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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Advertising Stupidity

Lately I've been struggling a bit with my Intro to Advertising course. It's self-paced and I'll probably be done this week. Except for the final exam which is FREAKING ME OUT.

A few times, I've had no idea what the professor was looking for and turned in work that I was very unsure of - but she loved it. "You've displayed a clear grasp of the concepts in this chapter."

Then this past week, I turned in an essay worth a big chunk of my final grade. I was very sure of my work. In fact, I might go as far as to say I was proud of the analysis I had written, including the clarity with which I supported my assessment. Result? B-. "While you make some good points, I feel you have completely misidentified the approach used for this commercial."

Say WHAT?!?!?

Now my confidence is shaken. I debated writing back to her saying I disagreed with her critique. I'm finding myself afraid to turn in some of my other work. And the final exam which was FREAKING ME OUT? It's now FREAKING ME OUT ZOMG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!

Uh huh.

In my usual fashion, I respond to criticism by taking it to heart, learning from it, making adjustments and moving forward criticizing back. No, not the professor. But I've found our textbook to be so poorly edited that it makes me want to scream. Besides the constant issues with "of" where it should say "or" or singular when the word should be plural, I've recently come upon these two glaring examples of stupidity:

"broadcast media: media, such as radium television, and interactive media, which transmit sounds or images electronically"
"Senior executives could care less about which shipping method is used..."
Radium television? Oh, and do NOT get me started about "could care less". And if you don't understand why "could care less" is wrong, please go read this post and save yourself a punch in the face.

Anyways, since the book is poorly edited, I'm sure that must mean it is not credible. And since the instructor chose the textbook, that also means she is not in a position to criticize me. So I win.

But I still have to pass that stupid exam.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Note to Self

Today, I try something new with this award. I'm not even sure it's technically possible, but I'm determined to find out.

Dearest Thou Whom We Call Cate,

You know that fruit gives you a tummy ache in the morning so why do you eat it? You asked Joe to make you a nice fruit smoothie breakfast, which he happily did because he knew it would please you (and also because the packets make two servings so he wins as well). Then you drank it on the way to work, only to be sick upon arriving. Ninety minutes later, you had to go crawling home because you felt so sick, which made Joe feel bad even though he was not at fault.

Drinking the smoothie became a domino effect, including a call at home from the Drama Llama, I supposed to make sure you were actually at home sick. Or, maybe just to whine and cry and make more drama because he can't leave it alone.

This, in turn, gave you a major angry again about work. And sunk you even deeper into this big ole pit of depression you can't seem to climb out of.

Next time, don't drink the smoothie. Don't even think about drinking the smoothie. Greasy fastfood biscuits or bacon are clearly a more acceptable offering to your morning hunger.

Just say no to evil fruit,


P.S. Knock off the referring to yourself in the third person crap. You hate when other people do it so no more!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

This week, technology can BITE ME

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, June 25, 2010

How I Spent Mental Health Day

Since the universe decided to cooperate, I was able to take my Mental Heath Day (MHD) on Wednesday. And boy did I ever need it.

When I went online that morning, I mentioned to SomeMonkey that I had slept in (which was awesome) but now I needed to get to work because I had a lot to accomplish on my MHD.

The short version of the conversation is that she yelled at me for doing it wrong. "No lists on MHD!!!"

No, the problem isn't that I was doing it wrong, it's that she was understanding it wrong. MHD for me is very rarely about chilling and doing nothing. It's about catching up on things I haven't had time for, which in turn allows me to stop fretting. AKA, I accomplish things that were piling up, restoring a bit of mental health.

I colored my hair. Maybe it was paranoia but I was sensing this silvery thing going on near my temples (the ones on my head, not the ones in the backyard with the shrine to Alan Rickman). $5.99 and 20 minutes later, no more worrying about silvery hairs!

I did a lot of class assignments. I'm a week ahead of due dates for class #1 and made nice progress on class #2.

I conducted a feasibility study to assess whether or not I can complete the classwork necessary to finish my marketing certificate by the end of the year, while working full-time. The answer is yes - but it's going to take a whole lot of time and some support from the husband. Which is why I called it a feasibility study and wrote up my proposal as such - it's the perfect way to get buy-in from His Supreme Professional Geekiness.

