Thursday, November 29, 2007

One Tree Hill Is Back!!!

When I thought I'd never watch TV again - when I wondered what? why? how? about my favorite program and decided after 3 months of nothing and no clue as to its whereabouts (and having assumed the worst), I read on the CW's website that it's BACK!!! One Tree Hill is back, baby! January 8 with new episodes. I'm sensing an end in sight due to the whole "fast forward 4 years" nature of the programming, but I'll take what I can get. This gives me something to look forward to in the crappy winter months when nothing goes on.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Light in the Attic

We installed florescent lights in the attic and now the real project is underway: Sorting through a few years of stuff and reorganizing and purging. Most stuff is self explanatory and just needs to be grouped with other like objects. The hardest subproject involves the sorting through of photos and memorabilia. I started with a few boxes and bins and have been grouping them by era: Chrissie very small, Chrissie grade school, Chrissie high school, Chrissie College, Post College. It's a little sad that eventually all our memories make their way to a box in an attic. Eventually, my kids will sort through it all and love it but then in 80 years it becomes part of a lot at an estate sale and my personal history will either be up for auction on eBay, thrown out, or maybe, just maybe, in the hands of someone like me who reads the details of someone's ledger, photos and journals, never having known them but feeling the overwhelming need to preserve someone else's history somehow.

I unearthed cards from my college graduation party...letters dating back to 2000 and of my bedroom in my Philly apartment...I see all this and I remember what was going on then. One day our wedding will be a distant memory.

Frankly I'm just depressed. I'd wander away except I've put this project off for a few weeks now I just want it to be over. I think I'll just rubberband everything and put them in their appropriate boxes, label the box, and walk away. Some day I'll be able to handle it but not today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Reflections on an E-Commerce Paper

10 years ago in my MIS class I joined forces with several others on a collaborative paper. The topic? E-Commerce. What was that? I remember in those early days of the web (with Telnet and Polaris still our email clients) being mystified by electronic commerce. I didn't understand it...couldn't wrap my head around the idea. I didn't even grasp really that it meant being able to buy online in its most basic sense. I know I did an extraordinary amount of research - I'm not sure what sources I pulled from since there was nothing really in publication about this new technology yet - but I whipped together some mumbo jumbo and gave a presentation on the allusive topic. I think I got an A-.

Fast-forward to 2007. I'm holiday surfing online and much to my dismay these tiny downtown boutiques tout their web presence only to be met with my discerning judging eye. Me, the girl who raised an inquisitive eyebrow when reading about e-commerce in '97. I'm a HUGE supporter of the local scene but I cannot for the life of me comprehend how a small independently owned shop can possibly compete even in its own local realm without a favorable online site. By site I mean a clean, professional looking site, easy to navigate, sharp crisp photos of actual inventory updated daily, and your tried and true About Us, Contact Us, Products/Services. If you can't pull that off then don't even bother having a site. Front Page is inexcusable today. What infuriates me, the buyer, even more are those sites that advertise the ability to shop online. I'm greeted with little or no inventory, mediocre photos, barely there descriptions, a layout that screams unprofessional (and reflects badly on my perception of the brick and mortar shop) and shopping carts that never work. Finally, where is my payment going? Unless I see that little lock at the bottom right of my screen, forget about it. I'd prefer to email the artist and do payment via PayPal. Just like the look of the site, if you can't do e-commerce right in its basic sense, don't do it at all.

Here are some sites I visited today that made me wince. I'm focusing on West Chester merely because I'm heading there on Friday (with a few other sad sites thrown in to convey my point). I've been to all of these brick and mortar shops and they ROCK (sans the NH Baby Bungalow). What if I'd never been? Their scary web presence immediately writes them off as not worth my time exploring.

A cute vintage jewelry shop - What is this?
Handmade Bags - The name itself makes me think of Scarlett: Fiddle Dee Dee!
Handcrafted artisan jewelry and furniture - Wait, isn't it winter?
Maternity and Baby - The home page is deceiving I soon figured out.
Seeking a Baby Shower Gift - Uh...where's my cousin's registry???
Known for its MOMA like gift shop - I swear they actually sold design books.

Hiring a professional designer or developer can be expensive, but how many college students would die for the chance to build their portfolio pro bono or for pennies designing a boutique's site? How many freelancers are out there, posting ads to Craig's List daily for work like this? Having worked for a small business, time is scarce especially when it's just one or two people. Scouring Craig's List isn't the best use of their time. Or is it?

I say the following as one who started a small arts marketing agency, as one who worked at small boutiques, and as a discerning web savvy shopper: You either have a good site or you don't have one at all. End of story. If you don't have the skills or it isn't the best use of your time, you don't have a site or else surround yourself with people who know what they are doing and are willing to work with you and your budget.

Half assed anything doesn't cut it anywhere - not with the big boys like GAP and not at a small local independent level. Small, cozy, intimate shops and businesses with darling missions are the backbone of our economy but at the end of the day, it's still business. Small businesses outnumber the others in this country but if you think your customers will cut you a break because it's just the two of you, think again. There are plenty other small businesses to frequent who have a competitive edge over others, whether it's online or customer service and experience.

I look forward to my local shops for holiday gifts. I will still visit these shops in the flesh. But which online sites will I buy from this holiday season? I'll likely be at Etsy because honest to god, it's the do-it-yourselfers of my generation who know what they doing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rhett & Scarlett

I walked into Borders about a week ago and to my astonishment (and perhaps just for me?) I see Rhett Butler's People staring right at me. I never buy books new but I had no idea this was in the works and pending publication?! Of course I snatched it. I'm nearly finished the book.

