Monday, January 30, 2006

I found a parking place

Someone once told me that finding a creative advertising job in San Francisco is a little like finding a parking place: if you keep circling, you’ll eventually find one, but you have to be patient.

I guess patience finally paid off. Today - 2 years, 11 months and 22 days after I left my boring career in marketing - I slid myself right into an available space. And not a 10-minute zone freelance kind of space. A full-time you’re gonna have to pry my ass out of this space ‘cause I got the club across my wheel kind of space. That’s right, I’m gainfully employed as a full-time copywriter. Woohoo! Health insurance, 401 K, flex spending – you will be mine!

Ironically enough, I worked here part-time while I was in ad school so it was nice to return and see lots of friendly, familiar faces. Only now they have a lot more awards. Good for them. And good for me! A round of paychecks for everyone!

You’ve GOT to be kidding me
Believe it or not, I haven’t watched “The Bachelor” since my previous entry so I have no idea what’s going on. But I tuned in tonight and heard the most ridiculous, most naïve thing that only someone of the male persuasion could be clueless enough to utter.

Two girls that he rejected were invited back to “help” him decide which 2 of the remaining 6 deserved to go on private dates with him. The Bachelor’s take on this was something like this: “I mean, these girls are here to help me. I have no doubt that they only have my very best interests at heart despite the fact that I didn’t choose them.” OH. MY. GOD. Guys, really….tell me you’re not all that clueless. Girls, am I lyin’? We know those girls are only interested in exercising their new found power against the 1 or 2 girls that they didn’t like, right?

Oh, and one last thing. How come no one on this show even makes an effort to say the French words correctly? Is it so hard to say “bohn joor” instead of “bonn joo-er”? NO!! For the love of GOD!

The Devil went down to Bacon Grease
Alright, alright, I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged but don’t worry, I haven’t sold my soul to Satan. I was merely nursing a slight injury which prevents me from waving around my laptop which once felt light but now makes my back feels like its supporting 600 pounds of titanium instead of 4.

Anyway, I said a quick prayer for relief – you know the kind, the “Overpromise, Underdeliver”: “Please God, let this ripping pain in my lower back go away and I promise to buy 5 ‘Street Sheets’ a week for the rest of the year.”. And lo and behold, when I next checked my email someone had forwarded me a new blog by this old guy.

Huh. Not sure what to make of him yet but given my recent musings about organized religion I think I’m gonna be checking him out regularly to see what he has to say. Is he the real deal? I don’t know. I can’t say that I really like him if he is who he says is but maybe he can shed some light from the other side on what the hell is going on in our world. It’s always good to have multiple viewpoints. Plus he says that Ryan Seacrest and Mark Burnett are part of his “team” (Terri Hatcher? That hooker’s gotta be on the list too…double-check). He’s like an In Touch magazine from the bowels of hell. And you know I loves me some celebrity gossip, no matter what the origin.

So Prince B, I’m adding you to my blog roll. Don’t for a second think you’ve “got” me, because you don’t…and you never will. I’ll be watching you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Maybe the world needs one big colonic

Life just sometimes leaves you shaking your head, doesn’t it? I’m on the hunt again for housing (this time I’m signing a lease so I don’t have to endure this hell for at least 6 months) and as usual, craigslist and the fine people of San Francisco do not disappoint in the “WTF” category.

But wait – there’s more! (Insert starburst and 800 # here)

I don’t usually “rant” blogger-style, but today I’ve been making a mental list of things I’ve seen and/or experienced in the past 24 hours that I just don’t get. I turn to you, dear friends of the blogosphere, for answers. Hook a sister up….please.

From the bowels of Craigslist…
*Multiple stuffed animals – I don’t know about all of you but nothing makes me feel more relaxed at the end of a hard day than coming home to my collection of 10 stuffed animals, perfectly lined up on both sides of my sectional sofa, “watching” TV with me. And I get such satisfaction, such a sense of camaraderie, when I eat dinner and more of my stuffed animal family joins me, propped up on the 3 other chairs at the table. I don’t feel quite so lonely.

(Cue Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill”) Meet Clio. A grown woman on a quest to find the perfect roommate…for she and her stuffed friends!

I wish I were kidding. (I opted “no” on the room”).