I crossed a few other things off my list as well. What I refused to do was any kind of housework (other than cleaning up a pile of Tonya-puke that she had left at the bottom of the stairs and doing a few dishes). I also did not nap, lounge in front of the tv, or really do much leisure activity.

Still, it was a successful Mental Health Day. I feel more calm now about the things I need to do and my ability to complete them all. Thank you, universe, for cooperating.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Friendly Reminder

Recent email I received at work:
Dear Cate,
This is a friendly reminder that you have signed up for a free glucose and cholesterol screening on Tuesday at 8:30am. blahblahblah
Here's what I want to know - why doesn't anyone ever send me an unfriendly reminder? Something more like this:
OMG Cate, seriously, try not to forget you have a health screening on Tuesday!
Or even a step further - a totally hostile reminder:
Cate, if you don't show up for your scheduled screening on Tuesday, I'm going to have to track you down and punch you in the face!
Those are much more interesting reminders.

Not to mention, this so-called friendly reminder wasn't overly friendly. Just factual. Complete failure on the part of our HR department.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unscentsible

Sunday, I had to run into the drugstore of choice to pick up my chill-pills and a few other goodies, including deodorant. I looked for my preferred brand. No unscented. I checked the other brands - flowers, powder, "rain", citrus. No unscented.

What's the deal with that? The whole point of deodorant is to DE-ODOR. Not to mask the odor with something else. Not to make us smell like roses or lemons. Just to make us not smell like sweat or any other thing.

Isn't that what perfume is for?

By the time I use my Japanese cherry blossom body wash, mint shampoo and conditioner, and flower deodorant, I already have 3 competing smells before I put on my "fresh scent" soap detergent and "summer breeze" dryer sheet clothes.

And then where does perfume fit into all of this?

Maybe I'm just a little over-scentsitive about this issue because smells in general tend to make me want to hurl. I go to great lengths to avoid walking past the perfume counters in department stores (why do they have to be right at the entrance?) because they're certain to induce a headache. And there's one lady at work who must just ROLL in her perfume because if she's been in our office suite in the last 30 minutes, I can smell her trail.

I do my best to present myself each day free of sense scents except perhaps a bit of a soapy-clean smell. I wish more people would be considerate and do the same.

Including deodorant companies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Brief Note to the Universe

Hey Universe -

Remember me? You call me Cate sometimes. Lately, it feels like you only notice me at all when you're trying to ruin my day life.

I recently read a chapter in a book that addressed putting positivity out there so you would reciprocate. Without going into details, I've done that this morning.

The chapter also said to ask you for something specific. I'm going to start very small. If you'd like to give me a glimmer of hope, you will NOT let the consultants at work schedule a meeting for tomorrow. This girl could really use a mental health day to sort some things out.

Let me know what you can do, okay?

Thanks,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Psycho

Remember how I was all freaked out that my gym was changing locations because the idea of change horrifies me?

Somehow I survived the first few visits. I changed into my gym clothes at work, drove to the gym, worked out, drove home, showered in the safety and privacy of my own bathroom.

This was fine for a couple of weeks until Joe and I went to the gym together on a Saturday morning. We were on a tight schedule trying to fit in workouts and still make my eye appointment so he suggested showering at the gym instead of taking time to come home.

Umm, excuse me? Get naked in the public shower? What is this, high school?

But my practical side won out so I went along with his brilliant idea. All was well at first. The locker room was actually empty so I didn't have to bear the shame of people looking at my nekkidness as I bundled in a hand-towel-they-pretend-is-a-shower-towel and tip-toed over to the shower.

The shower itself was fine. I would've preferred a locking stall door but it was plenty private with a shower curtain, changing area, another shower curtain, and then the shower itself. Plus, they provide soap and shampoo. Awesome.

Just as I was calming down at the ok-ness of this, the lights went off. As in pitch-black. I mean, it's a shower - there aren't windows in there. My mind immediately went to the shower scene from Psycho and every cliche horror movie scene since then where the killer is IN THE HOUSE, turns out the lights, and then ATTACKS the woman in the shower where she is naked and most vulnerable.

