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Passion of the Crisis [13 Jul 2010|01:51pm]
Everyone's 'favorite' "If-You're-Different-Than-Me-I-Hate-You" Ranter is back!


Mel Gibson is currently filming for his role as The Beaver, but after his performance in a series of recorded crazy phone calls with the mother of his daughter, it sounds more like he's The Beater. (I'm not even going to bother writing some of the things he said here. It's really a "must listen" to get the full impact.)

What I really can't understand is how Whoopi Goldberg can defend him: "I know Mel, and I know he's not a racist," Whoopi on 'The View' on Monday, seeming both earnest and cautious to weigh in. "I have had a long friendship with Mel. You can say he's being a bonehead, but I can't sit and say that he's a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids. I don't like what he's done, make no mistake."

Uhhh... then again, this is the same person who said Roman Polanski's actions weren't "rape rape."
 
Anyway, I love it when these types of phone calls get "leaked." Remember Pat O'Brien's?:
</lj-embed>
Or how about Alec Baldwin's:





Ah, yes, all nice reminders as to why I'm glad I do technology PR and not entertainment. (Although I'd make an exception for the adorable Betty White)

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A New Breed of Gangs [09 Jun 2010|10:07am]
Last month I wrote about the uprising of the Yenta Carts/ Wide Wagons. For the most part I focused on their use as a weapon, but I had no idea they could be used for theft! But that's exactly the case and it was done at a New Hampshire WalMart (I suppose the WalMart part shouldn't be a surprise).

A mother has been caught on camera rolling around Walmart in an electronic wheelchair while she and her son shoplifted several expensive items, police said.

Cynthia Ritter, 46, and son Kelvin Rodger, 27, who live in separate apartments at the Carrington Farms complex on Mammoth Road in Hooksett, were arrested about 2 a.m. Monday for the April 30 shoplifting incident.

Police said it took a month to link items found in the duo's possession back to Walmart.

The items included a 32-inch LCD television, a TV remote, TV cables, seven Playstation games, a home audio system, a DVD recorder, a 16-piece glass set, diapers, laundry detergent and three sports bras, according to police.

Ritter was seen on surveillance footage using one of Walmart's electronic wheelchairs for handicapped customers as she concealed items, police said.


Here is the Ma Barker wannabe and her son:


That skunk-style hair is probably what did her in.

Here's another criminal genius who used a Yenta Cart as a getaway ride:

A Pennsylvania man accused of stealing $50 tried to flee in an unusual fashion, wearing a hospital gown and driving a motorized shopping scooter for an escape vehicle.

According to the Associated Press, Craig David Jr. tried to steal $50 from his ex-girlfriend at Walmart after just being released from the hospital. He tried to flee using a Walmart scooter for an escape vehicle but was caught and charged with robbery and disorderly conduct.

He was still wearing his hospital gown when he met his girlfriend who agreed to pay for his medication. Instead, police say David grabbed $50 from her and scooted away.


I imagine the chase that ensued to catch the thief looked something like this:



How fast do those carts actually go? Do we need to worry that cities and towns will soon be overrun with notorious mobility scooter gangs, knocking over WalMarts, Salvation Armys, and Flea Markets?? I'm telling you, people, the time to protect yourself is now! Install high curbs around your property before it's too late!


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Kiss of (PR) Death [07 Jun 2010|03:44pm]


Sandra Bullock should fire whoever told her this was a good publicity idea:



Seriously, I know Sandra's been through a lot, but really. Haven't her publicists and agents gotten the memo that girl-on-girl kisses are a tired old awards show stunt circa 2003??

She probably uses the same people who told Oprah it's a great idea to use her 'thin again, fat again' problem as a marketing opportunity.


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Wireless Office Entangles Kitty [04 Jun 2010|01:36pm]
One of the great things about running my own company is that when I feel like working in Decktown, I can. And that's exactly what I have been doing today:


The Decktown Fountain has been extremely soothing

I really should have tried this sooner because all week I had been experiencing "writer's block" with a byline and I kept starting it, then re-starting it, then hating it and re-re-starting it, and on and on. However, this morning in Decktown I got it done in three hours and was happy with the outcome. (Now let's hope my client is, too...!)

All morning I'd glance at the door and see Timmy-Jeffrey peering at me through the window, as he often does whenever I'm outside. So at lunch I decided to put him in a harness and on a leash to try and come outside for a bit.

Surprisingly, getting the harness on him was easy. He thought it was a game and purred while sticking his legs through the straps on his own. Then I clipped the retractable leash on him and out we went!



He was a little nervous, but very interested in the sounds and smells. After a few minutes he hopped down the stairs and started rolling around the walkway. When he got tired of that, he simply sat and enjoyed himself:



I stuck the leash handle under my chair so I wouldn't have to stare at him and returned to work. Shortly after, he came up the stairs and meowed to be let back in the house.

I got up to open the door and that's when things got ugly. My first mistake was not taking the leash off before opening the door. The second he walked in, the other cats swarmed around him to inspect the fresh-from-the-wild Timmy-Jeffrey.

Well, apparently this was too much for him because he ran towards the living room, and when he did that, the retractable leash made a loud "whirring" sound which freaked him out. He took off for the hallway and since I wasn't expecting it, I lost my grip on the leash. The hard plastic handle hit the floor and bounced, scaring everyone so they all scattered, freaking Timmy-Jeffrey out even more.

