Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Creepy. Funny. Still Adorable.

Chef sent me the picture below and it cracked me up. He had planned on printing it out to have it look at me while I was on our toilet at home (perhaps under the toilet seat). He might've been hoping to help deter my love of Matt Damon. More likely he was trying to crack me up. Either way, it cracked me up but I still love Matt Damon (just not nearly as much as Chef).


Sunday, February 26, 2012

What defines "Ethical"?

Who couldn't adopt that face?
I'm a big fan of charities (clearly) and a big fan of animals, so it's easy to surmise that I'm a big fan of animal charities. There's one that usually gets me more angry than rallied and that's PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Maybe it's my Midwest sensibilities that say that prevent me from thinking it's more effective to create a big stink than effective, methodical work towards a goal by negotiating (when possible). But if you like PETA, you love PETA and I'm totally fine with that. I just don't like or love them. Frankly, I could just be ignorant. Other than advocating against cruelty, I am not aware of any major claims of success. When I think of the organisation I worked for, I could name bills locally and nationally, research that lead to great discoveries, etc. that lead to success. Again I could just not be aware enough and I accept that.

Our adopted buddy: Khubla
What does seem shocking to me, though, are current claims that 95 percent of the animals surrendered to the PETA headquarters were euthanized last year. I can accept that most animals that are turned into shelters are not in the best of shape to begin with. I was initially shocked at this number (as I think the article wanted me to be), and then Chef said "yeah, but how many pets are euthanized at all shelters each year?". Good question, and the answer is not easy to find, but rough estimates by the American Human Society are 64 percent. That's quite a difference. 

So, why is there a big difference? I have no idea. If you do know, let me know. I'd be curious to hear it. Until then, I'll continue supporting the ASPCA, despite the horrible Sarah McLachlan commercials.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Most Adorable Post of the Week

Aren't they adorable? That's Genghis and Khubla curled up together. Chef sent me those with the words to the "My Buddy" doll theme song. Super cute.

And because our cats can't just eat their carb-loaded kibble, we took a trip to Lowe's down the street and pretended we were all domestic. Or at least I pretended. Chef is decidedly more domestic than I am. We got some cat grass, catnip, sage and parsley (all cat appropriate) and put them in a planter. The planter sits on the floor and now they have a little cat salad in between feedings. Mila promptly ate some grass and barfed it back up. Awesome. She's since learned to keep it down. Khubla is a big fan.

Enjoy these cute cat pics!
Genghis on the left, Khubla on the right
                                   
                                          From left to right: Parsley, Sage, Cat grass and catnip


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Vanity: My Hair

Post roller time
The older I get, the more I come to realize that most reasonable people hated high school. And that most people going through high school or middle school were going through some sort of serious trauma that they hid from other people. I say this because I've talked with people I've gone to high school with (or at least those who I didn't remain close with in college) and found out they were going through stuff I had no idea about. Teasing, divorce counselling, taking lunch at home. All kinds of things I was too wrapped up in myself to see. 

But thinking of all that, I also look back to see what did I do to keep my shit together. Mostly I suffered from an odd case of having no or low self-esteem but exceptionally high self-respect. Meaning my overall pictures of myself wasn't great--mostly due to my weight issues, but I knew enough to know that I was smart and that counted for a lot in my book. And when I was having my ugly days, there was one thing that my mom did for me that still makes me smile: she introduced me to the kindness of hot rollers. 

One side of my hair holds curl
better than the other.
Anyone else have that?
My mom did other things, like constant reinforcement of my intelligence and the importance of that, but sometimes a girl needs to feel pretty. And was during one of those moments in need that my mom bust out her big old set of hot rollers and went to town. She would tell me how pretty my hair was and how she was excited that she had passed that down to me. And to this day, when I'm in the need to feel pretty about myself, I wrap my hair up in those hard plastic rollers and sweat it out until I'm left with bouncy curls and happiness. Luckily, I do not have to do that every day as I did in high school (and well into college), but every now and again, it's a nice reminder. 

It was these moments that helped me realize how hard it was for my mother to lose her hair during chemo. She never intentionally let my stepdad see her without a wig or other head covering because of it. But I knew what was bothering her--her secret weapon was gone and there was no easy way to get it back. She handled most things silently but she was pretty vocal about losing her hair. I would be too.

