Archive for the ‘entertainment’ category

Sleep Sweet King, You Will Be Missed

June 25th, 2009

Today if a very sad day for me. Michael Jackson has passed away at the age of 50.

I loved Michael Jackson. I can remember when I was younger, my sister and I wanted my mom to marry Michael Jackson. I loved to listen to his music and watch him dance. I think watching him dance was one of the reasons I wanted to be a dancer myself. Watching him perform was like hearing the angels sing. It was perfect and flowing and effortless. He loved what he was doing and in return, I loved him.

He not only inspired me to dance, he inspired my dance teacher as a choreographer among many other choreographers around the world. To be able to work with Michael Jackson was a blessing and an honour. Many R&B, Hip/Hop and Pop artists today are inspired by this man as well. If you were to watch their videos you are bound to find some variation of these movements that have become so iconic. My youngest loved Michael Jackson as well. I have pictures of my youngest in one of my Michael Jackson dance costumes imitating his signature moves.

Unfortunately many people preyed on this wonderful human being. He was misunderstood and hunted by the world. He had the soul of a child in the body of a man and he was rich! That made him the perfect target. Before his death, I was always afraid that he would be remembered for the scandal instead of being remembered for the wonderful contributions he made to the world. Not only did he revolutionize both music and dance and enriched our lives through the arts, but he was a champion for children and children’s charities. He gave of himself freely and in return was treated like crap. The treatment of him by the media at large and many around the world who have this sense of entitlement is one of the many reasons I think the paparazzi should be shot and killed. We should be extremely thankful for all that he has freely given to us and instead “we” feel this stupid sense of he owes us. Dance monkey, dance and make me happy. Hopefully I live to see the day when “we” are thankful to these people who choose a job that enriches our lives instead of treating them as belongings and slaves to our bidding and wishes.
Tormented Angel

The body of a man

The eyes of a child
The voice of an angel
So gentle and mild

He lived a life
Misunderstood and berated
He enriched the world
And was loved and hated

He gave the gift of song
He opened up his heart
And in return
We shut him in the dark

He was selfless and kind
Generous and loving
Bearing his soul
And in return got nothing

He gave us dance
We gave him suspicion
He gave us music
We gave him speculation

He opened up his home
We gave him accusation
He wanted to heal the world
We gave him condemnation

Now time has come
For him to rest
What we give him now
Will be the test

Sleep sweet my loving King of Pop. May you find peace and understanding.





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Finally A Song That Says It All

June 24th, 2009
I have issues. If you ever listen to my radio show at 9 pm PT on Fridays or have read my blogs, you may have some idea of these issues. Not only does my list of 3 include Optimus Prime, Data and Superman but I get this really weird perverse pleasure from David Hasselhoff. My perverse pleasure in that area doesn’t end there but we will begin here. If I am in a foul mood, I watch a David Hasselfhoff video and I get all stupid and giddy and jumpy and warm and fidgety and all kinds of stupid happiness.

Well tonight on America’s Got Talent (shush, its my guilty pleasure) there was this guy. His name is David Johnson. And he wrote this song which pretty much sums it all up:

OMG! I. CANNOT. STOP. WATCHING! Oh man, if you could only watch me watch this video or any other Hoff video. Just what I need, another thing to obsess over.

Now here is where it gets even more “odd”. I get the same stupid giddy warm fuzzy jumpy fidgety feelings when I listen to a William Shatner song and watch his cheezy ass. I think I just love cheezy asses. The cheezier and the campier, the better. I LOVE this cheezy, campy, sexy, awesomeness of The Hoff and Shatner so much, during all of my Geeky Pleasures shows I play at least a Shatner and Hoff song. And I explode every single time, no matter how many times see them or hear them.

One of my geeky wishes in life is this: That

AND

star in a movie together. Not seperate cameos like in “Dodgeball”, but actually starring opposite each other in a movie. That would be AWESOME! I don’t know if my brain could handle the AWESOME! I think it may even deserve a HAWESOME!





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Goodnight Gladys…

June 23rd, 2009
Be prepared for a lot of reading. As I said in an earlier post, I have been very nostalgic lately. Over the last couple of days, I have experienced a few EUREKA moments as to why.

9 is my favourite number. I am obsessed by 9s. As a result, I am obsessed by 3s as 3 is the perfect square of 9 which makes 3=9. Yes, I am neurotic and I am well aware of it. If only you knew just how neurotic I actually was.

3 years ago a lot of things happened during this time of year that were both happy and tragic. I was in a wonderful play with the best ensemble ever and it was the best experience I have had on and off stage (even so it started off rocky). The reason why it was rocky is somewhat explained in my old blogs below. I want to clarify why the Stage Manager drove me insane! I have worked both on and off stage. My first role as Stage Manager was for “The Sound of Music”. That is no easy task especially when you have over 80 cast and crew members ranged from aged 8 to 80+. It was also the first production where the Director let go and allowed the Stage Manager to call the entire show and run every aspect of rehearsals and performances. So really, in the end (and how it was listed in the bill) my role was Stage Manager/Performance Coordinator. I was thrown into the fire to speak and I didn’t get burned once. The Stage Manager for this production had to manage a cast and crew of 10 and she did not do her job properly. And to make it worse (in my eyes) was that this was not her first experience as Stage Manager. We also had a cast member where this was his first on stage role. He was just not getting it and was using this play to overcome social anxiety issues. 5 weeks before opening curtain, he bows out. My feelings were he should have bowed out the first moment he thought it would be an issue instead of waiting til the end for us to find a replacement. We started rehearsals on Valentine’s day 2006 (which was the 13th anniversary of my Grandmother’s death which on the day she died was the Sunday of the opening weekend of a musical I was in “South Pacific”. The cast and crew of that production made that day a little more bearable and I will write about that at another time). We dedicated our first rehearsal to the memory of my Grandmother. Our final curtain for this production was in June 2006.

