Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reflections on the New Year

It's...a new year.

Now that I have that out of the way, I'll move on to something more important--raising teenagers. Until recently I had three three of them in my home. However, a little over a month ago one of them hit the "roaring twenties." The other day my friend, Ryan, posted something on his Bookface page that really hit me...

I have learned through my experience that our relationship with our parents go through many stages... adoration, rebellion, separation, acceptance and finally back to adoration. the middle two stages are the toughest for the parents... but when you finally get to the final stage, the relationship and bond you have with your parents is much stronger because of the middle stages. I am thankful for my parents...and am sorry for the stress and pain I caused them as I SLOWLY progressed through the stages. I love them both very much and wish they lived closer. I just hope my kids respect and love me as much as I love and respect my parents.
I'm not sure if there's a source for his stages, but it sure makes sense to me when I reflect on my own experiences growing up. I can only hope that I'll experience the same thing with my own kids. If they ever said anything like this to me, I'd probably start crying.

My oldest is clearly entering a new stage in his life. In some ways he's finally starting to grow up and it's encouraging. I think that he actually sees that some of the things we have been telling him all of his life may make sense after all. Go figure. However, he's picked up some bad habits and he has a highly addictive personality. I can only pray that he'll be able to work through it.

My middle child has everything figured out in life and has very little need for our guidance (my eyes are rolling as I write this). She says what's on her mind regardless of whether or not she took the time to think through the consequences of uttering it. She was a pretty easy-going child so this has been somewhat of a surprise. Will she emerge from these stages? Will she ever be a real friend again to her mother? It's heart-breaking.

Then there's the little one. 15 years old and still a dream come true. I was the youngest of three and I think I was pretty easy on my parents. I wonder if she will turn out the same.

So, are these stages a guarantee? If they are, I can continue to deal with the difficulties I face each day. And since I'm only human, I cannot help but wonder what I did to screw them up so much? I have faith in a mighty God, but it gets challenged each and every day.

I'm not sure if anyone still reads this blog since I neglected it for so long, but I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Waiting for the Punchline

The girls were watching some show today and I just happened to walk by and notice the name of the guy on the right.

According to the show, Young Riddle is a piano teacher. I think he missed his calling.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Surprised by Christmas 2013

I've got the blog bug again. Facebook just doesn't do it for me anymore. I'd like to reconnect with some of my blogging friends from the past and make a few new ones. So, let me start out by saying that I just had the best Christmas in a long, long time (maybe ever). As the parent of two teens and a twenty-year-old (who is much like a teenager) I wasn't expecting it to happen this year. I got up around 7:45 thinking that the kids would be up around 10:30 or 11:00. I expected the twenty-year-old to complain and then figure out a way to get out of the house before noon. But it didn't happen. We had my wife's parents over and even Our 90-year-old grandma for a home made brunch and it went off without a hitch. The in-laws came back over later to play games was fun. However, what REALLY struck me was that we never left the living room and kitchen. We spent the entire day TOGETHER in the same room. Maybe some of the fog from the teen parenting years is starting to lift. We'll see.

I hope to hear from someone that might have found my blog again. Merry Christmas!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Trade Publication Salespeople

I'm the marketing & pr manager for a decent sized company in the Midwest. We're not a Midwestern company as our sales are literally worldwide, but with the greatest concentration still in North America. Anyway, I get a LOT of calls from trade publication (i.e. magazine) salespeople who want me to advertise with them. I've been in my particular industry for over ten years now. Practically no one reads trade publications in our industry so there's little reason for print advertising. Furthermore, their electronic advertising also tends to be pretty worthless. I KNOW this based on my experience and we choose to market in much more creative and effective ways. But it doesn't matter to the salesperson who is convinced that his/her magazine is the "perfect fit" for my company. They're just doing their job and I totally understand. However, when I tell them that I'm not interested I don't feel as if I owe them any explanation--especially when I took the time to call them back (after they called three times in two days) and it just so happens that I was lucky enough to get their voice mail.

So, if you're out there, slightly annoying sales guy, please don't take it personally that I have zero interest in spending money on your dumb magazine that no one reads. And I don't have to tell you why because I know that no matter what I say you will have a stupid response. I cannot win with you and I don't want to waste my time trying to explain it.

I'd rather waste my time ranting about it on a blog that I have not utilized in nearly a year. Now go take on your day.

