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April 30, 2008


Lunch has come and gone. I applied salt, sugar and fat to the affected situation and while no less grumpy, I am moving more slowly and am less of a threat to myself and others.

I've gone from feisty to apathetic. Quite a progression.

I'm in the wrong profession

David Blaine. Why is this guy news?

And yet he is. His front-page feat was to hold his breath for a real long time. On the Oprah show.


Shoot, I could hold my breath 'til I'm blue in the face and ain't no one paying me a freaking cent.

Oh, but "he's an entertainer". Yeah. I can really crack 'em up around the coffee maker at work, but that isn't bringing me any income.

What do I do all day? I sit in a fish bowl of a veal pen cubicle and type little words on a little machine to appease bitchy clients and suppliers.

I need a change of venue. Or maybe I'm just hungry. It is almost lunchtime afterall.

I'll check back after sustenance. Perhaps my mood will have improved.

April 29, 2008


Oh hell, and can we talk about changes…how about my beloved San Francisco Giants demoting the multi-million dollar Cy Young Award winning pitcher Barry Zito to the bullpen?

I know that there are *certain people* (ahem…*coff*TheGoodMan*coff*) who predicted this when they signed the deal a year ago, but I have to say, it's still a total shock to me.

And also…in this "rebuilding" year for the Giants, with a mix of old farts and young pups, they are playing with verve, enthusiasm and winning some close games.

What IS going on? My world is topsy turvy!

I am a Taurus for chrissakes! We don't *do* change!!!!!


2008 is ending up being an oddball year. I mean, we're a third of the way into it and bizarre sh*t is goin' on.

In January, The Good Man and I celebrated a year of living together, which is STILL quite a change to me (in the best possible way).

In the first part of February I up and got engaged. Hell, I was never even sure that the whole "marriage" thing was part of the plan for this crazy life of mine, and yet, here it is, all up in my grille.

At work I was up for a promotion but instead in March they hired someone else. My new boss. Who is a VAST change from my last boss, and not in a good way.

On Friday of last week, the entire department I work for up and moved buildings. We're now in a building at the far reaches of the same town where headquarters is located. You have to drive to get there from here. We's in the back forty, as they say where I come from.

And in this move, I had to give up my beautiful office (with a window!) and move into an 8x8 cube. As a matter of fact, I think they bought these cubes used off of a veal rancher, because I tell you, wedged in here, my rump steaks are getting mighty marbled.

The fabulous Feline got that weird spot taken off her nose…that had been with her for many years, so even my pet got caught in the winds of change.

It's an election year = change

I filled up my car this morning and for the first time paid $4.00 for gas. Ouchie change.

And for some reason, I've suddenly taken up drinking wine vs the usual mixed drinks I've enjoyed for years. What is up with THAT?

That's it, I'm pulling out my Ziggy Stardust gear, strapping on the platform boots, and singing….

Cha-cha-cha-changes….(Turn and face the strain)

Because you know what?

Time may change me

But I can't trace time

April 26, 2008


Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love, I love you so...

"A crew working on state government's Rail Runner commuter train cut a fiber-optic cable in Santa Fe Thursday, jamming telephone lines, cutting off Internet and cell phone service and causing other problems over much of northern New Mexico outside the capital city."

Source: ABQjournal.

Living in the Silicon Valley, this kind of stuff is a HUGE deal. Not to under evaluate the effect on Santa Fe, just sayin'...if this happened here, lawsuits would begin flying.

Since part of what I do in my job is manage the telco requirements of my company, every time I do a contract, THIS is what I have in mind when we talk network diversity.

If someone (or many someones) isn't fired over this, they oughta be.

April 24, 2008


Once upon a time I took a meditation class. This came at the suggestion of one of my friends (and coworker) who suggested that I was wound a skosh too tight, and could benefit from some "time out". To her credit, she at least had the decency to take the class with me. We sat on little carpet squares and tried to quiet our minds.

Ok, to be fair, it was a good and useful class, so I can hate on her too much.

Why am I telling you this? Well, as part of the class, the instructor told us to stop reading the newspaper and stop watching the television news.

At first I wasn't sure I could do it. I'm an avid reader and I like to know what's going on.

She reasoned that if there was something we needed to know, someone would tell us.

So I heeded that advice and over time found it was true. I was a lot calmer not knowing every little freaky thing that was going on that the media then blows up to epic proportions. There is a LOT of bad news in the world and the media thrives. "If it bleeds, it leads."