It was also during this time (March 26th) that Gord and I reconnected after not talking for a couple of years through the following email: “If it is then this is a silly question because of it’s blatant obviousness, but,….

Is that you Vern?

If so Email me back At xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

If it is not you, I apologize”

He had been doing online searching for me for awhile as my number was unlisted and had come across my e-mail address that was listed on a site I use to have. I realized the other night after I posted my blog about him that the reason he has such a huge affect on me is because he is my constant. He is my string. His love and support is what has gotten me through the last 18 years of my life, both the good and the bad. It doesn’t matter what may be going on around me, as long as I have Gord by my side, it is all OK.

Three years ago today, I suffered a major stroke. I had many TIAs prior as a result of my Lupus, but this stroke landed me in ICU for a week and many months of rehab and having to relearn how to dress myself, eat and walk. I am happy to report today (aside from some left-sided weakness when I am tired or stressed and issues with communication) I have made a full recovery.

In August 2006, one of my closest friends committed suicide. Well the drug overdose happened in June while I was in the hospital recovering from my stroke but they pulled the plug in August and that is when she legally died.

So please bear with me and read the following blogs surrounding my last play. And if you read it all, I want to thank you for allowing me to share this with you. I find it very difficult at times to share the things that are most important to me, things that are of a soul nature, things that I consider private. Normally I ponder these things and am able to work through it on my own. However this time I am having a hard time doing it without having an outlet to release all that I am thinking. Writing this blog today will hopefully allow me to release some of the pressure that is building up that I am unable to think away.

A Woman Possessed – February 26, 2006

Well it’s only two weeks into rehearsals and I am already possessed and it has already taken over my life. I had forgotten how quickly it happens.

We have to be off book by next rehearsals and finished our organic blocking. I spent 6 hours working on my script today and its all I can do to not look at it anymore today. It keeps calling out to me, read me read me. I got so frustrated with it today that I got a headache. I have done everything I can think of to take my mind off of it for the day, even watch my favorite show Twin Peaks but its not working.

I hate spring production because of this. Rehearsal schedule is 7 week shorter than the winter production and we show it longer and take it to competition. The competition is always fun, but the crunch and the added pressure wears on me at times. Pretty soon I will start behaving like my character on a daily basis, that is when it gets really scary. After my last production, it took me close to 6 months to completely get my character out of my day to day life. However, the smallest little trigger and I switch back into her, accent and all. I can still remember every single line from that play and its been awhile since it was performed.

Getting on stage for the first time (which we do this Tuesday) and doing the physical blocking is always interesting. Its funny how you can remember all of your lines sitting down, but as soon as you go to do them on your feet for the first time (well the first few time) and have to think about your lines while thinking about where you should be on stage, they completely fly out of your brain.

God, someone help me put my script out of my head!!!

Wow – March 10, 2006

So I just finished week 4 of rehearsals tonight and on the way home, a fellow cast member and I were talking about how far ahead we are compared to past productions. It is actually kind of scary progressing so quickly. Normally when this happens, there are problems later on trying to find the original energy again when it gets closer to curtain. As well, since we are taking this production to competition, we have to keep that energy alive for 2 months longer than normal. And because we are so far ahead, I am finding myself being extra critical of myself when I make small mistakes. This was the first week were suppose to be off book and I have had my lines memorized since the first week. But because I got them so fast, I am not giving myself any room for mistakes and I must remember we are just beginning and to relax.

Because we are so far ahead, the director gave us next week off, however we are still going to get together on rehearsal nights without the director to work things on our own in a more relaxed setting and have fun with it. The stage manager says she may come and help out and I wis
h she wouldn’t. I am having a hard time not being frustrated with her. She keeps jumping my lines and prompting me when I do not need it or am not asking to be prompted. Some actors are okay with that, but I find it very rude and annoying. It ruins my concentration and flow and some pauses are purposeful, yet she decides to give me my line and I just want to yell I KNOW!! She is new with our theater company and is still learning our ways, but apparently this isn’t her first time being a stage manager and she should know stage etiquette. She also has a very bad habit of directing us and telling us where we should be on stage and I want to yell YOU ARE NOT THE DIRECTOR. She just doesn’t give the cast enough time to do their job before she takes over and it is very very hard to work with when certain people are over stepping what their duty is within the group. Hopefully she catches on quick, but after a month, you would think she would learn the rules.

Thankfully though we have a very nice small close-knit cast. It is such a blessing and a relief and makes the work involved so much better. We are very good at giving each other compliments and showing we appreciate each other. And the energy we give each other on stage is awesome. It is so very nice when the actor you are working with gives you the right energy to feed off of and react to. Makes your job as an actor a million times easier. My primary scene partner is the best partner I have ever had. Whenever we have worked together, whether on stage or behind, he has been a tremendous support and is just a very very generous person. There is nothing better than finishing your scene with a person and them giving you a huge hug and telling you, you were excellent, job well done and thank you for that. My director as well gave me a huge thank you tonight for bringing such energy to the stage tonight and setting the bar for the evening. It felt good especially since I had just finished beating myself up inside for making a small mistake.

I will be very sad when the final curtain happens on this production.

