Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My favorite Tweeple on Twitter! #whoandwhyIfollow

It all started when I asked people on Twitter who they followed and why.

@David_N_Wilson responded “That would take an entire blog entry (maybe several?) Maybe we should organize a day for tweeting about who to follow & why,” and I wrote back  “You know, I think that's a GREAT idea. We SHOULD write blog posts about who we follow and why. You're a genius!”

What is #whoandwhyIfollow ??

We came up with the hashtag #whoandwhyIfollow to track everyone's posts and tweets (just add #whoandwhyIfollow to any tweet about this topic so others can find it easily). David thought we should set a day for everyone to tweet, and started with some wonderful profiles. Most cool of all, he started Tweepleblog to profile people! (Here's his mission statement.)

Unfortunately, just as we were getting underway I had to leave town suddenly, and my free time disappeared—I hold down two radio jobs, besides teaching and performing dance and voiceover. So, keeping in mind the deadline David suggested and my lack of time, I'm going to start with a list of folks instead of individual profiles (initially the idea was to profile three people). I'm going ahead and posting this first, and adding to the descriptions later. Otherwise I'll never get it done!

The worst part of this is of course all the people I'm leaving off just to try to make it a manageable size! If you want the big list of my favorite people, start here.

Right up front are David and Mr. Tweet, since Mr. Tweet's mission is to help you find people to follow, I thought it would be appropriate to include him. Next are my family and close friends (My husband is also named David!), and following that are some Tweeple I think are special folks.

How did I choose who to mention?

Basically, these are all special people to me! But I've concentrated on mentioning people I've known the longest on Twitter, for the most part. I'm leaving off some great people that I've met only recently, since I haven't had that much time to get to know them yet.

Some are people who've done something special for me. Others I've been touched by reading their blog, or just really enjoy chatting with, on or off Twitter.

I know I'm leaving a LOT of great people off this list. Possibly I only just discovered you and there hasn't been that much time to get to know you. Or maybe it's my fault—I haven't taken the time to get to know some obviously awesome people.

Oh, and at the very bottom are my favorite funny folks!



Friday, November 28, 2008

Forced to move: 100% wind-powered music-animated Christmas lights raised over $10,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation—Richard Holdman’s Amazing Christmas Display

UPDATE! All the 2008 videos are now up.

Below in high-quality (click here if you have a slower connection)  is a selection of my favorite Christmas light displays synchronized to music, by the amazing Richard Holdman. Be sure to click the icon to the left of the word “vimeo” on each video to view it in high-quality full screen mode—it looks like this:

His 100% wind powered, computer-controlled display raised over $10,200 for The Make-a-Wish Foundation in 2007 (45,000 lights on a 176 channel controller) and for 2008 it has been moved and upgraded to 150,000 lights on a 215 channel controller. He started in 2006 with an 80-channel system.


2007 display before animation

Community forces display to move in 2008
Update ►2008 video “Frosty the Snowman” added at bottom!!


After the 2007 season, the gated community where Richard lives, by a vote of 13-11, decided to close the gates during Christmas to prevent the traffic that comes with the display. A number of people volunteered to host the display, and for 2008 the new location is 12 Denali Drive, Lindon, Utah, which is his parent’s house. It went up Dec 1 with one song to start. Video should be up by mid-December. They wrapped 20+ trees—some over 20 feet tall!

Richard provides answers to common questions about the display , has a video showing what he did, and and even some very helpful do-it-yourself videos. Below are some of my favorites from 2007, and the last video is from 2006, “Jingle Bells Techno”:

Carol of the Bells

Amazing Grace

Miracle on 34th Street

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

2008 Video #1

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How can you get a better job, better friends and a better life? One word: Twitter

If you were to meet people who appreciate who you are, what you do and what you love, and can help you do more of it and get paid for it, would that be a bad thing?

BEGIN: Find people in two or more of these 5 categories:
  1. People who have needs or interests you can help them with; 
  2. Supportive people you enjoy being around;
  3. People who work doing something you love;
  4. People who work doing something you are good at;
  5. People who work doing something that you could (or do) get paid to do.

    ...Read more

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    One of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey, on Inside the Actor's Studio

    Kevin Spacey is possibly my favorite actor.

