February 28, 2006

Redundancies, Repetitions, and Redundancies

After being together for about five years, L and I finally decided we could join a family plan for our cell phone service and signed a two-year contract. (I was a little afraid of the commitment.)

It's been a couple of weeks and getting used to the new phone and new service provider has taken some time. Especially the voicemail provided by Cingular. Here's what I now have to wait through before hearing my voicemail:

"Please enter your password." With my old provider, T-Mobile, calls to voicemail from my cellphone connected me directly without requiring a password. Makes sense, no? Presumably I would be the only person calling voicemail from my own actual phone, so why can't Cingular just let me skip this step? (If I lost my phone, I'd be more worried about someone using it to call Uganda or Tokyo than hearing a message from my mom.)

You have one unheard message. I'll give them this one. I like to know how many messages I have. Makes me feel popular.

The following message has not been heard. Well, that stands to reason since I was just told that I have one unheard message.

First unheard message. You teased me just a second before by saying "the following message has not been heard" and then you pull the rug from under me and don't play the actual message. What gives?

Finally, the message is played. I'm not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but I can't help but wonder if this isn't a ploy to get millions of customers across the country to eat into their minutes 15 seconds at a time, at least a few times per day.

Mr. Cingular, if you're reading, I'd rather it go something like this:

You have one unheard message.
Message one.

After that, play me my message. Then give me the option to delete or save it and then, if I have been so blessed as to have received a second message, say "message two" and keep going.

Cingular's way of walking you through your voicemail has all the grace of Mr. Magoo at the ballet. This was just a minor inconvenience at first, having to wade through a cheerful computer voice telling me how many messages I had, that my messages had not been heard, and that - oh, boy, hold on! - I was finally going to hear my new messages, but now all I want to do is access my voicemail. And quick.

Posted by Doug at 02:36 PM | Comments (5)

Who Doesn't Love Wisconsin In March?

It's a busy week for me at work, so posting will be light for now. But I'll have much to report on soon. L and I are off to Milwaukee this weekend, not only to visit family and friends but also so I can attend Milwaukee's Magnificient Bride Wedding Show at the invitation of our wedding photographer, Scott Patrick. I'll be selling books and perhaps cheering up the confused grooms who were dragged along by their brides.

Since this trip includes what can legitimately be considered a business purpose, it's nice to know that seeing in-laws can now occasionally be a tax write-off!

Posted by Doug at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2006

WYSIWYG Talent Show

I'll be reading at the WYSIWYG Talent Show on Tuesday, March 21st at the Bowery Poetry Club. (308 Bowery at Bleecker Street; where once there were flop houses, today there are hipster bars, boutique hotels, and condos.) Show is at 8 PM and tickets are seven bucks.

The theme of the evening is Starfuckers: Close Encounters of the Famous Kind. I haven't written anything for it yet, but I'll probably share something involving Regis Philbin and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or the time I went shopping with David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer at the CNN center in Atlanta. Seriously.

The lineup:

* Diana Eng Popular Transit
* Amnesia Sparkles
* Derek Hartley
* Matthew Callan Sports Filter and Scratchbomb.com
* Rachael Parenta Rachael Parenta
* Lindsay Robertson lindsayism.com
* Me PlanetGordon.com

Posted by Doug at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

Mo Money

I'm always fascinated by stories that have to do with people's relationship to money, something that is normally so skewed in our materialistic and celebrity-obsessed culture. One of my favorite quotes from a news story ever belongs to Aaron Feurstein, the owner of Malden Mills, a textile factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After a devastating fire that closed his business down, Feurstein could have taken $300 million in insurance money and called it a day. Instead he continued paying his workers their full salaries for two months. When asked about his decision to give out such a large amount of money, what he said really stuck with me:

"And what would I do with it? Eat more? Buy another suit? Retire and die?"

Most people who have a lot of money always seem so obsessed about losing it, as if a life lived on a billion dollars would somehow be crimped if half of that fortune disappeared. So Feurstein's words really impressed me. One can hardly imagine Donald Trump continuing to pay out salaries if one of his buildings collapsed.

