When Will They Find Out I’m A Fraud?

March 18th, 2011 by Jules No comments »

The above blog title is something that many of us creative types ask ourselves. It is something that I’ve discussed with many people who do different forms of entertainment stuffs. It is also something that I’ve read in blogs or heard via various talks from people who work in the entertainment industry.

I really do have a bizarre life. It is both weird and wonderful. At times, I have a difficult time processing it all, especially as the life and things I currently do were not something I ever planned for. (I’ll elaborate more on that a bit later.)

My current obsessive thoughts, which are revolving around the one question, “When did this become my life?”, began on Monday. The previous Wednesday, I received an email asking if I wouldn’t mind taking a listen to the prologue of a new science fiction radio drama, The Minister of Chance, and if I liked the sound of prologue, they would happily send me episode 1 before release for me to review. So I listened to the prologue, without looking at who was involved. I liked what I had to hear and told them to send me episode 1 and perhaps we could set up an interview with some of the cast, for my radio show.

I laugh now when I think about it because I had no idea who produced it other than Radio Static or who was starring in it. All I knew is that I liked what I heard, it was set for release the day before my show, I had some spare time, it fit with my show and interests and it would be fun. I received an email last Friday from the Executive Producer, asking for a little bit of clarification regarding how the interviews would be carried out (times, dates, when it will be broadcasted, etc.) and with that information, she’ll see which cast members would be available. Still, I hadn’t checked to see who the cast was and who I could possibly be interviewing. It really didn’t matter to me, as all I knew is I liked what I had heard.

I woke up Monday morning to an email letting me that I would be interviewing Lauren Crace and Sylvester McCoy. Both names sounded oddly familiar to me but I could not place them for the life of me. Finally, I looked at their bios and my brain did a double-take when I came to learn that I’d be interviewing a Time Lord, the 7th Doctor Who.

I’ve had the awesome opportunity to interview some really fantabulous people and have many more lined up. Some of the interviews I pursued, some of them they pursued me, some were mutually pursued (for lack of a better word).

Every time I would ask someone if they wanted to be on my show, I always expected a no. You may be wondering why ask if you expect a no. The answer is simple: you’ll never hear a yes if you don’t ask. I am still waiting for my first no. Without doing myself any harm, so to speak, I really wish it would happen. It has to happen eventually, doesn’t it?

Recently, I emailed someone big enough where they need “people” hoping it would result in my first no, just so that I could get it over with and breathe that sigh of relief when it is finally out of the way. I didn’t get a no. I got a  (to paraphrase) “He is currently really busy. We would like to see if we can work something out, but right now, it isn’t possible. Please email us back in 6 months.” (Part of me thinks I should shoot really big again, like Stephen Fry, or maybe less big, like Chris Hardwick, but I think a no from either would upset me too much. I want to interview them but I couldn’t handle those nos right now for a variety of strange reasons. Eventually, I will ask them, risking rejection, because I’ll kick myself if I never ask.)

When I’m the one who is approached to do interviewed, I find it so very strange that someone wants to come on my show. After all I’m just some girl from a small town in Canada. When it is a mutual thing and they are equally excited to work with me, that is odd as well. All of it is just so not what I ever expected to be doing with my life.

And maybe this is where a little bit of way-back-story is need for those of you who are new to this part of my world. I use to spend a lot of time on stage. And then lupus hit me hard and I lived through to very life-threatening happenings as a result of it. My 28th birthday, I spent in emergency with a hemorrhaging uterus. They got the bleeding slowed down with hormone therapy to a point where it was no longer life threatening. For a year, they tried unsuccessfully to get it to stop. At the age of 29, after one year of continuous bleeding, I had to have a hysterectomy. Then when I was 30, I had a full-blown left-sided stroke, leaving me to relearn how to do every thing. I was told that I could no longer do theatre and dance because the long hours and stress were going to kill me (both of these episodes occurred during or shortly after a very long production cycle).

Lupus had already prevented me from carrying on my post-secondary education. I was not allowed to work outside of the home. Now it had taken my uterus, my brain and the thing I lived for: acting and more importantly, dance. It was all I could do to not spiral into the dark depression that was my childhood and teenage years.

And then 3 years ago, when I was 32, I saw an ad for a radio personality. The job was remote. For two days I thought about whether or not I was going to apply. I knew I could do the job. I needed something creative for me to do. My soul felt as if it was dying. I could work from the comfort of my pyjamas. I could feel like I was being productive again, instead of feeling broken, useless and washed up. It would give me a few hours, once a week, where I could be normal and not someone with a debilitating, life-threatening illness. My reasons for wanting to do this were for nothing else other than to give me something creative to do. I didn’t care if nobody tuned in. I wasn’t going to do it for them. Besides, no-one gets famous doing radio (at least not in Canada, especially a girl from a small town).  That isn’t why you do it. At least the odds of getting famous doing radio are quite small. I was banking on the odds saying I would go unnoticed.  I NEEDED this job.

I went back and forth over this. The only thing stopping me from applying wasn’t because I doubted my ability, it was because THOUSANDS were probably applying (as they did) and what are the chances my email will ever get read or my CV looked at. I decided I didn’t care what the odds were. I’ll never know unless I tried and I’d hate myself if I didn’t at least make the attempt. So, I applied. Within 5 hours, I received an email wanting to set up and interview. I was hired during the interview and the rest is kinda history.