BAH – April 5, 2006

Soooooo we are a month until the play opens and the jackass that has been holding us back hasn’t made any improvement and another person isn’t working as hard as they should be either. It is so bad right now, that last night I had a nightmare about opening night. When I was talking about it with another cast member tonight, the look of terror on his face was priceless because he is having the same feelings as what happened in my nightmare last night.

Last week, the jackass dumps on us that he thinks this play and the pressure of it is making his depression worse and he just wont stop making excuses for everything instead of listening to direction and doing as he is told. After rehearsals tonight, I was talking about it with the cast member who I told my nightmare to. He is absolutely fantastic to work with and he paid me the greatest compliment tonight, well two: one at rehearsals and one while we were having our hour long talk after rehearsals, and I almost cried. He called me a veteran actor which coming from someone who is almost twice my age and has been doing this for as long as I have been alive and I think is absolutely wonderful felt really great. He also said that everyday, I blow him away with my ability to take any direction and immediately get it right and never having to get the same note twice and never having to go over a scene more than once because I nail it every time. We have a director that constantly likes to change things every rehearsal and I am always right on top of it.

So anyway, we were talking for about an hour in his car in front of my house about the play and about the jackass and about how wonderful he thinks it is that he is getting to work with me. And we were both talking about how him and I have been pretty much saddled with getting this guy into shape and how we have both told this guy, if its affected his mental health, then maybe he should quit. We have someone very capable waiting to take over who we are very confident will be at 100 percent in the month we have till we open. The director was having a talk with him as we were leaving, so I hope after tonight he decides to step down. What scares me the most is he keeps bringing up that he almost failed a uni course because he cannot speak in front of people. Then WTF are you doing on stage!?!?!?! You don’t use a play that is going to competition for therapy!!!! I feel like such a bitch for saying this, but if he doesn’t decide to quit tonight, when I have to work with him tomorrow, I am going to try my best to convince him its the best thing for his mental well-being. It is not good for anyone to be under so much stress worrying about one person and if he is going to freeze up or not (which is the smallest concern with him right now) and its certainly not fair to those of us who are doing the work and busting our asses on this.

The stage manager is still a pain in the ass as well, but finally the director put her in her place tonight. So we will see tomorrow what is going on. Crosses fingers that he does see he needs to quit.

WHEW – April 9, 2006

Finally had a wonderful rehearsal on Thursday night. My dear friend Randy agreed to take over the part for the person who has clueless. We had so much fun with it for once, it was a huge relief. Got more work done on Thursday than we have gotten done in weeks.

So Randy and I decided to go out last night since it is our last chance to be able to go out and blow off some steam for 5 weeks now that we are into our weekend rehearsal schedule and the opening in a few weeks. We went out for dinner, dancing and then visited graveyards and laid down on some graves. We almost got ourselves kicked out of the restaurant because we were so goofy. Then once we started dancing, we danced for over 2 hours straight before we took our first break. I think the funniest part of the evening was watching this girl who was so wasted she couldn’t even stand up or open her eyes and some guy was dancing with her and having to hold her up and she was like a rag doll. Amazingly enough she was able to keep a hold of her glow stick. The other funniest part was when the waitress decided to cut me off. Why is that funny you ask, because I had nothing to drink!!!! One thing I love about going out dancing is watching all the drunk people and all the people who think they can dance and you just want to yell PUT IT AWAY!!!! At the place I go dancing (which is about an hour out of town), you can call how the evening will go by what time it is. I was telling Randy when we got there okay for the next hour it will be mostly guys showing up. Then at 10, the girls will start arriving in packs together. And then just around 11, the girls will form there little circle on the dance floor and do their come get me dances with each other. Sure enough, that is exactly how the night proceeded. We had a very good laugh over the predictability of the situation. The oddest part of the evening was Randy running into a bunch of people he knew. We never thought in a million years we would run into anyone, and there were at least 20 people he knew there from HS. It was like an unwanted HS reunion. But all and all it was a wonderful evening.

God, am I ever sore today.

3 Weeks To Go – April 14, 2006

Until opening night. And I got a whole 30 seconds on stage tonight. I am so frustrated right now I could cry. We had our nightly after rehearsal talk and wind down and our director is saying “Okay Jen and Randy g
ot the time they need to work on things and now we need to work on Eric.” I am sitting there thinking WTF WHAT ABOUT MY TIME!!!!

Tonight I got to run my scene only once, and not a single note, no feedback, nothing. On the way home when Eric and I were talking he was saying well take it as a good thing that Dena isnt worried about you at all and you are a veteran and if anything does need to get worked you will pick it up right away. Still, however, I need the time now. The scene I did tonight, I haven’t really done in 3 weeks and I felt lost. The director didnt think so, but I feel it and that is what matters. If I don’t get more time to work on things on Tuesday, I will not be a happy camper.

WOOHOO – May 3, 2006

So the time is finally here. Tomorrow night is opening night. It seemed not too long ago that it would never come, but here it is.

Unfortunately, dress rehearsals last night went amazingly well. There was a prop malfunction and a costume malfunction but no serious mess ups which means tomorrow night we may be danger danger. In the theatre, you want a bad dress rehearsal because it means you will have an awesome opening night and if you have a good dress you will have a bad opening night

I am so antsy and even though I was looking forward to having a night finally to myself with nothing to do, I am finding that it really SUCKS. And even though I am beyond tired and burnt out right now, I have tons of energy and am extremely bored at the moment. I thought I would be so sick of being around people constantly 24/7 that tonight would be a welcomed solice, but I actually miss being around people and having someone constantly in my space. Very very odd indeed for me.

