Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thanks, Sidney

My hero is dead. Sidney Sheldon. The man I have always wanted to be, and still want to be.

When I was 17, my family went on a camping trip to Lake George, New York – a beautiful, crisp, clean place with mountains and clean air and clear blue water.

After helping set up the tents and getting everything else set, I pulled out a book I had brought with me and sat down on a rock to read. The Other Side of Midnight, by Sidney Sheldon.

By the third or fourth chapter, I knew. I knew that his style of writing was exactly the way my mind worked. Contrast. First you introduce one character or theme, then the other. Then you go back and forth until you've weaved them both so close to together that by the end of the book they are completely intertwined and boom! Climax.

And I always liked his characters, especially the women. Too smart to be in a Danielle Steele novel but not so complex that they belong in a Michael Crichton book. And no bimbos.

Through all the John Grishams, Nelson DeMilles, Ken Follets and other great writers I've read, Sheldon has always remained my favorite – my idol.

Thanks for the inspiration, Sidney. Someday, I hope to join the best seller list and make you proud.

If you are interested in reading more about Sidney Sheldon:

Here's his obituary in The Wall Street Journal (you might need to be registered to read it):

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The History of Television As Told By Nielsen Media Research

Hey, if any of you readers out there have a kid in school who needs to write a report about the history of television, I just stumbled on a really great timeline and history perspective at

As the pioneers of being able to measure who watches what television when, Nielsen has the first-hand experience to write this digital documentary, which starts with the 1920s and goes through, of course, today.

Even if you're just curious about the history of television, it's a fun review. Check it out through the link below:

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

We Should All Try Out for American Idol

I’m not a big fan of bars. Never was. And when I go out, I don’t drink alcohol. But what I get high on is singing, and bonding with my friends who sing.

You see, my husband Adrian and I are certified karaoke junkies. We have our set places where we go. We know all the DJs, we know all the regulars. And we’ve made some really awesome friends over the years through the karaoke circuit.

The interesting thing is, none of us suck. We’re all really good singers and should be doing it professionally, or at least as a serious side job.

Last night was my husband’s birthday, and it just so happened to fall on our regular weekly karaoke night. Everybody was full of energy because we were celebrating — Sue, Lili, Cami, Ursula, Judith, Brie, and Bryan the DJ, among others.

But I couldn’t help looking around the room at all the great friends we have and thinking, God, American Idol should look here.

I’m not a bragger, but I have to be honest here. If American Idol came to O’Neill’s in Norwalk, Connecticut last night, they would have given out at least a half dozen golden tickets. In particular, my friends Ursula and Cami rocked the house. Ursula even got a standing ovation from the crowd.

I would love to see both of them on the big stage and I know they would love to see themselves on the big stage, as well.

But for now, I thank God and karaoke for bringing me (and Adrian) such great friends. And if American Idol doesn’t discover them, that’s their loss. At least we have each other.

Check out Ursula’s MySpace profile:

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Check Out This Video: "212 the Extra Degree" -- It's Really Interesting!

One of my favorite clients just turned me on to a really inspirational video clip that is totally worth everybody’s time to watch and listen to. It’s only 3 minutes long.

It’s called 212 the extra degree, and it was made by

It reminds us that we are in control of our lives and we have the power to give 10% or 150%, and that the paths our lives take, both professionally and personally, are entirely up to us.

I encourage everyone to watch it.

You can find the video clip at:

Don’t forget to put your speakers on!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I’m Addicted to My SportBrain

I’m sure you’ve heard it before — that every step counts when you’re trying to add more exercise into your day. You should park far away from the grocery store entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. etc.

Well, SportBrain helps you keep track of all those extra steps you take so you can accurately judge how much exercise you’re getting each day. But it also does much more than that. Each SportBrain comes with its own personal web page that lists:

- how many steps you take each day/week/month
- how you’re doing compared to all other SportBrainers of your sex and in your age group
- how many miles you covered
- how many calories you burned

You can record your weight, check your body mass index, and interact with other SportBrainers. They even have contests about every other month. If you reach a certain point level, you get a prize such as a SportBrain t-shirt, mouse pad or keychain. They have loftier prizes for the serious running or walking enthusiast.

I started wearing a SportBrain pedometer back in 2001 about three months before the dot com crash. Unfortunately, they were a dot com and when the recession hit, their investor funding dried up and they closed their virtual doors. I had paid $99 for the device through and couldn’t get my money back. But I kept it.

After we pulled out of the recession (around 2004), they regrouped, found new funding and reopened their doors. They still had my name and keycode in their database and when I reregistered they recognized me and welcomed me back.

To me, they were worth the wait because I really love this thing. I even wear it to bed in case I get up in the middle of the night! I urge you to go to their homepage and check it out!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

My Rating for the Arbitron Diaries Program: F

Last summer, I received a telemarketing phone call from Arbitron, the company that tracks consumers’ radio listening habits, much like Nielsen’s television diaries. Since I write about marketing for a living, I thought it would “behoove” me to get involved, so I agreed to fill out diaries for myself and my husband for 7 days.

Ironically, what I thought was going to be a simple, easy experience turned out to be the commitment from hell. After agreeing to record our listening habits, we received a letter telling us that the diaries would come shortly. They came about a week later. We also received another phone call about that time thanking me for agreeing to do the diaries and reminding me to fill them out. I didn’t feel that I needed the reminder, but okay, whatever.

That wasn’t so bad, but then, about two weeks before the diary period, the phone started ringing every other day with the same message: don’t forget to fill out the diaries. Once the official diary period started, the calls came daily. We also received another letter.

The constant calling got real old real fast. I got so sick and tired of their nagging that during one of the calls I threatened to rip up the diaries if I received one more call. They stopped calling after that.

But that wasn’t the end of it. About two weeks after the diary period, I started getting survey phone calls about radio listening habits. Either they were doing a survey or they had sold my data to someone who was. But I fixed them. Since I could identify the number every time it came in, I simply refused to answer the phone when they called. And boy did they call. They called at least 30 or 40 times over a period of four weeks. Sometimes they called in the morning and the evening on the same day. They called during the week and on the weekends. They were quite persistent. Eventually, however, their timeframe for doing the project ended and they had no choice but to give up on me.

In my opinion, this entire experience gets an F in customer service. It was overwhelmingly and unnecessarily intrusive, and I will never ever agree to do it again.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.