Playing Rock Band At Ninety-One

My Ninety-One-Year-Old Mom Playing Rock Band

Hi Everybody, Thanks as always for your wonderful comments. I read all of them and am so grateful. No, that wasn't me in the music video, but I wish it was.

I can't write back to everyone individually because I HAVE to get some sleep. Mom was admitted to UCLA through the emergency room early this morning after a long, grueling, day-into-night-into-early-morning wait for a bed.

I spent yesterday running errands for Mom and fielding phone calls from doctors and nurses, but when I got to her house with my arms loaded up with romance novels on tape, medications, vitamins, cold and flu remedies, things that her temporary caregiver asked me to pick up for her, a commode, extension cords for the new TV, and other assorted things, all I had to do was take one look at her and I knew she needed to go to the hospital.

She felt hot. She was weak and she was coughing. I told Susan, her new care giver that she had a fever and Susan disagreed with me, but I know my Mom, I know how she feels and how she normally looks and I just knew. So we began the arduous process of getting her dressed and moved to the hospital, poor thing, she was so weak and everything was difficult and painful for her.

If UCLA were a hotel they would hang a sign around it's neck saying, "Booked Solid For the Foreseeable Future, Go Away." But I did have a really moving series of exchanges with a beautiful deaf woman and her two daughters. I only know a very few words and phrases in ASL, and Beau and I can finger spell the alphabet, but I've never really followed my heart and focused on really learning how to communicate, even though I really want to.

I think sign language is one of the most beautiful forms of communication. Watching someone sign is like watching a totally unique form of expression in terms of personality. It's so cool because we are all so accustomed to perceiving people through our ordinary methods of communicating, primarily through speech and sound, but ASL relies so heavily on these incredibly lovely and super intuitive gestures and the way someone does this really reveals so much about them, about how they are feeling and what they are thinking and it's fascinating to watch.

The super pretty young woman who was helping me communicate with her Mom who was laying on a gurney in one of the hallways, (the whole no room at the inn thing), signed so beautifully, so expressively, and so fluidly that it looked like ballet. The movements of her hands were like birds in flight. Just... lovely. And the sweet and meaningful, soul enriching exchange I had with her Mom, the bond we formed over our mutual love of cats, was just so wonderful. I got to tell her that one of my favorite sounds, along with purring, applause, the ocean, and babies laughing, is the sound of deaf people laughing. God, I love that sound. It makes my nose tingle. A bright spot in an otherwise super cloudy day.

Oh, there's so much I have to tell you, want to tell you, but my energy is completely drained from my body, and I am having some minor cosmetic surgery (Fraxel laser) tomorrow that is so beyond ridiculously expensive that there is no way I can afford to reschedule it. I've had pretty bad acne and chicken pox scars for all of my adult life, and had been wanting to do one of those painful oozing chemical peels for a long time but was procrastinating out of fear of the pain and the months of recovering with a swollen pink face, but then this amazing laser came along. By tomorrow night, providing Mom is comfortable and stable, and I don't need to go to the hospital to talk to her doctors in person, I'll be lying here in bed with my face on fire. This time I know to have pain meds on hand.

In order to really make a difference to the quality of your skin, on a level comparable to a full chemical peel, you have to do this once a month for five months. A dear friend of mine did it and after I saw what it did for her I was sold. Acne, aging spots, wrinkles, gone, and in their place is skin that looks renewed and fresh and about ten years younger. I've been wanting to do this for sooo long. I had one treatment about two months ago and couldn't schedule the second until I had the money and was certain Mom could spare me for a couple of days. I sure guessed wrong on the second count.

In any case she's doing better and she's in excellent hands. I've spoken with her doctors and nurses and I have a care giver sitting beside her. She'll be able to spare me for a few hours tomorrow, but believe me, I'll be worrying about her.

Her lungs and her heart really just can't handle this damned virus she caught from a super incautious and inconsiderate Rosa, grrr, again. It's awful, but her oncologist and I are both praying they'll be able to "patch her up" (his expression) and send her back home again so we can buy a little more quality time for her.

She thinks she's going to die and refused to leave her house yesterday until I could get her lawyer on the phone and have him dictate a draft of an amendment to her will that she could sign, sigh.