I cannot wait to be in front an audience finally tomorrow night. The rush is fantastic!!! I never get nervous before a show, its after the bows that I get nervous and worry about how people enjoyed it, but before hand I am super hyped.

Hopefully I find a nice distraction tonight because right now I am just driving myself insane!!!

WHAT A RUSH!!! – May 5, 2006

So last night was opening night and what a rush!!! I had forgotten just how much of a rush it is and exactly how much I have missed it.

We got a standing ovation and the tears were a flowing at the end. One comment was that there isn’t enough paper tissue in the world to deal with the end of the play.

When we were done our first act and were at intermission, we were so depressed because it meant that much closer to our last show. I cannot say enough about the wonderful cast and crew that I get to work with. Its very nice having such a close-knit cast where we just intuitively know what we need from each other.

I cannot wait to do it all again tonight!

What a Fucking Night!!!!!!! – May 6, 2006

Well so much for having a great dress rehearsal and a great opening night. We had complete havoc tonight. Anything awful that could go wrong did!!!

First, while I am helping with a costume change backstage, I get an elbow in the eye which caused me to lose a contact. So, I have to go on stage to do my next scene blind as a bat and with an eye that is swelling up. The stage manager found my contact but it was already drying up and making that awful crackling noise. So, I had to send one of the other backstage people downstairs to find my contact solution and quickly try to repair my contact before it cracked and became useless. I saved it just in time for my next scene. From now on, I am wearing my glasses.

So all is well and I break down in tears during intermission. So Act 2 rolls around. It’s the start of the fight scene. Randy does his punch to Eric. Eric collapses on the bed as usual and throws himself back and as his head is flying back, CRACK, it connects with the metal corner of the night table and splits open his head. They are still fighting not realizing he is bleeding all over the place. Its time for my entry, and as I am saying the lines, “What is going on in here?” then walking over to help Eric in bed and saying “Why is he hanging out of bed? Don’t you know this is a very sick man?” I notice a pool of blood on the floor stage right (all the action this moment is stage left). I try and get him into bed without the audience seeing the blood on the floor while still doing my lines and saying OH FUCK over and over again in my head. I was also thinking will the other actors be able to keep it together when they cross over and notice the pool of blood on the floor. I put him in bed while saying all the rest of my lines and pull my hand out from under his head to see my hand and arm covered in blood and look down and its all over my uniform. I quickly do the rest of my lines and exit to quickly inform the stage manager and our director in the booth that there has been a serious accident on stage. The rest of the actors did not know until they crossed over to stage right to see all the blood on the floor.

So there is still 15 minutes left in this final scene with a guy laying in bed with his head bleeding like a son of a bitch. Thank God, he is a dr and my dr and two other drs were in the audience tonight. So as they are finishing off the show, I am busy backstage coordinating the pressure bandage and ice and making sure everything he will need to get the bleeding under control is waiting for him when he makes his exit. As we go dark before our bows, I quickly rush on stage to help him off the bed making sure the pillow is still applying pressure and to let him know the ice is waiting.

We get downstairs and all the drs come down and I am helping them get the bleeding and everything under control. We deal with him everything is calm and Randy breaks down because he feels that the punch is what caused the injury and he has been a mess for the rest of the night. Everyone is finally calm and we think okay its over nothing else can possibly go wrong. WRONG AGAIN!!!!

The stage manager is going upstairs to put some things up on the stage and she falls down the stairs. We all get over that and think okay we all better leave before something else happens.

We are all out of the hall getting into our cars and thinking okay nothing else bad can happen. WRONG YET AGAIN!!!! As I am closing the car door, my foot gets caught between the door frame and the dash of the car and I slam my foot when I shut the door.

Randy and I just started to laugh and he said that’s it, we are walking home otherwise we wont make it home alive. But we drove and we are alive and now we are going to try and put this night behind us forever!!!!

What An Emotional Night – May 14, 2006

So last night was our final curtain before we go to competition on the 25th. It was a very emotional night for the cast. We were crying even before it was over. We are such a close cast and on the same page when it comes to everything from sense of humour to work ethics to the vision of the play that it will be very hard to put this performance to bed.

This production is our director’s 50th play that she has produced for the adult par
t of our theatre. After we were finished our bows, we surprised her with flowers and a card and there wasnt a dry eye in the house.

I received wonderful flowers and a very touching card from Eric and I wish he waited till after the performance to give them to me because that in itself made me cry. I also got some very heartfelt words from Randy when I got the cast and crew to sign my program at the end of the night that made me cry when I got around to reading what everyone had to say this morning.

If we don’t win our zone competition, we will be very sad indeed since we could perform this forever and never get tired of it. Every performance is like its the first performance with this cast, which is very hard to accomplish. This is the first play I have been in where I haven’t wanted to kill someone and couldn’t wait for it to be over. Well, before Randy took over, there was one cast member that drove me nuts, but the past 5 weeks have been such a pleasure. The stage manager is still a retard, however the cast makes it better.

Goodnight Gladys…





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In Which Someone Decides to Save My Soul

June 13th, 2009
Last night’s Geeky Pleasures show was so much fun. It was the first time that not only did people get to hear it on the radio either through the FM feed, iTunes or going to the station’s website itself, but they also had the opportunity to see what goes on behind this end of the computer while I broadcast through USTREAM. I had one person come into chat on USTREAM complaining that I wasn’t saying anything there. Well that is not what the USTREAM is for and it is explained in the show description. If you want to hear the show, you need to tune in from the station’s site, iTunes or 102.5 FM if you live in the Hudson Valley, NY area. If you want to listen and watch, then you tune into the station’s site and USTREAM feed. Plus with the USTREAM you get to join me in a live chat while I broadcast. This will now be a weekly occurrence.