*Pagan/vegan/vegetarian/scent-free/freakish Nazi people– OK, it’s your house. You’re looking for a roommate, you make the rules. But let’s just say that we get along really well, we click personality-wise. (That should be a good thing for potential roommates, right?) Now here’s a crazy compromise: I won’t make you eat any heinous cow or pig, I’ll use my own pans to cook that shit up and I’ll even store the offending cookware in my bedroom after I’ve washed it, somewhere behind my scent-free detergent underneath my copy of the Bible, behind my Jehovah’s Witness handbook and adjacent to all my Halloween costumes that I’ll never subject you to seeing. If we like each other and you’re true to your posting when you say “we don’t need to be best friends”, why should that matter?? Why can’t we all just get along? Give peace a chance, friend. (See? I’ll even try to get into your “communal vibe” requirement.)

…To crappy advertising angles…
*Left weave– The latest signage around Gap stores touts their new left weave jeans. Did I miss the launch of their right-weave jeans? Does anyone know the benefits of left vs. right weave? Are these left-weave jeans perhaps more liberal with the fabric? Roomier in the hip region? It’s a mystery.

*Tide Coldwater – Did you know that you could save up to $63 per year on your water bill by washing all your clothes in new (starburst!)? Tide Coldwater? Do you care? Exactly. Not that I’m pooh-poohing saving money, but that’s a mere 17 cents a day. I’m pretty sure I could dig out 17 old-chewed-gum-covered dirty pennies from my purse every day and just use hot water on my whites like a normal person and not have to spend the $63 I’ve saved on 9 or 10 bottles of $9 Tide Coldwater, thus leaving me in the hole roughly $30. (I’m tons of fun at parties) Seriously, Tide. LAME.

….and back to more bowels, this time from Hollywood
*“Fashionista Lisa” from Access Hollywoood – How did this woman earn this title? From her stints on “Days of Our Lives”, “Melrose Place” and now…”Dancing with the Stars”? Is this a revival of the ‘70s when people who weren’t really famous became famous simply for going on shows like “Match Game” and declaring their celebrity-hood? (Please tell me someone besides me remembers Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Sommers).

*Drew’s bra – Let’s see. I’m going on TV tonight in front of half a billion people. But it’s cool, I don’t need a bra. I’ll just let these jugs hang almost to my belly button in front of a good portion of the world’s population. And for added shits and giggles, I’ll select a (gorgeous) dress that’s so thin that the world can also see some nip action. Yeah, that’s a good plan. Because I’m already a star, it doesn’t matter. People loved “E.T”; they’ll love my nipples. Hey look, there’s Steven Spielberg! Hi, Stevie!

*ALL the “Desperate Housewives”/Melanie Griffith/Penelope Cruz/Mariah Carey – Do these women annoy the shit out of anyone but me? And Terry Hatcher! Stop acting like a 14-year old on a sugar rush from 2 packs of Hubba Bubba. For fuck’s sake! The world is watching, carry yourself with a modicum of adult dignity, woman!

And somebody, anybody, WHAT is the fascination with Mariah Carey? Do people really LIKE that heinous, hideola CD? OK, I hate it when people criticize my music choices…music is personal after all. (No really, people like it?)

Whew. I feel better just getting it all out there. Maybe this was my blogging colonic. I feel lighter and more radiant already.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Heads Carolina, Tails California

For the past 4 weeks, I’ve been trying really hard to literally run my ass off. 60 minutes of cardio, at least 4 times a week, weights, walking and taking stairs when I can, extra hair brushing strokes in the evening – pretty much anything. My joints hurt just to type about it. This evil age I’ve become is one unforgiving bitch. After 4 weeks of doing this 3 or 4 years ago – even with the occasional burrito Sunday glitch – I would be seeing results already. But no more.

Yesterday, since I had no freelance booked (ahem) I got to participate in my favorite 2 hours of gym fitness: a 1-hour ultimate conditioning class which consists of an allover weight workout followed by a 1-hour Booty Kickin’ step class (yes, real name). I’ve been going to this class fairly regularly since I’ve lived in San Francisco so even though my fitness levels have gone up and down over the years, I’ve mastered a lot of the harder moves taught by the instructors that have come and gone. Quite an accomplishment for an un-rhythmic white girl from the south. This isn’t one of those corner-to-corner-knees-only kind of classes, no sirree. It skews a little dancey. So in my fitter days, when I’d gotten the moves down, I felt like quite the Laker Girl. Ok, so I didn’t look like a Laker Girl but damn, I could move and I could keep up and some days I just swore I was Paula Abduhl.

But that was then and this is now.