I was content not to know the latest, and yes, folks always find a way to tell you what's going on. It ended up being pretty good advice.

Lately I've been slipping back. I find myself reading the online versions of the local newspapers and scanning the Yahoo headlines frequently. And I can tell, I'm getting a bit bewildered by the world again.

I am a bit frazzled today as I have a LOT of meetings and to add to the fun, our organization is moving locations, so I have to be totally packed by end of today.

I needed a break from the insanity and I tuned in to SFGate.com to see what's doing.

Here's the headlines that greet me (actual cut and paste from this afternoon's page):

Rape Suspect Phones Victim

Boy's Skull Broken In Schoolyard

Apartment Fire Kills Boy

Europe Copes With Pump Prices

Pizza-Killing Charges Dropped

Woman clung to body to stay alive

This does not put me at ease! This does not help me be calm!

The only somewhat "good news" item is this:

Whale Wanders Into The Bay

Article says, "To the delight of onlookers, a cetacean spent the morning swimming between Fort Baker and the G.G. Bridge."

I'm sure soon enough everyone will be freaked out that the little guy is lost and he'll probably ground himself and we'll get ongoing coverage of a dead and rotting whale.

Sure could use a little good news today…


April 23, 2008

Got the homesick blues

A friend back in Albuquerque sent this to me in an email.

I don't know who took the photo but I'd happily credit them, it's gorgeous.

The photo came with only this explanation:

"This is why we live where we do. Someone shared this with me recently. The photo was taken during the '07 ABQ Inter. Balloon Fiesta and the Celebration of the City of Albuquerque's birthday (400th, I believe). The city had high-intensity halogen lights up on the Crest that were only powered by small 12 volt batteries!"

I had to shrink it to get it into this blog space, but the full size is gorgeous. So gorgeous I actually wept a little when I saw it.

Image removed at the request of the photographer, Glenn Hohnstreiter. You can view it on his webpage. Go take a look. You'll be glad you did.


Not the medical kind. The emotional kind. And, oddly, in this case related to medical personnel.

This morning I read this brief article in today's ABQjournal: Hospital Officials: Prank Not Funny

My first thought was "I'll bet it is." I mean, really, office pranks are funny. And hey, a hospital is *prime* for good office comedy. Lots of ways you can go with that.

Well, in reading the article, I discovered the joke in question wasn't actually all that funny, at least not to me. It probably was to the hospital workers who had put in a twelve hours shift and were punch drunk and silly. And generally an office prank arises out of people being 1) tired, 2) fed up and 3) both.

So these hospital folks were caught on the security camera putting a cartoon image of Stewie in the frame that had recently housed a photo of the Chief Operations Officer.

It might have been a loving, joking tribute to the employee who had moved on to other employment, likening him humorously to the baby bent on world domination. It might also have been an after-the-fact tacky comment on the nature of the hospital executive.

Either way, I don't know and really, I don't care. But I do think that the fact this made the newspaper and there is huffing and puffing from the powers that be at the hospital is sort of silly.

Office pranks are everywhere. I've done them. I've been a victim of them. Hell, I once aided and abetted my coworkers kidnapping a diminutive office mate and wrapping him tightly, still seated in his ergonomic office chair, in shrink-wrap plastic (except for his, you know, breathing areas). Round and round and round on the shrink wrap platform and we then rolled him over, green in the gills, to the pile of racks and equipment that were being moved to a new location.

Had the guy had no sense of humor, I suppose that HR wouldn't have looked kindly on the prank. Huffing and puffing would have ensued. Turns out the guy has a great sense of humor, and our boss almost peed his pants laughing so hard.

What the hospital employees missed was a few vital keys to a good office prank: Timing. And know your audience.

Ooh, all this talk has me itching for a good interoffice prank. Sadly, my current crop of coworkers have NO sense of humor. The timing is good (the office is in shambles, we're moving buildings) but the audience…not so much.

April 22, 2008

Safe in Colorado, Open season in New Mexico

Got an interesting link from The Good Man this morning. "New Mexico fights to protect the lynx" from CNN.com and same story under "U.S. Sued Over Lynx Protection" from the ABQjournal.

My first read was in passing only. Sort of a *snort*, "figures", : shrug : kind of response you get used to being from New Mexico and being left out.

In a nutshell, a conservation and animal rights group is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "to force it to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the Canada lynx in New Mexico."

