Posts Tagged Gigi Salem

A Boy And His Guitar – Tony Lucca – Music Monday

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing quite like seeing music live. Well, last Saturday I got to attend the Tony Lucca show at The Prophet Bar down in Dallas’ Deep Ellum. I brought along my dear friend Kelly and had one of the best nights I’ve had in recent memory.

There were three acts slated for that night: Griffin Schmucker, Zach Balch, and the headliner Tony Lucca.

Griffin was…okay. The drummer was awesome, actually. Everyone else seemed to be going through the motions. They didn’t feel connected to the music. I blame this on Schmucker himself. He was a little too high on the smell of his own “glory” to care about servicing the audience or the music. He was serving his own ego. From what I have seen, that never works out well. Now, he may have just been nervous. However, when you mention you’re doing a charity show, you should know all about the charity instead of being dismissive about it. How can you get people to care enough to come out and spend their money on a cause if you don’t care? Further, he made some snotty comment about the audience not being able to spell his name so of course Kelly and I took out our phones and spelled it exactly right in order to Google him. Don’t talk down to me. Don’t assume your audience can’t do something. Don’t be rude to people there just because they may have come to see someone else. This is how you lose potential fans! Plus, he introduced only himself and his BFF the guitarist. Um, now you’re rude to the band? Wow. No, thank you.

Zach and his band were great, thankfully. Every one of them, especially Balch himself, was engaged in the music. They LOVED what they were doing and it showed. Sitting ten feet from the stage I could feel the drums in my chest. Especially, I enjoyed the two songs that were just Balch, his back-up singer, and a violinist.  The banter was great as well. He engaged with the audience, he engaged with his band, heck, he introduced them all and gave them credit equal to himself. He played to us, with us, and that is priceless.

That being said, Tony blew them both out of the water.

I knew he would, but I was not prepared for how MUCH he would. It was just him and his guitar up on the stage and yet he filled the room. He wove pictures and emotions that were touchable and filled up little corners in my heart. His banter was real and inclusive, reaching out to share his experience with us and make it ours. My favorite song was Anchored, a love song for Los Angeles. I also really enjoyed Fight Song, Long Love Letter, Starting Over, Foxy Jane, and Death of Me. If I don’t stop there I’ll just start listing every song off the three albums Kelly and I bought after the show.

At one point during the encore, when he was singing a song called Always, I felt tears filling my eyes and beginning to roll down my cheeks. Looking over at Kelly I saw that she was right there too. Now that, right there, is the mark of a master to me. He didn’t just fill our ears with joy, he touched our souls.

If that weren’t impressive enough, he didn’t just stand there playing his guitar and singing. He used his voice and the microphone as instruments in and of themselves. I’ve said that music is my drug and my religion. Well, some of the things he did with his voice made me feel like I was flying high and in church all at the same time. I wanted to yell “amen” and “hallelujah” after certain of the vocal acrobatics he performed.

After his performance, Kelly and I nearly tripped over ourselves to buy the three available CDs. As we stood there, clutching our treasure, Tony came out to mingle. I made a couple aborted attempts to speak to him, but was stymied by people wanting photos. Kelly told me to stop being shy and I smiled. When the young ladies wanting their photos were done, I touched Tony’s arm and he turned to face us, smiling.

Now, you all know I am a goof. I say embarrassing things to people who have awed me. So this was the portion of the evening where I babbled my thanks for his performance and that listening to him was like being in church, and how he was part of Kelly’s live show education. He took all of this in with grace and charm, thanking us for coming and for our kind words. He shook our hands, and we floated away, blissful. In the car, I realized that we had neither asked for him to sign the CDs, nor asked for pictures to be taken with our phones. Duh.

That being said, we had a fanTAStic time with just a boy and his guitar.

 

Who have you seen live recently? How was it?

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Music Monday – You Must Drown

Zly

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Drowning is easy, especially if you have ear-bud headphones. That way, you get to bypass all the white noise of your surroundings. The music goes straight into you and if you close your eyes you get a private show. Any kind your brain associates with what you’re listening to.

Is it any wonder then that most of my favorite singers are men? **shivers with pleasure** Ahem. Where was I? Ah yes, drowning. It’s good for the soul.

Depending on which music hits us and how it hits us, we can fuel just about any state of mind with the right playlist. Writers frequently use music to get into the mindset of our work. We want an action scene? Something fast and furious might help us focus better. Romance? Lord is there a wealth of music out there to help us out.