The leash handle got caught on the living room table, so once the leash ran out of length, it yanked Timmy-Jeffrey backwards.

"WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!" he wailed from the hallway.

I unhooked the handle from the table and tried to catch up with him, rewinding the leash. Of course, me coming towards him freaked him out some more, so he took off again, this time for the dining room and, of course, I lost my grip on the stupid leash handle. He crashed into the dining room chairs, but not before hooking the leash on something else and knocking over my bag of recycling. By this time the harness was up around his shoulders, causing his front legs to be up by his head. Poor guy.

I finally got him unhooked from the leash, but he won't come out from under the table.



Even now as I type this, I can see him still under the table through the door window. I feel so bad. I really thought any issues with going outside would come up while *outside*.

Hopefully he will forgive me... the catnip that grows wild under the deck is starting to come in, maybe I can entice him with that for next time.


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Four-Legged Visitors & Tiny Invaders [04 Jun 2010|09:16am]
When we last visited Yardville, Liz fought with the Decktown Fountain (and won!), comforted a kitty statue with solar lights, and gave an old lawn mower away to Trash Vultures.

Let's see what's happened since then:


June 3- Oh my heavens! A handi-capable 4-legged spider has taken up residence in one of Decktown's flower boxes and it's being harrassed by a Hamburglar! Liz doesn't know what stunned her more- the fact that her seed carpets are actually growing (!!!) or that a spider can get around without half its legs. Now Liz feels semi-guilty because she purchased bug poison for Yardville, which is being overrun with spiders that are making their way into Spoiled Kitty Palace (aka- her house). Though if Gimpy the Spider stays in the flower boxes, it may have a chance...


June 4- Yardville is under attack! Well okay, no more than usual with the skunks, squirrels and pine tree debris. But while weeding plants in the back of Yardville, Liz discovered this tiny invader. Having no idea where he could have possibly come from, he was interrogated heavily by Yardville Officials. However, like a well-trained soldier, he remained silent. Even after water-torture, Yardville style (ie- an unintentional soaking with the hose while watering the lawn), he remained defiant. Liz admired his stoicism and decided to let him stay. Though if the 4 legged spider or anythng else gets a hold of him, Liz will not intervene. Consider yourself warned, brave warrior.


June 4- While watering Yardville and contending with the Tiny Invader, Liz discovered these purple flowers growing on the side near the pine trees! But the question is... what are they??


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Yardville [02 Jun 2010|10:17am]
I admit, I fell into the lazy pattern of regular Facebook status updating (aka- ghetto microblogging) and my LJ drifted to the wayside. Well, no more! (Aren't you all so lucky!)

For the past few weeks I have been borderline-obsessively working on my backyard. I decided this was the year I would host summer get-togethers and have guests over in general. Well, you gotta have a decent yard to do such a thing, right?

At about the same time I was getting out and making my whole body sore with yard work to the point I couldn't move, I saw a spike in FarmVille Facebook updates. I was in disbelief at the amount of people who sit and grow virtual crops, strike pretend oil, and deal with wayward pink cows. So with that, my own Yardville was born:

Liz has been tending to her yard this Spring! She has seeded and fertilized her grass, planted flowers and added new accents. Once in a while a neighborhood cat, skunk or squirrel visits Liz's Yardville, digging up her bulbs. As much as she loves animals, she fantasizes about throwing things at the furry bandits if she ever catches them ruining her work.

Location: Real Life


I decided I wanted to move my Yardville progress over to LJ since it's easier to do in this format, is more organized, and well, it's fun to write about. And on that note, I will catch you all up on what's been happening:


May 26- Liz is grateful to her Mom for sharing her NY Yardville flowers! Liz has worked hard to maintain them, and has been enjoying the fruits of her Yardville labor. To accent the new flowers, Liz added solar lights to the pots.


May 26- Oh happy day! Noah has helped Liz by building her a table in Yardville's Decktown.


May 26- Oh no! A lonely kitty statue has wandered into Liz's Yardville! To keep the kitty from being scared, Liz added a solar light to the potted plant next to her.


May 26- Oh no! Liz's grass is growing strong in Yardville, but alas there are weeds invading the border! Won't someone help?!


May 27- Oh dear! Liz is having a sh*tty day in Yardville! She bought a fountain and discovered that after the nightmare of buying it, wrestling it into the car, getting it home, constructing it, having the box's packing material break apart and blow all over Yardville, the EFFING THING DOESN'T EFFING WORK!!!! @#$%!!! She called bLowes and they are making her bring the whole effing thing back in order to get the one effing SMALL part that's not effing functioning. She warned the rep that she will demand the replacement be tested in the store before accepting it.


May 27- The tide has turned in Yardville! When we last visited Liz, she was beside herself with blazing anger at her newly-purchased Decktown fountain. However, after taking a hammer (and some choice words) to the fountain, a miracle has occurred and the water is flowing properly! The bLowes staff dodged a bullet... the return would not have been pretty.


May 27- Oh delightful times abound! Now that Liz has sufficiently recovered from the Decktown Fountain Saga, she is now ready to construct deck railing flower boxes! She will attempt this amazing feat without any help and very little patience. Instead of pre-grown flowers, Liz will be using this seed carpet thing that promises lots of color and butterflies. It better not be lying. False advertising yields false hope for botanically-challenged Liz, and that will not be tolerated in Yardville.


