Monday, February 28, 2011

I Want a New Drug, Part II

So this is Part II of my writing about the steps involved in IVF. The entire process takes about two weeks and I intend to run these posts in real time (i.e. following the treatment schedule and length of time on each medication).

The second phase of the stimulation stage of IVF is taking medication to suppress my own reproductive system. This whole process is such a science, the doctors don't want to risk my body stepping in and inevitably doing something that will mess up our plan.

After a few days of injecting Follistim, my doctors added Ganirelix to my medication regime. There are two possibilities for this suppression medication: Lupron or Ganirelix. Patients must start injecting Lupron several days prior to getting their period. Ganirelix, on the other hand, can be injected five days into the patient's cycle. Since my cycle is so unpredictable, that option made more sense for me.

The Ganirelix shots aren't too bad. They come in a pre-filled syringe so to give myself the injection, I just wipe my skin with an alcohol swab, pop the needle guard off the syringe and clear out the air bubbles. Quite simple, which is nice, particularly considering at this point, I was giving myself two injections of medication a day.

Ganirelix shots go in the abdomen and the only real side effect I've experienced is itchiness across my stomach. On the first day in particular it was really bad. I don't think it helped that after giving myself the shots, I put on a pair of tights and drove 30 minutes to work. I was seriously ready to claw off the skin on my stomach that day! The second day, the itching was far less, though it picked back up again on the third day. Ultimately I only took Ganirelix four times.

During the stimulation process, I went to my doctor's office for blood work and ultrasounds every 2-3 days. The first day I was set to take my Ganirelix, the nurse called to remind me to bring it with me to my appointment. I assumed that she'd show me how to do the injection or have some other tips. However, once I got there, she explained that I should take the Ganirelix only after I've done my blood work.

Me: Okay.

Nurse: Do you want me to write it down?

Me: Um, no I think I can remember that.

Nurse: Are you sure? It's really important because we want to measure your blood levels...

Me (cutting her off): Yeah, yeah, my pre-suppression blood levels.

She seemed uber-impressed that (a) I managed to come up with a fancy $5 word like "suppression" and (b) that I was capable of remembering such basic instructions without her writing it down.

Again, I swear, there should be intelligence tests prior to procreation. I can only imagine some of the meat heads she encounters on a day to day basis.

Of all the medications I had to take for my IVF cycle, I'd classify the Ganirelix as the least troublesome: no real pain, no real side effects, and easy to administer. Ultimately I took Ganirelix for four days and the evening of my last Ganirelix injection, I took a "trigger" shot of HCG and Lupron so stay tuned Thursday evening to read about that.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Queen Song of the Week: We Will Rock You & We are the Champions

The next song in the set list of Queen's 1982 concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl is Sheer Heart Attack. Read my review of that song here.

Following Sheer Heart Attack, the band launched into the two songs which ended their concerts for nearly thirty years: We Will Rock You and We are the Champions. These songs are played together, not only in concert, but on most radio stations as well!

We Will Rock You was written by Dr. May and appeared on the band's 1977 album News of the World. The song was the B-side to the We are the Champions single in the U.K. and released as a double A-side in the U.S.. I've already written about the fast version of the song here and, of course, all of the details about the song's inspiration and recording remain the same.

Video courtesy of queenofficial.

Perhaps one of the most recognizable songs in history, and a stadium favorite to this day, We Will Rock You has certainly taken on a life of it's own, both within Queen fandom and with the general public.

We are the Champions was written by Freddie Mercury. It also appeared on the band's 1977 album News of the World. It was released as a single in the U.K. and the U.S., charting at #2 and #4, respectively.

Video courtesy of queenofficial.

Freddie also was looking to write an anthem-type song, though he specifically had football in mind. Despite the slightly ego-centric theme, the song became the band's third biggest hit (after Bohemian Rhapsody and Another One Bites the Dust). Though I've personally never been a huge fan of this song, being able to sing it on Rock Band 3 has brought me newfound appreciation for this song, particularly Freddie's vocals.

Ironically though the songs became staples at the end of the band's set lists, the songs actually lead off the News of the World album.

