Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Site News: Where'd the Ads Go?

As some of you have astutely noticed, the random ads on the side of my blog were recently replaced by vast, restful expanses of white space. As a firm believer in clutter (It's genetic. Thanks, Mom), I have decided to remove these, in favor of whatever will show up in their place (Probably nothing. I haven't checked yet). Now, why did this occur? Well, a while back I received an email from the ad people, which I possibly am not supposed to post here. I don't know. If anyone wants to take the time to back up the archives in case Google sends the Matrix or something after me, then thanks. So, without further ado, here it is:


While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense
account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since
keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our
advertisers in the future, we've decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the
interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We
realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance
for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions about your account or the actions we've taken,
please do not reply to this email. You can find more information by


The Google AdSense Team

That's right, ladies. I'm dangerous.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Today's Most Terrifying Moment

I worked today, which means that many, many things could compete for the prize that is this post's title ("That person reproduced?!?" *shudders*). However, one moment stands above the rest. During the lunch rush, we helped an elderly gentleman who didn't always seem aware of where he was sort out what he wanted and made him a quite tasty sandwich (You see, that is what we do). He was then gone for about an hour, before turning back up to stand on the other side of the window separating our pastrami slicer from the parade of people who would otherwise be unable to restrain themselves from touching the shiny object. It took a while to get his attention, but once we did, we determined that it was the best sandwich he had had in a long time, and that he could not find his car. Now, our parking lot is not the sort of thing you see outside sporting stadiums. It is more Vermont-sized, by which I mean it does not take long to traverse on foot. So my manager, using the gentleman's description of his car, went out and found it, then came back in to show the man where the car was located. Once they reached it, he realized that there was no second person to drive. Considering how aware this gentleman was of where he was at all times, this hardly seemed like the ideal situation. As my department is located near the front doors of the store, I was actually slightly concerned for my own personal well-being. Upon returning from his trip and reporting both that the customer was his own chauffeur and had not been receptive to mentioned alternate travel plans, the boss went off for a while. Not sure where exactly, but I think it involved a quick consultation with other members of management to determine whether something should be done involving calling the PD with a license plate number. And I do not know what decision was reached, but I sincerely hope that, as of 3 hours after this occurred, both the gentleman in question and anyone unlucky enough to be in his path are still alive. Because these sandwiches aren't going to eat themselves.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Moments In Marketing

Although I work at a fine French dining establishment, I do not feel the need to offer them extreme loyalty w/r/t grocery purchasing. Which is how I recently came to find within my fridge a quality jar of salsa from the competing company Hannafords, the salsa being the same brand. This salsa is, I would estimate, 30% crushed tomatoes, 70% water (It's like the earth in salsa form!). Awesome. The only reason I forced it upon my poor, unsuspecting palate is that quality salsa is evidently made from a combination of gold bullion and unicorn tears. Not being overly awash in money, store brands and sorrow it is. However, this bottle of salsa, as opposed to most of the other unsatisfactory models I have tasted recently, proved to be worth its weight in, well, salsa. How, you may well ask. Well, I'll tell you this: it certainly wasn't the salsa.

You see, per convention, this bottle features a label. Otherwise it would be naked. This label features a rather attractive picture of a tomato, reclining gracefully with an onion, garlic, and both red AND green hot peppers (Presumed marketing statement: "Think of the colors!"). Standard stuff so far, as those are fairly typical ingredients for salsa, even if this particular version features trace elements at best of all but the tomato. But then I noticed something. Written right there in the bottom-right corner of the picture, under all the vegetables (Or vegetables and fruit, if you want to be a real prick about classifying everything properly, scientist) are the words 'Serving suggestion'. Yes. I swear it says that. Nowhere on the label is there any picture of salsa. I can only assume that the marketing team either got really drunk the night before the picture was due and missed the deadline, or they had some sort of Road-To-Damascus-esque revelatory moment (Or possibly are in a crappy Jim Carrey movie) in which they saw the light, because they're right. I really should've just bought the component parts, and not the salsa.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Further Note On Caribbean Radio

As most of you are probably aware, we as a world are currently in the midst of an economic downturn, excepting China, to which I believe we as a country now owe our firstborn children, who are ticketed to replace China's second-born children who, to my understanding, have been thrown into rivers. This has led to individuals and businesses cutting back on their expenditure, impacting revenue streams, and leading to further cutbacks. It's a vicious cycle, and almost no aspect of life has been untouched. This would, of course, include advertising budgets, vital dollars that the mass media depends on. And Caribbean radio stations are showing the strain. But they have risen to the occasion by adopting an innovative strategy regarding the gaps in incoming ad flow, one that would never have occurred to me. I would have gone with playing more music than before, replacing the ads that no longer were coming in, or possibly temporarily dropping advertising prices until the demand for them increased. Or maybe have all the DJs shot to decrease costs. Probably that last one. However, none of these fine ideas seem to have been used. Rather, I heard, on February 24th, an advertisement (Distinguishable from the DJs yelling in the midst of songs by the fact that, for the ad, a man yelled while music was being played) for the largest Super Bowl party in the Caribbean. Yes, that Super Bowl. The one that happened on February 7th. This would never have occurred to me, and I would like to congratulate the Caribbean radio stations for thinking so far outside the box on this issue. Now please stop yelling at me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Radio Stations: UR Doing It Wrong

