Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How NOT to market your charity event

I spend a lot of time volunteering as well as doing my fair share of pro bono PR work, both professionally and via my students' classroom projects. PAWS Shelter, Austin Cycling Association, the Zach Scott Theatre, the Fine Arts Festival and the American Heart Association are just a few organizations I've done PR for. Because our dogs are rescues, I pay attention to fundraisers for Austin rescue groups. Yesterday, I received this email announcement:

Subject: Charity Dog Wash

Do you have a dirty dog? This is not a pick up line. Seriously, if you've got a dirty, stinky or mangy dog, bring him by the Bark N Bubbles dog grooming salon this Sunday and the MorningX will wash him all shiny and clean for you. What's the catch? No catch really, we just want a $10 donation (at the very least) which will go to a local Pit rescue organisation. Come out to the Dog Wash and meet some delightful Pits who may change your mind forever. We'll have refreshments and snacks, as well as 101X goodies, and you'll be doing something constructive with your Sunday instead of getting drunk.

So at first I'm thinking, "hey, this might be fun and a good cause. Allegra was really smelly the other day (I swear, she has BO on hot days); maybe we'll do this."

Then I read further. I don't care how nice some people say pit bulls are; I'm really not wanting to meet one up close and personal in a stressful situation with a lot of other noise and activities going on. After all, Dante is a big wuss and doesn't like chihuahuas (or poodles or any other toy breed that barks at him, or any dog that barks at him, or anything that looks at him cross-eyed), I don't think he can handle a pit bull. But I keep reading and keep thinking about going.

Then I get to the call to action. Excuse me? Are we trying to be clever, because it just falls flat. Actually, it's somewhat offensive. Not only do we usually do something constructive on Sundays (which most of the time involves construction and/or cleaning), I can't really recall the last day, much less Sunday, I spent the day sitting around getting wasted. It's not daily, weekly or monthly occurrence.

In marketing, there can be a fine line between a home run and a huge stinking foul. As I tell my students, "always have someone read what you wrote because what was in your head may not be how it reads on the paper, and when in doubt, leave it out." I wish the charity well in its fundraising efforts, but quite honestly, this email was a turn off and the only baths our dogs will be getting this Sunday will be in our backyard.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Murphy reigns (again)

Speaking of what my face looks like, I remembered the other thing Murphy's Law did a few weeks ago. I found out that I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Of course I didn't find this out by reading it somewhere. I found this out because my face, particularly my eyes, swelled like a pumpkin and my complexion became as rough as sandpaper when I used a face wash that contained the stuff. I was not a pretty sight. In fact one day I had a meeting for some work I'm doing for the American Heart Association's Go Red campaign. A friend was having it at her house because she was recovering from plastic surgery. When she saw me she thought I was doing something to my face just to make her feel more comfortable. I wish!

It took several days to get back to normal, and even now, my skin feels drier than usual. But I can now go out in public and not be mistaken for a leper. If anyone needs some face was benzoyl peroxide, I have an almost full bottle that I won't be using any more.

Celebrity look alikes

I'm not sure if I should be offended that I look more like guys than girls and that I don't even know who most of these women are. Of the two women I know, one is dead. Oh well.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Murphy reigns

It all started two weeks ago. Our friend Robert was able to get us a deal on new kitchen appliances -- stove, dishwasher and an over the range microwave. He came over that evening to install them and all went well until the guys realized that the cabinets over the stove were two low. They emptied the cabinets, left the stuff for me (I was out at a networking event) to go through, installed the microwave and had a beer or 10. Despite having work left for me, I was still very pleased.

The next night I was again out at a networking event (Austin is crazy full of them mid-month). Some guy who came the night before to try and sell us an alarm system came back that night to talk to Doug. State of the art, no install charge, has cellular backup (which our current one didn't), etc., etc., so Doug agreed. I came home that night to a darkened house. When Doug agreed, they had installers nearby who came over to and started work. About 5 minutes before I pulled into the driveway they blew a fuse, which blew the entire house. Good thing I like candles and have plenty of them. The guy couldn't figure out how to get the thing going and since I didn't want to be without electricity in July until 9 a.m., the alarm guy called an electrician, who came over at 10:45 p.m. and had the lights on by 11. Good deal.