    One of the things I love about him is that he doesn't watch dailies, and he chooses roles based on the story, irrespective of money, who else is involved, etc. He's an actor’s actor. He trusts what he is experiencing when he plays a role more than the words in the script and relies a lot on instinct and spontaneity.

    Spacey has said in not watching dailies he has to trust the director, and that he has very rarely been let down.

    Kevin Spacey: Impersonator?

    Kevin is also a fabulous impersonator! If you just want to skip to the part where he shows what an incredible impersonator he is…skip to 1:30 in part 2 below. (He also does a great Christopher Walken & Walter Matthau in “Star Wars auditions”) Here is just a small sample of awards he has won:
    • Two Oscars;
    • A Tony;
    • Four New York Film Critic’s awards;
    • Two National Board of Review awards;
    • An Olivier award;
    • A London Critic’s Circle award;
    • …and dozens more.
    Part 1: Upbringing; road to Julliard;
    Long Day’s Journey into Night

     


    Part 2: Jack Lemmon; Standup Comedy; Impersonator!
    As good with the Improv as the characters

     


    Part 4: Choosing parts; dancing; directing; LA Confidential
     


    Part 6: The questionnaire, and Q&A with students
     

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Tell someone the best thing you can about them today!

    Ready to smile your biggest smile? A short film about the magic of validation in the form of a fable about the magic of free parking:
    • Winner - Best Narrative Short, Cleveland Int'l Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Jury Award, Gen Art Chicago Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Audience Award, Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Best Short Comedy, Breckenridge Festival of Film, 
    • Winner - Crystal Heart Award, Best Short Film & Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Christopher & Dana Reeve Audience Award, Williamstown Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Best Comedy, Dam Short Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Best Short Film, Sedona Int'l Film Festival.
    Starring TJ Thyne & Vicki Davis.
    Writer/Director/Composer - Kurt Kuenne
      “Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” - Hafiz

      If you haven't seen this video, watch it at least until the people start dancing with Matt. Or until the traditional dancers in India. Or heck, all the way through. Sure to bring a smile to your face!


      And one more video that makes me smile, from zeFrank:

      Wednesday, November 12, 2008

      Twitter's “Billionth Millionth” Day

      November 12, 2008—Twitter had it's one BILLIONTH tweet today, and TwitPic had it's one Millionth pic. The odds of both of these happening on the same day have to be astronomical!


