Monday, June 1, 2009

A Really Goode Job

Hello my long lost blog! I haven't posted anything here in a long time because I've been busy working on a professional resume blog. It took a lot of work, but it's finally ready to be shared with the world. Check it out at and feel free to send it around.

So much has happened in the past few months. I started a twitter account, my user name is @erbear if you're interested in my ramblings in 140 characters or less. Softball season started and our team is currently 0-4, but last week's game was lost in OT so it doesn't really count. I went to see Dave Matthews Band and it was a fantastic, albeit soggy show. Oh, and I lost my job.

Yes, that's right. I got laid off thanks to the economy and budget issues with my former employer. And it hurt. But, there is no time to wallow in misery (although wallow is a fun word). The job search is in high gear, I'm looking for public relations, marketing and communications jobs all over the place. Ideally, I'd like to get an awesome job that pays fabulously in San Francisco but we'll see how that goes. I also like New York, Washington D.C., Boston and Chicago. I'm not completely opposed to staying in Buffalo either if the right opportunity comes along.

That is unless I get my dream job. Check this out, Murphy-Goode winery in Sonoma County is holding a contest for A Really Goode Job. They're looking for a social media guru to be their Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent for six months. The winning applicant gets to learn from the wine making experts, explore the vineyard and surrounding areas, and use social media to promote the winery and tell everyone about their adventures. They pay isn't bad either.

With the help of my friends Nikki, Jesse and Jeremy Horst, I made a video to submit. It's pretty funny, at least we think so. Please vote for me and if I win, you can visit! Watch the video and vote here. My favorite part is the wine bottle guy. All of the artwork was one by Jesse Horst, he's an awesome artist. Check him at at

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Holmes Humidifiers

It's not often that consumer retail companies get positive feedback, but I have a great customer service experience to blog about involving Holmes, the makers of a variety of humidifiers and air purifiers. Back in November, I bought a little humidifier for my bedroom. It cost $31.99 and worked really well, until it didn't work at all anymore.

Right after Christmas, it broke and stopped shooting mist out of its spout. A humidifier that doesn't humidify is pretty useless, but thankfully I registered the little guy so it was covered under warranty. After much procrastination on my own part, I called to explain the situation and a lovely woman named Violet said, "No problem! Fax over the receipt and we'll send you a new one." That was February 16.

On February 27, a box the size of a small refrigerator showed up at my door. They sent me a brand new, seriously pimped out humidifier three times the size of my old broken one (see the picture for proof.) It has a digital humidity reader, all sorts of fancy buttons to set the humidity to a certain level and automatically shut on or off, a filter check gauge and lots of other fun stuff. And it actually holds enough water to run throughout the night!

It's kind of amazing. And the price? This super upgraded version normally costs $64.99 - twice my original purchase. I did not pay a penny, not even for shipping and I didn't have to bother with the hassle of sending back the broken one.

My only complaint is that the humidifier Holmes sent me requires the use of a filter, which my original one did not. So, now I have to spend money every few months on a new filter. But really, I think that's OK. Because I now have the mother of all humidifiers. Holmes, the previously dry air in my bedroom thanks you.

The Power of Female Persuasion

There is nothing like the opinions of three strong, intelligent women with only my best interests in mind to clear my head and gain perspective on a situation. Sometimes you're in a cloud, hoping that things will work out the way you want them to, even though your gut is telling you they won't. It's times like that when you really need your girlfriends.

This girl power (forgive me for the Spice Girl reference) can be applied to many problems, but it seems the most common issue involves the opposite sex. Perhaps this is because it can be so difficult for men and women to clearly communicate with each other, especially in the early stages of dating. You're thinking one thing, he's thinking another and sometimes it takes a few bottles of wine along with a lot of laughter with your best friends to see that.

So thank you, girlfriends, for helping me see the truth and make the right decision. I'd like to say that I would have figured it out on my own, but you certainly made it easier. I don't know what I'd do without you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Flight 3407

It's been almost ten days since the horrific crash of Continental Flight 3407. I couldn't blog about it right away because just listening to details made me really sad, let alone thinking and processing it enough to write. News stories about the people behind the tragedy still bring tears to my eyes.

As Americans, we've lived through plenty of wide-scale tragedy. I've watched news coverage of absolutely horrific, unexpected events - September 11, Hurricane Katrina, dozens of plane crashes, car accidents, etc. I've seen the faces of victims' loved ones, fear stricken and hysterical over their sudden losses. I've felt empathy and sadness for them, I've cried for them and prayed for them.

But this time, it was different. It happened in Buffalo, MY city, and that made it personal. Those first few days after the crash were nerve-wracking, I held my breath waiting for the full list of victims. Out of fifty people in Buffalo, you're bound to know someone. I knew my close friends and family were safe, but horrible thoughts about acquaintances, old co-workers and schoolmates took over my brain. Thankfully, I didn't know any of the people that died.