The topic last night was Geeky Sci-Fi Fantasies. My inspiration for it came from a discussion that took place here. If you are too lazy to click the link, here is a quick summary. You know how people make those lists of 3 or 5 people that if they were to meet them and they were in a relationship, they could have sex with them and it wouldn’t be considered cheating? Well my list doesn’t include any real people. My list includes Optimus Prime, Data (not Brent, Data because I want to see how fully functional he really is) and Superman (sex while flying would be cool). As well, I always include listener’s contributions in my show and last night I had some really good ones. Beside the Geeky sex talk, I also read the “Top 15 Science Fiction Geek Pick-up Lines” and “Top 10 Geek Pick-up Lines on Twitter”.

Well I guess all the Geek and Sex talk (let me tell you it got pretty steamy) offended someone. Half way during my show, this arrived in my e-mail. A listener decided that my soul needed saving. The beginning of this starts of a little slow, but trust me its worth the listen.





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Geeky Pleasures Exposed

June 12th, 2009
After a lot of feedback, you now have the option of not only listening to me live on air, but you can see the shenanigans that occur on this end of the computer.

The Emotion of Dance

June 10th, 2009
I am not an emotional being by nature. I am very thought driven and it is not until I have had time to really think about a situation that I attach some form of emotion to it, if any. I wrote about this before. However, there are four things that as a general rule can illicit huge emotional reactions from me. They are prose and poetry, movies, music and dance. All four of them are able to beautifully illustrate things that quite often I find I am unable to express myself. Even though growing up I was heavily into math, chemistry, physics, computers etc and they turn me on to no end since they are so rational, it would be safe to say the reason that I was also equally into dance, writing and acting was because it gave me an outlet to express emotions I cannot express in my day to day living. Out of the four, dance does this most effectively.

Dance has always had a special place in my life. When I was younger, if I was not herding by friends together to put on some play, we spent our lunch hour choreographing some dance number. I would be able to lose myself in the music and the motion. I was able to escape the pain that was my childhood and enter new realms. Acting had and continues to have the same affect on me but not to the same extreme as dance. Even if there is no music to accompany the dance, you can carry yourself off into an unheard rhythm. Your body becomes the rhythm, it becomes the base line. You flow from one beat, one motion into the next. It is not unlike the process of ice turning to water turning to vapor. You can transcend states of being. It is like the process of pressure being built up along a fault line waiting for a release and then followed by the wonderful release of an earthquake or the forceful eruption of magma from a volcano turning in a beautiful red lava flow.

Dance can tell stories from the worst tragedy to a wonderful comedy. It can lift you up and it can bring you down. As I sit here now trying to express all the wonders that is dance, I do not think I could ever adequately illustrate the power that it has for me. Dance saved my life. So did acting when it came to escaping pain and trauma and finding a constructive way to deal with the crap that happened to me as a child instead of turning to other options such as drugs. However, dance did so in more ways than one.

A dance teacher I had for quite a while had Lupus. Now she wasn’t only my dance teacher. Her husband was my grade 11 English teacher. Her oldest son was one of my best friends in high school. When I was going through some of my darkest moments in high school, my English teacher would always write little notes on the back of my papers or my poetry letting me know that I was not alone in what I was experiencing. He also went as far to share with me the struggle he and his family had with his wife’s debilitating illness. It wasn’t until after high school that she became my dance teacher. She taught dance for many years until the Lupus really took hold. And then she spent most of 20 years in and out of hospital. She was told that she would never walk away. Not only did she walk again but she taught dance right up until a couple weeks before her death, right before she lost her final battle with Lupus. It was her love of dance that propelled her to walk and dance again.

She was also instrumental in my diagnosis of Lupus. One year the pain got so bad I missed close to a month of dance. When you dance over 8 hours a week, missing a month is a lot. I came to her after the month and told her that I had to drop out, I could not move anymore. It felt as if knives were being dug into every single joint in my body and nothing was working for the pain. She asked if I had ever been diagnosed with any muscular or skeletal disorders and I began to name a list the length of my arm. She told me that I am a very gifted dancer. She sees me shine when I dance and she sees the release it gives me. She told me that she cannot do without me in her class. She told me that I need to sit down with my doctor and say look, since I was 15 you and a whole whack of doctors have diagnosed me with this and that and this and that, don’t you think it can all be one thing? So that is what I did. My doctor went hmmm wow I can’t believe we missed this, I am sending you to a Rheumatologist and that started the road to a final diagnosis of Lupus. Dance saved my life. Eventually I was able to return to class and finish out the year. Unfortunately, that is the same year that the complications of Lupus took the life of my dance teacher. Thinking about this now brings tears to my eyes. She inspired me in more ways than I could ever express. She gave me the strength to get out of my wheelchair three years ago after I suffered my stroke. She was an amazing woman that brought so much joy and love to this planet. I was very fortunate to have her in my life.