I started my Geeky Pleasures Radio Show and interviewed my first “big” name, Wil Wheaton. That was not planned for. I asked on a lark, expecting a no. It aired. Hardly any one took notice. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I interviewed Phil Plait. He kinda (well there is no kinda about it) posted about it. People noticed. I was hoping it was just my “5 minutes of fame”. I was wrong. This event caused me to have to expand my blog from Blogger into Geeky Pleasures and this blog (eventually the Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery would be created).  I like to blame Phil for this. I also want to thank Phil for this, because despite my uncomfortableness with certain aspects of this “career”, I do get to work on some pretty worthwhile awareness projects that probably would not have gotten some of the recognition I think they deserve if my “footprint” had not increase.

(PS I feel all kinds of dirty right now talking about this and name dropping but ACK I have to purge this somehow. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll understand why and it will all be less yucky.)

So things grew and grew and grew and then I had to stop the radio part for bit. That sucked the soul out of me. And even though I was no longer doing radio, all these wonderful opportunities and people to work with were constantly being presented. Every single time, I freak out for a bit because on one hand, this isn’t what I planned for; this was not suppose to happen this way. On the other hand, I am extremely thankful to be able to do the things I get to do. These are things that I grew up believing just don’t happen, especially to small town Canadian girls. And even though I had thought for a brief moment that I’d like to become a professional actor or dancer, I knew that I would have to spend a lot of time grinding for it and I didn’t want that nor did I want to live my life under a microscope.

I was talking with somebody, who works in the industry, about this very thing at around this same time, last year. I was asking myself a lot of the same questions as I am now. If this was something I really pursued and wanted, that is one thing. But I just fell into it. Why on earth would people want to be on my show, etc., etc., etc. Don’t they know I’m just this girl from a small down in Canada?!? He told me something that really helped. It is something that I repeat to myself quite often when my brain does its “This isn’t what I planned for. What do I do?” He said, “It doesn’t matter where you come from when you live on the internet.”

However, sometimes it doesn’t stop my brain from this stupid thing that it does when it becomes gobsmacked over events not planned for, yet extremely thankful and grateful at the same time. If someone were to come up to me and tell they could undo it all, would I? No, I wouldn’t. I’m living a dream that I didn’t even know I was dreaming. Well, that isn’t exactly accurate. I’m living a dream that I had told myself my entire life was just not possible. At least not possible unless you were willing to pack up your life and move to Hollywood, while selling yourself out in the process.

Aside from living some bizarre version of a childhood dream, it allows me to things that I consider “greater good” projects, such as Lupus awareness, work to try and undo the damage of the antivaxxers and more.

I suppose this is just one more thing I can add to my non-existent bucket list: I had stories told to me by a Time Lord. I don’t care who you are, if you are a geek or a nerd, that is going to cause the child inside of you to become stupid with giddy.

And to go back to another point, I suppose one of the reasons I feel somewhat okay purging these crazy thoughts for the whole world to see is because I know I’m not alone in them. I’ve seen or heard pretty much every person I’ve ever interviewed say or write them. Most recently, I heard Phil Plait say in an interview that he had a huge crush on Jeri Ryan and is a major fanboy when at conventions. Some may argue that he has license to say those things as he has a bigger “footprint”. I like to think he, along with many others, share those things to: 1) Let us know they are just one of us; and 2) Let us know it is normal.

I think I just need to know that what I’m currently thinking and feeling is normal. And if you don’t think it is, imagine for a second that overnight, you fell into a life that you didn’t want enough to  actively pursue and never intended to have. Suddenly, you have to navigate an entirely new existence without a map or compass. It isn’t easy. Let me tell you.

Hopefully, these amazing events keep happening. Hopefully, my brain never stop exploding when they do (which happens almost weekly, I feel odd talking about it so I rarely do) because that means I’m no longer grateful. And if it were to stop tomorrow, for whatever reason, wow… what a fantabulous ride this has been. The 6 – 10 year old child who’d spend hours fantasising about such things is beyond obnoxiously happy. The adult in me is still trying to sort it all out and accept that it is happening, despite it not being planned.

Odd thing, if I were not for the fact I was insanely busy this week, with no time to talk to my secret keeper, I’d probably not have written this blog. But I think I’m glad I did.

Just when you thought I couldn’t get more bizarre.

Day 1 Lenten Failure Extraordinaire

March 9th, 2011 by Jules 2 comments »

I’ve never had a Lent kick my butt before. Yes, it has always been extremely difficult but I’ve never failed at my self-imposed challenge.

Today, I failed, not once, not twice but a total of 3 times! Not even 8 hours into Lent and I swore. The ridiculous thing about it, I was asleep for just over 7 of those 8 hours. The first infraction occurred at 7:54 am PST. I swore in an email to the General Manager at the station because he was teasing Trekkies and I had not even had my first cup of coffee nor was I fully awake yet. My statement was, “It is too early for this [word redacted]. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.” It took me nearly 3 minutes after I hit submit on the email to realise what I had done.

First lesson of Lent: Do read nor respond to emails for the next 45 days until I’ve had at least two cup of coffee in me.

The second infraction occurred when I was editing an image for Geeky Pleasures and the program crashed before I could save it. I uttered a very loud profanity at my computer. I had tweeted asking, “If I swear and no-one is around to hear it, am I breaking Lent?” (or something similar to that). Then I thought, wait a minute, no-one was going to know about me! This is twice now you’ve ratted yourself out! Damn you and your honesty! (However, the GM may find out about my fast eventually and I’d get called out on it but… *sigh*).

