Thursday, September 30, 2004

Here we go again.

On my birthday, my father wrote me two emails, both pretty much saying the same thing: “Happy birthday, Andy. Hope things are going well for you. Good luck with your football teams. Oh, and I’m a really shitty father.”

I made that last line up.

But the rest is accurate.

See, my dad…he’s a strange guy. I know it’s a pretty expected thing in this day and age to have divorced parents, so that’s not what I’m bitching about. I guess I don’t really know what I’m bitching about. Do I want him to email me more? Well…yes, I do. But not like the email he just sent me. “’Happy Birthday! Good luck with your football teams.’” Give me a friggin’ break.

I guess there’s two camps to this. One camp says that I should be happy that he at least emailed me; there are thousands of kids around the county don’t even know their fathers, let alone get emails from them.

The other camp says that if you are going to do something, do it well; follow through with what you started and at least you can say you tried. As in, “I had a kid with my ex-wife, but I made an effort to stay around so I didn’t have a kid believing I’m some asshole who left; I’d rather him have a solid reason to hate me, you know, like grounding him.”

Well, guess which camp I’m in?

I know I should be happy that he emailed me, and to a certain extent, I am. But not really. The thing is, I knew he’d email me; he always does. It just happens to take a year for him to craft such wonderful poetry like birthdays and football teams—that must be it.

I normally reply right after I read my email, it’s just a common courtesy I like to extend to people if they take the time to write me. But now…I don’t know. I don’t really know what to write to him. I could write an equally canned message that could go something like this: “Hi Dad! It’s great to hear from you. Thanks for writing! It’s been a pretty good birthday so far, so that’s good. Saints are 2-1! What’s up with the Chiefs?”

Or I could send him a longer, in-depth essay on Absent Fathers and their correlation to angry, overweight kids with drug problems and inadequacy complexes, but I don’t think he’d get it. I’ve gotten over it. Well, the drug problems at least. Still overweight and angry, but at least I’m not getting high anymore, right?

I digress…

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Well, after a quick check for comments on my blog, I have come to the conclusion once and for all that no one reads my stuff. In fact, my only two readers ( my wife and mother) to date have no become disenfranchised Adverbloggin readers simply because I forgot to let them know the site address has changed.

Funny how that works.

So, the question remains...should I continue this blog? Well, I don't know. What's the point, right? No one reads it, so why write? In all honesty, I feel a little left out of this whole blog thing, especially given the fact that my business card says "Writer" on it, right underneath the name of the agency and yet...I can't get anyone to read my stuff.

Kind of fits in with my work life, but I digress.

And now for a completely random rant.

On early Monday morning, September 27th to be exact, at 4:45am with wife and I were awoken by our newly-moved in (and quite inebriated) neighbors. Let me say that again. 4:45. As in the freaking morning!

Now, they weren't abusing cats or firing guns - nothing as simple as that. See, if they were, then we could have called the actual 911 instead of the ludicrous nonemergency line. But no. They were talking and laughing. I know that sounds nitpicky, but believe me; it's not. Especially when the sheetrock and (limited) insulation between our bedroom and our neighbors' living room is less than a foot and a half.

But that's the thing. They weren't just talking. They were laughing and yelling an being overly raucaus. I know, I know; I sound like some old man who berates teenage passerbys with insults and critisicms (constructive, of course). But I'm not, I promise. I'm 25 years old. It's just that I happen to have a job that actually requires me to be in the office in the morning. I know the swing shift at Taco Bell doesn't have such ridiculous expectations of their employees, but mine, unfortunately and no matter how much I try to convince them otherwise, does.

So, while my wonderfully courteous neighbors are laughing and drinking and waking many of the apartment occupents in a four building radius, I was thinking of various ways of killing these people. But seeing as how I'm not really a violent person (I'm a lover, not a fighter, see?) and am a pretty firm believer in karma, I decided to let it pass. After all, they'll get theirs, right?

That oulook lasted exactly ten minutes. At 4:55, my wife was on the phone with the police. In my semi-conscience state, I envisioned my neighbors, bong and crack pipes in hand, being tackled to the ground by ATF, FBI, CIA, and Army Rangers equipped with Kevlar vests and night-vision goggles. And automatic rifles, too.

But then Jaime sleepily climbs into bed and mutters, "I don't think they're gonna do anything."

"Why's that, sweetie?"

"He didn't ask how to spell the street name."

This, of course, is the scientific approach to quantifying many problems with our street address. Seriously, if we have a get-together (not at 4:45 in the effin morning, by the way) and we tell the person we live on Naegeli Ave and they don't ask how to spell it, we know they have no interest in coming. It's like some weird passive/aggressive thing...I don't know.

