Archive for the ‘internet’ category

The Facebook Saga Conclusion… Hopefully

March 29th, 2011

A question on Formspring reminded me that I hadn’t updated you all about my Facebook Saga.

Well I don’t know how much of a saga it was but rather a bunch of drama and frustration. If you do not know what happened, Facebook locked me out of my account two days after some one hacked into my account, plus created a new email account in my name and started to impersonate me in an attempt to scam people out of money.

If you do not want to read (or haven’t read) the back story, as soon as I became aware of my account having been compromised a week ago Saturday, I changed my passwords and did my best to inform my Facebook friends. Two days later, one of those “friends” reported me to Facebook as a scammer and Facebook locked me out, plus they made the contents of my wall so that they were not visible to any of my friends who would try and look at my account.

I was beyond livid, at both Facebook (because if they had done their job, they’d have seen that I was already aware of the situation and took the steps they had me take, multiple times, to re-secure my account) and the person (who has yet to grow a pair and admit to it) who reported me. I even broke Lent and swore at my computer and the people at Facebook after they had me fill out yet another form where I had to prove my identity.

Over 24 hours after they locked me out and 6 forms, plus 3 changes of passwords later, they let me back into my account.

I had to tell them in great detail my most recent activity on Facebook (I had to do this 4 times). I had to send them a copy of my current profile picture. I had to answer a security question. I had to put names to the faces of my friends (this was difficult as I do not pay attention to who has what profile picture and if it isn’t of a face, then I’m really screwed). I had to give them all email address attached to my Facebook profile. The kicker was having to send them a copy of the email the person who was impersonating me was sending to every one. The first time I filled out the form, they said it was optional. Then they came back and told me that I hadn’t filled out the form completely. Thankfully, a couple of my friends had already forwarded the scam email to my regular email address and not Facebook (as some did), otherwise I would have been screwed there.

Anyway, I think Facebook finally became satisfied that it wasn’t my email that had been compromised (this is what they originally tried to tell me) and that it was a case of someone looking through my friends list for people who had their emails listed publicly, created an email in my name and then proceeded to email them. Whomever did this, went to a lot of trouble. Take a lot of time and effort to go through someone’s friends list one by one. As this is the second time I’ve been hacked in a 3 week period, it is difficult to not take this as a personal attack. Especially because of the time involved in this last one.

A couple of protips:

  1. Do not make your friends list public. To hide it from every one or every one but your friends, go to your privacy settings – connecting on Facebook and change the “see your friends list”.
  2. Do not make your email public. To hide your email address, go to your privacy settings – click custom settings – change all your contact info so that only you can see it. If someone wants your email, phone number, IM, address, etc., then they can take the time to send you a message on Facebook.
  3. I also have my profile almost completely private when being searched (was at the time of this as well, except stupid me had my friends list public). I highly recommend you do that. When scammers take the time to parse your profile to find information to use (they even used my children in their scam email… another reason I don’t give out their names in public or online), it is important to take these steps.

I really hope this is the end of the cyber garbage for a good long time. I can handle trolls (unfortunately they don’t take the time to come out and play that often; the majority of you are so very wonderful). However, when someone goes to such great lengths to either hack your websites or to impersonate you in an attempt to scam your friends, it is very difficult to not just throw your hands up in the air and walk away. It is quite difficult to remain rational, reminding yourself that it is random and not think that someone is out to get you, especially when it is 2 random attacks in such a short period of time.

Needless to say, the stress of this last month has finally hit me really hard. My body has exited fight mode and is now crashing hard. Hopefully, I can carve out some “me” time soon.

And once again, I’d like to thank you all for your support. My life gets really crazy at times and the fact there are so many of you who support me through it and make it feel safe for me to share the crazy means a lot. <3

So Full of Rage and Junk

March 21st, 2011

I am so angry! RAGING!

When does enough actually become enough? If you’ve been following my happening on either Facebook or Twitter, you know that despite the really awesometastic stuff that has been going on, there has been a lot of cow dung as well.

A couple weeks ago, Geeky Pleasures and the Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery were hacked, without mercy, for close to 72 hours straight. I almost had to pull them completely offline and start from scratch. Just when I think I can breathe, on Saturday I found out, while I was on-air no less, that my Facebook account was hacked. The person who hacked my Facebook, created a ymail account in my name, accessed my friend’s list and proceeded to email every one who had their emails listed publicly that I was in Londan, England, had been robbed and to please send money fast. The hacker also changed all of my privacy settings and sent a bunch of chat messages to people (as me) asking them to email me at said ymail address.

Some of my friends are smart and decided to email me both on and off Facebook to let me know what happened. I did all the necessary steps to resecure my account (because unlike some of my other friends, I am not an imbecile) and updated my status twice to let people know my account had been compromised and to ignore any emails or chats from that have anything to do with ymail (which I don’t even have a ymail account) or being stranded in London.

I thought it was done and dealt with. WRONG! Because one of my supposed friends decided to report me to Facebook and have my account locked. I found this out after receiving the following email:

Hi Julia,
We have locked your account for security purposes. Our systems indicate that your Facebook account may have been compromised by cyber criminals attempting to impersonate you. These criminals often will try to trick your friends into sending them money by claiming that you are stuck in a far away location and need assistance. It is likely that your email account has been compromised as well. As such, we have sent this email to all email addresses recently associated with your account. Obtaining access to a victim’s email is one of the primary ways these cyber criminals have been operating. Please take the following steps to regain control of your account:

* Reset your email passwords: Select new and unique passwords for all of your email addresses. Do not use the same password for different online accounts as this allows hackers to easily gain access to your other accounts, such as Facebook, once one account has been compromised.
* Disable email forwarding (if enabled): Check the Preferences/Settings of your email account to make sure the scammer did not add any unauthorised forwarding rules to your email. This is becoming a common practice for scammers to use, so it is important that you complete this extra step. If you need further assistance with this, please contact your email provider.
* After you have performed the above actions, click on the link (labeled ‘Proceed to account recovery’) at the bottom of this email to recover your account. You will be prompted to prove your identity in order to regain access.

