous to the English pie."

"Excellent!" A.C. crows. "I crown you Nerd Queen of the Universe. You may sit at the right hand of Jim Christian."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Noah's Dork

“Can I speak with Noah?”
“Uh…. He’s in a meeting right now. Can you call back in maybe… half an hour?”
“Sure, but does he have voice mail?”
“Uh, hold on…”
(drumming my fingers…)
2 minutes later…
“Can I ask who’s calling?”
“Stacey from the Spirit, but I can just call back if he doesn’t have voice mail.”
“Oh, okay.” CLICK!
Dang. Great organization going on there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I just had one question


AUGUSTA, GA. - We were trying to track down some of the owners of local arts education businesses to include them in the annual list of area opportunities, and couldn't track down Dysart Modeling. So I called Scott, my husband, because I know he has dealt with them in the past.

"What do you want to know?" he asked.
"You know, contacts, if they're still open... whatever," I replied.

He launched into a history of the company, the owner's husband's death, their move from entertainment casting to industry film casting, blah blah.

"I just need to know if they're open, honey," I said.
"Why?" I could hear his ears perk up. "What are you hearing?"

I wanted to scream: "I'm hearing that they're not open anymore!" But that wouldn't have been very nice. Finally I disentangled myself from the conversation and hung up.

"That's teach you," Amy laughed. She mimicked my reporter husband, driven crazy by the smell of a scoop like sharks are frenzied by blood in the water: "What's going on? Do I need to jump in the clown car and come down there?"

I laughed: "Yes! Rally the midgets!"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Apple Pie

I don't agree with this video. I ADORE Macs, but I'll admit there is quite a transition from one platform to another. I have a Mac at home, and a PC at work - although, until recently, I worked on a Mac at both places.

But I can certainly relate to this guy's frustration with computer programs in general. They never seem to be able to quite... do... what... you... want...

Yep. That's home.

Augusta, Georgia's new multimilliondollar airport terminal has a roof that doesn't do what a roof should, which is to keep the elements out. Of course. I know when I spend millions of dollars of TAXPAYER MONEY, I want to hire a FIRM THAT DOES CRAPPY WORK! Please! Let's put some shitty gutters on this sucker, then we'll have to replace them. That's more money for us. While the Commission debates the issue, the roof will be ruined. We'll have to fix that, too. In the meantime, the carpet and the flooring under the carpet will mildew, mold and rot. Sweet! More work for our firm!

I should probably say something here about how I'm talking about government in general and how it fails to work. But I'm not. I'm talking very specifically about the Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government and how it goes about awarding contracts. So suck on that, Steve Shepard (although, you know, hi! Nothing personal, Mr. City Attorney! Please don't sue me! Love ya!)

Leaky Roof at New Terminal

A.C. has mental problems

A.C. is typing along and suddenly her face explodes into spontaneous laughter.
"Why did your nose just explode?" I asked, grinning.
"I have the dirtiest mind. I was typing the file name for this and I was about to name is 'toctease,'" she said.
That's actually T.O.C. tease, but I guess the periods don't come through in computerese.

Gonzo ninja of unintentional hilarity


Paul Pearman came into the office today to talk about - ah, who knows? I can never tell the purpose of his visits, but we always enjoy the hell out of them. He's like a gonzo ninja of unintentional hilarity.

"I've been trying to get Coco Rubio to run (for Augusta Commission). You know, his dad was my original martial arts teacher.

You know, you can't do things to people's kids like you used to could. I remember one time I was about 14 and I'd been there since I was 7 and I was getting good. I tapped Mr. Rubio in the head... probably harder than I should have... and he Judo threw me.

That wasn't in the rules, you know? To Judo throw things. I mean, I wasn't taking Judo. But he threw me and then he grabbed the front of my gee and crossed it over and he was, like, choking me.

You know when you pass out... it's really actually pleasant. When I woke up, it was him AND my dad, laughing. They were standing over me and looking down at me and they were laughing."

This explains some things about Paul.