My Pop Pop introduced me to this legend when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I was young. I didn't read the whole book because it was too descriptive and over my head. I watched the movie probably 50 times in a 2 year period. I knew EVERYTHING about the movie and in 8th grade my English teacher encouraged us to push boundaries and explore theater and much to the dismay of the kids who loved the tried and true (let's diagram this sentence), I embraced the project (a little too much) and motivated a group of my friends to perform scenes from this movie. It was fun, challenging and I have to admit - I truly took on the likeness of Scarlett - a total bitch. But hey - I was 14 and I did get the play on stage in front of our whole school.

Now I have the deluxe DVD with the movie, extra features, and I saved my 8th grade GWTW scrapbook. Reading Rhett Butler's People, I'm immediately sucked into this other world again...I can't help it. I want to run out to the library and snag copies of the book and the sequel and reread them. I even searched it on You Tube because I wanted to add one of my favorite "scandalous" scenes to my myspace profile. Then I found this. For those of you out there as obsessed as me - and who will ALWAYS be obsessed - and who hated Ashley, had a love/hate relationship with our protagonist, Scarlett, and adored Rhett and desperately wanted to see them together, the love story lives on...

Friday, November 09, 2007


My poor party. All my great intentions...squashed like a bug. My lofty party plans derailed.

From earlier blogs you know I had my heart set on a fun 30th party - a roller skating party, some dancing, good food. All this screeched to a halt in the last month as scheduling conflicts and pricing issues reared their heads. Who'd have thought this would be like planning a wedding? I'd need to book a year in advance? My $350 budget was blown out of the water when the price per head became $20 and I would need to guarantee a certain number of people. This was also the case with the bowling alleys. I understand that parties over the age of 10 and with numbers toppling 10-15 need special attention and/or venues need to be certain of the number of people if they are going to the trouble to serve you. But more and more there just isn't a simple party, a simple booking. Like everything else today - it's all professionalized and micromanaged.

I am sad. I'm trying to make the best of it all and just gathering a few close pals to bowl and eat. I don't know. If all else fails I'll just escape to NYC.


Four jobs I have had in my life:
Freelance marketing specialist
Performing arts agent

Four places I have lived:
Wilmington DE
Smithtown NY (Long Island)

Four Places I have been on vacation:
Jersey Shore

Four Favorite Foods
Anything with veggies

Four places I would rather be right now.
A Greek island
The shore

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Box

I unearthed a box in my parent's basement about a month ago. It's been in my car since then and last night I finally decided to haul it's heavy ass into my house. I knew it enclosed old photos, cards, yearbooks, stuff dating back to the early 80s and usually I love sorting through it all. But this in conjunction with my slightly chaotic attic meant major reorganization and was why I let it collect more dust in my car for the last 5-6 weeks.

I'm looking through old stuff. I found some old sticker books and back packs and photos from my days in kindergarten. I found letters my 3rd grade class on Long Island wrote to me after I moved back to PA. Just now I went through a stack of letters - they were all from 1996 and 1997. Letters from Becca, Aileen, Beth, Brian, Chris, Cameron, the gang at Deck the Walls...all of us talking about our first year at college and wishing each other well. This was prior to web enabled email, when we all had our .edu addresses but it required hauling across campus to a computer lab or calling on a network admin to connect one's desktop to the university's server and then we might access Polaris or Telnet. This was when letter writing was still an art form.

The old 80s stuff is cute...but the college stuff is still fresh in my head. It was 10 years ago. A decade (which seems frightening) and yet I recall so vividly how I felt that first year...the excitement of receiving a letter...the time it took for me to feel safe and secure in a new place...the trips I took...the friends I had...some I wonder - where are they now?

Now that I've resurrected these treasures, I may need to scan a few and post them.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fall Photos

I snapped a few photos of my festive home - eye popping pansies, a purple plant that I brought back to life earlier this year is still kicking, mums and violas that have been going strong since July (whoo hoo) and my handmade paper mache pumpkins.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I listen to this CD a bunch now that my brother burned me a copy of it. I mentioned in an earlier post that we rocked out as children to Elton John's Breaking Hearts. At 7 years old, I more or less enjoyed the melody and sang along to meaningless words. At 29 I sing along but now I understand the lyrics. This one particular tune, Restless, amazes me since it was obviously written in the early 80s, probably about the Cold War and other global issues. Twenty to twenty five years ago. It's uncanny that despite its references to political issues of days bygone, so much of the words resonate in 2007 (and certainly in the years since 9/11).

Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
Available on the album Breaking Hearts

It's a hot summer night in the blackboard jungle
Crime sits heavy on the city shoulder
Can't get no work, I can't get a job
I just sit and play my radio in the parking lot

Well they're breaking down doors in foreign countries
Everybody thinks somebody's hiding something
There's talk on the street and the nation is worried
But you can't talk back when you're dead, when you're dead and


And Everybody's restless
Everybody's scared
Everybody's looking for something that just ain't there
Everybody's restless

Everybody's scared, they think we're all in danger
Everyone's taking cover from someone else's anger
The walls have ears, Big Brother's watching
They tell us that we're poisoned from everything that we're


Well we could be children from the way we're acting
We feed ourselves lies and then we scream for action
We just breed and we lose our nerve
And there's bombs going off in every corner of the world


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tax Evasion

10 a.m. this morning and Vince flips to the local section of the Inquirer and what screams out at him but my previous employer (among others listed) as one of the top Philadelphia corporations evading city taxes.

Top story on the front page of Section B, peeps.