Knowing that certainly makes dealing with emotions easier, but I still feel horrible for the victims' families. So many stories about their loved ones have surfaced, I almost feel like I knew them. I want to reach through the T.V. and give them a big hug.

There was a chilling calm over the city the day after the crash that lasted for a few days. Everywhere you went - to work, the store, the gas station - you didn't know if the people you were interacting with had been affected. People were nicer to each other, at least the people I came across. It's funny how tragedy brings people together.

If those who lost a loved one can take comfort in anything, it's knowing that they are not alone. There is a whole community of people, most of them complete strangers, who truly care and want to help. Dozens of Facebook groups have popped up, offering kind words and support. Petitions to get Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to build the Wielinksi family a new house after their home was the only one destroyed in the crash have been circulating around Buffalo homes, schools and offices. The folks at Tony Walker & Co. have designed a One City, One Heart t-shirt, with all proceeds going to the family. Prayer services, fundraising efforts, thoughts, prayers and general good will abound.

As a community, it will take some time to heal, but if one thing is true of Buffalonians it's that you can't keep us down. We'll do everything we can to help those whose lives were changed forever, helping ourselves and each other in the process.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cluster Fudge Isn't Something I'd Want to Eat

Apparently, ninedaves and I are the only ones that haven't seen this e-mail chain. Ben & Jerry's is famous for its creative ice cream flavor names (and it's deliciousness). The Vermont-based company came up with the clever Yes Pecan, kinda like Yes We Can, for President Obama. This email asked people to come up with flavors for George W. I'm rather partial to “You’re Shitting In My Mouth And Calling It A” Sundae, although Cluster Fudge made me laugh out loud too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Social Media Mystery

This morning, I attended a Buffalo/Niagara Public Relations Society of America seminar titled, "Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & More: A Guide to Social Media & How It Applies to PR Practitioners." According to PRSA's website, the purpose of the event was to inform attendees of, "the basic applications of social media for their own organization, but also how to monitor them and respond effectively."

The turn out was phenomenal, every seat in the room was full. Social media is certainly a buzzword these days, but few people understand what it is or how it can be applied to business. PBS published a story today about getting journalism students to buy in to Twitter. According to a New York Times article, advertisers are still struggling with how to reach their target markets. According to Time, members of Congress are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon and causing quite a stir.

My point is that social media is huge, but the vast majority of the population is still in the dark. Events like the one today are helping to shed some light on the subject and encouraging those who are still puzzled by the whole thing to ask questions. I think this was one of the most relevant topics PRSA has ever covered and the number of attendees proved that people want to learn more.

That's why I was shocked to read WNYMedia's take on today's seminar. The author of that post was perplexed by one woman's inquiry as to whether or not Facebook was just a tool for teenagers to socialize. He equated one person's misinterpretation of social media to all PR professionals, which was unfair, irresponsible and wrong. Obviously, this woman doesn't have a clue about social media, but her question was an honest attempt to get one! If people can't come together in a friendly learning environment to ask questions without being criticized, how will they ever learn?

In my opinion, all three panelists at the event were engaging, informative and knowledgeable. They provided information to educate social media users of all levels and were patient enough to entertain questions from some obvious beginners. Kara Kane from Medaille College spoke about the benefits of Facebook, including creating a group or fan page for your company and targeted paid advertising. AJ Diciembre, founder of BuffaloMe, discussed various aspects of his
Buffalo-oriented social networking site and other sites, including Twitter and MySpace.

The most entertaining panelist by far, Kevin Lim, self-titled
cyberculturalist/social cyborg stressed the importance of listening to what's happening in the social media world and how to break through the noise. His quirky presentation included a hilarious review of the different responses by Kellogg and Subway over the Michael Phelps incident and how much social media traffic it generated. (Side note: In my opinion, even though Kellogg pissed off some people by letting Phelps go, I don't think it's going to bother their core customer base. Most families aren't going to stop eating Corn Flakes because of this.)

Overall, the event seemed to be a huge success, despite one person's criticism. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on social media, with active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and BuffaloMe, but there's still so much to learn. I hope to attend more events like this to better learn how to explain social media to by clients and get them to buy in to it's benefits.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stella McCartney Designs Beatles T-shirt for Charity

Stella McCartney, daughter of Sir Paul McCartney, has designed a t-shirt featuring her father and his three famous band mates with red clown noses superimposed on their faces. It's just too cute. The original photo was taken by the late Linda McCartney.

The £9.99 shirt is available at TK Maxx in the UK (British version of TJ Maxx), with at least £5 of every purchase going to the British charity Comic Relief. The t-shirts are part of Red Nose Day, a fundraiser pairing comedy with raising money for charities.

Unfortunately, the shirts can only be shipped to addressed in the U.S. (blast!) However, I'm going to try to buy one on ebay and donate to Comic Relief anyway, in order to be a responsible, fashionable, Beatles-loving citizen.