Yeah, yeah, whatever


I know pomegranate is the new black (A.C. and I recently indulged in [way too many] mojitos made with sake and infused with a shot of pomegranate liquor, all of which, I know, makes it not a mojito at all), but this might be going too far. Pomegranate-infused red wine vinegar. Just... why?

I might mix it with some honey and orange juice and marinate some chicken and just see what happens. But it still seems like a really stupid idea.

That not-so-fresh feeling (Hi, Mom!)

So I went shopping this weekend for some necessities and came home to a house still sweltering from the heat of the self-cleaning oven. I was all excited about this new oven, but had I known that it would smolder in our kitchen with the heat of 1,000 suns I might have just busted out the E-Z-Off. Anyway, I stripped down to t-shirt and panties to do laundry and after a while I started to feel... hmm... something.

I decided to finish loading and folding laundry but in less than a minute it turned into a tingle. Then an itch. Then a burning sensation in an area you REALLY don't want that. Hopping through the kitchen to the bathroom, I examined things to see what was up. Or down.

What is going on with my lady parts? And then I realized: I was wearing new panties and the dye was killing me. I ripped them off and ran back in the kitchen to toss all my new pairs in the washer before the load started.

I had a hard time explaining all that to Scott.
But I think he enjoyed the side show.

Reeeeeeally Helpful

This information is posted at the web site of the Sheriff's Office of Augusta-Richmond County. I'll be sure to check it if ever there is an emergency. I'm sure the precious minutes I spend double-checking the instructions here won't matter that much to whomever is dying. Hey, at least we're not still on dial-up.


WHEN CALLING 9-1-1….

Stay calm. Give your location, the nature of the emergency and your name.
Listen carefully to the 9-1-1 call-taker.
Answer the 9-1-1 call-taker's questions as accurately as possible. Speak clearly and slowly.
Do exactly as the 9-1-1 call-taker tells you during the course of the call.
Never hang up on the 9-1-1 call-taker until you are told to do so.
Non-Emergency Situations - DIAL: 821-1080.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Clocky!


The alarm clock that runs away and hides when you don't wake up. Clocky gives you one chance to get up. But if you snooze, Clocky will jump off of your nightstand and wheel around your room looking for a place to hide. I love this idea, but if I brought that thing home it would soon be renamed Cold Cocky. Because my husband would go all Chuck Norris on it. You may be able to choose a snooze length of 0-9 minutes, but Chuck Norris will punch this clock before it even goes off. Just for thinking about waking him up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cracker Jack!

Ah, the privileged media. We got "media" passes to see Camper van Beethoven - I mean, Cracker - who played Augusta for the first time at The Mission. You'd think us journo-types would have better photos, but I forgot to bring my camera. Oh, I lie. I just didn't want to lug it around.

Cracker van Beethoven's David Lowery.
He can take a punch from Sandra Bernhart. That's a man right there.
But he's feeling thankful for the small things today.

This is my boyfriend Johnny Hickman. I realize (AMY) that he wasn't IN Camper van Beethoven, and I apologize for him. But we shared... a moment... while he was on stage. It was a brief but very spiritual moment. Unfortunately, Corey was there to ruin it. Every time I started to enjoy myself, he'd look at me and smirk: "Are you trying to have another moment?" No! I'm just trying to enjoy this moment. You know. The one with all the excellent music and alcohol.

Ed: "What do you mean you're leaving for Portland? Who will I go halvsies on beer with?"
Corey: (evil laugh) "How about Scott Hudson?"
Yes, Scott doesn't mind beer too much.


Two of these gorgeous ladies has had too much to drink.
Guess which two.


Ryan gives me a sexy smile. Too bad I'm married, Ryan.

Check out the guy behind Ryan. He's hoping that someone
will mistake him for any of the members of Fall Out Boy.


Ed is a credit to his profession. Thanks for the tickets, baby!


Ryan rocks out. Briefly. This is the most animated I've ever seen him.
The guy behind him is going downdown in an earlier round.
But, sugar, he's going down swinging.


Do not be alarmed. This is what Amy always looks like.


Coco is the man. We love him!


