Sunday, March 18, 2012

In Defense of Daytime Drama

Have you ever watched any Soaps? I’m guessing there’s a better chance you’ve made fun of the daytime dramas: how they are so ridiculous, so over the top, so dumb? I’m here to plead a case in defense of daytime dramas. I think there are some things here we can learn from these shows, so maybe I can sway your opinion just a bit if you are a nay-sayer.

My soaps of choice are 'The Bold and the Beautiful’ and 'The Young and the Restless’, also known as B&B and Y&R respectively. I started watching Y&R in 1986 when I first started college. In our dorm we would all gather at lunch and watch the insidious and salacious antics of our favorite characters. It was a fun, bonding time back then.

I took a break from Soaps, for…22 years, life and career got in the way, but then I started watching them again in 2009.  To my delight and surprise many of the characters were still on the show!! I loved Jill Abbott and Victor Newman back then and I still love them now. Now I also have a few new favorites like Adam Newman and Steffy Forrester.

I think it’s great that these shows value their long-term characters and particularly the women who have a loyal fan base, but guess what, they aren’t young and ‘classically magazine’ hot anymore (By the way I think they are more beautiful, I’m just speaking from a western societal perspective). But these actors are still as talented and as riveting and as fun to watch as the young actors. Movie starlets have until about age 25 it seems to make their big screen career happen, otherwise they become too old. There’s a few exceptions to this age cap like Julia Roberts, Helen Miren, but they are not the norm. The same goes for prime time TV and the life-span of actresses who seem to be predominantly young hotties.  I love that daytime drama honor and reward their aging female actresses. In my shows they have such strong, powerful, confidant roles. They are often leaders in business, lawyers, doctors, or talented musicians, or coveted fashion designers. I love even more when these actresses are involved in some sexy storyline where they show their confidence in themselves and their bodies with their sexcapades.

I also think these long time actors are almost more fun to watch because their characters have literally been developed upon decades of material. The writers do a great job keeping the characters authentic and not forgetting their 6 past husbands or 5 kids from different fathers, or their crazy twin that died. That’s not easy to do. Another bonus is if you have a favorite character that dies, the writers can find some clever way to resurrect them.

The writers also do a great job resolving issues fairly quickly. The boyfriend finds out she cheated in 2 weeks. The romantic tension is resolved in one week of episodes. The villain gets imprisoned in a month after this wrongdoing. Things move fast. Sexual tension is resolved. Doesn’t it drive you crazy the underlying sexual tension in some of your favorite prime time shows, that goes on and on? Well they have to keep that tension going or there would be no show. (Think Moonlighting, that didn’t work out so well after Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard closed the deal).

Daytime dramas also address relevant, important and topical issues on a regular basis. Issues such as Leukemia and bone marrow donation are brought to light. Or Homelessness and how you can help. Domestic Abuse and how to get to a safe place. Very often they run PSA’s at the end of the show directing the viewers to the non profit website. I applaud the producers and I am grateful that they use their shows to draw attention to these important issues.

On a lighter note, I also watch for fashion and styling tips; best hair, make-up, clothes and accessories anywhere on television, hands down! Watching Soaps is better than buying fashion magazines. The looks are current and I love how courageous the actors are at changing their looks up on a regular basis.

TV can be an addiction though and can be a monumental time waster. How many times have you started watching an episode of Law & Order, to realize you have already seen this episode but you keep watching it anyway? So ridiculous, but it has happened to all of us.  There’s so much bad TV, and bad reality TV. I think Daytime Dramas should replace reality TV to be honest. I think it’s less staged and with better content. What about some of the other networks that have a ‘Real Something’ that is just one big commercial promoting some product, book, or other show, It’s very off-putting.  Again the only selling I’ve seen on a Soap is in promoting a cause.

I think there is cross generation appeal to the Soaps, and I’d love to see them around for decades to come. The future of Soaps are at risk, at least the who, how and where is in question. There are some terrific people out there who are better informed than I and are very passionate about the future of Soaps. They are filming a documentary called ‘Soap Life’, so they can show the world the importance of keeping these shows alive, hopefully to be released this year:

Finally, I enjoy the Soaps and fashion so much I started a blog about it. If you haven’t already please check it out  Soaps Style is meant to be entertaining, and fashion centric, based on the fashions of The Bold and the Beautiful.  Thank you!

