#Advertising — #BirthdayCoupons Update

It’s Tuesday, January 8 — five days until my birthday on January 13.

Let’s tally up the birthday email coupons I’ve received thus far:

  • Palio’s Pizza Cafe
    buy one large specialty pizza, get one FREE medium pizza with one topping; expires 1/31
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
    free medium coffee, latte, tea, Coolatta® or hot chocolate; have to wait for actual coupon in snail mail (will arrive “by the end of the month”)
  • Which Wich
    free regular Wich; expires 1/20 (valid only at Uptown location near my office)
  • Baskin Robbins
    —one free 2.5oz scoop or one 3oz soft serve swirl; expires 1/18

Urge to Kill, Rising: “Cyber Monday Extended!”

In this morning’s email inbox:

  • Sale Extended
  • Cyber Monday Extended!
  • Cyber Week Continues
  • (Babies ‘R’ Us & Toys ‘R’ Us were identical) Cyber Monday Sale Extended!
  • Encore Tuesday: Over for Them — NOT FOR US! We’ll Stay 800+ DEALS-CRAZY for Another Day!

Is it 2013 yet?

Unpaid Endorsements: My 4 Favorite iPhone Apps

By no means am I an iPhone expert, an App connoisseur, or a smart, capable person. However, I do have some super-helpful apps that I use on a daily basis that might be useful to you:

Beat The Traffic = Every single time I get in the car for my morning and evening commutes to and from Dallas, I check BTT. (Full Disclosure: I only have two or three possible routes — four or five if it’s absolutely ridiculous traffic.)

But the highly accurate red/orange/green road colors let me know which roads and intersections to avoid, and exclamation points highlight any accidents/major slowdowns. (You can report them as well.) I don’t really use any of the other features (daily alerts, etc.), but I’m sure they’re good.


Gas Buddy = You might have a favorite gas station or one that you “know” is the cheapest around…but you can know where the cheapest gas prices are with this app.

One big button to hit for GPS-targeting your current location, or just type in a zip code. It’ll give you a pretty long list of area gas stations which you can sort by price or location. I remember my dad trying to remember all of the various gas prices in our neighborhood, and this app makes it so crazy easy. Technology is awesome.


SoundHound = Driving. Great tune comes on radio that you don’t recognize. Tap to open SoundHound, tap to start “listening,” and it’ll name that tune in 10ish seconds. Read about the artist and then share what you’re listening to on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Also has the lyrics that will scroll along live with the radio, so it’s basically a karaoke app too.


MLB Trade Rumors = I started reading this site online several years ago for the latest baseball news and rumors. It’s a freakin’ empire now, and the app has all the site content updated instantly — which is great for fantasy baseball dorks like me.

Editor’s Note: I was reminded by @GalloSays on Twitter (Thanks Steve!) that the actual app name is not “MLB Trade Rumors,” likely due to MLB copyright restrictions. In iTunes, look for “Baseball Trade Rumors.”


What are YOUR favorite apps? I showed you mine, so show me yours (in the comments below)!

Rant: “Advertising Done Right”

If you claim “Advertising Done Right” in your banner ad and I actually click, I shouldn’t have to wait 25 seconds for your homepage to load.

And when it does, if I see statements like:
–“a leading integrating communications marketing firm”
–“leveraging a streamlined branding and positioning methodology”
–“we help our clients to operationalize their positioning into all of the customer touchpoints”

…I know you suck.

Today’s spam “job offer”


Kay Lott to shellymac35


Our company Private Company is pleased to offer you a well-paid part-time job.
Your personal information has been reviewed.

Requirements you should correspond to: Must be US citizen.
If you are interested, please reply.

Best regards


1.       I  am not “shellymac35.”

2.       Not much of a greeting. “Hello. I am a robot.”

3.       “Private Company” is kind of a lame name for your company.

4.       That sentence is missing a few commas, too.

5.       I’m a bit worried that you reviewed my personal information without my permission. Did you see the photos from my colonoscopy last year?

6.       I’m not sure how to correspond to requirements. “Dear Requirements: Hello?”

7.       Gotta say, I’m kinda interested.

8.       No sign-off? Kay, I think you should really include your name. Otherwise, this might look like spam.

Unemployment: Workforce Center Orientation

So I got a letter a few weeks ago that notified me I was “scheduled to attend a Workforce Center Orientation.” Although they didn’t come out and say it clearly, this was apparently a mandatory seminar in order to keep receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Today was the big day, so I got out my best pair of khakis and headed over to a [NAME BRAND REMOVED BY EDITOR] hotel in McKinney.