So with that, we end the set list of the 1982 Milton Keynes concert. I've just acquired the second (and hardest to find) CD by The Cross, RT's side project, so perhaps we'll spend some time on solo CDs next.

Happy Listening!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Want a New Drug, Part I

If anyone out there is at all interested in knowing how it feels to be a pin cushion, I recommend starting IVF.

Seriously, readers. I've got needles in my arms, stomach or legs two, if not three, times every day.

I've gone back and forth on how to approach the inevitable fact that at some point, I'm going to undergo a retrieval and transfer and then everyone (myself included) is going to be anxiously awaiting the results. 

What I've decided to do is to space things out with enough time in between posts that we'll have some definitive news that I'm ready to announce (i.e. we're pregnant or, in the alternative, I turn out to be some creature from outer space that can't get pregnant, but I got amnesia when my space ship crash landed on Earth and as soon as I realized who I really was, I killed and ate Husband because I need the nutrients from his brain to survive a la some Twilight Zone episode.)

Hm actually that's more of a Tales from the Darkside episode. Maybe Brent Spiner could star in it as the suspicious doctor who discovers Husband's bones in his office garbage can!

But I digress.

So I'm going to write about my experience with the IVF process, one step at a time. Hopefully by the time I get through writing about the month-long process, we'll have news that I'm ready to share. Or alternatively I'll be putting out an APB for Brent Spiner's contact information so I can pitch him my script.

Stimulation is the first step in the process of IVF. It involves injecting medication designed to stimulate your ovaries and grow follicles on a daily basis. For both IUI and IVF, I used Follistim; however, for IVF I took super-doses of this medication. My final IUI cycle was at 75 iu. I started my IVF cycle at 200 iu. The increase in dose is designed to grow more follicles because the retrieval process is so invasive, the doctors want it to be worth my while.

The IUI shots were not a big deal. I'd trot into the bathroom, inject the medication, and two minutes later walk out, forgetting that I had even given myself the shot. Seriously, there were nights when I'd have to consult my checklist to see if I had injected my medication for the day.

Despite the low dose, I did experience some side effects: namely elevated moods and exhaustion. I'd get home from work and the idea of doing anything other than sitting on the couch watching Star Trek: The Next Generation all evening sounded exhausting. And even doing just that, I'd end up in bed by 9pm on most evenings. The moods I didn't notice so much as Husband did: my moods weren't erratic or unexplainable, they were just increased given the circumstances. For example, I'd get really happy about something that typically would just make me smile. Or I'd become furious over something that probably only deserved an eye roll. Kudos to Husband for putting up with me for the three months that I was dealing with these side effects.

With IVF, the quantity of the injection makes it a lot more difficult. Just injecting the medication is slightly painful because there's a lot more medication that is going into the same small amount of space in my leg. I have to go slow to allow the medication to dispense throughout my body. Then afterwards the injection site is irritated for several minutes. Then afterwards, I can feel (or at least I feel like I can feel) the medication working. It's not pain in my abdomen, but more of a tingling or popping sensation. Actually it's rather unpleasant and since these are evening injections, the aftermath keeps me up at night.

The shots themselves don't hurt. Prior to the first time, I was so anxious about the potential pain that I almost freaked out and couldn't do it. However, giving myself the shot doesn't hurt: the needle is so tiny, you can barely feel it. What is uncomfortable is the amount of medication being injected. So if you're worried about having to give yourself the shot, just go for it: it's really not that bad!

Surprisingly, I've not experienced the same side effects - or for that matter, any side effects - on the higher dose. The bad news is that since my ovaries are poly-cystic, I have a ton of follicles just hanging out in there waiting to gobble up all the Follistim and get big: kind of like Pop-Eye. So the idea is to produce 10-12 decent sized follicles: as of my last ultrasound, I had 8-10 mature follicles and another 30 small ones.

To quote my doctor: "You have a million follicles... [We should trigger ovulation tonight since] we don't want your ovaries to pop."

Thanks, doctor. I'm supposed to be the one prone to hyperbole!