Big deal, right?

"The federal government lists the elusive, furry cats as threatened in 14 states— but not in New Mexico."

Oh? Ok. Well, fair enough. And then further…

"The Colorado Division of Wildlife, which has released more than 200 lynx in Colorado since 1999, tracked about 60 of the animals into New Mexico's Taos, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties…"

60 divided by 200 equals THIRTY PERCENT of the released animals aren't protected.

Ah. So none of those wildlife "experts" at Fish and Wildlife thought that the "elusive, furry cat" would, you know, roam?

Have they MET the western region of the country? You know, wide open spaces, mountains, nice weather, lots of small furry things that a big furry thing might like to eat?

Has the Mexican Gray Wolf taught us NOTHING about how animals will roam when looking for viable food sources?

So what's kind of head shaking about the story is that if the "elusive, furry cat" is in Colorado, it is totally protected under the Endangered Species Act. Once it crosses over into New Mexico? Open season.

No one tell Neal Trujillo that, ok? Cimarron isn't all that far from the Colorado border…

Photo source.

April 21, 2008

Hot or not?

Yes, I think hot.

Been getting a lot of compliments today at work about my outfit.

Well, one aspect of my outfit. My boots. They rock.

So why am I blogging about this?

Well. You see, I bought these little beauties about three months ago. I brought them home and quickly tried them on to show The Good Man. He looked at them, then gave me that sort of look you get when you sniff the milk carton well past its expiry.

He didn't like them. Said I looked like a CHP Officer (and not in a good way).

And he has REALLY good taste in clothes, so I tend to listen to him.

With sadness, I put them away in my closet. They were so cool. I didn't want to take them back, but I didn't think I'd wear them if they give my beloved "that look" on his face.

Over the months I keep seeing cute little gals wearing same or similar kicks, and I keep thinking, "I have some of those…"

Something snapped over the weekend and I decided, "yes, I will wear them, curdled milk face or not."

This morning I pulled them out from the closet depths, paired them with a fave springtime skirt and an appropriate top.

And as my love and I walked to the CalTrain station, he said, "Hey, I really like those boots".

Umm hmm.

"I take you in sickness and in health, in odd fashion choices and when you rock the runway…" Can I get an I do on those vows?

Anyhow, here are the kicks in question:

April 19, 2008

Yeah well...

...you shoulda seen the other guy.

Poor feline is on the mend......it looks worse than it is.

April 18, 2008

Seasons Change

Today I have to say goodbye to the employee who has been with me the longest. She's been with the company four years, three and a half under my team. She is a veteran by Silicon Valley standards.

Ok, to be fair, it was time for her to go. The job grew and she didn't. She was struggling. The team was struggling. She found another job that is tailor made to fit, and we get to keep her as an employee at this company. It works out well for everyone. But at the end of the day, I'm still a little sad.

When someone has been through the trenches with you, fought the good fight, and in this lady's case, even sacrificed her physical health (briefly) for the sake of making our team a success, you don’t forget that.

She is best known for sensing that I was mad at a supplier in a meeting and was about to unleash my fury. She quietly slid a box of mints across the table, whispered under her breath "take one…when it's gone, then talk".

Oddly enough, I complied.

She was right. Waiting for that mint to dissolve, I formed my argument more logically. And with fresh breath, I was in a better frame of mind to properly negotiate.

There are many times I can't "take the mint first" and instead jump in there with both feet. The lesson I learned from the quiet, tiny, beautiful and talented friend stays with me.

I wish her luck today, tomorrow, always.

And so for me, the quest to be fully staffed begins again. It only lasted a month and a half this time.


In other news, my sweet kitty had to have minor surgery today and I am beside myself. All is fine. She did well, came out of anesthesia ok. I want to race home and clutch her to me. I love that damn cat. Way too much, probably.

Happy Friday to All. I need a bebida after this long week.

April 17, 2008

Bill, Bill, Bill…..

Is this how it is?

You dropped out of the election and the health routine goes by the wayside?

Remember back in early 2007? You gave up your favored biscochitos? You were exercising? You were lean, mean and full of rowr! You had aspirations?

And then this, from today's Las Cruces Sun News:

Oh well, I shouldn't cast stones…I've got my own waistline to battle.

Today's photo is still better than this, tho:

April 16, 2008

Plan in place

In reading the "odd news" today, I inadvertently stumbled across my strategy for the first Tuesday in November.