God, I wish I had the energy to tell you more, so many good stories to share. If I'm not in as much pain as I was the last time I did this I'll try to check back in and respond to your wonderful comments tomorrow night.

I Love You Guys,

PS: These are pictures of Mom, my seventeen-year-old son Beau, and my boyfriend Scott playing Rock Band at our house in the desert last Thanksgiving. How cute is my Mom to be playing the drums with them? All three of them are so much more attractive than they appear in these photographs but I so wanted you to see them that I decided to put them up without trying to edit out the red eye and everything else.

My Family Playing Rock Band
Lack O Sleep

(no subject)

I just haven't been able to write because I have been so busy taking care of my Mother who seems to be getting worse by the day. She had to be admitted to the hospital through the emergency room a few weeks ago and then spent about ten days there. She has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an infection in her lungs, and a new brain tumor, on top of the cancer. All of the people she has hired to look after her are under qualified and totally selfish and disconnected. It is breaking my heart.

At the same time I have become very involved with friends who own a local pet store where I have been much more involved with my cat rescue. I've found homes for five cats, two dogs, a sugar glider and some goldfish. I love these people and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to find homes for my animal friends but the drama that goes on with the employees and customers in this store is off the charts. Honestly. If I tried to tell you the stories you wouldn't believe me. Think, drama on a level beyond what an ordinary human being can handle. And then there are the customers, some wonderful, and some well... not so much.

I've been wanting to write more regularly for months but I just don't have the time. The only reason why I'm able to check in now is because my Mother's care giver (Who is covering for Rosa who suddenly had to take a three week vacation, six months before her scheduled vacation) called at four to tell me that my Mom had fallen while trying to get to the bathroom and they called the paramedics. Of course she called me afterwards. After they'd left and Mom was back in bed. Hey, at least she called me, that's a step up from the kind of cooperation I've been getting out of Rosa.

I love my Mom so much. I'm an only child and Mom doesn't have any other relatives or friends who live anywhere near her or who are young enough to be able to help in any way.

I had a wonderful conversation with our old friend Roweena Willis (John McCain's Auntie, his Mother's identical twin sister), but she's ninety-six and even though she is bright and alert, and such a love -- I adore this dear lady -- she certainly isn't up to coming over for a visit.

I was going to go to Artfest ( the first week of April. I've been trying to do this for years. It's so much fun. But I just don't think that would be wise or fair to do to my Mom. She can't spare me for four days at this time, which is why I am so totally blown away by Rosa's packing up and leaving, borrowing plenty of money on her way out, while Mom is in such a fragile place and is so totally dependent on her. How can you profess to love someone so much, give them a dangerous virus, hide this for two days from their daughter thereby effectively preventing her from getting the very necessary medical care she needed, then when she gets the care she needs and is told by doctors and her daughter to stay at home and rest, but instead take her out shopping and to a party, which leads to a ten day hospitalization, and then merrily skip off to Guatemala in such a crazed rush that you forget to tell the woman replacing you that she needs to take her inhalers three times a day? Thank God I noticed Mom sounded wheezy yesterday and was able to ask her new caregiver if she'd been taking her inhalers. When I got the blank look I immediately got on the phone and contacted her home health care providers who sent over her nurse. Now I'm arranging more follow up visits with doctors and we've stepped up her at home nursing care and physical therapy. Meanwhile the sharks are circling. It's... just... horrible.

At night, or really any time during the day, when something funny or interesting happens, I find myself reaching for the phone to call my Mom, and then I realize that she just isn't up for our daily chatting and gossip. As different as we are my Mom has been my best and closest girlfriend for so long that I just can't let go.

Anyway, aside from being really sick myself with this damned virus, between Mom, Beau, Scott and the animal rescue, I just haven't had the kind of time I used to, and I really miss it. I miss journalling. I miss checking in on you, keeping up with your lives in my own uniquely limited but well meaning way.

No worries friends. I know that everything is unfolding and happens as it is meant to. At least that's always been my take on it, the faith in something far greater operating behind what I can experience with the senses I have access to that I have been blessed with. Faith that keeps me going through everything, through stress and troubles that pile up one on top of the other. If only I had permission to tell you the details of what these last few weeks have been like, but then I would be revealing very intimate details of other people's lives, people I have been looking after and helping out, but whose serious problems are almost beyond the limits of what I can handle.

