Friday, July 31, 2009

Working on Grace Hopper

August and September are for me the craziest most hectic time of the year. I try and take a vacation in late June/early July in order to rest up and get ready. Why is it such a hectic and crazy time - the coming of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Never have so many different projects all had to take place simultaneously. My to do list is heading towards the triple digits, my two interns are working madly and all of us have begun having bizarre dreams about work on a nightly basis. And yet, I'm having a blast.

There is something to be said for the adrenalin rush of being busy when you're in marketing. And marketing for a non profit means that on an almost daily basis I get to talk to or email with people who are being positively impacted by what we are doing.

So while my blogging has suffered my work productivity is ramping ever upward. Over the coming weeks I'll be blogging about all the different things that make up working on the marketing of the conference.

For today, since my to do list is looming, if you want to read more about GHC check out the interview I did for - and if you are a technical woman thing about coming - it's an amazing experience.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Movie Reviews: The Proposal, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, My Sisters Keeper

You may be wondering what the three movies I've listed in the title have to do with each other. Well, they were the movies my friend Kathy and I watched over the 4th of July Weekend - which seems like eons ago. In fact so long that I didn't want to write three more reviews but rather do them all at once.

The Proposal: We saw this movie for two reasons - Sandra Bullock (we just love her) and Ryan Reynolds Abs. The movie is a light puff piece - perfect for a very hot (it was over 100 that week) Saturday afternoon. The plot was horrible boss convinces her secretary to marry her so she can stay in the country; he takes her home to meet the family; hilarity ensues. We liked the movie but if you haven't already seen it save the $10.75 and Netflix it. Note: Betty White steals the movie from them both.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen: I liked the first Transformers movie - but I saw it on a really hot day and dehydration may have played a part in my enjoyment. I was well hydrated for number 2. The movie was very very very busy. Lots of running, lots of stuff blowing up. The problem I had was that there was no character development and I frequently had a hard time telling the difference between the good robots and the bad. So it was very hard to know who to cheer for during the various fight scenes. We came out of the move fairly positive but over time I just look back and can't possibly tell you a decent plot summary. Suffice it to say Megan Fox did little but look hot - it's amazing someone can run forever in the desert, never get near a bathroom and still have their makeup intact. Shia LeBoeuf didn't have much to do but run around and scream the names of various robots. All in all - Netflix it.

My Sisters Keeper: I knew I could never get Mike to see this one. And I had the advantage/disadvantage of having read the book the movie was based on. It's a weeper - somewhat manipulatively so. Basic story is that a young girl is dying so her parents have another child that they genetically engineer to be the perfect donor. And eventually the engineered daughter rebels and hires a lawyer - a terrific Alec Baldwin - to defend her from her parents. Cameron Diaz does a great job as the mother who is such a control freak that she would willingly force her daughter to donate an organ without ever considering the damage it is causing. The movie does have a very different ending than the book - and they've changed the motivations of the daughter as well so it was a surprise ending for me. All in all a good movie. Bring tissues. I would say Netflix it though - no need to see it on the big screen.

I think I'm all caught up for the month on movie reviews. Back to Marketing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Movie Review: Bruno

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen's films. I liked Borat quite a bit -the scene at the rodeo brought back a lot of memories of my time in Dallas where I was a regular attendee at the Mesquite Rodeo. And I love seeing how Americans deal with his outrageous behavior - some as I would like them to and some not so much.

Bruno is a more extreme movie than Borat since it deals with a flamboyant gay character, Bruno, who comes from Austria to be a celebrity in the United States. I will point out - he comes to become a celebrity, not an actor. The movie ranges from the disgusting to the hysterical. My favorite parts are when he adopts a child in Africa, when he joins the military and when he becomes involved with a gay deprogrammer. As Mike said - I didn't know there were level 1 and level 2 deprogrammers - I wonder what the difference is?

Some parts of the movie obviously don't work - there are some things you just don't need to see- I'll leave it at that. But parts were amazing - and set a few stereotypes on their head. A segment where Bruno goes hunting with some "good old boys" could have been very ugly - instead the 4 hunters merely tolerate his bizarre behavior.

As a marketer my favorite scene was the focus group for Bruno's potential interview show. I've sat behind that glass wall and watched people turn six months of work to nothing but for me the focus group was hilarious. And Bruno did what every marketer dreams of doing - getting out of the glass booth to go explain to the focus group exactly why they are wrong.