So that's what this cop who answered the non-emergency line said, pretty much ensuring our neighbors could continue hitting their bongs and cutting their rocks without being the least bit bothered by Special Forces. Hell, I'd even take rent-a-cops at this point.

But eventually, they shut up and we were able to sleep for another hour before having to wake up to a shrieking alarm.

So let this be a lesson to you: Always, ALWAYS call 911. It doesn't matter if you've seen a shooting or robbery or heard a word your church doesn't believe in. But when the operator questions whether or not this is an actual emergency, just say that you thought you saw a gun. Within five minutes, your neighbors will be face-down in the grass or, better yet, on the driveway, with a screaming SWAT team member.

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Alright, my two readers know that I hate most anything related to reality TV. But I'm not stupid enough to deperately hate something without having tried it. Unless, of course, the main ingredient is raw onions, in which case you're shit out of luck--I'm not trying it.

Anyhow, there are a handful of reality TV shows that I can stomach: Survivor, Real World (due to its originality of being the first true reality TV show), Apprentice (original idea), and The Amazing Race. Anything else, as far as I'm concerned, is a dismal waste of production equipment and time. But there is one show that continues to piss me off, and it also happens to be one on my stomach list: The Amazing Race.

Now, the Amazing Race shouldn't be this entertaining; people running around the world, chasing a smug looking host and a million bucks is interesting in concept, but I would think it turn out to be a little boring. But it isn't. It's a physical race that actually gets you (well, me) rooting for some teams while lambasting others (especially the asshole guys that play dirty - I hate those guys).

But here's the thing: The game setup is flawed in one key area: eliminations. People come in last in a leg of the race, they get the boot. Simple, right? Adds emotion, drama...even authenticates the tense, fast paced music that heightens stressful parts. So why is it flawed?

These elminations don't always occur. Nope. Instead, some legs of the race conclude with the last team learning that, surprise, you're not out of it. Effectively they get a free ride. This oversight not only drives me insane, it takes away from the very basic idea of the game: a team wins, others lose. When you have teams that don't lose even when they should, it serves to piss people off. We don't watch this show because we want to see the winning team win, we watch it to see the losing teams lose! If there's no loser, why did you just waste time watching it? I want to see a team get the boot. Be merciless, for God's sakes! Survivor does it, why can't Amazing Race?

But I will (begrudgingly) give the show some credit. In past seasons, when a team got out of jail for free and was allowed to continue in the race, that was that. Nothing to it. But this year, they acutualy penalize teams for being last and not being kicked off: They have to start the next leg of the race without any money, effectively turning them into beggars for the majority of the show. I am okay with this idea in itself.

But under no circumstances should a show that's based solely on the premise of competition, with a defined winner and loser every show, should a team skate by because they (the network, the producers, or whomever came up withthis ridiculous loophole) want to extend the show a few more weeks.

Either shorten the length of the show or allow more contestants so that someone, somewhere is getting the boot. Because, believe me, there is nothing worse than hating one of those said assholes and seeing them finish last, only to have them continue on - it makes me angry just thinking about it.


Let's get straight to the point on this one: my wife dislikes the new title of my blog. And while this shouldn't really make for a huge deal, seeing as how she is probably the only one who actually reads it kind of makes for a hefty weight; she's my entire constituency, my one blog shareholder.

So I'm not sure where to go from this point. Should I stick with Adverbloggin? Or change it? Her suggestion, though I am unable to recall it at this point, wasn't as good as Adverbloggin. How do I know this if I cannot remember it? Easy. I just do. It's one of those things.

Anyhow, in order to test once and for all if I have more than one loyal reader, I am going to post a poll.

And since my HTML experience is vastly limited to and , my poll is going to be done through the automatic 'Comment' link thingy that appears after every blog post. Here's how it'll work: at the end of this post, the link will appear, inviting my vast readership to vote on the new name (more the name in a line or two). It appears to me to be a foolproof plan. I have no real reason to continue this blog other than the fact that I started it, but my blogging ambition needs some support. Why write if no one is reading it? Besides, of course, family members - they don't count.

So, here's the poll: should I change the name of Adverbloggin to something else? That's it. You can even answer in a yes or no format, if you like. Furthermore, you can even suggest blog names! How's that for cool? In fact, let's do this: The first person to write in a suggestion gets this blog named whatever they want.

Now let the blog naming begin!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Reality. Really? Nope. turns out that I have been proven wrong. It seems that while I had an interesting theory going in my last post in that reality TV is actually a good thing for TV.

Well...I'm an idiot.

Reality TV has fallen to a new low. Well, actually ABC has fallen to a new low: Mark Cuban. Yep. That irritating pudgy Dallas Mavericks owner has a reality TV show.