For some reason the dogs went crazy that night. In and out all night, couldn't settle, didn't want us to sleep. The next morning we found out why -- they found baker's chocolate from the emptied cabinet and had eaten some. As wound up as Dante was in the middle of the night, Allegra was lethargic in the morning. Doug and I, despite being exhausted, went to our Wednesday morning networking meeting, but instead of hanging out after, working in a coffee shop and going to an lunch networking event, I started worrying about the dogs and came home. Allegra seemed bad and was throwing up on the carpet. Luckily, by the evening she was much better.

Now I'm sure there were some other things that week, in fact I think there was something bad every day, I just don't remember it because of what came next. Doug sliced opened his foot on Sunday. He dropped the hummingbird feeder as he was hanging it. Of course, dinner was ready, so I told him to just clean it up after. He did, but didn't think to put on shoes. He ended up cutting a huge gash in the bottom of his foot and was bleeding all over the patio. He bled out one towel and not knowing exactly what to do, I called the insurance company. Here it is America and the first place to call is insurance. I just didn't want to get charged for going to the emergency room. I talked to a nurse who had me first have Doug lay down, as he was about to pass out. Second, I was to put on a clean towel and when he was okay to stand, take him to the emergency room. I found some duct tape, that all American invention, duct taped the towel to his foot and got him in the car.

Three hours later we left the emergency room, Doug with six stitches. After a stop at the gas station and 24 hour pharmacy, we made it home. As bone tired as I was, I cleaned the blood and the glass off the patio just so we wouldn't have any emergencies with the dogs.

The last thing to happen was Tuesday, when Plexi died. She was a fish, a pleco that is used to clean the tank. We just got her Sunday afternoon and we think the other fish picked on her until she died. I was sad and Doug said no more naming fish. He wasn't too happy that I wanted to bury her instead of flushing her, but I got my way.

Saturday we saw a play at the Zach, An Almost Holy Picture. In it, the character said that his dad always believed that good things happened in threes and bad things in sevens. The character's wife said that the Hopi Indians believed everything happened in fours. I don't know what I believe, except that the last few weeks have been crazy and feels like Murphy's Law is in charge.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Relaxing on a Sunday evening

Busy weekend. We've been rearranging the house. Our spare bedroom is now a hobby workroom and we FINALLY have room in the garage for the kiln. Tomorrow we get our new dishwasher, range and microwave/vent. For now, Doug is out playing poker and Dexter and I are hanging out on the couch.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dexter in the sink

And they say cats don't like water ...

Global IQ

On the 4th we were hanging out at a friend's house and I started thumbing through the latest issue of Newsweek. The first thing I noticed, and thought it was hilarious, was that they were saying it was the summer double issue, but only 78 pages. I swear, magazines continue to get thinner by the year.

Anyway, it's the Global IQ issue, with 181 things you must know. I ended up getting so interested in the issue that I bought it yesterday (didn't think I would be a good guest if I spent the next few hours reading instead of chatting). So far it's pretty interesting.

If you have some time to kill, I'd challenge you to take the Global IQ Quiz. It's 130 multiple choice questions, so it will take awhile. I scored 52% on the quiz. Post your score in the comments section.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Update on perfect job

Back in November I wrote about seeing a listing for what would have been the perfect job for Doug and me -- chief beer officer. We never heard anything from the company and hadn't thought about it in awhile until a couple of weeks ago. Doug and I decided it must have just been a marketing ploy. That was until last week when I was flipping through one of his beer magazines (yes, I was a bit bored) and saw an ad congratulating the new chief beer officer. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to wait until there's a new opening. In the meantime, I am still searching for my perfect job.

Austin, the live guitar capital of the world

Since I haven't blogged about this, I figure today's story in the Statesman's Austin XL is as good of an opportunity as ever. Austin, the live music capital of the world has turned into Guitar Town. Thirty-five 10 foot art guitars are on display various places around Austin. I think my favorites are the "Keep Austin Weird" guitar, which has somehow turned into an interactive art piece, and "Music Capital." Maybe I can convince Doug to buy one for our funky backyard collection when it comes auction time. When you have a chance, check out the photos.