The original plan called for me to inject 200 iu of Follistim for five nights before going in for my first ultrasound. After the third day, I had blood drawn and my doctor decided to lower my dose to 175 iu for the next two nights. After my second ultrasound, he lowered my dose one final time to 150 iu and put me on modified bed rest.

Doctor (and I swear she said this): No activity beyond light walking. No laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping.

Me: Um, you might need to write that down. Husband is never going to believe me.

One Hour Later.

Husband: There is no way she said, "No laundry, cleaning, or grocery shopping."

80% of women take Follistim for seven days. I ended up taking it for eight because the low dose meant that the follicles were growing much slower.

The second medication in the simulation phase of IVF is Ganirelix, which I began taking after five days of taking Follistim. So to read about my experiences with Ganirelix, check back on Monday February 28!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Queen Song of the Week: Another One Bites the Dust

The next song in Queen's set list at their 1982 concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1982 was Another One Bites the Dust, which I must admit as far as Queen songs go is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Another One Bites the Dust was written by bassist John Deacon. It appeared on the band's 1980 album The Game and was released as a single peaking at #1 on the U.S. charts and #7 on the U.K. charts. Surprisingly this was not the first time that a Queen single charted higher in the U.S. than in the U.K.: Crazy Little Thing Called Love had faired the same way just one year earlier.

I've been rather vocal in the past on my feelings about John Deacon. His musical tastes are light years away from mine: he was very interested in the funk sound. He tended to minimize (or even eliminate completely) RT's trademark drumming and most of his songs lack the layered harmonies which make Queen's music instantly recognizable. Heck, the man even included a synthesizer solo in one of his songs as opposed to using amazing Dr. May's guitar playing!

But, oh my gosh readers, I love this song! I can't help but sing along and I'm convinced that should ever RT and Dr. May come to New England in search of the next great female vocalist, I could totally wow them with my rendition of this song. That is, if my Rock Band perfromances are to be relied on: the first day I had the Queen track pack (back in October 2009), I sang this song something like four times in a row!

In 2009, RT explained, "I remember laying down the backing track with him [Deacon] and it was... he really wanted the drums as dry as they could possibly be, so I just stuffed it all with blankets and made it as dead as I possibly could and very low tuned and... but it’s that thump that... We never really liked that kind of thing. But this actually turned out... we weren’t going to release this as a single and I think it was Michael Jackson that... actually who actually suggested that we release it as a single and I thought he was nuts, but..."

Supposedly when Deaky first presented the song to the band, the lyrics told a cowboys with each verse ending as that cowboy "bit the dust." Oh dear. Luckily Freddie took over and changed the lyrics, making them slightly more contemporary and less...oh shall we say...ridiculous.

As much as I do like this song, I think I like it outside the realm of Queen. It's not an accurate reflection of their music or what they were about as a band, but the fact of the matter is: it's a great song!

Happy Listening!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Own Worst Enemy: Me

The timing felt right for a fertility update, particularly since the last few days have been a bit of a roller coaster.

*Disclaimer* Obviously some medical information is contained in this post.

Following my hysterosalpingogram last month, Husband, my doctor, and I decided that it seemed logical to take the next step to IVF. We'd attempted IUI three times without any success. Though the hysterosalpingogram showed no medical reason for the failed IUIs, it just seemed silly to continue that option, especially when another option, with much higher rates of success was available to us.

Husband and I are super lucky in that his insurance provides amazing coverage in this regard. There have been so many times I've seen other couples handing over hundreds of dollars as a co-pay, or in some instances just paying out of pocket 100%. Our co-pay is only $35 and our insurance pays for four egg retrievals in my life time. This really impressed our insurance liaison since most companies pay for a certain number of "cycles", but by classifying as "retrievals", we have the option for more if we opt to freeze embryos. It's nice to know that Husband's long hours at work are good for something!

But anyway, we met with our insurance liaison and she explained the process of beginning IVF. First, we had to attend an information seminar with about 40 other couples. We did that two weeks ago.