No sooner do I tweet about my second infraction, does one of my followers tweet to me. Her tweet contained a swear. I RT’d it. Not only did I RT the swear (some said it wouldn’t count as I didn’t say it, but..) but I added “LM*AO” before the swear and the missing letter is a swear, intend was to swear and I failed again. I was immediately called on it. I was asked, “Doesnt tweeting swears count?” Yes. Yes, it does.

All of this was within 4 hours of being awake. I may have even uttered other profanities under my breathe throughout the day and not even realised it as I do not come to realise it (even in type as demonstrated this morning) until well after the fact.

It was suggested I add another day to Lent. I may just do that. I’m not quite sure. All I’m sure about right now as this is proving to be much more difficult than I had originally thought.

However, today was filled with a day where many things caused me to want to swear. I am not a happy camper today. I can’t even discuss completely openly why that is without a bunch of people wanting to poop down my throat for inserting some reality into their lives.

I just hope that today was the first and last fails. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit discouraged at the moment. I’m feeling as if I bit off more than I can chew. But I believe I can do this… maybe. I think people are having more confidence in me than I am at the moment. I really do not do well when I fail at something and it takes quite a bit to rebuild my confidence.

I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

In Which I Give Up A Variety of Profanities for 46 Days

March 8th, 2011 by Jules 1 comment »

So it almost that time of the year, once again. That time where I give something up for 46 days as a test of will-power. Some people call this time of year Lent. And so do I. However, for me it has less to do with religion and more to do with “can I do this?”

I should warn you now, there will be a lot of NSFW language in this post.

If you were around these parts last year, you may remember that I gave up innuendo and double-entendre. If you were not around these parts, you can read the result of that extremely long 46 days here. I even got a song out of the deal! Denise said I may even get a song out of the deal again. SQUEE!

If you follow me on the Twitters, then you already know what I am giving up this year. If you do not follow me on the Twitters, in a nutshell, I’m giving up: bollocks, balls, cunts, twats, bitches, assholes, buggering, sodding, fucking, wanking, shitting, merde, and crapping. As I said on Twitter, it sounds as if I’m giving up sex again. Not really. I’m just giving up swearing. And it isn’t “just”. This is going to be bloody difficult!

I had asked on Twitter if blaspheming would be considering swearing, as I do drop “Bloody Hell!” quite often. The poll came back and told me that blaspheming would not be considered swearing. Which relieves me greatly, even so “Bloody Hell!” and “Awh Hell!” is about the only blaspheming I do.

So effective March 9, 2011 at 12:01 AM PST until April 23, 2011 at 12:01 AM PDT, if you hear or read the following from me, it means I have failed and you must spank my bacon (but I’d probably enjoy that):

  • Bollocks
  • Balls
  • Sod
  • Sodding
  • Sod off
  • Bugger
  • Buggering
  • Bugger off
  • Fuck
  • Fucker
  • Fucking
  • Fuck off
  • Shit
  • Shitting
  • Crap
  • Crapping
  • Wanker
  • Bitching
  • Bitch(es)
  • Ashole(s)
  • Twat(s)
  • Cunt(s)
  • Merde (even so I was allowed to get away with in school because it isn’t considering to be any different than saying “shoot”, ruling was that if I were to say “merde”, well… my intent would be to say “shit” and I’m just trying to play foul)
  • Or any combination of the above, i.e. “mother fucking cunty ass”

Arse and jackass, however, I am deeming to be okay as arse I mean my buttocks or someone else’s buttocks and a jackass is a donkey. If I have to give up arse, then I’d have to give up penis, vagina and testicles… I’m not giving up penis and testicles when I’m already giving up buggering and a bunch of other things. Vagina… well that is a whole other topic. But I suppose that means I can’t say “ass” or “asshat”.

I have a really terrible feeling that I’m forgetting some swears that I should not be saying. A list was suppose to be constructed for me but shit happened, such as my websites getting repeatedly hacked, power supplies dying, USB ports not being recognised, people dying and the list kinda fell by the wayside.

If you think of anything that would classify as a swear, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I can make a final decision, including them in my list if necessary.

What the fuck have I decided to get myself into?!? I think I have a real problem here. I’m in competition with myself and as a result, each year I attempt something more difficult. My brain is currently saying, “Bugger me!! What the bloody hell are you going to put me through next year?!”

When it comes to type, not swearing will be a wee bit easier as I can look before I hit enter (cos initially I don’t really think about what I’m typing). Speaking, this is going to suck balls, especially as the swear is out before I even think about it. This is going to be especially difficult when doing interviews or making appearances on certain political talk shows, speaking to my staff and staff meetings, never mind every day normal conversation. I think I’ve only managed 1 or 2 swear free verbal engagements.

So, I suppose this is where I ask you wankers to wish me luck. You aren’t really wankers. I’m just trying to get it out of my system, while I can.

Let the games begin!

Finding The Silver Lining

February 24th, 2011 by Jules 1 comment »

In the last 8 or so days, I’ve been hit with a serious blows to my psyche. It has come to my attention that four fellow lupus warriors have died due to the complications of lupus. The most recent of whom passed away today. Not only did she have lupus, but she also had my other primary condition, antiphospholipid syndrome. I haven’t been this upset over a death since learning that a fellow lupie took her own life last September.