Yesterday my friend was so overwhelmed at work that I just had to dive in and help out in her store, screwed up knees and Fibromyalgia or not, working hard core retail at a pet store like a teenager, on the day before Norouz, (Persian New Year), when every good Persian in Los Angeles is looking for gold fish the way other people buy Christmas trees at Christmas.

The goldfish are an important part of their tradition. They put them in a bowl in the middle of a table called a Hafsin, and they have to be as red as possible, for luck. My friend wasn't prepared for this -- she tried to be, but with every one of her employees unable to work for reasons I can't get into -- she needed someone to work the floor while she worked the register, so I learned how to scoop and bag tiny red goldfish for dozens and dozens of people in a big rush to get the rest of their shopping done, (Think last minute gift shopping on the night before Christmas or Hanukah), this despite my super sensitive heart, worrying for each of this little fish, trying to talk people into buying water conditioner, hoping I am entrusting these little fishy lives to people who will care for them just that much more because I gave each and every one of them a good talking to. Meanwhile, down the block, there are Persian markets with buckets of goldfish on the sidewalk, people scooping them into bags as fast as they can, free for shoppers to take home along with the rest of their marketing.

I have got to get a couple of hours of sleep before I get back out there again. I need to get my Mom a commode, some more books on tape, call all of her doctors, set up her new TV and DVR on the table I bought and put at the foot of her bed, check back in at the pet store to see how my two rescue kitties are doing, run some errands for Beau, pick up some basic supplies for the house, and hope I have enough energy left to be a loving partner to Scott. I haven't washed my car in so many months that the kids are having fun writing jokes in the dust, "I Wish My Girl Was As Dirty As This Car."

I haven't lost must weight since my latest weight loss surgery, twenty-five pounds since September, I think. But the good news is that I may have a chance at being on a new weight loss reality show by the producers of The Biggest Loser. I'm a food addict. There's no question about it. It's how I cope with stress, numbing out with sugar instead of alcohol, drugs, or nicotine, and this has to stop.

Which leads me to this video of Toccara losing it on Celebrity Fit Club. I feel sorry for her because I really get it. I totally understand what it feels like to try so hard to do something like this, to literally work your ass off and not make the kind of progress commensurate with the hard work and sacrifice this takes, and then not to get any kind of positive validation from the people around you.

I think you have to be over here on my side of the fence, wearing and walking in my old Birkenstocks, you have to be someone who has been battling weight your entire life, trying to be like other people, living in a world of thin people with speedier metabolisms and better genes, fighting physical pain and psychological trauma, to understand how emotional and raw you can get when your eating is super clean. When you're in this state you are so vulnerable and raw, everything comes up, and what might look insane to someone else, is really just panic and desperation, that and the need for a pat on the back and maybe a hug. Something that doesn't play as well on reality TV as an angry drill sergeant with a whistle.

Anyway, for a good glimpse of what I get like when I'm "dieting" take a look at this;

BTW all that, "Have some class," and "Be a woman," s#!t that they're saying to her strikes me as so facetious and sexist, especially considering the wild fight between Harvey and Dustin (Screech) Diamond that happened last season. Look it up. Why is it okay for men to lose control and swear but when a woman does it she's lacking class and not being a woman? Oh, grrr... I just need some sleep.

Love You,

PS: The links at the top of my journal, the ones on my entries page that should take you to pictures of my cats, our house, and something else, are all old and broken. I want to be able to edit my account the way I used to be able to, so I can direct people to my picture folders on where I'm known as Jacquiscloset, but I can't figure out how to reconfigure my style system here since I'm using an older style. Anyone have any idea how I can do this?

(no subject)

I don't know if Gary Busey was in on this or not but it's pretty funny. I'm a Catholic with a kind of mixed bag of Budhist beliefs, a Jewish boyfriend, and a Muslim best friend, so I mean no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs, and I'm certainly not a fan of televangelism but I still love Gary. I like crazy, and I have a soft spot for people who have suffered head injuries as a result of motorcyle accidents, {Monique}.

