Category Archives: Random thoughts

Creepy, annoying or brilliant marketing?

About a month ago, I opened my mailbox and found a thick white envelope addressed to me with no return address. At first I thought that the label was machine printed junk mail some jackass marketer disguised as a hand-written personalized letter to me, but upon closer inspection I realized it wasn’t. Someone actually took the time to hand-address this envelope. Then I got sketched out. I didn’t recognize the hand-writing and there was no return address so this letter had to be laced with something bad. (Paranoia, another long term side-effect of unemployment). But then I thought “what if someone died and left all their money to me?” So there I stood on my porch in my house pants holding this non-descript letter thinking “poison or money?” 

I decided to chance it, ripped open the envelope and unfolded a full page (8 1/2 x 11 college ruled) hand-written letter. Getting excited and starting to dream about all the things I could do with this new-found money, I started reading. “Dear neighbor…blah, blah, God’s kingdom, blah, evil-doers, hell, fire, prayer…” and then it went on to quote verses and chapters from the bible trying to recruit me to join. After picking my jaw up off the ground, a number of thoughts rushed into my mind, including:

  • You have to be kidding me…now they’re coming at me via the U.S. Postal Service and they are spending money on stamps in this economic climate?
  • What happened to the street crew that used to knock on my door, did they get laid off or something? I enjoyed answering the door as a recovering Catholic sporting level 1 house pants, fully packed black undereye bags with a wine-glass in hand before noon.
  • What happened to their silent prayers for me and when did I get labeled as an evil-doer? Is this because of my effing swearing problem? 

Creepy, annoying or brilliant marketing?  I’d have to say I personally experienced two of the three and I’m going to describe it to you as if I am tasting fine wine (why not, I am bored). The letter opened with notes of creepy and as the words danced across my palate, flirting with my nerves was a strong sense of annoyance, but the experience ultimately finished with joyful amusement at the thought of everything funny I could do with that letter.  While I doubt that one of their campaign goals was amusement, spreading awareness was probably on the list and I helped build on that because that letter ultimately got tucked into the sleeping bag cover of my visiting sister. Next time she unrolls her sleeping bag, she’ll be made aware, likely get weirded out, and then laugh realizing it was me (because I did something like this before with a VHS Jesus-tape that was left on my porch…hmm…is someone trying to tell me something?).

As for brilliant marketing, a friend suggested this idea to me a couple weeks ago saying “pretend your favorite clothing designer hand wrote and personalized a full page letter to you, wouldn’t that be exciting?” Despite my lack of style so much so that I’m worried Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear may show up at my door anyday, my friend is right. If the person sending this letter had been anyone other than this marketer, perhaps I’d have experienced that excitement. Guess in my case, their targeting was slightly off.

Disclaimer. I realize that talking about religion is a taboo subject, but I just thought this particular story was an interesting example of an average consumer’s reaction to mailbox marketing. I don’t think any one religion is better than another.

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Filed under Marketing, Random thoughts

Goodbye unemployment

Don’t panic! I’m still a lady of leisure which means that you will continue to read stories about my muffin top in house pants! However, a handful of LOL crew members are saying goodbye to unemployment. Within the last month, four people got jobs which means they get to wake up early, shower daily and collect a decent paycheck – congrats! I can’t remember what it’s like to shower daily, but having four less stinky people in the world wandering the streets in Snuggies has to be a good thing!

Anyway, one of the newly employed in our crew wrote a little piece about what she learned during unemployment and I thought I’d share it will all of you. Enjoy.

Goodbye Unemployment: A Valediction. I have been employed for about three weeks now and it looks like it is going to stick. So, I figured it’s time to officially bid adieu to unemployment, homage style. A-hem.

What I learned while unemployed

The lessons of unemployment were frustrating at times, but ultimately fruitful. It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, and unemployment was nothing if not a season of mandatory ingenuity. I learned to reach for my library card instead of my debit card. I expressed shock and awe to find that the rubber stamp library of my youth was now a self-scanning, multimedia haven of ways to humor oneself. I learned that lo and behold, West Seattle wasn’t all stroller mommies and cycle dads, and that there were more than a few fun, young, fascinating single ladies like myself ready to paint Alki red at a moment’s notice. I learned that it would take three times longer to find a new job than I thought it would. I learned how much my fiance loves me when I had to lean on him for financial support. I learned there is no financial substitute for feel-good moments like the natural beauty of Lincoln Park, the adrenaline of a bike ride, or the endorphins from a great deep conversation with a close girlfriend. I learned nights in playing board games or going for a walk can be a lot more fun than a fancy dinner out, especially when it is somewhere snobby and overpriced like Saltys. On the flipside, I learned you don’t have to sacrifice style for budget (thanks Sazerac and Cafe Presse). I learned to actually use the stuff I had by learning more about the capabilities of my digital camera and my mac, rather than adding new bewildering technologies to my life. I learned to find lost treasures in my closet and create fresh styles from old clothes rather than purchase new things. I learned volunteering can be just as fancy and thrilling as going out (wooh ArtsWest). I learned that your life passion doesn’t have to be all-consuming, and that just because I quit my last job to write a book doesn’t mean I can’t do a new little job on the side. I learned that you don’t have to save yourself for the perfect job. Settle for a job that’s less-bad than your last one. Most importantly, I learned that you are not your job. Many employed people are just as miserable, listless and frustrated as unemployed people. And no matter what job you end up taking, you’re still you. It’s your friends, your family, your personality, and your hobbies that define you, not your working gig. Last of all, I learned that Coming to America never gets old. Never.

