Go forth and please me, my pretties

I've met some very nice people through Flickr. People from all around the world. Some are practically my neighbors and others are snapping their way through Asia and Africa.

There's only been one peckerhead. Fortunately, peckerheads don't bother me all that much anymore.

The best part of having an account on Flickr is that I'm constantly inspired and always learning something new. New term for this week: Bokeh, which describes the of out-of-focus points of light and how they are rendered. Are they spherical and defined? Are they mere blobs? You'll have to click that link above get the full explanation.

Another cool bit? I've now had 10 photos shortlisted for inclusion on Schmap. The first photo (Las Vegas) was chosen months ago. Now, since they're expanding their coverage to include San Diego, they've selected a few more.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share my little milestone with you.

Another Silly, Pointless List

In normal times, I tend to snipe at people for oversharing, especially with their many lists of songs. However, this past month has been anything but normal. This week has been bizarre, at best. And so, I just can't seem to get past this need to give you a list of randomly played music. I know you don't care, but I insist.

There's just something about the shuffle feature that makes for truly bizarre combinations that aren't altogether entirely unpleasant. I have a strict rule when I hit "shuffle". I'm not allowed to skip any songs. Ever. I don't care if my son just walked into the room in the middle of Liz Phair's "HWC" ("Hot White Cum", for the uninitiated). At best, I will turn something down, but never, ever do I skip it. And, yes, that means I occasionally end up with Lowell Fulson singing "I Want To Spend Christmas With You" (note to self: find Eric Cartman singing "Oh Holy Night")in the middle of July. Or even Christopher Walken and the SNL gang looking for more cowbell. Maybe even a little "Special Fred" from Stephen Lynch. That's just how it goes.

Because of my "no skip" rule, the mix is always unique and "different". On the other hand, there are times when there seems to be a theme running through the list. Look at today's "First 40" on the old editing "soundtrack":

Tell me it wasn't a little like Blues night on American Idol (not that I watch and would know - I just edit the www.chaturbaterooms.com reviews), except with better talent and the oddly placed non-blues song here or there.

That's the beauty of random play, or shuffle, or whatever you want to call it. I get everything from 1922 to present day recordings. You never know what you're going to get. Sort of like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, except mine are tastier. Or something like that. Although, come to think of it, chocolate does sound mighty tasty right about now.

I'm sort of wondering if my player isn't a little possessed. I mean, look at the progression of music there. From mostly mellow to progressively heavier tunes. Could it be that the player is basing this on the time of day? The later in the day it gets, the more driving the music? I'm curious. If my media player is that intuitive, can it sing me songs of heartbreak during those lonely nights? Will it cuddle me when I'm in need of a hug? Can it see what I'm doing when I think I'm all alone? Can it track my Internet usage? Oh, the possibilities are horrifying! Or comforting, depending on the results.

It could well be that I'm over analyzing this. I was emailing Michele Lundeen late into the night. Maybe that had something to do with my media player's omniscent selection of two three four of her songs. I'd also emailed Roy Book Binder about Little Pink (who's sort of disappeared lately). And, I was working on many Blues-related projects. Plus, I had listened to the BCRadio podcast. It just really makes me wonder about how random random play is and how much my computer knows about me.

In the end, I'm not worried as far as song selection. I'm always glad I haven't skipped a song or stuck with just one artist. What I get from the mix is something entirely unique and helps make the time pass more pleasantly. And I loved this morning's editing "soundtrack".

GuantanameraSince you've read this far, here's a challenge for all of you, okay TWO challenges:

"Anything But Love" - J.D. Souther -- there used to be a version of this TV show theme song with vocals. I actually had it on my old computer until it crashed. I need helping finding the version with vocals.

"Guantanamera" - the Tinku version with vocals. I want that terribly. This San Diego band performs this song so beautifully. That photo there? That's one I took one Cinco de Mayo. The couple, well, the beauty of their dance combined with the music was so moving that I simply must have the Tinku version of the song as they were the ones performing at the time.