What’s even better? We can use music to frame our minds for the rest of our lives as well. We’ve all used music to set the mood in romantic situations, for working out, and even to help us wake up in the morning. Why shouldn’t we use it to amp us up or calm us down for other situations? It’s no accident that a lot of therapies involve beating the crap out of some sort of drum.

What music gets your motor running? Soothes the savage beast inside? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

 

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Fangirl Friday – Captain America (Beware Spoilers)

The First Avenger

Last week I saw Captain America in the theater. It did one of my very favorite things a period film can do. It remained true to the mind-set of the time in which it was set. I get really frustrated with period pieces that feature anachronistic sexuality **cough**Titanic**cough**. Heck, Cap didn’t even get to first base in this movie! Which, I must say, was a breath of fresh air. He was sexy (even as a 90 pound weakling, Chris Evans is gorgeous, but I might have a thing for skinny guys) and brave and honorable. I loved that the only kiss was actually stolen by a woman.

Respect meant something real and tangible once upon a time, as did honor and loyalty. Of course, that’s what Captain America as a character is all about, right? So it would have been extremely out of character to have him shag the woman he loved before they had even had a first date. Sorta like Superman getting drunk in a bar. Ahem.

The whole film was beautifully done from the beginning to the sneak peek at the end of the credits. The colors were lush and vivid. The acting was solid, consistent, and elegant. The script was tight, and flowed well. What? Superhero movies aren’t allowed to be great cinema? Look, critics can moan and bluster all they want about their elitist view of what makes for a good film. Nine times out of ten, I won’t want to see what they see as “great art” because it doesn’t entertain me. If I want stories of unrequited love, emotional abuse, or people muddling through a series of horrible life choices then I have my own memories to look at, okay?

To me, good movies help me escape, give me hope that better is out there. They affirm that good guys DO win and bad guys are obliterated. This film did that. Not because Cap was the paragon, but because there was someone out there who believes his virtues and morals are valid and showed that on the screen. Real life is crappy enough without being force-fed “realistic” films. Plus, the fight scenes and explosions were really cool.

So, what about y’all? What do you want in your entertainment? What movies get your motor revved? Is there a movie you think I should review?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Sharing Is Caring

The best part about books you love, authors you adore, is sharing them with others. We like to say things like, “Go read Storm Front by Jim Butcher, it’s awesome times a thousand,” and then leave it be. For those of us who collect books like other people collect stamps, we do not share the actual books except to a few select people. We’ve been burned before. We loaned our Douglas Adams collection to our best friend and never saw it again. Because their kids ate half the pages.

However, some people have passed our test. They borrowed our precious books and not only returned them, they kept the binding pretty and even shared some of their own collection in return. These are people we keep with us always. Which is why, even though I had barely spoken to him since we broke up, I loaned two books to my ex-boyfriend and didn’t bat an eye.

Yes, you read that right. I contacted my ex to see if he’d read the most recent two offerings in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. When I found out that he had NOT, I was horrified and immediately offered to loan him both books at once. Maybe we couldn’t hack it as a couple, but man are we sympatico as readers. He needed those books. I needed to share them.

 

Who have you shared with today?

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Fangirl Friday – Harry Potter – I Open At The Close

Coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school...

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I blame Nick Rhodes. Honestly, almost all my fandoms can be blamed on a member of Duran Duran. I started reading the books when Mr. Rhodes made a (seemingly) offhand remark about Muggles.

Now, with the series at a close, I look back at one of the most influential series of our time. Reading had been on the wane until J.K. Rowling made it fun again. Make no mistake, there are lessons to be learned in the series. Things like friendship, loyalty, hope, and a score or more other virtues were woven into the seven books chronicling a young wizard’s growth.

Each book was darker than the last, which some folk complained about. I agreed with it. Our world gets darker as we grow older and accept more responsibility. Things get harder. We have to make more and more sacrifices. Even so, Rowling handed us Pandora’s box, with hope still fluttering around inside it. Hope that good will triumph over evil, that there are still honorable, kind people in the world.

I love those books for many reasons. First, they are an escape. Even if we don’t pay mind to the broader meanings, dragons and goblins and magic transport us out of our mundane existences to a more exciting place. Second, as stated before, they bring hope, a desperately needed commodity in this world. Third, they brought reading back. Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, which is all well and good, but bringing reading back in this age of instant gratification was nothing short of a miracle, yes?