May 28- Oh dear! Liz survived the Great Fountain Saga and a minor bird attack (she startled a small one in a shrub that flew out at her face), only to get her hands all over poison ivy oak under her deck while putting away the garden hose. Beautifying Yardville has certainly been stressful! But no matter what, Liz will never EVER play Farmville.


May 30- Liz has been working hard at Yardville, but is feeling murderous today. Something dug up one of her bulbs during the night and ate it! Liz would like to trade in her Decktown Fountain for a gun.


June 2- The vultures are circling Yardville! Well, not really. Liz decided to throw away the old ghetto chairs from Decktown, and within 5 minutes of dropping them at the curb, this Trashpicking Taurus arrived. (From the looks of that car, it appears they obtained it the same way they probably get everything else) These guys are pros, it was fascinating to watch them load and bungee the two very large metal chairs into the trunk in under a minute. Let's see what they can do with Yardville's old lawnmower next week!


June 2- Ask and ye shall receive in Yardville! Just when Liz was wondering about whether or not the Trashpicking Taurus duo would take her old nasty lawnmower, along came more hardcore Trash Vultures! These guys had a truck loaded with all kinds of crap and stopped to pick up an old bent and rusty Decktown plant stand. Liz asked the guys if they wanted an old lawnmower and voila! "Chays," one of the Vultures eagerly answered. Liz took that as "yes" and wheeled the muddy mess to them. It's a banner day in Yardville!


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Where Can You Go in Your Yenta Cart? [28 May 2010|09:45am]
We've all seen the commercials touting how you can "get around, get around" and "go go go" in your Hoveround. My favorite is the one where they ask "where would you go in your Hoveround? The Statue of Liberty? The Grand Canyon? The family picnic?"

Well, let me tell you, those scooter drivers are not going to any of those places. But I did discover where they ARE going- Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut. And let me tell you, those powerchairs are NOT Hoverounds. No, they are, in fact, "Yenta Carts." And they are NOT for mobility, but rather speedy weapons savagely used to barrel through the casino in efforts to get to slot machines as fast as possible at all costs.

Recently I went to Foxwoods and discovered these facts first hand. I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked because I had my old crappy Palm Treo phone, so I will definitely snap more on my next visit. However, before I share what I do have, let me explain my official definition of what I mean by "Yenta Cart": Motorized missles disguised as mobility aids, largely driven by elderly "blue hairs" who zip from one slot to another, and are primarily interested in what everyone else's machines are doing but their own. If they see that you are winning a little bit of money, they roll in and comment on everything you are doing until you get up and leave.

These "Yenta Carts" can also be called "Wide Wagons":

For example, here is Buddha, scoping out his next machine:


What I was did not get was the photo of was him taking off like a shot through a crowd of people a few moments later.

And observe Bertha at the customer service desk:


Note Agnes, who probably needs the Yenta Cart, looking on.

I think the most priceless photo I took that day was of the escalator warning stickers:


The fact that they even have these means people had to have attempted to use the escalators with one of these. Now THAT would have been a great photo!

Ever wonder how one goes about powering up a Yenta Cart or Wide Wagon? Well wonder no more:


I had only even noticed this guy because he clipped me with his basket while rushing to grab that prime piece of electrical real estate.

So those commercials we see? They are nothing more than a facade meant to justify the existence of these mini-tanks that are used in kamikaze casino missions by Yentas and the overweight. Don't be fooled, Medicare and the AARP are in on it.


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Hair Salad... with a side of flies. [19 Aug 2009|10:25am]
I read about a trend in the BeautyXpose blog that made my skin crawl. Or should I say my scalp?

According to the post, there's a movement where women aren't washing their hair with shampoo because of fears that chemicals contained in shampoo could damage their hair:

As more American women seek a back-to-basics personal care routine, some are joining the “No Poo” movement where they forgo the time-honored tradition of sudsing up. And this isn’t just a brief respite or the old tip to skip the ‘poo every other day to give dry hair a little boost – we’re talking a complete lack of traditional shampoo…forever.

...

Some No Poo-ers say that after time, abrasive, chemical-based ingredients inhibit the natural functions of the skin of the scalp by actively disrupting the natural oil production process. They assert that regularly removing all of the oil off of the skin disturbs the natural pH balance, and as a result, the brain sends a signal to begin producing even more oil. So, according to this line of thinking, if you already have greasy hair, you may be only encouraging the problem further by lathering up with traditional shampoo.

No Poo members seek to combat this assault by using homemade hair care remedies, usually made with baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and/or castile soap.


Baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice??? In their hair?!?! Gross. It sounds like the makings for a bad salad dressing. And wouldn't the lemon juice have a Sun In effect resulting in lighter colored, drier hair?

And let's not forget the smell...! I had posted this in response to the blog entry:

“No Poo” = “Pee Yoo” in my book. I can’t even imagine what your “friend” must have smelled like! The alternatives you listed basically sound like the making of a bad salad dressing.

Give me my Herbal Essences any day of the week! I’d rather my hair strip than stench.


This was all I could picture when I read about going "poo-less":



Okay, so maybe this is something that works for people who aren't active. But what about people who workout regularly and sweat?? I'd think baking soda can only go so far in getting rid of a stink.