NAPLES (Reuters) - Ballot stuffing took on a new meaning in Italy's parliamentary election on Sunday when a man ate his ballot paper in protest at the country's politicians.

Police in Naples said they had charged the 41-year-old businessman with destroying election materials. He said all Italian politicians and politics "are crap" and that he was protesting "against the system."

Nom, nom.

Should I add rooster sauce or mayo? What condiment goes best with crappy politics, hmmmmm?

April 15, 2008

Is Big Brother Watching?

To my Albuquerque friends, welcome to the fray.

According to today's ABQjournal, ya'll are getting Google's "street view" maps.

They photographed the streets here in the Bay Area a bit back. It's both cool and creepy. Cool in that when I'm going to a restaurant I've not been to before, I can take a look, see what it looks like and spot it more easily from my car. Creepy in that I looked up my home address and by God, there it is. On a nice clear sunny day.

It was a quiet day in my neighborhood. I’m not there, at least not outside. Not like the scores of people who are up in arms over how they've been caught on Google's camera, like this couple who have even filed a lawsuit.

It's something of a game online, web forums dedicated to finding nekkid people on Google street view. And yes, by the way, there are quite a few. Some worth seeing…others, notsomuch.

Street View really is a fascinating thing. I mean, it can put you "right there", which is cool. When they are done with Albuquerque, I fully intend to look up lots of favorite places in a homesick kind of way. I may gaze longingly at the Garduño's location on Academy for hours…(it's not there yet despite the article saying much of Albuquerque is already done)

I just looked up the house I grew up in. It's there. And the residents have totally redone the house. Almost didn't recognize it. Whoa! (bastards took out my mom's rose bushes!)

Ok, it is also pretty creepy. Especially when you see people caught unawares as the van rolls by.

On Sunday, The Good Man and I were waiting for a table at our new fave breakfast place. While leaning against our car, I heard a van rattle by and pause. It caused me to turn around. Turns out Microsoft might be launching a similar service. At least that's what the van said on the side. So there I'll be, face hungry and agog on yet another street view service. Just. Great.


At least I had my clothes on.

For fun: top 15 street view sightings. No nudity on this one, just FYI.

April 14, 2008

Went and got a little country

Now for ya'll that know me, you know that goin' a little country is the roots of my raising.

I'm a bit more comfortable getting lost in the woods than I am in a big city. I can fathom starting a campfire more easily than finding a parking spot in San Francisco.

That said, you know I also love the urban area where I live. The art, the music, and oh the food.

So this weekend, the two sides of me managed to converge in one geography.

You see, there is this establishment just south of San Francisco called the Cow Palace. I am not making this up.

I remember the first time I visited the Bay Area. I remember driving north on Highway 101 from the airport and I saw the sign for the Cow Palace. I was like "WTF?" (I believe that is a direct quote.)

A palace for cows?

I got my first chance to visit the venerable Cow Palace about eight years ago for a car show. (Yes, I own it, I like car shows) I found it to be an odd yet intriguing place. It reminded me, on many levels, of Albuquerque's own Tingley Coliseum.

While wandering the halls of the Cow Palace that car show day, I noticed there was a wall of grainy black and white photos of old men in cowboy hats. I was told then that the Cow Palace has hosted a rodeo for many years. "Well, cool" I thought. But then thought "the Bay Area doesn't know nothin' 'bout goin' country."

Each year that I've lived here, I'd see on the news the story about the kickoff to the rodeo. A longstanding tradition where cowboys drive a small herd of longhorn cattle down a busy urban street to the Cow Palace. Here's a link to this year's story complete with photos and video: Moo!

I always wanted to go see what was doing at a rodeo held at a palace for cows, but due to a lot of circumstances that don’t bear explaining here, I spent a lot of time alone in those days (despite being in a relationship). I was never brave enough to go to the Grand National Rodeo by myself.

This year is different. I am in a relationship with The Good Man. My Brooklyn-born, City raised fiancée. There is no way I'd ever have thought he'd be into the rodeo.

Man, was I ever wrong. Another good lesson in tempering expectations, eh? (May The Good Man always be such a source of surprise for me.)

Several weeks back, TGM sent me the links to the rodeo and said he wanted to go. He'd gone to the Grand National a few times in the past and enjoyed it, but hadn't been in a long while.

For me, come May, I'll have lived in the Bay Area eleven years. So it's been at least that long, maybe tack on a couple more, since I'd seen a rodeo myself.

