Friday, May 29, 2009

DAY 32

Here we are, the night before the pitch. The lead team is in Seattle, doing a final run through of the show, and we're expected to be on stand by in case there's an emergency. Like a sentence ending in a preposition. Or a logo is too small.

Problem is, just for one last little turn of the thumbscrews, they didn't start the rehearsal until 9:30, Seattle time. Which means we're expected to sit on our asses until they're completely finished, which should happen sometime around never.

It's 2 a.m. right now....somehow I don't think I'm gonna make it much longer.

WELL WELL WELL. My project manager just informed me that we are DONE!



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

Please pardon the interruption from Kevin's Wild n' Wacky Advertising Pitch Madness Special for something a little more, uhhh, heartwarming.

Since K was forced to continue his tour of duty at The Sweatshop last weekend, Fran and I had a chat and decided to get out of dodge to visit the Cirel’s up in Boston. Since it was a last minute trip as well as a holiday weekend, it was a little tough figuring out how we were going to get there. But if you know anything about Fran you know that when she has her mind set on something she will find a way to do it. She called all over town and couldn’t find a car rental for under $500. Then she looked into Amtrak but found out dogs can’t travel on that train (and she’s thinking about suing for discrimination since we happen to know an attorney or four). Then we both asked around (she at school and me at work) and I finally found us a ride from our gracious friend Mike and his lovely girlfriend, Evelyn.

The Mulroy family (minus Dad, sadly) departed Friday night from NYC. We had to take a cab to Grand Central Station, then a suburban Metro North train (the only train line that dogs are allowed on, luckily) to Westport, CT to meet Mike and Evelyn who were picking us up at the station. From there we snaked through Memorial Day Weekend traffic to Providence, RI, where Adam, Bekka and Moo were waiting patiently for us. We hopped in their car around 11pm, happy to be on the last 40-minute leg of the trip.

As soon as we arrived we took the girls for a quick tinkle break and leg stretch before heading inside to bed. We went to a nearby park and let them off their leashes and they immediately started going at it. Crying and snarling and hurt feelings ensued. Little did we know at the time, but it was the first of many fights we were going to break up that weekend.

The rest of the weekend was spent catering to the pups and channeling Cesar Millan. And I proudly watched on as my little gal bravely tried so many new things. Twice she jumped right in the nearby reservoir and swam like the doggie version of Michael Phelps (ok maybe that’s a slight exaggeration). She conquered her fear of riding in cars and learned to embrace the wind rushing at her face through rolled down windows. She frantically dug holes in delicious dirt and green grass and rolled around and got dirrrrrty. And after keeping her on a strict puppy diet for the past three months, I realized that we were on vacation and that Adam’s kielbasa maple syrup sausages were perfectly suitable for dinner. And finally, she got to sleep in the bed with me and oh my gosh I think I created a monster.

And when Monday rolled around, the girls kissed and made up and we could not physically tear them apart. They were wresting and kissing and play fighting and it was the best thing I’ve seen in quite some time. Thank you, thank you, thank you for a fabulous weekend, gals.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

DAY 31

Last night one of the clients was in town, so she decided to swing through the office to get a "sneak peek" at the ideas we've been working on for a month straight. The pitch is two days away.

She didn't like them.

At 10:30 pm, they asked us to concept some "quick" launch ideas for a one o'clock meeting today.

They are awesome ideas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DAYS 29 AND 30

My diet over the last two weeks
(Or, why I feel like a cement mixer right now):

pizza (twice), Chinese, sushi, Indian, cold cuts, Thai (twice), Turkish (yes, Turkish), Mexican, burgers, one salad.

Two more days.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

DAY 28

Compared to the art directors, this is child's play.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 27

Recently I presented some headlines to an ECD and a Tech Consultant. The ECD is a 39-year old ex-male model with dyed black hair. The tech consultant is a 50-year old diminutive gay man in laceless Converse. I had been working on these lines for roughly 2 days.

I handed out 6 pages of headlines.

"I am just so out of it right now!" said the tech consultant, rubbing his eyes.

"I don’t think this copy should sound like this. It should sound more conversational. This is too addy," said the male model.

He read one out loud.

System Center lets you add capacity instantly.

The consultant shrieked with laughter. I scanned my work for the joke.

Here’s another one, the male model said.

Windows Server 2008 comes with Hyper-V.

"Oh! oh! oh! The consultant guffawed.

"Listen to this one," said the male model, testing out a funny newscaster voice.

You can integrate all of your security products from a single management view.

The consultant writhed. "Stop! stop! I can't..." he begged, wiping tears out of his eyes.

I stared at the pages in my hand as the male model skimmed them for the best lines to read in a funny voice.

SQL Server plus SharePoint lets you spot trends in the data!

"I can't breathe! I'm having a giggle fit!!" squealed the consultant.

It occurred to me that I canceled a vacation for this.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The last thing I wanted to do was write a bunch of entries about my job in this blog. But if the point is to document our experiences in New York...well…this qualifies as an experience. I have to write this down so I know I’m not exaggerating when I yammer about this as an ornery old man.

I’ve been working on a pitch for about a month now. Now, for those of you who know what that means, let me just say…even for a pitch, this one’s out of control.

And for those of you who don’t know what that means, here it is in a nutshell.

A pitch means that your agency is trying to woo a big, giant company into giving you bags of money to make commercials and websites and print ads and crap that inspired someone to invent TiVo.

