Archive for the ‘media’ category

You Can, Once Again, Say Faggot On Canadian Radio

August 31st, 2011

Earlier this year, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that the Dire Straits’ song Money For Nothing was inappropriate for air-play on Canadian radio. This caused a lot of buzz and outrage. In my opinion, a lot of the criticism was unfounded. People were saying our free speech was being threatened, especially as there is not much that is censored in Canada. We do not have a list of words that can’t be said in the media. Every thing is looked at on an individual basis. Even so I do not agree with censorship, I did support this decision. If you haven’t read my original post on this subject, you can do so here.

Today, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council reversed their decision. Well, in a round-about sort of way. What they are now saying is the follow:

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled Wednesday that a homosexual slur in the Dire Straits hit Money for Nothing is inappropriate but has to be taken in context and suggests individual radio stations choose whether the song is acceptable.

The CRTC had asked for a review of the council’s January ban on the song, which created a public backlash.

The outcry occurred after the council ruled the 1985 song was unfit for radio because its lyrics include an anti-gay slur.

On Wednesday, the council released its review and said the original decision was correct in deeming the song inappropriate.

But it added that the context of the tune must be taken into consideration.

The majority of the council’s panel felt the song used the word satirically and not in a hateful manner.

It noted alternative versions of the song are available and suggested broadcasters choose which to play based on the sensitivity of listeners.

The panel deemed the Grammy-winning 1985 rock tune unfit for Canadian radio in its unedited version, after a listener of CHOZ-FM in St. John’s complained about the use of the word “faggot” in the song’s lyrics.

 

I consider this another win for free speech in Canada. I consider this a win for artistic integrity. I also think this somewhat reversal will spark a different set of controversies. But we live in a country that allows you to speak freely about such things. And if you don’t want to listen to this song in its original format, if you are one who finds it offensive, then don’t listen. Turn off the station and find another one that suits your needs. Nobody is forcing you to listen, just like nobody is forcing you to watch blue movies on network television or forcing you to hear profanity during interviews on the news. You have choice. Take advantage of it. And be happy that your right to free speech and artistic expression is being upheld.

In Which I Yell ‘SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!’ And My Brain Implodes

April 21st, 2011

Today started off uber awesome. I received a very exciting email that I cannot talk about. I had a very exciting meeting about the new radio station that I cannot talk about. Today has been awesome.

Just when I think things cannot get any better and I cannot contain my excitement any longer, while at the same time warding off an impending panic attack because things can become equally horrible within a second if it all fall apart, I noticed ‘it’. The thing which nearly caused me to break LENT but instead caused me to exclaim, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” and make my brain implode.

I’m neurotic about my stats. I was checking them, as I do obsessively throughout the day. That is when I noticed a link referral to Geeky Pleasures from a site I have not seen link to me before. Being OCD about such things, I clicked on the referral link. This referral link was from an online entertainment magazine that I hadn’t heard of before. So, I did what any good OCD nerd would do. I decided to investigate this website. I searched it out on Alexa. My brain sputtered when I saw that it has a worldwide rank 384.

That is when I decided to look it up on the good old Wikipedia and read the following:

Zimbio.com, a San Carlos, California, USA-based company is an online magazine publisher. It was founded by Tony Mamone and Danny Khatib. Mamone is the CEO of the company, Khatib is its president, and John Newlin is the Editor-in-Chief.

Zimbio publishes a blend of professionally written featured stories, user contributed articles, videos and high resolution photography. The site commonly covers headlines in entertainment, style, current events, and more.

Zimbio has also launched “Zimbio TV” that features various videos from very popular TV series and syndicated shows.

According to Quantcast, Zimbio is ranked the 141 most visited US site on the Internet. In September 2010, it received around 21 million visits.[2] In February 2009, Zimbio was one of the fastest growing community sites on the internet.[3]

The company is venture-backed by Menlo Ventures and Draper Richards.