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Filed under Life, Random thoughts

5 things to do before you get a job

  1. Get a freaking tan. The sun is out (or was) and a good dose of Vitamin D will improve your mood. Men – your super white ass upper thighs need to see the sun for once in their life. Strap on a Speedo. Grab some SPF and head to the beach. Get creative with it. Own it. Flaunt it. Life’s short and what’s the worst that could happen? You burn your white thighs and someone may gawk? So what? When they start to gawk, walk up to them wearing “it” and ask them if they have any Grey Poupon? Why not? You’ll get a laugh. They’ll get a laugh. Everybody wins!
  2. Go on a vacation. Get out of town. Get away from the job-search, soul-search, date-search. You don’t have to spend a fortune. The goal is to shake up your ordinary routine. The routine that’s being forced and not responding to the pressure.
  3. Take a day hike during the middle of the week. Get in your car and drive 45 minutes east on I-90. There are a ton of day hikes with incredible vistas. Bring some Scooby snacks and enjoy the sights and sounds. Remember, your employed friends are enjoying the sites and sounds of cube farms across America. Weee!
  4. Have a BBQ party at noon on a Wednesday, even if it’s just with yourself.
  5. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Wear that Speedo. Start that hobby. Take that drive. Make that call. Whatever “it” is might just be the thing that opens doors to the next big thing.

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Filed under Random thoughts, Sanity tips

Whose banana is this?

Bruised, gutted and abandoned on Alki

Bruised, gutted and abandoned on Alki

Um, last night I found someone’s banana washed up, bruised and gutted on the beach near Alki strip. Who abandoned their banana? Wait, maybe it was the Litegeist and I found her boredom beater banana!  Well, whoever’s banana it is, seeing it made me laugh for whatever reason so thanks!

Actually, it reminds me of Don Hertzfeldt’s short animation “Rejected” that starts off with a spoon and banana having a conversation about nothing really, and the banana exclaims proudly “I am a BANANA!”  Cracks my shit up! Oh and the rest of the shorts on the clip are also funny, silly actually and totally random. I love it!

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Back to reality

From 80 degrees and sunny to 50 degrees and rainy. It’s a real treat to be back. Why would anyone want to wear shorts and flip flops when you could be in flannel house pants and fleece jackets in May? And the whole idea of sitting in a beach chair oceanside sipping your morning coffee watching the sunrise, pondering snails and listening to the ocean kiss the shore is over-rated. relaxation station

Ok, enough with the sarcasm. I’ll admit it – the vacation was amazing and just what the doctor ordered. I strongly encourage every person who lost their job to go on vacation if they can afford it. If you don’t have any money in your rainy day fund, then ask your employed friends and family if they would be willing to donate some airline miles to your cause. Or, try eating PBJs and Top Ramen for a month and use the remaining grocery money for an airplane ticket out of Seattle. Do whatever you can to get out of your daily routine and unplug from your reality. It helps, believe me.

While my reality is still pretty much the same (still jobless with a mortgage), I do have a little more clarity about what I’d like to do next with my life and it’s pretty risky, especially in this economy. But, I think it’s worth the risk because as cliche as this is going to sound, life really is short and I don’t want to have any regrets. And for the past ten years, I’ve had the same big ass regret staring me in the face and it’s time to smack it down.

More to come on this later, just wanted to share my initial thoughts post vacation. Oh and the muffin top is very brown and a little bigger – oops. Guess those are signs of a relaxing vacation! Now it’s time to download photos and re-live my vacation from the comfort of my house pants. Lates!

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Filed under Life, Random thoughts, Sanity tips

Pondering snails

This is what you do on vacation. You ponder things that you would never take the time to see when you are rushing around in real life. My little dreamland uncovered a few deep thoughts about snails this evening as I sat ocean-side sipping a Miller Lite. 

What’s up with a snail shell? They are pretty damn fancy. Does the snail actually make the shell like a spider builds a web? I haven’t Googled this yet and don’t recall learning it in school, so I am simply going to use my imagination here. Either he builds it or he chooses it. He (the snail) is cruising along the ocean floor and sees an empty house (shell) he likes and goes inside to check it out. He tries it on for size and then takes off with the one he likes. Hopefully it didn’t belong to another snail who went on vacation because now that guy is homeless. 

After I got done pondering his shell, I set him down on a rock that was close to my chair and far away from his original destination. Then, all of a sudden I said, “oh shit – what if I just moved him like 10 blocks away from his neighborhood! Or, what if he was just pulling up to dinner on that last rock and here comes the careless giant human who rips him away from his supper then sets him down on someone else’s dinner table!” 

As you can see, I am not thinking about anything life-changing – at least nothing life changing for me. For the snail, however, I might have changed the course of his life! But he’s likely well adjusted to these types of changes with all the tourists running about. Oh yeah, and I suppose the waves in the ocean might decide to uproot his ass now and again so guess he’s fine.

Ok, dinner time. Just wanted to share my thoughts on snails. Why not. Oh and there are no jobs here either – of course I’ve been looking on Craig’s List because that’s what unemployed people do! We look for jobs everywhere and also ponder everything from the contents of our navels to how snail shells are made. At least I do. 

Later!

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Rocks and Sand

It’s “Deep Thoughts Wednesday” people so here you go. I believe the below is an excerpt from one of Stephen R. Covey’s books. I first heard it back in high school and it’s stuck with me ever since. Good words to remember and live by.

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter. 

He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. 

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled everything else. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life.” “The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health – anything that is so important to you that if were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.” 

“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles, and the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your wife out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.” 

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

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