Corey looking pensive. Do not be fooled by his Ivy Leagueyness.
Moments before he was fully engaged in the Euro-Bounce Concert Boogie.


Corey and Betsy looking all cute and happy.

Some of these people have imbibed alcohol. Can you tell who?

What's missing - ED!! - is a photo of the guy up front who was rocking out by holding up a Huddle House cup o' joe. Seriously. He'd get all into a song and hold up the Styrofoam ode to heart disease like it was a cigarette lighter. Rock on, my friend. Just don't spill any on me.

Then there were a few people who are at every show, and who think that alcohol + rock music = embarrassing public displays of what can only be considered affection among dogs and chimpanzees. Get. a. room. Corey, with his usual dry with that will be greatly missed, remarked: "Well, at least he has stamina."

Finally, there was a group of guys doing the Frat Boy Funky Shuffle. It consisted of nodding their heads in time to the music, then turning to one another to scream the chorus, then high-fiving each other and going back to nodding through the rest of the song. It was kind of dumb. "I'm going to scream song lyrics in your face! Woohoo! Gimme some skin, brah! I'm so glad I'm so glad I pledged Phi Delta Stupid!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kid Rockin' up and down the block

Possibly the best hip-hop video ever made.
I realize that's not saying a lot...

A Girl Moment

Do you ever buy what you think is a fabulous piece of clothing and then no one seems to notice it so you begin to think you've purchased some ridiculous toerag? Jim, I know you can relate. Stak, Corey, Scott, probably not so much. But the ladies know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Intern in Africa II


Intrepid Intern Allegra Yealey:

Hey everyone!

This is our last day in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Tomorrow morning we move to the Volta Region, which is in the southeast. We've been told that the conditions there are much worse, but I'm really don't want to imagine how. We're already bathing with buckets outside, putting used toilet paper in the trash can (gross, eh?) and rationing power. Perhaps we'll be downgraded to mud huts.

Actually, I think that really is the case. All you can do here is laugh it off. I've been doing quite a bit of laughing.



We finally discovered what they meant by "rainy season"; it's been raining off and on for a few days now and the already questionable roads are now ridiculous. Yesterday I bruised my knees quite bady while driving through town. Best of all, yesterday we finally got to experience the wildlife! We drove out to the country and wow- it was so classically Africa. The land was comprised of a grass plain dotted by trees and random rock outcrops. Oh, and ANTELOPES! We hiked up to a cave that was sacred to the Ashanti- it was filled with bats. Some of us climbed in (despite the heinous smell) and flashed lights to make the bats fly. It was a total Batman moment. Apparently there are also Royal Pythons in the cave, but we weren't lucky enough to see them.



Next we went to see the baboons, which are sacred. It was absolutely incredible! We fed them bread and bananas and they came right up to us to take the food out of our hands. The babies were adorable, but at the same time it was disarming because their eyes look so much like ours. Still, watching them interact was fascinating.

We continued to botanical gardens, where our guide led us through and helped us identify trees and plants by smelling their leaves and bark. We identified cinnamon, allspice, citronella, and loads of other spices. We ate starfruit right off the tree and I got a lemon. I think I'll make lemonade tonight. The power is going out for the 3rd or 4th time since we've been here.

One of the girls is going home tomorrow morning due to an emergency back home, so we're going to throw her the best going away party we can manage. That pretty much translates into mango and beer while sitting in the dark.



FAREWELL TO ALL OF YOU.

There probably won't be much internet access for the next two weeks.

love,
Allegra

Intern in Africa

So our former intern for The Metro Spirit is working with orphans in Africa, because she is a much better person than I am, and because she leads a much more interesting life. So I'll be posting her semi-regular updates here. Maybe one day she'll send some photos.

From Allegra Yealey, intrepid intern:


Hey, everyone! I'm in an internet cafe in Accra, the capital of Ghana. These past few days have been absolutely AMAZING.

The people I'm working with are great, the locals are friendly, and the country is beautiful. The only downsides have been the conditions we live in- we're living no better than anyone else. Oh, and the food and water..eh. But I'm having the time of my life- despite all of the places I've been before, nothing is like this. I don't even know how to describe it.