I got to the seminar early and snagged an aisle seat by the door. Husband arrived a little late and joined me. A few minutes after Husband arrived, the husband of the woman sitting next to us showed up: a guy we attended law school with and whose father Husband currently works for. Needless to say Husband spent most of the seminar making sure this other guy didn't recognize him. Whereas I spent the seminar wondering what the law school put in our water since this makes the eighth person we know who had to participate in some sort of fertility treatment.

Don't get me wrong, I did pay attention to most of the presentation and let me just say this: there should be a test before people are allowed to procreate, particularly in a controlled setting like a fertility clinic.

Let's play Guess That Embryo!
Who does this embryo look like?
 At the end of the session, the presenter (who happened to be our doctor) asked if anyone had any questions. There was a moment of silence and our doctor was ready to wrap up, but then a gentleman towards the front of the room put his hand up.

Random Dumb Dude: "How do you make sure you don't mix up the specimens?"

Doctor: "What"

Random Dumb Dude: (And I swear he actually said this) Well, all babies look kind of alike so I assume that all embryos look kind of alike. How do you make sure that you transfer the embryos into the right uterus?
Doctor: "We label everything. Several times and in several different ways."


What I wish my doctor had said was, "You, sir, are too stupid to have children. Please leave now."

So basically this guy is under the impression that the embryos are running around looking anything like their eventual parents and that's how the lab technicians figure out which embryos belong to which couple. I told Husband that I'm going to make it my mission in life to accidentally have Random Dumb Dude's baby.

Husband agreed that would be awesome because (1) it would be freakin' hysterical and (2) he would be able to stay home and watch baseball rather than going back down to our clinic to make a "deposit" of his own.

Thankfully that was the only truly stupid question of the night and the seminar ended without further incident.

Onto step two of the IVF process: an individual meeting with our doctor.

We did this on Wednesday afternoon. I like my doctor a lot and he let us call the shots on a few issues that I thought he might push back on (i.e. the number of embryos to transfer). My suspicion is that Husband wooed him a bit with his questions about success statistics. The doctor was basically chasing us down the hall to give Husband the most up-to-date though not-yet-published statistics from the clinic. I told Husband that he was probably so excited to be asked intelligent questions as opposed to "Where do babies come from?" (Random Dumb Dude, I'm looking at you) that he wanted to extend the conversation as long as possible!

This embryo appears to be in disguise.
Can you figure out who it belongs to
or are you stumped like Random Dumb Dude?
The final step was a teaching session with a nurse. Since IVF requires more injectable medications than IUI (and many people doing IVF didn't do IUI), the nurses walk couples through the process of preparing and injecting the medications. As we left the office on Wednesday, my doctor said we'd schedule that session in the next week or so and asked when I expected my period.

My diagnosis is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which basically means that I don't always ovulate. When you don't ovulate, there's no trigger to start your cycle so I tend to go anywhere from 35 to 65 days between periods.  I reminded my doctor of this and he agreed to write me a prescription for Provera to trigger my period. He then ordered some blood work to determine if I had ovulated this month.

About an hour later, the nurse called me at home: I had ovulated.

Of course I had! The girl with the condition that means she doesn't ovulate always ovulates the month when she needs an extra week before she gets her period. It's like the plot of a bad made for TV movie.

I spent about an hour on Thursday on the telephone with three different people from the clinic: the insurance liaison, Nurse A, my doctor's lead nurse, and Nurse B from the IVF team. They all agreed that Husband and I could take the training online and made a note for the training nurse (Nurse C) to call me on Saturday.

Just when I had that all resolved, I got a phone call about one of my cases. It was one of those situations that I had known for months was hanging by a thread. There were two possibilities: we'd get the case dismissed before the sh*t hit the fan or we wouldn't. Late on Thursday afternoon, I had confirmation that we wouldn't and on Friday, we had to go to court.

After numerous conferences with attorneys, appearances in front of the judge, and conversations with my client, I came to the realization that my client wasn't going to be leaving the courthouse with her 8 month old child. As we walked out of the courtroom, I explained this to her and predictably, she burst into tears. She started crying, the father started yelling, and the baby, in her mom's arms, stared at me wide-eyed obviously not knowing what was happening.