So given the above, it is no wonder that I love, LOVE So You Think You Can Dance. I cannot watch a single episode without crying. Tonight was no exception. Normally I will cry once maybe twice during an episode. Tonight I cried more times than I can count. The recaps of a couple of the dancer’s journeys made me cry as I could relate to the obstacles that they faced to be where they are now. Two of the dance numbers made me cry. The first number which was a beautifully choreographed hip/hop number about a couple that couldn’t get to sleep because they had unresolved issues to work through from the day. It spoke to me on a very personal level. My relationship ended a month ago today. Maybe one of the contributing factors was because we broke my number one rule a few too many times about never going to bed angry and that is what that dance number was about. The other was a Bollywood number to Jai Ho. Jai Ho is one of my pick me up songs. If I am in a down mood, I crank it up as loud as I can and do the silliest dance either in my chair as I am working or all around the house. The dance was alive and loving and upbeat and beautiful. There was one particular move about 30 seconds into the song that just made me break down in tears because of the sheer joy of the number.

I cannot type anymore. I have not even come close to expressing all that dance is to me. And for now I am going to stop as the tears are starting to flow again. Both tears of pain and tears of joy. So in ending, here is a poem that I wrote the night before my dance teacher’s celebration of life. Her husband, my former English teacher, read it during the ceremony. As we (her students and close friends) were meeting in her dance studio before the service, someone saw the poem. It touched her so much that she took it from me and blew it up so that it could be turned into a poster so that everyone had a chance to not only hear it but read it. As well (because my dance teacher had such an impact on the local community) it was printed in the local newspaper. This poem was my first published piece.

Catherine’s Dance

The day she was born the dance took stage,
A courageous spirit that would never age.

It moved in all aspects of her life,
Her love and her compassion, her pain and her strife.

The dance was apparent when she did succeed,
But there was a time when it seemed to recede.

When she could not move and it always seemed night,
The dance still raged on, fighting to see the
light.

It leaped and it turned trying to break free,
Emerge from the shadows for everyone to see.

Out of the dark, the dance broke its chains
Like the sun breaking through the clouds and the rain.

Her dance continued to move until the very end
Surrounding all of her family and friends.

She lived a life, which inspired all she did meet:
A mother, a wife, a teacher; she did not miss a beat.

Although she is gone and she will be missed very much,
Her dance lives on in all that she did touch.





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I Never Thought I Would See The Day

June 8th, 2009
Having to write this blog feels very very strange. Right now my brain is going “huh” for lack of a better expression. It is such a strange phenomena and it is all so surreal right now. I don’t even know where to begin right now because as the title says, I never thought I would see the day. Now I hope anyone who is reading this does not get the wrong idea. I have to do a little bit of history first before this makes any sense, if it will make any sense. Right now, it doesn’t make sense to me. This is just something I have been having to deal with recently and it has been causing some confusion.
Let me back up a bit. When I got into the entertainment industry it was because I have a passion. I never thought that my name would become known in any shape or form. I thought that I could do what I love and share what I love with people in a somewhat anonymous fashion. Maybe that was a tad bit naive of me. I thought I could share my love for music, blog about random thoughts and events in a quiet fashion and geek out with fellow geeks about topics of mutual interest and stay under the radar. After all there are hundred of people out there that do the same thing that I do and seem to be able to do that.
Now I also have many other hats that I wear. And for some people, it can be a bit confusing how I am able to manage and juggle all of these spheres. They are all separate aspects of my life yet still make up part of the whole. It is quite the understatement to say that I am a very complex person with many different layers, many different things that I am really passionate about. My many vast interests has certainly made it difficult to decide what random thing I should blog about since there are so many different things that get me excited during the course of a day. Some have a hard time rationalizing how or why I can believe in one thing and other things at the same time. And you know what, that is their right. The best that I can do is present myself as honestly as possible and allow people to take from it what they will. It is not my job to justify my beliefs beyond stating something as opinion and I respect other people’s beliefs and opinions as long as they are not causing harm.
Now let us jump forward a bit. I have a very rare name. I use to do this thing regularly where I would google my name just to see what would come up. And for years (even so I could be found on the net) nothing came up without having to dig through thousands of pages. And then last year, something interesting happened. I googled my name and found someone else with my name and found them on various networks. I found it interesting that they also used Jules when posting to forums or other venues. I never gave it a second thought beyond writing a short blog about it because really it was an interesting thing (at least to me) given how rare my name is. Never in a million years did I think it may be a source of confusion for people. I took it for granted that if people wanted to find me, it would be simple.
Well now (and believe me this is very surreal) it is an issue. I have had requests on Facebook and have seen that they have requested the other Julia Sherred as well not knowing which is which. I posted a comment on a blog today that I post to regularly and have always been the only Jules that I have been aware of, only to see that after I posted someone else had already posted to the blog using Jules. So I had to clarify that. So now on that blog I am posting as Jules (Julia) hoping that will be enough. All of a sudden a lot of people are searching my name. It is not only me performing the searches. I just find this whole thing so odd.
Now maybe this phenomena will be short lived. Maybe it will go on as I start to interview more and more people and geek out about whatever grabs our fancy. So if you are reading this and have been one of those people who is searching my name, there are links in the sidebar to other places you can find me on the web. Other than that, welcome to all the new visitors that have come across this blog. I hope you come back to it frequently as you never know what topic I will talk about from one day to the next.





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Dr. Phil Plait Interview

June 6th, 2009

Click here to listen to the interview with Dr. Phil Plait. This link is the temporary fix until our server issues at the radio station are fixed. Thank you all for your patience during this time.