As for being a minority- wow. I've probably seen only about 30 "obrunis" (white people), and that includes the people I'm working with. Everyone is fascinated with our skin- kids will come up to us and touch are skin to see if it feels like theirs. We're also popular with the guys, because I've already been asked to be someone's girlfriend three times. Yesterday was Republic Day, and we spent the afternoon drinking on the beach with what seemed like the ENTIRE population of Accra! It was so fun- there are people and horses and millions of soccer games and music. It's so vibrant, completely unlike the staid populations of Europe.



The volunteers themselves are great- we're American and British, the oldest is 28 (but more fun than someone years younger), and me and a girl named Leah are the young ones. There are 4 medical students who are working in hospitals, one girl who teaches in a school, and the rest of us are working in the orphanage starting next week. It's impossible not to become really close with them- no secrets in a place like this!

I'm completely in love with Ghana. I'm almost surprised at myself- I thought that I'd be lamenting the lack of facilities and the seriously terrible local dishes. Instead I'm marveling in the culture and the land and today I discovered bottled water (as opposed to this bagged water that tastes like mothballs), so I'm really happy with life. However, I have to cut it short because, due to the lack of power here, we have electricity on for a day and a half and then off for a day and a half. Who knows how we'll stay entertained in the dark?!



love to all,
Allegra

Sunday, July 08, 2007

All Worth It!

I went thrift store shopping today, and bought Emerson some gently-used clothes and a cabinet to put in her room instead of the workshop shelving we previously had in there. After we did all the rearranging and put her stuff away, I pulled out clothes.

"Emmie, I have another present for you...!" I sang.
She gasped in delight and nodded.
"Wook! A shirt, anodder shirt and a dwess!" (yes, I baby talk. Shut up about it).
Her eyes got big and she held out her arms. I gave them to her.
"Do you like it?" I asked, ridiculously seeking approval from a 2-year-old.
"I LUB it!" she exclaimed. "Dank oo mama!"
I swear, I almost teared up at the spontaneous appreciation. She clutched the clothes to her chest and hugged them. "I LUB IT!" she repeated. I moved in to give her a hug.
"NOOOO!" she shrieked. "MY DWESS! MY SHIRT!"

Ah, yes. There she is.

Clowns are Scary

Sunday, July 08, 2007 By

All week long, Emerson has been saying, "Clown gonna bitechoo! CLOWN gonna BITECHOO!" and it's been freaking me out because clowns, man... they WILL bite you. Scary mofos. I don't know why I've always hated clowns, and not just the circus variety, but also the people who dress up as holiday mascots and cartoon characters. My mother has these adorable photos of my sister and brother sitting on Santa's lap, or on the Easter Bunny's knee, and NONE of me. I wouldn't go near them. So I thought maybe that Emerson had inherited my fear of clowns in utero, or something, because to my knowledge, she's never even seen a clown.

Then while she was watching one fo the episodes of Dora the Explorer, there was a field of giant clams that she and Boots had to run through. "Clown gonna bitechoo!" She was saying "clowns" with a Southern accent: "Clayam gonna bitechoo!" Okay. We'll get her to a speech therapist right away because as much as we Georgia girls love to add extra syllables to our words, that's just not right.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Yo no comprendo

I will admit to being "not that smart" about matters of National Security. I am, after all, NOT The Decider, and I didn't invent the Internets. But when I read this about the Liberty City Seven:

"Authorities have said their purported plot never moved beyond the preliminary stages and the group never possessed explosives or other weapons to carry it out, but insist the men were serious about their intentions."

It kind of sounds like authorities are claiming that they can read minds.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Accidental Porn

"I pumped it, but I think we need to find a way to double-pump it."

My editor in trying to find a way to promote certain on-line features.

Accidental Porn

As seen on Craigslist:

Giant 6 Foot Lovesac!!!! Must sell ASAP..... - $450 (Irmo) pic

Where does he find pants that fit?