 

Want to know what article of mine they posted, added by CEO Tony Mamone? Click the clip below:

 

Tony, I don’t know how you found my site but thank you for linking to it. It makes my brain especially implode that you linked to one of my articles about the space shuttle program and William Shatner. For something like that to hit a high traffic, mainstream entertainment section of a website which receives over 8 million unique visitors a month, in the USA alone, is both wonderful and bizarre. Especially when stuff like this is not what I had planned for.

Sorry if this seems like I’m name dropping or something. But this is a major thing for me and I don’t know what to make of it. Things like this just don’t happen to small town girls from Canada and I am grateful and currently a wee bit overwhelmed by it all.

Now please excuse me while I faint.

You Can’t Say Faggot In Canada

January 13th, 2011

Well… actually you can. It all depends on the context of the word being used in Canadian media.

Today has been a very interesting day for me. Why? Seeing all of the discourse on the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Committee’s decision to ban the uncensored version of the song “Money for Nothing” by the Dire Straits, from being aired on Canadian Radio. Working in radio myself and always going on and on about how little censorship we have here in Canada makes this a very relevant topic and has the possibility of affecting my job.

Part of my job is too make sure that the programming on The Force 925 keeps to certain standards. Growing up in a society that allows soft porn on regular network television, after 8 pm at night, has definitely shaped the way I look at censorship in the media. At The Force, we have a policy that states, “You are free to play whatever music you want, in its original format, as long as:

  1. It is not considerably offensive;
  2. If it does contain profanity, give a disclaimer, prior to playing the song, so if people are listening at work (or even at home), they can self-censor;
  3. If you are not sure if the song can be construed as being overtly offensive, be safe and give the disclaimer;
  4. If still in doubt, ask and I’ll tell you how to proceed.”

Some of our American audience (despite it being online radio and not subject to FCC regulations) are still trying to become accustomed to this. I have received a couple comments on it and how they think it will harm our chances of getting advertisers or sponsors. And that is when I politely point out that satellite radio would not exist if this were true and neither would HBO, etc. And if a warning is not sufficient enough for you, then you are free to listen to the thousands of other radio stations. However, most people are cool with it and appreciate that we are not censoring but allowing them the opportunity to tune out if they deem it appropriate.

So, all that being said, why am I so completely okay with today’s ruling from the CBSC?

First, the word faggot has not been completely banned. Just this one song. And to put it in more context, most radio stations played the “radio safe” version which substitutes “faggot” with “mother”, so it was never an issue til now. Except for the words “wop”, “wog” and “guinea”, there are no words that are completely banned from being broadcasted on Canadian television and radio, despite numerous complaints. You can still say: asshole, bitch, shit, fuck, nigger, Jesus Christ (in an expletive context), cunt (even so you, apparently, you can say it on stage in some provinces due to their individual profanity laws), fag and the list can go on.

Second, since the CBSC was founded in 1990 and after hearing numerous complaints, there have only been 2 or 3 songs (that I can think of, off the top of my head. I could very well be wrong  on this number) that have been banned from the air waves in its original format. And those  that have been banned are not even listed anywhere. There is no list. This is not a blanket thing. Complaints are looked at on a case per case basis. In this instance, it took almost a full year for the CBSC to make their decision.

There decision is based on this one rule, which in part states (emphasis added):

“broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.”

And the lyric, which the CBSC thinks, breaches that rule:

The little faggot with the earring and the makeup

Yeah, buddy, that’s his own hair

That little faggot’s got his own jet airplane

That little faggot, he’s a millionaire

Even I, with my ultra liberal point of view, can see how that is largely offensive in today’s age. And even so I can also see how use of the other words above can be seen as largely offensive, well then complain or don’t listen to the station broadcasting music, which you find offensive.

Third, there isn’t a fine or anything punitive involved. All the station in question has to do is inform its listeners of the board’s decision and why the decision was reached. Simple.

In my opinion, I think perhaps why this whole thing has become what it has today is that people assume we have clear-cut standards, when Canada doesn’t. Every thing is decided on a case per case basis, as complaints arise. Nobody has complained about nigger being on the radio yet, so it still airs. There have been complaints regarding its use on television, yet the board has decided it is allowable. So why this one song? Because those assembled for this board hearing (made of broadcasters and professionals) thought it was the right decision. Considering how many complaints they receive, and only a handful songs, out of thousands that could be banned, have been “banned” (not completely), I think the track record is pretty good. Our free speech is safe. This thing about airing music the way the artist intends (which we Canadians brag about) is still largely safe.