      Monday, November 10, 2008

      You know you are too popular on Twitter when…

      You know you are too popular on Twitter when…
      1. People don’t invite you out—they go without you and livetweet you about it.
      2. Because you instantly tweet about everything you do, you no longer see the point of confessing in church.
      3. You know where the Twitter Twanonymous 12-step meetings are held (“Hi, my name is @, and I'm a Twittaddict…”).
      4. You gossip like a complete Twit: “What a failwhale! Her mistweeted tweetahead retweet got her uninvited from the tweetup and the twitcast. With tweetard twittiquette like that she'll never be in the twitterati twibe.
      5. You never do anything without first considering how Twitterrific it will sound on Twitter.
      6. You lie about how much you Twitter to keep your friends and loved ones from trying to organize a Twittervention against you. You are always jumpy when you go out, afraid they will throw a net over you and pry your blackberry away.
      7. Everyone knows that while you’re technically still married, your spouse is actually a “Twittdow” (Twitter widow).
      8. Whenever you get long-winded, your spouse tells you to “Shut up if you can't talk like we do on Twitter.”
      9. Watching court TV you thought the bailiff said Please be tweeted, instead of “Please be seated.”
      10. In your dreams, everyone has @ symbols where faces should be.
      11. You have two homepages: twitter.com, and status.twitter.com …not necessarily in that order.
      12. You're Scobelizing your time, resources and life away.
      13. Big events nearly give you a heart attack every time—from simultaneously trying to listen to it on TV, tweet, and see what everyone else is tweeting about it
      14. You start to think in 140-character thoughts using abbreviations with too many exclamation points and question marks: “Y can't these ppl learn to p/u their own damn dirty socks. It’s thx 4 nothing 4 all the work I do around here, imho. Y do I p/u with this??!!”
      15. Two-hundred thirty-seven people already sent you this blog post this morning.
      16. If it weren't for Twitter, you would have no contact with other living beings 167½ out of 168 hours each week. (It would be never, if grocery delivery to your door was available in your area.)
      17. People DM you before calling so that they know you will answer.
      18. When you see thousands of people following the “Can you hear me now?” guy around in ads…you know just how he feels.
      19. Your kids know they won't get your attention unless the notes they leave on the kitchen table say something like “@Mom, please bring home milk and DM me if I can go to @Jason’s house.”
      20. You have your real name legally changed to your @twitterName.
      21. Obama and Kevin Rose follow you…and DM you when they need advice.
      22. You get the “Twitter Twitch”—you've twittered until two in the morning and now all you can do is lay in bed and twitch. 
      23. You never leave the site except to go to Tweet-ups.
      24. More people know you by your Twitter picture than by what you actually look like.
      25. You don't bother to have your Twitter client automatically startup on boot because doesn't everyone sleep with Twitter on the laptop next to them in bed?
      26. When Twitter goes down, you have to restrain yourself from trying to tweet about, and write in your blog until it comes back online.
      27. You understand Twitler's every reference and know exactly how he feels. 
      28. You are always accidentally trying your Twitter password to log onto things.
      29. You need a job, but you can't find one with a Twitter-friendly environment so you remain unemployed…and Twittering about it.
      30. You're more popular on twitter.grader.com than @grader itself.
      31. Your @name starts appearing in other people's Twitter jokes. 
      32. You decide to do a quick check of your tweets before your email - and it ends up being hours before you read your email.
      33. You freak out when twitter goes down for a few hours and wonder if you will ever see your friends again!
      34. You look for the UNFOLLOW button during boring TV shows.
      35. You find yourself in an actual, honest-to-goodness face-to-face conversation…and catch yourself looking for the “reply” button. 
      36. You start to think of everything in @’s as in “I wish @husband would take the garbage out…”
      37. You would never need to wear a tracking device if you were convicted of something because your BrightKite tweets make you easier to track than Barack Obama.
      38. You get wedding presents from Twitter friends you have never met in real life. 
      39. You resolve to get off Twitter to get some work done but can't remember when you had that thought, and anyway @guykawasaki is just now saying that Alltop is cool because …
      40. @guykawasaki DMs you but you miss it because you get too many DMs all at once.
      41. When your realize you're having heart palpitations from being so hyped up trying to reply to your thousands of DMs and @'s.
      42. You tweet wearing gloves when the heat goes out. 
      43. Twitter's business model depends on your tweets. Either that, or they get money from Greenpeace for saving the Fail Whale.
      44. It takes you three tries to read this post—because you have to check twitter in between.
      45. You’ve long since forgotten what it was like to have friends in the real world in the days “BT” (before Twitter).
      46. When you're off twitter, you make up new twords. You share the twords with your twouse who rolls their eyes at you and goes back to sleep.
      47. Your dog has her own twitter account.   
      48. Your name is @conniecrosby
      49. When u go online to find that recipe, you get so many DMs you logon to twitter & forget to eat dinner, much less cook it.
      50. You decide not to tweet your bad experience at a chain restaurant, just in case the CEO decides to follow your tweets and then vows never to hire you to voice their spots…Hey, with Twitter, it could happen!
      51. You write articles called "6 Reasons I am a Twitter Crack Whore"
      52. You respond @eachperson to all friends then realize you probably flooded 30 pages into the feeds of your less popular friends (…a common misconception! Here's how it really works.)
      53. You start writing on your actual blog and realize u start wrtng shrt form 2 fit what u want n 140 chars. Then you realize it's not necessary & decide to stop writing and go check out what's happening on twitter.
      54. Your mind begins to think in update format, categorizing people into TweetDeck columns... and you talk to people the same way.
      55. You insist that all of your friends sign up for Twitter, but wait to follow them until they say something interesting.
      56. All your thoughts become micro-thoughts, and then other people start to promote your micro-thoughts...
      57. When Billionaires like Richard Branson of The Famed Virgin Brand start following YOU on Twitter.
      58. Your cold has its own twitter account. Yep, check out Digg's founder: @kevinscold. 
      59. You no longer like 'talking.' You now prefer talking in tweets... Or 'twalking.' You are constantly competing in your mind to communicate in 140 characters or less.
      60. You realize Twitter should be called “Twitch” for how compulsively your fingers are at needing to keep typing something.
      61. You type e-mails and just hit ENTER - then wonder why it didn't go.
      62. When you find yourself converting all your blog posts to excerpts.
      63. You're supposed to be a legal observer, but you spend election day at the polls compulsively checking your phone for Twitter hashtag election results
      64. It gives you flashbacks to the BBS days
      65. You find yourself nodding knowingly to every item on this list
      Add to the list by leaving a comment or email /Twitter it to me. Tell me what words to use for your link (or I'll just use your name). Follow me on Twitter at @SarahJL or @Twytter_Tips.