Last night (June 5, 2009), I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Phil Plait aka The Bad Astronomer live for my Geeky Pleasures show on Party934. We discussed a variety of topics from the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA to the antivaxx movement and homeopathy, plus a few other topics of interest to the both of us. A warning: I drop the “s” word a couple of times during the interview. So consider yourself warned. At the very end of the interview, Phil gave me some inside scoop about a couple of projects he is working on. You will only hear it here. The total runtime for the interview is 1hr 38min 23sec.

I want to apologize in advance for the editing of this broadcast. Phil sat down with me live last night and we took a couple of breaks to play some music. I had to edit out the music portion of the interview as it would be in violation of the station’s royalties contracts had I left the music in. After close to 12 hours of editing and technology failing over 20 times during the process, what you are hearing now is the best that is available at the moment. I wanted to make sure the broadcast was available as soon as possible for people to listen to and give feedback. Hopefully I will be able to find the time soon to clean it up a bit.

It was a real pleasure interviewing Phil. I had a lot of fun doing it and my impression was that he did as well. A couple little show notes:

I was very surprised how silent the listeners were as we discussed a couple of topics that have caused Phil to receive some heat on his own blog. We discussed these topics very frankly and openly. Considering the feedback he has received on his own blog regarding these topics, I was expecting some listeners to come out and put him to the fire while he was live on air and accepting questions. This did not happen. This leads me to conclude that people are much braver behind a computer typing out words than when they are given the opportunity to express those opinions live and in person.

You will notice during the interview, that I appear to be tongue tied, at a loss for words or do not complete my thought. There are a couple of reasons for that. The first reason is that when I do an interview, they are not scripted. I like the interview to have the feel of two friends sitting down to a cup of coffee and talking about subjects of mutual interest. Yes I have a general outline of what topics I would like to discuss, however I do not script out the questions and the person being interviewed does not know what questions I am going to ask. This allows for a more natural and organic conversation to occur. The second reason is almost 3 years ago, I suffered from a stroke. So whenever I am excited or passionate about something, my ability to communicate (both verbally and written) is one of the first things to be affected. And let me tell you, Phil gave me many reasons to be excited. Not only is he a very passionate speaker, he is extremely funny.

I think that is all I really have to say about that at this moment. I hope you enjoy and your feedback (both negative and positive) are more than welcomed. As I said in the interview, bring it on!





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Dr. Phil Plait aka Mister Bad Astronomy

June 5th, 2009
The day has finally come. Tonight Dr. Phil Plait will be co-hosting my Geeky Pleasures show. I am a tad nervous about this. Mind you not as nervous as I was when I got to interview Wil Wheaton on my show, but nonetheless I am still nervous. No sooner do I think I have all my questions that I want to ask sketched out in my head, he posts yet another wonderful blog that causes me to rethink interview topics. Regardless of what direction the show takes tonight, it will be a very good one.

Showtime is 9 pm PDT, Midnight EDT. To listen:

Winamp/iTunes/XMMS: [Click here]
Windows Media Player: [Click here]
RealPlayer: [Click here]





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More On The Antivaxx Front

June 3rd, 2009
This morning I am doing my normal morning routine. This includes getting my coffee, checking my email, booking appointments, checking sites that I regularly post to, reading Fark Geek headlines and checking the three blogs that I look at multiple times during the day. One of these blogs, that I have mentioned frequently in my own blog, is that of Dr. Phil Plait aka @BadAstronomer. Two of his blogs for today deal yet again with the Antivaxx issue.

The first one, Newsweek Slams Oprah, made me cheer. It is very nice to see that finally mainstream media is speaking out against media giant Oprah and her pseudo/pop science/heath crusade. It is Newsweek’s front page article and 6 wonderful pages dedicated to the danger that is Oprah. Included in this article is a very well worded section that deals with Jenny McCarthy and her antivaxx crusade. As one commenter said in response to Phil’s blog:

” “McCarthy is arguing that the ingredients in some vaccines might be one of only many, many variables that contribute to autism; she’s not arguing they’re the sole cause or even a major cause.”

But she started out by claiming that she was an Indigo mom, or her son was an Indigo child, or whatever the new age terminology was. Then she shifted to saying that vaccines caused autism. Then that the thimerisol preservative IN the vaccines caused autism. THEN that the accelerated vaccine schedule caused autism. NOW it’s a combination of the accelearated schedule and some complicated combination of vaccine ingredients tossed in with possible environmental (and maybe genetic) factors.

The goal posts just keep shifting with her, and every time reputable medical institutions speak up against her, she fires back with the Big Pharma conspiracy charges.

The saddest thing about this to me (besides the resurgence of preventable diseases, of course!) is that the level of publicity that she’s getting has allowed her to turn many of the desperate parents of autistic children against the very medical researchers who are trying to solve the issue of autism.”

It is very scary that people are supporting McCarthy et al for a variety of reasons. I really do not think people know what McCarthy’s issue is, or that McCarthy even knows as she keeps changing her POV on the subject. The more data to the contrary of McCarthy et al’s issue with vaccination and autism, the more they shift the goal post and thus muddy it even more. For Oprah to give McCarthy such a huge platform (own TV show and blog), Oprah is helping condemn children all over the world to death and debilitating disease.

Phil’s second blog of the day dedicated to this issue is entitled Should vaccines be compulsory? He states the following:

I was asked in a recent interview if I thought parents should be mandated by law to vaccinate their children.

I hesitated, knowing this was a thorny topic. I said I wasn’t sure, which was true. But I may be leaning toward a more definite answer now: yes.

He then goes on to explain why he is starting to lean that way.