Anyhow, back to the shows.  You should try one out for fun and see for yourselves if you like it, learn something from it, or just have some fun watching.

Thanks for tuning in! Run well, pdub

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Some wardrobe shopping & organizing tips, really, I'm serious

I pass unto you some tips I have learned over the years in keeping my wardrobe fresh and accessible. This is more of a hodge-podge of info (I love the phrase hodge-podge, I need to look up the origin), than it is a thoughtful piece. A little break for everyone.

I love fashion, and I love to be creative in managing my wardrobe. I am also frugal when it comes to shopping, I love a deal. I like to invest in quality pieces that will be timeless or at least make it through a few seasons. I like to mix designer with lower end brands if the look makes sense. I love updating my wardrobe with accessories vs spending tons of money to try to keep up with the trends. I shop at your traditional brick and mortar stores, but also quite a bit in the onlines world.

A few things about online retailers: First of all I love them. Don’t hate me for saying that. I always try to support the local boutiques, but if they are failing in keeping me informed or being reasonably priced, then I’ll take my business elsewhere. I will pay more at a boutique as long as the service is there. You all read my service related blog post and I stand behind it. However, I do love some of the discount designer retailers that offer great selection, great service, and exceptional price. Apart from who just rock with their service, 365 day return policy, no charge shipping either way…my two favorite websites are:

Next, I approach my shopping with a plan. Staying current doesn’t mean taking a look off the runway, but finding elements and incorporating them into your current wardrobe. For example, pastels and pops of brights are it for spring. I decided I wanted a yellow top, so it made my search online much easier knowing generally what I was looking for.

I also have favorite brands and designers. For example I love James Perse T’s, they are so soft and yummy, but so expensive. I saw on the Gilt calendar that James Perse was a featured designer coming up in 3 days, at 11est, so I was going to make sure I was ready to look through the items within a reasonable 4 hour period of time from when the sale first launches. I mean they sell this stuff at 20% of the actual retail. It’s awesome, but you have to act fast! By the way I scored 6 Threads for Thought tanks for $6 each the other day, which normally retail for $42 a piece. New tanks were on my spring wish list, so I triple scored getting the tanks, in modern colors, by a brand I love, and at an amazing price. Check those off the list! Items on these websites are current too. I found my birthday purse (last November) on Gilt the other day for waaaaay less than what I purchased for from my local boutique. I was kind of bummed, but I got over it, and at least we supported local.

Another thing I’m pretty excited about right now, is that Toms have come out with ballet flats. You know Toms? For every pair you buy, they donate a pair to a child in need? I just bought a pair of two-tone flats which are super cool and can be worn with anything, and I feel good about the purchase.

Apart from these shopping tips, I have these random tips that I think I are totally useful, recycle friendly, and inexpensive. Check these out:

Sick of your boots flopping over unto each other, and can’t see them? Easy solution, roll up paper bags and place them down the shaft of the boot. Voila.

Have a ton of small evening bags, clutches or large belts with no way to see them or get to them easily? Buy a hanging shoe rack and put your items in here instead. You can see them, and it’s much easier to mix and match into your wardrobe. 

I love bangles, and I used to keep them in drawers and would often walk out the door and forget to put one on.  The solution? I bought a $10 paper-towel holder and stack them on display on top of my vanity. I can decide which one I want to pick with my outfit as I’m getting ready. And when I’m not, they are a pretty mix of color as my room d├ęcor.

Do you have some off shoulder, soft fabric or large neck items that keep falling off the hangars? Wrap some elastic bands over each end and they won’t fall off anymore. I love this tip, it used to drive me crazy things falling off hangars.

Shoe bags. Great for off course keeping the dust off your shoes, but if you have a bunch hanging around they are fantastic for travel. I use mine for lingerie bags, holding my curling iron, or holding bangles and accessories.