Saturday rolled around, the last day of this year's rodeo, and we made sure we didn't miss it. I pulled on my fave Fat Babies, did my hair up high as the heat and humidity would allow, and we hit the 2:00 pm show. We even managed to get ourselves a couple real nice box seats.


What an impressive show. It was a tight two-hour rodeo with great cowboy competition. In between events, they had top notch entertainment like Tenessee Walking horses, Open Hackamore reining events and the best was Tomas Garcilazo, a genuine and incredibly talented Charro (and his horse Chollo too).

I was oh so very worried about going to a San Francisco rodeo, not knowing what it would be like here in the big town. I had nothing to worry about. It was great. As soon as the first bareback rider came blasting out of the gate, I knew all about it. I was right in my element.

We had *the best* time. When the rodeo was over, we wandered the cowboy art show, shopped the mercantile, and generally took in the sights.

All of that was followed by kick ass eats at Milagros. Nothing puts the topper on a day like hand smashed guacamole…oh, and a glass of sangria.

What a great weekend…

Turns out the Bay Area DOES know a little bit about goin' country.

Confidential to my best friend in Las Cruces:

No, it didn’t compare to that cold rainy night at the rodeo in Silver City. But then that night was more about the post-rodeo party...

April 11, 2008

Still Developing…

In the aftermath of the kerfuffle over the questionable Absolut vodka ad, discussed here and here, comes news of the latest development.

Skyy Vodka, not one to miss out on a good opportunity released a little press release today.

Here's the title:

"SKYY® Vodka, Made in the USA, Proudly Supports Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo"

Oh dear…

Funniest line from the press release:

“Don’t get me started on the Gadsden Purchase…I think the folks in Tucson and Yuma would be rubbed the wrong way if they hear this landmark deal was somehow nullified as suggested by Absolut, a Swedish-owned brand.”

April 10, 2008

Buy me some peanuts and crack'er jack!

It is well documented that I am a HUGE fan of baseball. I am also a huge San Francisco Giants baseball fan.

Pick up any sports page in the past few years and you will know that my poor Giants have fallen on hard times. The once mighty team is barely a squeak on the baseball radar.

It's tough. The big boys are off to a rousing 3-6 start. Starting off the season at the bottom of the standings, cellar dwelling has become the standard. That's where they finished up last year.

I used to go to a lot of games with a good friend of mine. She had season seats up at SBC Park and it was a lot of fun. We have bombed out on CalTrain into the summer night to watch our team plenty of times. Hell, I even wrote a book about it.

A year ago, my friend gave up her season seats at the big club. Health issues and rising seat costs along with baseball depression at the hands of a struggling team forced her decision.

She invested that year in season seats for the Single A affiliate, San Jose Giants. It's a little cheaper and a lot closer to home.

She is also a "host family" for a player. This is her third year being "mom" to a young player who makes max about $10k a year and needs a rent free place to stay for the season. It makes her happy. She gets to cluck over a twenty something kid, he gets to eat well and they both get to talk baseball with someone who really understands.

This year my friend approached me about her "grand plan" to buy up a whole row of seats in the section she likes at Muni Stadium. It is only five seats, but she began recruiting friends to pitch in on the seats in exchange for access to games. It makes her most happy to go to games surrounded by friends and family. So she did such good a sell job, I wrote her a check.

Tonight The Good Man and I get to go to the game as "season ticket holders" along with my good friend and bunch of other fun folks.

There is a whole different vibe in Single A ball. The players are young and hungry. They play for meal money and not much more. They *want* it. Humility is high. There are audience games between innings. The beers are only $3. Half price when the designated "beer batter" on the opposing team strikes out.

Tonight is the home opener for the San Jose Giants, last year's California League Champions.

Oh, did I mention they are 5-2 so far?

Yeah. Things are looking good in the minor league.

Photo by Karen Fayeth

April 9, 2008

Now We're Talkin'!

Good news was brought to me today from the must read informative site NewMexiKen.

"Mexican Diet May Cut Breast Cancer Risk"

Yeah baby!

From the article:

"A study involving hundreds of women living in the Four Corners region (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona) shows that a diet emphasizing Mexican cheeses, beans, soups, tomato-based sauces, and meat may help lower the risk of breast cancer in both Hispanic and non-Hispanic women."

I knew it the whole time. My obsessive love with (New)Mexican food is HEALTHY for me. It certainly makes me happy, and that in itself is a healthy thing.