I quickly rinsed off in silence (because, you know, they wouldn't hear the water running), grabbed my towel, and slowly stepped out of the shower curtain. Immediately, the lights came back on.

Yeah, the lights were hooked to a motion sensor to save the gym electricity. I had noticed this in other rooms but what moron thought that was a good idea in the shower area? Of course the sensor can't see activity once you've left the main hall and moved into one of the shower stalls!

I wonder if that stupid motion sensor has freaked anyone else out or if I'm just special.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Post About Art

Hope you're all having a lovely Father's Day.

I don't post on Sundays anymore but I did just post over on my Never Fall Away blog about my visit to an art museum today and my taste in art.

Anyways, if you're bored, there it is. Otherwise, see you tomorrow when I'll be posting either about the shower at my gym or scented deodorant. Seriously.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

another week gone already? time flies...

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, June 18, 2010

Party Girl

Ever party so hard you don't even remember it?
me: Hello?
StrangeDude: Hey, LaShonda?
me: No, I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong number. What number are you calling?
StrangeDude: (reads out my number)
me: That's this number but it's my cellphone. No LaShonda here, sorry.
StrangeDude: Are you playing with me? You don't remember me from bar name last night?
me: I wasn't there last night. I was at home.
StrangeDude: You were pretty drunk. Maybe you just don't remember.
me: I'd remember not being home. And if she was that drunk, maybe that explains how she gave you the wrong number?
StrangeDude: No, this is definitely the right number. Why are you messing with me? You said to call!
me: Sorry, mister, but it's not the right number and I never told you to call me because I was not at the bar last night.
StrangeDude: You know, you don't really sound like a LaShonda.
me: That's because I'm not.
StrangeDude: So, umm, wanna meet me at bar name tonight?
me: Sure. I'll bring my husband.
StrangeDude: Nevermind. click
That's actually the second time a stranger has invited me to a bar. And the second time the offer was rescinded when I said I'd come but bring my husband.

Must be Joe's reputation precedes him.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

False Advertising Award

I've been working like a good girl on my marketing classes and so I like to think of myself as an expert I've learned a thing or two. Today, I share some of my expertise with a local company, free of charge.

Dear Local Lawncare Company,

It did not please me to come home last night and find a plastic baggy full of little stones and an advertisement for your company in my driveway. Really, you want to care for my lawn? You want to beautify my neighborhood? And how do you propose to do that, exactly? Because I must say throwing LITTER in my driveway was a lousy start. Braving the heat to pick up the trash you threw from your car because you couldn't be bothered with the effort of taping a flyer to the mailbox or hang something on my front door was unappreciated and doesn't impress upon me that you will put a great effort into caring for my yard.

You suck at effective "advertising" and I wish the City would fine you for it,


And yeah, I sent the same nastygram through their website. Because they made me angry.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to Do Neighborhood Recon

Our neighborhood has a Google Group that was created years back when we were fighting the Big Bad (Undisclosed) City over a nuisance nearby. We won that battle and the email group is now mostly used for people who've misplaced their cats.

However, over the weekend, this email came out:
We're planning on hosting a neighborhood 4th of July party in the culdysack [sic, also sick]. Please let us know if your family will attend.
Nice, a little neighborhood togetherness. Considering our subdivision completely ignores each other unless we're fighting The Man (or whispering about Angry Neighbor), this is probably a good idea. Because I totally couldn't pick any of my neighbors out of a line-up. I don't know these people. Sad, maybe. Or a testament to the times. Whatever, it's the truth.

But here's the awesome part. The responses:
  • We will be out of the country from the 1st to the 10th and unable to attend
  • We'll be at the beach that weekend
  • I'll be around because I'm dogsitting for the Andersons next door while they're out of town
  • I live alone and will be on assignment for work in Boston for the entire month of July. Maybe next time
What's truly brilliant about this is that there's no real verification process for being added to the list. Ask and your email will be added and access granted. There's no double-checking, no removing of people who move out.