Finally, get rid of stuff that doesn’t fit, is dated or (gasp) isn’t age appropriate anymore, or doesn’t fit with your lifestyle so much. I no longer have a need for a monster wardrobe of chic power suits, so it was time to say ‘au revoir’ to these pieces. Some I donated to charity, (check out Dress for Success in your area if you have suits to donate), while some of my other designer suits I am sending out for consignment. I am trying a local consigner, as well as talking to these folks who are getting a lot of good feedback:

Hope these tips are helpful. I’m already way under budget for my spring wardrobe wish list which I am jazzed about. If I move a few suits in consignment it may mean my fall wish list may be getting a little longer.

Happy shopping and organizing! If you have any other fun helpful hints I’d love to hear about them. Thanks for reading,  xo pdub

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Morning, 3 Perspectives

  • I was expecting my Marimba alarm sound, instead I get an early wake up call with my water bottle getting knocked off my bedside table. A little annoyed.
  • Why isn’t she getting out of bed, I’m hungry.
  • Silence

  • I throw on my fleecy pants and get the food out of the cupboard, careful not to put too much in
  • Glad she is finally feeding me. I’ll let her know later, but for now why won’t she get out of the way of the bowl. I’m so hungry
  • Silence, *coffee making process in process*

  • Tea time. Happy
  • Ate too much. *Puke *
  • "Ah come on!," Racing to clean up

  • Sigh, not so happy, puke was on the carpet, inches away from the easy to clean floor
  • Ah much better, kinda hungry again
  • “Really? This is how we start the day?”

  • Have to get ready for workout, gotta change. God I look fat. * walk around the apartment trying to get all my gear together. Tripped over cat *
  • Why does she keep walking back and forth? I just want to thank her, and snuggle. I guess I’ll just keep following her.
  • She’s looking good. Good coffee.

  • * Go to gym*
  • *Crying at door *. Why would she leave? I miss her. Maybe if I bring her my favorite toy to the door she’ll come back. * cry *
  • “Oh my god STOP! She’ll be back soon!”

  • Why do I do this, I think I’m gonna puke, gotta get back into shape
  • Fine, whatever, I guess I’ll go sleep on her spot on the bed
  • Ah peace. Let’s see if I can get some work done
(one hour in between and the three feelings are respectively)
  • Suffering yet Motivated
  • Sad but Tired and Cozy
  • Content

  • Walk into apartment. “Ahhh! thank you for the present at the door!”, I love my cats so much. ‘Hey honey how are you I love you.” 
  • HOLY CRAP SHE’S HOME! *tear down the hall to meet her * I love her
  • I like it when she’s around. ‘Hi honey, I love you too, how was your workout?”

 Have a great weekend! with love from Pdub

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tighten up in 2012

Tighten up, tighten up, tighten up, is replacing aum, aum, aum, as my new mantra for 2012. I’ve been thinking about my resolutions for this year, and realize my items are more categorical in nature. Here’s where I’m at with my category tightening:(btw, many of these are already well into action)

1.     Tighten the Budget: So yeah, I am using coupons, and proud of it. Anyways, as far as the tightening process goes, Step 1: to analyze where we excessively blow dough Step 2: stop with the stupid spending in those areas.
2.     Tighten dat ass: and all my other body parts. Two days a week lifting, 2-3 days cardio (stationary, treadmill, walking), one to two yoga classes. On it! Not easy getting ‘back’ into shape.
3.      Tighten up my poker game: I don’t mean go back to being a super nitty tight player. However, improving my tight, aggressive game is what I’m talking about. I also need to work on my player –by- player strategy more when I sit down at the table. And hey variance, thanks for the tough love character building in 2011, but please show me some sweet, sweet love in 2012. Thanks in advance.
4.     Tighten up my daily habits: I’m gonna get up, and I’m gonna do them. Meditate, sun salutation (yoga in case you’re wondering), core, neti pot, vitamins. Set the stage for an amazing day and the happier me. Everyone benefits.
5.     Tight spaces require tighter organizing. This also appeases my OCD tendencies. I love to clear clutter. We have a small downtown apartment with two big people and two amazing (usually) cats. It is constant work to keep organized and tidy.  We also have 3 storage units here in our building that are calling my name to come and get rid of stuff and organize. Big project. Requires assistance from my man.
6.     Tighten up Diet: I’m working on eliminating meat from our diet 100% for all the reasons people become vegetarian. I love animals.  I want to be healthy. I love our earth. I hate big slaughterhouses that abuse animals and ruin our environment at the same time (watch Food Inc you’ll be with me, oh and 9 BILLION animals are slaughtered in the US each year…how gross, and think about that stress on the environment). As a result, I am testing out cooking some regular, rotating menu options that are healthy, tasty, and vegetarian. I have also been figuring out price per serving too, which is taking the diet/ budget/ health thing a bit overboard into crazy town, but I’m having fun with it.