This blog will hereafter be written in bullet points, since I sometimes roll that way:

* I was glad to NOT see any familiar faces, but saddened to see about 30-40 attendees at this meeting. The true faces of the economy.

* The first lady to speak included the phrase “helpful to people in your situation.” Stung a little bit, I must admit. Sure, she’s got a cushy government job where she’ll do mediocre work, leave at 5:00 p.m. on the dot every day, and never go above and beyond her written responsibilities. (I’m not bitter.) I’ve seen this lady’s clones at the DMV and a variety of other places.

* She also said something about “you can get copies if you have ran out.” Governmental grammar?

* The dress code of the attendees ranged from the business casual, polo shirt/khaki look to my favorite dude — who showed up 20 minutes late in a white T-shirt and gym shorts. I’m sure he’ll have employers beating down his door.

* Next lady to speak was kinda nice. Her gig was to talk about networking and using the WorkInTexas.com site to search for jobs.

* She claimed that 60% to 70% of new hires are through networking. A middle-aged dude in a T-shirt hounded her with questions since he was so worried about giving out his personal information. I was hoping he’d launch into a tirade against the watchful eye of the government or something like that, but she was eventually able to get him to a good place.

* They passed around a sign-up sheet for networking meetings. No offense, folks, but my time is better spent networking on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And e-mailing friends and contacts. And hitting the job boards. Which I do pretty much every day.

* I think I’m coming off wrong in this blog. I’m appreciative that the government is trying to help me get a job. But if they knew anything about me, they’d know that this meeting was a complete waste of my time. It was only an hour and a half, but I had to hurry up and get my daughters dressed and fed and over to my mom-in-law’s so she could watch them. All that prep time and driving and meeting would have been much better spent doing my search on my own.

I understand that there are many people out there who need the kind of assistance they provide. I just got nothing out of it.

*  They asked how many people in attendance were veterans. At least five or six people raised their hands, which kind of shocked me. All those years of advertising how the armed forces prepare you for a career after you’re back in civilian life brainwashed me into thinking that these brave men and women would be prepared for their post-military careers. Sadly, this is not the case.

Reminded me of how I wanted to offer my writing help for resumes and cover letters to veterans. Definitely want to revive that idea and find a way to provide my skills.

* In filling out the online profiles, they mentioned how important it is to mention your certifications and stuff. Examples given included HVAC and CNA. I’m sorry, but if you can’t find work in air conditioning in Texas or in nursing anywhere in the country (tremendous nursing shortage, if you didn’t  know) then I’m not sure an updated profile is going to get it done.

* The Web browser crashed several times during the presentations. Some day, the world will learn the superiority of Apple.

* In going over the resume portion of the profile, I was inspired to create an brutally honest resume along the lines of Dudley Moore’s brutally honest ad campaigns in “Funny People.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ArDB7AJAI

Look for it in a future blog post! (It’ll be much funnier than this one.)

* Took a Boggle break. Trick I learned to get through meetings that doesn’t require doodling skills. Just make up a Boggle board (four letters by four letters) any way you want, then try to find as many words that connect across, up/down or diagonally — minimum four letters to make it harder.

* I did have an actual question, and waited until the very end to ask one of the workers. When I inquired as to whether they had any services for entrepreneurs, he referred me to the chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau. While that did answer my question, it was more stuff I’ve already figured out for myself.


Hey, if you’re reading this and in charge of hiring a writer in the Collin County area, hit me up in the Comments section. (There — I think that’ll count as one of my “work search” entries for my log.)

A spam I got, with snarky comments

From Mr Mohamed Ilar
Sunday, April 19, 2009 12:32 PM

Dear Good Friend, (I like this. I have no idea who this is, but maybe s/he is assuming I will become a Good Friend if I give them money.)

How are you together with your family members?I think all is well. (So you’re a psychic as well as a spamming thief. Interesting!) Despite the fact that I did not know you in person or have i seen you before (Hmm…this would seem to contradict your previous statement. But let us continue anway…) but due to the reliable revelation,(Whoa, you’ve had a revelation? Why didn’t you say so sooner?) I decided to share this lucrative opportunity with you, I have no other choice,(Really? I’m It? You don’t have a family member or friend to turn to? That’s so sad!) so kindly consider this message as vital, believing that sooner or later we will be multi millonaires, (OK, the lack of a period at the end of this sentence really bugs me. Even more than the empty promise of multi millionaire-dom.)