It is my go-to vanity. And there when I needed it most. And if it ever comes to losing my hair, I'll invest in a damn good wig--that I can hot roller.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Sunny Day Walk

Chef and I decided a few days ago that we wanted to walk to the new Five Guys on Wilshire and then walk to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I went to the website to make sure they were open on Presidents' Day. Not only were they open, but today admission was FREE. As I was walking among the great artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, Degas, Lichtenstein, Calder and so many other, I was thinking what a great country this is that everyone has the opportunity to see this kind of art in person--for free. Pretty cool.

Here are some pictures from our adventure:
My favorite picture of the day: Renoir
Kind of cool that you can see the palm trees in the background of this Degas sculpture.
The outside of the Japanese Art section of the museum.

I loved this china pattern.

And the pattern was called "Vincennes" FUNNY!






Thursday, February 16, 2012

Linsane in the Membrane (Linsane in the Brain)

from Forbes.com
If you're a sports fan, you've heard of Jeremy Lin at least once or 100 times in the last week. The kid was cut from two previous teams and undrafted in the NBA to become this week's hottest thing. And while I don't want to underplay his accomplishments, I'm fairly certain that this will end up poorly.

For those of you NOT in the know, Jeremy Lin got the opportunity with two Knicks starters (Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire) were out. He played significant minutes and started on a team that was circling the drain. In those starts, he ended up scoring the most points of anyone in the their first 5 starts in the NBA ever. More than all the great ones--Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe, all of them. And what's more is the Knicks haven't lost since he started starting. Also, he's two things that are unique to the NBA: an Ivy Leaguer (graduated and played at Harvard) and Taiwanese American.

I love a good underdog story. I mean I LOVE them. It's probably why I can never resist watching Remember the Titans when I see it's on TV or why I have cried while watching Secretariat. In fact, I may go so far as to say that my affinity for sports stemmed from my affinity to see those with no hope of winning, do so.

But here's where things get tricky on the Jeremy Lin situation, I fear that much like things that happen in New York or LA this coverage has gotten out of hand. Had Jeremy Lin played for the Pacers, there would be some notice, but not near the amount he's gotten in the Big Apple. And even if he turns out to be a Steve Nash-like point guard (which is not nearly a given only 7 games into his career), there can be no measure other than a championship that would live up to the kind of hype this kid has gotten in the last week. Yes, we have only really known Jeremy Lin for a week. Unless you're this guy and saw this coming.

My favorite tweet on this is from @kevinkoski that read: 
If Jeremy Lin dunked on Lebron in a Yankees cap, and then celebrated by Tebowing in front of Brett Favre, would ESPN explode?
Sadly, I think the answer is yes. But I hope for Lin's sake, the media can give this guy some room to breathe (although it might be too late).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Failure or New Opportunity?

Birthday cupcakes (not all 6 but still)
definitely played into my downfall!
I hate failing. In fact, someone once said they thought I had a fear of it. Maybe I do, I'm not sure, but whether I fear it or not, I've certainly done my fair share. The latest failure: January's goals. Not all of them, but certainly my weight loss experiment with The Firm Express.

I have done every workout in the series. I did not, however, do them in the correct order or 3 times a week. I also blew off my diet for a few weeks. Argh. At one point, I had lost 7 pounds during the month due to the exercise and since put about half of it back on. That's what I get for indulging in birthday, Superbowl and Valentine's day celebrations. And mostly just not paying attention to what I was eating well enough.

I heard a stat once that said it took the average person six attempts to quit smoking. I think that number is probably double or triple for lifestyle changes. So instead of wallowing in misery or failure, I'm going to try again. And maybe this time I'll start wearing incredibly tight pants and belts to make myself uncomfortable enough to stop putting food in my face.

This week:

  • Days per month that I worked on my novel: 15/15 (not sucking on this one!)
  • Calories burned per week: 1550 (a pound is 3500)
  • Weight loss/gain since last posted result: +3 lb.
  • Cumulative loss/ gain: -3 lbs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My First Valentine's Day

Flowers from my Valentine
I was shopping for greeting cards for my beloved and made a startling revelation: I could FINALLY buy one of the "For My Husband" cards this year. It's my first Valentine's with a husband.

Look, there's nothing wrong with living with your lover indefinitely, in fact, if there were reasons other than making our lives easier and health insurance to consider, Chef and I might've done it. But since there aren't a TON of differences in the 8 months we've been married compared to the 7 years we lived together, I thought I'd celebrate one of them, minor as it may be.