Now my first instinct is to say yes as well. However, I also see many issues with legislation that makes vaccination mandatory. As I have said in previous blogs, I am a full supporter of vaccines. I have not been able to be vaccinated due to allergies. My youngest has not been able to be fully vaccinated either due to adverse reactions to vaccines. Living with Lupus, this puts me and my family and the general community as a whole, in danger. Now in some places, it is mandatory that your child is vaccinated if they are to attend a public daycare or public school (unless there is a valid medical reason as to why the child is not vaccinated). I fully agree with this. I would even go on to say that it should be mandated on a country wide level. If you want your child to be exposed to other children, you should have to protect your child and other children against the spread of very deadly infection disease. If you do not care about the welfare of your child or that of the greater community, then home-school your child. Do not put my family or other families at jeopardy because of your ignorance on the subject of vaccines and risks involved. If you want to risk infecting yourself, as an adult you can give informed consent to that. However, as parents it is our jobs to protect not only our children, but children across the globe. A child does not have the ability to give informed consent and unfortunately some parents are not rational enough to give informed consent, so maybe it should be left to the state. There is already some legislation in place that would allow for this, such as when parents refuse medical treatment due to religious/philosophical beliefs and the state has to step in and impose treatment due to life-threatening medical issues. Ah but here is the catch, vaccines are preventative. Even so your are placing your child at risk for a life-threatening disease, your child is not at immediate risk according the current laws.

So again, that leads me back to a few issues I have with making it mandatory. Here are a few of my thoughts that I have already made in the comment section off Phil’s blog:

I am on the fence here as well. Here in B.C. it is mandatory if your children are going to attend a public daycare that they are vaccinated (unless the child for medical reason cannot be vaccinated and they need a dr’s letter to that affect). And I think that is more than okay.

@proudhon made the argument about kids and McD’s and TV, well guess what. Here in B.C. it is now mandatory that your child until they graduate school MUST participate in at least 1 hour of physical activity a day. Some may think that is a great idea but wait. The schools will be responsible for 15 minutes of that if they are in elementary, 30 minutes of that if they are in Middle School or HS. The rest of the time falls on the parents. Again, it is not a choice. So what does these mean, if you cannot prove that your child participates in at least 1 hr of physical activity a day, the state can intervene and remove your child. Yes, this is to combat childhood obesity and the first step they did was removal of all junk foods from schools.

It becomes very scary when the government starts to make how your raise your children mandatory. Even so I agree with it, maybe a happy medium would be that if you want your child to go to daycare or public school, they need to be vaccinated unless they cannot for religious/medical reasons and the religious one poses a huge loophole but its a constitutional thing. If not they have to be home schooled, etc

There is no easy solution here.

Then someone made the following comment, “The government could take a WHO approach to vaccination: when a disease reaches pandemic level 6, vaccines are mandatory.” To which I responded:

If it reaches level 6, wouldn’t it be too late? You cannot be vaccinated if you are sick. At least that is the criteria here. If you have shown any sign of illness for a period of time before vaccination, you will not be vaccinated. The incubation period for these diseases vary, so how would one be able to tell who is already carrying the disease but not yet showing symptoms to those who are disease and vaccine free without carrying out a millions of blood tests that will cost millions of dollars where by the time the results come back, the disease is full blown?

How are they going to herd the people who have not been vaccinated into clinics? Logistically waiting until level 6 would be a nightmare.

In this case, it is so very difficult to find the line between respecting individual freedom and protecting the greater good. Unfortunately, like with many other things, you grant rights and freedoms to one group of people, it impedes the rights and freedoms of another group.

The antivaxx movements scares the living *beep* out of me. I have Lupus and am allergic to vaccines so have never been vaccinated. My youngest had adverse reactions to his first two vaccines, so he was never fully vaccinated. Any time there is an outbreak of the smallest thing, I am not allowed to leave my house. It is not a nice way to live. That being said, forcing this upon people I think is too extreme on the other end of the scale.

Thankfully he clarified is statement to this, “I guess my point with the pandemic level 6 bit was that at that point, the entire population, whether they are attending public schools or not, would need to be vaccinated, barring medical exceptions. In other words, at that point, philosophical and religious exemptions would go out the window.”

Now that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my thoughts on this subject. As I said, in theory it is so easy to say yes. However, in practice, there is so much that can go wrong and end up causing greater harm. Let’s just start with the logistics of carrying out such a program IF a law was drafted that would not leave it open for the government to start imposing all kinds of other medical treatment that some many feel does not fall under the life-threatening criteria and they feel it is their bodies, they should be able to choose which medical treatments they and their families should undergo.

How exactly are they going to keep record of all of this? For instance, where I live, you do not go to your family doctor or pediatrician to get vaccinated. The program is carried out by the local heath authority aka the government. Before your child is of school age, you take them to your local health unit where the heath nurse administers the vaccine. When the child is of school age, the health nurse goes to your child’s school and administers them there. Now in other parts of the country, you go to your doctor to be vaccinated. Here, the doctors do not keep record of your child’s vaccines the health authority via the government does. Other places, it is up the parent and doctors to keep records. Now if it were nationally mandated to vaccinate, there would have to be a huge overhaul on the health system so that there is a central record of who and who is not vaccinated and how vaccination procedures will take place. That in itself would cost billions of dollars and would be a nightmare. Now that is just one small logistical nightmare I see in regards to this IF the logistical nightmare of how this law would be drafted is solved.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer here. The best thing people can do is continue to educate in a calm manner and try to counter the fear tactics used by McCarthy et al. Hopefully we can avoid a pandemic of these diseases. At that point, no one will have a say whether they are vaccinated or not.





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