An Le
Living & Learning

Nov
17

Last week my aunt passed away.  My aunt was one of the most liveliest women I knew.  She truly was the matriarch of the family.  I received a call from my cousin on Monday, November 8 telling me that my aunt was in critical condition and would possibly not be making it.  I immediately got frustrated wondering why I hadn’t heard anything from my own parents.  I felt like I was left out the loop.  I called my mom, usually my parents are not together during the daytime on weekdays and it just so happened that  my parents were together getting ready to head to lunch.  To my surprise I was the first person to let my parents know of my aunts critical condition.  That one phone call started a chain of phone tag between my uncles, cousins, parents, and myself.  Eventually we all got on the same page and I was told to head to Atlanta.

Going to Atlanta was surreal.  My aunt has been sick for a long eight years. It started with a stroke which left her bedridden and since then she has had a list of medical problems including kidney failure for the last six years.  Her life coming to an end made me think about the very beginning of her long struggle.

My aunt came down to visit with my older cousin and his wife.  We had a great weekend celebrating Labor day eating good, drinking good and having an overall great time together.  My aunt went home and continued her regular schedule including going to work. She had a headache she complained about and shortly after she collapsed at work.  She was admitted into the hospital where she fell into a coma.  After being in the coma for a while she woke up but was unable to talk.  She remained in the hospital for months and on Christmas Eve she spoke to my cousins.  I remember when my parents got the call with the news that she was able to talk, it topped every gift that year.  We came up to visit her and I was more grateful than words can explain.  The doctors told us the whole time that even if she were to make it out the coma she may not be there mentally and every time the doctors doubted her my aunt persevered and made it through.

As the summer neared my aunt went home.  My aunt was bedridden but a nurse came over twice a day to help.  My dad made the decision to send me to Atlanta to stay with my aunt since my cousin was pregnant.  That summer will be one that I will cherish forever.  My aunt who was once so full of life was forced to sit in a wheel chair and lay in her bed.  She hated it.  Everyday I aimed to make her smile at least once.  I helped do things for my aunt that I could personally only do for family.  I saw a side of my aunt that I knew none of my brothers or sister would ever see.  As much as I didn’t want to give up my summer that year looking back now I’m thankful my dad picked me.

Remembering different days and moments we shared brought smiles, tears, and a lump in my throat.  I hoped to myself that maybe this would be just like 8 years ago and she would pull through.  It is in moments like this that regret kicks in.  As much as I have tried to live my life with “No regrets” I found myself uttering the “what if” and “I wish.”  Nothing can change the past and you can only be so prepared for the future.  By the time I got to Atlanta my intermediate family left the hospital so I was told to just go to my aunts’ house for the night.  When I arrived there I was greeted by my family along with my uncles from Florida and New York.  We all went to sleep and at 5 my cousin called.  We raced to the hospital but we missed her by 15 minutes.

Walking into the hospital was hard for me to do.  In my head I knew she was gone but I was numb.  I almost did not believe it, none of it felt real.  There were different moments where I could feel the flood of tears rushing to my eyes but they would go just as quick as they came.  The doctors told us to wait a little bit before we could enter and see my aunt for the last time.  That waiting period was strange.  Looking around I remember seeing my cousins with blank expressions on their face.  When the doctor came out to tell us that we could go into my aunts room my mother and I were the only ones that were standing in the hallway so we ended up being the first ones in the room.

I walked in the room and saw my aunt laying there with her eyes closed and her arms to her side.  The nurses laid tissue boxes around her.  I sat down next to my aunt and held her hand.  My aunt had beautiful hands, I will never forget that.  Even with her being sick her nails always looked immaculate and as weak as she would be she always had the strength to squeeze my hand.  Sitting there I broke down.  Her hand was cold and there was no life in her.  I squeezed her hand waiting for her to squeeze back knowing that it wouldn’t happen but hoping that someway somehow what was happening was not real.  Slowly my uncle and cousins trickled in and I forced myself to let go.  I kissed her one last time like I always did and I walked out.

I will always cherish and carry the memories that I have of my aunt.  I know she is gone but I still forget she is not here.  Recently I was working and my boss said “Hey I heard your aunt died, Was that the one you took care of of?” That situation was a rude awakening.  Even scrolling through my phone it still says “Co Nam’s House” ( Aunts House).   It is selfish of me to feel that she should still be here.  I know wherever she is now she is happy and free.  I just miss her.  She will no longer be a phone call away.  With her gone I can’t just find out stories about my family, recipes for food, or any suggestions she had.  The simple and hard things that she was able to help  my family and I with will no longer be possible and that thought alone is scary. John Mayer said it best, “Don’t know how else to say it/Don’t want to see my parents go/
One generation’s length away/From fighting life out on my own”  I will miss her always.