The sentiment of my Valentine is the same, even if the type is slightly different. My husband rocks the world. Clearly I think that because I married him. But he rocks for many reasons. On this, of all hollowed Hallmark holidays, I share with you a few:
  • He makes dinner regularly.
  • He has told me on several occasions that it is his mission to make me laugh every day. 
  • He actually makes me laugh every day.
  • He gets me to lighten up and let loose every now and again. 
  • He challenges me--which is probably not that big of a deal, but when I was searching this was hard to find. 
  • He spoils me with his time, his talents and his love.
  • He encourages me to take the big leap when I need to.
  • He keeps me motivated to keep going when I don't want to. 
  • He believes in me (and isn't that what we all want?).
I am lucky to have a great husband and a great Valentine. And thankful for my friends and family who helped me believe that I was worth it. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wait. What?!? Who was interviewing who?

Would've liked a little more
of this.
Last night Chef and I went to see Jane Lynch interview Amy Poehler for this series called Live Talks LA which raises money for charity and has celebrities interviewing each other (among other things). We've been to three now and they've all been fun and different in their own way. Last night had some good potential, but one thing got in the way: Jane Lynch.

Don't get me wrong. I love Jane Lynch.But her role last night was SUPPOSED to be the interviewer--not the subject. She had JUST been the subject when Adam Scott from Parks & Rec interviewed her for the series in October, so she had her time. But last night the hour was eaten away not with funny anecdotes of Amy's career, but some Jane Lynch anecdotes. I think she asked like three questions.

I know it's free flowing and the one reason people like doing them is that isn't not that much pressure, but I did actually want to hear what Amy had to say, and it was a little disappointing. However, here are my highlights from the event or the moments surrounding it:

  • While waiting to get in, listening to the group of students in line ahead of us talk about their art as suffering writers. "I mean, if you can't turn your assignment in on time for a professor, how can you turn your assigned work in on time for a show?". I may be wrong, but I don't think show writers get assigned stuff to turn in, but that could just be me.
  • Listening to two of the aforementioned students try and convince the third to be a guest on their podcast entitled "Homeo and Juliet."
  • Listening to the two old ladies behind me talk about knitting centerpieces--at which point I went back to eaves dropping on the students again.
  • Hearing Jane Lynch say "Never heard of him" after the emcee announced an upcoming author who was a part of the series. She didn't realize her mic was hot. 
  • Having a guy in line behind me at the concession stand ask three times "Are they going to do improv?" (To which I'd answer: "No, dude. This is an interview. They just talk.") Before he tapped me again, the dude in front of me turned around and said "Buddy, check out her finger. She's married. Give it up." I was then able to purchase my Coke Zero without any further bothering.
  • Spending time with Chef. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

If I were a little bit more courageous...

I like to think that I'm adventurous, but in all actuality, I'm not that ballsy. I wish I was, but I'm not. I carefully plan for things to happen and have only taken a few big leaps of faith, but even those leaps were calculated.

What has me thinking like this? Two of my close friends/ family members have recently started their own businesses. My cousin Doug and his wife Erin launched Janus Investigations. This is my cousin's second business. 

And my friend Terry Price started his own writing mentoring business, with some adventure trips on the side. How awesome is it to spend your time doing things you loved?

It's not like I don't like doing PR or even working for someone else, but I love seeing friends and family living out their dreams. Taking risks to do things that make them happy.  I love the thought of doing freelance work. Of my success or failure being solely reliant on my actions. But at the same time I know I'm too chicken to do it. I have faith in myself, but maybe I'm just a big chicken. For now, I'm happy doing what I'm doing and cheering on others.

It's very inspiring...and maybe one day in the future it'll be contagious. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

It's the Little Things--Like a Bill With Your Name on It

Not happy with them. Ridiculous.
Remember when you first moved out and got your first bill with your name on it? How thrilling and scary it was? Well, Chef and I are having some issues because we're waiting for a bill with our name on it. An electric bill.

Unlike most electric companies throughout the US that actually bill a person every month for the electricity they use, the LA Department of Water & Electricity (LADWP) sends a bill "every other month" or whenever the hell they feel like it. In our first six months in our apartment, we got two bills, which we promptly paid. Then the drama starts.

The last bill that came in our name was in July 2011. In October (which is NOT two months later, by the way), we started getting bills in a very foreign name. We called immediately--the day the first bill came--and found out that they had gotten the apartment number wrong when they started his account and it would take--get this-- 4-5 MONTHS to get the bill back in our name. They told us to not pay the bill until it came in our name and that we shouldn't get any more bills.

But we did. We kept getting bills in the wrong name and we called back every time to make sure. "No," said various customer service reps. "Don't pay it until it comes in your name." Then the the cut off notices came. "No, we won't cut off your service. This is all taken care of."