So if you're a crafty crook, you just pose as a neighbor, get on the list, and invite everyone over. Then you wait for all of the people to respond with exactly when they'll be out of town and you can rip them off.

Cool.

P.S. Not that I'm paranoid or anything.
P.P.S. Our alarm system is on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Role Reversal

Saturday morning, Joe and I were busy packing for an overnight trip when we had an uninvited visitor.

Another.
Damn.
Mouse.

Seriously.

So while the cats lounged on the back porch, sipping frosty beverages with little umbrellas, working on their tans, the two of us spent some time hunting a mouse upstairs.

When the deed was done, Joe took the body of the late Mr Mouse out to the backyard, passing by the two lazy kitties. Tonya may have opened one eye and laughed at him. Rusty only stretched and rolled over to bake his other side.

Our cats are complete failures at being cats.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

heat and humidity make Cate cranky

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, June 11, 2010

Patience...

...I'm fresh out.

Anyone know where I can put in an order for an overnight delivery?

What do YOU wish you could order?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Unproductive

This morning, I came into work early because I have so much to accomplish. Work projects, schoolwork, etc.

So let's see what happened. I arrived at 7:45am, went to get my coffee, and was cornered by the boss for 90 minutes.

90 minutes. That's an hour and a half. You know what I could've done in that amount of time?
  • read a chapter in my textbook
  • finished the ordinance updates
  • written an article that I should've written last night
And now I've just wasted another 10 minutes whining about the boss's whining.

Guess I should get to work...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Pardon the Interruption

Please excuse this brief interruption in the "Blogging: How I'm Doing It Wrong" series. Mostly because I just didn't write anything last night.

Instead, I was taking care of other things. One of the many things making my life chaotic right now is that my mother is back in the hospital. For those of you unaware, her appendix burst early last week so they did emergency surgery to remove it and flush out infection. She went home on Thursday (I think) and was fine until Sunday night when she started feeling sick again. Dad took her back to the hospital Monday morning and the doctors confirmed a "pocket of infection" so they've been taking care of that and she should be going home again this morning.

Anyways, as a result, I was talking to my sister last night. Something that doesn't happen nearly as often as it ought to but it's one of those things I'm working on. At one point, Collin (my 2yo nephew) grabbed the phone to tell me his solution to world peace:
Hihihihihihihi! Ablahblahblahblahblah!!! Byebyebyebyebyebye!!!!!!!
Now, I just need to find an interpreter. Anyone out there able to translate toddler-ese?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Blogging: I'm Doing It Wrong (Part 2)

Another installment in my series about how I fail at blogging according to "them". Really, just trying to start some conversation on blogging wisdom and best practices.

Mistake #2: Serial vs Stand-Alone

This failure came to my attention by way of a comment. As long-time readers know (or, really, those of you who have been around for a week or more), I have an extremely strained relationship with my mother and as a result, I'm not close to my family at all. In a comment about my mother, a commenter called me ungrateful. And while I don't expect everyone to agree with me all of the time (in fact, I really value those who can express a differing opinion in a way that helps my understanding), I felt that in this case, the commenter was clearly new to my blog. Anyone with a bit of background would realize that this wasn't necessarily a case of me being ungrateful but an example of a time my mother disappointed through her lack of caring.

So, if you're still with me, here's the question I'd like to address in this post:

Do you assume your readers are return visitors, allowing you to refer to past posts, or do you write each day as a stand-alone entry, giving all information pertinent to the situation?

That's one I haven't thought much about. A lot of you who comment here seem to come by somewhat regularly. Which I <3.. I don't want to bore you by recapping my lifestory in every post. But for those who are new, maybe it's confusing if I don't explain.

 The answer to this one may depend on the purpose of the blog. I started writing for me, then there were followers, and now I write for me but I do so while being very aware of the "audience". It's like Real World, Cate's Brain. You can't show unaltered reality on those shows because the participants are aware of the cameras. It's probably the same for me on this blog.

But, what do you think? Again, I'd like to hear what you think and how you handle your blog - as an on-going journal/story of you, or as self-contained entries.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Blogging: I'm Doing It Wrong (Part 1 in a Series)

As I near my 600th post (uh huh!), sometimes I feel like I'm doing it all wrong according to "them". Who are them they? They range from blogging experts to readers/commenters to the voices in my head. Over the next week or so, I'm going to ask for your input on ways I'm doing it wrong. I'd like some conversation!