      Contributors (Thanks!):
       You might also like to see Top 10 perks of the UPCOMING Obama presidency…

      Friday, November 07, 2008

      Top 10 perks of the Obama presidency

      Top 10 perks of the Obama presidency…
      1. Canadians no longer minding being called Americans when traveling abroad…and no longer necessary to pretend you're Canadian while traveling abroad.
      2. Smartest guy in room now IS the President.
      3. Drug companies begin search for compound to relieve new health problem: people suffering from repeated, uncontrollable sighs of relief. 
      4. Citizens find days passing by quickly in a giddy lightheaded state (“Obamaraderie”).
      5. Reporter-safe puppy. (Or, Barney's bites no longer make the news.)
      6. Whitehouse now Cheney-Free zone…except for his eighth cousin, Barack Obama.
      7. Having a president whose first language is English and has made a campaign promise to pronounce the word nuclear, nuclear.
      8. Color blind citizens not annoyed by claim “We're all color-blind now.”
      9. Warring African nations declare a "ceasefire minute" to celebrate.
      10. Excuse that lipstick on collar is from “Some teary-eyed Obama supporter in line at Grocery store” accepted at face value by spouse.


      1. Best of Obama humor on the web
      2. Late-night comics' jokes about Obama
      3. Obama's funny jokes from the campaign
      4. All funny moments from the ’08 election season
      5. …and the transcript of Obama's comedy roast at the Al Smith dinner
      More benefits:
      1. Oval Office 24-hour live video feed being installed in Oprah's house.
      2. George Bush relaxes for the first time in nearly eight years, knowing someone who can handle the tough stuff will be stepping in.
      3. Political humor writers happily begin searching for new lines of work.
      4. Haircuts to show off Alfred E. Neuman ears are suddenly popular.
      5. Having a president who will stick with us through thick and thin, and really looks the thin part.
      6. Having a thin president probably more motivational than even “Super-size me” was to dieting fat citizens.
      7. Our first black president since the first season of '24'
      8. Having another inexperienced Illinois senator raise expectations
      9. First president with a deadly, fade-away jumper
      10. If we get kidnapped in a Middle Eastern country we can say we know Hussein and they might not behead us
      From Late Night, the original Top Ten…



      Contributors:

      Thursday, November 06, 2008

      Nine easy ways to get a friend or family member interested in classical music (or to get started yourself)

      It's that time of year again, and wouldn't you like to give some great music to family and friends? Or just somehow find a way to get them interested in classical music? But alas, some of them claim NOT to be interested in classical music. Despair not! Here are five CDs (1-5) and four articles (6-9) of which at least one is sure to bridge the gap!

      1. The Most Popular Classical TV Themes in the Universe (CD)

      Ever wonder which television program or commercial made which piece of music popular? Did you know that the Disney Cruises commercial used Monty Python's Flying Circus Theme, which is Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals? Or that Looney Toons used the Flying Dutchman Overture? They might also be interested to read Are you already listening to classical music, but didn't know it?


      2. The Most Uplifting Classics in the Universe (CD)

      If you need a mood uplift, this is one you'll want to have on hand. Includes works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Holst, Bruckner, Beethoven, Bach, and Vivaldi.


      3. Classical Heat

      Get your heart pumping with the first CD, with works by Holst, Verdi, Barber, Stravinsky, and Orff.

      But what if you're looking for more of a romantic, passionate sound? That's what you'll find on the second CD of this two-CD set.


      4. Classics: Greatest Hits

      If you're buying (or already own) the first three albums, you'll appreciate knowing that the Greatest Hits CD does not duplicate any of the music on albums 1-3 recommended above.