Despite better treatments for lupus, lupus is still potentially fatal. Because I’m well aware of this fact and am not afraid to face it head on, as a general rule, when I hear that its complications have taken another life, I’m not terribly bothered even if I am a little bit upset over it. But when it is 4 deaths in a very short period of time or a suicide, remaining rational is a lot of work.

Those who are familiar with my story know that overall, I remain very positive regarding my illness. I have kicked its ass more times than I care to count. Once in awhile I have to retreat from a battle in order to survive the entire war. This disease has resulted in me requiring a hysterectomy when I was 29, having over 12 TIAs (first one when I was 19) and one full-blown CVA (stroke) at 30. I think it is fair to say that I am a fighter, even if it causes me to rant every now and then. The day I stop ranting is the day I have no fight left in me.

My brain is currently doing all that it can to fight through this next dark patch in what is just another dark period one has to walk through. Regardless of what we go through in our lives, regardless if you live with a chronic illness or not, we all have them.

When reality decides to slap you HARD, I think it is even more imperative that you fight, even when it is through tears and wanting to scream ENOUGH! I also think it is time to try and find the good in the very dark, while still remaining realistic to the situation. Doing so is what got me through relearning how to walk and talk and eat and dress and bathe, even if it is was simple as reminding myself, “Today my toe moved for the first time in a month. I am making progress” and trying my best to not focus on the fact the rest of one side of my body was still immobile. For me, surviving this mentally is so very much about the small things. It is also about venting the really shitastic things so that they don’t get bottled up and gnaw away at me, until the load becomes way too much and I collapse under it.

Right now, I am thankful for the people who have reached out and offered me real, tangible, support. Right now, I am thankful for a wonderful staff. I am thankful for a staff member who asked if he could write an article for me because my brain is just too tired. I am thankful for a staff who steps in when I have reached my limit. I am thankful for a staff who does not tell me to cheer up while I’m a hot sick mess of tears and think I am mental. I am thankful for a staff who I can say to them very bluntly that they’ve screwed up and they know it isn’t personal. I may vent now and then about my staff. At times, I may have to hold their hands more than I would like to. But I am thankful that when I have reached that point of “no more”, I can simply state it and they know it must be something major. I am thankful for a staff who, except for a couple exceptions, may not “get” it but they try and they care.

I am thankful to all those who sent me silly and stupid jokes today and helped me to laugh through my tears.

I am thankful for a significant other who let’s me go off on them from, what may appear as, out of no where and just instinctively knows I have reasons, I’m just unable to articulate them as I normally can and that when I am ready, I will. I am thankful for a significant other who may want to tell me to sod off but just lets me have my moment, knowing that it will quickly pass. I am thankful for a significant other who always knows what I need to hear and doesn’t tell me what he thinks I want to hear. I am thankful for a significant other who offers to take the load off before I become overburdened.

Yes, I am still beyond frustrated at the moment. I am a millisecond away from telling the world to bugger off. But I am thankful that I can express these things and more people than not try to understand. I am thankful that I have a way to shed some of my burden and that there are a handful of people out there willing to pick up the load.

I know there will be some who read this who will want to send me their prayers and/or well wishes. I ask that you save those. Not because the well wishes are not appreciated. I know I have many supporters who just want to see me get through yet another battle with the crap lupus likes to through out. But if you really want to help in a way that is tangible, then educate yourself.

Whenever I talk about my lupus with someone new, often I hear, “I know someone with lupus” but they still do not know exactly what lupus is or what it can do. If you’ve tried to navigate the web and just can’t understand it, then ask me questions. They answers may not be sunshine and roses, and can be quite depressing but ask. If I can’t type out the answers because my brain is toaster, I’ll record the answers and make the audio available.

You can also donate to your local lupus organisation. There are so many mysteries surrounding this disease and it desperately needs money for research and treatment. I would really like to see a day where they can give a prognosis like they can with cancer, instead of having to make guesses all the time.

Be proactive. Sure prayer and well wishes can make people feel warm and fuzzy. Sure feeling warm and fuzzy and trying to remain positive can help in the healing process but it isn’t going to find a cure. Education and money is.

I was hoping that my next blog entry was going to be something full of joy. Things haven’t exactly been cheery in this corner of my internet world.

I will try to leave it on a positive note.

Sincerely, thank you to every single one of you who is helping to carry my burden. Thank you to every single one of you who has let me vent and cry so that I can move on in the next  step of my plan of action to resolve this situation. Thank you to every one of you who has taken even 5 minutes to educate yourself regarding lupus. I may generally rant from time to time because at times I feel people are not doing enough. That does not mean I do not appreciate it any less. It just means I have moments of being human.

I will get through this. I don’t know when but I know I will. And yes, I am taking some time to myself. I have informed the general population, meaning my staff ,that I am not to be bothered for any reason until March 1. I know when I’ve reached my limit.

Honestly, guys. I know I’ve said it before but I will say it again, I do not think my mental well being would be nearly as intact as it is, if it were not for you reaching me via code and fiber optics. I am very fortunate to have so many people, most of whom I’ve never met in real life, who genuinely care and are supportive. And knowing that is my silver lining.

PS: If I do not respond individually to people over the next few days, it isn’t because I’m not appreciative. I’m just needing some extra me time and am currently in my cave, tending to my wounds.