And I lost it.

I could tell for about twenty seconds before I started crying, that I was going to start crying. I tried the relaxation technique that my therapist had recommended (breathe in through the nose "Time" and out through the mouth "Out"), but it was too late.

Because the father was yelling, several security officers came running to where we were standing. I can only imagine when they saw him yelling and me crying, that they thought he had attacked me because they all rushed to me first. I shook my head to let them know that I was fine. Then I realized that if I wanted tissues, I had to go back into the courtroom, thus exposing myself to even more people who would have no idea why I was seemingly taking this so hard.

It was awful. Of course, it was awful for my client, but (and I know this sounds a little cold) I've been through this exact situation before and I was fine. On Friday, it was something about everything that we've been going through that just hit me...hard.

After I calmed down, and calmed my client down, I went back to my office, where I promptly started crying again. Then when Husband got home that evening, I had my third cry of the day. I swear there's no way I have any tears left!

On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling crampy. Of course I was!

Luckily we had an appointment to go meet with Nurse C. We needed to sign some releases and she had to go over the instructional packet with us. While we were there I mentioned that I expected to get my period later in the day. The one pharmacy that our insurance allows us to use is closed on weekends...and in Florida so best case scenario we'd have the meds by Tuesday, two days after we needed them. Husband said that he'd be willing to pay for the meds out of pocket and fight insurance ourselves for a reimbursement, but thankfully Nurse C had some sample medication in the lab that she reserved for us. The sample meds will get us through Tuesday when the pharmacy finally decides to ship everything to us.

So we officially start the medications on Sunday. My dose of gonadotropin is 200 iu, up from 75 iu on the last IUI attempt so I'm expecting some more serious side effects. I got off easy with the lower doses, really only feeling slightly elevated moods and more tired than usual.

And lest anyone think that the medical professionals have managed to outsmart my body's attempts to sabotage this entire process, consider this: our projected timeline based on a start date of Sunday February 13 means a transfer on February 25, a day that I had intended to travel two hours to visit a friend and her new baby and that Husband had scheduled a Florida.

Oh Kathleen, you stinker!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Queen Song of the Week: Tie Your Mother Down

Next in the set list of the band's 1982 concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl was Bohemian Rhapsody. Check out my review of that song here. Now, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody on stage is quite different from Bohemian Rhapsody in the studio: the band never performed the entire song on stage until 2002 when RT and Dr. May performed at the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Following BoRhap, the boys played Tie Your Mother Down...

Video courtesy of queenofficial.

Can I make a confession?

I actually hate this song.

Now, there are few songs that I passionately hate. Takin' Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive is one. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Milder is another. And then there's Tie Your Mother Down.
Lest I unduly influence any of you, I'll keep my reasons for hating this song to myself and allow you to judge for yourself. I can tell you that many Queen fans not only really like, but love, this song so it's quite possible that I'm completely alone in this opinion.

Tie Your Mother Down was written by Dr. May. It appeared on the band's 1976 album A Day at the Races. The song was released as a single in 1977 and peaked at #31 and #49 on the U.K. and U.S. charts, respectively.

So, there you have it. Take a listen to the song and make up your own mind about it.

Happy Listening!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Super Bowl According to Kathleen: Favorite Commercials

Last night Husband made me watch the Super Bowl. I had assumed that since his team had already been eliminated that we'd be fast-forwarding through most of the game and watching the commercials. So imagine my horror when I realized at one point that Husband had gone to the bathroom and PAUSED THE GAME!

I knew I was in for a long night. Luckily being the resourceful little blogger that I am, I thought I'd take the four hours of time between commercials that I apparently now had on my hands to write about my favorite commercials of the evening.

First Half:

Bridgestone Tires, "Reply All" -- Best Commercial of the First Half

Video courtesy of wish.