I showed up to class yesterday with many of the very same people who’ve been in it for the past 6 years. All of us were in standard SF gym-wear: mainly tank tops and yoga-like pants and/or sweat pants. We exchanged nods and hellos and went back to our pre-class activity of standing around.

And then she arrived. A woman, my age-ish, who had somehow hijacked the instructor on his way in to explain to him that she was new to our gym, new to San Francisco, fresh off the United Airlines boat from the great state of North Carolina. And oh, was she representin’.

Dressed in a Carolina blue fleece jacket and extremely tight, short, lycra Carolina blue shorts (typically worn UNDER a longer pair of shorts), she explained that she’d been extremely active in her gym back home. She took her Carolina baseball hat off and removed her Carolina blue fleece to reveal – that’s right! – a Carolina sorority t-shirt of some ilk which she then removed to reveal a half-tank top that perfectly matched her Lycra, Carolina blue shorts. She donned a Carolina blue and white sweatband on her head and began to enthusiastically stretch while the rest of the class watched - mouths agape and unmoving- and listened to her explain to the instructor that she’d just had a son.

Now, before I get on with the real reason for this entry, I have to point out a couple of things that are probably fairly obvious. I must preface these points by saying I mean no offense to my southern readers, you’re my people, after all, yo. Nor do I mean any offense to you Carolina fans as you will most assuredly see me wearing some ridiculous Kentucky hat come March. But come ON:

- If you have a child, you should not wear sorority gear anymore. In fact, I’d say sorority gear should be phased out by 12 months after graduation, if not sooner.

- When in Rome, step, lift, sweat and dress as Romans do. Translation: DO NOT matchy-match gym wear in San Francisco. This kind of shit may fly in Atlanta (I lived there too) as does curling one’s hair, applying a full face of make-up and showering and applying perfume before going to the gym. But not here.

- Do not announce your incredible fitness abilities when you’ve moved from one of the most unfit areas of the country to the most fit. This is a recipe for disaster. Which brings us to yesterday’s class.

Upon announcing her incredible activity at her gym “back home” a change in energy came over the class, a collective bristling in the air. I almost felt sorry for her for a second. Who the fuck did this woman think she was impressing? Aside from me, most of these are Californians you’re talking to, sweetie. They were eating wheatgrass when you were putting back Dip ‘n Licks. (a favorite of mine, circa 1974). Clearly she was fresh-off-the-first-class-United-boat. I noticed a couple of eye-rollings and overheard a few grumblings. Several people began to effortlessly stretch, the top of their skulls touching the floor a foot behind their legs. Uh-oh. To capture the mood with a favorite movie quote: “You better bring it.” “Oh, it’s been BROUGHT-en….”

The music started while she was talking. “How’s this, guys?” our instructor asked.

Carolina: “Um, wow, this is REALLY fast!”

Instructor: “ Yeah, it is. But this is how we do it in San Francisco. Have fun in your first class!” And for a second, I really thought I might want to marry my gay step teacher.

After that, I’m not sure what happened. The world’s fittest athletes and most accomplished dancers took over my body. I spun where I normally shuffled, I added jumps where only kicks were necessary, I did jumping jacks during water breaks. In fact, I noticed everyone had stepped it up more than a few notches. Someone took a lap around the room during a water break. One woman even added a toe-touch cheerleading jump after a cross-over, a move that we all tried to master (but I never could) at least three instructors ago.

Carolina looked concerned but she wouldn’t be defeated. I was exhausted and sweating like a farm animal but I WOULD. NOT. STOP. I WOULD. NOT. BREAK. FOR. WATER. NO!!

Finally, Carolina missed a crucial jazz-step turn mambo-shuffle. She stopped. She watched, slightly hunched over, red-faced and defeated as the rest of the class moved as one-finely tuned, ass-kicking stepping unit. And then the final battle cry: “One last time – FROM THE TOP!” Was that a small smile I saw cross our instructor’s face as Carolina broke down and left for a water break? We all knew what had just happened and the next 2 minutes were pure booty-kickin’ step bliss. Each of us had triumphed in the face of southern, post-sorority, know-it-all-gym-girl wearing too-short Lycra matchy-match shorts. And it felt fantastic.

I’ve been wondering lately if I have that competitive spirit still in me. Freelancing, job-searching and apartment-searching don’t always allow you the opportunity to see who you’re up against, or at least give you the chance to stick around long enough to make a valiant fight/argument for yourself. Even human golden retrievers like me need a face to associate their “battles” with sometimes, It’s nice to know I’ve still got it in me, that I’m not all collaboration and smiles all the time.