For me, the most disappointing thing is how incomplete the reporting has been in this case. I did a search, to read as much as I could, and I found only a few reports which give statements released by the board as to the hows and whys. I think this is creating too much worry that we are facing censorship in Canada. Worry that I personally feel is unfounded. I’ll begin to worry if suddenly more blanket censoring laws are placed in effect, my soft porn is removed from my network television and I have to stop saying swears on air. But as this ruling affects 1 version of 1 song out of millions that I could play, I am quite happy to not play a song that, even though it was okay in the 80s, today… not so much.

I recommend you read the article below (click clip to read) and if you are still completely enraged over today’s ruling, that is fair. We are each entitled to our opinions. But it gives context that has been missing from most other “articles” I’ve seen today on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

December 10th, 2010

I told myself two hours ago that I was going to turn off my brain and stop working. My brain had other ideas. I had also told myself that this week I would blog about something not radio station related. (By the way, if you haven’t heard the news yet, the station’s website is now live and we’re hiring.) However, my brain can be a real brat at times. To get it to shut up, I decided to listen to music and start formulated Auto-DJ playlists.

I opened up my music player, put it on shuffle and began the process of created playlists and thinking more about the format of my shows. Third song in, this began to play (if you are viewing this in an RSS reader, you may need to visit the site to listen):

:

A little bit of back story. Right before my final Geeky Pleasures’ broadcast, Antonio emailed me this audio file and asked me to play it during my show. I had no time to listen to it prior. Let’s just say, I broke down in tears, live on camera for my audience to see. It has almost been one year  (December 18, 2009) since my final broadcast and the curtain came to a close. Interesting thing, Antonio was one of the first people I hired for The Force 925. I had completely forgotten about his comment about us being together again. I think the timing of it all is pretty neat. It may have taken a year to rebuild my dream but it is done.

I really needed to hear this tonight. My week has been hell; from learning that someone took our original domain name (as well as other just really malicious acts), to being a week behind schedule, to too many things that I care to mention because I’m sure to break down into tears of frustration once again. For the most part, this job is awesome. However, there are certain really not awesome parts of it that tend to hugely overshadow the positives.  The above really helped remind me of why it is that I do what I do.

I may not always like people.  Not because I don’t actually like people, I care for people very deeply. I just don’t “get” them, even if I can logically dissect how they’ve reached certain states of mind and emotion. They may baffle me beyond comprehension as I find their reactions to some things bizarre. More often than not, I may feel quiet alien and as if I don’t belong among the normals. And as I do come to emotion from a very different spot than most people, this makes remaining not frustrated and being comfortable around people difficult. However, aside from the creative gratification I get from doing this job, there is the gratification of making some form of weird difference and helping people.

Somehow, I manage to create a family atmosphere among my staff members. I end up being the mix of mother, friend, camp counsellor, staff psychologist, mediator, shoulder to cry on, plus more, in addition to wearing the boss lady hat. And like all families, there are fights, squabbles, moments of wanting to smack each other and tell each other off. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t care for each other and don’t want the best for each other. Stumbling upon this audio file reminded me of that.

It reminded me, that despite some people not wanting me to succeed, what I do matters. And now, instead of crying tears of frustration, I’m shedding tears of happy remembrance, tears as a result of struggling for a very long year, tears of relief, some tears of grief over things left behind and tears of “Thank Bob!”

Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me.

Is It January Yet?

November 28th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s just hope it keeps up!

Holy Crap and Macaroni Sticks!

November 19th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy crap and macaroni sticks!