This blog post is like a personal contract to myself now as well as to the wwworld since I’ve posted it. So who do these ‘tight’ categories essentially serve? Well the short answer is myself, and my boyfriend.  Seems selfish right? Not really. The bigger picture answer is an overall improved ‘me’ which will allow me to be a better contributing person overall. This is stated best here by one of my favorite yogi’s:

“…we live in a toxic world, so one of the main goals of yoga is purification. Establishing and developing boundaries of all sorts is one of the first tasks – physical, psychological, and spiritual boundaries. Cultivating good/ pure things within yourself while keeping the toxic out, or at least at bay, is the main practice. Basically maintaining the pure/impure boundaries between you, your space and the world. Then, as you evolve a little, you try to become a filter, taking the bad/impure in and transforming it into good/pure. Thus making your own space ever expanding, and creating more purity rather than just maintaining boundaries.”

He continues with “It all sounds good of course, but it’s a bitch to go through and consistently practice. We homo sapiens think too much, bitch and moan, rather than just doing. We waste so much energy on thinking about what we should do, or about what is bad rather than acting on our Good intentions.”

This has been a similar theme in my blogs before and I’ve had some great comments back from several of you about your own personal struggles trying to be your best you. I apologize for any repeats. I am repeating a bit however because I want to take this opportunity early into the new year to clearly set my intentions for 2012: to tighten my personal ‘categories’ by practicing ‘yoga’ everyday. Bet some of you didn’t realize that you already practice yoga without ever even setting foot onto a yoga mat.

And yes, I also realize that tightening my poker game is a stretch in my self -improvement efforts…but I think there’s an argument there.

Namaste to everyone! Looking forward to a tight 2012! Much love, Pdub.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poker and me; an unrequited love story

“I hate everything about poker, but what I hate the most?….the players.” Quote from one of the nicest guys ever, and one of the best pro players I have ever met and played with.  There’s some element of truth to this unfortunately. Man, you meet some real douche bags when you play, and you’re stuck there for 3-14 hours straight sometimes. There are another 8 or 9 players and yourself usually at the table, and you are sitting there, for hours on end with those same people. If they aren’t silent they are usually making some smart ass, critical, often mean comments about you or your play. Sometimes they try to ‘get in your head’ which always makes me giggle honestly. The craned neck, hoody kid, fixed staring in my direction for minutes, trying to get their ‘read’ off me always makes me giggle, whether I am bluffing or have the nuts. It’s so ridiculous.

I’m running just horribly right now. I have not been on the good side of variance for about 8 months. I also just arrived back from a week long poker marathon in Reno that I bricked, so I’m a little more cynical than usual about poker. Being a douche is the m.o. for a lot of players, and it really doesn’t bother me, and certainly doesn’t affect my game (usually), but I will say something if someone is just downright personally mean to someone else at the table.

For the record I am regularly called a ‘bitch, dumb bitch, dumb whore, you women are stupid, women shouldn’t be allowed to play’… the list goes. I am not called these things because I am actually being a bitch, it’s usually after I win a pot. It is rather unpleasant being on the receiving end of these comments but hey ‘that’s poker!” How many times did I hear that last week? For the record, many times, particularly when I got 2 or 3 out-ted on the river multiple times. It gets old.

