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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« thanksgiving | Main | Canoe interview »

leeza gibbons rant

Hey, looks like some of the people at Weta Digital (production effects for Lord of the Rings) are fans of my Waiting For Frodo comic strip:


I just thought I'd let you know that us here at the coal-face are really enjoying Waiting For Frodo!

Even though we're working on it we still can't wait for the movie to be finished.

Not long to go now!


Shane McEwan

Weta Digital

Wellington, NZ

Pretty cool, eh? I've posted this letter in my spankin' new Waiting For Frodo press section :-)

More info about Weta Digital and Weta Workshop (the latter focuses on physical effects):

- "Where Hobbits Live Virtually" (Wired, Sept 12)

- Coverage of a talk given by Adam Valdez, animation supervisor at WETA Digital (Alias/Wavefront)

- Cinefex notes on who does what.

Had dinner at Parki's last night. He cooked everything (except the cheesecake) from scratch: curried apple soup, salad with walnuts and apples and homemade dressing, barbecued tandoori chicken and rice. Chocolate cheesecake with fresh fruit and raspberry sauce for dessert. Yummmmmmm.

During conversation, the topic of telemarketers and phone spam came up. Parki mentioned a particularly obnoxious phone spam left on his answering machine by Leeza Gibbons.

Despite my drowsiness (after the great dinner, I was curled up in The Most Comfortable Chair In The World, which happens to be in Parki's living room), I sat bolt upright.

"Leeza Gibbons!" I cried in outrage. "I got the same phone spam recording!" In fact, during lunch with my friend Cathy on Wednesday, -she- said she had gotten the same recording.

Getting telemarketing calls during the dinner hour is one thing, but I think it's particularly obnoxious to leave a long, rambling phone spam on people's answering machines when they're not home. Leeza was promoting some radio station...the spam has prompted my friend Cathy NOT to listen to that station. I'm sure many others feel the same way.

I wish I had kept the recording long enough to transcribe part of it. In addition to the length, part of the obnoxious factor was the first, you couldn't tell it was just a recorded message (layered on top of the fact that it was already recorded on one's answering machine, that is). The message went something like this:

LEEZA: "Hi there, I'm Leeza Gibbons."

(pause, obviously inserted to give the listener time to jump up and down in excitement and yell into the next room, "HEY HONEY! LEEZA GIBBONS JUST CALLED ME! WOW, THIS IS SO COOL!")

LEEZA: "I don't know you and you only know me because I'm a famous person, but I wanted to tell you why you should go running to your radio right now (or at least after you finish listening to this interminably long phone spam) and tune in to your new favourite radio station bla bla bla bla"

I'd be interested in hearing from all of you about how you handle telemarketers. And if any of you have ever worked as a telemarketer.

I have.

(Insert image of me seated in a chair on a talk show, the words "SHE CONFESSES SHE USED TO WORK AS A TELEMARKETER" superimposed across my perspiring forehead, just before I break down in tears.)

It was just after my first year of university during the summer, when my friend Sue Wong and I shared a cockroach-infested apartment at Spadina and Bloor. The summer job I had been counting on fell through, so I was desperate for enough income to help share the rent of the apartment we were babysitting for a few months.

My job was to go through a phonebook and try to convince people to subscribe to a newspaper (can't recall if it was the Toronto Star or Globe & Mail). I'd be paid on commission. In the brief training session, we were told NOT to accept "no" as an answer, and to keep talking, no matter what the person on the other end of the phone said (unless they wanted to buy a subscription, of course).

During the four hours I worked as a telemarketer, I sold zero subscriptions. I felt so guilty about what I was doing that I started apologizing almost the second the other person picked up the phone. The call that finally tipped me over the edge and made me quit was the elderly woman who gently interrupted my stumbling, desperate pitch to say, "I'm sorry, dear, but I can't subscribe to your newspaper. You see, I'm blind."

I quit on the spot, and so ended my brilliant career as a telemarketer.

(Years later, I realized that the woman could have been making the whole thing up. If she did, I have to admire her tactic for handling phone sales calls!)

Have a great weekend, everyone. And to fellow Canadians: Happy Thanksgiving!

News and updates

(NUA) The NUA reports "that the number of people with Internet access around the world is 513.41 million. Give or take a few million." (More...)

Today's Blatherpics:

- A drink in one of the zillions of drink machines we came across in Tokyo. Many had interesting Japlish phrases. I liked this one: "Sunlight and mist turn a young leaf into tea. Tea can turn you into something new. Tea. A natural gift of love."

I think I'd like that on a t-shirt, wouldn't you? :-)

Today's Poll: (Suggest a question)

How do you handle telemarketers? Choose "YES" if you tend to be polite and listen to their blurb before saying no. Choose "NO" if you tend to cut them off before they're finished.

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