      These are additional, important pieces from classical music's key periods: baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century. Familiar works like the "Blue Danube Waltz" and Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" will capture the attention of any newcomer.

      5. Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music

      Tried everything without success? Try this. Includes fantastic recordings of Dvorak's 9th Symphony second movement and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and makes an excellent addition to most collections.

      Aaron Green, About.com's Classical Music Guide weeded through hundreds of CDs and recommended these five. Thanks, Aaron!

      6. For people who want to learn, but don't know where to start. This is a crash course in the greatest composers and greatest music that can be followed in  a few minutes here and there from your computer. They may also like this guide to terminology and recommended books for those new to classical music.

      7. For people who don't realize they are already listening to classical music.Everyone should check this out! Guaranteed to teach you fascinating things you didn't know. This collection of links and information covers how a lot of popular songs have been based on classical music, where many of the great classics appear in which movies, and which pieces of classical music have had the greatest impact on contemporary culture.

      8. For people who really like certain instruments more than others, check out the Instruments of Classical Music Series: each CD is a classical music collection focusing on a single instrument: Harpsichord; Flute; Oboe; Trumpet; Horn; Violin; Cello; Piano; Organ; Guitar and Lute (okay, that last one is two instruments).

      9. Still not working? Lighten up! Here's a collection of humorous quotes from Eugene Ormandy, the Yogi Berra of the Orchestra, such as:
      • “Why do you always insist on playing while I'm trying to conduct?”
      • “During the rests -- pray."
      • “I never say what I mean but I always manage to say something similar.”
      To keep abreast of news and interesting links on Classical Music, visit or subscribe to @Classical_Music on Twitter. Want an RSS feed of just Classical Music posts? Here you go!

      Another Twitter “who’s who” becomes popular

      Twitter Grader claims to measure the “relative power of a Twitter user.”

      If you're trying to find people by topic, Twellow.com is a great place to start. (Results are sorted by whoever has the most followers first.) And TwinInfluence.com claims to measure the combined influence of twitterers and their followers, as does Twitterank.com. But if you're looking for more of a “Who's who,” TwitterGrader.com seems to be a good place to start.

      One of the nice things on TwitterGrader.com is their suggestions of who to follow. Just enter your own twitter ID in to get graded, and a list of suggestions is automatically generated. Refresh the page for more suggestions.

      Wednesday, October 29, 2008

      Looking for gift ideas? Got gift ideas to share? Send them to @FunGiftIdeas on Twitter!

      Okay, you'll to spend the 90 seconds it takes to get a Twitter account to do this if you don't have one already … 


      This is a place to find and share interesting gift ideas. If you'd like to add the ideas to your feed reader, here's the gift ideas feed link.

      The place to visit is twitter.com/FunGiftIdeas, or, if you have a Twitter account, you can just follow/send to @FunGiftIdeas.

      Probably not every link will be accepted, and there will be a limit on how many new links will be shared each day so it doesn't get overwhelming. Here are the 15 most recent gift suggestions, and below that, a photo frame you can win:



      Saturday, October 25, 2008

      Eugene Ormandy, the Yogi Berra of the Orchestra

      From 1938 until 1980, Eugene Ormandy was musical director for the Philadelphia orchestra, famous for his inspired direction and style...and also for his humorous verbal attempts, such as: “I never say what I mean but I always manage to say something similar.”