Mistake #1: Pictures
Apparently, all posts should contain pictures. This is key to attracting reader interest.

Now, I don't often do this. If the image is unique/mine (like my flower last Friday) or if it helps make a point or a funny (bad grad gifts), I'll throw in a picture.

However, I don't generally throw in stock photography just because they say I should have a photo of some sort. I figure if I'm talking about being stung by a bee, a relevant image would be the swelling on my arm but there's no point in including a random photo of a bee - I assume my readers are smart enough to know what a bee looks like.

Now, I realize that maybe an image would hint at the content of the post without having to read any words, so maybe I'm short-changing myself. Maybe that picture of a bee would increase readership.  If that's the conclusion this conversation comes to, I'm willing to change my ways.

Personally, I'm more drawn in by words than by a photo of some random stock images but a photo taken by the writer can be a powerful lure as well. How important are images in persuading you to read a post? Does it matter if they're unique images or photos? In your own blogging, what's your photo philosophy?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does each week with their entries.

exploring my artistic side with watercolors

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. That way, everyone has equal chance. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

All that's necessary to participate is to post your own six words. You can post an explanation if you wish but it's certainly not required. If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, June 04, 2010

Creator

Look what I made!



And when I say *I*, I totally mean *I*. You may credit God or Ceiling Cat or the Dharma Initiative or Joss Whedon or Steve Jobs if you like, but I planted it, I watched something eat it last year before it could bloom, I have visited it every morning sweet-talking it into blooming. And today, it bloomed.

I hope that's a sign of good things. And that all of its little friends (there are 7 more though this is by far the largest for some reason) will join it in blooming soon.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I feel what I feel

I'm tired of apologizing for it.

I'm tired of being ashamed that the way I'm feeling isn't correct.

I'm tired of not trusting my feelings because they aren't what a normal person would feel.

You see, my dad called yesterday at noon. He told me that my mother's appendix had burst and she had just come out of emergency surgery. They kept her overnight to monitor infection but the doctor seemed to think everything would be just fine. Once they feel they're in the clear from infection, she'll go home.

So what do I feel?

More than I would expect, less than I think I should. Less than you probably think I should.

But this is my mother. This mother. This one. Also, the one that I've barely touched upon here. Only a few reading this know about all that.

When he told me, I felt concerned for the lack of sleep my father had gotten over the previous 24 hours. I felt sad for me and the fact that our relationship rates so low that I was just now finding out, AFTER surgery. I felt relieved for me that I didn't have to deal with her death yet because I'm just too busy and too unstable.

I'm not saying I didn't feel sorry for my mother. I'm human. I do have a heart. But I didn't feel so much different than if one of you, whom I've never met, told me that your mother, whom you've mentioned only briefly, had suffered a ruptured appendix and just come out of surgery.

And I'm tired of feeling like my feelings aren't good enough, right enough, correct enough. I feel what I feel. I know what I know. I react how I react. If it's not necessarily logical or if you don't have enough insight to understand, I'm tired of having to feeling the need to justify it. It's not just about my mother - it's about everything. Sometimes it's hard doubting yourself all the time because the way you process things doesn't make sense to the black-and-white rational people around you.

I feel what I feel. I'm entitled to that. I trust have to learn to allow myself that.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Shortcuts

Lately, with so much going on, I find myself constantly saying things and then following them with "in my free time".

And then I laugh, because who am I kidding? Free time?

So I've come up with a great scheme to help free up some of my time and because I'm such a giver, I'm going to share my secret with all of you. Ready?

It's brilliant!

You'll wonder why nobody has thought of it sooner!

Okay, here's the plan. From now on, every time I find myself wanting to say "in my free time", I'm instead going to abbreviate it as "IMFT". It will be so efficient that it will eventually free up enough time that I might be able to get to some of those projects I've had to put on the backburner.

Yeah, too bad you didn't come up with it first. I'm totally filing for a patent. IMFT.