It is very important that you complete the above steps in order to protect yourself and your friends. Please pay close attention to suspicious activity on your email account. Another individual may be reading and responding to your messages.

Hello idiots at Facebook: I did that TWO DAYS AGO when my account was compromised.

This cow dung just actually caused me to break Lent, AGAIN, because I swore at my computer when Facebook told me this, YET AGAIN:

Thank you for completing the necessary steps to protect the security of your account.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience, but at this time our security systems are unable to complete the verification of your account.

In order to continue with the account recovery process, please contact our User Operations team.

I already filled out that bloody form after you sent me the first email and making all the necessary changes AGAIN. How many freaking forms do I have to fill out??!! How many times do I have to change emails and passwords before you let me back in!?

One of the things that really pisses me off about this the most is that one of my so-called friends would have had to report me to Facebook. It boggles my mind that the people I know in real life I feel as if I can’t trust and the so-called strangers on Twitter have to be some of the best people and supports that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I’m almost tempted to delete all of the real life people because you think a friend would take the time to see if you were aware of the situation or not, instead of reporting your account to Facebook.

I’m livid. Absolutely livid. I still have hours of work to do and now I will not be able to finish it tonight as it involves posting things to the station’s Facebook page. I have no idea when they will let me back into my account.

I wonder how many of my “friends” will quietly remove themselves from my list after reading this (if they take the time to) and after I update my status to call out the imbecile who caused me to be locked out.

Sometimes I wish people had to take a competency test in order to be allowed to use the internet.

To my many friends and supporters on Twitter: You guys are awesome! Thanks for being there while I rant and rage, offering me support and laughs.

To my friends on Facebook who’ve actually been there through all this (whenever I’m allowed back on to post this): You guys are also awesome.

To the rest: Prepared to be broomed. I have enough to deal with without my private place turning into a place I am loathe to log into.

Yes, Jules is very surly at the moment. But really, enough is enough. The line must be drawn. HERE!  This far, NO FURTHER!

*Huge Sigh*

In Which Twitter Is The Driving Force Behind A Story

January 1st, 2011

A little bit of a back story before I get to the piece of hilarity. There are these three humans who I have the awesome fortune of working with at The Force 925. Their names are: Joe ‘Covenant’ Lamb (@JoeCovenant) (you should be familiar with Joe by now), Megan Allen (@mAyalaAllen) and Orev Deniker (@Aziraphel).

Let’s just say there was some banter between the 4 of us. Megan turned this banter into a story. And it is AWESOME! We are hoping to record this story (the 4 of us, reading our own parts) and then she will broadcast it on the station. At which point, the audio will be made available (if it gets done. PLEASE let it get done).

I realize some of you are not familiar with all the “characters” involved. But I think this story is very entertaining, even if you do not know the people behind the “characters.” What makes the story even more awesome, it was written around a flurry of tweets we were sending to each other.

So without further ado:

Viking Angst by Megan Allen

“Viking angst!” Both women in the room jumped in their seats at the quite surprising entrance of Joe. “I hope it leads to Viking death.”

“My Pirate angst sometimes leads to Pirate death,” Megan shrugged a little. “Why are you here instead of making this Viking angst happen?”

“Father Ted,” was the only reply.

Jules clicked in her tongue as she shook her head. “You should be writing, Joe.” She got That look on her face and even Megan had to look away.

“I feel like I should be writing now, and I’m not the one who said I was going to write,” she mumbled as she looked back down at her e-reader. “That look, it’s the look a mother.”

“I’m immune to it,” Joe declared.

“Balls!” Jules head shot up and she pointed at Joe. Megan bit her lip from laughing at the matching look that Joe somehow managed to imitate Jules exactly. Suddenly a battle of expressions erupted. The two competitors stood up from their seats, and took to the middle of the room.

Megan blinked, then looked back at the silent Orev in the corner. He only raised an eyebrow and shrugged, then both turned back to the unusual display taking place. Jules scrunched up her brows and her mouth opened slightly, as if to say, ‘What the-?’ Joe tilted his head a little, pointed at Jules, then pointed at his shirt. The two on-lookers tilted their heads quizzically.

‘Josephology: The study of Joe’ was what was printed, and no words were needed.

“I could end this easily,” Megan muttered to no one in particular. Putting down her e-reader she stood up from her chair and walked over to stand between the two combatants. Pulling out a pair of sunglasses from jacket pocket she suddenly turned to the side, tilted her head down, put the sunglasses on and put her hands on her hips.

Joe and Jules exchanged, another, expression, and looked over at Megan. “I think that,” Megan looked up slightly taking off the sunglasses, “I win the game.” She quickly walked off.

“Yeooooooow!” Orev yelled from the corner, playing the air guitar.

Jules suddenly pointed her finger, directing a rather nefarious look towards Megan. “Blasphemer!” Joe was speechless, not sure how to react to the freakish display that just occurred, and Megan was secretly glad.

“I should get back to writing,” Joe finally sputtered out.

“Happy killing and brutality!” Jules smiled and waved as Joe started to sulk away.

“Oh gods, what have I gotten myself into,” Orev said from his chair, his eyes glued to the screen of his laptop, messing with his playlist.

“I did warn you when I interviewed you,” Jules told him, grabbing a cup that was filled with coffee. “This station is loads of insanity and fun.”

“Welcome to the family!” Megan slid back into the room, sans sunglasses, her arms spread wide.

“Run,” Joe voiced echoed from the hallway, where he had stopped. “While you still have time,…. Run!” All three occupants of the room turned to look at the man standing in the opening of the archway. “You’re young, you still have a chance to live!”

“I’m 23, what about me?” Megan put an hand on her hip. Joe looked at her and shook his head discouragingly.

“You’re even Younger. But then again, young also means foolish, so you sadly don’t know any better.” He gave a mournful sigh. “Of course, when I was 23, I wasn’t young at all.” A sly grin crossed his face.