Also for the record, my bad running is not all bad luck. There were absolutely spots where my decision making was off or my read was off, so my play was not perfect. However bad luck way out-weighed my bad play. I always analyze my play and I have a lot to learn (one of the things that I find appealing about poker). Twice this past week someone limp trapped me with QQ and KK, and it cost me. I have to watch that. I personally would rarely limp with these hands unless I was trying to induce a shove or something.  In any case they got a few chips from me, so their limp trap worked.

I also have to watch those cash players. Any two, any two? Limp, raise, call. Or limp, raise, 3 bet, call, call.  Original cash player limper tables 2 3 on a A3783 board and takes pot, even though the 3 better bet his AK on the flop and the turn. Third then fourth pair is good to call right? Yeesh. I have to be careful with those guys.

Some positives this past week: My boyfriend played and ran like a god. He cashed at least 70% of his tournies, final tabled a couple, and chopped won 2 events. I was so proud of him. He was running hot.

We also met some very nice young men who were exceptional players. I mean exceptional. I saw one young man make a sick call with K high. Monty saw the same kid make another sick call with Q high! I mean, that kid is putting the story together and adding it up and making an amazing steel kahones decision. So good. For many of these young men though they are playing a bit scared, because they have no bankroll and they have to at least cash! Especially with online poker essentially gone, they are trying to grind a living playing the regional live circuit. Yeesh that is tough. 

I can foresee the live tournament poker player demo shifting more towards your middle aged, disposable income hobbyist. Throw in your few pros and some kids with backers and I think that’s going to be the make-up of players. This year in Hammond we saw 2000 players in an event, more than 70% were 20 something guys. I predict we will see far less young guys in a year. If online poker comes back, then that will change, but if not, I predict we will see a slightly smaller and older field at the live tournaments next year. Women players makeup typically 5% of the field. I don’t think that’s going to change. Especially if we keep getting told we are dumb bitches lol. Fun times.

I am also re-thinking my game strategy. The old guys who were betting 10x bb on hands were stacking chips! Yeah the young guys were laughing at them but they were taking down the tournaments! I think I might throw in some crazy town tidbits I picked up this trip myself the next time I play. We’ll see. I can probably get away with it because I am just a stupid female player anyways, so they say.

From here on out, I am only doing 5 day max, out of town tournaments. Anything longer is just too much. It is grueling and exhausting and unhealthy. I would rather take extended time for a beach vacation. With the money we’ve spent on buy ins, I’d rather go to Europe for a week! Or…the degen gambler in me who still loves to play poker thinks…how about Monte Carlo and get the best of both worlds? I think that’s a fabulous idea for summer 2012 instead of the WSOP.

Apart from poker I am running pretty good in general though. Gearing up for some holiday travel and playing our local poker tournies which, I love. They are simply fun to play, which keeps me playing.

Hope you all are running good! Put a dollar into the Salvation Army bucket. Namaste, pdub.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Customer Service (the Myth)

There’s an epidemic going on, and it’s called ‘Crappy Customer Service’. I have been bitching about it for years but find myself slipping into this mode of passive indifference.  But why? Why is it okay to accept crappy customer service? I believe we here in the US accept mediocre service as good, and crappy customer service as acceptable. I don’t think this is ok. I can totally understand why Yelp is such a go-to resource now.

A few personal recent examples of crap customer service off the top of my head, and for your entertainment (misery loves company):