Oscar's 2008 -- Random Thoughts

Jon Stewart's Press Photo

"Democrats do have an historic race going. Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama. Normally, when you see a black man or a woman president an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty. How will we know it's the future? Silver unitards, that can't be all?" — Jon Stewart.

Here's a super snarky, semi boy's-club-but-for-the-presence of-Lauren Kirchner, real time, Oscar blog-fest transcript. Phew, I had to take a breath after that sentence there, pant, pant, pant. I actually kind of enjoyed reading this because it reminds me so much of the kind of banter that goes on at so many of the Oscar parties I've hosted, or been to, over the years, (Man, I used to be competitive about guessing the winners), which is why I want to share it with you.

Just ignore some of the meaner stuff about Diablo Cody, (I think she's a total breath of fresh air), and Helen Mirren's breasts, (I think they're beautiful -- I wish I looked like her and had half her talent, wit and grace. She's loveliness personified and frankly I'd marry her in a hot minute if she asked me to), and I promise you, you'll get a few really good laughs out of it.

236 The Room -- The Oscars: There Will Be Liveblogging

I was trying to explain this to Scott tonight, that I hoped he wouldn't mind if I wanted to be temporarily snark/gossipy, while at the same time respecting my need to concentrate and cry along with some of the winners when they get earnest and sentimental.

Here's Jon Stewart's take on this;

"In case you're wondering what we all do here during the commercial breaks, mostly we just sit around making catty remarks about the outfits you're all wearing at home."


BTW my Mom's power went out early this afternoon and when I called the power company for her to see if it was an outage it occurred to me what a truly big deal a thing like this would be for all of the many people whose careers hinge on this event, and for the many people hosting lavish Oscar parties. My Mom lives in Bel Air, her neighbors are among the wealthiest and most successful people in the film industry. To say that these folks take their Oscar viewing very seriously would be a major understatement.

Apparently people were already freaking out by the time I called because the poor customer service rep who took my call told me she was getting some really nasty calls from people concerned about their caterers being able to prepare food, to say nothing of the seismic disturbance that would occur if people weren't able to turn on their giant flat screen TVs at 5:30 PST to watch their film, or client, get a big fiscal Oscar bump from winning one of these highly coveted awards.

Over a billion people watch this show. That's really staggering.

My favorite acceptance speech of the night would definitely have to be Tilda Swinton's;

Tilda Swinton On the Red Carpet

"Thank you. Oh nooo... (To her statuette) Happy Birthday Man. I have an American agent who is the spitting image of this. Really truly, the same shape head, and it has to be said... the buttocks, and I'm giving this to him because there's no way I would be in America at all ever on a plane if it wasn't for him. So Brian Swardstrum I'm giving this to you. And Tony Gilroy walks on water, it's entirely official as far as I'm concerned. And Jen Fox and Steve Samuels our incredible producers, and Sydney Pollack, (She makes a gesture of respect), and George Clooney; You know, the seriousness and the dedication to your art, seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from Batman and Robin -- the one with the nipples -- every morning under your costume, on the set, off the set, hanging upside down at lunch. You rock, man. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

I love this woman. I love that she wears what she likes and doesn't wear makeup, or at least not much of it. I love that she makes unique film choices and creates performance art. Anyone remember the nap in the box she took at The Serpentine Gallery, I think? I've been following her around since Orlando.

I've been watching this show for more than thirty years now. I don't think I've ever missed a year, nope, I'm pretty sure I haven't. The closest I've ever come to attending was when I was dating Marty Passetta, whose Dad directed The Oscars for many years, but I didn't even give it a thought at the time. Seriously. I was a girl in love, but then a mean mutual friend managed to convince Marty that Oscar usery was the only reason I was going out with him. Wrong. I loved Marty. I had a dream about him one night and that was it for me, I was smitten. He was the boy almost-next-door -- more like the boy-who-lived-way-down-past-the-Bel-Air-Hotel-on-Stone-Canyon, but I loved him in my Catholic high school girlish way and he was the first boy who broke my heart, yep. One minute he was writing me love postcards, and the next minute he hated me because a mutual friend got in between us.

The second time I almost went to the Oscars was when Scott almost got us tickets while working for a super prominent law firm that represents The Academy -- apparently they get an allotment of tickets and many of the lawyers couldn't care less about attending. But it didn't work out.