“You are so bloody full of it, Joe!” Jules didn’t bother to look at her friend as she drank some of her coffee, thinking about her to-do list that needed to be completed.

“Just because, Joe,” Orev spoke up, “you are too old and wizened to appreciate these fine ladies,…” he trailed off, knowing that he had gotten his point across.

“Not at all,” the older Scotsman rebuttled. “I just don’t need to flatter them quite so blatantly. As some of us do,” he coughed lightly.

Megan studiously ignored the men and Jules bit her tongue. “Go kill me some Vikings.”

“Viking Death!” Megan yelled out suddenly.

“Hmmm.. what to call this pagan who is about to get skinned alive….” Joe tapped his chin. “Ah! I know… “Orev waited, weeping like a newborn infant as they slowly-“”

“I demand likeness rights!” Orev interrupted the story.

“Bring on blood and violence!” Jules exclaimed, breaking up the two men. Joe started to mutter burning arrows, and curling smoke and the stench of burning flesh.

Megan sat down next to Jules, a knowing grin on her face as she pulled out her own laptop, opening a blank document.

“What exactly are you going to do with that?” Jules raised an eyebrow.

“I can write something, and I bet any money, that those two will say what I write.” She grinned as she started to type, her fingers flying across the keys.

“Look, Joe.” chimed in the ruggedly handsome Orev from the corner, looking briefly up from his playlist. Jules snorted and quickly clapped her hands over her mouth.

“Sorry, Orev,” replied Joe.. “I ‘like’ you and all.. Just not in the way you want me to…”

“I would stop there,” Jules suggested, try not to cough up her coffee from all the laughing she was attempting to keep down. “This has the potential to turn ugly,… for them.”

“I will simply have to console myself with the fact that I am vastly prettier than you,” Orev pronounced.

Megan and Jules looked at each other. “I didn’t write that.”

“I have to say,…” Jules started, not sure whether to shake her head or not. “Men should Not be pretty.”

“Exactly!” Joe stuck his finger up in the air in triumph. “Again, I win!”

“You won a long time ago, Joe, you know this,” Jules leaned back against the couch, holding the mug of still, somehow, warm coffee in her hand. “But that does not mean that you two should stop.” She grinned, mostly to herself. “It gives me pleasure.”

“Geeky pleasure.” Megan threw in.

“That was bad,” Jules snorted.

Setec Astronomy

August 25th, 2010

You all may hate me after this post. And by hate I mean, you really love me but you are getting even more frustrated with my secrets. Trust me, I’m frustrated with them as well. I swear, if I don’t get to unleash some of the SQUEE, and soon, I’m going to implode in ways that are both ferocious and disgustingly disturbing. It was suggested to me after I wrote my last blog, to write in code. Well, if you actually knew me (and I don’t mean that in a condescending sort of way), you know that would require me completely changing the way I think and process information.

I’m the person who has a hard time with rhetorics. I’m the person who is honest to a fault. The ability to be dishonest is something I need to work on. (Not really. I’m proud of my brutal honesty.) I’m the person who saw a video on Facebook, almost shared it, but was going to add “There is no way she accepted millions of friends requests! Sure she may have received millions, but you can only have so many thousand friends.” But then my brain quickly stopped me. Because the message of the video was to be careful of what person information you share and if you are going to accept strangers on Facebook, make sure your home address is not listed. (The video was about some girl who was brutally raped and murdered after adding the wrong person on Facebook). If I had posted my automatic, “Well that is just not possible and it is a complete over-exaggeration” literal/ skeptical/ critical/ scientific thoughts, I would have come off as cold-hearted and unfeeling. The message of the video was quite valid, but the way my brain works, it automatically goes to the logic of the situation and not the feeling and/or intent. And there was another instance where a comment was left somewhere and my first reaction was to correct a timezone remark. I suppose no harm is done by miscalculating 1 hour. I’ve had to stop reading the comments on that blog because my brain keeps screaming, “That is incorrect!” But then I’d come off as a know-it-all (which isn’t my intent), instead of some person who’s brain works in very peculiar ways. (I swear, I’ll get to the Setec Astronomy soon).

Another suggestion to help me uncork some of my need to share but not quite knowing how to go about it or what to write, was to write about gay rights. Well, I want to. But I am conflicted. In order for me to write about my views on gay rights beyond just saying “I believe they should have equal rights and that is that”, I’d have to talk about religion and my religious upbringing. Yeah… I don’t talk about religion in public. But under the circumstances it may not be a bad thing as it was my church who taught me gays should have equal rights. Whodda thunk? Organized religion being supportive of gays? Some may say, “Only in Canada.” So maybe I will write that post. I just need to ponder it a bit more.

Where was I going with this post? Oh yeah… I have some super awesometastic sooper sekrit things happening right now. I’ve told my Alfred. (Now, that is code! But in a way it isn’t as some know of whom I am talking and if you’ve read my blog long enough, he’s been mentioned before.) And after I’ve shared my moments of squee with him, he is nice enough to put on his logic hat and ask, “Jules, are you getting paid for this?” To which I sigh and respond, “No.” To which he sighs and responds, “Jules…” To which I smile, attempt to contain the giddy and say, “I know. I’ve thought the same things you are thinking. BUT this is giving me more exposure. I get to have a voice outside of my own content. It will give (insert things here) more exposure and awareness. It will give me more credibility. It is for a cause that is near and dear to me (or it is something I quite enjoy, brings me pleasure to participate in and makes me happy). And with all the extra, unsolicited exposure and writing opportunities, hopefully it leads to something paying soon. Because we both know, I really need the money. And even so when I started on all of this just over a year ago, money was the furthest thing from my mind, I am in desperate need of it right now. I’ve thought this through. I know I’ve said a million times that the next time someone asks me to create for them, I’ll ask them ‘How much?’ But these are really special circumstances.” And then he agrees (even so I’m sure he is still shaking his head on the inside but he is very nice and supportive and only wants what is best for me) and says, “That is really groovy! I’m happy for you.” And that is when I cannot contain my happy any longer and exclaim, “ISN’T IT THOUGH?!? This is so totally awesome! I can’t wait until I can share it with every one!”