Naturally (har har) I turned to the Internets to see what others are saying on the subject. This by far was my favorite, Toxin Obsession: Celebrities & Shampoo. The writer discussed claims made by Gwyneth Paltrow in which she stated, "A couple of years ago, I was asked to give a quote for a book concerning environmental toxins and their effects on our children.

While I was reading up on the subject, I was seized with fear about what the research said. Foetuses, infants and toddlers are basically unable to metabolise toxins the way that adults are and we are constantly filling our environments with chemicals that may or may not be safe."

Here's the poster's hilarious reaction:

Apparently, she went on to point the finger at shampoo as a potential major problem in our society and raised a possible link between shampoo and childhood cancers. Now, I am not sure how one can use shampoo on the head of a foetus (or a fetus, for that matter), but we have to tip our hat to celebrities for bringing such associations to the forefront.

So I did a bit of science myself to assess the voracity of her claims. I too was seized with fear when I noted the following:

*All of the kids in my practice who have ADHD have used shampoo.
*All of the kids with cancer have also used shampoo.
*I used shampoo as a kid (but not as a fetus), and I have ADHD.
*The projection is that 100% of the people now using shampoo will die.

This really backs up my misgivings about shampoo. I have always wondered at the claims these so-called hair-care products make so boldly. Here are some examples of lies spread by the shampoo industry:

Clarifying shampoo – What are they claiming with this? Is there such thing as unclear hair? Do some people look as though they have a giant blob of hair-like substance on their head instead of many separate hairs? Does clarifying shampoo make each individual hair once again visible on these people?

pH Balanced – What is pH imbalance? Is it when the pH sometimes is so acidic that it burns your hair off? That would be terrifying if true.


I love it! All of these "go green" and "go natural" panic pushes that we've been seeing remind me of those email forwards that used to circulate. Until sites like Snopes emerged to squash the e-terrors, we were warned of such horrors as "Dawn dishwashing liquid will erode the corneas of children's eyes" or "Agent Orange is contained in pots & pans scrubbing pads."

Yes, it's a scary world out there.

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I Can See Your Camel Throw... [31 Jul 2009|04:41pm]
I warned the world about the horrifying marketing fleece job known as The Snuggie, but apparently my words of caution fell on deaf (cold) ears because not only has the Snuggie been a top-selling item, the Infomercial Troop is now hawking their latest monstrosity dubbed the "Designer Snuggie".

Claiming the makers have been getting asked with overwhelming regularity, "When are you gonna make one that's a little more stylish for me??", the Snuggie pushers are now peddling three news "styles":

Luxurious Leopard:



Stunning Zebra:



Classic Camel:



*sigh*

Naturally I took to the Internets to see how people have been responding to these new "fashion" Snuggies. A quick Google search immediately brought me to a site called Snuggie Sightings. Upon clicking the link, I was immediately greeted with a commercial for "Snuggie for Dogs":



Honestly, this is a bit much. Oh and in true Infomercial Troop fashion, they even advertise a dog version of My Lil' Reminder for free with purchase:



After I got over the over-priced, mini horse blanket knock-offs, I looked at the "Snuggie Sightings" images:

Observe this woman who used her Luxurious Leopard Snuggie to camouflage herself as a couch in order to ensnare her dog:


Eyes blacked out to protect the alleged

(Actually, she might be onto something... perhaps if I dressed as a couch I could make some headway with my remaining two ferals)

Even Oprah & Tyler Perry have tried to get in on the fad:


Look at the new low Oprah has stooped to... is this to help cover her self-shamed weight gain??

It became quite obvious within a few clicks that "Snuggie Sightings" are a part of Snuggie's marketing machine. Here's what they don't show... real, candid DesignerSnuggie sightings:







Okay, these aren't real. But they illustrate how ridiculous I think these things are rather nicely.

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What a Difference 3 and a Half Years Makes... [29 Jul 2009|08:57am]
It's been about forever since I've done a cat update, so today felt like a good day to post. Remember Ginny the feral Mom cat of Toby?

Well, as some of you might recall, Ginny integrated very well with everyone else and pretty much turned into a spoiled house cat. The only thing that didn't change was that everytime I tried to get near her, she raised her paw and looked at me as if to say, "B*tch, I'll cut you..."

So life went on... gradually over time Ginny started following a few of the other cats whenever they'd come running to me (namely Billy and Sadie), but she would sort of hang back and watch. About a year and a half ago I started getting a little braver and began petting Ginny's back while she was eating. Sometimes she'd tolerate it, other times she'd run away.

Over the last few months Ginny seems to have really come along. I had noticed that she would not only come running with the others, she started getting closer and would turn sideways, peeking at me. So I took the chance and slowly reached out to pet her back.

She didn't budge.

I was stunned and so I decided to keep going with it. Fast forward to this morning and we have this:




Ginny coming over when I called to her


Ginny loving the pets!


Ginny REALLY loving the pets!!

It's amazing to me... when she first arrived in March of '06 she was like a wild raccoon who *hated* me.



Now she takes treats from my hand and loves to be petted. (Though I'm not able to pick her up or anything... maybe in 3 years)

I'm glad I kept her. ^_^




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Mo' Money, Mo' Problems [22 Jul 2009|09:24am]
Not too long ago I had an experience that I was mortified about. I wasn't going to say anything... until I saw it happen to someone else. So if someone else shares in my embarrassment, it's okay to discuss.