Flash forward to today when Chef gets a visitor at our door demanding payment or cut off of the electricity. Despite Chef trying to explain and showing him the plethora of paperwork and even walking him down to the front office (where they told him that the person they had listed on our bill had not lived in the complex since 2010), the guy said "I don't care. I'm leaving with a check or having cut off the electricity."

Needless to say, we're pissed. I've called the LADWP and they apologized, but frankly they assured us FOUR TIMES that this wouldn't happen and it did so I have NO FAITH in them. I made them have a manager call me who assured me that it was taken care of, but I told him I was stopping the check. I can't be sure that the money we paid would actually be credited toward OUR account. And I'm not paying off Ghosh's (that's the last name of our phantom resident) bill. And then I told him that if another bill or collection agent showed up with the wrong name that I was getting him on the phone to straighten things out and then coming to see him personally to eat my bill.

ARGH!?!? I have NEVER had my electricity threatened and certainly never had a collection agent visit my home. I am still wound up, and pissed.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

This is what I think of . . . .

every time I hear the word "drupal" used in our office, on conference calls or in every day talk (although it doesn't come up much outside of the office to be honest).

What jargon is used for your industry that makes you think weird things?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

You Can't Pick When You're Famous

I say this a lot and Chef and I have debated this, but my feeling is this: You can't pick when you're famous and when you're not. It's like being pregnant: there are stages of it, but when you are, you are (I am neither famous nor pregnant by the way). You can't pick to NOT be pregnant because you want to go on a sushi bender nor can you NOT be famous because you want to have your own little hissy fits.

Case in point: Gisele you cannot speak out to make breastfeeding for six months a LAW and use your fame to try and lobby for it or say really obnoxiously superior stuff about your kid BUT not want attention when you respond to a heckle about your husband's Super Bowl loss. Have you never been to a football game? Let me rephrase that: have you ever been to a football game and NOT sat in a luxury box? The whole thing is one big heckle. Toughen up. Or at least don't say anything back because you ARE famous. Someone WILL record it and make you look even more like an idiot. (For the record, had Abby Manning made some comment about Peyton NOT being in the building that had been recorded, I think it would've been big time news too. Just sayin'.)

On another note, it's not your place to say anything, no matter what kind of fame you have. Blaming co-workers for something is lame in itself, but blaming your HUSBAND's co-workers is even more lame. I actually have had one instance in my career when a colleague's wife called me up to bitch me out. It was the worst and made life awkward between me and the colleague forever. Partly because I was pissed at him for letting her call and partly because he was pissed at me for yelling at his wife. Not a good idea in ANY situation.

And lastly, to all those guys (and a few girls) out there who have said "She's Gisele. She can say whatever she wants." Or "Tom wins because he gets to go home to that." I have to say this: Being hot does not give someone carte blanche to say stupid stuff and act inappropriately. Stop reinforcing this idea.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I'm An Award Whore so I'll Take it! (Thank you)

If I ate this award, I might die.
If you can't tell from my blog, I tend to be a goal driven person. Even if the only one who cares about the goal is me. And if there's an award for the goal? I'm so much more motivated. Even if the award is something lame like a sticker or a packet of M&Ms, I'll secretly pretend I'm not trying but in my head I'm all out willing to cut someone for it.

That being said, Sarah Elle Emm at "My Name is Sarah" nominated me for the "Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award." Nothing says sweet like saying I'd cut someone for a sticker, right? But I digress. I was actually very flattered and considering my last blog was a rant about what can be construed as misogyny, I have to say that I'm very thankful Sarah nominated me. I knew Sarah, albeit not too well apparently, in high school and after reading her blog realize that we may have gotten along better than I thought had I not been a big ball of anger and embarrassment who thought high school was merely something that needed to be endured. Sometimes I still think high school was the cornerstone of my mental toughness.