      The orchestra collected their favorites, and here are a few of mine:
      • “During the rests -- pray."
      • “Why do you always insist on playing while I'm trying to conduct?”
      • “Mahler wrote it as the third movement of his Fourth Symphony. I mean the fourth movement of his First Symphony. We play it third. The trumpet solo will be played by our solo trumpet player.”
      • “Let me explain what I do here. I don't want to confuse you any more than absolutely necessary.”
      • “I don't mean to make you nervous, but unfortunately I have to”
      • “Thank you for your cooperation and vice versa.”
      • “If you don't have it in your part, leave it out, because there is enough missing already.”
      • “It's difficult to remember when you haven't played it before.”
      • “We can't hear the balance yet because the soloist is still on the airplane.”
      • “Please follow me because I have to follow him and he isn't here.”
      • “Percussion, a little louder." / "We don't have anything." / "That's right, play it louder.”
      • “That's the way Stravinsky was. Bup, bup, bup, bup. The poor guy's dead now. Play it legato.”
      • “The notes are right, but if I listened they would be wrong.”
      • “Who is sitting in that empty chair?”
      • “The next movement is still in the factory.”
      • “Don't ever follow me, because I am difficult.”
      • “It is not as difficult as I thought it was, but it is harder than it is.”
      • “Start beforty-two.”
      • “Start three bars before something.”
      • “Start at B. Yes. No. Yes. No.”
      • “Did you play? It sounded very good.”
      • “It has no rhythm, but it will because it's so much faster.”
      • “Tonight I'm going to listen with my ears.”
      • “Long note? Yes. Make it seem short.”
      • “It's all very well to have principles, but when it comes to money you have to be flexible.”
      And although he also said, “Death is an awful thing. I don't believe in it myself.” Eugene Ormandy died in 1985, and we will miss him.

      For a much longer collection of his quotes, see the Arizona State University's collection of Eugene Ormandy quotes.

      To keep abreast of news and interesting links on Classical Music, visit or subscribe to @Classical_Music on Twitter.  Want an RSS feed of just Classical Music posts? Here you go!

      Thursday, October 23, 2008

      I'll carry you every morning until death do us apart.

      If there is love or there once was, don't give up on it without reading this first:

      I got home that night as my wife served dinner, and held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to tell her: I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly, I thought.

      She wasn't annoyed, simply asked softly, “Why?”

      I avoided the question, and she got angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted “You are not a man!” That night, we didn't talk again. She wept. I knew she wanted to know what happened to our marriage. But I could hardly answer, I had fallen with my heart for a lovely girl called Dew. I didn't love her anymore..I just pitied her!

      Feeling deeply guilty, I drafted a divorce agreement: she would own the house, car, and 30% of my company. She tore it to pieces after barely a glance. This woman who I had spent ten years of my life with was now a stranger to me.

      I felt badly for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said—I loved Dew dearly. Finally, she cried very loudly in front of me. I expected this. To me, her crying was a release. The idea of divorce had obsessed me for several weeks, and seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

      The following day, I arrived home quite late and found her writing at the table. I went straight to bed (without supper) and fell asleep quickly, fatigued after an eventful day with Dew. When I awoke, she was still at the table writing! I didn’t care and quickly fell asleep again.

      That morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't want anything from me. But … she needed a month's notice before the divorce. She asked that for one month we struggle together to live as normal a life as possible, pointing out our son's exams were in a months time and she didn't want to disrupt him.

      I agreed, but she had something more. She asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that everyday for the month's duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

      I told Dew about my wife s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

      My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes
      and said softly, don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

      On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest.. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realised she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

      On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Dew about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

      She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me, .. she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

      Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time to carry mum out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly, it was just like our wedding day. But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

      I drove to office... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind... I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Dew, I do not want the divorce anymore.

      She looked at me, astonished. Then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Dew, I said, I won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other any more. Now I realise that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Dew seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

      At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote:

      I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

      The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property , the money in the bank, blah..blah..blah. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

      So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

      - Author unknown

      You might also like to read 25 tips on how to stay married.

      Tuesday, October 21, 2008

      Classical Music: Learning and Appreciation Resources

      Here are a few places to get started learning more about classical music.

      Learn the basics of music terminology
      Beat Harmony Rhythm
      Coda Key Score
      Conductor Maestro Syncopation
      Divertimento        Orchestra       Tessitura
      Finale Prodigy Vibrato

      (All terms explained by Miles Hoffman, excerpted from The NPR® Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z)

      Great books to learn from
      1. WHO'S AFRAID OF CLASSICAL MUSIC? : A highly arbitrary and thoroughly opinionated guide to listening to and enjoying symphony, opera and chamber music: The classical music critic for Time magazine humorously makes classical music accessible in an easy-to-read style.
      2. What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland: An essential classic written by an author who was himself a great composer. Does not cover music of the last half-century.
      3. The Vintage Guide to Classical Music: A lively -- and opinionated -- musical history and an insider's key to the personalities, epochs, and genres of the Western classical tradition.
      4. The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection : The 350 Essential Works This, the second edition, has one-third new selections and reviews, and a 50% change in discography to keep all suggested CDs up to date.
        Comprehensive references:

        All Music Guide to Classical Music: The Definitive Guide to Classical Music
        The definitive source: covers over 500 composers, 800+ performer biographies, thousands of compositions, with album recommendations for artists. Includes 23 essays devoted to classical music's major eras, forms, and genres.