There, I overshared a bit myself and you have a mission or two. Email me if you happen to find what I seek.

Friday's "I Don't Know and I Don't Care" Blues

One of the best things about being in a funk is that I have the perfect excuse to listen to whatever music I want.

I suppose I could pick up some Sarah McLachlan or some Susie Sue, but no, they really don't work. Instead, I grabbed a stack of my CDs and started off with some Johnny Shines, Honeyboy, Nathan and Ben, and then, I launched into some Trixie Smith. Her 1922-34 recordings, to be exact. The first few songs are reminiscent of the music you'd hear in those early cartoons - the black and white ones with the scratchy sound.

About halfway through the CD, though, there are a few jasminlive songs that are particularly fantastic. "I'm Through With You (As I Can Be)", "Take It Daddy, It's All Yours", "I'm Gonna Get You", "Tired of Waiting Blues", "Triflin' Blues", "Don't Shake it No More", and "I Don't Know and I Don't Care Blues".

All the songs feature have a nickelodeon-ish sound, but I don't really mind. I mean, these songs were recorded almost 100 years ago and I'm listening to them right now! It's rather astounding, don't you think?

Then, there's feel of the songs. You can't deny the complete and utter sentiment of the tunes. Some are quite poignant. Others serve as declarations of independence and strenght. If you consider what many of these woman endured at the time -- especially if they were black -- the importance of these recordings cannot be discounted.

I have chills just thinking about all this great music I have around me. If'n I'm gonna have the blues, I may as well have the right soundtrack.

On a positive note, my Flickr account has suddenly seen a jump in activity. One photo went from having two people looking at it to almost 500, What a nice little ego boost!

And Pimps Think They Have It Hard

After a recent spate of complaints, I began to think, I should give up editing for Blogcritics and become a pimp. They have it easy compared to what editors go through. Don't mind me...I'm feeling somewhat goofy and loopy from pain meds.

Oh, the glorious life of an editor. Yeah, I know you're all thinking that we editors sit around in some room, passing the bottles of booze, the smokes, and the haute cuisine. Sure. Wouldn't that be a beautiful thing?

Reality check!

Fact is, the life of an editor is a lonely job. Unless you count the endless emails.

Imagine a handful of people sitting around in their individual abodes. Contrary to popular belief, we do not live in a commune on some exotic island.

So there we sit. Alone. We look at the volumes of emails all screaming for attention. Editor 1 has sent out a missive letting everyone else know that they're working on an article requiring input from others. "Is this going to get us in legal trouble?" "Is it just me or does this read like someone fed a dictionary to a hamster and ran it through a duck press to see what came out?" "Can someone please edit my article about the breaking news story from three days ago?" Ah, yes, even editors must wait in line. And we're regularly stumped by some of the articles we read. Yes, we read all the articles. Forget the sexy centerfolds, we have to read everything!

Then, after six hours of nonstop emails, queries from writers and other editors, and near-blindness, I realize I need to use the bathroom (Damn, is it supposed to hurt that much when I pee? Why can't I just have a foley catheter and skip the whole 'pee like a racehorse' thing twice a day?), tend to a starving or bleeding , nod at a spouse or significant other, and maybe grab a piece of that stale and suspicious looking piece of pizza in the back of the fridge. As I step over the pile of unread mail and newspapers and dirty clothes, I grab the milk from the fridge and sniff at it warily. I think, "when was the last time I went to the store? It smells iffy. If I drink it, will I collapse on the floor and writhe in pain for hours? If I take my chances on the milk and the pizza, end up with food poisoning, do you think the writers will understand that I can't reach the computer from the bathroom and their articles are going to have to wait?"

The crying from another room remains largely unheeded. For me, I know my jasminelive boyfriend will live if he doesn't see me for a few more hours. Hell, I got him those movies to keep him busy. Why can't be occupy his time like my son does - with Gameboy Advance and the Blades of Thunder game? "Look at me! Be with me! I have needs, too!" Men.