And I really can’t. It is bloody KILLING me! So, I think I’ve come up with a happy compromise. Hopefully this will accomplish a few things. 1) I can release some of my SQUEE pressure that has left me feeling as if I am drowning and being suffocated by a whirlpool of ecstatic (if that is possible). 2) I don’t divulge the things I really cannot right now. If I were to divulge them, I think future possibilities will turn from many to zero in short order. Yet, I divulge enough for others to be happy for me (even so I think you’ll want to kill me at the same time for a variety of reasons). 3) Fill you in on some things that I feel are safe to share since they have been discussed (even so mostly quietly) on Twitter and other places online. And we all know, once it is online it really isn’t a secret anymore. 4) I don’t come off as some self-promoting, pompous asshat.  I’m afraid some of this may teeter on the edge of name dropping and name dropping isn’t all that kosher. Hopefully I can find a balance here that works for everyone.

So, without further ado:

Secrets That Aren’t Really Secrets: (click on clips below to visit the sites that I mention)

1) There is this awesome site/ service/ blogging tool call clp.ly. I’ve been part of the beta since it first launched. I’m affectionately known as “The Number 1 customer.” I adore them (both the people who work there and the service). And it is safe to say, they adore me. They used my site to demo their service at a tech conference thing a few weeks ago. It felt so unbelievable cool when they asked my permission to use Geeky Pleasures for their demo (and that same day, I awarded their service Geek of the Week). They’ve used Geeky Pleasures in a number of blog posts and were nice enough to feature it prominently on their press page. All of this I’ve shared via Twitter and Facebook but what I haven’t share yet – I was asked if I wanted to be a guest blogger. I said I’d love to. Now I just have to figure out what the hell it is I’m going to write!

Clipped from: clp.ly (share this clip)

Clipped from: clp.ly (share this clip)

Clipped from: clp.ly (share this clip)

If you do any type of blogging and content sharing, then I highly recommend you check out clp.ly.

Now moving on.

2) There is this site. It is still in its infancy. It is dedicated to one of the greatest nerd/geek fights of all time: Which is better: Star Wars or Star Trek? I also featured this site for Geek of the Week. I’ve gotten to know both creators through various different things.

Well, I was asked if I wanted to write for the site from time to time. Are you kidding? Writing about why Star Trek is so much better than Star Wars? Being able to have epic debates, not having to worry about language, throwing it down like never before? Of course! And I can see some people who read this taking a bit of an issue (especially some family members). Especially as I’m helping someone out and for nothing.

However, how can I turn down another space to write about things that cause me to have juicy geekasms? And besides, I want to help them out. If someone didn’t give me a hand when I was a nobody Program Director with a radio show called Geeky Pleasures, I wouldn’t have had the moderate success that I have been able to enjoy over the past little bit. And here is the thing, when those people did what they did for me, it wasn’t because I was seeking any type of “fame”. I just wanted to geek out and have fun. I had no expectations for anything. And the same goes for this. They asked me because they thought it would be fun for me and not to get themselves further ahead. Now, the results may end up being something quite different.

Oh, and they’ll be interviewing me for something. It will be quite unlike anything I’ve ever done before or they’ve done before. There will be some things that are quite familiar (like geeking out over things) but… well… you’ll just have to wait and see.

I think that is it for the things that are secret but not really which I feel are safe to share.

Sooper Sekrit Things

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. (I realize I am now over 1600 words. I thought this was going to be a short blog when I started. Go figure.)

1) I wrote a review a little while ago. (Sorry, I can’t tell you what review I’m speaking to, otherwise it may totally blow the secret). I was asked my permission for it to be used for something that really is beyond amazing and feature it in a way that… well… to put it plainly… I was so very humbled and touched that they want to use it and for this purpose. I responded to the email with, “Quote whatever you want”, but what I really wanted to say was, “FUCK YES!” And tears formed in my eyes, my soul was touched and I was deeply humbled.

2, 3, 4) The Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery is going to get some really nice press. I emailed some place asking if they’d feature the October project in their next issue. They said they would be more than happy to. They said they were very happy I contacted them. They had read my review of Love Simple and listened to my interview with Patrizia Hernandez and are very happy that I made contact with them. This led to them asking me if I wouldn’t mind writing for their magazine. (Before you ask, as I stated above… the answer is no.) SQUEE! Of course! Be able to write about Lupus to a more focused audience… I’d be crazy to say no. Then this subsequently led to my book also being featured.

(Seeing as their are a number of Lupus related magazines and such, I feel it safe to disclose this much information. This is really completely awesome. I’m not sure if you can truly comprehend how much it means to me that my voice is one they want to hear and feel others will want to hear as well. In the next few days, after the press release goes out, I can say for what magazine.)

Oh man, there is more. There is so much more. But I think this is the extent of what I can safely share at this moment in time. Sure, none of it is paying monetarily but what it is paying in other ways more than compensates. And all of these things are building blocks. All of these have the potential to lead to bigger things. All of these allow me to use my various voices. And maybe, just maybe, next time someone asks me to write, it will be a paying job. Because we all know, I’m in desperate need at the moment.

Thanks once again for sharing with me my moments of squee.

I Think It Is Done

June 28th, 2010

What a bloody crazy week/weekend. Over 4 gigs of data later and all my websites have been successfully transfered to their new home. Overall, I do think it went pretty smoothly. There were a few bumps in the road but they were quickly ironed out.

But it has left me mentally exhausted. I’m edgy. I’m cranky. I’m irritable. I am having a difficult time communicating which just exacerbates the edgy, cranky and irritable. I was hoping to get a day of mental rest yesterday in order to fix this but it didn’t happen. Stupid Jules who cannot not do something when she sees it needs to be done, decided to do some things that would fall under the work category and I am left to feel as if I haven’t had any me time in a billionionty-one + infinity years.

