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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adventures With Skype (There's Something About Jeff and Mary's Conversation)

Since 2007 I have been a Facebook friend of my former colleague, blogger and general fun person Marissa Rapier, who authors Rapier's Wit (Love, Life and the Pursuit of the Perfect Bra). Recently she discovered a lump in her sideboob (her words, not mine) and got it checked out. It was cancer and she underwent lumpectomy and is now undergoing chemo. 


Marissa's recent before and after shots.


Her supporters are many, not least because of the fact that she has a boatload of siblings, and other relatives. Her niece Megan started the ball rolling with an online fundraiser with Booster.com where you could either donate directly or buy a specially designed T-shirt in a fetching shade of fuchsia. 

Then her sister Mary E LaLuna kept the ball up in the air by mentioning Marissa all over the Interwebs and just plain being supportive in any way imaginable. 

Local establishments joined in, such as a wine bar holding a benefit night.

I bought a shirt and reposted anything and everything to do with Marissa's fundraiser. I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and dedicated it in part to TeamRissa.






My buddies Clark and Michael followed suit.  Both wearing the pink shirts.







During all of this I had a lot of interaction with both Marissa and her sister Mary. Mary hosts a radio show on BlogTalkRadio called ArtSees Diner. She interviews all kinds of cool people, and she replied to a tweet (or an FB status, I can't recall really) that she'd like it if I was a guest on her show sometime. I replied that I'd be flattered and honoured to do it and so we set about making a date for the show.

As the days, hours and minutes ticked down, I grew steadily more nervous (even though there was nothing to be concerned about after all - but still, I always get nervous in these situations).

My main worry was the Skype connection - I always use Skype for recording my podcasts and so generally one uses Skype addresses, right? But Mary assured me this was not necessary and that when the show started a Skype button would pop up, and with a simple click I'd be on the air.

I gave it a trial run with a different computer and a different show the previous evening. It seemed to work. So, fine. All is well, oui?

Non.

Even though my laptop, which is fairly new, and runs Windows 8.1, and the version of Skype I have is the latest, it had to mess up for me, didn't it?

The show began. The Skype button popped up. I clicked it. 

A popup window informed me that it would be closing the show's window to avoid some sort of feedback issue, and I figured that was cool. Another window then opened and this had a button in it saying Click To Talk.

I clicked it.

Immediately it changed to a window in the Skype colours and patterns, doubting that I even had Skype installed. "Do you have Skype installed?" it asked, a little aggressively, I thought. There were two buttons available to then click. Either "Download Skype" or "I Already Have Skype".

Well, as I said, I already have Skype. The latest version. I could not be more up-to-date.

Click. 

Nothing.

So I tried again. And again. And again once more.

For ten minutes I struggled with this damn stupid piece of uncooperative software.

This is all happening while Mary is talking and trying to keep the audience interested by playing music and promising that I would be on the air momentarily. I can't hear any of this, of course. All I hear is the sound of doom as the buttons tell me time and again that I don't have Skype and I really ought to think about installing it.

So finally, after coming up against the same brick wall of silence time and again, I decide to do what it says. Logic is telling me that I have Skype and that there is no earthly reason why the stupid thing shouldn't just work like a dream, but this is no time for logic. this is an emergency. my interview on live radio is about to go down the tubes. Let's install the piggin' thing.

Of course, installing anything, even with a shit-hot computer, the fastest broadband connection and the best will in the world, is gonna take some time.

Finally after I have sweat out five buckets of pure adrenaline, the old creaky version of Skype that the machine insisted I install is available for use. I fire it up, struggle to remember my user name and password, and go back and click the dreaded button again. "Click To Talk".

Finally I hear the ringtone and the reassuring message that I am but a hair's breadth away from being live on the air with Mary. Then I hear her voice introducing me. Phew.

17 minutes had ticked by while Mary played three tunes and bigged me up to the skies.

As it turned out, the finished show sounded so good you wouldn't have guessed I been this close to throwing my laptop out the window just minutes before.

Here is the link to it.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/artseesdiner/2014/09/14/from-the-world-of-jeff-social-media-extraordinaire-jeff-hickmott

And all the links to Marissa's fundraiser are here -  facebook.com/groups/TeamRissa/

There are 11 days left to get one of those beautiful pink shirts too ... 
www.booster.com/teamrissa1

Not only that, but in listening back to the show, I have become a fan of DC Rapier. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

From The World of Jeff, Social Media Extraordinaire, Jeff Hickmott! 09/14 by ArtSees Diner Radio | Blogs Podcasts

From The World of Jeff, Social Media Extraordinaire, Jeff Hickmott! 09/14 by ArtSees Diner Radio | Blogs Podcasts



By clicking the above link tonight at 7pm  UK time, that's 1pm Central Time, 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific, you will hear yours truly being interviewed LIVE on BlogTalkRadio. Lord only knows what we are going to talk about and I only hope I don't end up sounding like a stammering doofus.



"I, um, err, well, y'know, it's like, um...."



I also hope I can live up to the hype because as you can see by clicking on the link, host Mary E. LaLuna (sister of my good friend, ex-boss and fellow blogger Marissa Rapier)has bigged me up something fierce!



Of course, if you can't catch the show live, clicking the link will lead you to the recording of the show and you can listen to my inane ramblings at your leisure.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Foodcast Of Jeff! Cooking Live!

The Foodcast Of Jeff! Cooking Live!

The Doctor's Daughter

Sorry if I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but I've just found out that the actress who played Jenny in "The Doctor's Daughter" episode of Doctor Who in 2008 (Georgina Moffett) is now married to David Tennant, whom everyone knows as The Tenth Doctor. Not only that, but they have a baby daughter. But the bit that blows my frickin' mind is that her dad is Peter Davison (real name Peter Moffett), aka The Fifth Doctor. Anyone else realise that?






In other words... the Doctor's daughter who played The Doctor's Daughter in "The Doctor's Daughter" gave birth to The Doctor's Daughter.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Signs Of The Times

It's not an unfamiliar sight. Little wooden or metal signs hung on walls in people's homes, with an uplifting saying, phrase, verse of Scripture, poem or song lyric on it. Either handpainted or mass-produced, trying to look perhaps a little 'retro' or 'shabby chic'. We've all seen them, we probably can name at least three friends who own something like this or the names of at least three local shops that sell these kind of things.

By and large, they're quite inoffensive, some would say charming or quirky, designed to make the owner seem perhaps a little nicer, cooler or more intelligent. This is the sort of thing I am talking about.



But just recently, things have taken a turn. For some reason, that bloody overplayed overhyped song 'Chasing Cars' by the equally overhyped Snow Patrol that has been a staple for the last few years on every radio station known to man has become one of these signs. I've seen it several times recently in different locations and it's making me crazy. As if it didn't make me crazy enough when it was in the charts being played 24/7.



So I'm basically going to just join in and do a few of my own. Except I'm going to create these 'inspirational' signs using lyrics of songs that everyone thinks are love songs, but actually aren't. Here's a few I put together earlier. See what you think.





But why stop there? Why not put these inspiring lyrics on other things too? Plates, for example.


Or dumpsters.



How's about a dustbin lid?



Somehow I can't help but feel that Ms. Patsy Cline would be proud.



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