First and foremost, I have to introduce myself to you. (Shouldn’t you have led off with this?) I am MR.MOMHAMED (Where’d the extra M come from in your name? Above, your name was Mohamed.) ILAR, THE FOREIGN OPERATIONS MANAGER OF OUR BANK (Which bank? I used to have an account with His Bank, but not Our Bank) here in my country, BURKINA FASO WEST AFRICA. I am married with two children. (This is pertinent information for our business deal. What are their names and ages?)

I want you to assist me in other (In other what? In other ways?) to transfer the sum of TWENTYT FIVE, FIVE Million United States Currency ($25.5,000,000.00) (Should I be going into business with someone who can’t spell Twenty – much less his own name? Maybe…) into your reliable account as the Next of Kin to our Foreign Business partner , the original owner of the fund. He was a foreigner and a multi company holder who died in a plane crash with his family years ago, he deposited the fund in our bank for his business expansion in Africa unfortunately he met this sudden and untimely death and the worst thing that happened was the wife who suppose to be the successor of the account died alongside with him. (This kinda sounds like fraud. You’re asking me to pretend to be Next of Kin to some guy whose name you won’t give me? I’m a good liar, but not that good.)

Since the deceased left no body behind to claim the fund, as a foreigner, you are in better position for that, and no body will come for the claim after you have applied. (You’ve just given me a good idea for a zombie movie. Will you invest twentyt five, five in “They Came Back for The Money?”) If you are ready to assist me, set up a new bank account or forward to me any one avialable so that the process will commence .

I will guide you on how you should apply for the claim so that everything will be smooth and correct (If I want to be smooth and correct, I’ll turn to Gillette. Or Billy Dee Williams.). After the transfer, i will resign and come over to your country for the sharing of the fund 50/50 base on the fact that it is two man business. (My cousin was in a two man business once. In college. Long story.)

Finally, note that you are not taking any risk because there will be a legal back up as we commence. (No risk? Giving my account information to some guy who can’t spell his own name? And who is our legal back up? Can we get Denny Crane?)
Further information will be given to you as soon as I receive your reply.

Fill this information
Your Full Names……………………(OK, well technically I have three names.)
Mailing Address ……………………
Phone Number …………………….
conutry ………………………………(Is Co-Nutry the art of being nutty with another person?)

MR.MOMHAMED ILAR (Hey, your name still has the extra M.)

Dear Mohamed/Momhamed:
I to write you back in style in which you are used to. Guiding light told me not to provide funds to you in hopes that I do not lose my money to crooks in country foreign.

Have faith, be clean, and your account details to send to me instead.
Yours in trust,


HP Customer Service Update, II

Well, I called the other night – because they didn’t live up to their “within 24-48 hours” promise.

Case Manager Justin went through my file and determined that my laptop – a unit that we received in January 2007
to replace the crappy one from summer 2006 that died – was indeed out of warranty.

In other words, we’re SOL (sh!t out of luck).

So it’s either get it fixed from some dude on Craigslist, go to Worst Buy and wait for Nerd Squad (don’t want to give them any free advertising), or suck it up, donate it, and go buy a new computer.


HP Customer Service Update

No call from my case manager. Guess my issue wasn’t as “escalated” as promised.

I called tonight. Raveena(?) was incredibly incompetent, not taking my information correctly and making me repeat things over and over. Needless to say, English was not her primary language.

When she finally got it right, of course there was nothing she could do but give me the case manager’s number to call myself. I have no idea if I will get an English speaker when I make that call.

Oh, and when I asked if I could call tonight, she checked and said their working hours were 10AM to 7PM. So another night/day will go by without my laptop.

I have the strangest feeling that this will be an unfixable issue and they’ll have to replace my laptop for a second time.

Of course, my MacBook Pro from work has been crashing anywhere from once to seven times a day.

It’s like our crappy two-party political system. If you don’t want to vote Democrat or Republican, you’re pretty much screwed. And if you don’t want to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a PC or Apple, you’re also up the creek without a paddle.

Argh. Oy. Meh.