Archive for November, 2010

Is It January Yet?

November 28th, 2010

I know damn well it isn’t. Jeebus, it isn’t even December yet. But I am chomping at the bit to get back on air in the New Year. A part of me worries that people are going to get sick of me talking about it but HOLY JUMPING SHEEP SHIT, I’M EXCITED!

I feel like a bit of a superhero this week. The station was in danger of falling 2 weeks behind in schedule. Talk about stress when there is an unexpected happenstance, which really threatens to bugger things up. But I seem to work my best when under pressure. After my brain went through its series of, “OH FFS! There is no way we’ll be able to launch on the 3rd if this happens!” thoughts, it quickly jumped into warp speed and came up with a brilliant idea, which would put the Kobayashi Maru to shame. Somehow, I managed to get the station from threatening to be dangerously behind 2 weeks in schedule to being ahead 3 days of schedule. At least 1 portion of it.

The website will not launch on December 1st as originally scheduled. This means the “open to the public” hiring process will have to be cut by however many days delay there is in that. There is no fix for this as it has to do with a funding hiccough and not anything I can control. But everything else is right on schedule and running tickity-boo.  Right now, I am at the point where I’m having to wait on others to get certain things to me. I don’t do well in the “hurry up and wait” game. Especially when I get into a good working rhythm, only to have it suddenly halted. Up side to this, managing to fit 2 weeks of work into 3 days means that when I have to start on the layout and design of the next issue of The Vaccine Times in a couple of days, my time will be much easier to manage.

I’m also chomping at the bit to announce one of the people I’ve hired to do a show and be one of the Music Directors. Sitting on this one is extremely difficult. We’ve been wanting to work with each other in this type of capacity for some time now, so to finally have the opportunity is really awesome. I’m quite excited to work with all of the staff that we’ve hired up to this point. Something would be odd if I weren’t, as they’ve all been hand selected.

I’m excited about the interviews. I have a list of 7 people/groups that I plan on interviewing in the next year. I need to get that list to 12. I don’t have to do an interview once a month, but it would be cool if I were able to swing it. I’m also really really really looking forward to receiving submissions for the Geeky Pleasures theme song.

Hell, I’m excited about every thing! I’ve had a few moments of wanting to blow things up. But they haven’t lasted long. So far, this experience has been a lot better than my previous experience running a radio station. The other experience wasn’t bad per se, it just lacked a few flavours and dynamics that I need in order to be at my best.

A part of me was worried that taking on this project would cause my lupus to flare up even more. I’ve been having the worst lupus flare for over a year now. It hasn’t been this bad in about 4 years. This flare had started to subside shortly before I was asked to come aboard this project. I knew there would be added stress and stress is one of the biggest things to exacerbate and cause flares. So far though, I seem to be running pretty smoothly. I’m not at 100% form (that never happens). I think it safe to say I’m running at about 50% capacity at the moment. I was running at about 10-20% for way too long. Imagine how superpower-ish I’d be if all of my lupus symptoms suddenly disappeared and I was at 100% once more? I think the reason why my health has been staying pretty level is because I am experiencing a good kind of stress. I’m feeling alive, useful, exhilarated and invigorated.

Let’s just hope it keeps up!

Holy Crap and Macaroni Sticks!

November 19th, 2010

(Yeah, I don’t know what the title means either. I thought, “Hey brain. You need to come up with a clever title for a blog. My brain replied, “Holy crap and macaroni sticks! I’m tired! I can’t think of anything else clever. And then I said, “Well, that will work.)

Ever since I was asked to help start a new radio station and be the Assistant General Manager and Programming Director, my brain has been a whirling dervish of ideas. My sleep has suffered greatly as a result. I keep waking up, many times throughout the night, with all of these crazy yet brilliant ideas. I’ve had a week chock-full of brainstorming, planning, hiring, scheduling, emailing, acquiring the necessary things to start building the station’s website, plus so much more.