Damn. Still an hour and a half to lunch. : rumble :

April 8, 2008

Overheard on the radio

Was listening to a morning show yesterday while getting ready for work. The morning team was interviewing a man of color, a fairly well known comedian and musician.

The host asked him about his thoughts on Barack Obama running for President. He asked did the fact that white people are voting for a candidate of African-American descent mean the end of racism in America.

The interviewee replied that he felt that the very racist people in the U.S. were unlikely to vote for Obama anyway, so no, this isn't the end.

My thought was…

It isn't an end to racism until the skin color (or for that matter, the gender) of the candidate in question isn't even discussed.

When we choose candidates based on their merits (or lack of) and race provides NO discussion, that is when racism ends.

I'd sure love to see that day.

April 7, 2008

Inauspicious start to the week

As mentioned before in these pages before, I have become a full blown commuter, taking a train and shuttle bus to get to and from work.

It's one of those "when it works, it works great" type of deals. To be honest, the whole thing usually just works. Easy. Since my company subsidizes the cost of using commute alternatives, I can ease my pocketbook from the pinch of $4 gas.

However, this morning was one of those days where it didn't work. Oh, all seemed fine. I walked to the station. The train arrived on time. I climbed on. Hey, I even got a good seat!

Then I overhead the conductor on his cell phone. "Hit, huh? At Menlo Park? Ok. Delays of up to an hour. Ok, I'll make the announcement."

Ruh rho.

Yup. The train in front of us hit a pedestrian. And since dancing with a train never goes well, the whole operation had to come to a halt.

My train stopped at a station that was just far enough from both home and work as to be troubling. The conductor told us to get off and figure out what bus to use or whatever. Ugh.

With a cell phone on the last vapors of battery charge, I called a cab and paid an inordinate amount of cash to make it in to work about an hour late.

*sigh* All's well that ends well.

In other, better, news, I'm happy to see in the ABQjournal that it's official as of today, the New Mexico quarter is OUT. If you are in Santa Fe, there's even a little ceremony.

Yay! I can hardly wait to have one in my hand! W00t!

We're going big time, Oh Fair New Mexico!

April 6, 2008



Absolut-ly sorry about ad's map of Mexico, firm says

Mark Stevenson, Associated Press
Sunday, April 6, 2008

(04-06) 04:00 PDT Mexico City --

The Absolut vodka company apologized Saturday for an ad campaign depicting the southwestern United States as part of Mexico amid angry calls for a boycott by U.S. consumers.

The campaign, which promotes ideal scenarios under the slogan "In an Absolut World," showed a 1830s-era map when Mexico included California, Texas and other southwestern states. Mexico still resents losing that territory in the 1848 Mexican-American War and the fight for Texas independence.

But the ads, which ran only in Mexico and have since ended, were less than ideal for Americans undergoing a border buildup and embroiled in an emotional debate over illegal immigration from their southern neighbor.

More than a dozen calls to boycott Absolut were posted on michellemalkin.com, a Web site operated by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. The ads sparked heated comment on a half-dozen other Internet sites and blogs.

"In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues," Absolut said in a statement left on its consumer inquiry phone line.

Some fringe U.S. groups also claim the land is rightfully part of Mexico, while extreme immigration foes argue parts of the United States already are being overtaken by Mexico.

"In an Absolut world, a company that produces vodka fires its entire marketing department in a desperate attempt to win back enraged North American customers after a disastrous ad campaign backfires," a person using the moniker "SalsaNChips" wrote on Malkin's Web site.

A plan for comprehensive immigration reform designed to deal with an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States - the vast majority from Mexico - collapsed last summer under the emotional weight of the debate.

Absolut said the ad was designed for a Mexican audience and intended to recall "a time which the population of Mexico might feel was more ideal."

April 4, 2008

Shock Sells!...Or does it?

By the by, this topic was found over at the Bruce Daniels blog at the ABQjournal, though I'm going to take a different cut at it. His blog post is good, however, and worth the read.

Ok, so here's the deal, the marketing folks behind the highly successful series of Absolut Vodka ads have been working on a new ad campaign, "Absolute World". This has been rolling around for about a year.

Here are a few of the examples:
(sorry for the varying sizes, these were located in several places around the 'net)

Ostensibly that we get "objective evidence" when a politician is lying.

The guy is preggers. The girl gets to look hot.