Bank of America has redesigned its ATMs. (Yes, BoA's PR department deemed this press release-worthy). It's actually pretty cool because you can make deposits with both checks and cash without envelopes. Plus the interface is a lot nicer.

That is, unless you don't know what you're doing.

You know those machines that make change? You have to insert the cash into the slot until the machine sucks it out of your hand:



Apprantly the new BoA ATMs do not function in this way. When I returned from my trip to Vegas for the CTIA show, I was actually ahead from my slot play and decided to put the cash in the bank. So I did the usual routine of putting my card in a BoA ATM, but this time I selected "deposit cash."

A little window opened and a green light above the slot lit up:



Per my typical experience with depositing cash into machines, I slid my cash in along the arrows, expecting the ATM to suck the money out of my hand. What I did not expect was the window to close on my hand!

So there I am, hand stuck in the ATM. While it didn't crush me, it certainly was sharp and didn't open back up like a garage door does when it senses something's in the way.

What to do??

Finally I decided the only way I was getting my hand out was to yank it back. I did this, leaving behind the cash and about half of my skin. The ATM window closed all the way, made a "whirring" sound as it counted the cash and then the screen verified the amount of cash I had deposited.

Once I got over the throbbing pain in the back of my hand, I thought the ATM counting my deposit was pretty cool. But honestly, they should have shown some kind of animation on how to properly deposit cash. I believe this now after watching a poor older woman do the exact same thing I did this morning. Adults are creatures of habit. Change the way we've been accustomed to use a certain type of technology and we're liable to lose our hands.

Although I do have to say, I wasn't nearly as dramatic as the woman this morning. She yelped and said in a panic, "I think you need to call for help...!"

I told her the same thing had happened to me and suggested she take a deep breath and pull her hand out. She did exactly that, left some skin behind and was as amazed as I was at the ATM's counting.

So to all you BoA new ATM users- BEWARE! Improper use can result in depositing your dignity along with your cash.

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"I'd listen to herrrrrrrr..." [23 Apr 2009|01:21pm]
I will say this right up front- I don't care if this is legit or not, I watched it three times and laughed hysterically with each viewing:

beyonce sings terribly
April 22, 2009 by Synth3t1c


You may have seen this before. Beyonce sings over a track when she does live performances I guess, but here is what she sounds like behind the track.







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"I was just groped by Mr. Roper..." [07 Apr 2009|12:16pm]
Lately I've been traveling a lot for work. My trips are usually to NY or Cape Cod, but last week I flew out to Vegas with Deb for CTIA. We stayed at Planet Hollywood which was a huge improvement over where I had to stay for trips of (nightmarish) business past.

We enjoyed our stay, though I had to laugh because at one point we were in the elevator and I was trying to talk to Deb about a meeting. While we were traveling up to the room, the car stopped and this loud, obnoxious guy gets in, shouting to a quiet blond about her scouting for Miss Universe. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and tried to continue talking, but all the while Deb had this look on her face and her eyes kept darting back to Mr. Obnoxious.

We got off on our floor and I said, "God, why was he yelling?"

"Do you know who that was?" she asked.

"A rude asshole," I answered.

"That was Ty Pennington!" she exclaimed.



"Are you sure?" I asked. "It's too bad I didn't realize it, I could have told him to shut up by name."

Anyway, the trade show itself was great and on Friday Deb and I went to see Bette Midler. Excellent, excellent, excellent! We also saw the incredible Titanic Exhibit.

Now, typically people will say that the weirdest or craziest things they experience are when they're out and about in Vegas itself, not on the plane. But of course, this is me we are talking about so naturally I can't just fly home without incident.

Deb and I took the red eye home on Saturday night and after a three hour delay, we finally were on our way at 2:00 a.m. Our seating arrangement was as follows- Deb by the window, me in the middle and Mr. Roper's twin by the aisle.

I took a photo of him while he was asleep, but because my Treo is a piece of garbage, I couldn't get the photo out of the phone. So I took a picture of the phone:



See the resemblance?:



Anyway, about an hour into the flight Deb and I were watching King of the Hill on my lap top when I felt someone rubbing my back. I looked down and saw both of Deb's hands were in her lap. That meant only one thing.

I whipped my head around to my right and said, "Excuse me!"

Mr. Roper's eyes were half closed and he had a half smile on his face and continued rubbing my back.

"Hello?!" I raised my voice.

Mr. Roper promptly pulled his hand back and mumbled, "Sorry, I thought you were someone else."

I looked at Deb and said, "Wow, that's a first."

She looked at him and then said, "He was totally asleep!"

"Well," I said, "I was just groped by Mr. Roper."

We both burst out laughing. I have had people doze off and droop onto my shoulder from time to time, but then they jump and sit back in their seat. But a sensual back rub?

That's a new one.

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First My Li'l Reminder, Listen Up & Snuggie... now Jesus? [12 Mar 2009|09:28am]
That's right. In these tough times we've seen lots of items like the Snuggie, Clever Clasp, My Li'l Reminder, and Listen Up! turn to the Informercial Troupe when it comes to taking over their particular market. (And I begrudgingly admit that the most successful one to leverage them is the Snuggie)

So I suppose it makes sense that in our challenging economic climate, Jesus would do the same. Behold, the Prayer Cross:



At first this little TV tidbit of marketing almost slipped past me, but at the end I caught sight of the elderly couple who were made famous by "Listen Up!" and the elderly man solo in the "Snuggie" bit.