My Grandmother: November 27, 1919 – February 14, 1993

February 14th, 2011 by Jules 2 comments »

In the early hours of February 14, 1993, my grandma peacefully passed away in her sleep. The events surrounding her death still deeply bother me to this day. I miss her terribly. As of this year, she has been gone for more years than I had her in my life. You’d think this day would get easier for me after all these years, but it just gets more difficult.

I used to recall every thing about her with the greatest of ease. Now, I have trouble recalling her voice or the way she smells. And when I do recall her voice, it isn’t the happy memories but the memories of her gasping for breath when she walked and saying, “Oh bother.”

Today, I managed to successfully bury myself in a mountain of work and stave off the tears… until two minutes ago when I watched the following video of Makeshift Innocence‘s latest single:

My grandma was the one who taught me how to love and be a giving person. She is largely responsible for my moral compass. My grandma is the one who taught me that I was loved. She showed me that I mattered, regardless of how others treated me. She taught me how to be a proper lady and live with dignity. (Yes, I can be a lady). My grandma was the matriarch of the family and when she passed on, what was left of the family completely splintered apart.

I really miss having toast with marmalade with her in the morning, afternoon tea with her, warmed apple juice with her in the evening, crafting with her for hours and crawling into her adjustable bed and listening to stories. I miss wearing her gawdy jewelry. I miss going to  the washroom in the middle of the night and seeing her dentures soaking in a cup of water and Polident, by the sink.

I miss being unconditionally loved by a mum.

I just miss her.

My grandma was the epitome of a proper lady. However, she was not without a sense of humour and the ability to “let her hair down” when in private company. The following poem was my grandma’s favourite poem and read at her Celebration of Life. The poem characterises part of my grandma quite well.

Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Being Attacked From Within

February 13th, 2011 by Jules 1 comment »

If you “live” in any capacity on the internet, you’ve probably run into “trolls”. For the sake of clarity, I am referring to those who appear to be going out of their way to be mean and rude online. There are those who vigilantly monitor certain bloggers, waiting for an opportunity to comment and say some pretty dick things. When one does any form of online interactions, these things are expected and one has to grow a thick skin if they are going to survive the nasty that the internet can be from time to time.

As of late, I have been running into these situations with greater frequency. Not only have I been hounded by woo “practitioners” and “doctors” on Twitter anytime I mention Lupus, I’ve received what could be perceived as death threats for my pro-vaccine work and association with atheists and skeptics (this is quite peculiar) but most recently, I’ve been receiving emails from these quacks trying to sell me their snakeoil. There are days where I feel like I’ve slipped through the rabbit hole and I have to make a very conscious effort to breathe and not let it bother me or detract me from doing the various things that I do online. I was well aware these things occur. I just never imagined I’d be in any position where I’d be trolled on what has now become at least once a day. Yes, I know there are others who get it worse. Point is, I always thought I would fly under the radar as so many do. I’m probably very naive.

It takes me very little effort to shake off the above incidences, after the initial “WTF BUTTERCUP!” sends my brain into a tizzy. But what happens when these trolls are those within your own community? In the most recent situation that has me really bothered, it is within the Lupus community. An anonymous troll, who’s goals are opposite than your own, is very easy to laugh at. Especially because they lack balls. But when these attacks and/or pieces of misinformation come from within what is normally a very tight circle, it becomes very disheartening and takes a lot more contemplation to figure out how to address the situation.

The other day, I received an email from a fellow lupus warrior who was quite upset over a blog post. Apparently, this blog post is causing quite the stir in a lot of online lupus support communities because our struggles have been shat on. (Click the clip to the left to read the blog in question).

I was asked if I wouldn’t mind weighing in and giving my point of view on what was said in this post.

First, I’ll start by posting a video of the talk that is being attacked. Some of you may have already seen this talk as I’ve tweeted about it, have posted it on Facebook and it gets shared quite often amongst fellow lupies.

When I shared this video, I said something to the effect of, “Pretty good video explaining a bit of how I tackle my day with lupus.”

Notice, I used the words “explaining a bit” and “pretty good”, meaning the video doesn’t exactly describe my own struggles and there are a few things that I have some issue with. That being said, the video still has merit. In fact, there are a lot of people who think this video is great, as it articulates their struggles quite accurately and in a simplistic fashion. Because of these reasons and because no two lupus patients are the same, it is a video I’d recommend. It helps to bring a wider understanding to this disease and what it means for some people who have to live with it.

Lupus is different for every one. I do not think I can stress this point enough. Some people only experience minor annoyances because of it, some people lose all ability to walk, talk, have to have organs removed, need weekly chemo therapy, have strokes and heart attacks, and the list goes on.

I think one of the parts I found most offensive about the above blog is the following (there are a lot more venomous comments):

Christine hands her friend the spoons, and tells her that the spoons are basically her health/wellness, and asks her friend to talk her through a typical day in her life. She then starts taking spoons away from her for every tiny task she does, saying things akin to ‘you can’t just get out of bed, you idiot. People with Lupus need to haul themselves up on a pulley system’.

By the way she’s illustrating the severity of even the simplest tasks I’m thinking to myself, “biotch you need to take better care of yourself if the consequence for brushing your teeth too hard is a day in bed”.

