Holiday Journo-Schwag, Girl and Boy Fridays, and an Army of Me

JCF Update- Schwag

It’s ‘Holiday Gift Guide’ season, and that means the purveyors of all things weird are sending samples to my office at an increased speed, hoping I’ll offer some ‘editorial comment.’ Here’s an addendum to JCF #3, Schwag, a.k.a free stuff that ends up in my inbox.

Trust me, we’re not talking about plane tickets to the Barbados here … and as Mike Dobbs recently wrote on his blog That’s Thirty , if you want us to write about your stuff… you have to send it to us. It’s just that simple.

So here’s the most recent list of chotchkes:

The Diamond Machining Whetstone . Whetstone? I said the same thing. Apparently, it’s a blade sharpener of some sort.
Leadership – The Best Advice I Ever Got by Paul B. Thornton . The business books always start trickling in around this time, as I write for a business publication full-time. This one is a collection of inspirational thoughts from professionals, from Bob Anastas, President of SADD, to Thornton’s own parents. Kind of a nice stocking stuffer, actually.
Stephen’s Candy Cane Cocoa . JACKPOT! Yummy hot chocolate from Stephen’s. The same PR firm sent me a big bag of organic pancake mix once too, which was the cornerstone of an entire Sunday that consisted of little more than a steady stream of friends and an all-day brunch, a.k.a. FatFest. At least the pancakes were healthy.
The PhotoSonix Light and Sound machine. I call it the seizure machine. It features fast-blinking lights and a droning white noise sound system. But, gotta say … the ‘sleep setting’ did make me go to sleep. And as a life-long insomniac, that deserves a nod.

Published: Thursday, 12 October 2006 Tags: schwag free stuff writer journalism business food paul thornton


writerjax‘ left this comment on 7 Mar 08
sure, go for it

They’ll do anything for a dollar

In addition to researching articles on wind power, biomass, furniture, refurbished mill buildings, and credit unions this week (it’s never boring, kids), I have a lengthy to-do list that includes buying kitty litter, doing a mountain of laundry

In addition to researching articles on wind power, biomass, furniture, refurbished mill buildings, and credit unions this week (it’s never boring, kids), I have a lengthy to-do list that includes buying kitty litter, doing a mountain of laundry, painting a living room, creating a photo album, selling a pair of earrings on eBay, and finding something truly dastardly to do to my older brother on his 40th birthday.

Who has the time?

Errand professionals do. I just interviewed three for an article (that was last week) who represent one of the newest professions out there. They charge between $20 and $70 an hour, and will pick up your drycleaning, buy your mom’s birthday present, wait for the cable guy, decorate your house for the holidays, or search for those damn German plums that only grow in the fall and are necessary for a certain dessert a certain someone keeps hinting he certainly wants (ok, maybe that’s just me).

ABC’s Nightline covered the profession not long ago and I, in true print journalism fashion, followed suit. What I found was these errand specialists are an educated, entrepreneurial bunch who have carved niches for themselves offering one of the only commodities left that everyone wants and no one has: time.

The organized among us are now being hailed as all mighty, not anal-retentive. Look at it this way: you can insult the people who are going to make your mom think you’ve got it all together for the price of a bag of groceries, or you can kiss their winged feet.

I suggest the latter. But I don’t have enough time to explain why.

Published: Monday, 16 October 2006 Tags: errands personal shoppers nightline writer journalism

An Army of Me

For whatever reason, my co-workers and I have latched on to the latest mouse-potato time waster: Finding out who else has your name in the U.S. via

This has led to the creation of pseudo-armies and statements of power around the workplace, pitting those of us who share a name (first and last*) with hundreds of people against those of us who don’t. Read the e-mail-based war talks below:

Nikia: “There are 14 of me. My clone army grows! Muhahahahaha! Seriously, though, i thought this was kinda interesting.”

Joe: “There are 22 of me. And you cannot stop us.”

Ann: “I win so far at 191.”

George (The Editor, a good Irish boy): “I have a standing army of 541. We’ll kick everyone’s ass because this group will no doubt elect me leader and I am ruthless and don’t blog.”

Mike: “I don’t exist.”

There are eight of me, a staggeringly manageable number that leads me to believe that it’s totally feasible that all the Jaclyn Stevenson’s of the country – nay, the world! – could gather at Camp David for lunch and peace talks. I’ve taken to calling myselves special ops, thus leading to the final e-mail of the hour on the topic:

Joe: “The Joseph army has entered negotiations with the Anns, Nikias, and Jaclyns to develop strategies to deal with the emerging George O’Brien threat. The Mikes were invited to the table as well, but no one showed up.”

* – Last names were removed in the name of peace on earth. George O’Brien’s army, however, must be stopped.

** – Do you have my name? Did you Google yourself and find this? Send me a message. I’m intrigued, and I am a writer. Did someone say spin?

Published: Wednesday, 25 October 2006 Tags: howmanyofmecom office humor

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