Thursday, September 28, 2006

Revisiting the Ratings

While ratings aren't the only indicators of a movie's child-worthiness, they are a great first clue to determining the value of a movie to children, especially if you don't want to risk watching it with your child as a means of review. If you're anything like me, you don't have time to sit down and watch a movie by yourself (when are we ever alone anyway?), then watch it with your child. Before you decide to invest your time and money in a film, check the rating. According to The Movie Picture Association of America,
The movie ratings system is a voluntary system operated by the MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO). The ratings are given by a board of parents who comprise the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA). CARA's Board members view each film and, after a group discussion, vote on its rating. The ratings are intended to provide parents with advance information so they can decide for themselves which films are appropriate for viewing by their own children. The Board uses the same criteria as any parent making a judgment: theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among content areas considered in the decision-making process.

The ratings are a team effort of parents helping one another to protect our children's minds, emotions, values, and - for Christian parents - their souls.

Looking at the new movie genre I discussed in an earlier post, you find that many of the movies are rated PG. Believe it or not, some people don't know what "PG" stands for; it means parental guidance suggested.? Just what does that mean, though? Here's what the officials mean:

This is a film which clearly needs to be examined by parents before they let their children attend. The label PG plainly states parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, but leaves the parent to make the decision. Parents are warned against sending their children, unseen and without inquiry, to PG-rated movies. The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. However, these elements are not considered so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film. The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw. In our pluralistic society it is not easy to make judgments without incurring some disagreement. As long as parents know they must exercise parental responsibility, the rating serves as a meaningful guide and as a warning. (emphasis mine)

It's a sneaky little trick. The executives for these movies market them heavily to children, so parents think that they're children's movies, but they're not.

Another fallacy is that if Disney makes it, it's a kid's movie. Take Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl, for example. There are toys, posters, and school supplies emblazoned with Captain Jack Sparrow just for your kids to enjoy.? My kids got Happy Meals from McDonald's - and Pirates of the Carribean toys. What about an under 3 toy? "Oh these are under 3 toys," I was told.

Wonder what the MPAA rating was for that movie? Remember, these ratings are set by parents. Are you ready for this?

PG-13 is thus a sterner warning to parents, particularly when deciding which movies are not suitable for younger children. Parents, by the rating, are alerted to be very careful about the attendance of their under-teenage children. A PG-13 film is one which, in the view of the Rating Board, leaps beyond the boundaries of the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, or other contents, but does not quite fit within the restricted R category. Any drug use content will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. In effect, the PG-13 cautions parents with more stringency than usual to give special attention to this film before they allow their 12-year-olds and younger to attend. If nudity is sexually oriented, the film will generally not be found in the PG-13 category. If violence is too rough or persistent, the film goes into the R (restricted) rating. A film's single use of one of the harsher sexually derived words, though only as an expletive, shall initially require the Rating Board to issue that film at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive must lead the Rating Board to issue a film an R rating, as must even one of these words used in a sexual context. These films can be rated less severely, however, if by a special vote, the Rating Board feels that a lesser rating would more responsibly reflect the opinion of American parents.? (emphasis mine)

Yet, Disney and McDonald's decided, intended, and didmake, market, and sell items related to Pirates of the Caribbean to children and parents of children under the age of 3!

Seems to me Disney's not so much a kid's company anymore...

A Day Early and A Dollar Extra

If you haven't discovered it, check out One Step Ahead.? It's got great products for kids.? All those things that you thought, "I need something that...," they've got.??And the?prices reflect it.

Never fear, One Step Ahead deals are here!? These guys will send you directly to my favorite section of any store, web or otherwise:? clearance!?

Oh, excuse me, it's called the outlet.

Ever get sick of picking through a site trying to find what's on sale?? Don't worry, this week's sales are right there for you, too.? And for you big senders, find the latest coupons (savings opportunities).

Woohoo!? Time to go monitor shopping!

Pun-Lovin' Goon

If the last post didn't smack you in the face with it, I love puns.? I like to rattle off the clever little puns that come to me then wait to see how many people get it.? Yeah, I'm a smart-aleck.

Language fascinates me.? Enthralls me.? Empowers me.? I may not be able to tell you off to your face, but trust me, somewhere in my hard drive there lurks a scathing, witty, intelligent rebuff to your blatant oafish bullying.? I read the dictionary for fun.? I love crossword puzzles.? Even wordfinds hold an intelligent joy for me.

You give me words, I'm a happy woman.

Busy Little Bee

Okay, if for nothing else, you've got to see this Self Storage Directory - The first thing I noticed was this bee that looks kinda dopey...until you read the little thought bubble.? It says "Moving dot bzzz!"? This dude's conceitedly clever!

