Most Offensive Wedding Gift Ever – An Apron

aprons, 50's, style, sexist, worst, wedding gift, everWith all that has happened in the last 100 years in women’s suffrage and our battle for equality of the sexes,  I am surprised and a bit offended that this company thinks that a 1950’s style apron is the perfect wedding shower gift. Who thinks that? Getting a blender that both you and your husband can use to make smoothies from twice is at least equal. An apron says: Hey you, woman, go make dinner! Grunt grunt…

Haven’t we fought hard against female stereotypes and the opportunity to be self sufficient, smart and hold an equal career and home responsibilities with a man? How can these aprons possibly be appropriate when they plunge us right back at the turn of the last century? A girly apron like this is only worn by a woman, never a man. Why not get a more functional William’s Sonoma Gender Neutral Apron that both he and she can wear depending on who is doing the messier cooking? Why say: Hello, I am not good for anything but cooking or cleaning, don’t ask me to think… with one of these career limiting sexist aprons?

Eww. All I have to say is if I ever get married, don’t get me one of these. Please, I would rather have a blender.

Ack Recession!

I have lived through 2 recessions that I can remember already and I really don’t need a third. The thing is that our economy used to run in 30 year cycles according to our history books. Now we seemed to be on a 10 year cycle early 90’s recession and 2001 recession pointed to this. And this time we were only growing the economy for about 5 years! (2002-2007) So, the Fed didn’t improve the economy by lowering interest rates back in 2001-2003 they just sped up the cycle.  And what they are doing now may be speeding up the cycle even faster. What will life be like if we have alternating boom bust years every other year? This is getting a little crazy.

How do you plan for your retirement or family or future with a yo-yo economy?

How can you buy property not knowing if you will have a job in a year? Or be able to get a job in the US reliably in 10 years when they have all gone overseas to lower rent districts? Sure some people will, but what about the average masses? Even those with college degrees keep having to change direction into the flavor of the month job wise with these companies and not everything is a living wage.

I just don’t know where our economy is going considering we have opened the door ourselves on developing nations and are being hit hard by how it has stolen the majority of our growth and industry. We are left as a nation of 300 million luxury consumers that on average owe $128,000.00 each to the bank (per economist’s state of 2008) and will take everything out on credit to have the latest new stuff. When we can’t borrow anymore or pay the bills (like now) the economy will crash and people don’t have any savings to stay afloat. I call that false growth in the first place, but the markets don’t seem to distinguish between what they can falsley get you to buy into for a while before it crashes and real growth, nor do they seem to care.

Doesn’t it feel like 1929 to you sometimes?

Of course these are generalizations and you may not fit the bill at all here but it’s the generalizations that run the economy right now. And I think it’s sad. Our nation’s executives and business leaders have sold out to the lowest bidder and given our jobs away with no loyalty to the country which made all their wealth possible. All the while expecting us to mortgage ourselves to the hilt to keep buying their goods. Something has to change with corporate accountability in order for this to settle without a complete melt down disaster.  And stop blaming the American consumer. It’s not their fault. If they weren’t set up to fail by huge greedy businesses none of this would have happened.

Ninja Bear Gun vs Rock Paper Scissors

Oh my, the creatives have come up with a new one. They are playing Ninja Bear Gun rather than the old Rock Paper Scissors. Where do they come up with these? In case you are wondering…

The ninja beats – kicks the gun out of your hand

The bear beats – mauls the ninja

The gun beats – shoots the bear

Love that there isn’t any violence here…

But then again you can get loopy by working this much.

That’s all for now.

TopGear USA Version 2 with NBC BBC Partnership

According to this news article NBC has contracted with the BBC to produce a USA version of TopGear for network free tv. No estimates on when it would launch but I would guess Fall of 2008. It is sad though that I think they may miss the mark. A lot of funny TopGear stuff is not suitable for US TV let alone would pass the network censors.

Anyway, I did get some hope when I suggested a few months ago that TopGear should hold open auditions for the 3 presenter spots when launching a new show in a new country because you can more accurately find talent that is in touch with what is funny and new with cars. Plus its a huge PR event to get the public involved.

Anyway the TopGear Australian franchise took my advice (or thought of it too) and has open auditions scheduled. Go Aussies! Bring us some Holden goodness.

Another Word of advice: for an unscripted but not a reality show, you need people with a background in Improv and Cars. Or a smart ass who knows cars, or an improv funny guy who knows nothing about cars and gets to be the new captain slow. And these presenters have to have strong opinions about cars for it to clash in a funny way. Who knows. But improv training and quick wit is a big part of the equation. Exploiting your lack of knowledge for comedy can be just as funny as knowing a lot.