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

November 12th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insert Clever Title Here

October 16th, 2010

Holy exhaustion, Batman! But for the first time in quite awhile, I’m very content with this exhaustion as it is the result of more positive events than negative. Yes, part of the exhaustion is a result of this never ending Lupus flare. The majority of it though, I’d have to attribute to a couple of weeks that have been out of this world and coming down from a really big adrenalin rush. My life is feeling quite surreal at the moment, filled with a lot of beyond HOLY SHIT moments. And for the first time in like forever, I don’t feel bad bragging about them. I don’t feel any guilt giving myself a well earned pat on the back. Just over one month ago, this was not the case.

I mentioned in my last blog, that the wonderful Phil Plait sent a tweet about the book I created for the Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery. That was super awesome of him and caused me to squee. This project is obviously of super importance to me, so it is beyond words wonderful when someone who has more influence than I do agrees to help promote it. And just as I was getting over the glow of that, Stephen Fry sent a tweet about it. I could have vomited due to excitement.

The first email I read on Monday morning was to let me know that a tweet would be going out on Wednesday regarding it and at what time. It was very nice to receive a warning so that I could alert my host and prepare for the overload of traffic. It was also the best way I could have started my week. However, hardest damn moment of squee to keep to myself. I thought I was going to explode while I waited.

I knew there was no way I was going to sleep the night that the tweet was to happen. Are you kidding me? This is Stephen Fry! And even so I was stupid with giddy over Phil’s tweet, for me there is the difference between the two. Phil was on my radio show when it was on the air. Phil helped me out with my book, From the Mundane to the Insane. Phil has linked to Geeky Pleasures and this blog a few times now and the list can go on. Each time Phil does these things, I get stupid with giddy. However, even so I’ll never probably get completely use to it for a million different reasons, he is different than Stephen Fry. Stephen doesn’t know me from Adam, where as Phil knows me to a certain extent. And well, obviously Stephen’s influence is a bit more far reaching. Now that I read what I’ve written, I’m afraid that it may sound a wee bit smug. I hope not. I’m still just really dumbstruck over the overwhelming nature of it all.

This has been a really good month for Lupus awareness. Before the month started, Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi released Clash of the Geeks, where all the proceeds are going to The Lupus Alliance of America. And then Phil and Stephen help promote my pet project… four people whom I have the hugest respect for have done things to make this Lupus warrior “obnoxiously happy” as one person put it. I’m content with things. I feel as if I’ve made a difference, even if it is a small difference. And for me that is very important. I need to feel that. It helps me to come to terms with living with this terrible disease. And for once (but only on Wednesday), the stupid House jokes didn’t bother me. I actually found them humourous considering Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are good friends. I did feel sorry for Stephen though, as his reply stream on Twitter was filled with them and he probably missed all of the thank yous he received.

Now if that isn’t enough to put some much needed sunshine in my life, I started on another project this week. As if I wasn’t busy enough with Geeky Pleasures, the art gallery, this blog, The Lupus Magazine, Nerds in Babeland and Star Wars vs Star Trek. But the art gallery will be done with its updates in two more weeks (until May), The Lupus Magazine is monthly, Nerds in Babeland and Star Wars vs Star Trek are whenever I find time, this blog whenever I’m inspired, leaving Geeky Pleasures as my only daily thing. This new project is quarterly and it is another cause which is near and dear to me. That is all I’m going to say about that for now but it really is something that I am extremely proud to be a part of. There should be a full announcement regarding it on Geeky Pleasures this week.

Those who’ve read my blog for awhile now know this past year and a bit has been very rough on me. My health has not been cooperating. Money has been a huge issue. On some days, things in my personal life can be enough to drive me to scream. But you know what, I’m content. My ass may be getting kicked at the moment but I’m still kicking ass in return.

And from time to time, I think it is okay that I give myself permission to say, “Look world! I’ve done something pretty damn groovy!” and not worry that it looks like I’m being boastful or vain. Now if only I can get back to feeling as if my life is real (who am I trying to kid, right?).

In Which I Attempt To Hold Down My Thoughts Floating In The Aether

September 4th, 2010

Oh yes. You guessed it. It is going to be another one of those rambling thought blogs. I find them necessary in order to vomit out some of the copious amounts of thoughts that run through my brain at any given time.