Oh yeah, I love it already.?

The sting (sorry...but not really!)?comes when you realize that behind its really cute mascot is a well-rounded site that covers the entire moving experience - not just self storage.? It covers everything from a Six-Week Checklist for a Smooth Move?to an International Moving Guide.? These guys even list DMVs by state!

Moving with kids?? Tied down.? Moving plants?? No watered-down info here.? Rights and responsibilities while moving?? You can't go wrong.? Want to save money?? Call Uncle Sam.

Whatever you do when you decide to move, check out you get bzzy.

The New Movie Genre

There's a new movie genre that's crept in while we plopped our children in front of the video playback machine of our choice: the animated film. It's not for kids. It's animated, but it's not for kids. Some of them are rated G, some are not.

But "for children" isn't always based simply upon a rating. Look at the plot, the context, the message. It started with movies like Treasure Planet and Atlantis. The genre has exploded now with offerings like Madagascar, Shark Tale, and Over the Hedge. How many kids are really gonna get all the nuances of a story like Treasure Island? And really, how much of the story survived the modernization and rewrite? Chicken Run, Chicken Little - they're a little foul (sorry, couldn't help the pun).

Listen, really listen, to these movies. How many times did you laugh at a line that your child didn't laugh at because you got it and your child didn't?

Congratulations! You're a winner in the "Identify Animated Films for Adults" game!

The Revolution Advances

So by now you've figured out I'm a PayPerPost junkie.? Ted Murphy rocks, to use the vernacular.?

Why? Wit, humor, guerilla marketing, crazy cool people.? Ted and several buddies took to the New York streets early this am with shirts and PayPerPost signs for people to use on the outside segment of the Today show on NBC.? None but a genius so early in his venture realizes and takes advantage of one of the farthest-reaching free marketing tools in existence.

Hey Ted - send me a shirt and post an opportunity for $50.? I'll wear it.? In public.? Every day.? For a week.

Viva la Revolucion!

Sanity Protection Program

Someone should start a program, much like the witness protection program, for moms.? It'd be called the Sanity Protection Program.? Moms would be wisked away in an unmarked car, relocated somewhere, and their names changed to something other than "Mom" for about a week.? There would be no children, no alarm clocks, and a maid.

Where are the applications???

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Awesome Apogee

I just can't get over these guys.? As if they weren't great enough, they're the largest search engine marketing firm?in Austin!? ?I don't know why I'm surprised that such a comprehensive, state-of-the-art firm is a Texas-based one.? Don't all cutting-edge, greater-than-great things come from Texas?

Not to Be Ugly, But...

I love comedy. I love to laugh. I don't like to laugh at the expense of other people. I was watching a stand up comic tonight and the phrase, "not to be ugly, but" kept coming up. It's like some magic phrase that says, "It's okay to laugh at this person because I've said the magic 'It's okay' words." Ask the person or group that the joke's about if it suddenly became funny after you said, "Not to be ugly, but..."

Yes it is to be ugly...and it's not funny.

Humor doesn't have to cost anyone "face" and it's possible to make someone laugh without making someone else look bad. That's the humor I like. Unfortunately, it's harder and harder to come by these days. Even many supposed "Christian" comics base the majority of their routines on making fun of someone or some group of people.

The most offensive to me is when "Christian" comics make jokes about other denominations. Now don't get me wrong: Jesus loves laughter. I have no doubt about that...but does He laugh when we point out the differences in segments of the "family" with derision? Not to be ugly, but...I don't think so.

Someone wise (I think it was "Mom" on Rollie Pollie Ollie) once said, "It's no fun if it's not fun for everyone."

It's not funny, either.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Modern Money

Well, my first affiliate stop landed me at CPA Network, a Texan company, so you know it's got to be good!? They work with both advertisers and affiliates, so they've figured out how to bring both together efficiently and?- most importantly - productively (read money).?

There's a blog with articles on just about every aspect of affiliate marketing you can think of, and living up to its name appears to be a primary focus.? That looks good to me - I like companies that can deliver.? This one's going at the top of my list.

But why affiliate marketing anyway?? It uses your knowledge to help three people:? you, the company you're marketing for, and the consumer that clicks on your link.? It's a win-win-win.?

As mentioned in a previous post, word-of-mouth is the best advertising.? What does that mean to affiliate program users?? Big bucks.? Companies know the word-of-mouth rule, and are willing to pay a lot of money to those that recommend them.