The lonely and beleaguered editor settles down in front of the computer again, having tended briefly to personal needs. Said editor contemplates trifocals for a split second, dismissing the thought as another time wasting activity. Who needs vision? Oh, well. Whatever.

Climbing over the bodies of editors past, I approach the pending queue. How could there be another forty articles in pending since I walked away thirty-eight seconds ago? Don't these writers have lives? Must they churn out an endless stream of content? Crikey!

Diving in, I consider the possibility of joining the circus. Surely, it would be quieter in one of the three rings and cleaning up after the elephants. What on earth is this? What does the author mean by "the talker in the movie spun around and disappeared after talking to the other talker"? Huh? Isn't this an article about the latest takeover of the L.A. Times by the Branch Davidians? I'm confused. Hmm, I'll email the other editors, maybe they'll get it. HOLD FOR CLARIFICATION. I email the author, while I'm at it.

After emailing everyone, I notice someone else has a question about something I know a lot about. I read that. Wha-aat? Oh, okay. I'll handle it. Except Yahoo groups is slow and the issue has already been resolved and I'm just mucking things up. Crap!

Moving on, I pick up another article. Oooh! My luck's changing. I should buy a lottery ticket. This piece doesn't require anything from me other than hitting "publish". I start humming "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" and wiggle delightedly on the sofa. I let the phone ring as I embrace the next article with great anticipation and hope for another easy edit.

Suddenly the sky darkens and theme song from Jaws is heard in the background. I haven't a clue as to what this is about. I'll email the editor of that section. Oh, wait...that editor's in the hospital. Hmm, what to do? Oh, I know, I'll ask EO to have a look at it. Yeah, that's the ticket. I know he's not busy. Right. He emails me back asking why Advance hasn't been updated and why the hell haven't I written anything on the latest concert or TV show. Uh, I'll pretend I don't see that email.

Going back to the pending queue, I realize that it's been another four hours since I heard a peep from anyone in the house. I briefly consider hobbling up the stairs to check for signs of life. Nah, if they needed something they'd have shrieked or rattled their chains.

Next article is fairly straightforward. No attribution for the quoted text, but hell, who cares? Oh, wait. This is looking really familiar. Google. That's what I'll do. Googling the quoted passage, I discover the whole article is simply a collection of paragraphs from the forty articles on GNews. Another email to the author and the editor group.

On to the next item.

Crap! Was that a mouse that just ran over my foot? Oh, no...it was just the weeds swirling around in the water. Water? Uh oh. Fine, whatever. I'll deal with that later.

The food poisoning is starting to get the best of me. I ignore the rumblings in my belly and publish another four articles. I'm not sure they made any sense, but I hope. I'm a hopeful person.

There are 12 BC Yahoo groups digests in my mailbox. Do I dare read them? Nah. I'll wait.

I finally read EO's email and respond. He sends one back telling me not to worry, he was just curious and wanted to update the affiliates with good news. I quickly check Advance, realize that I forgot to publish the articles I added to the site, make the changes, and publish. I wonder where my template went for the articles. I create a new one. EO's happy. The affiliates are happy. My shows up at my side, having gnawed through his restraints, and he wants food. Didn't I just feed him last week? Whatever.

Crap. There goes the power. Damn. I knew I forgot something. Those people at the electric company sure expect a lot, don't they? Money, money, money. I make a call and beg for them to restore service. After all, I can't run the respirator for my boyfriend manually and well, you know. No such luck. It'll be three days before they can turn the power back on. Fine. I pick up the laptop, grab the , step over the trash that's collected by the front door and head off to Panera where I can feed my AND have free wifi.

I publish another couple articles. Amazing how much faster this goes when one's eaten and had a chance to clear one's brain for a few minutes.

I'm feeling good about everything and start to do a little happy dance in the middle of the restaurant. People look at me with pained expressions. C'mon, I'm not that bad! I then realize that I've been sitting in the place in a long t-shirt and nothing else. And, what's that smell? Oh man, when did I last shower?

Eh, if they can't handle it, screw 'em.