In case you can't read the buttons, they say "looking", "twisted", "married" and "boring"

Times Square with famous art instead of advertising (ironic, no?).

Had to stare at this one a while…I believe it's implying that every home in LA has a limo and a red carpet.

Ok. Fine. You get the idea. I believe what they are getting at is that "in a perfect world" there would be, uh, "justice". That politicians are caught lying, that men have to suffer the indignities of pregnancy, that the games played in singles bars would be over, that art is more important than advertising (just SO ironic) and that everyone in Hollywood is a star.

Ok? Yeah, whatever. I mean, I'm not sure I'm totally onboard with this campaign, but I get what they are attempting to say.

Until I saw this one:

So what exactly are they getting at here?

No really, I’m asking, because I honestly don't get this ad.

The object of any advertisement is to get people to do something. Usually to buy your product or service.

Bruce Daniels' blog indicates this ad is running in magazines in Mexico.

So is the purpose here that we're trying to stir up anti-American sentiment by invoking bad feelings following the Mexican-American War. For those, like me, who can't stay awake in history class, that war took place from 1846-1848. Are we to understand that, hey, drink this vodka, feel a sense of national pride and let's go get our land back?

Or is Absolut trying to inflame the anti-immigration people? Sure to be a hot topic in this year's Presidential election. Do they think that people will drink their vodka and feel a sense of national pride and make sure that "they'll never get my land"?

No really, I'm asking. WTF is Absolut trying to say here? And either way why does that make me want to drink their product?

The tone of the ad campaign seems to be about "justice", righting a universal "wrong" (wrong being in quotes because I'm sure not everyone would agree on that judgment call made in these advertisements). So is there a "wrong" we're trying to "right" with this new ad?

I really don't know. I just don't get it.

Probably for me, personally, the point is moot. I'd rather drink a jug of kerosene than Absolut. Then again, my very dear gang of Russian friends have helped me learn how to appreciate good vodka. Good meaning it doesn't go down like, uh, kerosene and make my head feel like a punching bag.

But let's not lose the point here…

What IS this ad trying to say? I can't decide if I should be offended.

Oh hell, it's Friday, why waste the energy. I'll just go with a head tilted doggy "baroo" and move on.

And have a tequila drink instead.

April 3, 2008

Tastes Like Nuevo Mexico

I have been reading a book titled "Tastes like Cuba: An Exile's Hunger for Home" by Eduardo Machado.

I picked up this little gem off the "new" rack at my local library. I liked the title. Plus I have a total fascination with Cuba. This passion in past years has been fueled by the movie "Buena Vista Socal Club" which I saw in the theater, and own and watch often. It's an amazing movie.

What lay ahead of me in this book, Tastes Like Cuba, was not something I could expect. I was excited by the form the book took, discussing Cuba through the author's memories of food. Each chapter ends with a couple recipes for the food just discussed (which is a really cool idea). It was like food porn, and since I'm a big fan of good eats myself, it immediately appealed to me.

As the book progressed, it went from mild interest to speaking directly to my heart. Eduardo goes through quite a transformation in his life. Born and raised in Cuba, at the age of 8, just as Castro took over Cuba, Eduardo was shipped out to Miami on the now infamous Operation Peter Pan flights. He went from a life of relative luxury and wealth, surrounded by his parents and grandparents, to being poor and parentless in a new country with the added responsibility of caring for his younger brother.

When his parents did finally arrive some months later, his father moved the family to Los Angeles, a wild and wacky place for a young, sensitive, creative Cuban kid in the 1960's. He struggled to identify himself. He wasn't a Chicano during the power and protest periods in LA. He was not a Caucasian American. He was something no one could identify, not even himself.

To add to this lost state of feelings, in America he couldn't get the food from home, the tastes that made him feel whole. Through growing, becoming more of an American, and exploring his creativity, he found a dichotomy. A man without a country, without the touchstone of his family that turned out to be more dysfunctional than he'd ever imagined (his father boldly admits, to his face, that he never loved Eduardo. How's that for a mind f*@k?), and without something to identify with, it sent him down a spiraling journey into low self-esteem and depression.

What finally rescued him was the theater. First as an actor, and then ever more successfully as a playwright.

He wrote plays about his life, his family, his darkest fears, the ugly parts, the pretty parts, all of it. And though it scared him senseless to put it all out there, he still did it.