And it makes sense! Afterall, The Catholic Church has become rather unpopular these days, when typically in tougher times people usually turn to religion. Though I suppose they didn't help themselves in the public image department by condemning a 9 year old rape victim or stating that being "excessively wealthy" is a sin. (Which I think the Catholic Church will be first in line at the gates of Hell for violating a million times over, if that new "sin" were to be believed.)

So does the Prayer Cross have what it takes to become a craze like the Snuggie? I will venture to say it will take nothing short of a miracle. (ie- along the lines of Jesus walking on water while wearing a Prayer Cross and a Snuggie combined)

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Let me see if you can spin it, spin it... [20 Feb 2009|02:38pm]
Today is one of those days where I'm so glad I chose the career I did when it comes to the types of clients I serve (ie- technology). I can't imagine doing celebrity public relations and representing some of the, um, more "dicey" characters out there.

Take, for instance, the agency that took on that lunatic baby machine known as "Octo-Mom". I'm sure when they signed her they probably thought, "this will surely put us on the PR map and we'll sign a flood of clients as a result!" What they got instead was this:

A Brentwood couple, Joann Killeen, president of Killeen Furtney Group, and husband Mike Furtney decided to drop Suleman early Saturday after they received 100's of threatening e-mails and phone calls. They say the calls began soon after they began representing Nadya Suleman and set up a website for her.

Ms Killeen told the press of one of the voice-mail messages....

"They'd put me in the wood chipper and throw me in the bottom of the ocean and hope I die."

She says some of the threats were directed at both herself and Suleman.

"They hope I die, they hope my business goes under, they want to rip her uterus out," Killeen said. "They say I should be anesthetized and put down like a dog."


Wow, and with the kind of excellent press their client got...



...I bet they have so much new business, they're turning it away!

Let's hope the agency Chris Brown hired does a better job. I can't even imagine the reputation damage control one could come up with for a woman beater. But let's try anyway: "While our client acknowledges what he did was wrong, we have to take a step back and reflect on the positives. Chris has the potential to be like one of music's well-known wife beaters- Ike Turner! Look what he did for Tina Turner's career!"

Seriously, how much can you fix that mess? No matter how you spin it, abuse is abuse. But then again, this is the same agency Mel Gibson hired when the world discovered he was a "Jew hater."



Whoops. Looks like they still have some work to do in the "viral media" department.

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Fools4Gold [05 Feb 2009|11:15am]
This economy is something else. It seems to me that all the constant bad news being reported is prompting people to do insane things- like send their gold jewelry to strangers via the mail.



I'm sure you've heard and seen the commercials... send your unwanted gold jewelry and receive high cash payouts. Right. That's about as smart as driving my car to a crowded city and leaving it running with all the windows open while I get out to use a gas station bathroom- a dirty rip-off waiting to happen.

Yet people are doing it!! And they're shocked when they discover they've been had:

Bari of Milton WV (12/20/08)
Cash4gold is the biggest scam i have seen in my 48yrs of life. i sent a package over a week ago and have not heard anything. When you try to call no answer or busy..I do not have tracking number so can not go by website.This company ad needs to come off tv, i believe they prey on the poor and the elderly. It is sad that people are not honest.I think this company and its'many sister companies should be sued by all. and shut down..I am on a very limited income and thought this might help me out a little. I seems it is not going to do anything but stress me out...


Mildred of Ridgewood NY (11/01/08)
I sent in some pieces of jewelery a few pieces were 14k and i also sent in some sterling silver pieces well i had to wait close to 2 weeks for the online tracker to keep saying it wasnt received yet i emailed cash4gold and a rep emailed me back that wait 7-10 business days well two days later they got my gold package and a week or so later they sent me a check of 16.00 what the heck am i seeing i could have gotton more money by taking it to a pawn shop they are a bunch of rip-offs and i dont recommend anyone to use there service if you want fast money go to a nearby pwn shopp i got 80.00 for a ring and a small brcelet at a pawn dealer I hope people will take this complaint and use it wisely cash4gold is a big rip-off


This site has countless complaints like these. But my FAVORITE write up is by the person who used to work there. Here's a snippet:

3. Your jewelry gets appraised by hand, a magnifying glass, a plastic container, a small weight pad, and a bottle of ORANGISH fluid, which your items are then determined a value for. Not million dollar equipment or specially trained jewelry experts. The company was temporarily closed recently due to health and code violations. I have witness testers being transported to Medical Centers, due to the testing department environment. There is literally a cloud of smoke in the air from acid and other testing material. If you were thinking it was some state of the art testing facility, you thought WRONG.

4. Although the payment (check) for your item is dated within 24 hrs of testing your jewelry, we SOMETIMES DO NOT actually send out the check until up to 3-4 days later. (if you are a customer check the date the check was issued against the stamped date on the envelope.)