Apple Genius Bar: I forgot this one, my boyfriend asked how I could possibly ever forget the ultimate in bad service from 'they can do no wrong' Apple. So here's what happened. True story. My iPhone was acting wonky, spazzing out, locking pages etc over a weekend, so I went online to see if there were any posts to resolve. No luck. After an hour or so of time I decided I would just go to the Apple store. So some Monday at around 5:30 pm I drive the 20 minutes to the closest Apple store which is in a mall. I walk in the store and there are 5 Apple peeps in their matching blue shirts and neck thingies lingering around in there. No one else, not a single customer (which I know is weird for Apple store but it's true). One of the Appletons greets me asks if they can help and I explain to her my issue. She points to the guy behind the genius bar and tells me I need to see him, but I need to schedule an appointment. I thought she was kidding, so I asked her if she was serious, she said 'yeah' and takes me to a computer to schedule. I said 'there's no one here.' She told me that I still need to make an appointment. Wtf. So I schedule my stupid appointment for 30 minutes from that time, leave the empty store and make my way to the food court. I'm bored after 10 minutes and a small soda later so I window shop and get sucked into a sale at Banana Republic. I pick a few things and take them to the dressing room, with not much luck, then I look at my watch. I'm 4 minutes late for my appointment. I leave BR quickly and head back to the Apple store 3 doors down. The same 5 blue Appletons are there, and the store is still dead empty. I head to the Genius counter and they tell me I need to reschedule because I'm late. She was such a smug bitch I wanted to punch her in the face and tell her 'fyi you aren't even close to being San Fran Apple store cool'. But I didn't say that I did tell her I thought this was absolutely absurd and that I was only 5 minutes late and there wasn't another soul here could they please make an exception. She finally did. The dick genius at the bar looked at my phone and told me to go home and restore it and if that didn't work then to come back in, with an appointment. I asked if he could do it at the store, he told me to go home. I left the store pissed and wanted to flip the no look back bird on my way out but I didn't. I did resolve my own phone issue but I was seriously so pissed I nearly wrote a long complaint letter. I didn't. My love affair with Apple however died with that experience. True. Story.

Scheduling a mammogram: 15 minute call to primary physician. I was placed on hold, routed several times to 3 ladies, none of which were happy, 2 were bitchy. They ultimately let me know that I am covered for this by insurance, I just need to call this xx phone number to schedule directly, no referral needed.  Next step I call the xx phone number, I am routed through a complex phone system, but successfully get to radiology. I am received by another unpleasant woman who tells me I need to get a referral from my primary doctor. I tell her that I was told the opposite by the primary. She is confused and not happy. What a bitch I am. I’m put on hold. She comes back several minutes later and tells me she’ll book it but she’s not so sure it’ll be ok. (As a result I made a note to follow up a few days before the appointment to make sure I’m still on and that I’ll be covered ok because I don’t want to have the next step to be an insurance company crap-tastic disaster to clear up.) Note: insurance company customer service issues are the mecca of crappy, take pro-active measures to avoid at all costs.

Travel Changes: forget about it, I don’t care if it’s Travelocity, Orbitz whatever. I don’t even need to go into detail because we’ve all experienced the misery. Just don’t bother trying to make changes to an existing itinerary. Between the change fee, and the difference in fare fee, and the pain and suffering, just rebook another fare.

Ordering Drink at the bar: Bartender walks over after passing me 5 times. Me, (smile) “Hi, how are you?” Her, (frowning , silence, no response). I swear I am not exaggerating.  Me “Can I order a drink?”. Her “what do you want?’still not smiling. Me not smiling anymore now either, and a little bit frightened actually… made my order, got my drink, but wowza.

Spending tons of money at local independent boutique:  At no time during my visit while browsing, trying stuff on or at register did anyone ask for my contact info, email, my sizing, my preferences or fave lines/ designers, or if there is anything on my wish list I’m looking for. Owner says numbers are down and grim, blames the location and economy. I would disagree with that. Basic stuff man.

Big Bank: quote from my gentle beloved “I think it’s unbelievable, every one of those assholes I've talked to make me feel like shit about wanting to get access to my own money. Fuck those guys”. (Big Bank loses big customer).

Grocery store, Walgreens, Target: your basic run of the mill mistakes at register and me being an overall huge inconvenience for purchasing their stuff. Again, what a bitch I am.

I don’t know what has happened over the past decade or so. It appears that customer service levels have reached a new low, as has good common sense and hard work. Maybe I’m being unfair and over-generalizing but I believe customer service levels have deteriorated over the years. Maybe the jobs suck really bad and people are grossly underpaid. Maybe that’s why the service is so poor. I had some pretty rough gigs myself throughout my 20’s but was raised to work hard and think outside the box and low and behold, that kind of thing is often recognized, and that’s how you develop a career. Crazy how that works. I feel like there’s this generation of young kids who think becoming a Gaga or a Bieber or a Zuckerberg or a Rachel Zoe is A. easy and B. what they deserve and C. what they deserve now and D. what they deserve without doing the work.  I am digressing a bit into a different topic but I do think there is a connection between the two: youth ideals / customer service.