Many of you are probably aware that the last little period of time in my life has been quite difficult for me: financially, mentally, physically and emotionally. My Lupus has been attempting to beat my ass down in ways that are very painful. In the last week, I think I’ve managed all of 24 hours sleep due to it. My life has undergone an extraordinary amount of change recently. I’ve had many obstacles thrown in front of me. Most days, I feel as if I am running an octagintathlon, leaping and flailing from one event to the next in an effort to finish the trial alive. Winning and finishing unscathed, without any bumps or bruises, is not the goal. Survival and just making it through has become the objective.

I have loved ones who are poorly. I have baby’s daddy’s who are trying to make my life as difficult as possible. I have children who are each going through their own trials. I have family members who I wish would just cease to exist. I have people trying to attach themselves to me, not because of who I am but what they think they can gain from it. There are people who attach labels to me that I am not at all comfortable with. I have fear. I have doubt. I have moments of feeling defeated and then…

Somebody will reach out and say something to me, small things, that mean the world to me. I am all about the little things. This can be good and it can be not so good. It means that I’m easily pleased and can get quite giddy and squee with the utmost ease. It also means that I am easy to frustrate and want to bang heads. Thankfully for those around me, I am more patient than I am not. I can hold myself back in the moments where all I really want to do is rage against something. These small things give me the strength, power and energy to leap and flail over my next hurdle. They help me find my inner strength when I am unable to see it. And they always come when I need them the most. Lately, with such a frequency, it is almost unbearable and I feel as if I am going to explode. Unbearable may me a peculiar word to attribute to something that is quite positive. However, I grew up with more negatives in my life than positives. At times, the positives are more difficult to accept than the negatives.

Examples of these small but enormous things are: friends who know that I have an uncomfortableness around being referred to as a ‘celeb’ (Seriously. People call me that and with greater frequency lately), jokingly telling me on Twitter: “Liek OH-EM-GEE! It’s Jules! Let’s all be fan-kids over her and swoon!” Somebody sending me short but sweet email telling me that something I’ve writing really touched them or when people tell me that I’ve inspired them. And not because of who I supposedly know but for who I am and how I live my life. For me, this is really important. I need this in order to tell myself that living with Lupus is not for nothing. I need to know my life is not in vain and that I am doing actual good, even if it is inspiring just one person. I have been so very lucky to inspire more than just one. Somebody saying something or playing a song when I’m feeling the most vulnerable, reaching out in a very sweet and romantic way, a way that only the two of us know what is going on.

And I suppose this is where part of the paradox comes in. When I started with my radio show and online things, I honestly did not think anything would come out of it. It was purely for my own pleasure and needs. And then something happened. Somehow, I got noticed. For some strange reason, people started to pay attention and I had no bloody clue what to make of it or what to do with it. It was not anything I had intended nor planned. It was not my goal. There is one event that I can point to and say, “This is when I stopped being anonymous.” Sometimes I want to both thank and curse the person involved in this turning point. And then I stop myself. Not because I am not thankful for some parts they have played in it but because I actually earned it. I got the recognition, the head nod if you will, because of my work and talent. It was not asked for. Any recognition or head nods I have received have been unsolicited. In fact, I specifically said, “You don’t need to promote this. It is just for fun.” Well… for some crazy reason, they did.

And I suppose in reality, it is not for a crazy reason. I remember a wonderful conversation that I had a few months ago when I needed help regarding a crazy (but awesome) idea I had for a project (which I still hope to make a reality sooner rather than later). Somehow the conversation changed from tips to sharing moments of  (to paraphrase), “OMG! When did this become our lives?!?” I remember saying something like, “Sometimes I want to ask these people [who have helped in ways that I never asked for or have gone out their way to do something for me], why me? But obviously I’m not going to ask them. That would be stupid.” The response and following conversation will be something that I will keep with me for rest of my days.