People learned patience as they waited for each new book or film in the series. And even though there were those jerks who bootlegged things and put them up on the internet days before release, we still had to wait while they were being created. No matter what else she does in the future, J.K. Rowling has gifted the world with wonder, inspired new generations, and for that I will always admire her.

 

How did you all feel about the Harry Potter series? What did you learn (or just enjoy) while reading? If you’ve never read them, then why? Please share your thoughts here!

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Depression

Heavy topic, I know. Thing is, there are so many of us who suffer from depression that we can’t NOT talk about it. From those of us with the clinical kind to those of us with the situational kind to those who have loved ones in the grip of this monster, it’s a pervasive, crippling force that we all have to deal with. Shall we start with a definition?

 

via dictionary.coma condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Until recently, I thought I had dealt with it since puberty. Looking back, I see that I was probably dealing with it long before that, puberty just ratcheted up the tension. At puberty I became aware of the possibility of suicide. Also, hormones. I have been in therapy, even been on medication. Unfortunately, the one time I found a medication that worked, my “doctor” decided that meant I was bi-polar and added an anti-psychotic to the cocktail. Hello, zombie hordes, behold your new queen!

I quit all the medication and therapy in disgust, feeling that the doctors working for county care didn’t want me to be well, just quiet. One good thing to come out of that time was overcoming the contemplation of suicide as an option. Because it is not. Ever. I’m not going to say that suicide damns your soul because to someone who is suicidal that just flat doesn’t matter. Here’s the cold truth. Your death won’t make the world a better place. In fact, it will make the world absolutely horrible for the people who love you. Yes, we exist. I include myself because even if I don’t know you, your death will break my heart. Why doesn’t matter.

Depression is a horrible ugly road to travel. The smallest thing can send us on a spiral down into an abyss of horror and pain. We can’t climb out, no matter how hard we try. Most days it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning. We pray for the Grim Reaper to show up and take us out of all this hurt even while we fear his appearance.

Here’s the good news. Just as the smallest thing can send us down, the smallest thing can also lift us up. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always a train. We can have good days.

 

How has depression touched your life? What do you do to battle your own demons?

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Puppet – Music Monday

I used to write poetry, back in the days when I didn’t know about fanfic and I didn’t think I could write short stories. I thought I would share one I wrote about music. It doesn’t rhyme, and it’s a train-of-thought, stream-of-consciousness sort of deal about what music does to me. Enjoy.

Puppet

Pounding through me like an insistent lover, the music takes me over.

Like a puppet with invisible strings, I begin to move to the sounds engulfing me as the band plays on, the world shrinking until there is nothing but the music and me.

And then it devours me, becomes me.

I am the music, it is me – the blood in my veins, the air in my lungs, the soul within, and the visage without.

 

 

 

What does music do to you? For you? With you?

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Warped at Three – My First Fandom

You wouldn’t think that a three-year-old could be a fangirl, but I was. Not too long after my third birthday (July, 1977) I was forever changed. I became a fangirl and my fate was sealed. Why? My parents took me to see Star Wars: A New Hope  in the theater.

My first memory is of Darth Vader. No, seriously, the Dark Lord of the Sith is the first thing I actively, clearly remember. My mom says that when he came onscreen, I stood up in my seat and didn’t sit down for the rest of the film.

Everything flows from that frozen moment in time, from that movie as a whole, really. I always wanted to be Princess Leia. However, the character I think with whom I most identify is probably C-3PO. Although… thinking about it, I can see pieces of my personality in all of the main characters.

Is that because the movie, the story and the people, were so powerful that they imprinted on my psyche? Or is it because the seeds were there and on some level I recognized them, even at such a young age? I tend to believe it to have been a combination of the two.

If solely the first option, why would I have gleaned my strongest traits from the least desirable direction? If the second, why would my strongest initial reaction not be to the character with whom I have the strongest resonance? Of course, with the release of Episodes I-III, we find out that Vader created C-3Po… but that was something my three-year-old self could not have known.

What about you? What fandom has shaped you in a profound way? What characters seem to mirror your strongest traits?

 

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story

Ghost Story (Butcher novel)

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I love reading. I mean, I’d rather read than do almost anything else. When my friend Laura handed me the book-on-CD of Storm Front, the first in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, I was very excited. Mostly because it was being read by James Marsters. Halfway in, I was hooked. I now own all the books and several of the books on CD.