No, I'm Serious...This blog still exists

It's been nearly a year since my last post. How pathetic. Honestly, I don't have time to do this blog, but I cannot let it die. So, here goes another attempt to revive it. If you're reading this, please let me know. I'll try to get back and check some of the blogs that I used to frequent as well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

But wait, there's more!

Believe it or not, I still haven't given up on this blog idea. I don't want to lose the momentum I've got. Not only are there still mainly stupid things out there that I need to document, I also have many pointless things to contribute to the world. My 44 readers have been deprived for so long that I can only hope they will take me back.

These days I'm mainly dealing with the intricacies of raising a 17-year-old boy who is convinced that he knows everything there is to know and that I'm "out to get him." Perhaps some of you have experienced this as well. I'm interested to hear what you have to say.


Big Doofus

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Closed Captioned for the Hearing Impaired Swill Drinkers

There are two HUGE beer companies in America: Anheuser Busch (i.e. Budweiser) and Miller-Coors. They are fighting for every piece of the market in this country (and the world, but that's another matter). One way to gain new customers would be to create beers that actually taste good. We can only assume that they've written this idea off as a bad idea. The other way is to come up with all kids of gimmicks on the beer cans and bottles to trick you into thinking that there's something good about a bad beer. I've posted on this subject before and I'll probably do it again.

Such is the case with a recent commercial for Coors Light. The message is that the swill in the bottle still tastes like the swill that it is. However, you can now tell when your swill is cold without ever having to open your case. We all know that beverages in the refrigerator stay cooler when you put a layer of cardboard around them, right? No, but I digress.

Aside from the fact that this is just another lame attempt to get Americans to buy more swill, I wonder what the deaf community thinks about it. Normally I have the closed captions turned off on my TV, but my old set likes to turn them on for me randomly. Take a look at the captions created for this commercial in the following screen shots. Note that these are horrible pictures because you can see me in the reflection of the glass. But they're still hilarious:

Let's get started. The first actual words are from the wife (I assume!) trying to seduce her husband. I believe she asks, "Do you like what you see?" However, the deaf community understands it as, "YOU LIHAT YOE?"

The man doesn't notice his wife and instead is intrigued with the swill (what a moron). He replies with, "Yeah. When did Coors Light get these new windows?" which is concisely translated as "WHEN Coorsht GET THNE!" It's apparently an exclamation in the hearing impaired community...and they left out an "i" in "Coorsht." :)

The wife is not sure what the husband is asking and he reiterates, "Windows." Sadly, the deaf community is left with, "WINDOWHANK Y." Maybe there's some truth here. Is the husband passing up on "HANKY" for watered down beer with windows? Hmmm.

The announcer (or "Annou") comes on and says, "Introducing the new Coors Light..." and the closed caption readers get "INTRODG THE Coors t" --whatever.

Mr. Announcer goes on about the "New Cold Activation Window," otherwise known as the "1d Action WI, HANK Y" which must be shorthand for "WINDOWHANKY."

"Now you can see your beer is cold before..." turns into, "YOU CAE YOURR ISD BEFOOU BUYrs t." Wait a minute. I figured it out. The Closed Caption guy or gal may have had one too many swills. Let this be a lesson to you all. Don't drink and write closed captions for the hearing impaired community!

Mr. Clueless just now realizes there are lit candles in his room. "This is a fire hazard," he notes while putting out a candle with his swill bottle. Which equals, "THIS IFIRE HD." It's an Apple iFire in High Def.

The announcer is back with, "Frost brewed Coors Light," which is flawlessly recorded as "RR FRBREWEDrs Ligrs t." Isn't a Ligr a cross between a lion and a tiger, bred for it's skills in magic?

"The World's Most Refreshing Beer," is reduced to "THRLD'S REGREG BE."

And just so you know. I've seen this commercial several times on the air since I originally recorded it and the closed captions are the same.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stupid Adults Getting in the Way - a TV Post

We watch a little TV in our home with the kids. As parents we keep a close eye on what the kids view and we encourage them to think critically about the shows they enjoy. Subsequently, I've been thinking about some of this stuff for a while and decided to share it with anyone who cares to read it and comment.

Gone are the days when kids programming was limited to Saturday mornings. You can catch kid-geared television 24 hours a day thanks to cable tv, satellite and the interwebs. The two most popular networks for our kids (ages 11, 13 and 16) are Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. I watch all the shows my kids watch, so I have a pretty decent grasp on what's going on--despite the fact that I'm a stupid parent (see below).

