Some Things I Have Learned

…About Myself
I am sort of a space cadet. I always knew I was a procrastinator and that I have a shoddy work ethic (shoddy about the working part, not about the quality of what I do). I always knew I liked researching term papers far more than writing them, and I’ve always had wandering thoughts, especially in lecture hall classes, long conversations with monomaniacs, and now with podcasts. I’m no gadget addict, or a betting man, but if I were either I would put money on the “rewind” key wearing out first on the iPod. Maybe space cadet isn’t the right word. My brother has always been sort of an absent-minded professor type, but he can really focus on a project. I can really focus on a project, too. Left to our own devices, I’d probably be the one with the messiest house; I’m positive I already waste more time than him. So how is it that between the two of us I’ve got the reputation for steady and he’s got the reputation for creative? (Mind you, I am also creative and he is also steady.) I think it’s because I don’t like to be yelled at or found lacking. The potential for embarrassment and/or conflict will eventually break through my daydreaming so that competent haste can finish the job.

I honestly think I would benefit from a slave driver in the house. A foreman would do as well (but slave drivers can usually be relied upon to provide food). We have this construction project coming up that requires the largest room in the house to be emptied of the unbelievable amount of randomly assorted crap that it contains. My mother and her husband came over to help us move heavy stuff, run some errands, and babysit the entourage (it really does take four adults to do the work of two when the entourage is on set). It wasn’t really planned that I would spend the day sorting through old baby clothes but it was a task that was necessary and that I have been putting off for literally years now (two to be exact). I might have come up with the idea to sort it by myself, but I would have wasted a lot of time arranging it in piles according to boy/girl and size, and I would have stored it in the very same place that all my prior arrangements have been stashed, and it would have been another mess waiting to happen because Fella is now tall enough and curious enough to unsort piles.

But with the specter of my mother looming over me, and her advice to just get rid of most of it, don’t bother sorting by age or color, and decide later what pieces you are saving for yourself to keep forever and ever and what pieces you love that you would pass on to friends or relatives. At then end of the day, all the bags of baby clothes (and other donatables I just couldn’t pull it together enough to have picked up AT MY OWN HOUSE by a local charity) left my house in her car to be donated here and there as her friend–who is up on the hithers and thithers of where what stuff can be best used by someone else–advises her. All my problems solved. It took some stern management from my mother, and it’s precisely the same kind of stern management that annoyed me my whole life, but look what it accomplishes! Surely my life is improved now that I don’t have huge piles of unused things around me.

I wouldn’t make deadlines if I weren’t afraid of employers yelling at me, or talking smack about me to each other after dropping me from their freelance lists. I wouldn’t telephone friends to say hi if I weren’t afraid of the same thing. Fear and embarrassment are my two primary motivators, I guess. But it seems to be working out pretty good for me, I think. It means I get to be lala and wool-gathery and still earn money or clean my house. It means, of course, that I will never realize the American Dream of Entrepreneuriship, but maybe someday I’ll have a very indulgent and wealthy husband who can set me up with a business of my own to run under the guidance of someone else.

A girl can wish, can’t she?

…About Campbell’s Soup
1. Their customer service is terrible. I sent an email a few weeks ago asking a specific question about a specific product and they can’t be bothered to answer it. (Why didn’t I just call? you may ask. See above.)

2. The “Campbell’s Select” soup once shilled by John Lithgow seem to be off the market for good. Too bad. The disappearing of the good flavors probably ought to have been my first clue. That I couldn’t find mention of the Select soups on the Campbell’s website, save for archived references in recipe suggestions probably ought to have been my second clue. That other people were searching the web to inquire (and ended up at my blog, where I could find out in the stats what their search terms were) should have been the third, but I held out hope. That Target dropped the line a while ago seemed inconclusive, because they used to carry Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and that’s still around.

So at the grocery store this morning, I checked out the soup options just to see (and because I just like soup). Not even a space on the shelves. There is this new kind of soup, though, in a green box (which is off-putting because it reminds me of the Green Giant, who is off-putting to me for no particular reason): Campbell’s V8.

So now I have to find out from Brandweek Magazine’s Web site that Campbell’s Select didn’t “resonate well with consumers” and that they were going to ditch the “restaurant quality” angle for the “full servings of vegetables” angle. They even say that the packaging is designed to be “aseptic” ON PURPOSE. (So I am right to be vaguely off-put by the color! Although “aseptic” is a word that sets itself against germs and disease and putrefication, it still has to bring the concepts up in your mind before it can distance itself.) And the flavors are basically the same as the old flavors, although the butternut squash blend has a different calorie count than the Select butternut squash did. By different I mean more, and I only know it because the whole box of soup used to be worth three or four Weight Watchers points but a whole box of this new stuff is worth five. I haven’t tried it yet, and it could taste pretty good, but I’m pretty annoyed. I liked the soup that I liked, I liked John Lithgow, and I am disappointed that consumers did not vote with their dollars the way I wanted them to vote. The bastards settled even when they could have selected.

So anyway… the TV spots for the V8 soup line start in September, with print ads in the October issues of likely magazines. If they run with any TV that I view online the next day (which is just about all TV because we don’t have any DVR and my monitor screen gives me a better, if smaller, picture than my television set), then I will review them here.

…About the Marketing Industry
I have learned about Brandweek Magazine. Never knew it existed. Now I do! I wonder if it’s one of those industry magazines you can get for free, like all the Pest Control Technology and Limousine and Chauffeured Transportation magazines that I got for free when I worked at DriveCam and then had a really hard time canceling after I switched jobs to another industry entirely.

…About War of the Worlds
Because I am incapable of holding independent thoughts before confirming online that they are correct, I looked up general reviews of the Tom Cruise version of the movie last night. I was quite pleased that I said many of the same things that Roger Ebert had said in his review for the film when it first came out. Score! This is an incredible validation, and makes me feel better for hating the film Children of Men even though no one else in the world apparently does. Well, among the discerning crowd of Campbell’s Select Soup eaters, that is. And that is just about as big of a world as I need to live in.

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