02
Jul

dawn-directed-by-rose-mcgowan
 ‘Dawn’ Directed by Rose McGowan

“Dear viewer, Dawn is a cautionary tale. We hurt girls with casual negligence. We change the course of lives with a stereotypical view shared thoughtlessly. We shape the minds of the innocent. Let’s think different and be better. My inspirations were varied – I wanted the color palette of The Parent Trap (1961) the loneliness of an Edward Hopper painting, the driving tension of Night of the Hunter mixed with Hemingway’s unsparing style of editing. These greats are my teachers. I layered a lot into Dawn and feel it’s best watched twice. Please enjoy for free and pass it on. THOUGHT+ART = FREEDOM Peace, Rose McGowan”

She’s right. We sometimes choose to selectively over protect young girls in the wrong way. This often leads to them making decisions based on wanting to escape those trappings rather than smart decisions. I feel we owe all young girls and boys honesty and trust. Trust that they can understand how the world works and function within it in a way that is better than this. I for one have been in a situation like Dawn. Not as bad, luckily, but when I was younger I made decisions that were “stupid” because of how I was raised and not allowed to experience/understand the outside world.

Protecting people is rarely the way to go because we can’t protect them every day of their life. How is it that when we become parents we forget how intelligent kids are? We should not forget that.



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24
Jun

 My Disney Dooney Nightmare: Dooney and Bourke sells $400 bags, but do they care if they fall apart 2 months later?

I have never owned an expensive bag before. I don’t usually care for expensive bags and jewelry. I actually opted out of having a “real” wedding and informed my husband he’d be in trouble if he bought me an expensive ring because I’m just not into it.

Last October was my 10 year wedding anniversary. I am a huge ‘Disney’s Haunted Mansion’ fan. When I heard that Disney was releasing a Haunted Mansion bag line it was the magic combination that would make me actually want a luxury bag. We figured that since we’ve done almost nothing so far for these types of anniversaries–for a 10 year anniversary this would be a great present.

I instead have had an 8 month (and still counting) nightmare in which I am out over $800, still don’t have a functional bag, and was unable to get a resolution even when dealing directly with Peter Dooney, and Dooney Creative Director Ian Ray themselves.

My experiences with the Dooney and Bourke top brass have made me feel that they don’t actually care. They may try to care, but it never quite gets to a resolution. I have dealt with people on C-Level for resolutions in the past but this is the first time in my entire life that I’ve still not been able to get a resolution that makes sense.

I’ll have to give you some background so you understand the full ridiculousness of what I’ve been through. First, take a look at some photos of the faulty bags Dooney and Bourke and Disney are selling and charging hundreds of dollars for. Some of these bags were photographed within a few hours of being gently carried for the first time:


Background:

Disney parks does a recurring collaboration with Dooney and Bourke where Dooney and Bourke make bags with Disney patterns that are then a limited sales release. I wanted the Haunted Mansion ‘Smith’ bag but it wasn’t in stock when I was there. My husband instead bought me the Haunted Mansion wristlet, tote, and letter carrier on October 12th, the same day it was released for sale. Each of these bags ranged in price from just under $100 to over $200 each.

That same day I saw complaints on some of the Disney Dooney communities that the Haunted Mansion Dooney’s were falling apart. I blogged about it here. I was afraid to carry the bags because of it, but fans on these communities assured me that Dooney was a great company and would fix the bags if they had issues. People told me they had Dooneys from the 70s that still were like new and that the bags have a lifetime guarantee. Some of the women spoke to Ian Ray, who is one of the main designers of Dooney and Bourke and he personally assured them at a Disney signing event that they should carry the bags without worry because Dooney stands by their products.

That is not what I have experienced.

It’s very telling that recently Dooney and Bourke switched from having a lifetime guarantee on their bags to a 1 year guarantee, think of that what you will.

8 Dooney Bags fell apart instantly:

Haunted Mansion Tote: I carried my tote for 2 weeks in which I was as gentle as possible on it. The leather strap frayed and it developed patches on the stress points where the material flaked off and revealed white spots.

Haunted Mansion Letter Carrier: My letter carrier never even had the tags removed and was never carried. Just the way the bag was made – the way the material was folded, caused the material to begin to flake off and reveal white spots. Also the strap it came with was much rougher than all of the other straps – it was as rough as sandpaper and totally different from the straps on the other bags. If I carried it it would surely destroy any shirt I wore. This bag was designed almost like a prank. Carry it, it falls apart and takes your clothing with it!