What she wrote completely negates what is a very real situation for a good number of those who live with lupus. Just because this writer was lucky enough to not ever have to experience relearning how to walk, talk, dress, eat, get on and off the crapper, shower; does not mean these things cannot and do not happen. For a good number of people, that is their reality. For a good number of people, they spend a good part of their day trying to muster all of their strength just to stay awake, never mind be productive. For the most part, I take damn good care of myself and regardless, I have many days where it takes me at least 2 hours to drag my sorry ass out of bed, because that is just how bad my lupus is.

For those who’ve had to fight the really dark sides of lupus, they need to know that is safe to be honest about these things and talk about it. Not only for their own sanity but in order to raise awareness. Just because you can acknowledge the shittastic that is lupus does not mean you are dwelling on it or that it is consuming you. It means you are being real about your situation and have the strength to face things head-on instead of trying to run and hide from the truth. It does not mean you cannot see the light in the dark. I think I can be a good example of that. After all, lupus has tried to kick my ass from many possible angles and I continue to do some pretty amazing things despite my daily struggles. I can be honest about it and I know it allows others to feel safe in facing and fighting their own lupus demons.

I may not agree with a number of things Christine has said, either in this video or on the website that she runs. That does not mean her experiences are not valid and real. It just means we have different experiences and deal with things differently. My personal opinions also do not invalidate the community of lupus patience who do find comfort in Christine’s video and writings, because that is also their reality. And when you live with something like lupus, any amount of finding a community of those who you can relate with does wonders to help you cope and get through your day to day.

Bottom line, this video is a good tool to illustrate one of the thousands of faces of lupus. And I’m very disheartened that one of our own (wow, doesn’t that sound snobbish and elitist) has attacked in such a fashion that will undo a lot of awareness for this disease. I’m worried that it may leave some thinking, yet again, lupus is not that bad and people who bitch about it, are hypochondriacs.

Way to shit upon people’s real experiences and their reality, Diana.

Warning: May Be Prone To Irrational Outbursts of Tristesse and Tears

February 12th, 2011 by Jules 2 comments »

Typically, during the upcoming week, I have random bought of tears and just wanting to tell the world to bugger off.

This year, it began a week earlier than normal and much more frequently than normal.

On the 14th of February is the anniversary of my grandma’s death. I’ll have more to say about that on that day. On the 17th of February, is the anniversary of when I had my hysterectomy.

I have been trying to figure out why this year has been much more difficult for me to deal with. After all, as of this year, my grandma has been gone for more years than I had her in my life. But I am having a more difficult time this year recalling the things that once gave me comfort when I thought about her, such as the sound of her voice and her smell. I feel as if her memory is going to be lost forever. And for some odd reason, it is really bothering me. Maybe by Monday, I’ll be able to talk about this more. Right now, I end up in uncontrollable tears every time I try and remember those sensory memories, only to find they have decayed to an almost non-existent level. If you are new these parts, you may not understand why, when growing up, she was the most important person in my life.

And as for the hysterectomy, well that is just a suckass thing to have to go through when one is 29 and the doctors are FINALLY starting to put your lupus diagnosis together, after over a decade of various diagnoses.

I hate making excuses for not good behaviour. But I just want to let as many people know at once, that I am far from myself and that this year, the emotional baggage and wounds have been ripped open earlier than usual. All that I ask is that you are patient with me and if I appear antisocial, it is because I’m going through some stuff that I hope, this year, I can finally deal with once and for all, getting some form of closure on these events.

I should probably talk about these things (with an actual voice instead of type) but it is difficult to talk when you are crying. At least for me it is. There are very few people (read 1 or 2) who I feel comfortable crying in front of and around. I’m more of the “cry in private” type.

Hopefully with more quiet contemplation, I’ll be able to purge things once and for all.

All this being said, I find it quite fascinating the things that haunt us as humans. I’ve gone through a lot of crap in my life and have always bounced back from it with grace and ease. I’ve had many people die. I’ve had lupus do some pretty fucked up things to my body. And yet, I have yet to recover from these two events. It would be wonderful if I could figure out the cause so that I can finally deal with it.

If I seem off, it is because I am. I’m not asking that you understand, especially as I do not understand it myself. However, patience would be awesometastic.

In Which Kid2 and I Spend 3 Hours Bonding in the Emergency Room

January 29th, 2011 by Jules 7 comments »

(Blogs published at this time are riddled with loads of toaster errors and mistakes. They will be mostly corrected when brain is more functional)

I’ve been wanting to write this blog every since the “incident”, which occurred last Sunday night. However, my week has been beyond crazy. Hopefully, enough of these events are still fresh enough in my mind where I can retell the magic of these events.

Last Sunday, as I was preparing to hand off the autodj at the radio station to the next personality, it had dawned on me that Kid2 was a few minutes late arriving home from playing at a friend’s house. I did my best to remain calm and not worry that some horrible thing had happened to him, causing him to be late.

15 minutes before I was to hand over the stream, I heard the door open and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he had arrived home safely and in one piece. I continued on with my work, now relieved, freeing my brain from the distraction of wondering where the child was. That is when it happened. I heard what sounded like a child tumbling down the stairs, followed by the type of yell one would expect if someone, violently, fell down the stairs.

Without saying a word to the person I was currently in conversation with, I leaped out of my chair and ran to the door and opened it, expecting to see a twisted and mangled mess of a child. Upon opening the door, I discovered a child sitting on one of the bottom stairs, clutching one foot, nearly in tears and declaring, “I think it’s broken. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (insert with the passion of “KHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN here).”