Over the past few years, I began to notice some consistent, and somewhat disturbing themes with regards to the shows we watch. Primarily, parents are usually not married or even in the picture. Often when they are, they are portrayed as goofy, stupid and out of touch with reality. "Reality" is a universe where kids are in the center. Parents, if they exist, are usually in the background or getting in the way. Most adults--especially those in any position of authority--are ignorant and/or overly intrusive. Work is not something to aspire to unless it has to do with fulfilling a personal (and in my opinion, selfish) dream. This usually takes the form of fame via television shows, web shows, fashion magazines or being a teen singing sensation. The stars of the shows are often launching real-life singing / teen idol careers at the same time. It's all part of the networks' plans to create a teen/tween marketing windfall.

The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron (Nickelodeon)
This show is no longer in production, but it's one we all watched quite a bit and still do thanks to re-runs. Both of Jimmy's parents actually exist in this show and play a significant role. However, Jimmy is MUCH smarter than his parents, who are displayed as being somewhat out of touch. The dad is a hilarious character, but a bit of a buffoon. He has some sort of a boring job and the mother is a stay-at-home-mom. That's a blast from the past compared to other shows, but it's consistent with the theme they seem to be going for.

Spongebob Squarepants (Nickelodeon)
There really are no parents in this program. Spongebob lives on his own, as does his best friend Patrick. They are basically big kids who manage to survive in the world. Patrick is unemployed and lives under a rock. Spongebob and Squidward work at the Krusty Krab. Squidward hates the job and their boss, Mr. Krabs, is obsessed with money. To his credit, Spongebob likes his job and works hard at it. I should point out that we LOVE this show.

iCarly (Nickelodeon)
This show is a guilty pleasure for our family. It's very well produced and quite funny. However, Carly's parents are not in the picture. She lives with her brother who manages to keep a really cool apartment in Seattle by occasionally working on sculptures. Their father decided to leave them on their own rather than take care of them. He expects perfection out of his kids and I guess he just decided it was easier to let them raise each other. Sam is Carly's best friend. We never see her parents and only hear about her mother, who is portrayed as incredibly irresponsible. Freddie is the nerdy boy who lives with his mother. She is portrayed as overprotective and a bit nutty. Miranda Cosgrove, who stars as iCarly, just released a CD with a video that is prominently played on the Nickelodeon networks.

True Jackson, VP (Nickelodeon)
True's fashion sense is so amazing that she got a job as an editor for a leading fashion magazine in the big city. This happens all the time, right? Do people still read magazines? Anyway, it's assumed that she lives at home with both parents. The mother has appeared in at least one episode (or maybe ONLY one), but the father is MIA. Most of the adults in this show are a bit dopey. Keke Palmer (True Jackson) has also launched a singing career with at least one CD.

Sonny With a Chance (Disney)
Sonny stars in a TV show. She spends most of her time on the set, but she DOES live with her mother in an apartment. There is no dad in the picture. The mom (Nancy McKeon from "Facts of Life") seems to be loving and helpful whenever she's called upon--about four episodes according to Demi Lovato (Sonny) also has a musical career. Are you picking up the theme here? Some of you remember The Monkees. It's the show that started all of this.

Hannah Montana (Disney)
Everyone knows about Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus. If you DON'T know about her, congratulations. She's a teen singing sensation (that doesn't assume she is talented) in the show and in real life. She lives with her Achey Breaky dad. There is no mother in the picture. I believe that she died while Hannah was young. Correct me if I'm wrong. I've blogged about her before. In real life she's on her way to gaining respect as an adult by...there's no nice way to say it. Let the pole dancing video speak for itself.

The Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney)
This show is an exception in that the Russo family actually lives together. The parents play an important part in the lives of their kids. Of course, they are all witches and warlocks who have the ability to do just about anything they want and choose to be as normal as possible. It's sort of like Bewithced for those of you who remember. Here's another shocker...Selena Gomez, who plays the main character on the show (Alex Russo) has a singing career of her own. I finally decided that we needed to pull the plug on this show. It wasn't a popular decision at home, but I'll stick with it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm really not swearing off all tv. We watch a lot of these shows together and they are all well-produced. Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. I just want to teach my kids to think critically. I firmly believe that once they can do this they will see the world, and their place in it, for what it really is. I'm curious to know what the rest of you think.