So, my suggestion is rent Bruno, make sure the kids cannot possibly enter the room, and prepare to laugh and cringe. More reviews tomorrow - July was a very busy month movie wise.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Let me start off by saying that I am a definite Harry Potter fan. No, I don't dress up as a witch and go to the movies and yes, I once accidentally ended up in the midst of a Harry Potter party at Barnes and Noble - we stopped after a movie for a dessert and got caught up in the insanity. But I did love the books. I vaguely recall Mike steering me through the Honolulu airport after I'd begun one of the books and I didn't look up till I finished and we were back in SFO.

So, did I enjoy the movie - yes I did. I'd really forgotten the plot given that I'd read the book several years ago. This made the movie entertaining and occasionally surprising - how could I have forgotten horcruxes. I'm such a muggle.

I won't summarize the plot since if you're a fan you know it and if you're not it will be rather meaningless. Suffice it to say it's quite entertaining to see Harry and his friends deal with Death Eaters, assorted evil doers and snogging. And yes there is quite a bit of snogging in this movie. Rupert Grint provides outstanding comic relief - and foreshadowing of his career for the next 20 years. Daniel Radcliffe is always excellent as Harry - especially when he is under a luck spell.

I must reserve some special praise of Alan Rickman - what a delight the man is. He makes a single sentence drip with loathing so vividly he really never needs to say more. I shall miss his Snape more than anyone I think once the movies conclude.

My only complaint is that when the movie comes to an end you get that slight I've been left hanging feeling. Somewhat like the end of Empire Strikes Back - you realize everyone is simply waiting for the next movie - as are we all.

As a marketing aside - kudos to the studio for deciding to split the final book into two movies. With a 400 million dollar take in the first five days world wide I think that the last two movies are a guaranteed revenue stream for 2010 and 2011. Given that few of us could sit through a 5 hour movie and there are so many pieces people would object to omitting I can understand it. But 2011 is a long time to wait for closure.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Movie Review: The Ugly Truth

Hi Everyone. I'm woefully behind in all my movie review writing so hopefully this week I can get caught up. I've seen a ton of movies in July. So I'm going last in first out. Tonight Mike and I went to see the Ugly Truth. And we had a good time. Mike was a good sport - be warned guys the theatre is about 80% women. We both thought the movie was very funny. Basic story is simple - uptight tv producer (Katherine Heigl) and rough neck tv commentator (Gerard Butler) meet and fight and well you'll have to watch it to see what happens. He decides to help her get a new boyfriend - her very attractive neighbor - and she does. The movie isn't too long - only 96 minutes - but great fun and perfect for a hot summer night. Could the movie be better - yes - it is fairly shallow. For the Californians - the movie is set in Sacramento and of course Mike was thrilled that our hero attended San Jose State. Gerard Butler is British so his American accent is a bit forced.

By the way - we came home to watch At The Movies - and both commentators said skip it. I think it would be best if At the Movies replaced one of their male reviewers with a woman so we could get a bit of diversity in their reviews. Anyway, if you like a nice romantic comedy - see The Ugly Truth. Beware - the language is a bit racier than usual in these movies but that just adds to the fun.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Catching Up After Vacation

Somehow I always underestimate how long it is going to take to catch up after a vacation. I spent the week before the 4th of July in the Eastern Sierras - hiking in Yosemite, cavorting around Mono Lake and tramping through Bodie (an old ghost town that is now a state park in danger of being closed by the Governator). When I returned I had about 900 emails - I always think there will be more but then I realize when you aren't responding to email you aren't getting the five that always follow the first one.

So last week was spent catching up - running to meetings, making calls, and trying to reboot my brain on all things Marketing. Fortunately I had left myself a giant to do list of all the things that need to get done and this week those items are getting broken down into their components for implementation.

I'm sorry I've been remiss in Blogging but I realized that a vacation couldn't truly be a vacation without cutting all ties to technology. The vacation took place somewhere with no WiFi, no dial up, and no cell phone service. I was able to let my sore shoulders take a break from all the typing and just enjoy the beauty that is the Sierras.

But I promise to catch up and this week I'll get caught up on all my Movie reviews - so be on the lookout for reviews of My Sisters's Keeper, The Proposals, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and from this weekend - Bruno.