Trying my best to appear outwardly calm, I asked, “OMG! Are you okay?!?! How did you fall?!?! What happened???!!!? SPEAK TO ME!” I’m pretty sure I failed at the whole trying to convey that I am calm, in order to keep the child calm in an attempt to keep him from spiraling into further emotional distress. He looked at me like I was a wee bit daft and responded, “Yeah… I’m fine… I DROPPED MY LAPTOP DOWN THE STAIRS AND I THINK IT IS BROKEN!! THIS IS THE WORST!” Suddenly, I became rather confused and ask him, “So you didn’t fall? Then why the screams as if you were dying?” He regarded me as if I had two heads and replied, “Didn’t you hear me?!? I DROPPED MY LAPTOP DOWN THE STAIRS AND I THINK I MAY HAVE BROKEN IT!!!!”, which was followed by the “jeez, you’re slow” sigh that teenagers give us.

Still not convinced that he was okay and not broken, as it sounded like a body fell down the stairs and not a laptop plus he was clutching his foot, I said, “Forget the laptop. Are YOU okay?” That was THE wrong thing to say. After having a meltdown as  a result the end of the world being nigh if he broke his laptop, he said, “I’m okay. I just hurt my foot at my friend’s house and limping down the stairs made me drop my laptop and I THINK I BROKE IT!”

Trying my best to get him to forget the laptop without actually making the mistake of saying those words again, I said, “Take off your shoe and sock and let me take a look.” He tried to tell me that it was fine, it was just a bit sore and swollen, that it was no big deal. Remembering that I had someone waiting for me, I told him, “Stop arguing with me and let me take a look at your damned foot!”

That is when I saw it: the swollen and already bruised mess of a foot. This foot once was a sweet, Flinstone type, baby foot. However, in the last year, it has begun transforming into a man foot, currently made more manly, as it was swelling and turning black. He kept trying to reassure me that all was okay with him, that the real victim was his laptop. That is, until I pressed on one of his joints, which caused him to exclaim, through a yelp, “Okay! Maybe my foot isn’t fine. BUT I THINK I BROKE MY LAPTOP!”

Trying my best to remain patient over his obvious misguided priorities, I informed him that we would be having to make a trip to the emergency room. I quickly ran back to my computer, got the next personality settled, arranged for someone to deal with the autodj in the event I was not back within 4 hours, arranged for a ride to the ER, told him to put his sock and shoe back on his foot and told him NOT TO MOVE!

I was hoping that it would be empty in the ER, for two reasons: 1) Nobody wants to spend their Sunday evening in the ER, especially if they are having to worry that their child is broken; and 2) Lupus + sick people with their germs in the ER = the potential for a lot of bad things. My hopes were quickly smashed to trillions of shards, the moment we arrived. The line to see the Triage nurse began at her desk and ended at the entrance to the ER and that is how it remained for hours. At one point, people were having to wait in line, outside of the doors. Instantly, I prepared myself for a very long night, as I knew he was not critical and there were people with rashes, fevers and coughs (making them automatically more emergent) in line with us.

Finally, it was our turn to see the triage nurse. It was during this time my brain nearly exploded, yet again, when I learned that his foot had been like that for THREE HOURS, before he decided to come home. When he had said, “I just hurt my foot at my friend’s house”, I thought he actually meant he just did it, not that he meant in the “it’s no big deal, it is only a hurt foot” new fangled way kids talk, sense. I think my head may have pivoted, or something, and I found myself asking him three times, “You did this 3 hours ago and you didn’t come home?!?” because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

The nurse proceeded to ask me about his allergies, medical conditions, etc. It tried my best to answer them, without looking back at kid2 and asking him the same question over and over. The entire time, my brain was overloading and doing it’s circular thinking thing, trying to assimilate that my child waited 3 hours before coming home, with his only concern being for his laptop.

The nurse finally cleared us from triage and waved us down to the registration desk, where I proceeded to instill into Kid2 that if any thing like this were to happen again, he is to immediately come back home. I must have told him, “If ANY THING like this happens again, you are to immediately come home” more times than I realised, as I was met with an exacerbated sigh and, “ALRIGHT MUM! I get it! Next time, I’ll come home, right away! SHEESH!”

Finally, we were able to take our seats in the waiting area and 30 minutes of failing to remain calm upon the realisation that my child has odd priorities, turned into magic.

He brought his iPod with him to keep him occupied during the wait. It was the first time I was ever happy that his dad had purchased it for him. He showed me all of his different apps and we discussed them whilst he played. It was a wonderful distraction from his hurting foot, the fact we were in the ER with what he was hoping was his first broken bone (something about battle wounds) and it allowed my brain to slightly distract itself from those who had fever, coughs and weird rashes.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, we were finally called in the treatment area. And that is when the real magic began.

We geeked out over so many different things. I also ended up learning a lot about the way his brain works during the process. We were discussing what he thought was better: Marvel or DC. This taught me that his brain works even more similarly to mine than previously thought.  Where I see the world as either “loud” or “muted”, he describes those things in “bold” and “flat”. An example of this is when he told me about his preferences and why. He told me he prefers DC over Marvel, not only because he thinks DC is more mature that Marvel but because DC is “bold” in his brain and Marvel is “flat.” He then told me that he sees most of the world as either “bold” or “flat” and he has a hard time describing things to other people, as those are the only words he can think of to illustrate it in any fashion. Immediately, I knew exactly what he meant when he said that and it was all I could do to not squee.