It’s would seem very clear to anyone who bought and used the bags in the Haunted Mansion line that it looks like the new material they switched to for this bag release is faulty and should be recalled. It’s also clear that they have quality control issues because literally each bag I have seems to be made differently.

I was too trusting, probably because I like Disney Parks so much. I bought into the “Dooney and Bourke stands by it’s products” line. I assumed that – just like 99% of companies I’ve ever bought from – that a systemic faulty bag line would be recalled and/or fixed.

Disney would never stand for this kind of thing, right?

I contacted both Disney and Dooney and Bourke’s customer service. Disney got back to me relatively quickly and told me I could return it, but I was already 1000 miles away at home and it would be difficult to do that. They suggested that I could more easily reach out to Dooney to get the bag fixed, so I did that. I didn’t hear back from Dooney for over 3 months of repeatedly contacting them and when I did the reply was unhelpful and generic.

I now know this was stupid and that I was blinded by my love of the Haunted Mansion and trust in Disney Parks. On my next trip I bought the newly reissued Haunted Mansion Smith bag that I had originally wanted to the tune of over $400.

In what will likely be known as one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my life, I figured that with all of the complaints they must have fixed it, right? What company on earth would find it an ethical situation to sell high end bags that fall apart in just weeks after purchase? Especially a company with a reputation like Dooney and Bourke. Disney wouldn’t still keep selling it, would they? Disney prides itself in good quality, so I trusted that these bags were improved if they were still selling them.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid of me.

Haunted Mansion Smith Bag: My first Haunted Mansion Smith bag had to be returned the same day that I bought it because there was a quality issue with how the inside was sewn. The Cast Member in the shop assured me she had so many Dooneys and they last forever and that this must have just been an old shipment because they had issues, but had fixed them.

OK.

So I got a second one and the zipper came off right there in the shop. The CM went in the back and got me a new bag from the most recent shipment and again assured me that these were the new ones that were made better.

My Smith bag lasted about 6 weeks before exhibiting the same flaking issue.

The worst part is that Disney is still selling the faulty bags even today. I just came back from Florida and I saw at least 6 Haunted Mansion Smith bags in the jewelry shop on Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom. Hundreds of women have had the same problem I have had. If you just use it for a special occasion you may not encounter this. But if you actually use the bag every day for 1-3 months you’ll eventually see this issue.

I spoke to the shop manager at Disney and she played dumb, but eventually revealed that she was aware of numerous complaints about that bag. I found it interesting that until I pushed her with my now deep knowledge of this bag line she pretended to not know about it. She told me I could get my money back from Disney if Dooney would not oblige.

Unable to get a resolution from Peter Dooney and Ian Ray:

I was unable to get a helpful reply from Dooney and they had up to 3 months to get me a reply.

I got frustrated and sent postal mail to Peter Dooney himself. I figured that he’d want to know this was happening since his name is on the bags. He handed my correspondence off to Ian Ray who told me he’d like to handle getting my bags fixed himself.

I was concerned because the email that Mr. Ray sent me was long, somewhat “rambling”, and more focused I felt on excuses. He also asked me to not publish the email. I didn’t publish it at that time because I am not unreasonable or a jerk. I understand if things go wrong – it’s all good if you make it right.

Unfortunately they did not make it right.

In his email I didn’t hear a lot of what I felt was needed: solution-based thinking. He explained to me that all of Dooney and Bourke was having quality issues. He stated that the Disney bags are the same quality level as their other bags, and said that this is why I had such a bad experience with customer service. They are literally getting so many complaints that they cannot handle it.

I’m like, that’s great. So they took a large amount of my money, didn’t deliver a solid product, but you want me to feel sorry for you?

Still, I remained polite and positive.

Ian Ray sent me a bag for free since I had to send my bags to him to get them repaired. The bag he gave me was a Disney Flower and Garden Festival bag. I thanked him and told him I appreciated his help – because I did.

Well…the strap came apart in under 2 months on my free bag and the color flaked off on the strap a little. I had to superglue it together to keep using it because I do not own another purse.

Wrap your head around this.

The freaking free bag they sent me to apologize for all of these bags I bought falling apart, fell apart.

flower-and-garden-bag

The dark blue/black dye on the side of the bag is also starting to blur/bleed, but I am having trouble getting my camera to pick that up.