This usually means you work long days and a few late nights and a couple weekends to fill a room with hastily photoshopped ideas. Then the agency picks the best ideas, and parades them around the room for a bored client checking sports scores on his Blackberry. With any luck, the client will declare your agency the belle of the ball, and your agency will walk out of the pitch 100 million dollars richer.

This, however, is not how things are going right now.

I’ve worked every day of the calendar Since April 27th. That’s 26 straight days of deadlines, since my creative director has been demanding check-ins at least once a day, sometimes twice. “Need to see where you are,” the emails say. Typically, I’ve been lucky to get home at 10. Usually it’s more like 12 or 1 a.m.

Weekends are worse. It’s never a question of whether you’re going to be here…just how long. I usually end up working 16-17 straight hours, since there are no meetings to fall asleep in. I've canceled two trips in this time (one wedding in Chicago, one weekend trip to Montauk with the missus and the mutt) incurring $475 in cancellation fees (yes I'm going to expense them, but still). Crissy has taken it in stride. I've been less gracious. At first I thought I was losing my mind. Then I lost my mind. Now I’m just numb.

Now, you may be thinking, there’s just no way a person can come up with new ideas for shoes, or cars, or SQL Server 2008 R2’s for a month straight, 100 hours a week, and create anything halfway decent. Well, you’d be right. But, as it turns out, that’s why there are teams in advertising. When one zombie goes down, the other one can poke him with a stick.

Anyway, I started documenting my playoff-beard on day 22, after about a week’s worth of growth. The pitch is a week from today. Stay tuned to see if I survive till then.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Still Official

Well, it’s been one calendar year of matrimonial bliss, officially, as of Sunday. I’d say we’ve had a good run so far.

Sunday we went out to dinner for the official celebration. Obviously, I had to work all day, so I snapped my briefcase shut and loosened my tie as my 5:00 meeting wound down. To my surprise, my boss got the hint, looked at his watch, and said, “Oops, you gotta get outta here. Have a great time tonight.”

Which didn’t occur to me until I was standing in front of the elevator. “That’s weird, I thought. Tim was unusually nice.” Then I thought, “I wonder who’d win if a gorilla fought a bear?”

I got home to find out that the Bean had been a helldog all day (in protest over dad having to work, I presume), and she had Crissy all worn out. We were both in need of a little pampering.

When we stepped up to the hostess stand at The Gramercy Tavern, the hostess said, “It’s your anniversary tonight?” I looked at Crissy. She looked at me like I was nuts-Hell no I didn’t tell them that. Then the hostess handed us an envelope.

Amy Kubala, a tried and true member of our all-star team, found out where we were eating dinner and sent us a gift certificate to the restaurant. You got us good, Kub. Nice work.

They took our jackets and led us to a little corner nook booth, where we sunk in and rolled up our sleeves. Before we could even get the menus open, they served up a complimentary glass of champagne for our anniversary. Great start.

The food was fantastic. Thankfully Crissy wrote everything down, because I would've butchered the names of what we ate. But I’ll say this. Almost everything on the menu read like a strange blend of ingredients that sounded like a 5th grade science project. Dishes like gizzard puree in a Mexican yogurt chutney. That’s not really one of the dishes, but they were sort of like that. Regardless, every dish was like this ingredient alchemy that created a strange but incredible flavor in your mouth. It's what I imagine great wealth to taste like. Crissy was in heaven, pretending she was Padma on Top Chef. It was pretty impressive. Here’s what we actually got:

We started with a light puff pastry stuffed with an olive tapenade over shredded parmesan, and olive rolls served with butter and sea salt. Next was a shrimp citrus salad on a bed of noodle-shaped celery root in a Dijon mustard sauce, and veal cappinatti with sage and cauliflower. All ridiculous.

Then Crissy got a walnut chive seabass, and I got a filet and a braised flatiron steak. I felt like a rube for ordering it medium rather than the suggested medium rare, but the waitress did an excellent job of hiding her scorn. To cleanse the palate, they served us vanilla panna cotta with a scoop of coconut sorbet and a sliver of pineapple.

Just as we were unbuttoning our pants and throwing back the last sips our our freaking delicious wine (’05 Santenay La Comme Dessus…whatever that is) the waitress delivered two more glasses of champagne. “These are from a Tim Galles?”

My boss. The sneaky bastard. Now I'll be expected to do a good job at work.

After dinner came dessert. Again, the menu read like a fruit fly experiment to me. So I covered my eyes and pointed. We ended up with a chocolate zucchini cake and a peanut butter semifreddo with caramel sauce. As we waited for the dessert, Crissy and I pretended we were too full to eat anymore, then smashed our faces into our plates like it was a pie-eating contest when they arrived. It was scary good.

We ended up getting a little unexpectedly saucy, so we got the check and shuffled out of the dining room giggling. At the front, Crissy stuffed her purse with handfuls of matchbooks as I put on my coat, and we stumbled into a cab.

We sat in the cab with bleary eyes, fat guts, and open-mouthed smiles, thinking about what a great night we’d had. “People must really like you,” the waitress had mentioned when we broke out the gift certificate from Kub.

It sure feels like it. It feels like someone up there likes us these days.

Captain Fishbeard

Franny has earned herself a new nickname, as her latest obsession is putting any/everything gross in her mouth that she finds on the street. Last week we had a very close and dramatic call with an overturned, live cockroach. Yesterday, it was a stiff and dusty dead mouse.