Archive for November, 2007

Nanowrimo Update


I actually still have one more night’s writing to do to wrap up the story – but I hit the 50,000 word target tonight. Update: the NaNoWriMo word count engine benchmarked me at 50,524, giving me a generous couple hundred extra words.

I’m happy. And tired. :)

Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: writing | 5 Comments »

Bad Ads

There are some commercials that are funny or mildly entertaining. Others are brutally annoying and must die. They don’t sell the product…in fact, in some cases I have blotted out what the commercial is meant to sell. A common thread here, I think, is that ad campaigners don’t get the concept that certain things are only funny once; sometimes they weren’t even funny that time. Anyway, here’s my short list of commercials/ad campaigns that must die:

1. The “Duh” car commercials. I honestly can’t tell you even which car maker these commercials are for. The first one a few months ago was funny – once. The Christmas ones are excruciatingly annoying.

2. The Visa commercials where someone breaks the lovingly staged symphony of folks using their card to buy anything. In particular, the food court one. Does anybody really enjoy or think it’s cool to buy a freaking taco with a credit card unless you just have to? Puh-lease.

3. The Nissan Rogue commercials where the whole city is that metal ball and holes game that people give at office parties and no one really plays with. This may be skewed by the fact that we watch Heroes and Nissan practically owns that show, and this commercial comes on at least 5 times in the hour. Enough already, the concept is lame.

4. I like the Geico commercials in general, especially the celebrity interpretation ones…but let’s get rid of the annoying Cockney-accented tea-slurping gecko. Or give the voice back to Kelsey Grammer, when the gecko was cool.

5. Any ad where a car or a $50K piece of jewelry is a surprise gift. Get real.

6. Prescription drug ads. All of them, but erectile drug ads first. All such ad campaigners must be made to suffer the side effects listed if they aren’t pulled now.

Jeri doesn’t like the “Slowski” Comcast commercials, the “Maniac” Kia commercial, and the Quisno’s “Sammy” commercials (“I hate you” “Wow…really?”). I only find the later moderately annoying. Anything making fun of Flashdance or talking turtles is gold, however.

Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 by Bryan
Under: consumers | 2 Comments »

Sore But Happy

Bandaidsea.gifIt has been a tough couple of weeks for me, as Jeri has hinted at. I’ve had a couple of minor surgeries, nothing long term threatening but very uncomfortable and extremely inconvenient to those with whom I work and, more important, to those who I love. I want to thank them for their patience and help through this. I think I’m heading the right direction and am starting to feel on-the-mend.

All of this started, actually, at the San Francisco Monday night game. I began to feel ill during the game and was sick by the time I got home. Great game for the team, at least, a nice nationally-televised shut-out. The Niners are truly awful, though, just nothing going on offensively, and their defense, like ours, gets worn out if the offense doesn’t produce.

matt-hasselbeck.jpgSo then came Chicago, the game that was supposed to be a Sunday night national telecast, but NBC “flexed” it back to FOX and the afternoon…so the Peacock net could show a huge blowout by the Patriots over the Bills. Getting the last laugh, the Seahawks-Bears game was a good one, with the Bears jumping on top early, the Hawks (mostly Matt, in spite of being hurt) putting on a great offensive show to pull well ahead, then hang on to win. Hasselbeck is having a really solid year, very quietly, pushing a team crippled by the loss of Shaun Alexander and a revolving door at the receiving spots due to injuries. My guess is that Alexander is done, without the team really realizing it. Mo Morris has played very well…he’s not Shaun when Shaun is hot, but he’s a good back. The offense has functioned better by going pass-first, run-second with Morris hitting the holes that are there hard, without fear. My parents came to visit, and Dad got to go and took Zach, so that was good.

So now the Hawks are 6 – 4, six games remaining, no one with a winning record on the remaining schedule, and playing the Rams in St. Louis tomorrow. The Rams are trying way too hard to salvage what started as an 0 – 8 debacle, which of course makes me very nervous. They need to just relax and take the high draft choice. With Dallas and Green Bay at a loss each, looks like the Blue Men are likely the third seed in the NFC playoffs, with one home playoff game, and then a steep uphill climb to stay alive, as the wild card team that will come to play them will quite likely have a better record.

Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2007 by Bryan
Under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Black Friday

Black Friday has come and gone, and once again, I didn’t go out and play.

I don’t get it, I truly don’t. Why would anyone go hit the most popular stores on the most crowded day of the year? Sure, there are good deals – but if you shop carefully, there will be good deals at various times throughout the year.

Retailers are reporting a slump this season. In my opinion, it’s backlash, a rebellion against the ever-earlier Christmas decor and merchandising, as well as a statement about the obnoxious advertising encouraging us to buy more, bigger, better.

As I’ve written before, I am not a fan of the typical consumer-driven Christmas celebration. I don’t believe that’s what the holiday is about, even at its most secular.

While I do enjoy buying gifts for others, and tend to be a bit too extravagant, the last thing I personally need is more stuff. I have too many personal possessions – clothes, music, electronics – and should be simplifying and cutting back, not trying to figure out how to fit more into my life.

What’s Christmas about, for me? Caring for family. Showing generousity. Building traditions. Loving others more than you do yourself. Remembering the original gift, of God’s son to the world, if that’s your belief system. The quiet snow and dark gloominess of midwinter.

This year, my family on both sides is just doing presents for the kids. We adults are exchanging charity donations. I’m really thankful to my family for that, to me it’s truly a Christmas gift.

I’m making a Christmas resolution: I will not stress. It’ll be hard to keep, but I’ll try!

Nanowrimo update: I’m behind but catching up, at 36,458 words.

Nanowrimo day 23

Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: consumers, holidays | 1 Comment »

Health Care

This week, I’ve spent lots of time spent in medical, imaging and surgical waiting rooms. It occurred to me, while sitting in a recovery room with Bryan (who is going to be fine), that physical infirmity is the great leveler.

The folks there may have been CEOs, college students, celebrities or cooks… and no one would know. They all looked the same, humble, grey from anesthetic, bandaged, bed-headed, in faded blue cotton hospital gowns and wearing various IV tubes, oxygen masks and monitors.

To the doctors & nurses that tend them, it doesn’t matter that they’re somebody – or nobody – in the world outside the hospital doors. Once they are in that hospital bed, they’re an ankle repair, an appendectomy, or an IED implant, defined in terms of their malfunctioning body and its treatment.

The only exception to that was Bryan, bless his crabby pain-wracked heart. “Oh, you’re an attorney. While I’ll give you the same good care I’d give anyone, I’m going to err on the side of more conservative diagnosis and treatment. I want to make sure I don’t make any mistakes.” I think that’s good. Offensive, yes, but in the final analysis, it only benefits him.

Don’t get me wrong – the care we received wasn’t depersonalized. The nurses and med techs were all supremely supportive, they treated every patient and family member with courtesy and professionalism.

It’s just that, at the most fundamental level, we’re all alike in such circumstances, a faltering, hurting human system that requires hands-on care and support to keep going. And that helps me be just a little more compassionate toward those that frustrate or anger me… Most of us will be reduced to the indignity of retching into a tiny basin in a moving, beeping hospital bed at one time or another in our lives.

Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 by Jeri
Under: health | 3 Comments »