Oh well, one of these days, eh? I'd rather attend as a nominee anyway. Although I've had to lower my sights from weeping while thanking everyone I know before they play me off for Best Actress to boring the shit out of everyone while I desperately try to convey the important meaning behind my documentary short subject. Dream on girlfriend. I'll probably be dreaming my way to the grave.

Meanwhile lounging around at home, watching (and recording) everything on a good sized HDTV, while eating Oscar themed food, (Always have to find a way to tie in guacamole because The Oscars without guacamole just wouldn't be the same to me), and judging people's attire works for me.

I wish they'd cut out all of the production numbers and most of the montages, with the exception of the annual tribute to people who have passed away, (BTW where was Brad Renfro?), and give the winners more time at the mike. Although for once it seemed to me that they were just a tad gentler when it came to playing people off, and I so appreciated Jon Stewart bringing back Marketa Irglova, that lovely woman who was denied the chance to say thanks when she won for best song, and giving her the opportunity to say her piece. I think that's an Oscar first. And honestly, I next to Tilda Swinton, who I adore for being such an iconoclast, I think her speech was the best of the night.

"Hi Everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling. This - the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this - it's just to prove, no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope. And hope, at the end of the day, connects us all, no matter how different we are."

Now, with regard to this whole Gary Busey kissing Laura Linney, Jennifer Garner and upsetting Ryan Seacrest brou ha ha, it all seemed a little unfair and facetious to me. I mean we get all misty eyed and give standing ovations to people who have survived terrible accidents, illnesses, and old age, but we can't cut a wonderful veteran actor like Gary Busey, (who we all know suffered major brain trauma as a result of his motor cycle accident) some slack?

All he wanted to do was congratulate Laura Linney and say hello to Ryan. He didn't even know who Jennifer Garner was. But I'm sure he didn't mean any harm. He did the same thing to me years ago when I was working at Century Cable. He was a guest on one of our shows and when I told him I had followed his career and loved him as Buddy Holly he gave me a big kiss and sang one of the songs from the film for me. He was generous and sweet as hell, not at all lecherous, just not too present spatially, you know? Not very aware of social boundaries. Big deal. I still respect the man.

I could go on for hours. I have so much to share. I made it a point, as I always do, to see every nominated film, but I have to get up early tomorrow to look for homes for cats and take my Mom to the oncologist. I'd just like to say that, as a country, if our films are a reflection of the way we feel and the times we're living in, we must be feeling pretty defeated, depressed, and grim. Or as Jon Stewart said;

"Tonight we look beyond the dark days to focus on happier fare: this year's slate of Oscar-nominated psychopathic killer movies. Does this town need a hug? What happened? No Country for Old Men? Sweeney Todd? There Will Be Blood? All I can say is, thank God for teen pregnancy."
Chalkboard Widget

Hi Everybody, I've been wanting to check in for so long. I'm not sure how this works but I thought I'd give it a shot. Have fun, hope you all win lots of money in your Oscar voting pools. Big Warm Hugs, Your Old Overwhelmed Pal, Jacqui


Happy Belated Holidays and Your Present

Belwood Bakery Vanilla Yule Log

Hello My Dear Friends,

I feel so remiss, and of course, as always, I've missed you. These aren't even this years's photos. I just had to say hello and share the wee Christmas present that I got for you since it expires in about two or three days time.

I have so much to share, as you can imagine, but no time to do it in. I'll catch up soon, I promise.

I decided not to put myself through the usual nightmare of having to make a hundred individual sets of collage cards this year and instead I collected free I-Tunes Starbucks song cards every day for about a month from every store I went to. I would ask politely, explain that they were for my Live Journal friends and they would kindly give me stacks of them. Of course in trying to simplify I ended up creating another complicated project for myself because it's super time consuming to have to carefully type every single code into a document file and then double check each of them in order to share them with you, but that's what I'm doing. I've only typed up about a third of the ones I have and I'd hate to see them go to waste since I did this for you in lieu of a card. I guess if worse comes to worse I could take the left overs back to Starbucks on Monday and ask them to put them out.