        Classical Music: Third Ear: The Essential Listening Companion
        This excellent guide to classical music discography ranges over the entire history of recorded sound, with 50-plus contributors covering some 500 composers.

        To keep abreast of news and interesting links on Classical Music, visit or subscribe to @Classical_Music on Twitter.

        The Classical Music FAQ

        Here is the table of contents from the rec.music.classical FAQ, last updated in 1995:
        Q1. What are the major periods of "classical" music?
        Q2. I'm new to classical music and don't have any classical recordings. 
              What should I listen to so that I can learn more?  
        Q3. I heard this melody on the radio.  How do I figure out what it is?  
        Q4. When I went to the record store to buy a CD of [insert piece],
              I found dozens of versions.  How do I know which one to buy?
        Q5. Why are there so many recordings of the same piece?
        Q6. How do I find out if [insert-piece] has ever been recorded?
        Q7. What is that music from [insert TV-show/Movie] called?
        Q8. What are the essential reference books on classical music?
        Q9. What distinguishes classical music from popular music?
        Q10. What is the difference between an opera and a musical?
        Q11. What is the history behind Orff's Carmina Burana?
        Q12. What are the words to the first movement of Carmina Burana?
        Q13. How do you pronounce all those conductors' and composers' names?
        Q14. How are composers' works usually indexed?  Why so many ways?
        Q15. What's the point of having a conductor?
        Q16. Will a "DDD" recording always sound better than "ADD" or "AAD"?  What
         do those codes mean anyway?
        Q17. What is "authentic performance practice?"
        

        Want an RSS feed of just Classical Music posts? Here you go!

        Friday, October 17, 2008

        A touching story of love and loss: Do animals have feelings?

        Here is a story making the rounds on the internet. If this touches you, you might want to visit the Angel Animals blog, read some of their books, or see other stories online. You can also follow @AngelAnimals on Twitter.

        (When people say animals like dogs don't have feelings like humans, my husband likes to say that, no, they seem to have a better version than we do!) 

        The story says “From Republic of Ukraine where the bird is interested quickly to save his wife. Millions of people cry after watching this picture in America and Europe:”
         
        “Here his wife is injured and the condition is very appalling.”
        “Here he brings her food and attend her with love and compassion.”
         
        “Brings her food but shocked with her death and try to move her.”
         
        “Stand beside her and scream saddened of her death.”
         
        “Finally aware that she would not return to him and she departed him, stand beside her body with sad and sorrow.”

        Friday, October 10, 2008

        New Blog on Love 105

        I'm blogging on the the Love-105 website now!

        I'm sharing some fun links and short notes from my show and day at the station, as well as some pics from my life (and an occasional link back to this blog). Click the L-O-V-E to see it! (You can also catch other daily updates from me as @SarahJL on Twitter.)


        —♫♪♥

        Friday, October 03, 2008

        How much acting skill is required for voiceover? What does it mean to change the "read" of copy?

        http://is.gd/3xq0
        As a voiceover coach, I get a lot of people asking me questions about how voiceover works and how to get into the industry.


        Two of the most common misperceptions I find people have about voiceover are that you need a special voice (actually, average voices with very little accent get a ton of work) and that acting skills are more important than speaking experience.

        Here's a great example of using acting skills in getting different "reads" of some short copy for a political ad (advertisement precedes video):



        Tuesday, September 23, 2008

        Flatulence, tumbling thoughts, and other strange and funny stuff from acround the internet

        Ah, the internet! You never know what strange and funny things you will find. 

        I post things as I find them at @Laughing_Improv on Twitter. But before we get to that, here's me on a morning radio show, making a fool of myself and causing my coworker to spit into his microphone.


        Probably the most popular thing I've posted is the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator (If I was born to Sarah Palin, my name would have been: Copper Catfish Palin). But the greatest "laugh out loud" quotient (for people who use Twitter) has to be "No Twitter for Hitler:"



        I think you'll also find it virtually impossible to keep from laughing at some of the lists of unusual quotes I've seen lately:
        And here are a few more things that caught my eye recently:

        The strange and the funny

        Pics and Video

        We're #1!