This was the first commercial of the night that caused me to actually laugh out loud. This commercial was a success for a few reasons: first, everyone is familiar with that horror of thinking you sent out an email to the wrong person and second, the physical comedy of this guy knocking over the pot of coffee onto the laptop and wrestling the phone out of the hands of the hiker. Then at the end we have the famous "switch-a-roo" of which I'm always a fan! Good work, Bridgestone Tires!

CareerBuilder, "Working With Monkeys"

Video courtesy of CareerBuilder.

You can't go wrong when you include monkeys. That's basically my motto. This commercial made me giggle, but would have been even funnier with more monkey screen time. Strong effort, CareerBuilder, but take note for next year: More monkeys = Happier Kathleen

Volkswagen, "The Force"

Video courtesy of Volkswagen.

Another completely manipulative and exploitative ad featuring a tiny child dressed in a Darth Vader costume. I was already boarding on cute overload before the lil' Vader turned on the car with his powers only to startle himself. Not sure what this has to do with Volkswagen, but it sure was adorable!

Half Time Show:

Now I happen to enjoy the Black Eyed Peas myself. And I have to say, I was pleased when I heard that the Super Bowl had finally gotten brave enough to ask a more current musical artist to perform the half time show. I don't think I'm alone when I say that The Who's performance last year was near embarrassing.

At first I was a little annoyed at the synchronized clapping of the folks on the field. Hm, where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, Queen at Live Aid more than 25 years ago...and that wasn't choreographed.

But then the suits lit up and the choreographed dancing continued (culminating in an awesome quadruple arrow formation and ultimately with enormous red hearts) and at that point I decided that I approved of the shenanigans.

I was glad when Slash actually showed up to perform Sweet Child O' Mine because otherwise that would have been a really random song choice, but was Fergie trying to sing like Axl Rose or did she just develop a bit of a frog in her throat for that song only? Despite Slash's appearance, I'd say that was the weakest song of the set.

Overall, I thought the show was pretty good. I liked how they played snippets of a bunch of different songs instead of playing only three or four songs in their entirety. I remember a few years ago being so annoyed when Bruce Springsteen played 10th Avenue Freezeout, NOT one of my favorites, and I had to just suffer through it for five minutes. Blah. The Black Eyed Peas were slightly reminiscent of Prince, who was one of the best half time shows ever (in the rain no less) so they were definitely operating out of the "Make Kathleen Happy Playbook".

The only thing that could have made the show better? A monkey.

Well played, Black Eyed Peas!

Second Half:

E*Trade, "Talking Baby"

Video courtesy of ZPsBackUp.

Boy this has been a polarizing ad campaign. Ever since it was first introduced a few years back, people either love or hate these "talking" babies. Personally I'm a fan, which is odd because typically posed babies freak me out (Exhibit A. I'm sorry but just because you can stuff your baby into a watering can doesn't mean you should.) Anyway, despite this aversion to the use of babies, these ads really make me giggle. This one in particular was completely adorable at the end when the baby puts his finger to the tailor's mouth and says, "Shush." Love it!

House M.D., Fox - Best Commercial of the Second Half

Video courtesy of MsHousefan1.

Now, I divorced House last season. I'd watch every week and get annoyed at every single character. Finally, I told Husband that I had gotten to the point where the only character on the show I actually liked was House...and that made me feel really rotten about I wasn't going to watch anymore. This commercial though, was freakin' funny. A parody of the famous Mean Joe Green commercial from the late 1970s, House first refuses a churro from a young admirer then tosses his cane to the boy...knocking him over. Oh House, good work: take something we all know and love and give it the old "switch-a-roo". It's almost enough to convince me to start watching again!

Most Random (i.e. Awesome) Celebrity Cameo of the Night: Kenny G in Audi ad

If you know anything about me, you know that I love a good random celebrity cameo. I'm not talking about Adrian Brody in a Stella Artois ad. Or even Justin Bieber in a Best Buy ad. I'm talking about a 100% completely out of left field, random-ass celebrity. One of my favorite Super Bowl commercials EVER is this Emerald Nuts spot featuring Robert Goulet. This Audi ad had potential. Watching the two wealthy prisoners try to escape was pretty funny, but it could have been an ad for anything, nothing about it was specific to an Audi car. The Kenny G music was an unexpected choice, but the man himself serenading a prisoner at the end of the ad was the best moment. Sadly, afterwards I thought about how I should consider buying a Kenny G CD not an Audi car. Better luck next year, Audi.