And now that the transfer is complete, I have a bunch of songs that I need to finish reviewing for Spintunes by tomorrow and all I want to do right now is sleep for the rest of the week. But the site is transfered. And that is good. So far, it seems to be running splendidly. My load times are A LOT quicker. I do not know if anyone else has noticed that difference.

I do have to thank Will Bradley for the new home. I put a link on the bottom of Geeky Pleasures saying the hosting is courtesy of Zyphon.com. I’ve also tweeted about it to some extent. As I was writing up the “I need your help” post, he tweeted me asking if it would help if he ran my site on one of his servers. I told him I was busy writing up a post at that very moment explaining what I need and once it was done, I’d send him a link and then we’d talk.

After he read the post, he tweeted back to me, “So, I ask you again. Would you like me to host your site on one of my VPS for free.” Well, I think my response should be pretty damn obvious, HELLZ YA! He was super awesome and helpful with the transfer. He put up with my nitpicking and asking him to add a bunch of crazy things. I felt horrible asking especially as he is giving me space for nothing, but without a single complain or any sign of frustration, he did it. In the middle of last night, I realized I had fubar’d myself by changing the URL for my personal blog when it comes to sites that have linked to it. He saw my tweet and wrote a redirect code so that I wouldn’t have to spend hours with a plugin manually entering every old URL to redirect to the equivalent new URL. He was up until like 6 am this morning working on my site to make sure it ran smoothly for all of you. That is totally awesome. There are still a couple backend things to finish up, but the really important changes are done (I think).

I just hope I don’t use up my space on his server too quickly. I’m already over 50% in storage capacity because between my three sites, as there is a lot of media and data. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it (I think that eventual bridge issue has already been solved but I am tired and cannot recall correctly. I could check my email for the answer, but I am too lazy at the moment). At least I have a new home and it is one less thing for me to worry about because my plate is overfull at the moment with things both professional and personal.

Now just because my hosting is free at the moment thanks to a fantabulous sponsor, doesn’t mean I still don’t need your help. There are still other bills and such to pay to keep the sites going. So if you have no already, please read the post before this one and email me if you think you can help or point me in the right direction. And there is always the donate button on Geeky Pleasures. Plus you can purchase Geeky Pleasures merch and purchase my book (free shipping during the summer to US customers) and this also helps raise money for Lupus research and treatment.

Thank you all again for putting up with not so pleasant Jules lately. Hopefully pleasant Jules makes an appearance again soon. She just needs some rest, a bit of a time out and some room to sort a bunch of stuff that is going on.

In Which Kid2 And I Share A Geekasm

May 28th, 2010

Today was full of awesome and win. And I thought an experience I shared last night with Kid2 wouldn’t be able to be topped for awhile.

Last night, The Hoff somehow came up in conversation. I decided to share some of my most favourite cheesy Hoff music videos with Kid2. And he loved them almost as much as I do. It was a pretty fun thing to share with him. It was nice to see him share the same enthusiasm that I do for things that are just a little bit off. I keep trying to figure out if I am a bad influence or a good influence on my children as I expose them to things children normally have to come upon on their own or that in “normal” households, they cannot share the joy with their parents. I thought it would be awhile before an equally awesome event would take place. And then earlier today, was The Awesome Hour.

Wil Wheaton is currently at the Phoenix Comic Con. He has this thing that he does at conventions called The Awesome Hour. He blogged about it yesterday and I called him a tease for not sharing with his readers the epiphany he had come up with that would later become The Awesome Hour. Then today, just as it was about to start, he tweeted that it would be streamed live over this thing called the internets. This made a happy Jules a very happy Jules indeed.

Just as it was starting, Kid2 came whizzing into the house (as he does) with a quick “Hi!” and “Bye! Going to go whiz through Splinter Cell again!” Then this streak of a child went flashing down the corridor. I called out, “Hey! You! Not so fast! Wil is speaking. Do you want to come and listen with me?” He replied with, “I’ve heard Wil speak, mom. Maybe another time”, as he began to turn to make his exit. Before he could get a quarter of the way there, I informed him that Wil is currently speaking live at a convention and we can listen to it live! Online! We don’t even have to leave the comfort of being pantless to attend a convention that is 2620.012 km away! He found this idea to be pretty intriguing and pulled up a chair beside me. (Isn’t living in the future awesome!)

Near the beginning of his talk, Wil was speaking about the Atari 2600. Holy jumping jellybeans! If only you could see Kid2’s face as it lit up as Wil spoke about gaming. And to make it even more awesome, about gaming from the 80s. Kid2 loves the 80s. There are times I think he knows more about the 80s than I do and I grew up in the them. Kid2 wasn’t even a glimmer in his dad’s eye at that time. It really was this super cool thing to watch as Kid2’s face was pointing towards me. However, he was looking passed me as he cocked his left ear to listen ever so intently to the words Wil spoke.

As Kid2 looks passed me, I found myself staring back at him while the tones of Wil’s voice faded into the background. I watched the sparkle in his eyes, his mouth curl with half smiles. I watched him fist pump the air, only to be jostled back into reality when Kid2 would exclaim, “O.M.G! MOM! This is freaking rad!” and I would have turn my ear back to what was being said so that I could comment and have a geeky conversation with my son. We laughed at how Wil has thrown around “that’s what she said” with his boys, as it is a common occurrence in this house. We had discussions about all the games Wil mentioned as they are some of Kid2’s favourites. We talked about how Wil’s kids are weird since they would tell Wil he’s weird when really he isn’t (clarification: my children call me weird all the time. But in this house it is a compliment as my boys think I am pretty damn cool). I smiled every time Kid2 would comment about how similar Wil and I are.