Here’s to kicking your ass again tomorrow, Carolina. I’m looking forward to it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Amazing - and psycho - TV is back on ABC

Nothing thrills me more than me having this blog to share highlights from one of my favorite guilty pleasures: “The Bachelor”. That’s right, folks, from the amazing chateau, to the amazing journey to the amazing (and catty) rivalries, “amazing” television is back.

I have to ask, where in the Sam Hill was Travis “The Bachelor” when I lived in Nashville? YUM! (Oh, sorry, I meant “He’s AMAZING!”) Seriously, so far he seems a damn sight smarter and more charming than all the other bachelors put together. (Though I do still pine away for Charlie during Trista’s reign as “The Bachelorette”…where are you Charlie? Charm and charisma with 2 capital C’s)

Dude, if I was on this show, I know I’d be nervous, but during the rose ceremony, I would MOST DEFINITELY be smiling. Come ON, ladies! National TV – try not to look like a psycho and for fuck’s sake, try not to look like you’re gonna cry over a guy you JUST MET. And if you don’t get picked, be gracious, don’t look so fricking DEFEATED. Don’t cast your eyes downward! You got to go to Paris for free, you ungrateful bitches!

A few of my favorite highlights and comments from last night’s episode:

-What’s up with the girl who stood with her hands on her hips during the rose ceremony? Was this intended to send a subliminal message?

-I think I may already h-a-t-e Yvonne, CEO of the marketing firm. You may remember her as the one who sat down next to Travis and the crazy doctor who was prattling on about how she wanted to “reproduce”. Yvonne sat down and said “Like, I’m gonna sit down here if that’s OK. Time’s ticking.” (points to watch). Surely the only reason this evil woman got a rose was because she saved him from any further time with Crazy. For the record, if I was on this show, I’d Flowers-in-the-Attic this woman immediately, feeding her some powdered doughnuts with arsenic. Get rid of her, Travis!

-How did the girl who gave him a shot glass from her hometown eke through? At least that crazy guy from Marin (that I used to see out from time to time down at Kozmo’s) gave Trista something from Tiffany’s. But a shot glass. That’s rich.

-After hearing Travis was a doctor, Crazy commented: “Good, because quite frankly my eggs are rotting”. Oh. My. God. Get a grip.

- “I need a guy who has, like, substance, like a manly-man, like a guy who chops wood.” Again, ladies, some key words to live by: NATIONAL TV and CRAFTY EDITING. Choose your words, like OK??

The end was the best. For those who didn’t see it, Crazy Doctor cried AND she marched up to the poor guy and asked him “So why didn’t you pick me? Am I too short? Are my boobs too small?” And to his credit, he was honest, telling her that the reproduction comments were just too much for him. To which she replied “You don’t want reproduction. You’re just playing around. “ and then proceeded to call him a fucking asshole “like every other doctor” on her way out the door. KRAZEEEEE.

And the capper, which I loved: “Maybe I just won’t date anybody anymore”. Good idea, ‘cause I’m pretty sure that after any guys get wind of your crazy-ass psycho-ness on national TV, those eggs will be drier than an autumn wreath on the sale rack at Pottery Barn in January. Those eggs: not so amazing.

So who are the early odds-on favorites? Anyone?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blogging to say… GO ‘HORNS! (and a few other things that have nothing to do with football)

I could not be happier if it was my own freaking school. I LOVES ME SOME TEXAS TODAY!!! Happy (belated) Birthday, DShaw!!!! Am I a man? Is it natural for a girl who didn’t even go to Texas to be THIS excited? What a great game and an incredible comeback (did USC even HAVE any defensive players on the field??) And Vince Young….all I can say is that guy was like a hot knife through butter…nothin’ was stopping that kid. At 4th and 5 I knew he was gonna get it, somehow, someway. Thank you, Vince and thank you, Texas for taking down the Evil Empire of USC. It almost feels like Duke lost.

Whew. OK, time to take down my heart rate.

It saddens me to report that over my Holiday “break” (is it really a break when you freelance for a living?) I heard that the Dunkin Doughnuts “Time to make the doughnuts” man died. Damn, that broke me down. I thought that was some funny shit back in the 80s and it must’ve stuck with me because almost every day of my adult working life those have been the very first words that pop into my head when my alarm blares at dawn’s crack. See kids, copywriters CAN make a difference in the world!