So, originally this was going to begin with a sentence stating that I recently returned from a vacation to the location pictured below. At this late date, however, that no longer seems appropriate. So rather, let's try it like this: Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to go on vacation to the US Virgin Islands. Even I can't manage to complain about that. The islands are beyond gorgeous, and feature large bottles of rum priced to sell. I win/won. While there, I spent the majority of my time relaxing as much as possible without actually exposing myself to the sun, for the dual fears that I would immediately break out in first-degree burns and that passing planes would crash on my head after the pilots were blinded by the reflecting light. Thanks to generous aid from sunblock whose SPF was measured in exponents, I succeeded admirably on both counts (The planes may have crashed elsewhere. Don't know, don't care). However, there was one day in which I broke from this absolutely backbreakingly rigorous schedule and stayed sober long enough to drive the rental jeep on a sightseeing tour of the island. Random things will be written about it after I start a new paragraph for no apparent reason.

That was fun. Anyway, let me tell you a little bit about the road system on the island of St. John. Firstly, most of the island is uninhabited national park, as the island was gifted to the United States government by the Rockefeller family, who evidently are richer than God, and had quite the number of anti-trust legal matters they were trying to 'settle'. Presumably this worked. Or all the surviving family members are in prison. Whatever. Anyway, the point I was trying to make before I went of my meds was (I think) that most of the island's roads go through the wilderness. And not just any wilderness. Steep, steep wilderness. I would estimate that you could base a very good roller coaster on the St. John road system. I think there may even have been a loop at one point. But that is not the fun part. Because, you see, the engineers who designed the highways, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the best time to make the roads do sudden, erratic 270 degree turns is when you are furiously attempting to convince your rental jeep that it wants nothing more than to go up the 80 degree incline it has been presented with, a thing it is telling you very clearly it has no intention of doing. Also, did I mention that you drive on the left-hand side of the road? This is not because the steering wheels on the cars are reversed, like in that weird Europe place. Rather, this is so the driver can see exactly how close he is to the unpaved, unpacked, sharply dropping off shoulder. This is very important when, say, there is another car on the road, because the roads were apparently designed for Matchbox™ cars. Somehow I survived (Though there was one close call involving a pack of island donkeys and a water tanker, driven by a maniac who I can only assume is currently deceased), which is how I can report to you that the Virgin Islands are doing the radio station thing all wrong. You're welcome.

You see, where I come from, radio DJs are supposed to play the songs and get out of the way, with the exception of 'Morning show' hosts, who should be rounded up and shot. In the Virgin Islands, this is not the preferred method of DJing. I can definitively say this, because I must have listened to every radio station in the region, as they were constantly fading out due to sudden turns around entire mountains. And, with the exception to the modern RAWK station (Station name: The Buzz. Of course), all the DJs followed a very specific formula, which can be approximated as follows:

1. Begin song.
2. Allow song to play for upwards of 30 seconds, but no more than 45 seconds.
3. Temporarily mute song (You cannot pause it. The song must continue playing, unbroadcast).
4. Yell something. It does not matter what you yell, provided it is unintelligible.
5. Unmute song for up to five seconds. Ideally less.
6. Mute song again.
7. Yell something else. Slur it like Shane MacGowan with a Caribbean accent.
8. Repeat forever, or until the listener changes stations, whichever comes first.

Seriously. Every radio station followed this format, which is terrible. It may have been the sudden elevation changes that did it, but I believe at one point I began bleeding from my ears. I blame the radio. However, I bravely continued listening, because the alternative was making conversation, and when you're on vacation on a tropical island, even that mild endeavor seems like too much work. Sadly, however, this method of playing songs over the airwaves was everywhere, preventing me from fully appreciating the fine music my ears were assaulted with, which included (I swear this is true. Sadly, I cannot find the name of the song anywhere) a Caribbean techno version of the hokey-pokey. Yes, that one. I almost drove off the road in sheer hilarity and befuddlement.

At the end of the day of adventure, I found I had suffered many wounds from my epic journey across an absolutely gorgeous piece of land. For one thing, there was the blood seeping from my ears. I should probably get that checked out. At one point when there was an especially vicious assault on what remained of my eardrums, I jammed my finger stabbing at the radio. And that was it, actually. Two wounds. Fortunately, there was cheap rum waiting for me when I returned to the resort. Sometimes life is hard.