But what happens when a formerly poor man becomes suddenly rich? How does his relationship to his checkbook change? I was intrigued by this paragraph and quote from a story about the eight people in Nebraska who are sharing a record $365 million lottery jackpot:

Yet another winner, Mike Terpstra, a 47-year-old plant supervisor who is single and has no children, said he was unsure what to do with the money. "Everybody has dreams," Mr. Terpstra said. "Buy an island. Buy an airplane. In reality, I'm not a fan of flying and don't really like water."
Posted by Doug at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

Many Thanks

Many thanks to everyone who came to the party last night. I was really flattered by the turnout and the fact that so many people schlepped to the Lower East Side on a school night, including my grandmother, who was born in the neighborhood. Her last experience there was more tenement than Tenement, so it was fun to see her schmoozing with the well-liquored and cupcake-stuffed crowd.

Thanks again to all!

Update: Amazingly - and perhaps most disappointing for my in-laws - I took no pictures last night, despite toting along my digital camera. Bee has the only two that may have been snapped during the course of the evening.

Posted by Doug at 07:47 AM | Comments (5)

February 21, 2006

AvantGuild

I'm this week's member of the week over at mediabistro.com. I've used MB to look for jobs and have networked at a couple of their media parties, even though "job hunting" is technically not allowed at their regular gatherings of media professionals and freelancers. Go figure. Still, it's a good resource.

By the way, I'm getting very excited for tomorrow night's party. I have a 3 foot by 2 foot blowup of the book's cover sitting by my desk right now; it was messengered over to my office from HarperCollins. Very surreal. All I need now is a giant cutout of myself to stand next to the giant cover. Then I can stand next to all of that.

Posted by Doug at 05:46 PM | Comments (2)

Who Says Gaming Doesn't Pay?

Needing a little extra money to help pay for his wedding a guy sold his Warcraft character and account to defray the cost of his wedding. His bride-to-be is thrilled and he now has an extra $1,460.

Via WeddingBee.com.

Posted by Doug at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2006

You're Invited

It may be almost two months after the fact, but I'm finally getting around to having a book release party. If you're in New York please stop by!

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22nd, 7 PM to whenever

WHERE: Magician Bar, 118 Rivington Street (between Norfolk & Essex)

WHY: To celebrate the release of The Engaged Groom with friends and family

WHAT: Special drink prices early in the evening, cupcakes from Sweet Sugar Sunshine as long as they last

Posted by Doug at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2006

Curses

I like the title of this blog, which may more safely be referred to as "A chronicle of two Brooklynites plodding toward their big day."

Posted by Doug at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2006

Say It With Florek

svutines_1.jpg

Although I'm not one for Hallmark holidays - the stores already have their Arbor Day decorations up and Valentine's Day is hardly over - I did get a chuckle out of these Law & Order: SVU themed Valentine's Cards. That's SVU: Special Valentine's Unit.

Posted by Doug at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

On Your Radio Dial

I'll be interviewed on Thursday morning at 11:35 on Sunny 1220 AM out of Sarasota, FL. Please tune in, either on the air or online!

Posted by Doug at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2006

Paper or Plastic?

Much like my pet peeve of drug store employees putting everything, no matter how small, into a plastic bag, this person has a similar gripe about receipts.

Rite Aid and Duane Reade - or Blight Aid and Bane Reade as I call them - are where bad employees go to get worse. I don't usually return gum or toilet paper, so why the sour puss when I decline a receipt?

Posted by Doug at 05:52 PM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2006

Rocky Mountain, Hi

I was interviewed for an article in The Denver Post on saving money when planning a wedding budget. It's by Roxanne Hawn and ran today.

Posted by Doug at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2006

Loose Lips Make Quips

It's been a while since I've gotten political on this site, but this glaring contradiction caught my eye while reading the paper on my morning commute.

Here's CIA director Porter Goss on the op-ed page of today's New York Times:

Revelations of intelligence successes or failures, whether accurate or not, can aid Al Qaeda and its global affiliates in many ways...these disclosures can tip the terrorists to new technologies we use, our operational tactics, and the identities of brave men and women who risk their lives to assist us.

Goss makes a great point: even when we reveal our successes, we risk failure. Print a story saying that we caught a bad guy by listening in on Osama's Baby Phat cell phone and he'll switch to a Treo. (Osama must read the Times; how else to explain my missing paper each morning?)