So, what I want to know is where do I sign up? You could very easily use a girl in the mix right?

The other part of the successful mix is not chopping it into small pieces with commercials every 5 minutes and not ruining it with dumb stunts like fear factor. I hate fear factor but love TopGear. If you put anything like FF on TG I will hunt you down and hang you by your toenails. It’s supposed to be about humor in car culture and in every day life. Heck, get the Jalopnik guys. They know the cult of cars as good as anyone I know.

My brother just replied to my email I sent alerting him to this and suggested that Jay Leno or Tim Allen host but I really think they need presenters who are unknown and from improv. Jay Leno and Tim Allen are great funny car guys, but they are too attached to other brands and images. And they aren’t a Jeremy Clarkson. Plus how are you going to get through traffic on the 405 with filming big stars anyway? Would either of those guys put on a wet suit and try to windsurf in freezing cold water? And be ok with failing miserably in freezing cold water? You also need unknown people so you don’t attract too much attenton filming in the city as these challenges are happening.

On a side note about the show content, they need to visit all the racing and car history places along the way going cross country as they film different challenges. (think INDY) They go across entire countries in a day on UK TopGear but in the US it would be states instead. At least you don’t need a passport. And we need an American cousin Stig that actually fits in the car this time. Not all Americans are that fat.

Anyway, my lack of time for this post is probably evident in it’s lack of  structure, grammar and spelling, but you get the point: NBC/BBC: Don’t FORK this up!

And my brother just emailed again saying he still wants Tim Allen to host with 2 unknown but funny/smart side kicks. Ok, we can compromise on that, but no denim shirts and grunting this time ok? That’s so 1990’s. Ugh. 

Another idea; Why not Ze Frank? he singlehandedly entertained us on the internet for a year and might be perfect for this kind of non scripted show. Check out the show and his TED talk from a few years ago if you have a minute.  I have been wondering what he has been up to and missing his show anyway. Maybe this would be a good opportunity for him. Hey Studio people, give Ze a call!

 Update: The first TopGear USA NBC host has been chosen: Adam Corola.

Updates abound…

A recap of some random things floating around in my head this morning:

1. The Golden Globes were anti-climactic without a big star studded event surrounding the awards. I actually don’t think anyone cares who the best actors or movies were this year when they can’t see those people live on TV at that moment. I don’t think anyone thinks any of these winners are any better this year because they didn’t see the people behind it or the big showy spectacle. I suppose it questions the validity of these kind of award shows. Do people care at all who wins? Is it indicative of better quality entertainment? Is it just a publicity blitz for the entertainment business in general?

2. The Christmas decorations are much harder to put away than they are to put up. And more exhausting.

3. Sinus infections suck. I woke up with what I thought was the beginning of one, but hopefully allergy meds have solved this. I feel better now.

4. The reviews about the movie The Kingdom were wrong. It is a very good movie in the sense that it examines alot of information about a problem and lets you make up your mind about what to do about it. I prefer that to just a canned solution that they impose on us, especially since no one has found the solution anyway. 

5. I am swamped at work again. So please don’t expect a lot of posts here in the next few weeks. It’s going to be busy so I probably won’t be able to post.

6. New trends in Internet marketing continue to emerge on blogs and a lot of newsletters I have gotten in the past few weeks. They are right in that people are more fragmented than ever, but I don’t think we know enough about the people we want to target to really make use of all this technology yet. Few marketers I have ever met really know who they are looking for (and all their demographic info) to sell their products to. Just buying a bunch of media with a broad audience and guessing isn’t very smart. ROI will jump with better information from product and consumer research on existing customers and analysis for trends among them to target new people. The ROI process has a limit between the cost and conversion data only.

7. Being friends with an ex is harder than it looks. I was moving in that direction ok, but Kev wasn’t. I think he wanted to be able to go back, but alas you never really can. He just said he wants to not talk for a while and I resepect that. I am sorry though that he can’t do just friends because he is a good friend that I hate to loose. I do understand his situation though and hope that in the future has friends that are gals that aren’t going to blur the line as being more and that he is ok with that. 

8. Chicago Sketchfest was great. So many talented performers so little time. Plus you run into a million people you know there!

9. I’m doing ok on my goals for the year so far. Although it’s only been 2 weeks. I haven’t lost much notable weight (only about 2lbs) and saved a ton of money yet, but I haven’t given up or messed up big yet either.

10. My parents will get to meet Steve for the first time this weekend I am both nervous and excited at the same time. I am sure they will all get along, but I still hope it goes well in a slightly nervous way. Things are going really well between us and I hope that it continues. It is good to be comfortable and happy in a relationship and not have to worry about loosing it or something bad happening. It seems like I just trust this more than I usually do. Now we get to add the rest of the family to the mix and see if it holds up.