Need another reason?? How about making money without changing out of your pajamas, or even getting out of bed?? Affiliate marketing allows women that want to stay home with their children to do so without sacrificing the income that would be there if they worked outside of the home.? For just a few hours' work each week, many women are actually bringing more money into the home since the income isn't being eaten up by childcare costs, wardrobing, lunches, and transportation expenses.

Here's another:? not having to deal with checks and where to cash them, since many programs use PayPal or other online payment companies....then getting cash back!? I use PayPal at every opportunity, then use my debit card to the account to make purchases.? PayPal gives me cash back on every debit card purchase - 1.5%.? That means I make even more money.

So, anybody else going to CPA Network?with me?

Pricey Princess

As I'm writing about affiliate programs and management, I wonder:? Is there a princess affiliate program?? Imagine making money off of all the princess pandemonium going on....

Yep, definately gotta look into that.? I'll let you know what I find.

...maybe.? I may just tell you where to go buy it from my affiliate links!

More Marketing Money

Apogee's gone and done it again.? As a leader in marketing services and tutorial, they've put together a comprehensive site and program to teach you everything you need to know about affiliate management.?

While they have services that you can take advantage of, don't think that you can't learn anything from them if you can't quite afford them yet (which are quite affordable, by the way).? If you're looking to make money from home (SAHMs, are you reading?), at the very least you owe it to yourself to check out Affiliate Marketing 101.

Happy more money making!

Princess Parade

So Sarah has a tiara that she wore for her party yesterday.? She insisted on wearing it this morning when we took Brandon to school.?

So there we were, traipsing through the school taking a partially-dismantled chocolate castle through the first grade hall and into the office with Sarah proudly wearing her purple "Butterfly Princess" pjs, Disney princess slippers and a pink marabou and beaded tiara.? Then we visited the library book fair where she shopped happily like Jasmine in the marketplace.? Then we went walking...

Yep, it was a regular parade day for us...

Married in Maui

You know, as I was reflecting on a beach-themed wedding using sand dollars, seashells, and the like it dawned on me: what would be the ultimate beach-themed wedding?


Getting married in Maui!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pressure Cooker

Ever notice how something's easier to do when you have no pressure to do it?? I realized the other day after I posted about not always striving to be funny anymore that little funny snippets keep coming to me.? Of course, nothing really clever is coming to me now,? but what else is new?

I'm bound to have lots of funny fodder this evening - Sarah's 4th birthday is today and we're having a party at 2.? I'm expecting to be able to post a slew of quotes within the next day or two.

That, or I'll have gone nuts playing Princess...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PPC ... D-E-F-G...

What is with the alphabet craze these days?? Simply put, we're lazy - who wants to actually speak an entire word when you can just spout letters?

PPC is short for Pay Per Click, or "One of a webmaster's best friends."? When you've got a specific item or service to market, PPC is a great ally in finding and getting qualified consumers.? Check out? Apogee's paid search services.? The FAQ will educate any Internet business owner on the pros and cons of targeted marketing.

Happy money-making!

Walkin' Mammy Jammy

I started walking a couple of weeks ago at the football field after I drop Brandon off for school.? I started with just a couple of laps, but got excited and I'm up to 5 laps a day - that's a mile and quarter!? YAY ME!? My left achilles tendon was killing me last Friday, so I didn't walk, but that's the only weekday that I've skipped since I started.? Yeah, I'm traipsing around town looking rather schlumpy, but who cares - I'm getting fit!??I'm really hoping I'll start seeing the weight go soon.

It should help now that I've gotten all the chocolate chip cookies out of the house...

My Latest Inspiration

So you like my witty, personal style and you want to find more blogs like it.? Check out my latest wit inspiration:? the PayPerPost?blog.? There are some nutty people that get paid to advertise on blogs.? The interviews with featured bloggers are insightful, to say the least.?

My favorite part has to be the comments after the posts - you can get some great laughs.? For the most laughs, you have to read the post about?the $1000 opportunity!


Did you ever wonder where your life went?? How about the age-old "who am I?"? I've been going through a bit of an identity crisis lately.? It seems every time I turn around someone's asking me if I am teacher, was a teacher, why aren't I a teacher, why don't you become a teacher....? You think Someone's trying to tell me something?

The thing is - am I supposed to homeschool or teach other people's kids?? And I'm not sure I want a job right now.? Or ever, for that matter.? But then why do I have the gnawing inside that wants to finish my degree?? I feel like it's too late.? I've made my choice - I'm a mom.? Why waste thousands of dollars to get a degree just so I can say I finished something for once in my life?? It seems that I could accomplish that without spending so much money.? But what?