Here’s the upside. I think there’s positive that can come out of this customer service negative. I believe there is tremendous opportunity to be extraordinarily successful by selling or providing anything, if it comes with exceptional customer service. Even in a bad economy, actually particularly in a bad economy I think a business can be successful with great service. I think there’s a spiritual, cultural and economic movement happening right now and people want some change, much like most of the #ow occupiers have intended . Check out this short article speaking of the 3rd progressive era. I think it is very positive in the midst of our current economic disaster. This article speaks to our economy and society on a macro level, and things like customer service I think fold into this concept on a micro level.

In case you don’t have the time to read this here’s an excerpt speaking to what I was describing with change on a macro level:

“Following our recent financial calamity, a third progressive era is likely to be in the making. This one should aim for three things. The first is a revival of crucial public services, especially education, training, public investment and environmental protection. The second is the end of a climate of impunity that encouraged nearly every Wall Street firm to commit financial fraud. The third is to re-establish the supremacy of people votes over dollar votes in Washington.” The New Progressive Movement –

On the micro level, here’s a couple of good recent customer service examples that give me hope:
Movie Theatre Concession Booth: here's my second edit addition that I forgot about that my boyfriend reminded me of. It left me with hope for our youth to be honest. Story goes, my boyfriend and I went to the movies, it was his choice this time, so he opted for 'Captain America'. He left me at the concession line with an order for the #1 to share (small popcorn/ soda) while he went to the little boys room. I made it to the front of the line and was greeted by a super sweet 16-17 year old girl. She asked me what movie I was going to see and I told her but that I really wanted to see 'Crazy, Stupid, Love'. We shared a 'the things we do for love' giggle. I then made my order and she told me for only another dollar I could get the 64oz of soda and the large popcorn, it was a great value! (she said with exuberance and a smile). How could I say no? So I did, I gave her my money just as my boyfriend made his way back over, with a look of horror in his eyes at the gallon size tub of popcorn. He asked how I could screw up this simple request and how would any two humans consume such quantity of soda and popcorn, so I explained and  shared with him how nice this young girl was and she was a great up-seller, i just had to buy it. I would have bought the m&ms too if she suggested. I was just so surprised by good service I was sucked in. It was great. That young lady was great.

Vet:  They gave me an appointment reminder a few days before. At the time of appointment they were friendly, thorough, on time and then after my appointment…wait for it…they gave me a follow up call to see how the patient was doing!

Hybrid Hair Salon: At the time of scheduling they reminded me of additional services I was due for. At the time of appointment, they were on time, greeted me with a smile, offered me refreshments, gave me a complementary scalp massage, thoroughly addressed my needs and did it with a smile and with professionalism. I left with a great cut and product that I needed and my next appointment already booked at checkout. Tabatha need never go to this salon for make-over.

I seriously don’t want to be a bitch anymore to spend money on products or services. I also don’t want to have to be an expert on everything so I don’t get screwed in general. I will spend more money on a product or service where I receive good customer service vs the same product, less price with bad service. I can tell you this for sure, the next business I start, I will provide kick-ass customer service.

I am a bit cynical after years of crappy customer service beat-down, and yeah a bit recession bummed too, but I will make efforts to be an effective and positive part of our hopeful progressive change in ways that I can. Imagine if we all pitched in to do our part big or small to effect change (hence the def’n: movement). Hmmmm, maybe its time to get that new business rolling….

Start with a smile, and take it from there. Run well, and prosper! Namaste, Pdub.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So, what do you do?

Yesterday I attended a “weekend with your novel” workshop at UW, and met tons and tons of new people who asked me the standard question, “So what do you do?”

I figured I wouldn’t have to prepare to answer this question as I assumed everyone in attendance there were writers, and that I’d be faced with more of the “what genre” type questions. Unfortunately, after the 5th person asked me “what do you do?” I realized that there are probably only a handful of novelists earning an income at it, so all of these writers have to additionally have more traditional ‘jobs’.

Sure words like tangential and hyperbolic were thrown around like the everyday monosyllabic grunts that are exchanged in most of my dialogues, but this didn’t preclude these literary folks from asking the age, old question:

“So, what do you do?”