But then there's this story involving our president, just a few pages away from Goss's editorial. Bush Gives New Details of 2002 Qaeda Plot to Attack Los Angeles:

Although the administration made public the Los Angeles plot in general terms four months ago, Mr. Bush, in a speech to the National Guard Association, disclosed more specific details, including what he said was the planned use of a "shoe bomb" by hijackers to breach the airplane's cockpit door and take over the controls.

Why would the president risk such a blow to the very safety measures Goss calls for in his editorial? The envelope, please:

But Mr. Bush's speech came at a time when Republicans are intent on establishing their record on national security as the pre-eminent issue in the 2006 midterm elections, and when the president is facing questions from members of both parties about a secret eavesdropping program that he describes as pivotal to the war on terrorism.

Long story short: press printing stories about anti-terrorist methods for informational purposes bad, president giving speech about anti-terrorist methods for political purposes good.

Posted by Doug at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2006

Loony Toons

My first thought after reading this headline? Finally! Bush is taking a stand. How many times should innocent kids have to watch Elmer Fudd shoot Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote fall off a cliff before someone intervenes? Those jerks at Warner Bros. have been corrupting our children for far too long.

But apparently it's a lot worse than all of that.

CNN: Bush urges end to cartoon violence.

Posted by Doug at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2006

WeddingAnnouncementReview.com

For those of you who can't get enough of the Sunday wedding announcements in the Styles section of the New York Times or Washington Post, there's WeddingAnnouncementReview.com, a bulletin board of discussions about couples' announcements.

Zach's posts at Veiled Conceit are few and far between, so this site might sate your desire for a little matrimonial-themed snark.

Posted by Doug at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2006

Call For Submissions

I'm posting this as a favor to Andrea. If you want to contribute or know someone who should, please read on.

I'm collecting story submissions for my upcoming book: HIS COLD FEET, a survival guide for the woman who wants to tie the knot with the guy who wants to talk about it later (St. Martin's Press) - and I'd love to hear from:

*Women who proposed to their boyfriends.
*Women who felt ready to get engaged before their boyfriends were ready to pop the question.
*Couples with firsthand "pre-engagement limbo" experience.
*Guys who felt like they wanted to buy more time before tying the knot.

If you know anyone who would be interested in sharing,
please have them email me at andreacandell@yahoo.com and I'll send them a brief "Q and A" survey.

Identifying information will not be disclosed.

Thanks so much!

Andrea
www.hiscoldfeet.com

Posted by Doug at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2006

Six More Weeks of Winter? Bring It On!

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, predicting six more weeks of winter. While in the past this might have been bad news, these days it's good to know that this rash of spring-like weather we've been having in New York will continue to last at least until spring starts.

Here's something that's always made me curious:

According to the Punxsutawney club, Phil saw his shadow for the 95th time. He hasn't seen his shadow 14 times; nine years have no record of the outcome.

So, out of 118 years, P. Punx has seen his shadow over 80% of the time. Since 2000, he's seen his shadow every year. Even though it's all in good fun, for the few people who really do take this kind of thing seriously, don't you think that the phalanx of news cameras, each with big spotlights, might generate enough light to create a shadow? Factor in the giant crowds that assemble for the annual ritual and is it any wonder that a tiny little rodent would scurry back into his burrow time and time again?

Posted by Doug at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2006

Blog My Book CONTEST! Results

You may remember my announcement at the beginning of January of the Blog My Book CONTEST! Well, the results are in and the winner is...envelope please...

Heaneyland!

Even though I know Francis, that does not disqualify him, nor did it prevent his site from referring quite a large number of hits to this little ol' blog. Francis will soon be the proud owner of an autographed copy of The Engaged Groom. His site is very funny, especially his "Six Things" cartoon. Francis, if you're out there, I can either mail you your copy or you can pick it up at the official, but belated, book release party I'm throwing on Wednesday, February 22 at a bar on the Lower East Side. (More details to follow.)

Honorable mentions:

Daniel Radosh, he who shares my concerns with saying thank you at the end of an interview.

Martin's Musings, who mused on my book a couple of times.

Gothamist actually drove the most traffic to my site, following a post they did about bloggers and books, but since I occasionally write for the blog it was disqualified.

Francis, your acceptance speech can be only thirty seconds.

Posted by Doug at 10:04 AM | Comments (5)