Anyway, I'm going to post the names of the artists and their songs along with their codes behind the cut, but please do me a favor; when you take one, or one of each or whatever you like, will you please, please, please write a reply telling me which one you've used so I can cross it out or remove it from the list so people won't be confused when they try to use these codes? Also let me know if there are any you know of that you'd like more of, or if you remember any that Starbucks carried that I don't have up yet, and I'll check and put them up for you if I have them.

The one drawback to this is that they expire on the 31st, I think, and you have to have an I-Tunes account. If you don't, you're more than welcome to take a few and pass them on to a friend. I guess I'll just have to trust that people will be kind and share. Kind of like putting out a big bowl of candy on Halloween and hoping the first kids who come don't dump the whole thing into their pillow cases. I don't even know if you'll like any of these songs, and like I said, I have so many more. I just have to find the time to type them in, ack.

Right now I'm on my way to my plastic surgeon. The cats were racing around the bed and accidentally ran into my face, especially my eye, so I may need a stitch or two above my eyelid. No big deal, there are so many things in life that are worse than this.

Mom's cancer is progressing slowly. There isn't anything we can do for her, except love her up a lot, keep her happy and wait and see. The only symptoms she has so far are weakness and a loss of appetite, which is to be expected for someone with ovarian, and bowel cancer that has spread throughout her lymphatic system.

If you're a smoker, please, please, please do everything you can to reach out there and get some support to quit or cut back. I know what torture it is to quit. I'm not judging you at all. I have plenty of my own addictions. I just don't want this to end up happening to you. I've seen this happen to at least four people I love, years of smoking, or second hand exposure, followed by cancer, sickness, and eventually death. Although it doesn't always have to end this way, it just has for the people I've known.

I watched my Mom struggle for years quit. She tried everything then finally a combination of hypnotherapy and nicotine gum seemed to do the trick. It seems pretty obvious to everyone involved that her many years of constant smoking that caused the lung cancer that later metastasized throughout her body and caused most of the auto-immune diseases that I now live with. My Mom smoked constantly around me from the time I was very small until I was in high school, smoked in the car with the windows rolled up. It's gotten to the point now where I'm so allergic to any kind of smoke that just the smell of it on someone's breath or in their clothes and hair can make my eyes swell, give me a headache, and create this feeling of tightness in my chest.

Sorry to go off on the smoking, I swear to God I'm not judging anyone out there who smokes, it's just really hard watching my beloved Mom go through this when it's always seemed like such a likely eventuality.

I love you guys/gals. I hope you've had peaceful and relatively uneventful holidays. I'm all about ease and comfort these days. I don't yearn for the roller coaster highs and lows I once enjoyed so much.

I'll check back in later.


Beau In A Bag Christmas 2006
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Senior Flash Developer Wanted

Hi Everybody,

I found this in my e-mail today and wondered if it would be helpful, or of interest to any of my friends. I know some of you are amazing at Flash development, so I thought I'd post it here just in case.


PS: I'm trying to reply to all of your wonderful comments, I managed to get back to everyone who posted just before my surgery, but that's as far as I've been able to get. Too many needing people and animals in my life to balance with health and Halloweening.

Here's a job opportunity for a Flash Developer I've been asked to send out - details are below!

As always, feel free to forward if you know someone that would be interested.

Good luck, and have a great day!


Jeffrey R. Gund
Jeffrey R. Gund Music & Sound Design
If you like the InfoList - Add a Comment on my Myspace page and let me know what you like about it!



The ideal candidate must have a high level of experience with Macromedia Flash (up to and including Flash 8) including broad experience with varying design and animation styles. Advanced experience with Flash motion development, animation builds, and action scripting a must. Must be a creative thinker, well organized, and detail orientated, with 4 - 6 years of interactive design experience. Experience with entertainment industry related projects a plus.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Serve as lead and/or primary Flash Developer, contributing to the strategy through conceptual design and development to flash execution for various entertainment related website and rich media projects. Work with creative director to build complete Flash websites from start to finish including all animation, programming & sound design. Developer must have excellent communication skills and work well with other team members.

Company Description:
Located in Los Angeles, Jetset Studios is a leading interactive marketing and web design agency, providing services to various premier companies in the entertainment industry. Clients include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.