I'm not really sure how to approach this; the angles seem to be so obvious and numerous that I'm a little taken aback by the choices. It's kind of like going to Krispy Kreme and rounding the corner for the first time: The line is moving slowly and you're watching the little donuts being fried and flipped and doused in frosting. But then you see the case and then the smiling girl hands you a warm Krispy Kreme and...well, let's just say that Heaven has been briefly eclipsed. But then something else round the corner and slowly not one donut, but fifteen different KINDS of donuts are there, glistening in their sugar and fat coatings, just waiting to be eaten. But the thing is you're still realing from the free donut; you're mind is a little numb, your hands are shaking and you are drooling - you have no idea how you are going to possibly narrow down all of these choices. You can't go wrong, and yet you can't decide for fear you miss one.

That said, I think I am going to take the go-to route on this one. In fact, to keep the Krispy Kreme theme (it rhymes!) going, let's name each angle after a donut. First off:

1. The original. This is first because it's the go-to, money shot, Bo-Jackson-Sweep-in-Tecmo-Bowl...basically nine times out of ten, this thing is working. Mark Cuban is an ass. How this guy became a quadragazillionmillionaire is beyond me. He looks like he's twelve for God's sakes!

2. The Key Lime. Slightly sour, creamy, and not all that good. This one's going to the stupid things el Cubano keeps repeating in his little testimonials. So far - and this is on the first show, remember - he has said that making a good impression is important. Well, gee whiz Cuban. That's fucking brilliant. Now wonder you're a quadragazillionmillionaire.

3. The Cake. Donut. This is for the ridiculous premise of the game. It seems that Cuban is not only above the law when it comes to tolerable sports owners (the man has more fines than I will make in my lifetime), he also seems to be above the rules for reality TV. It appears that Cuban's idea for this show is that he can do whatever the hell he wants; he cuts people for the heck of it. Not so much because they deserve to, but because he doesn't feel right about them. Read that once more. Mark Cuban, one of the creepiest guys around, doesn't feel right about someone. Hmm...

But here's the thing. It's ABC-this is what they do. They make crappy TV. So I guess I should be thanking them becuase this will somehow, some way make scripted TV something to look forward to.

Until then, though, I'll see you at the KKreme.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Reality. Really?

Last night, I had an epiphany.

Well, actually it was more like this morning; I tend to get a little mixed up when it comes to either end of my sleeping patterns. But that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I discovered something that could mean the death of reality TV.

Now, a little background on the evil of reality TV: The Real World on MTV pretty much seeded the idea; basically taking a bunch of decent-looking young people, shoving them (and their hormones) into a house with a cool looking pool table, aquarium and boldly designed interiors, and letting them have at each other. Oh, and they didn’t have to work or anything. Very Real World, right? Well, a couple seasons passed and catfights and rape attempts just didn’t seem to keep garnering ratings, so they decide to force the people to actually get jobs but – here’s the catch – they actually have to work together.

And it’s still thriving, this show. As much as I hate to admit it, the Real World is quickly becoming the Absolut Vodka ad of reality TV: they can do anything they want with it and people will still watch it. The next Real World could be subtitled: ‘Sleeping’ and be those creepy night-vision shots of people sleeping. Not having sex or anything remotely fun. Just sleeping. And people will watch.

But then it happened. CBS decides to pull a Gladiator and ‘unleash Hell’ on those of us who still crave a written script and trained actors; they break out Survivor and by doing so, start a giant wave of reality TV fluff that stretch from the supple curves of Paris Hilton to the depressing trailer lots of Anna Nicole Smith to the harmonically challenged American Idol.

Sure, some of the stuff is entertaining, I guess. My wife tends to watch more of than I do, something I attribute to our respective professions. She is a social worker; she deals with wounds and all-around icky stuff while I sit at a desk, drink coffee, and (try to) keep current on pop culture and communication (and you thought advertising was just “ads ‘n stuff”). Suffice it to say, when I get home, I’m not looking forward to watching TV. And on the flip side, she isn’t exactly looking forward to coming home and placing disgruntled old guys with smelly “necrotic” holes below their scrotums in places where old guys with smelly holes normally get placed. So she watches TV (most of it reality-based) and I will go to the gym or read a magazine or whatever; we both get away from our day jobs just long enough to get energized about going to work again the next day.

But here’s the thing. While I am reading or relaxing from my workout or whatever, I am usually in the same room with my wife, so I get a healthy dose of reality TV and have come to realize this: reality TV is the Napster of TV.

Now, bear with me here. First off, think about it. Napster created a revolution in and of itself, where consumers no longer had to force themselves to purchase poorly produced, ill-written lyrical trash, just for the song of the day. We’ve all been there. You hear a song, you dig it, and you go to the music store, put down your 15-20 bucks thinking that if that one song is good, then an entire CD should be even better. But you pop in the disc and soon find that the CD as a whole sucks; it isn’t worth listening to and you’re so disgusted by the whole thing that the song you actually purchased the disc for doesn’t sound half as good as it once did.