In fact, outside of a few key programs (the Sunday double whammy of Disney and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom along with every Charlie Brown holiday special ever) TTMTDM’s death reminded me that most of my childhood TV memories were of commercials, not programming. So sad. I remember the taglines, the melody of the jingles and a good portion of the copy. Because the bulk of these are from the mid 70s, some of you younger whippersnappers that have befriended me may not even realize that pretty much every single one of these is deeply woven into my vocabulary and has somehow shaped my sick personality and sense of humor. While other kids were playing doctor with dolls, playing astronaut on the high slides or practicing to be a mom on Barbies, young Rebecca was basking in the warm glow of an 18-inch, dancing and singing "Coke is it!" and other jingles at the top of my lungs. Seriously. And just look at me now. Behold! The power of advertising!

My sick sense of curiosity is dying to know what everyone else’s first and/or favorite commercial memory is. Also, any guesses on what current commercials will make our kids’ blogs someday? (Hopefully my kids will be too cool to have a blog).

And now…please enjoy my walk down Consumer Hedonism Lane.

Palmolive and Madge – You’re soaking in it! Anyone who gets remotely domestic around me when I’m feeling lazy automatically gets nicknamed Madge.

Pearl Drops Tooth Polish (what the hell is the difference between polish and paste?) - A sexy girl runs her tongue over her teeth and declares “Mmmmmm……what a GREAT feeling!” VERY racy for 1976ish, no? Separate note: I once did this on a first or second date 10 or 12 years ago thinking – stupidly – that my date got it since we were discussing 70s commercials previously in the evening. (why? Yes, that’s a good question, isn’t it?) Later, he tried to aggressively stick his tongue down my throat and fondle my breastage on the dance floor of the Ace of Clubs in Nashville, TN. Note to self: Do not imitate Pearl Drops Girl. Ever. Again.

Chiffon Margarine: It's not nice to fool Mother Nature (I fricking love that line). If you think it’s butter, but…it’s NOT….it’s Chiffon. I’m surprised Lay’s hasn’t tried to bring back this strategy. “If you think they’re really fried, but…they’re not. It’s Olean (and runny, bloody stool).” Yeah, maybe not.

Calgon Bath Crystals: Calgon, take me away! Apparently I used to make my Barbies and dolls say this to each other when I played with them.

Enjoli: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, never, never let you forget you’re a man, ‘cause I’m a WOOOman, Enjoli.” (is that an original song that Enjoli ripped off?)

Wind Song: A pensive looking man walks along a lonely, rain beach while background singers croon “I can’t seem to forget her, her Wind Song stays on my mind”.

Folgers - "We've secretly replaced Folger's Crystals with..." This might be my most used to this day. "We've secretly replaced DShaw's Emergen-C with..."

Ronco's Mr. Microphone - "Hey, good lookin' - we'll be back to pick you up later!" In fact, pretty much any Ronco commercial was a winner in my book. I loved me some Ronco Studsetter for jeans too.

Jean Nate: I don’t really remember the rest of this song, just the peppy chorus of singers singing “Jean Nate, Jean Nate!” while some horses ran around a track (and no, this was NOT a local-to-Kentucky spot). I LOVED it when my mom would let me splash on a little Jean Nate as a little kid after my bath. I know. Freak.

Agree Shampoo: This is part one of a 3-way tie (+Doughnut Man) for my VERY FAVORITE spot of all time and my only all-visual memory. The camera pans in close on an Agree Shampoo label and it opens like a door into a mystical, beautiful world of gorgeous hair models getting shampooed by a handsome male spokesman. Their hair is draped over a sink and he’s sensually rubbing her scalp (others are getting a similar rub-down in the background) while he talks about the many fine benefits of Agree. Not much of an idea but I consistently BEGGED my mom to buy Agree Shampoo because I thought that the labels really would open like a door and I could somehow crawl inside and get a scalp massage and live in the land of the gorgeous hair models. (My mom never gave in, by the way. I think I got the cheap Prell shit) I honestly believe this is why I revel in my haircuts and colors to this day. I also loved the Prell, Breck, Wella Balsam and Gee! Your Hair Smells Terrific! commercials. Clearly my hair product fetish was formed somewhere around age 3.

Calgon Washing Detergent - This one’s part 2 of my tie for Favorite: “Ancient Chinese secret, ehhh??” That just never gets old and even as a kid I knew that was some funny shit for 1975ish. Please tell me someone else remembers that saucy Chinese laundry-doing man.