Germans

Thursday, July 05, 2007 By

Weltschmerz is a German word which loosely means "world suffering deriving from the inevitability of reality to never match up with our expectations." Boy, only the Germans could come up with a word like that.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sex sells... and saves?

Advertising fascinates me. It's the challenge of getting a message out to a targeted audience in a short amount of time in a memorable way. The best advertising is clever, specific, memorable, highlights the brans or the idea in a way that people can identify that later and does all of this in an original way.

Some ads are great because of their visual impact. Think the GAP ads for khakis with the swing dancers a few years back. Not only did it make the point that the pants were comfortable and breathable, but also that they were timeless and elegant. Did I buy them? No. They're out of my price range. But I got the message, I remembered the brand, and I remembered the commercial.



I'm more impressed with public service ads that do these kinds of things well, because not only do they have to succeed in all of the usual ways, but they have to do it while promoting a message that is often unpopular, uncomfortable and sometimes that makes people angry or sad. They're the kind of commercials that people turn away from, but you have to compel them to watch. Here are some that do that well.

The Montana Meth Ads:
Laundromat


Junkie Den


Bathtub


The Australian Road Transport Authority (RTA) Anti-Speeding Campaign:
No One Thinks Big of You


Speed Research


Condom Use

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Good Morning!



This is the scene I woke up to on Sunday morning. Water from the upstairs bathroom raining down into our bathroom. Great. Emerson shrieked, "Watehr! Ooh! I giddit!" and sprinted to the kitchen for a towel. That was very helpful of her, but one wasn't near enough. Our upstairs neighbor, a lovely young medical student named Amy, hadn't even finished moving all of her boxes and furniture in. Poor thing. The plumber finally got there at 7 p.m. and snaked the lines. That seemed to do the trick, but I did a lot of laundry on Sunday. Thank god our washing machine is repaired.

A Little Help Here...

So I'm watching A.C.'s animals while she is gone, and I've been very careful to follow all of her instructions. But when I went over there last night to check on them again, I couldn't find Petey, the cat. I looked everywhere for him, and I called his name and rattled his food bowl... nothing. I let the dogs in and he didn't come out to play with them. Emmie and I ran around trying to find him, and she was no help.

"I find him!" she shrieked from another room and I'd come running.
"Good girl! Where is he?" I praised her.
"Um, wight der," and she'd point to an empty corner. "Yoo see hims?"
No. No, honey, I don't see your imaginary feline friend. Can we find the real one, please, before A.C. kills me?

UPDATE: Found him! He's just all cat-like and stuff with the sneaking. One thing that's not sneaky: the smell of his litterbox. It punches you in the face when you open the door. But I can't find more box-filling pebble things to change it, and it won't help to empty the stanky stuff without refilling it. And what do I do with cat poo? Do I flush it?

Petey! This video is for you! Watch carefully!

Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

A.W. set her popcorn on fire with the microwave. The smell wafts before her like the cloud of dust and dirt that surrounds Pigpen, the Peanuts character.

"Yes, I burned the popcorn," she snaps.

"Those little bags. I used to put them in that stupid microwave for 2 minutes and 20 seconds and it was like instant charcoal," I laugh.

"Instant charcoal?" A.C. laughs. "Don't you mean 2 minute and 20 second charcoal?"

Okay, fine. See if I feed your dogs.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Parents of the Year

My daughter and I were eating cereal this morning (look! Alice! It's not oatmeal, but it's close!) and I hid some yogurt raisins in her bowl. I thought it would encourage her to eat the cereal to get at more of the fruit, instead of spending the morning picking fruit out of the bowl. The yogurt raisins are white, I reasoned, and thus indistinguishable from the milk.

Well, sure. Unless you're 2-year-old unfazed by the the thought of getting dirty. She just stuck her hand right in the milk and fished around for them. Great. And then, when she had found them all, she looked down to see the cereal flakes and milk that splattered on the table.

"Goh dammid! I mate a mess!" she exclaimed. My eyes widened.
"What?!"
"Goh dammid!" she repeated, and pointed to the mess. "I nee a towuh!"

Um... at least... no, I got nothin'.