So, that said, Napster allowed the end-consumer to have a choice. Consumers no longer had to pony up the cash for poor products if they didn’t want them. Instead, they could sample the songs and as studies have shown, normally go and purchase the disc. All because they didn’t have to take the risk of what would normally be a gamble: sometimes you came out on top, but most of the times you were disappointed with the CD as a whole.

Of course, record companies got pissed off because of lost revenues due to Napster (and now to other file-sharing programs), so they immediately proceeded to shut the companies and, in the case of Metallica and other bands, the consumers down through lawsuits.

But through this file sharing, music will inevitably get better. The thing is, if I were a record company, knowing that people were downloading music, not because it’s free but because they were fed up with the quality of the product, I would make the product better. Just look at car companies. If cars were all alike with no differentiating factors, there would be no reason to purchase a BMW over a Ford. But BMW, seeing a niche in luxury and performance, went with just that. And people pay more for it.

Anyhow, how does this all relate to reality TV? Easy. In the same way that file-sharing will begin to separate poor-quality music from the good stuff, reality TV will force network and cable shows to produce better, higher-quality dramas and comedies and sitcoms.

By forcing miserable stuff on the viewing public, they are making the choice to go to reality TV an easy one. But eventually, reality TV will force actors to act, writers to write, and producers to produce, but the level will be higher. Because it has to be higher; a poorly-written, dismally produced show that once had a chance to succeed in the pre-reality TV world has no chance whatsoever, which is great for me and other cynics who can hardly stomach insipid dialogue, because we’re not forced to sit through it. Or, even worse, the trailers and commercials for said shitty-stuff.

So, there you go. A little bit about a lot of stuff, and where are we? I don’t know, but Survivor is on next week!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Three months into the fray.

I haven’t been able to update this blog for a while – pretty much ignoring the main rule of blogging: update your blog daily, weekly, whatever, just so long as you give ‘em a reason to come back. Well, let me just say that I have not been true to the blogging community in this respect. Turns out, the job title ‘writer’ indicates that I, well, I write all day. Which means when I get home, I’m not all that into writing for the hell of it.

I know I should.

But that doesn’t always equate to actually doing. So, in the true spirit of the blogger, I am trying this thing once more. But instead of focusing on my journey into the world of advertising, I am going to (hopefully) deeply discuss the heightened joys and miserable depths that a writer at an ad agency experiences.

And, as a great many Rap and R&B albums so magically refrain:

It goes a little something like this.

Turns out that the ad agency I like to call home isn’t really an ad agency. Instead, it’s a “Marketing Agency,” which basically means that instead of focusing solely on the one or two of the four Ps of Marketing, we take care of all of them – even the often forgotten fifth P: Public Relations.

And while this is a great selling point for the company (“Not only can we brand your Pooper Scooper, we can create letterhead, radio spots, and press releases, we can also design the Pooper Scooper website!”), it doesn’t always relate to the most interesting stuff. Not that I am complaining. I’m not. It’s just that, given the choice between writing website intro copy or concepting an ad, I’m going to lean towards the ad – it’s just more interesting (read: creative) than the typical web stuff.

That said, here’s a rough schedule of my day:
7:45a. Get to work, not because I’m kissing ass by getting here early, but because my wife has to get to work by 8am and I refuse to start my day out on the bus. Immediately fill up my coffee jug and either get a head start on projects or if, on the rare occasion I am actually caught up on my stuff, I catch up on some reading.

8:30 – 10:30a. The day begins. Officially. People are usually somewhat bleary eyed around this time, especially on dreary Monday mornings; in Portland, the weather has a direct effect on people’s personalities. Trust me, you have never seen moods worse than Portlanders waking up in August to find showers. Sure, some of them are in a good mood and are welcoming the rain, but they also probably prefer whips and flogging to good old-fashioned water-torture.

Anyhow, during this time, I am usually in meetings or pounding on my keyboard hoping to string together witty and coherent sentences that will (inevitably) be changed by the client. Oh, and I have my snack of almonds at 10.

Noon (or so). Lunch. Best part of the day. Unless, of course, I am stuck with a decidedly mundane lunch when compared to the gourmet restaurants littered around NW Portland, in which case I may convince my conscience and my enlarged gut to “have lunch, it won’t hurt. It’s just one time! C’mon!”

But still, even a ho-hum sandwich is better than having to work through lunch. So there’s that.

Noon to 5:30p. I am pretty much working on projects – writing, concepting, thinking, whatever. Have my second snack (an energy/protein bar) and fill up my now-depleted coffee mug with Apple-Cinnamon or green tea.

More to come later. Hopefully. Well, maybe not; I can’t promise anything.