I tweeted earlier this week, “Between Geeky Pleasures +2, @nerdsinbabeland @WarsVsTrek @VaccineTimes @LupusMagazine and the radio station, I have enough on my plate, yes?” Now that the week is over, I can definitely say my plate is completely full. And I couldn’t be happier! I am so bloody knackered. But it is so worth it. I’m back in my pocket! I have back this thing, which I’ve mentioned a few times, that I felt was lacking. And first I thought this thing was just something to do. But no matter how many new projects I took on, it was never enough. Something was missing and no amount of “more projects than should be legal” filled this wide, gaping, black hole of emptiness.

I don’t know what it is about this job that fills this “thing” that has been missing. Maybe it is because I get to use all of my wonderful skills for this job, not just a select couple here and there as the task may require. Maybe it is because I get to entertain people again in real time and share with them things I really enjoy in a more interactive environment. And thinking about the latter actually perplexes me a bit as I’m not a sociable person. Seriously, I’m not. Get me in a room in meat space where there is more than a handful of people, especially if I don’t know them, and I clam up. I feel awkward and feel panicked and as if I’m going to vomit and a whole bunch of other things. Yet, I am great if I have to play a character on stage.

Maybe the reason why I love this job so much is because I wish I could be comfortable in my own skin in meat space. I really love to share with people but it takes me a long time to come out of my shell. And this job allows me to share the things I love and vice versa, in a real time, social setting with a bit of a psychological force field, if you will. I can sit down with the people, who are gracious enough to allow me to entertain them for a few hours, without any form of delay in the sharing process.

I’ve had all these ideas of who I want to interview on the Geeky Pleasures portion of my shows. I’m really excited about that part as well. I had a whole schwackload of people lined up before I had to pull Geeky Pleasures from the air. This left me a little bit disappointed. And not because I saw it as any type of failure or something that “needed” to be done but because of how much fun it is to sit down with someone and just geek out over whatever it is we want to geek out over. I suppose it goes back to the whole ” I wish I could share in meat space without feeling yucky, however this is a nice surrogate” thing. And now that it is a year later, I have an even bigger list of people I cannot wait to virtually sit across from. And I feel I am much better equipped to do so.

Have I said yet how excited I am!! I’M EXCITED! Like really, really, really excited. Obnoxiously so. It is so nice to feel as if you are back at home and, even better, to be back in your pocket.

There are a few things I am not looking forward to. Such as having to almost completely plug back in. I’ll have to be available all the time I’m at my desk via Skype. I really do not miss being messaged about something every 2 seconds. I’m not looking forward to part of the interview process once we open the jobs to the general public, instead of the invite only as is now. And heaven help any poor sap who asks me questions such as, “What’s a system tray?” or “What’s a control panel?” Seriously, if you do not know how to find your control panel, let alone if you don’t know what one is (I’m not shitting you), or if you do not know what your system tray is, don’t apply. I’ll not have it this time around.

Thankfully, I’m working with someone who believes (as I do) that quality comes before quantity. If we have to fill spots with the autodj until we can find competent people, then so be it. I’ll be damned if I hire someone just for the sake of filling a spot as I did at the station that shall not be named. It always ended up being more of a headache than it was worth. And that really makes it so much better. Having someone that for the most part, is on the same page as you. Someone that has the same vision as you have. Sure, I’m not paying the bills. However, this is just as much baby as it is the owners. And the odd things that we don’t automatically see eye to eye on, we eventually find a middle ground. It is really nice to be able to work in that type of creative environment. And perhaps a lot of the reasons why we are able to work so well together is because I’m the one who hired/trained him at the station that shall not be named. We’ve already forged that great relationship.

I’m happy. Really happy. Professionally, I’m the most content I’ve been in a year. My plate is sufficiently full. I’m feeling more than adequately fulfilled. I’m back in my pocket.

Holy crap and macaroni sticks!

In Which I Set Myself and Every One Else Up for Disappointment but SQUEE!

November 12th, 2010

What a horrible blog title for something that I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY excited about it. But truth is, if this falls through with a fiery crash, I know I’ll be disappointed. And I think it is safe to say, others will be disappointed for me as well. Especially as this is something I’ve been yearning for, for almost a year now. But there is a very slight chance it may not happen and I’m the type that prepares for all scenarios. And with this situation, even if I prepare myself for the worst, I know a small part of me will be disappointed because it is something I have wanted for a very long time. What is this thing? I’m going to be back on air, bitches!! I mean… I’m going to be back on air, people! And there is more!