I started thinking hard about why this book spoke to me so deeply. Now, certainly, I'm no exile from another country, but I, too, was raised in a very culturally deep place with food unlike anywhere else in the world. And yes, I miss the food from my home. Daily. Did you know you can't find whole, fresh roasted Hatch green chiles in California? And forget it about Indian Fry Bread.

And I often feel misunderstood here in California. Culturally, artistically and all the rest. It was profound when I first moved and still is something of an issue, some ten years later.

But, much like Eduardo, it took me leaving my home to be able to plumb the depths of my own creativity. Living in California has become a means to help me learn who I am, why things matter to me, and to be able to write, paint, and photograph about them.

I am a woman of two places. Like Eduardo, I've learned to love them both, while being conflicted at the same time.

My transformation has been on a much smaller scale than Eduardo Machado. But I guess in reading his words, I wish I could just tell him, "I get it".

Because I do.

April 2, 2008

Someone's got the tidies

This is one of those thoughts, apropos of nothing. Or maybe not appropriate a'tall, but it's one of those things that make me ponder, and so I thought I'd talk it over here.

This may be a uniquely female experience, so men, apologies if the content of this post just doesn't compute.

This morning I had a, you know, "need", and as such, made the trek down the long hallway to the ladies room.

When I entered the loo, one of my coworkers was in there at the sink. She was done washing her hands and was taking wads of paper towels and using them to dry up the water on the counter around all four sink basins in the bathroom. She had a quite determined look as she did so, too.

And I thought to myself…"why?" It's the office bathroom. Why do you expend the calories to clean up at work?

We have a pretty good janitor who comes every afternoon and leaves the potty clean and sparkly. It's not like they are falling down on the job.

I mean…cleaning up is a nice thing to do. Considerate of others and all that.

But why? I mean, I try to be tidy when I wash my hands and if I personally make a big mess, I'll clean it up, but I don't take on the role of cleaning up the whole place.

You'd be surprised to know I've seen a LOT of women do this both in the bathroom and in the kitchen/coffee area. I don’t know why.

I suspect, though there is no way for me personally to know, that men don't do this.

The counter cleanup "feels" like a mom thing to do. The lady I ran across today is a mom to five kids and maybe it's just intuitive to her, just happens without thinking. Maybe.

I mean…is this a good thing? Or weird?

I just don't know. To be honest, I was a little afraid she was going to spit on a tissue and start wiping off my face.

I think this need to tidy is probably a harmless thing, but it seems to breed contempt, "Why are people SO messy! Harumph!"

I have enough to get the harumphs about at work. The water splashes on the sink are the least of my worries……

April 1, 2008

Oh the beauty of the retail high…

About two weeks ago, I detailed my impatience in this post about how long it was taking to receive a brand new product I had procured, but the retailer seemed to mishandle my order.

After two phone calls. One nice, one in which I used the words "upset", "angry" and "very frustrated" liberally, I finally got my package.

But true to Murphy's Law, the ding-dang thing arrived when I was out of town.

That being said, it finally arrived. And it's GORGEOUS!

What I ordered was a Sony CyberShot T200 in luscious red.

I have an old CyberShot that I have used and loved greatly for about five years. For a point and shoot, it takes really great photos. I have pushed the bounds of that little camera and it has stood up to the test. But it's starting to show its age. I actually carry it with me every day and it's great for that "just can't miss" photo op. But the battery will only charge to about "23 minutes" which isn't much, really, for a camera. I replaced the battery, but it didn't help.

So this red beast is the new kid on the block. The coolest aspect? The gorgeous screen on the back. Not only is it glorious to look at, the camera is all touch screen controlled via this screen, and is surprisingly intuitive to use.

I only just got the battery charged and into the camera yesterday, so I haven't taken but a few photos, but I already really love it. It's an 8.1 megapixel (whoa!) and I bought a 4 gig memory stick for shockingly cheap on Amazon. This little camera won some awards for it's design and I can see why. Tonight I get to play with it a bit as we are going to the Fan Fest for the San Jose Giants. I'll share if anything comes out looking good.

New toy! New toy!!

Somewhere in New Mexico…

…former mayor and current blogger Jim Baca can be heard wailing "nooooooooooooooo".

Ok, I don't know that for sure. It's just the fiction writer coming out in me. :)

But Jim Baca is a pretty strong anti-Marty Chávez guy, so I wonder at his response to the ABQjournal article that Mayor Chávez won his court battle to run for a third term.


I'll be checking Only in New Mexico throughout the day.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.