Ghost Story is the thirteenth book in the series, and was just released. My mom and I both squealed with joy when it arrived from Amazon. Yes, you read that right. My 67-year-old mother squealed like a 13-year-old in anticipation of this book. I’ve read it through once already (in one day), and after I read it again for comprehension there might just be a spoilery review headed your way. Because, like Joss Whedon before him and George Lucas before him, Jim Butcher is my master now. If only I could figure out how to do that in the Star Wars font. Sigh.

What about you guys? What books, or series, turn you into a kid on Christmas morning the instant the get into your hot little hands? What author enthralls and entrances you the most?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Thursday Edition – Word of the Day – Lethargic

via Dictionary.com :

 

Lethargic –

[luh-thahr-jik] –adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or affected with lethargy;  drowsy;sluggish.
2. producing lethargy.

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Music Monday – Song of the Day – You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me

You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me – Cher (from the soundtrack to Burlesque)

Feeling broken
Barely holding on
But there’s just something so strong
Somewhere inside me
And I am down but I’ll get up again
Don’t count me out just yet

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me
You haven’t seen the last of me

They can say that
I won’t stay around
But I’m gonna stand my ground
You’re not gonna stop me
You don’t know me
You don’t know who I am
Don’t count me out so fast

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me

There will be no fade out
This is not the end
I’m down now
But I’ll be standing tall again
Times are hard but
I was built tough
I’m gonna show you all what I’m made of

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
I am far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me

No no
I’m not going nowhere
I’m staying right here
Oh no
You won’t see me begging
I’m not taking my bow
Can’t stop me
It’s not the end
You haven’t seen the last of me
Oh no
You haven’t seen the last of me
You haven’t seen the last of me

 

 

 

lyrics thanks to Lyrics On Demand

 

Why this song? I struggle daily with clinical depression, which I cannot afford to medicate. Thankfully it’s manageable most days and I’m what some would call “high-functioning.” Songs like this one help keep the darkness at bay, make me feel stronger and more able to deal with my emotional demons. I could fill several albums with songs that do this, how about you? What are your personal power songs? What lifts you up when you think you’re past the point of breaking?

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Fangirl Friday – The A-Team

Recreaction of intertitle from The A-Team base...

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When I was growing up, one of the shows my family watched together was The A-Team.  We loved it. I was half in love with Face. With the way they ruined The Dukes of Hazzard movie, you can see how I was a little gun-shy about one of my other favorite shows making the upgrade.

I shouldn’t have worried. Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Sharlto Copley did an outstanding job of breathing new life into the beloved characters as they brought them to the screen. I fangirl-squealed (a sound that only other fangirls and some dogs can hear) five minutes in and didn’t stop. The most rewarding part? So did my mom. My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theater. Those explosions would have been WAY cooler on one of those giant screens!

Now the actors, while integral, weren’t the only reason the movie was satisfying. The whole team involved did a brilliant job, from screenwriter to producer to key grip. The storytelling was solid, the camera work was magnificent, and the CGI was so well done you almost didn’t notice it.

What about you? What tv show turned movie twisted your twizzler the most?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Not Guilty

Yesterday, the verdict came down on the Casey Anthony trial. A nation was stunned as she was found not guilty of first degree murder even though she was found guilty of providing false information to the police.

The words “not guilty” are powerful ones. They can (and have) reduced people to tears of joy, disbelief, anger, and a whole host of other emotions.

My feelings on this explosive topic are varied. One thing I know for certain is that the defense attorneys did their job. All they had to do was create reasonable doubt. The prosecution had a far tougher job to do, because the burden of proof rested in their hands. In the end, they did not have enough solid evidence to convict. Everything they had was circumstantial.

In my opinion, with the evidence they had, they should not have tried for first degree murder on such a flimsy foundation. Granted, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that one ought to have a rock-solid case before going for a conviction that could lead to the death penalty. There should be no shadow of doubt when lives hang in the balance.

I don’t know what the prosecutors and police know. I don’t even know what the defense knew. All I know is what the media told me, and they tried and convicted Casey Anthony before she even got to the courtroom. Yes, what I was shown of her behavior was strange and off-putting. However, the jury found her not guilty. The jury found her innocent of first degree murder.