That actually use to be a running joke with my ex. I would say something or talk about something, only for Wil to tweet almost the exact same thing or blog about it shortly afterwards. He would joke that Wil and I were long lost twins even so we are 3.5 years apart. Something about a tear in the space-time continuum messing with when I came into existence as you hear and see me now. And this is the major reason why I enjoy Wil the way I do. Not because of some silly crush that formed when I was 10. But because we are the same “people”.

Our lives developed very similarly. An example of that is when he was 25ish he had two boys, the oldest being 5ish. When I was 25ish, I had to two boys, my oldest being 5. We also share A LOT of the same geeky/nerdy obsessions. We have the same warped sense of humour. And we are basically the same age. Even so I didn’t literally grow up with him in the sense where we grew up as friends and hanging out etc, I did grow up with him and he was the first geeky person for me to be acquainted with in some manner. It was nice having someone similar to me having the same experiences I would have but a couple years before me so that I knew what was to come.

So, of course it makes me happy that he is one of the people Kid2 looks up to. When I was Kid2’s age, I was the lone geek/nerd. I wasn’t teased for it by my peers. They always seemed to just accept it. But I had no one to really look up to or to relate with. I had no models in the media to let me know that it was cool and okay. I had to tread these waters alone. It wasn’t until adulthood and the internets that I was able to find my tribe and by that time, I was too old for role models.

And even so I think my boys have a pretty cool geeky role model in me, it comforts me that they get to have role models outside of me. They were born into this geeky family which my generation had to go through a lot of teasing and pain to create and have it be accepted. It makes me smile with a stupid grin that my once childhood crush is now one of Kid2’s biggest role models. (Don’t tell Wil. He gets a little self-conscious when he has to think about these things.)

The Awesome Hour was almost over and Kid2 decided he didn’t want to listen to anymore of the Q&A and really needed to tear through Splinter Cell for like the billionth time. He went into the living room and played his game. But every now and then I would hear a big cheer as Wil would mention things such as, people who think girls shouldn’t like these things are stupid. There was an even louder cheer (and I swear I heard a fist pump) when Wil said geek girls are hawt (and a “Mom, Wil thinks you’re hawt! They don’t get much geekier than you, mom!). And an “all right!” when Wil said he was left handed (Kid2, even so he is ambi, decides to use his left more than his right).

I have to say The Awesome Hour was pretty damn awesome. And not because of what Wil had to say (don’t get me wrong he is a great speaker and very funny) but because I got to geekasm with my 11 year old son. We may have been geekasming over different things, as our heads were in different places, but I cannot think of a better way to spend time with my son. Thank you, internets. Thank you, future. Thank you, Wil.

You Would Think I Would Learn Or Something

May 15th, 2010

Maybe the “or something” is the only thing remotely relevant to what is on my mind at this moment. This something has been plaguing me all week. It is frustrating and irritating like nails down a chalkboard while a gnat buzzes your ear.

“I use to be brilliant” has been something my brain has been saying for a few weeks now. I’m sure if you searched my last few blog posts and listened to my Lupus podcast, you’d read and hear me say this. I have come to realize in the last week after the successful completion of my World Lupus Day project, I’m still brilliant. Just in other ways. I may not be able to hike for hours upon hours anymore. I may not be going for long runs anymore. I may not be dancing over 12 hours a week anymore. I may not be shining on stage anymore. I may not be spending hours crafting and painting anymore. I may not be able to recall the huge amount of information stored within my database of a brain with the same ease as I once could. I may not be able to vocalize my thoughts effectively and succinctly as I once did. But I can still create and be productive.

My latest project is proof of this. Hindsight can be a royal bitch at times. I just had the thought that I wish I had taken screenshots of the virtual art gallery before I transformed her from a caterpillar to a butterfly. When  I told people that it would be going through a slight redesign they didn’t understand what was wrong with it. They thought it nice to look at and functional. But I had a vision. I had a strong idea of how I wanted this transformation to happen. The caterpillar phase used the colours from my book. The butterfly phase uses the colours from the World Lupus Day logo but with a stronger background to make all the elements pop. The layout is basically the same. But with a redesign of the colours and adding some elements, the transformation was quite noticeable. Beautiful and gorgeous are some of the words people used to describe the new site.

I don’t know where I’m going with my thoughts at the moment. I do think what I did is quite impressive. Even if you do not take into account that I have been having to spend roughly 12 hours of my day sleeping the past couple of weeks, I did something few would be able to accomplish. Well at least not in the time frame that I had set for myself. Before the site underwent its transformation, it had 3 pages and 10 posts. In less than 24 hours there was an almost complete template redesign, now has 13 pages and 36 posts, 6 videos (4 of which I had to edit including 1 that I created), a dedicated YouTube channel, 12 photo galleries comprising of 73 different photos, 4 songs and a whole bunch of links. I accomplished all of this in less than 24 hours. I even had a couple of hours to spare before my self-imposed deadline. And when I was done, I was beyond exhausted. I still am. I thought I would look forward to a week of rest and nothing added to do. I was wrong.

I have been so bored this week. I am use to having a million projects on the go at once. My brain needs to be kept busy and engaged. I like deadlines. I like having more to-do lists than should be legal. I need to have these things. If I don’t, my brain because listless and it wanders. I have been beyond exhausted. My current flare is kicking my ass in more ways that I can articulate. Despite it, I still have drive and ambition. My passion is still ignited and my need to be productive has not been stamped out. I can still accomplish huge things despite it. My body may not physically be able to do much these days but my brain (even when really fuzzy as it currently is) can still accomplish great things.

This frustrates me in a way. I think what frustrates me is there are so many jobs I can do. There are so many things that can be accomplished over the net. But for whatever reason, it seems potential employers are hesitant of either creating new telecommuting jobs or transforming jobs once thought of office jobs to telecommuting jobs. And there are so many tools that make this transformation so simple and these jobs effective. This past week has reminded me that I can still get a lot of things done and in very little time. And while a lot of people close to me are probably thinking I should be resting and recuperating instead of trying to find myself another big project, afraid that I am going to collapse and my flare get worse (which could very well happen and yes I do need rest), I know what I need.