5. We do offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your jewelry returned, BUT THE CATCH IS, that the guarantee is to contact us within 10 DAYS from when your check is DATED. (This begins with the time it took for the accounts payables dept. to ISSUE the check and also including the TRANSIT TIME for you to receive your check in the mail. **** NOTATE THE COMMERCIALS THAT INSINUATE THAT YOU GET YOUR CASH IN 24 HRS.*** If you request (sign) for FAST CASH (direct deposit) you automatically WAIVE your rights to have your items returned, EVEN if you are not satisfied with amount of your deposit.

6. You generally receive your check around the "7th-10th" business day, AND majority of the time Customers are outraged when they lay eyes on the amount of their check. Some Customer's even receive a check for 0.01 cents.

*Definition of a BONUS: We issue low checks just to have you call us back if you are smart enough to realize that you just got scammed. For the smart one's we are paid to offer u a bonus up to 3x the original amount of your check and you accept. For ex: Sally Smith receives a check for $27.86 for a Rolex watch(which we don’t issue value for), a class ring, a ring with diamond chips, a pair of earrings with emeralds, as well as a few sterling silver pieces, and maybe a few items that were really of no value. Now Sally Smith calls the cust srvc dept, where she speaks to a rep who seems so concerned and will see if she can do better with the amount by speaking to a "SUPERVISOR". We then place the caller on Mute, and speak to our neighbors or doodle on a sheet, or twiddle with our hair for about 45 seconds, while we are supposedly speaking to our supervisor about Ms. Smith's complaint. We then come back with an offer to "BUMP UP YOUR MELT DATE or any other lies the cust srvc reps can think of, and offer you a total amount of $53.20 which is a little under double the amount of your original check; in which case if you accept, the cust srvc rep makes a 15.00 bonus off of your transaction. If the customer service rep offers you under triple the amount of your orig check, he/she makes 10.oo in bonuses.


So, how long until we see the Class Action Lawsuit notices about Cash4Gold??

In other money news, there are people leading a revolution against the penny. Yes, there is a war on small change and even the likes of US News and World Report are getting in on it.



Part of the argument is that manufacturing the penny costs Americans 54 million dollars each year. So I guess whether it's sending gold to strangers or waging war on pennies, we're at a point in time where Americans have concluded that the best way to deal with a tough economy is to throw away money by making pennies and blind-mailing jewelry.

(not me, I still do battle with the homeless and elderly when returning my bottles and cans at the grocery store)

But I must say, the Penny War certainly is something I'd get behind. Afterall, without the penny it'd be harder for Cash4Gold to pay people the $.04 they have been, plus banning the penny would mean the eventual demise of that other racket known as Coinstar.

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Diana Ross and the Steelers [04 Feb 2009|08:51pm]
I know I'm three days late in my Super Bowl aftermath commentary, but such is my life currently. As I mentioned the other day, I know nothing about football. So typically I watch the Super Bowl and end up noticing other random details, such as the players themselves.

Now I know Cher has reinvented herself about 67 times throughout her career. But I think Diana Ross takes the cake for the ultimate, extreme changeover...



...as a Steeler!



Wow.

On the commercial front, Pedigree was my favorite:



Except for one thing- while I agree with their assessment that people should get a dog over most other animals like wild boars and rhinos, they're wrong about ostriches! After all, I've come a long way since last year's introduction to Gizmo:


Gizmo & Me on New Year's Day


Gizmo in the middle of doing his 'dance'

Okay okay, I admit it took me about 45 minutes to muster up the courage for those photos! Plus I will never get in the pen with him because I'm terrified of his feet. From what I've read, ostriches can kill you with one kick. No thanks! I will love him from behind the fence.

And speaking of other fun animals, here I am with some of Gizmo's friends:


Mindy the Deer & Me


An adorable goat who's name I don't know, which makes me feel terrible because...


...clearly he liked me and showed it with a kiss!

And there you have it: another random, yet insightful update about "my world". Ha!

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Super Mobile Bowl [31 Jan 2009|01:33pm]
I know I've fallen off the "posting wagon" again. I can't even begin to explain how busy I am with work. Until the rocky economy settles, it's 24/7 work with a bit of ice hockey and cat work thrown in.

Anyway, speaking of work, I thought I'd share something fun for the Super Bowl. I work with a sports-based mobile gaming company called KlickSports and we just officially launched this week for tomorrow's game:



KlickSports debuts multi-platform sports-based prediction gaming

By Dan Butcher

January 27, 2009



KlickSports, a provider of live, sports-based interactive prediction gaming, is targeting sports fans to join and compete via its multi-platform offering in time for the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.

During the Super Bowl, consumers can participate in predictive gaming for sports enthusiasts via both online and mobile formats. With KlickSports, members connect and compete with friends and other fans to make predictions, support their teams and show off their knowledge about various leagues including college football and basketball teams, pro baseball, pro football and auto racing.

“We’ve been trialing this for quite a while, and we had a soft launch at the end of November with college basketball and football bowl games,” said Jose daVeiga, CEO of KlickSports, Los Angeles. “Brands include our message in their existing marketing efforts, word has been spreading through Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth, and now we’re doing a big thing with the Super Bowl."

...

KlickSports is currently offering immediate participation in the Super Bowl by visiting http://www.klicksports.com/promo/1271, followed by a March Madness Challenge, where fans play along with a single team in each region during every round through the final.

Fans predict team and player stats live during the game and play against their friends and other fans for points and prizes.


You can read the full story here.