I hate this question. It was easy breezy 10 years ago, because my answer fit into a nice, clean, expected, and impressive check box.

Here’s how I answered this question this week:
“So what do you do?”

At the doctor: “unemployed”
At the poker tables: “ retired” , “former business owner”, “former corporate exec”
At the dentist: “writing a novel”
At the fashion boutique: “poker player”
And at the writer’s workshop: “I just recently worked in the corporate world” (that was the lamest of all, would have been better off saying unemployed)

Who am I La Femme Nikita? The reality is I do lots of stuff, but I think what people mean to ask is “what do you do for a living that actually provides income?”

So again, I do a lot of stuff but I’m not actually making a ton of dinero doing any of the above at this point. However I feel like if I don’t have an easy answer, then people become uncomfortable and judgmental. I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it.  Twelve years ago when I was a Vice President for a telecomm company and answered the question, people would say “Oh!”, with a crescendo in their voice and smile and raise their brow and ask more probing questions to gage my success.

Now if I answer “I’m a poker player”, the response is met in one of two ways with either “oh” with kind of the you are a degenerate gambler stink face, or the “Oh, are you on TV?”, holy shit that’s so cool face.

Saying “I’m retired” makes people feel bad about themselves like,”hey she’s younger than me and must be loaded, so therefore I’m a loser”.

If I say “I’m unemployed” it has the inverse effect, people might feel better about themselves because they certainly must be more successful then me like it’s a competition, and maybe they’ll feel sorry for me a little bit, but then, how do you move forward from that answer? It’s all kinds of awkward. Most of the time my answer depends on who’s asking or depending on my environment. I mean it’s ridiculous.

I remember years ago when I was visiting one of my best friends and her family in Atlanta, her husband (who by the way is one of the nicest, hardest working, super successful, all around awesome guys) he said to me, ”you know if I want to go open a fly fishing shop at this stage in my life, well, I can and I can just say ‘fuck it, and fuck ‘em’, been there, done that, worked my ass off, don’t have anything to prove or to explain.” Period.

That’s so true, and same with me, I have worked my ass off my whole life and provided for myself, so why should I feel insecure and feel like I need to justify my current existence or my identity with my past career?  It’s kind of absurd when you think about it isn’t it?

So should the question be answered with what occupies most of our time? For me the answer would be poker and writing. If I win millions at poker I’ll give the money away to charity, and the same goes for writing a best selling novel, but the reality is this; I spend most of my time with these two things and I do not make a lot of money with either.

What about stay at home moms? Shouldn’t they be equally if not more valued and praised than their highly successful lawyer husbands? Why do we praise financial success and not our community efforts or family involvement or volunteer time for the needy with a higher value? Shouldn’t we?

For some of us ‘what we do’ is a means to an end or to be able to do the things we really want to be doing. They work so that they can do good things, spend time with their family and enjoy their lives passions. For some lucky people they have both in one shot. Their career is their passion and all fulfilling and they make money doing it. And for some people they are doing what they love, or following their calling and money has zero relevancy. Like school teachers. Why do we pay them so little? It makes no sense.

Many swami’s and gurus teach out of pure love and joy for no money at all and place their faith that they will be provided for. And they have zero stress about it, completely detached from materialism and worry.  I work hard each day towards enlightenment but I’ll be honest, this would stress me out, in fact it stresses me out thinking about it. It’s mind-boggling when you think about it all.

I also ask the stupid question and cringe at myself when I do so when I meet someone new. I’m sincerely interested in meeting new people and getting to know them but I need to figure out how to do that without putting them in the box with “So what do you do?”

Maybe I need to try out “So how do you spend most of you time?” for a while. See how that works.

If anyone has any better ideas I’d love to hear them.

Whatever it is that you do with your time, do it with heart and soul. And hopefully you are running good in the process! xo Pdub

Hey, if you have been following my blog, a couple of updates:
1.     I’ve been working out with a personal trainer and I am sore as hell. Feeling good, haven’t lost any weight yet
2.     I’m delighted with how my skin looks