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Oct
28

Lately when I think about media and babies the first thought that come to mind are the ETrade babies. The ETrade Funny Baby Video Campaign has proved to be quite successful for the company. These commercials are very different from conventional commercials because they are very creative and funny. Instead of the typical actors and actresses ETrade use different outtakes of babies who come with a big punch of humor.
These commercials have become so popular that I anticipate and look for them on YouTube during the Super Bowl. It seems that these commercial began receiving notoriety during the Super Bowl. With the attention the financial service website began receiving double the traffic to their website and doubled the growth of their brokerage accounts.
The babies have grown mature adult voices and at times talk with authority and confidence on topics and subjects that no baby would be able to comprehend. It brings a type of appeal to the site and company making it seem possible for anyone to manage their own investment needs. Not only are these babies popular on TV but many of their videos are on YouTube and have received millions of views. I find the commercials to be quite hilarious. ETrade did a great job thinking outside the box and using these funny babies.

Oct
27

This past July Proctor and Gamble launched a great ad campaign when their scantily clad spokesman, former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa went viral. Mustafa’s commercials started on TV showing him doing random things like riding a horse backwards and saying humorous jokes that at times did not make much sense.

Proctor and Gamble is utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in a way that others have not. This campaign began on Twitter where Mustafa appeared on the Official Old Spice Twitter page. He began responding to the questions that were sent to him in personal YouTube videos. He responded to numerous tweets from fans and celebrities like Demi Moore and Alyssa Milano. The campaign went well and Mustafa made over 200 Youtube videos responding to tweets.

This over-the-top personality is making an impression on the internet world. I personally cannot think of any other company that has had such an innovative idea. The concept of the Youtube videos was a genius ideas. It was a low-budget project which required a few props, a bathroom, and a scantily clad Mustafa. Proctor and Gamble has sent out a personal touch to their customers by allowing them to ask the questions and actually receive a recorded message back. Social Media has gone a long way and I am anticipating the next move. If Proctor and Gamble could incorporate their customers into their advertising in such a personal and comical way it shows that there is still more than enough room for change and innovation in advertising and social media.

Apr
28

Recently a friend brought to my attention something that she caught on the news.  I didn’t want to believe it but apparently department stores have been selling used panties.  The most painful part is that its stores like Victoria Secret’s and Bloomingdale’s.  Using hidden cameras reporters found employees selling used underwear.  Employees accept worn underwear and put it back out on the floor.  They even go so far as to let the panties air out because sometimes their may be odors.  Ewwww! I’m so disgusted! Nothing can be trusted anymore!

Apr
28

Chapter Twelve:  Tapping the Web and New Media

  • The internet was created in the 1960s as a tool for academic researchers and eventually came out for the public’s use in the 1990s.
  • The internet and the world wide web has made a great impact on the world and many have adopted this medium in less time than any other mass medium.
  • Many sites can be boring so it is important to create a site that will catch a viewers attention.  An effective website should be interactive and include hyperlinks and different advertisements.
  • Webcasting is the delivery of a broadcast that may be live or delayed over the internet.  When it is done in real time is is also known as streaming.

Notes and reading are from the textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition by Dennis Wilcox.

Apr
28

Majora Carter found an abandoned puppy out in the rain in 1998.  At the time Carter was fighting against a huge waste facility that lay in front of the East River waterfront.  Her small area of New York City was handling more than 40% of the entire city’s commercial waste as well as other sewage plants and other industries that brought thousand of diesels trucks to the area each week.

She was contacted by the parks department about a $10,000 seed grant initiative to help develop water front projects. Carter had lived in the South Bronx area for the majority of her life and knew that you could not get to the river because of the many facilities in that area.  One morning while jogging with her dog she pulled Carter in what seemed to be an illegal dump and through all of the garbage at the end of the lot was the river.

“I knew that this forgotten little street end abandoned like the dog that brought me there was worth saving,” said Carter.  That street end grew to become the proud beginnings of a community led revitalization of the new South Bronx.  Hunts Point Riverside Park became the first waterfront park that the South Bronx had had in 60 years.  This little park was the first stage of building a greenway movement in the South Bronx.