Back at the computer, I see the writers I contacted earlier have responded. Ouch! Such language! I kick it up to EO. He has nothing going on, right? Right.

He nudges me and tells me that they're kicking us out of Panera. Reluctantly, I load everything into the car and head back to the bleakness of my powerless home. By some miracle, there's a light shining from within. Whoa! The candle I left burning in the bathroom after my earlier visit seems to have set off some sort of chain reaction and the place is on fire. I grab the cell phone and dial 911. Thankfully, there wasn't much to burn what with the flood from earlier. Whatever.

I send him over to his dad's house and call a friend asking for a place to stay for a couple days. I secure a room, a shower, some clothes, and most importantly, Internet access!

All is right with the world once again.

Maybe I should try my hand at the Presidency. That shouldn't be too hard after all this, right? Oh, crap. I can't. I have to get back to editing. And, really. Why would I give up my glamorous life as an editor for such a thankless job as that?

Just When You Thought They Couldn't Sink Any Lower

What do you get when you combine a grieving family, the anti-war faction, and a total loss of any sort of decency? Let's call it the most disturbing trend in the "peace" process.

Associated Press KOKOMO, Ind. — Police posted an around-the-clock security watch at the home of an Indiana soldier killed last week in Iraq after it was vandalized and his family received disturbing phone calls.

The home of Sgt. Rickey Jones was egged Saturday, three days after Jones’ family learned the 21-year-old and three other soldiers had been killed by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad. His family also received phone calls in which the caller said: “I’m glad your son is dead.”

Just when you thought what he couldn't sink any lower, they do.

The best way to counter such disgusting behavior is to show your support and pride for our military and their families. Operation Military Pride, Soldiers' Angels, America Supports You, and countless other organizations can help you do exactly that.

Feel free to leave a properly coded HTML link (as in bracketed name and URL) in the comments section to other groups devoted to supporting our armed forces community. And don't forget to actually follow through with the suggestions provided on the links listed above. THAT'S how we'll beat the "peaceniks" at their game.

One Down, Two to Go

I had my first in the latest round of steroid epidurals yesterday.

This time around, chaos ruled. My MRI results were nowhere to be found. Even though my appointment was a week later than originally sheduled, the right reports weren't there. By the time they were found and faxed to the doc doing the epidural, it was discovered that the MRI was not completed as ordered. They'd only done the lumbar spine. Um, I guess the order that read THORACIC AND LUMBAR didn't appeal to the person doing the MRI and I'll likely have to go back in.

So, there I was, IV fluids started, sitting around in one of those glamorous hospital gowns, hair in the little cap, booties on my feet, and I couldn't stand the wait. I smiled and joked, even though I was hurting (it's been a rather bad week). I hobbled to the bathroom at some point, almost knocking out my IV. Thankfully, I didn't and the IV continued to work.

The doc agreed to IV Benadryl during the procedure in hopes of heading off the rash I always get. I'd never really thought much about it, but did you know that IV Benadryl can make you cough? It can and it did. It was weird.

I vaguely remember the needle being stuck in my back. Thank God for sedation! I also barely recall being moved onto the gurney and rolled into the recovery room. I do know that I didn't feel as horrible after this epidural as I did last time. Since they were working on my mid back and not the neck, I was spared the headache and vomiting. I liked that!

The Smashes picked me up from the surgical center and we got some food. I sat around their house for about a half hour and then drove home. I probably should have stayed down there with them longer, but I really wanted my pillow and blanket on the sofa at home. And that's just what I got. I slept for almost four hours and woke up really sore.

The pain from the injection is bad, but not as bad as the headaches I had last time. I'm really grateful for that. Really. REALLY! The hot flashes are back. Yuck! I hate those. I've changed clothes several times already from all the sweating. The rash is starting to itch and I'm popping Benadryl every four hours. But overall, I am optimistic about this series of epidurals. Anything to relieve the pain is worth a shot.

I'm off to shower, get into fresh clothes, take some more pain meds, and go back to bed. Yay, me!

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