Hey, I know -

I'll finish a package of cookies!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Mother of All Monuments

PayPerPost founder Ted Murphy is an average guy.? An average rich guy.?

Okay, so I'm lying.? Who else can you think of that would put together a program that allows stay-at-home moms to make money by actually using their brains and reminding humanity (and more importantly themselves) that they are intelligent, important contributions to our world?? Yeah, that's what I thought.?

Yet somehow, that's just what Ted Murphy did.? Wanting to do something productive with his money, he went online searching for some way to help encourage stay-at-home moms.? His own mom had always stayed home with him, and he saw how she craved adult interaction and conversation.? He also saw how happy she was when one of her freelance articles helped bring money into the family.? She finally felt like she was really contributing to the household.

Reading hundreds of blogs from these unsung heroes, Ted's memories of his mother led to an epiphany:? why not pay these women to put ads on blogs?? He had always been amazed at how influential women are - they are the ultimate marketers.? Want to know what dish soap really gets the grease off of those pans?? Ask the stay-home mom that washes dishes from three meals each day.? Which tub cleaner makes the job easier in real life, not just commercials?? Ask the SAHM next door.

So PayPerPost was born.? And Ted Murphy's just your average, ordinary rich guy that has made his life an ongoing homage to his mother's memory.

Sounds too good to be true....

It's Been One of Those Days...

Okay, so it's been one of those weeks.? Sarah's been arguing with everything I say for the last week and a half.? She thinks she's the mother; she pouts every time she doesn't get her way; she aggravates the snot out of me...

...and I want to teach other people's kids?? Is it really true that we have more patience with other people's kids than with our own?? If so, then what about that thing where teachers call their students "my kids?"? I'm not sure I'd want to love other people's kids like I love my own.? Rather, I'd like to love my own kids like I love other people's.? Why is that?? And doesn't that say something quite unsettling about me (or at least my relationship with my kids)?

Or maybe they're just little demon children from the pits of hell...

Nah - they're actually really good kids - better than a lot I've seen.? I just wish I could have some kind of automated signal that would go off in my head to remind me of that when I want to hang them up by their toenails.

Halloween Hang-ups

I don't really do Halloween, so imagine my surprise to walk into a friend's house last year and discover that she's got halloween decorations scattered throughout the house.? I had no idea.? I mean, I guess it'd sink in seeing the stuff at the store, but I thought maybe one or two decorations.

Unh-uh.? And these aren't freaky people - they're normal, everyday, their-kid's-in-your-kid's-class people.? What really got me was that "halloween decorations" doesn't necessarily mean scary.? These suckers are cute!

I mean, who could be scared of this guy?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not So Funny All the Time

So Michael encourages me to start a blog.? "Talk about being a mom," he says.? I think,?Why would anyone read that drivel?? Unless I make it funny....hmmm.....

One problem:? what do you write when you can't think of anything funny?? There's still stuff going on, but let's get down to the nitty-gritty - it's not always funny.? Besides, funny takes energy.

Energy I ain't got right now.

So I'm going to give you the non-funny truth here.? I suffer from major depressive disorder with postpartum recurrences and obsessive-compulsive disorder.? What does that mean?? I'm not always so funny.

But I am intelligent, I do have thoughts, opinions, and a life.? So from now on I'll be writing about my life just as I have just won't always be funny.? Maybe you'll stay with me, maybe not - your choice - just don't say I didn't warn you.

And don't let your drink spew out your nose when you come across an unexpected funny.

AdSense Pre Mortem

There are tons of ways to make money?online.? Bloggers are getting more and more options these days, which is a good thing.? Like all great ideas though, there is an evolution.?

Exibit A:?Ad Sense

Easy?? Somewhat, once you get the coding down.? Relevant?? Most of the time.? A cash cow?? Hardly.? It took us over a year with almost a dozen websites to make the minimum $100 required for them to cut a check.? Then we had to wait for it in the mail.


Exhibit B:? PayPerPost

Easy???Yes for good bloggers, mostly for?those blogging just to make money?- you have to think to create a quality post.? Relevant?? Yes and no - It's up to the blogger to determine the level of relevancy to the rest of the blog in question.? A cash cow?

MOO, baby!? Try $95 in less than a month - and that's with me being a lazy depressed woman.

You decide.


Ever hear the saying, "I am woman; I am invincible; I am tired."?

I can so relate.? Bethy still gets up 2-4 times a night.? That means I get no more than 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time.? This has been going on for 10 months now.

I am beyond tired.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Domain Deals

Michael and I have 10 domains between us.? What would you expect from a web/graphics designer and an A+ certified computer tech?? We've got a list of about 50 more domains we'd like to develop that's ever-growing.