Earlier this semester Environmentalist Majora Carter spoke for nearly an hour to a packed audience at the Performing Arts Center at Georgia Southern University.  Sponsored by Center for Sustainability and Campus Recreation & Intramurals (CRI), Carter was brought to campus to help promote the new idea of sustainability.

“Before Carter came to the school I was aware of being “green” but hearing Carter speak she has educated me on sustainability,” said volunteer Byron Miller.  The Center of Sustainability for Georgia Southern defines sustainability as the ability to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Carter lives in an environmental justice community.  Carter explains that environmental justice means that no community should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other.  Carter stressed that just because a person lives in the city does not meant that they have to sacrifice being green.

“Listening to Carter brought to me more awareness of being green in the college environment.  Doing things like turning off lights, recycling, riding bikes, and not being wasteful are all ways that everyone can make a difference,” said audience member Tesia Reed.

Watching Carter talk brought a lot of inspiration to me and made me feel like I should do something locally to make a difference.  Baby steps can lead to big changes someone just has to start it off.

Apr
28

Recently I read a review of No Impact Man: The Documentary on my Netflix.  It seemed interesting so I decided to put it on my  queue and it showed up in the mail a few days later.

No Impact Man is a documentary about Colin Beaven and his family who are trying to have no impact on the environment.  At first I stereotyped thinking that these people were already very conscious of the things they did to the environment but I was not aware that Beaven’s wife also shared one on my loves which is expensive designer brands.  It was amazing to see the changes that they went through.

Watching this documentary made me think twice about the decisions and the things that I was doing to the planet.  Beaven’s family went through a year of eating locally grown organic food, generating no trash except for compost and using no carbon-fueled transportation instead using their feet or bikes.  To break it down in this documentary this family gave up toilet paper, electricity, refrigeration, ice, anything with packaging, television, and caffeine just to name a few things.  With each season change meant they the family had to deal with what they had just because they could only buy local produce.  Throughout the whole documentary Colin Beaven kept up a blog so others could follow along in what he was doing.

Apr
28

Chapter Ten: Distributing News to the Media

  • Not only is it important to know how to write in public relations but it is also important to know the appropriate channels to distribute the material so it will reach the correct media and the right.
  • Some of the different methods are e-mail, online newsrooms, electronic wire services, feature placement firms, mail, and faxing.  Although there are many different methods each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • Media databases vary greatly in scope and format but they usually provide essential information like the names of publications and broadcast stations, mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, and names of key editors and reporters.
  • Majority of publicity materials are distributed through digital and electronic formats.

Chapter Eleven: Getting Along with Journalists

  • Many surveys have indicated that public relations personnel are the primary contact between the organization and the media and because of that it is important to establish a good working relationship with journalists.
  • A survey done by a New York public relations firm found that two-thirds of journalists do not trust public relations people, but 81% still feel a need for them.  Some friction areas are excessive hype, advertising influences, sloppy reporting, and tabloid journalism.

Notes and reading are from the textbook Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Sixth Edition by Dennis Wilcox.


Apr
27

Tim McGraw has sold more than 40,000  million units and has had more than 31 #1 singles.  He has also won three Grammy Awards along with numerous Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, American Music Awards and People’s Choice Awards to name a few. With the semester coming to an end Georgia Southern University is welcoming Tim McGraw to campus.  Eagle Entertainment will be sponsoring this event.  Tim McGraw will be performing  at Allen E. Paulson Stadium on April 30.  McGraw has been very busy lately staring in films like The Blind Side and he is currently working on a new project, Screeen Gems’ Love Don’t Let Me Down. In the past Georgia Southern has had performers like Bobby Valentino, Ciara, and Brad Paisley to name a few.  I am really looking forward to watching his performance at Paulson Stadium.  This will be a great concert to end the semester on!

Apr
27

Recently Tiger has been all over the news being publicized in every way imaginable.  People are speculating over his marriage and trying to figure out who will divorce who first.   It seems that when Tiger committed to playing the Masters and several other golf tournaments Elin was anything but happy.  To top it off Elin was not happy with his recent advertisement from Nike with his late father’s voice over.

I know Tiger returned after his hiatus playing the Master’s but maybe that was too soon of a return.  Not only did he not win but it also took a toll on his marriage and his image.  Wood’s has always been known for his edge but with all this mess going on with his mistress or mistresses on the side he has had to somewhat revamp his image and offer a more friendly caring face.

Since the Masters FOXNews reported that Tiger has been more focused on time with his family.  It seems that he is now putting more effort into his family but it might be a little too late.  Only time will tell how these choices will play out for his career.