        ... and a few quotes:

        Friday, September 19, 2008

        Cats and Kittens: Pictures, facts, videos, funny stuff and websites.

        Is there any time that isn't nap time?http://is.gd/2QJC
        Here are some of my favorite recently discovered places about cats!

        Our homegrrl sisters Stasha and Ruby practice night and day for the next Olympics (the power lounging event). My husband Dave is our resident photographer.

        If you want to see more cool stuff about cats, I put up links as I find them (a few a week) on Twitter as @CatMom. Send me your links to share!
        ... and a few quotes:
        • All I know I learned from a cat: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap. When you go to the vet, pee on your owner. 
        • Climb your way to the top. That's why the drapes are there. 
        • When your cat falls asleep on your lap and looks utterly content & adorable, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.
        • I can't use Windows. My cat ate my mouse.
        • You don't have to tell your cat you love it - it knows you do.

        You might also like to read Understanding cats: the short course, or Do's, Don'ts, Tips and Worries for Cat Owners.

        Green Eyes
        Stasha resting on a favorite pillow.

        Green and gold before dinner
        Ruby checking for twilight critters.


        Lounging practice is essential when the
        Olympics are never more than four years away!

         And of course, we must not ignore Ninja Cat!

        Monday, September 15, 2008

        One of the coolest people I know: Ethnomusicologist, Drummer, photographer and Fulbright recipient Nicole Lecorgne

        My friend Nicole Lecorgne (at left) is one of the coolest people I know!

        How we met

        We first met about fifteen years ago when we both were fairly new to the Cassandra School in Minneapolis. (Nicole is originally from New Orleans.)

        Nicole took dance classes and traded with Cassandra, drumming in exchange for her lessons. One day after Level 3 class, she suggested to me that we do a piece together in the upcoming Annual Guild Show. She said, “let’s ask Cassandra for a drum solo that’s simple enough that I could learn it and that you could dance to.” We did, and Cassandra suggested one for us, and we began rehearsing together.

        We put together our piece, performed it (all of about 90 seconds of heart-stopping excitement!!!) I made myself a costume for the occasion: black and gold foil harem pants and a matching tietop-- over a leotard, with a hip wrap. (We’ve both come a long way since then.)

        What an educationwhat a teacher!

        While she was here she received a B.A. in World Music and Dance from the University of Minnesota. She got her Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. Beyond her education and skills though, Nicole is a fantastic and dedicated teacher.

        She has tons of experience in special education, classroom instruction and conducting workshops for both children and adults of all levels. She has given workshops and lecture demonstrations at William and Mary College, Brown and Harvard universities.

        Minneapolis to San Francisco to New York

        From here she moved to San Francisco to study with the amazing Susu Pampanim. Then she began to play with the Georges Lammam Ensemble. With the group, she returns to Minneapolis each year to play for Jawaahir Dance Company. After a few years, she decided to earn her Masters in Ethnomusicology and moved to Connecticut to go to Wellesley. After that, she moved to Queens, New York and made fairly frequent trips to the Arab World to study music and play.

        She has been the Camp Drummer for Oasis Dance Camps for many years, playing in the States—and Morocco!

        Drumming and photography

        With the writer, Kay Hardy Campbell, Nicole traveled to Saudi Arabia as staff photographer for Aramco World Magazine. Nicole is a very fine photographer, too—her first degree was in visual art. Here's some proof from her site:


        She started as a visual artist in New Orleans, became a puppet maker with In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater in Minneapolis, switched to Arabic drumming in Minneapolis, which took her to San Francisco (and all over the Arab World) and circle back to photography.

        Moving to Egypt on a Fulbright!

        I haven't really done justice to Nicole in this short post, so if you really want to learn more about her you can read her bio or visit her percussion or photography sites. Nicole recently moved all her things to her mother’s home near Birmingham, AL—and from there is going to Egypt to live in Cairo for a year on a Fulbright.

        I hope that I get to visit Nicole this year!! I love her very much—plus I really need some new costumes!!!

        All images in this article ©Nicole LeCorgne