I love coming up with clever domain names, but I hate it when I go to get it and find that's it's already taken.? Ooh, and then have that domain just sitting there, parked, doing nothing!? UGH!!? It aggravates me to no end.

Well, problem solved.? put together a site where you can finally find or sell a domain without going through the unprofessional, hawk-it-in-the-streets drama that has been domain dealing thus far.

Hmmm...I think I feel another shopping spree coming on...

Lost Your Dog, eh?

While I've been thinking about tropical beaches, Michael's been thinking the frozen tundra.? He saw an auction on eBay last week for some land in Saskatchawan.? The next day one of the truck drivers that came in was from Canada.? Michael asked him what it was like and told him he was thinking about getting land in S-ville.? He asked, "why would you move there?"? Puzzled, Michael asked him why he put it that way.? His response was priceless:

"You could lose your dog there and still see him after 4 days."

Well, that wraps up the Canadian land search.? Excuse me while I go kiss my native Texan soil.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Stand-up Wannabe

I was at the shrink the other day (don't ask - very long story), and I'm telling him basically about how my life is really screwy...and he's laughing!? I wasn't offended - I'm used to it.? I use humor as a coping mechanism and I've found that I can usually make people laugh when I talk about the weirdness of life.

So you found me out - this blog is really just my cyber-notepad of comedy bits for my stand-up act.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Same War, Different Battlefield

"So do you make money blogging?"? Get ready - the question will be asked of you soon.? If you have a blog, you've no doubt been bombarded with the propaganda for and against PayPerPost.? If you read my blog, you've no doubt realized which side I'm on (the one that pays).

It's all about the age-old war that's been waged for centuries: ?who has the right to form the social consciousness - the bluebloods that were supposedly there when it all began (a viewing of A Knight's Tale blows that theory out of the water), or the commoners who live the daily grind?? Those of us with common sense already know the answer.? Let me answer it with a question:? what's the best form of advertising?? Answer?? All together, now: word-of-mouth.

While the vast majority of Internet users will never hear of the PayPerPost war and will never be "tarnished" by the insurgent paid posts its followers churn out in droves, the people have indeed spoken.? One look at a celebrity-laden television commercial drives home the point that people will promote what they're paid to promote.? So have the noncybergeeks really been concientious objectors in all this?? Not in a million years - they just fight on different battlefields - like television, radio, magazines (got milk?), and the like.?

History proves that the most influential wars of all time have been ones in which the underdog fought the elitest and caused a paradigm shift of values and beliefs in society.? Think of the Bastille, Scotland, and the good ol' US of A.? Progress comes by questioning the status quo and revolting against those that dictate our beliefs to us.

And as Dan Rua says, "Viva la Revolucion!"

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Baby Boot Camp

Bethy's on a roll!? Last Saturday she sat up, then Wednesday she pulled up.? Today, she crawled!? get to the air conditioner - but she crawled!? This kid's apparently going to be one of those super-achievers that makes you wonder if she'll ever do anything then suddenly takes a leap and does everything.

Some days, her hairdo even looks like Einstein's...

Where's Cinderella When You Need Her?

Okay, so I get paid for blogging, but I've been thinking a lot lately about something I'd pay to get done.? I have wood floors in my kitchen, living room, and hallway - and they're a pain in the tushie to keep clean.? Hence, they are currently a little on the get-your-feet-dirty-when-you-walk-on-them side.? Okay, okay - they've moved to the far end of that side.?

I actually paid someone to do it a few weeks ago...unfortunately our definitions of clean apparently differ.? Hers was "swipe it with the swiffer all over" while mine is "the dirt spots are gone," but true to my can't-stand-up-for-myself style I didn't demand restitution.? So now I'm in the same situation: one dirty floor, one very unmotivated woman, and a possible ad in the paper.? I'm thinking something like, "Cinderella needed to scrub wood floors - no Prince Charming, but nice check."

Wanna answer it?

Human Garbage Disposal

I've discovered that if I wait until my children are "done" eating, I'll have a meal without food going to waste.? I can't stand it when I've eaten and I find that my children's plates are still half-full...and they'll never eat it again if I put it in the fridge for later.? What to do?

I feed the baby while everyone eats, then I clean the plates.? Okay, so it's kind of like the family dog you see in movies, but admit it - you do it too, don't you?? I've seen moms do this in their homes, in restaurants, in the car - we simply can't let food be wasted.

And then we wonder how we go all day without sitting down to a meal and still gain 20 pounds!
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