Mr. Ray told a friend of mine who met him at a signing event that they will repair the bags no problem and they stand by their products. Just 1 day later he emails me to tell me that oops, they don’t have any replacement Haunted Mansion bags in stock and can’t fix them but he could put dye over the white spots to cover up the flaking.

Why would I want this? They’ll just keep flaking! That is not a fix!

I politely declined and decided to try and work with the Disney side since the store manager in the Magic Kingdom told me they’d refund me.

Ian Ray then mysteriously stopped replying to my polite emails at that point. I requested to have my bags sent back to me as I would ask for a refund from Disney. However I know he received my emails because after I phoned Dooney and Bourke I was able to find out that my bags were in the process of being shipped back to me.

The situation currently at hand:

This is a sad situation in which Dooney and Bourke’s failure is directly impacting Disney’s reputation. I hope that Disney realizes this and takes action. I am not the only person who is extremely upset by this.

It’s been an epic nightmare since October when I bought these bags. Disney sent me to Dooney. Dooney sent me to Disney. I was ping-ponged back and forth which wasted a lot of my time. I am afraid they will push it such that I can’t get a resolution by next October when my warranty is up.

I emailed Disney about this because their store manager told me in April that I could get a refund. However Disney customer service told me I’d have to get a Dooney and Bourke gift card to buy a regular Dooney bag.

I never wanted a Dooney and Bourke bag. I never would have bought a Dooney. I bought it because it was a Disney Haunted Mansion bag and I purchased it from Disney’s store right on Main Street USA in Florida. I am still being ping ponged back and forth and each company is passing the buck to the other company since October!

For the first time in my life, I got a bit…direct…with the CSR after first apologizing because this was totally not her fault. Allegedly Disney will now give me a Disney gift card if I can find all of the receipts.

Cross your fingers, guys.

The sad thing is that I was treated terribly, but I received better treatment from Dooney and Bourke than most of their customers.

The Haunted Mansion Smith bags that are currently in the Disney parks shops all probably have this issue. They are still selling them. DO NOT BUY THEM. I am still fighting to get my money back and I don’t even have a purse I can use. I am not sure I’ve ever been treated worse in a high level item customer service scenario. I hope that someone high up in Disney reads this and understands that this is happening and this is the opposite of how Disney strives to treat it’s customers.

Disney’s partnership with Dooney is turning into an epic negative experience that is leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouths who were unfortunate enough to buy these particular bags. I don’t know why after all of the complaints that they’d continue to sell these bags in their stores. That’s the part that upsets me the most.

You can see some photos of the faulty bags here.



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23
Jun

leonard-nimoys-son-kickstarting-for-the-love-of-spock-a-documentary-film
 Leonard Nimoy’s son kickstarting “For the Love of Spock” – A Documentary Film

Adam Nimoy has a great-looking documentary about Spock planned complete with Zachary Quinto narrating. He needs your help to get it funded. He’s not quite there with just 8 days left.

Can you help or pass it on?



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23
Jun

daily-real-talk-be-you-not-them-and-how-i-make-my-money
 DAILY REAL TALK: Be you, not them and How I Make My Money

Companies have basically cowed a large percentage of bloggers and YouTubers into being unpaid infomercial hosts. You really can’t trust what you read online anymore.

Look, I get it. It’s pretty awesome to get stuff for free. People send me free stuff all the time but I make it very clear that no amount of corporate cheese is going to get me to lie to my readers. I only take opportunities that I like and I only work with companies who are open to constructive feedback. I approach it like a collaboration. I look to how I can best help them while also translating their good work to my readers. If I don’t like something but it’s great for someone else, I translate to who would love it. I have no desire to put anyone on blast. That gets reserved for the rare times that someone truly goes above and beyond to screw me and others.

But yeah. Free stuff in exchange for your being an unpaid infomercial host.

itsatrap

It’s a trap, guys. First it starts out innocently. You get invited to parties or given free tickets. They don’t tell you what to say, but everyone there knows that if you don’t regurgitate the corporate PR materials you won’t get invited back to the great party with the free food and booze and celebrities. I’ve been to a few of these events for various companies and you can almost feel the desperation at some of them.

Quite often Mommy Bloggers are the best target. Why do I know this? Because I am actually a freelance Marketing Director during the day – soon to be Marketing VP. It’s how I get paid. One reason Marketers target Mommy Bloggers is because quite often they are stay at home Moms. They also have kids. Kids cost money. This means that they may be short on cash. Those free parties and toys and swag are ever so much harder to turn down when you are a single income household.