WTF Moment: Eminem in Lipton Brisk Iced Tea ad and Chrysler ad

In the Brisk Iced Tea ad, which aired first, Eminem (in voice over) talks about getting asked to do so many ads, but then he ends up hating the product and refuses, but he really loves Lipton Brisk Iced Tea so he was happy to do the ad. Then during the third quarter, Eminem showed up in an ad for Chrysler automobiles.

Um, Eminem, not to be a brat, but did you tell the Lipton folks that you had actually agreed to do another commercial FOR THE SUPER BOWL? If I were the Lipton people, I'd be pretty annoyed! Do you think we're that stupid? That we forget that you're in two Super Bowl ads, one of which is claiming that you don't do lots of ads. Did you assume that because you're animated in one somehow we wouldn't realize it was you? Both of the ads were actually pretty good, but all I'm saying is you've got some 'xplaining to do, Eminem!

Worst Campaign of the Night: Pepsi Max

I'm not entirely sure why the folks over at Pepsi thought it would be funny to build an entire marketing campaign around people using Pepsi Max cans to assault each other, but I was not amused. In the first slot,  a woman throws her can at her husband after he checks out an attractive runner. He ducks and the runner gets knocked out. In the second ad, a nerd uses a Pepsi Max cooler launcher to shoot cans at the groin of a man who had previously been teasing him. The point of the first two commercials was to emphasize that Pepsi Max has no calories, but I'm sure there are ways to make that point beyond throwing cans at people.* Clearly, Pepsi Max felt the same way because the third ad abandoned the idea completely: this time featuring a couple on a first date with the young man's desire to sleep with his companion is interrupted only by his wanting her can of Pepsi Max. All I can say is that at least the first two ads had a semblance of a point. Complete miss, Pepsi Max. Try again next year (if you're even still around).

*Lest any of you think me a hypocrite, allow me to distinguish between why I found the Pepsi Max commercials upsetting, yet enjoyed the House commercial where he throws his cane at the young child. In the House commercial, House isn't trying to hit the kid with the cane. He's trying to be inspirational and toss the young admirer a souvenir. That, in addition to the familiarity we all have with the original commercial, is what makes this ad funny. The Pepsi Max ads are just mean.

The good news is that I made it through the entire game and that it ended before 10:30pm! The fourth quarter just flew by because I spent it scouring the Internet for the House ad. Usually the fourth quarter just crawls by so that was exciting!

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers for winning the 45th Super Bowl. Enjoy my kind words now, boys, because I can assure you that by this evening, I will have forgotten who was even playing.

What were your favorite commercials? Do you agree with my picks?

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Queen Song of the Week: Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Apologies for the lateness of today's Queen Song of the Week post. Husband and I had to attend a seminar last night and didn't get home until after 9pm! Unacceptable!

We're still working our way through the set list of Queen's 1982 concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl. That show has been released on CD and DVD as Queen: On Fire at the Bowl.

Now, I'm about to blow everyone's mind: the song Crazy Little Thing Called Love was not written or originally performed by Elvis Presley. Nor was it written by Dwight Yoakam or any other artist who has subsequently recorded the song.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love was written by Freddie his bathtub! The song appeared on the band's 1979 album, The Game. It was released as a single in 1979 where it peaked at #2 in the U.K. and #1 in the U.S. The song was the band's first #1 song in the U.S. and is their fourth best selling single of all time.

As the boys recall, the song came together rather quickly. Freddie wrote it while in the bath and the background vocals were recorded in less than 30 minutes! Another notable fact about the song is that Dr. May does not play his famous Red Special guitar. In fact, he uses a Telecaster owned by RT in order to add to the "period" feel of the song. And of course, the visual aspect of Freddie playing acoustic guitar on this song is  rather famous for Queen fans and non-Queen fans alike!