Before anyone asks, the answer is, YES! So that is all we have to say about that.

Some things will be different and some things will be the same as before. One thing that will be different is that this will be online radio only, not online and FM as before. But you know what, I really don’t care. There is a lot you can do with online that you cannot do with FM. And I don’t have to worry about bloody censoring my music. Another thing that will be different, I will not be taken advantage of. It is nice to be truly valued and in this situation, I know that I am. I know that I am not just getting lip service to drag even more thankless work out of me.

Things that will be the same include that I will be the Assistant General Manager and the Program Director plus have a Geeky Pleasures radio show (complete with Ustream chat but new account) and other shows. I will still have a heavy emphasis on independent musicians.  My monthly featured musician will go back once again to both on-air and Geeky Pleasures’ website. I’ll be in charge of hiring, training, scheduling and firing (if need be) of personalities, plus other operational things. BONUS: I will be setting up and maintaining the website plus in charge of all other tech things.

The only “drawback” is until a handful of sponsors come on board, the majority of the staff will be unpaid interns. For now, the person who is setting up the radio station and who asked me if I’d come on board and help, will be paying all expenses out of pocket (Yes, even that expense. Told you, I was truly appreciated and valued here).

I had thought at first that it would be at least til the new year before any form of ball would start to roll. After all, I was approached about this only yesterday. However, things seem to be moving much quicker than I anticipated. YAY! The website host will be contacted tomorrow. Names for the station have been discussed. Staff is starting to be gathered. Formats and general framework is being sorted. Theoretically, I could start working on the website over the next week (once a couple other details are worked out). Knowing how quickly I can get things done (GO GO GADGET OCD!), we could be on air within 2-4 weeks.

At first, I can tell you there will be a lot of auto-player airtime. It will be awhile before sponsors get firmed up. It will take some work to get volunteer street teams and such organized. It will take some work interviewing, hiring and training new staff. There is a lot of hard work ahead of me in the weeks to come. But this work is so damn rewarding. The prospect of this has me so very excited. I have missed it more than I thought I had. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until yesterday and the plan started to get formed.

Other things that need to get sorted is WHEN I will be on air. Myself and the GM will get first pick. I know my listener base is spread far across the globe. So finding a time that is suitable for most people will take a bit of work. I’ll most likely have a poll or something at some point.

I really hope this doesn’t crash and burn. This means that I get to put a lot of projects back on the front burner instead of the back burner. This means the ability to do more interviews. This means the ability to entertain folk in real time and be entertained in return. This means… more than I think I can articulate at the moment.

So here’s to hoping that it all works out for the best. Expect a lot of random SQUEEs from me in the next little while as more and more details get sorted and this thing becomes a reality instead of just ideas.

Lest We Forget

November 11th, 2010

Today is a day of Remembrance. On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, we stand for two minutes of silence to remember. Today is a day where we pay tribute to all of the soldiers, past and present, who’ve fought and continue to fight to protect our freedom and the freedom of others. Today is a day where we remember all of the sacrifices these brave men and women have made because someone has to, even if you do not agree with the war.

Remembrance Day is the most significant holiday for me. I find it odd calling it a holiday as the word “holiday” sounds like something to celebrate instead of honour. And yes you can celebrate and honour at the same time but for me personally, it seems a bit odd applying the word holiday.

Every year I want to write something profound about this day and why it is so important to me but I can never find any words that I think are fitting enough. I want to recount stories of when I was a young girl and the way we would honour this day in school. I want to tell stories of my family’s military history. I want to tell stories of why I joined the military. I want to tell stories of my brother who served in Afghanistan and who’s suffered loss as a result. But I have no words beyond saying thank you to all those around the world who have served and continue to serve. Your sacrifices are deeply appreciated.