I NEED to feel productive. I need to feel as if I am accomplishing something ESPECIALLY when I am feeling dim instead of brilliant. I need to have something that reminds me, sure I am not as brilliant in some areas of my life as I once was but I have found new ways to be brilliant. I have found new ways to shine. I found ways to turn things that are a huge disadvantage into an advantage. I have not given up.

Yes, I still need to find balance. Or better yet, I need to learn balance. I tend to overdo it as a result of a variety of things. But honestly, the resulting beyond exhaustion is so worth it. Because I feel good about myself. I do not feel like something that should be thrown out with the trash or shot like a lame thoroughbred because I cannot race like I once could. I think for once I want to be noticed. I try to fly under the radar for some weird reason. I have asked people I have interviewed to not make a big deal out of it so that I could remain unnoticed. I don’t do things so much to get noticed by others but for my own sense of self-accomplishment.

But I think this may be changing. The more I accomplish, the more I see the finished results of the crazy ideas that I keep having , the more I think “Holy shit! That is pretty awesome! Even if you do not take into account my disability, that is pretty awesome!”. And then I look at the world and feel a little slighted that there is so much I can do from the comfort of my home, despite my crazy but necessary sleep/rest cycle, yet I cannot find opportunities to use my very unique and what I consider awesome skill sets. I feel defeated when opportunities are not presented to me. I know you have to work to find things. And even though I don’t get huge recognition, I still get my fair share. Close to 200,000 page views in less than a year on Geeky Pleasures without any real promotion is an indication of this. And when I think that Fark only got 30,000 in their first year and in a time when they had no competition like I do now, I feel accomplished. People keep telling me how much they love what I put out there and there is a part of me that cannot help but to think “then why isn’t it paying off in some real way?”

I really do not know where I am going with this, either with my current thoughts that I am spewing out as I think them or with anything that I am currently working on or want to work on. Maybe that is part of the problem. As I’ve said, I’m bored. Even so I am still producing things on a daily basis, I am feeling unproductive. I need something that I am not getting at the moment. I need something that will really engage my brain. I need something where I feel creative. Maybe something will present itself, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll find an opportunity, maybe I won’t. I do know that something needs to happen soon before I start once again feeling dim instead of the brilliant that I am.

In Which My World Lupus Day Idea Becomes Reality And Comes To Fruition

April 20th, 2010

All that I can really say right now is wow and thank you. I never thought in a million years that my crazy idea to help bring attention and awareness to Lupus would come to fruition and be a reality. I want to thank everyone who helped by giving me ideas. I am actually quite amazed and impressed with myself as well. I tweeted my idea, I put it on Facebook and I blogged about. Within hours, I got feedback, both in public and private. I sat on the idea for 24 hours and then the “how” I would execute it flashed inside of my head. And within hours, the beginning of the final project had been created and you can now go check it out at http://lupus.juliasherred.com. When I posted my blog two nights ago, I thought it would be at least a week before anything concrete would happen where I could create a dedicate site for it. Again, thank you everyone for coming so quickly on board with this, spreading the word, giving ideas and making another of my crazy ideas a reality. It really would have just stayed a crazy idea without your support. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

And just to give you little summary of what you can find over on the dedicated site, here is the front page write-up:

Welcome to World Lupus Day: A Virtual Gallery To Bring Awareness To Lupus.

Hi, my name is Julia “Jules” Sherred and I have Lupus. Some of you may already be familiar with my story and others may not.

My story is long and it has been a difficult one. This may be one of the only things I may be able to say that will link my story to all others who live with this disease. Lupus has a thousand faces and often times this makes it difficult to adequately explain what exactly Lupus is. Many people have no idea what Lupus is or how it works.  Sure they hear the phrase thrown around as some sort of catchphrase or meme but many remain unaware of what Lupus is outside of hearing in on some television program. Even the medical profession is still trying to find some much needed answers in an effort to unravel the mystery of this disease. And this is one of the reasons I decided to create this site.

One night I was sitting and thinking of possible ways to do something grand in honour of World Lupus Day. I wanted to do something big-ish. Something, regardless of where someone lived, they could participate. The only concrete idea I had was that I wanted it to have a heavy butterfly theme. Of course, other motifs and themes are more than welcome. I wanted to gather art, music, crafting, videos, stories, poems, anything anybody could think of to bring even a little bit more awareness to this disease outside of some catchphrase. Something artsy and multimedia. Something in which anyone can collaborate and contribute to despite their talents. I blogged about it and for some reason I didn’t think it would go far. In less than 24 hours, I had some amazing responses and was given many ideas that would enable me to put this “thing” into motion.

Below, you will find links to many ways in which you can help. You can choose to jump on board an existing project or if there is not a project already listed that you feel would be a good one, there is also a link to suggest new projects. I ask that all projects be completed by May 8th and any associated media (pictures, videos, stories, poems, etc.) be sent to me by Midnight PDT on that same date. That will give me 2 sleepless days rearranging the site so that it may become a virtual art gallery dedicated to Lupus, Lupus awareness and above all, dedicated to every person affected by this disease whether a sufferer or family member. Then on May 10 at 12 am PDT, the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly will be complete and all of our efforts can flutter out to the world.

In order to make this as successful as possible, I have created a Facebook event. Please invite every one that you know. As well, please pass on this URL to as many people as possible to make this event as big-ish as possible. If you have any questions or if you have media to send me for this project, please email me here.

Again, thank you.

Crazy Idea For World Lupus Day May 10

April 18th, 2010

So I am busy thinking of crazy ideas once again. This one is kinda immediate and urgent as May 10 is not that far away.

I want to do something big-ish in honour of World Lupus Day on May 10. Something where any one can collaborate on through the wonders of the internet. What exactly that consists of, what that thing is, I am still not sure. I do know that I want to to spread far and wide, beyond the reaches of TMA and my Geeky Pleasures connections. I want to collect a lot of different “things” in honour of this day and then host them all in one easy spot for people to find (with links pointing people to YouTube vids or blogs etc created for this).