The response I received was, “Why not? I mean don’t ask them but I think the question you should be asking is ‘why not you?'” I had a quick reply to that, “Because I’m just this girl from a very small city in Canada. There is no reason for anybody to do anything for me. And yes I realize they are just people too. You know that. But they are extremely busy and probably get a load of stupid requests all the time. And yet, when they can, they find moments for me. Something  I do not expect but is nonetheless appreciated.” And then he said (and I’ll never forget this), “It doesn’t matter what town you’re from when you live on the internet.” This conversation helped illustrate to me that I must be doing something right. That I may have more talent and abilities than I’m willing to give myself credit for. Most importantly, it helped to teach me that I’ve earned (through my own talents and hard work) any moderate successes (that for me, on a personal level, are HUGE) I have achieved. At the end of the day, I can proudly say I’ve gotten to where I am through my own blood, sweat and tears, not through the work of others. And I think it may all finally pay of, with real money (I’ll get to that eventually).

The last week and a bit has been a blur of events. I was finally able to announce one of my sooper sekrit projects (if you missed the news, check out this post and this post over on Geeky Pleasures). I figured out what it is I’m going to write about for clp.ly. And then there are more people reaching out in ways that cause me to want to yell, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! I want to tell you to fuck off right now. But only because I don’t know how to deal with this event as you just blew apart my brain!”

One example of this, is someone (not going to name names) leaving a comment on something I posted somewhere which reads, “I just came here to say “Hi Jules!” It was another moment where I wanted to get all melty and d’awwwwh and say, “thank you for taking a little bit of your time out for me and stopping by just to say hi” in ways that are even less eloquent than that, in ways that would leave me looking like a downright idiot. And in reality, I wouldn’t be an idiot but it is a result of me truly appreciating the really small things that people do, especially when there is no need for it.

And then, I received this email (Email shared with permission. Names removed to protect privacy):

Well then, Jules… If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet…

I’m just this guy, you know? But when I say it, it’s not like when Wil says it. I’m actually at the bottom of the totem pole. So, whenever you do something as gracious as shamelessly finding a way to mention us when there’s no need to… Well… You’re like, MY [Name redacted. Me being compared to this person (not Wil Wheaton) left me at a complete loss for words and rational thought as it is someone I have a HUGE respect for]. It geeks me out to no end. Thank you again and always; I know you’re not just doing it because we’ve become friends, but on that note I’m so glad that we’ve become friends.

It was all I could do to not call this person an asshole for saying something that caused me to become extremely overwhelmed. But the thing I appreciated the most about his comment was not that they likened me to someone I have a huge respect for. It was because they see and appreciate that I don’t promote something just because they are my friend. And it doesn’t matter what it is that I put on Geeky Pleasures, except for the gaming press releases that I receive. It doesn’t matter how big of a name or how small of a name somebody has. I promote things on my site that I truly believe in. Not because it was asked of me. Not because it is expected of me. It is because I truly enjoy it and am very happy that I’m given the privileged to consume these things that people have made (we are not entitled to these things). I want to share the things I like with others. So when I see something I like or believe in, I’ll write about it because I chose to. I get quite pissy when people ask or expect me to mention something.

That being said, if you come across something you think I’ll like, I have no problem with an email being sent to me saying something like, “I thought you may enjoy this.” And if I feel it necessary, then I’ll make a mention of it. Also, if you want me to review something you’ve done, great! I’d be more than happy to. This doesn’t mean it will be a good review, even if you are my friend. It will be an honest review. This is one of the reason I found writing a review for Memories of the Future so difficult.

I’ve also been getting a lot of “guidance” type questions from people in the last couple of weeks. This is very strange. I am trying to figure out when did I go from the person who seeks others for questions and become the person people want to ask questions regarding media related things. Most days I still feel as if I’m a novice even so I’ve been working in various parts of the industry for years. I am still the person who asks others for advice on these things. And now people are asking me. It is such a strange phenomena. Sometimes I want to ask the people who’ve been nice enough to give me their advice, “How do you manage your life without wanting to explode with awesome giddy, squee and excitement over it all? Especially since etiquette tells us, in public, we are not to show our excitement. We are to remain ‘cool’.” But I stop myself because I know they are just normal people, who like me, keep asking themselves, “When did this become my life?!? Holy shit, this is awesome!!”