Yesterday, I spent a good part of my day watching different videos created to honour these brave men and women. I ask you to please take the time to watch them yourself and to watch this ceremony. They turned me into a ball of tears for hours. They may not have the same affect on you and that is fine. For me, this is a very personal thing especially as I have a family member who was shot at, multiple times, while he was overseas and had to bury his friends. Today, I pay extra tribute to my brother, Cpl Matthew Sherred, who is a personal hero to me.

Hey, Americans! Get Your Heads Out of Your Bloody Arses!

November 8th, 2010

I’m livid! Like really livid. Shaking in fact. I just had yet another experience which caused me to think, “This is why the world hates you, America! Your Americentrism is not doing you any favours! Wake the hell up and smell the rest of the world! You’ve been attacked? So what?? Do you think you are the only ones? Have you ever stopped for a second to think why? Do you realize you are far from perfect?? Seriously, because I do not understand why you feel you have a monopoly on horrible happenings.”

I am full to the brim with venom at the moment. The above is the really nice version of what I am thinking. Because HEAVEN FORBID that someone point out the attacks against Americans may have been asked for since they’ve been attacking and imposing their far from ideal way of life upon the world for AGES! It is about bloody time the world stood up to this messed up way of life and say, “We will not let you bully us any longer! You push the world around long enough, it will push back! You reap what you sow!”

If you are still reading this blog and are managing to wade through the venom that is being directed towards this attitude Americans have which they spew towards the rest of the world and expect us to just take it up the arse, you may be wondering what has spawned it. A stupid song writing competition, of all things, has me shaking with anger. A song writing contest?!? Jules you let a stupid song writing contest get you angry? WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU JULES?!? I’ll tell you.

The challenge for this round was to write a song from the point of view of some behind the scenes person to some big historical figure. So we had songs about some unknown person behind Castro, JFK, Columbine, Los Alamos and Rosa Parks. With the Castro song, it was some barber responsible for the missile crisis. With the JFK song, it was from the point of view of the driver. With the Columbine shooter, from the point of view of Eric’s mother. With Los Alamos, the point of view of one of the lab assistants. A few of the songs needed some clarification for the non-Americans. And when it was asked for clarification, we were met with a bit of venom like, “How dare you not know!”, but in a totally passive-aggressive way. Hey Americans, can you tell me anything about my history? Hell, I doubt most of you can tell me who my PM is without having to search it.

And then came comments of, “Wow. These songs are edgy and risky.” The first one came during the Castro song because it is a bit of a farce. It is a serious topic brought forth in a very lighthearted way. Some did not know if it was all that funny to joke about the fact the US was almost nuked. OOO Edgy. As more of these “touchy subject”, “edgy”, “sensitive topic”, “not politically correct” songs came out, there were more comments about pushing the envelope with subject choices and how brave it was to do so. So of course the non-American’s asked, “Why? We don’t see how. Explain it to us. History is painted in blood.” With contempt, it was explained that people still find talking about the assassination of JFK to be touchy. This caused me to think, “Would they think the same thing if it were a song about Canada’s bloody history or the UK’s or any other part of the world?” My question would shortly be answered.

Joe and Denise entered a shadow song from Duality about one of the bloodiest period of Scottish history. Joe wrote the lyrics. He approached it much from the same angle as the Castro song. The response? What do you think? IT WAS A HOOT! A HOOT!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? So let me make sure I understand this correctly? It is okay to present a very dark part of Scottish history with levity but not American history? It is okay to laugh at other people’s history but if you someone does it about American history, it is “edgy”? Really? Give your head a shake!

And yet you still wonder why the world hates America? When it was first mentioned to build a wall between Canada and the US, my thought was, “Give me a break.” Now I think, “PLEASE DO!” Please  continue to alienate the rest of the world. I’m so sick and tired of this double standard! If you want people to be respectful of your dark periods, try being respectful of others. Oh wait… our dark history is A HOOT! Yours is to be revered and grieved forever, never to be talked about or never to get over. Your history is to be repeated over and over again because you refuse to talk about it and move on!

Get your heads out of your bloody arses, open your eyes and see there is a HUGE world outside of the United States!