Some ideas already tossed out at me are:

  1. Art Projects
  2. Music
  3. Stories
  4. Poetry
  5. Videos

My friend Ryan suggested to me ” You could go “we are the world” style, pick a song you think represents the cause, have people redo it, and edit it together” but what I was actually thinking was going on better if anyone was up to it. The symbol of Lupus is the butterfly. I was thinking maybe some of you would like to write for me your very own butterfly songs. It would be even cooler (and I can’t believe I am thinking this as I have not sung in public in so very long) if there was a song done that I could sing myself and I would create a video for it. GAH! I seriously cannot believe I am thinking that but it would be kinda cool I think.

I was also thinking I would create a FB event and for once spam the crap out of people to join in and have them spam the crap out of it for others to join it and that way it gives opportunities for many people to contribute in some fashion.

Any other suggestions, help, ideas would be greatly appreciated. Or maybe someone should tell me I am being an idiot for even suggesting a thing.

If you do not want to leave suggestions in the comments below, then email me here.

In Which I Beat Temptation And I Get Another Song! SQUEE!

April 4th, 2010

OMG! I am totally squee’ing at the moment! THIS IS AWESOME!! Holy shit! Seriously DUDES! And if you don’t squee once I am done with this, there is something seriously wrong with you! You will really want to read past the back story to hear the TOTALLY AWESOME AND WIN!

Okay, a bit of a back story. Lent just ended. And I do something every year for Lent. Not because a church tells me too, but for my own spiritual needs. Some of the hardest Lents included the year I gave up chocolate. Another hard Lent was the year I gave up sex. This year I gave up innuendo and double-entendre. I could still talk technically about sex but nothing that could fall under “that what s/he said!” I have to say this was harder than the years I gave up chocolate and sex, combined.

Once Lent was over, I had a huge release as I tweeted the following:

WOOT! It is Easter! Time to celebrate a guy who was nail with wood, rose to the occasions and came 3 days later. May he come again.

Lent was long and hard. It tried to beat me. But like a trooper, I rode it for 1104 hours right till the very end. I came through it like a champ. I would like to thank everyone for making it a group event. Everyone who watched and participated. It would not have been nearly as enjoyable had you not all played your part. Thank you.

Man, that release was soooooooooooo good.

And then shortly after:

OH: He has come close to spilling a few times but there were always warnings. This time it just came without warning.

But here is the really awesome part. There is this really cool lady. Her name is Denise Hudson (@RangerDenni). I got to know her through Song Fu and TMA. She told me she was going to write me a song as a reward for Lent. And it is seriously bloody brilliant! And to make it very fitting, she had the amazing and wonderful Joe ‘Covenant’ Lamb (@JoeCovenant) be a part of it. Joe was my #1 temptation during Lent. And I even co-wrote part of it! She included a limerick that I wrote about Joe one day during a JoeCast! And she included so many “me” things and inside jokes in it. It really is just brilliant and I can’t stop squee’ing! I am including it for your listening pleasure. I can’t stop smiling!

In Which Jules Rejoins Us With Her Bad Self – Denise Hudson ft Joe ‘Covenant’ Lamb and special guest

:

 

“In Which Jules Rejoins Us All With Her Bad Self”
Lyrics BY: Denise Hudson / Julia Sherred / Joe “Covenant” Lamb

(featuring Joe “Covenant” Lamb & special guest)

Happy Easter to Julia Sherred
Who handcuffed herself to the bed
of denial and sacrifice
till April third at midnight
counting the sec’s(!) till the END!

Now Jules made a promise to God
or to Great Aunty Maude
or The Spaghetti Monster or to Bob or whoever you like
the point was she would strike
from her mind all the semblance of bawd

Now Jules is the queen of things geeky
But the boys and the girls they are quite cheeky
tempting lively young Jules
to PM with her rules
and I wondered if she’d go get freaky

Innuendo was filling her eyes
She looked desperately to the skies
Praying Polly’d send rain
to cool off her pain
“That’s What She Said’s” were swarming like flies

[interlude consisting of a blended array of samples from the hysterical Count video that made me pee on myself, that Mystic Cat thing, and a certain song from our pre-teen years that Joe overplays at casts that he thinks gets women in their thirties all misted up… and which I play in a motet like fashion on period instruments fashioned from various VSTs]

What could keep poor Jules afloat?
Could a stirring bridge be a lifeboat?
Because just screaming “LENT”
isn’t paying the rent
and so on an unrelated note …

[Enter Joe]

“Now just because Den is the author of this
And the words have come out of her head
There’s a big control freak
In this Queen of the Geek
So here’s words from Dear Ms. Sherred”

{ENTER LYRICS BY JULIA SHERRED, which Joe feels necessary to change and stuff, because he’s annoying}

There once was a guy named Joe
Whom I think everybody should know
He banged on his bodhran
All the while he sang
And Joecast is the name of his show

REPEAT IN A ROUSING ROUND:

There once was a guy named Joe
Whom I think everyone should know
He banged on his bodhran
All the while he sang
And Joecast is the name of his show

Jules will go into Joecast
And I think we will all have a blast
As she lays down some smack
That’ll give heart attack
Cuz we’ve all seen how long SHE can last ….

The TMA Podcast was WIN!
You could not be derailed by your friends
Not even passiontide
could pull you aside
As you pushed all the way through the end …

So praise be to the Holies on High
And his hotness Sir Optimus Prime!
As you’ve reached the apex
You can talk about sex
In whichever which way you can find

Since I cannot mail you a taco
down the hall to the headmasters we’ll go
Every slip of the tongue
In our orgy of fun
TMA smacks for chat innuendo

So cheers to a successful lent
We imagine you’re feeling quite spent
May the gal from BC
Give an orgasmic squee!!!!!!!!!
You did it! You did it!

….. #andedric