Football Update Overheard in the Office

“I have it on good authority that Brett Farve (the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers) is actually 63% cheese.”

this was interjected in a conversation about football teams still in the playoffs.

This is why I enjoy sitting next to creatives. (Art/Design professionals) They have more creativity in their pinky fingernail than I do in my entire body.

This is the same guy that earlier in the week said that a Giant Rutebega had conquered the world.

And now back to work…

Six Creative Uses for RSS « eMarketing & New Media Trends

Six Creative Uses for RSS « eMarketing & New Media 

I thought that this was a good article, it outlines that RSS is still not used as much as it should be considering how versatile it is. Sometimes it has to do with a lack of technology knowledge about feeds and other times by the limitations of your reader. I have gotten away from feeds though for a different reason entirely, there is just too much info out there to keep up with, so I gave up trying in mid-2005. I am happier now to just read things as I run across them rather than having to see that all my feeds have been read and subscribing to everything I see that had one interesting post back in 2004. I do think that rss has more to give as far as mashing up content and re-purposing it as well as searching and delivering info also, but we haven’t really seen good user interface WYSIWYG tools for non-programmers yet to really access that potential. I hope in 08 things evolve further and RSS is a big winner.

Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

According to the FiveCentNickel money and finance blog and CNN these are the top consumer money resolutions of the year in 2008:

 1. Pay down debt (33%)
2. Save for retirement (23%)
3. Build an emergency fund (11%)
4. Buy real estate (11%)

I think that last one must be some seriously mis-informed people.

I also think building an emergency fund means that people feel the recessing coming. I know I do. It is looming around every corner in every shopping mall in America.

It may also be a telling statement about debt, that the levels are higher than ever before on average and people have that as their biggest issue and therefore rated #1. I have felt for about 6 months now that the consumer economy is wiped out. The people of the US can’t keep supporting the economy, they are maxed out and mortgaged to the hilt. And we don’t need more stuff, cheap or not. They owe more than they are worth and can’t spend more to finance this country’s economic growth anymore. We have to get big business and industry back operating and manufacturing in this country to support the economy with spending and supply jobs in order to get people and the economy back on track.

The list last year in 2007 looked like this:

1. Saving more (32%)
2. Paying down debt (25%)
3. Making more income (15%)
4. Spending less (13%)
5. Investing more (10%)
6. Saving for a large purchase (4%)
7. Don’t know (1%)

Woah, it’s window washing day here in the high rise,  and we’ve got guys on ropes swinging-about on our windows while washing them from the 31st floor outside. Fwamp! It’s a bit weird when you have meetings going on.

My New Years Resolutions for 2008 (goals) Happy New Year!

This year has been a trying one for me. Both for personal and non-personal reasons especially early in the year. Seriously, it’s not good when TopGear is a highlight of your week. There were some good things later in the year though and I appreciate them a lot. Anyway, here are some of my resolutions for 2008. Hopefully 2008 will be a better year than 2007 was overall.

1. Loose 20 lbs. It’s a necessity. It has been creeping on for 3-4 years and it’s time to take it off again. In real terms this means no deserts, walking or running regularly and no snacks from the vending machine or otherwise. I also have to help my cat Zeus loose some weight. He is also a bit overweight for his size and is equally lazy at the moment.

2. Save 5K more in savings again. I did this in 2007 and intend to do it again in 2008. To have some kind of safety net is important and I took the dependable cash flow from work for granted for too long. I am in ok financial shape now but it can always be better. Then eventually it would be nice to have some money invested again but that might not be until 2009.

3. To keep things going along well with Steve. This isn’t as much a goal as a hope.

4. To keep up the HPV  Cervical Pre-Cancer Dysplasia health related follow ups and surgery again when it’s needed later in the year.

5. To take some kind of web or HTML class. I have been saying this for years and there is only so much you can learn through mucking around right? I feel like I need it for work.

6. To be better at time management. This means to get to bed early and get up early first of all, and otherwise just try and be more conscious of the clock. I get into tunnel vision and loose all track of time and space. I am also a huge daydreamer and distracted easily person. Lots to do better here.

7. To learn to cook some things. Not a real specific goal here, but in general cooking at home is intended to be cheaper, healthier (less processed) and a learning experience so I don’t have to rely on takeout and pre-prepared foods all the time.

8. To get back into being more career goal oriented again. I have been happily sitting in the role I am in here for more than a year. I think it’s time to innovate it or change somehow to get to the next level again. This could be a new role or just more changes within this one. I feel antsy again, and that happens about every year or so.

 So that’s it and it’s published publicly so I have to follow through now. Happy New Year to all of you too.

What are some of your 2008 Goals?