This is a song that sounds nothing like Queen yet still somehow sounds like Queen: the vocals are immediately recognizable and, even using a different guitar, Dr. May has a distinctive style and, of course, the band's trademark background vocals are used here.

Often I forget about this song, but then after hearing it again, I'm reminded of how catchy and infectious it is! And obviously Fred did a great job of capturing the era he was going for since so many people thing the song is about thirty years older than it actually is! Well done, Freddie!

Happy Listening!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Magic Carpet Ride: Goodbye Old Rug!

I've basically come to the conclusion that Pottery Barn hates me.

Which is disappointing because I love Pottery Barn.

I love flipping through their catalog and imagining that I too could live in a world where my tables were filled with knickknacks and candles and yet still not look cluttered; where my office was somehow immaculately neat and all my bills were tucked away in their filing cabinets and my appointments were legibly written on a wall calendar; where a personalized tree skirt would sit around my Christmas tree, decorated only in silver, and matching personalized stockings lined with mantle without falling over.


Since I basically adore everything Pottery Barn has to offer, it's always an exciting experience when I have permission an opportunity to buy something. My first major purchase came in January 2009. We had just bought our house and Husband had purchased a new 50 inch flat screen TV. The deal was: he got the TV and I got to furnish the rest of the living room. Enter the Payton Smart Technology Media and Gaming Console and the Brooks Upholstered Chair in an awesome red and white paisley-esque fabric...

which was promptly discontinued the instant I decided that I wanted two for our living room.

Luckily we located them in like Oklahoma (and paid a discounted price) and just weeks later, they were on display in our living room.

When the time came to replace the lamps in the same room (after Husband broke one of my beloved Milk Glass Table Lamps in espresso). I knew just the ones I wanted: the Fairview Table Lamp Base and coordinating floor lamp.

My local store, of course, did not have them in stock, but luckily a nearby store did. So off went my mother and I to conduct a merchandise pick-up near the dumpsters behind Ruby Tuesdays. We were convinced that death, not lamp bases, was in our future as it was dark outside and to our horror, another car pulled into the driveway behind us.

Clearly this individual trolled the mall, waiting for unsuspecting ladies with visions of lamps to attempt to acquire the aforementioned lamps, and choosing that moment to pounce.

It turns out this individual just happened to be buying something from Pottery Barn as well. Nice cover, buddy. I know what you were up to!

(We did ultimately get the lamp bases and managed to escape the darkened driveway unharmed.)

The final blow was a few weekends ago. I had accumulated a series of discount and rewards cards and even more exciting had secured clearance from Husband to buy a new living room rug (so our rug would be racist no more). At the store, I confirmed what I had suspected for weeks: that the Emerson Rug would be perfect! And the Large Mica Tapered Drum Lampshade in Champagne would be lovely on the Fairview Lamp Bases.

But, of course, since I was interested in them, they both ceased to exist.

Luckily, as sparse as the inventory at Pottery Barn sometimes it, it's customer service always impresses me. A sales associate at my local store, who had been given permission to go on break after helping me, spent nearly forty minutes helping me track down the lamp shade and the Emerson Rug at a nearby store. One phone call later and the rug was en route to my doorstep!

Remember my racist rug?

Well last week, Husband and I unceremoniously rolled it up to make room for the lovely new Emerson Rug. Because I realized that I never actually posted pictures of the rug (for fear of backlash! Remember folks, I didn't design or even buy this thing!), I snapped a few upon realizing that this might be the last time I ever laid eyes on the rug.

Here are two of the gentlemen depicted on the rug. And readers, trust me when I say that these aren't even the worst offenders. One was so bad that Husband actually refused to allow me to take a photo if I intended to post it here!

Well it only took two years, but our living room is finally completely decorated. With the exception of the couch, which was a hand-me-down, and the coffee table, which is from Macy's, I've managed to make a dream of living in a Pottery Barn catalog a reality!

Here's the finished room.

I'm particularly pleased with the pattern mixing of the Brooks Chairs, Emerson Rug, and my handmade (by me!) decorative throw pillow.

So one room down.

Like ten to go!