So, to fulfill my end of the nomination, I get to share seven things about myself that people don't really know and then nominate five other people. I think I can handle that so here goes:


  1. I'm allergic to strawberries so the picture on the award actually scares me as I fear if I were to not be able to resist it, I could possibly die. Or at least lose consciousness because my wind pipe has swollen up. I found out I was allergic when I was forced to make a strawberry spinach salad for my friend Julie's wedding shower. I say "forced" because the organizer had pulled recipes for those of us helping out to prepare and bring. She asked me, who was morbidly obese at the time, to bring the salad, which I thought was incredibly stupid of her. You don't ask the fat girl to bring the salad. You ask the fat girl to bring baked goods. Because of this, I learned that I should've made my toffee chocolate chip cookies and that I can't eat strawberries.
  2. I'm way more petty than people think I am. At least I'm more petty in my head than I am in real life and while I'd like to stop that, it's just a natural reflex. For example, when I see someone on Facebook or in real life that used to make me feel bad for my weight when I was younger and notice that they're now fat, I feel a sense of justice. Yes, I'm that petty. (And then I hear Chef saying "No one can make you feel something, Ashley. You let them do it." And he's right)
  3. I fear that I might never finish my novel. I've been working on it off and on for more than five years--FIVE YEARS--and I know that I need to get it out before I start on anything else, but I fear that I'm never going to really get it out. No matter how many goals I set to do so.
  4. I don't think the urge to have children will ever kick in with me and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Society tells me that I need to procreate, but I've rarely let society dictate my life goals so why start now. At this point, my furry kids are enough.
  5. I'm secretly ashamed that I think of them as furry children because I do know the difference between a cat and kid  (I really do, I swear). However, I would rather look at 100 random cat pictures than one picture of a baby from someone I don't know or really care about. This does not apply to the pictures of my friends' kids because I love and care about them. They're all cute, but I have to say Miles, Nola, Josh, Jules, Elle and Emily have my attention and heart right now. And no, those aren't the name of my cats or anyone's cats.
  6. I wish I could channel Dorothy Parker for even just one spectacular line of prose. And then I would repeat that line in everything I wrote or said for the rest of my life. 
  7. Chef and I got married in July in a small civil ceremony, but we still haven't gotten wedding rings or taken a honeymoon. Mostly because I'm lazy and because we're still trying to save money to go somewhere really cool. (Chef's current front runner is the Maldives, but I fear it's still a little too expensive. I'd settle for Belize or Fiji or a European trek.)
Another thank you to Sarah Elle Emm for her nomination. Check out her blog and her books. And to fulfill my duties, I will gladly nominate those who actually do have some genuinely sweet blogs:
Okay, folks. Now it's your turn! Here are the rules:
  1.  Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2.  Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  3.  Pass the award on to some of your own deserving blog friends.
  4.  Contact those friends and let them know.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Facebook (and Sheryl Sandberg), I'm Disappointed in you...BIG time


I was planning a nice, fluffy blog post today until Chef sent me an article on Jezebel and then BAM! I was sucked in.  The story itself was bad enough, but the comments were HORRIBLE. And I have to say that the older I get the more pissed off I get about women in the workplace. I used to get touchy about the word "feminist" but now I think it's just a word men warped to use in the place of "bitch" when it becomes convenient.

Anyway, the article talks about Facebook's board of directors and how they are predominantly rich white men and do not have a single woman on board. This pisses me off for several reasons: 1) more than half of Facebook users are women. 2) Sheryl Sandberg is a business idol of mine,  and has been a vocal advocate of gender equality--but apparently that doesn't apply to the company she leads 3) people do not realize how boards are set up.

Here's what pisses me off: Boards are not jobs--they are not typical positions that get hired for. They are appointed by leaders of a company and then by the board of directors themselves. Having women on boards has proven to be profitable and some countries, like Norway, have even set government quotas on how many board seats should be inhabited by a woman. So to say "Why would they just give a seat to a woman when it takes away from a more qualified man?" is bullshit. The company can set how many board members it wants and there are no set qualifications--there are rich white people that sit on boards as their job now that they're so rich they don't need to work. Does that make them more qualified than someone who holds a leadership position actively? Does wealth equal qualified? Nope.

Also the purpose of the board is to provide perspective and leadership to a company or organization. I find it hard to believe that balanced perspective can be achieved if the majority of customers and a good chunk of the work force are not represented.

But even having women on boards doesn't really solve the problem: women in leadership positions. If there aren't more women in higher positions then pickings for boards can be slim. (However, I find it hard to believe that Facebook-which could scour the earth to find board members--could not find one -ONE- woman who was qualified).  Riddle me this: I worked at a place where about 80 percent (no lie) of the staff was women, but about 75 percent of the leadership positions were filled by men. How can that happen if we're nurturing staff and growing talent within? It doesn't. But I can tell you from experience that there were few men that would "deign" to work there unless they were in a managerial position--which to me seems like horse shit.

There's also the misconception that sexism doesn't exist any more. It does. I've actually literally heard some members of the board of a company I worked for say they were happy they had just hired that female because she could be more effective "because she's hot. That's gonna open a lot of doors for her." That one statement was enough to shatter my illusions of sexism and was enough to prompt me to lose 80 lbs. I bet no one ever told Wozniak that he would be so much more effective at Apple if he lost a few pounds or was hot.