Was she responsible for her child’s death? I think so. Caylee was only two years old. Casey was wholly responsible for her and anything that happened to her. Was she guilty of premeditated and willful murder? The courts have decided not.

Via Wikipedia, here are the degrees of murder under U.S. law:

First Degree Murder is any murder that is willful and premeditated. Felony Murder is typically first degree.

Second Degree Murder is a murder that is not premeditated or planned in advance.

Voluntary Manslaughter sometimes called a “Heat of Passion” murder, is any intentional killing that involved no prior intent to kill, and which was committed under such circumstances that would “cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed.” Both this and second degree murder are committed on the spot, but the two differ in the magnitude of the circumstances surrounding the crime. For example, a bar fight that results in death would ordinarily constitute second degree murder. If that same bar fight stemmed from a discovery of infidelity, however, it may be mitigated to voluntary manslaughter.

Involuntary Manslaughter stems from unintentional, but reckless or criminally negligent behavior. A drunk driving-related death is typically involuntary manslaughter. Note that the “unintentional” element here refers to the lack of intent to bring about the death. All three crimes above feature an intent to kill, whereas involuntary manslaughter is “unintentional,” because the killer did not intend for a death to result from his intentional actions.

 

With that knowledge, what are your thoughts on this case? What do the words “not guilty” mean to you? How did the media coverage color your opinion? Do you think Casey Anthony would have been found guilty of a lesser charge, such as involuntary manslaughter? What would have been your moment of reasonable doubt had you been on that jury, sequestered from the media and internet with only the evidence and the testimonies available to you?

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Music Monday – Happy Fourth!

I’m hijacking this post to wish everyone in the United States of America a happy Fourth of July. May the fireworks you hear tonight be music for your soul! I am so thankful to be living here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

The Star-Spangled Banner

Oh, say! can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In fully glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution!
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Blogger Mash-Up

There are quite a few blogs that I read. Some are in my sidebar, and some are not. Thought I’d give y’all a mash-up so you can see who I go to for inspiration and entertainment.

In no particular order:

 

Kristen Lamb – The woman who started me on the current leg of my writer’s journey with a kick in the pants, humor, and friendship.

Rhona Bennett – aka Miss RnB – I stumbled onto her blog a short while ago and read her blog on motivation. I was hooked!

Amanda Rudd – A truly kindred spirit with a brilliant way of expressing her love affair with words.

Amy Sundberg – The most practical free spirit I’ve had the joy of reading.

Aaron Graham – His humor combined with his thoughtfulness makes you forget you’re learning something.

Cid Tyer – She’s so organized it sometimes makes me cross-eyed, and yet she balances it with an equal amount of creativity.

 

What about you, dear readers? What blogs do you recommend?

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Music Monday – Jingle Jangle

It occurred to me, as I floundered for a topic, how musical my cat is. Yes, I just said that, and I meant it!

For one thing, Clive is what we cat people like to call a “talker.” The biggest talkers in the feline world tend to be the various flavors of Siamese. Now, since I got my best friend at the Humane Society, I can’t be sure what his actual breed is even though he presents as either a Russian Blue or possibly Korat. Both of these have Siamese in their genetics. What’s a talker? Well, when you speak to him, he meows back. He will even hold “conversations” with you if he’s in the mood. He makes use of inflection and tone to get his message across.

For example? When I lived on my own, my mom would come visit once a week. She would walk in the door and he would greet her. Once she responded he would “tell” her all about the things she’d missed in the past week.

In addition to that trait, he wears a collar and tags. Without these he is a stealthy ninja. With them he jingles as he walks, runs, jumps, or otherwise gets into mischief. I love the music his tags make when I get home from work and he runs up to greet me. Add that to his meow of greeting and it’s like having a tiny theme song every time I walk in the door! The only better music is the sound of his purr when I scratch his chin.

Clive also has very definite tastes in “real” music. He despises “Band on the Run” and bites at my ankles every time I try to play it! He doesn’t like metal and will meow loudly his disapproval and distress. Jazz seems to be his favorite so far, inducing him to curl up near the speakers.

 

So, what about the animals in your life? What sort of music do they make?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Effulgent

Today we have a word of the day: effulgent.

as per dictionary.com :

–adjective

shining forth brilliantly; radiant
It’s no secret that I like big words. Why use a ten-cent word when you can use a ten-dollar one? Like most writers, I collect words like this just in the hopes of dropping them into conversation, much less using them in my writing. This word comes courtesy of William the Bloody a.k.a. Spike, a vampire character in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. I’ve been re-watching the series and this word caught me again, made me smile, so I thought I’d share it.
What about y’all? What are some of your favorite ten-dollar words? Why? What do they mean?

