Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No need for Tiki huts 'cause the Mai Tais rock

Go to Thailand. Just go.

Everything you ever thought about tropical, beach vacations can be found in Laguna, Thailand on the Island of Phuket. Palm trees, beaches, sun, towels, loungers.

Breakfast by the waterfall with fresh pineapple, kiwi, watermelon, and every other kind of fruit found in the jungle. Passion fruit juice with egg white omelets overflowing with fresh veggies.

Lunch by the pool in a blue flower two-piece with a wrap skirt. Drinking mai tais with umbrellas and listening to the ocean kick up the sand all day long.

Thai spa hit the spot. Massages, scrubs, wraps, bamboo showers underneath the moon. The grand finale was ginger tea with fresh mango.

Dinner at the traditional Thai restaurant. Mandolin music played by two local musicians sitting on a low table by the entrance. Tables with candlelight sat on the deck overlooking the laguna.

During the day there were jungle treks and ocean safaris, elephant rides and hammock naps.

During the evening, fresh seafood. Dancing, bars, Thai boxing, shopping, music or just walking with your shoes in your hand on the warm sand.

Hands down one of the best vacation spots I've ever been to and can't wait to go back!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- is the best website for finding great deals on airfare and hotels. It combs all low fare websites to show you the top two or three choices for your destination. It gave me – a great website for inexpensive rooms in excellent resorts in Asia. All three of us made it to Thailand for two weeks for less than our income tax return checks!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spinning out of control

Ever had so many things happen at once that your heads spins out of control? A car accident where the driver flees the scene after she hit a police car at the same time a thousand protestors shout, scream and punch signs into the air, your boss is on holiday and the only other person to help you out has been on the job less than a week!
Grab a lawyer and head to the scene.

Make the new guy write the press release that will get the media off your back long enough to get the low-down from the on-scene commander. The only person hurt is the driver and the protestors aren’t violent but are pushing into the road.

Have the photog snap away on the riot before the cops grab him to cover the crime scene.
Phone rings. Big Boss wants a status report. Every paper, TV station and radio has been ringing your phone off the hook. Snag the commander and put him in front of the press.

Corral the new guy, the cop, the photog and the lawyer. Throw out the gameplan....after the press conference, keep tabs on the situation and update press and Big Boss as needed. Riot seems to be dissapating with the sun so concentrate on arrest of hit and runner.

Ready? Break.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cake Catastrophe and the Lightening Quick Script

In the world of public relations, there is no daily work schedule. The exciting, boring and demented happen every day. This week, my big coup was pulling off a 4-hour birthday dinner concert for 300 of the Big Boss’ closest friends, one of whom is a US ambassador.

With only 10 days notice.

The day of, seven hours before the event, I show up to see how prep is going.

Blaring band sounds great. Slides are working. Half of the 31 eight-top tables are set. No big deal, we’ve got time. My partner in crime from the office, Chris, will be around shortly.

In the meantime, I go look for the club manager. No where to be found. OK, still have time. I’ll put the finishing touches on the 23-page script and put out the balloons.

Now, it’s an hour to cocktails and the tables are set but there are no candleholders. Finally found a manager who just walked in the door. Got holders and gave that job to two women from my office.

Paintings are being put on display and the overhead is out for a rotating powerpoint. No laptop. Chris is on that.

The bar floor is disgusting. Todd’s getting a vacuum.

Where are these club workers?

60 minutes until cocktails. Where are the wine bottles? Each table must have an open bottle of red and one of white.

Club manager rushes away to avoid me but I catch her. She doesn’t have the staff to put out the wine bottles. Lord help us. Alison and Bill jump on that as the manager slinks away.

Chatting with the band on last minute slide concerns, I see the manager rushing up to one of her waiters and something doesn’t look good. They’re pointing at the largest birthday cake ever made in the corner. It’s actually supposed to be in the back so they can cut it up and serve it at intermission. There is a smaller cake already in the back that will be wheeled out on a table so the Big Boss can cut it in a huge ceremonial, photo op, pivotal point in the evening.

She keeps looking at me. Wringing her hands. Points the waiter to the kitchen and looks around.
I walk from behind the speakers and slowly walk over to her. The MC glances at me and holds up the script. I give him the thumbs up and keep walking.

45 minutes til cocktails.

She wrings her hands.

John asks me where to put the remaining balloons. Point at the bar.

She shifts her feet.


The ceremonial cake is ruined. Dropped by the club staff.

And that’s not all. There is no table big enough to hold the other cake and still wheel it in the back to cut, which will take at least 45 minutes because it’s so big.

Breathing. Breathing.

Boss is looking at me.

OK, change the ceremonial timing, change the script, change the order of the slides. Put the big table with the cake out front. Everybody get busy.

30 minutes til cocktails and I’m scrambling to find a laptop, a printer, my thumbdrive and deal with the cake. The MC comes over and tells everyone to get busy and leave me alone. Typing, typing, typing….printing. Change the slides.

Cocktails have started. Guests are arriving. I’m hiding in the band’s dressing room, slamming away on the laptop. Maybe next time I'll use

5 minutes til start time. Running the script up front. Doublechecking.

Lights, camera, action. Official party enters.

Big boss’ speech. Slide show starts.

SHIT….slides weren’t changed.

Breathing. Breathing.

As soon as dinner is served, I can change the slides before the next speaking part and no one should notice.

Prime rib comes out. I jump up. MC rushes over. Slides are changed.

Cake cutting ceremony. Off without a hitch.
Intermission is called. I grab four guys to move the cake to the back.

Saber drill team performs.

Dessert is served.

Band performs.

Big boss dances.

He smiles.

He laughs.


It's over and I'm still in one piece. But my goodness do I need a drink. Paco the bartender pours me a pretty one with an umbrella and I toast with Rosa.

Boss comes over. Great job. Terrific. Clinks my glass.

By the way, his anniversary's in April.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Mochas Podcast - Moving cemetery plots: to tell the news or not?

I figured out how to make my own podcasts and racked my brain to come up with something edgy and interesting. What do most people care about? Things that make the news. Be they celebrity news or politics or the gruesome stuff, most people watch or listen or hear about the news over coffee.
Since my office is full of folks who get to decide what information the press is privvy to, I thought how we do that would be pretty cool.
Some information is withheld because it is embarrasing (not a good idea) or because it's classified (can't divulge that) or it's against company policy (could get fired over). Other information is blasted to the news because it's a good news story or because it puts the company in favorable light -- won't get the top story but will probably make the ticker.
Either way, you'll hear about debates and discussions and full-blown arguments about differing and similar philosophies on putting out news. Is it an exact science? Of course not. But lots of group paperwad throwing goes into what you get to know and what you don't. Listen and see what you think.