You see how it starts? They get into the cracks of good people. It’s completely innocent at first. Then you realize how insidious it is once you’ve seen it enough times. It started out as a cool thing for some very hard working Moms and others but it can become a desperate clique of people too afraid to say anything negative about whatever company they are working with.

BOOM. That company now has their infomercial hosts. They just have to pay them with the low level fear of losing what they have achieved.

I have been lucky. The companies I work with get me. They are on board with the fact that I will give them constructive criticism and they appreciate me for it because when I’m done they have a much better product. I only work with the best and the most ethical.

My advice for anyone coming up in blogging is to be careful of these traps. They seem great at first but they lead you to a plateau. You’ll become handcuffed by it. Your readers will smell it and no longer trust you to give them the Real Talk because they will be able to see through it.

Nobody trusts anyone who always thinks everything is perfect, guys. Perfect isn’t real life.

My Advice for Working with Companies:

When a company contacts you talk with them and make sure they are OK with constructive feedback. You don’t even have to post that online – if you are working directly with them you can give them the feedback one on one. This gives them a chance to fix whatever it is and then once they have quickly fixed it you can post about it. In many ways I view bloggers as beta testers. I really take my role seriously. Everything I say or do I like for it to be helpful to whomever I am working with. I write as if it were what I’d want to read critiquing my own work.

So where does that leave those of us who refuse to be unpaid slaves for The Man? With CASH MONEY on your own terms if you know how to play it right.

They way I play it is The Long Game. Do not expect to get to this point for at least 5-10 years. It’s not easy. Sorry. Nothing worthwhile is. But it is possible.

My blog is kind of like a combination resume and networking tool. Since starting this blog I’ve quadrupled my yearly income. I am also now debt free after paying off close to 6 figures of debt that was on 25% interest. Yep. That happened just this week. BAM.

How I Make My Money (for now):

money

Currently almost 100% of my income comes from freelance work (Marketing, Project Management) that I’ve gotten because I write here. “Art Sales / Internet Donations” also encapsulates paid artwork, image licensing payments, and guest speaking payments. I don’t have much time to do a lot of this stuff just now due to how lucrative my other freelance work has been.)

Having created Intervention and (Re)Generation Who from this blog is physical proof of how influential my work has been. I literally just did almost every desirable skill anyone in my field could want on my own with no outside help.

That answers all of the questions before they are even asked.

If your current day job isn’t giving you the opportunities you need to broaden yourself – make them yourself. Volunteer. Contribute to local events. Start your own event. Write a book. Take your future into your own hands. If I had waited for my company to walk me through all of this I’d still be a receptionist.

For example, in one interview I was asked if I could influence people. My reply was, “After 5 PM I have 120 unpaid volunteers standing by to work with me. How many do you have?”

There was no question. I got that contract immediately.

So I urge you to be yourself. You will lose opportunities over it, but you will lose the wrong opportunities over it. Eventually you’ll build something you love on your own terms.

I’m almost there. By 2017 I’ll have pulled out at least 2 or 3 more areas in which I’ll be making money and I’ll likely have more time to work on creative projects and do more speaking engagements. This pie chart will not stay this way for very long. It always changes as my schedule changes and I can devote more time to different things.

Remember one thing – I started working toward this in 2003. It’s 2015.

Stay the course. It’s worth it. And don’t be afraid to mess up or try things that don’t work. Be you. Your voice is the only thing that will cut through the chatter of bullshit online.

Use your voice. Anything else isn’t that special.



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15
Jun

daily-real-talk-make-art
 DAILY REAL TALK: Make art

DAILY REAL TALK: Make art. Make music. It doesn’t matter what other people say about you. You matter and your life needs roots in order to become a fully developed ecosystem of kick ass. You aren’t wasting time. You are investing time. Maybe you make money on your art. Maybe you don’t and cause good things to happen with it that leads to money or happiness. Understand the complexity of the long game.

Nothing is straightforward. None of us get the luxury of choosing that shit. We impose our will on things and it’s like buffalo rain out of the sky and go to some places that are ok but eventually make a hell of a lot of sense if you think deeply about it. Think deeply on that buffalo rain and you’ll see a deeper meaning.

Other people’s opinions of you you aren’t a fn factor because at the end of the day they are shitting in their own pants and not yours.

I mean ffs I’m talking about buffalo rain and also hold a c level job. That wasn’t supposed to happen but surprise cockface it did because I kept going and looked for meaning in life which wasn’t straightforward.

I also kept making art and reaching out to people who don’t suck.



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