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Music Monday – Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Depression and letting other people dictate how you should be your authentic self are a bad combination. Music saved me. Music always saves me. As a matter of fact, a Journey song saved me.

The live, JC Chasez version of “Don’t Stop Believing” is my new theme song:

The sound quality isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty awesome for someone’s non-pro camera.

 

It’s amazing how something so simple can super-charge a recovery effort. Just three words in the right key, sung by the right voice, went straight to my nervous system and jolted me back to life. I’ve always joked that music is my drug, but maybe it would be more apropos to say that it’s my medicine.

What’s your theme song? What song in whose voice, helps you climb out of the abyss, keeps you going when you think you can’t take one more step?

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What Is Fandom?

We’ve spent some time talking about fandom, and I figured it was time to talk about the phenomenon itself rather than aspects. For starters, here’s the Wikipedia definition:

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates “fannish” (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

Well, that’s a fairly accurate explanation, if a bit bloodless. The thing is, as Spike said in the season 3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Lover’s Walk, “Love isn’t brains, children. It’s blood. Blood screamin’ inside you to work its will.” Fandom, above all else, is about love. Sometimes it’s a sick, deluded love that leads crazy people to become stalkers, but it’s still love.

The brilliant thing about it, is that it’s constantly evolving as we (the fans) do the same. With the advent of social networking and Twitter, fandom has exploded, and the lines have gotten blurred. When I was growing up, the people I was a fan of were untouchable. Now, I follow people on Twitter and sometimes, when I mention them in my tweets, they tweet back! The first time it happened, I was in a tizzy for days. I’m still pretty jazzed.

Fandom is quoting lines or lyrics, and spending hours listening to them to get them right. Fandom is reading and re-reading. Fandom is going to concerts. Fandom is studying interviews for someone’s “tells” so we know when they’re lying or when they’re accidentally telling on themselves. Most of all, fandom is sharing your love with someone else.

I’ve been a fan of Duran Duran since the spring of 1985. I wasn’t a part of that fandom until the internet led me to John Taylor’s (now defunct) website TTP and its chat room. Before then, I hadn’t known other fans. Now, I am part of a group of wonderful people who share my love for the band named after Barbarella’s evil sex fiend.

Fandom is, like the internet, a web. I fell in love with Duran, and from that I became a fan of David Bowie, James Bond, and the Harry Potter series, just to name a few. Being a fan of BtVS led me to my favorite author, Jim Butcher and to my current favorite television show, Castle. When we connect with other fans, find out what they like, we look into it. Fandom spreads its tendrils out, connecting along points of commonality like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

What is fandom to you? What is (are) your fandom(-s)? Do you have a favorite quote or lyric you’d like to share?

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Spell Check Versus WE Check

There is no doubt that spell check is an awesome feature. It helps proofreading go miles faster, right? Unfortunately it, like us, is not perfect. Like myself, it does not catch homonyms (their, there, they’re). Oh sure, sometimes the grammar check will tag those, but not every time. It’s fabulous for catching my favorite word (weird) but sometimes I just type odd and move on because I don’t like seeing all that red on my documents. And really, who does?

The problem is, if a word is spelled correctly chances are the program won’t care if your “too” friends went “two”  the market “to” many times.  So, what’s the answer? After spell check, WE check.

I know we’re all in a hurry. More gadgets to manage our time, and yet we’ve become busier instead of the other way around. So delegate! Have someone you trust eyeball your manuscript/blog/whatever for problems if you don’t have the time.

Our words represent us. If we put something out there that looks hastily put together, we look lazy, absent-minded, or (worst of all) incompetent. Nobody wants that, right?

Of course, I started thinking about this topic when scanning this blog and finding all sorts of little flubs peppered throughout. Mea culpa maxima! So, learn from my mistakes, and let’s all prove that we’re a hard-working, focused, capable slice of humanity.

What words do you always stumble on? What homonyms make you want to tear out your hair? Most importantly, where have you seen these sorts of mistakes on the web and what did it make you think about the person who wrote it?

This PSA brought to you by the letters i, o, u, and the number 42!

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