It happens every day and to ignore it only makes it worse. To think that there aren't smart, successful, powerful female leaders in the world and workplace is just stupid. We just need to open our eyes and minds to it. And by "we" I mean some big companies that are willing to step up--guess that doesn't mean Facebook.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Woman vs. Woman--Who do I agree with?

From my Mom's first --
and only--Komen Race For The Cure
The news around the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood's recent royal rumble has me wondering which side I sit on. As most of you know, my mother died from breast cancer and I have been a big supporter of the Komen Foundation ever since. But this recent withdrawal of funds from Planned Parenthood has me rethinking if maybe my funds and efforts shouldn't go to a different organization.

I love Planned Parenthood. And before you get all political on me, know that I support them because in my time of needing health care for issues and being a young woman without insurance or with bad insurance, they stepped up to make sure I got the cancer screenings and check ups I needed. And so I support them today because they were there when I needed them (although I wish they would spend less of those donations on all the direct mail pieces and email I get, but with my background do I really have a right to complain? I'll stick with yes). I know there are strong political feelings around Planned Parenthood and lots of people who disagree with me, but they can write it on their own blogs. Ninety-seven percent of the MILLIONS (this is literal) of services the nothing to do with abortion. NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT. I don't think that shutting something down or out because of three percent of services that people don't agree with is the right thing. I mean, if we had a presidential election where 97 percent of the people agreed on the winner it would be a miracle--not a sticking point.

I have come to think from seeing the evidence and leadership at the Susan G. Komen organization that the revoking of support of breast exams through Planned Parenthood is a reaction to a political debate. Masking behind it being a policy against companies under investigation gives WAY too much power to any politician who wants to investigate anything and doesn't really jive with one of our other branches of government--the courts. I think an "innocent until proven guilty" approach would be a better way to handle it, if its needed at all. Frankly, I find the excuse a flimsy retroactive one  to cover actions they were already taking.

The good news is that despite only seeing ONE color during October, there are many organizations that help fight this disease. I think I'm going to look to the Dr. Susan Love Foundation to receive my future support. I am also very happy that the senator that now represents me has signed a letter asking the Komen foundation to reinstate its support.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Frivolous PR

To be honest, I would totally do PR for him no matter what.
Back when I was just starting out in my career, I was frankly against PR jobs. Let me rephrase that: Back BEFORE I had a career, I was against PR jobs. Mostly I thought that PR was just a way to control the media. Then again I was determined to be a part of the media until I learned that I could make more money working retail part time than in full time starting off writing positions at newspapers (which by the way were scarce jobs even back then). So my buying into a book I had in college called Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies, and the Public Relations Industry met directly with my need to eat. Eating won.

After a brief stint with a HUGE multinational company that made me feeling icky, I decided that I would only do PR for the "betterment of mankind" or that was so ridiculous that no one could take it seriously. I thought at the time that that left me with non-profit, sports or entertainment. Seeing that I lived in Middle America, didn't have the balls at the time to move and there were only 3 professional sports teams within a 3 hour drive, I chose non-profit. And it worked out well. Hopefully for all parties involved.

Lately, I've been rethinking my stance. Clearly I do PR still and it's not for a place related to the three things I list above, but I actually like my job. I realize there are companies that pitch ridiculously false things to the media but honestly for the most part the media have a pretty good BS meter, so even the best written press release on a story with no substance won't get significant play. However, a poorly written release on a great material can kill a company--which is why companies and journalists to some extent need PR. But that's beside the point. I thought since now I'm doing different PR could I do PR for a sports team or celebrity? Not tactically, but PR is PR. If you can do it well, it's a pretty transferable skill. The level of aggressiveness changes with industry, but that's about it.

The question is now whether I'd want to do what I thought of as "frivilous PR" and now I think the answer is no. Mostly because I don't think people in the entertainment and sports fields think of it as frivolous. And I agree on one hand: those industries are BIG money so the PR is at a higher importance. But when I say "frivolous PR" I mean that the person receiving the information does not see it as essential in their daily lives. And that's where things seemed to have changed. I've seriously met people who view US Weekly as their own personal devotional books. People who can't name the current president, but can tell me the past 6 winners of Dancing With The Stars. . . in order of their receiving the disco ball trophy.

Maybe nothing at all has changed that much except my perception. But that's all I got.

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