Now to make things even more awesome for me, I think it is all finally starting to pay off in a way that goes beyond HUGE personal satisfaction. As I’ve mentioned many a times in the past, when I started on all of this, it was for my pleasure only. I never planned, expected nor wanted to make a living from it. It was purely a hobby (in many ways). Then life threw me a curve ball and I’ve had to attempt to turn all these things that I’ve built into money. Without being an egotistical asshat, I am quite good at what I do. I am so very self-critical (I think this is true of a lot of creative types). I know when something I’ve produced is crap (even so others will tell me otherwise) and I know when it is good. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are in any given task. I know that I have many valuable skills, abilities and attributes.

I’ve gotten where I am because I have never been afraid to try. When I applied at the radio station, I went into it thinking I will not get the job because thousands of people will be applying. Sure enough, thousands did. But for some strange reason (well it isn’t strange, I just have a really hard time giving myself compliments), within a couple hours of sending in my application I was contacted for an interview. During the interview, I was hired on the spot and within a couple of weeks, I was asked if I wanted to be the Program Director. I’ve taken many such “risks” since then. Every single time I approach someone about something, I always expect a no. The results have been far from my expectation.

Last night, I decided to take another such risk. I saw another ad. This time for a writing gig which I thought for sure thousands would be applying for. To make it even better, it is a paying job which I get to do from the comfort of my home (something that is necessary). It is a writing job that, in many ways, is quite prestigious or at least has the potential to be. In the application process, you only had 2 paragraphs to illustrate why you think you would be a good addition to the publication. ONLY 2! Well, we all know long-winded Jules is long-winded. I wrote my two paragraphs, gave the links asked for and sent off the email. I went to sleep thinking I would be damn lucky to hear anything back because 1) The ad was over a week old, and 2) I know the industry and I know how much crap has to be waded through to get to the good things. Today, I got a response from the founder and publisher.

I’m assuming he liked what I wrote as he is forwarding my information on to the rest of the team. I suppose you can say I’ve been short listed. This really is a major accomplishment for me. I didn’t fail the audition process. I was able to impress in only two paragraphs. My inner editor did its job (I’m sure some of you wish my inner editor would do its job as I type out yet another blog that is sure to be near 3000 words). And to make me even happier about this success, I was asked my advice (once more), this time as a writer. Keyword here: writer. Not as a blogger. There is nothing wrong with being a blogger but there is this bad taste associated with “bloggers”, “self-publishers”, etc. There is this very unfair image of the blogging community. A very misinformed image, perpetuated by mainstream media. And I do consider myself to be a writer as well as a blogger. So it felt nice to have someone ask me advice “as a writer” and from a publisher no less.

This put a (much needed) added spring to my step. I woke up once more after only a couple hours of sleep, feeling beyond exhausted and like someone beat the shit out of me in my sleep. I was at a point of wanting to curse every thing and every one.

Then immediately afterwards, kid2 came whizzing into the house (my sister has had him for the last 3 weeks). I got extremely happy (because I miss his terribly) thinking my sister was bringing him back 3 days early. He quickly dashed my happy to sad by informing me, “I’m only here to get my iPod charger and then I’m going back to auntie Catherine’s.” However, before my sadness got the better of me, he added, “Can I have a hug?” I said, “Of course! I’ve missed you so very much!” And then he gave me the hardest bear hug he has ever given me. It was so very much needed and exactly at that moment too. My week and a bit has been yet another one filled with really high highs and really low lows. At times, I’m having great difficulties navigating it all.

My children are my reasons. I have been very lonely without the constant chatter from kid2. He will be 12 soon but he still finds excuses to crawl into bed with me. And he still wants my hugs. After giving me the longest and hardest hug ever, he whisked down the hall to get his charger and out of the house he shot. But not before “I love you”s were exchanged. I cried for a bit after he left for two reasons: 1) I was sad to see him leave when he has been gone for so long; 2) He still wants hugs from mommy.

These are just a small fraction of my thoughts floating in the aether and the events of the past little bit. Aren’t you glad I don’t share them all? However, now that I’ve purged some of them, hopefully I can get back to more focused writing soon. And at just over 3000 words, I’ll stop.