I have a hard time communicating the world to people, as I don’t really see my environment as “normals” do. It made me extremely happy that I actually got what he was saying. It made me even happier that he had someone he could describe the world to in such a fashion, who would just get it and nod, knowingly.

I considering him for a moment and I considered the situation. This prompted me to ask, “What would you do if you didn’t have a geeky mum? What would you do if you couldn’t share all of these things with me?” He replied, “I’d probably never speak because I’d have nobody who understood what I am talking about, especially when I have to use words like “bold” and “flat”. It is hard to talk with people sometimes.” Immediately, I understood exactly how he felt.

He went into his quiet place for a few moments. I considered him some more and asked, “Do you think you will have geeky kids?” He replied, “Well IF I have kids, I’m don’t really know. I would like them to be geeky so I can share with them like we do. But what if they’re not geeky, mum? How would I be able to talk with them?” I smiled and responded, “Well, I’m not sure if I’d worry about that, too much. I mean, look at you and your brother. You are both very individual people. However, you and your brother are my personality, split right down the middle. Your brother is my nerdy, scientific, overly rational side. You are my geeky, artistic, creative side. Yes, there are a few overlaps, but overall, you and your brother are me but split in half. Look at Auntie Catherine and your cousin. They are very similar as well. And I think you’ll marry an intelligent woman and end up having intelligent children.” That is when things went sideways, but in a wonderful direction. Well, wonderful to me but I’m not sure what those, who were listening to our conversation, thought about it.

He looked at me and asked, “What if I don’t get married. Then I won’t have any kids.” I chuckled and replied, “You don’t NEED to get married. Okay, then. Let me rephrase. I think you’ll enter a long-term, committed relationship with an intelligent woman and end up having intelligent children.” Mistakenly, I thought it was time to move on to the next topic of conversation.

Without pause, he asked, “Well what if I have sex with a girl who is delayed, mentally, the condom breaks and I end up getting her pregnant?” I responded, “I don’t think you’ll have sex with someone who has special needs. You are not going to be an asshat and take advantage of someone in such a fashion.” To which he replied, “But what if I get drunk, have sex with a girl who is delayed, the condom breaks and she gets pregnant?” With a mix of amusement and shock, I responded, “Well that is a asshat move and I didn’t raise an asshat who disrespects women in such a fashion. And if for some reason, that were to happen, then you’ll figure it out then. Regardless, the child will still be wonderful because it is yours and you are wonderful. Are you finished asking me the less likely scenarios?” He told me he was and he was ready to move to the next topic. (I think I taught him way too well to look at all sides of an equation and plan for all possibilities).

We continued discussing many other topics of nerd and geek nature, much the amusement of those around us. And then it was time for his x-ray and something else happened that I found to be so very wonderful and amusing.

As the x-ray tech was manipulating his foot and taking the films, she kept asking him questions about school and the sorts of things he is in to. He’d respond and then she’d turn to me and say, “Wow. He is so mature for 11.” Or she would try to repress a big laugh, smile to me and say, “Your child is such a doll. He is so well spoken and polite, especially for 11. I think he is great.”  The x-ray tech was taking the final film, when she asked him, “When I’m done here, would you like a sticker?” To my great pleasure and to her pleasure and amusement, he replied, “Nah. That’s okay. I’m not really partial to stickers. It is best if you keep it for the next kid.” She tried her best to repress her “awwwwh” as she gave me another “wow” and said to him, “Are you sure? They are glow in the dark!” To which he said, “Nah. Really. I’m okay.” She decided to tear one off of the strip anyway, walked over to him and said, “Look. They aren’t “kid” stickers. I think you’ll like this one.” He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Okay. I suppose I’ll take it. I can bring it to school and brag to all my friends about how I had my first x-ray and here is the proof.” She tried her best to repress her laugh, but didn’t quite succeed.

We went back to the treatment area, where kid2 began to bombard me with questions about why I had to stand behind the wall with the x-ray tech. I told him that it was because it protects me from the radiation. A little bit horrified, he asked, “So it is okay for ME to be bombarded with radiation.. .me… a kid… but not you??” I repressed another laugh as I responded, “In normal circumstances, it is not okay. But these are not normal circumstances. Exposing you to radiation was necessary to take the x-ray. Had the situation been reversed and I needed the x-ray, you’d have been behind the wall during the process, in order to limit the exposure as best as possible.” With that, he breathed a sigh of relief and we were able to move on.

A little more time went on. We learned his foot was not broken, it was only badly bruised and sprained, much to his displeasure. (He was really wanting it to be broken). And just under 3 hours after arrival, we were able to go home, passing the still revolving door of walk-in patients.

I know I’m missing a lot of pieces from this story. However, despite the horrible circumstances surrounding the bonding time, it was one of the best times we’ve had in a while. Sure, we are always talking and sharing. Our days are spent exchanging geek banter. But that night we shared things on a level that we hadn’t shared in quite a while, allowing me to see him in a whole new light and gaining better understanding of who he is, how he thinks and just how amazing he is.

And I am glad for it.

You Can’t Say Faggot In Canada

January 13th, 2011 by Jules 1 comment »

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 by Jules 2 comments »

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.