I am terrible at anything related to football, but I'm attempting to play tomorrow. So if you're watching the game, join up and play against me!



The specific Super Bowl game is here. It's completely free and there are prizes involved:



Here's to hoping I don't come in last...!

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Just breathe... easier said than done! [08 Jan 2009|10:31am]
I can't believe that Mia's seven years old already! I vividly remember the day I brought her home, marveling at how tiny she was and praying my allergies wouldn't force me to give her up. Not only did I get to keep her, but I've added nine more to the family since then, not to mention all of the fosters in between!



Why am I reflecting on this now, you ask? Because I'm in a WebMD article that discusses how people have over come their allergies to "thrive"!



Staying Active and in Control Despite Their Allergies

Meet four people with allergies who combine medication, alternative therapies, and the right attitude to maintain control over their lives.

By Don Fernandez
WebMD Feature

For people who have allergies, the challenges of remaining physically active can easily outweigh the benefits to their health and mental well-being. Running, swimming, and even gardening -- how enjoyable can these activities be when just taking a breath is so exhausting?

But having seasonal allergies doesn't mean you have to become a shut-in. Nor does it mean, even in environments where pollen and other irritants are plentiful, that you have to give up exercise. "Allergies are not a disability,” says Clifford Bassett, MD. Bassett, an allergist/immunologist, is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. “With the wonderful ways we have for diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma,” he says, “people can do quite well.” Bassett tells WebMD he sees many people who participate in sports at all levels. “It's a disease you can conquer and control," he says.

Liz Erk: Runner, Rower, Skater

Liz Erk never believed she was strong enough, fast enough, or tough enough. A runner in her youth, she would quickly run out of breath, wheezing and panting for air. The same thing happened when she joined the rowing team at Northwestern University.

"I used to beat myself up," says Erk, 31, of Boston. "I just thought I was out of shape."

Fitness wasn't the problem. The same allergies that caused Erk to feel as if she was suffocating when she was near a cat also affected her athletic performance. Her whole family, in fact, is challenged by a bevy of allergens: cats, trees -- particularly pine -- dust, and pollution. "I have memories of visiting relatives with cats and we'd have to time the visits," she says. "As I got to be 10 years old, I couldn't breathe around cats. It was not a lot of fun."

As she grew into adulthood, her passion for activity was often curtailed by unpleasant allergy symptoms that made athletics and even socializing a challenge. Instead of retreating indoors, though, she decided to tackle the problem head on.

First came the allergy medication, which helped ease her difficulty with breathing and relieve her asthma symptoms. Next, she turned to acupuncture, which provided more relief. Soon she noticed a marked improvement. The only exception was when the foliage changed each fall and spring.

She still had a problem with cats, but then ironically fell in love with a kitten named Mia. A doctor told her to get rid of the furry feline, but she refused. Then a friend gave her some encouraging advice: Making a kitten part of your home, her friend said, might allow your system to develop immunity to the allergens as the cat matures.

So she did it, and it worked -- perhaps too well, she chuckles. Erk now owns 10 cats and volunteers at a cat shelter in her spare time. She even upgraded to a three-bedroom home specifically so her cats would have room to roam. An activity that she once considered "virtual suicide" has now become an integral part of her life and lifestyle. No more wheezing. Her eyes no longer swell shut when she hears a "meow" and the cat nuzzles her. She even credits fighting against her cat allergy with improving her social life. She no longer shies away from visiting friends who have pets.

Meanwhile, Erk's found a new athletic passion. Two years ago, she learned how to skate and started to play ice hockey. That’s brought back her inner competitor. "For my level, I'm pretty fast," Erk says. "And it's all because I have the stamina for it."

Fighting back against the irritants that caused her such grief has altered Erk's life both mentally and physically. "My life is completely different," she says. "Tackling my allergens head on made a total difference for me. I'm in the best shape of my life."


I thought it was a fun little piece! The only inaccuracy is that I went to Northeastern University, not Northwestern. But that's okay!

So happy 2009 and here's to another year of breathin' easy! (Or at least trying... I definitely have my tough days, but hey... I'm happy to have gotten as far as I have after all these years.

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This is a shout out to my Guardian Angel... [22 Dec 2008|12:15pm]
Today's post is brought to you by the Number 7, the Letter L, and my Guardian Angel.

As most of you know, we got absolutely BURIED with snow over here in the Boston area. This year I decided to stay ahead of the game (ie- save my back) and went out to clear the snow every few hours during the heaviest times it was falling. I ended up shoveling a total of 9 times between Friday evening and this morning, so mission accomplished. (And PS, keeping up with the snow meant I could keep my car in the driveway and not run the risk of getting attacked by unstable neighbors.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed the snow and ice were weighing down my little Japanese Maples, so I shoveled a path through my backyard to clear them off.

Well. After I dug the snow out from the base of each tree and removed the snow from the branches, I trudged back to the house. I'd decided I'd had enough of being in my wet clothes, so I went in through the back door, just in time to hear a loud crackling sound.

I turned around to watch this enormous pine tree branch land right where I'd been walking:



My jaw dropped open and I immediately said "thank you!" outloud. Not only did the 15 foot branch not land on me, it also steered clear of my house and fence. I just couldn't believe how it landed right on my little path.

So I guess this holiday season I can add "not getting clobbered by a tree branch" to my list of things I'm thankful for.

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