* Proficiency in all areas of Flash development including: Advanced Actionscript, XML, PHP, Flash Video & Audio Integration
* Proficiency in both tradition tween based animation & code based animation
* Proficiency with HTML, CSS, Javascript
* Proficiency with graphics applications including: Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Photoshop.
* Experience with Flash game development, including math and physics is a plus
* Entertainment experience a plus
* Illustration skills a plus

Pay is negotiable depending upon experience.

Be sure to mention you heard about this from Jeff Gund at, and email a cover letter and resume ASAP to:

Cancer, Television, Halloween, and A Couple of Friendly Geese

I'm home in bed watching another cheery documentary called Sexy Cancer Chick about a young woman diagnosed with incurable liver cancer. It's very moving and the woman who wrote, directed, and stars in it, is so friendly, upbeat and vivacious -- she's just incredibly likeable, like my friend Mary. And of course anything like this certainly makes me feel so grateful for the semi-good health I do have; the life I have, the promise of a future, no matter how uncertain it might be due to unforeseeable circumstances, but God it's so much better to have this freedom. It must really suck to wake up every day and have to think about Cancer, to be burdened with the constant monitoring and worry -- having to think all the time about medications, blood, cell growth, and mortality, to say nothing of feeling crappy from medications.

It breaks my heart that people have to live like this. I mean I'm so thrilled that medicine has advanced to the point where people can buy so much time for themselves, but so sad that they have to endure such toxic regimens in order to do so, and all the while knowing they may not have the opportunity to grow old and grey. I keep reading articles about all of the advancements that are "just around the corner" and hoping the people I love can just hang on until then.

Will Scott be able to live long enough for there to be enough advancements in medicine to heal his crooked spine and prevent him from getting the cancer that has killed off every single member of his immediate family, or that he risks getting whenever he smokes? Is it really possible to work on the Like Attracts Like principle espoused by The Secret and think ourselves well, thereby keeping these kinds of illnesses at bay, or envisioning a cure for anything we develop into being?

Will we live long enough for stem cell research in other more enlightened countries to have reached a point where we can grow replacement organs, or find ways to inject ourselves with microscopic semi-organic robots that can root around through our systems and repair damages so that I won't ever have to worry about anyone I love having to suffer and die. Will it happen in time for Beau, Scott or me? And what's so bad about dying anyway? I kind of like the idea of it for me. I just don't want anyone I care about to go away while I'm still here -- selfish I know, but there it is.

This is a pretty wonderful documentary despite my recent lack of balance in what I've been choosing to watch on television lately. Forget the news though, just forget it. I do like watching anything edifying and educational, things that help me become a better, more compassionate person, but sitting here thinking about Mom, Mary and Betsy, with my pinched nerve in my neck sending these weird painful electrical vibrations down my arm and into my index and middle fingers, weak from weight loss from consuming so much less food than I am accustomed to, while occasionally blowing my nose from this miserable cold, I don't know if this is what I should be watching right now.

It's just that I recorded it so long ago and this whole DVR storage thing makes me anxious. I feel as if I have to watch everything I record and erase it before I hit some data filled television computer chip level and end up losing anything dear to me at the whim of this machine. As I said, I've been saving this for a long time and I have to watch it some time. So far I've already heard an oncologist tell this lovely woman whose story this is that treatment is like a chess game between the tumors she has and the toxic medications they can give her to fight the tumors, hmmm... Watching and waiting for the tumors to make the first move. Having to embrace the fact that she has slow moving stage four cancer. This is exactly what is happening to my Mother.

"With cancer every little action feels potentially dangerous. Would a cough ever be just a cough? Sometimes I miss just being able to just tune out. We can't always live in the fire. You know we're human beings -- we need to escape a little bit and I feel like with cancer you don't have that opportunity."
--Kris Carr

Well, I've already watched Weeds, Dexter, and Tell Me That You Love Me, which has a lot of graphic sex but is also pretty burdened with heavy relationship issues so that leaves Californication and America's Next Top Model. I think I'll stick with this for now and then I'll wrap up my night-off in bed with Kleenex, a blanket, and a six pack of cats, while watching something light and funny.

Halloween-wise I've managed to get myself to do a wee bit of work towards the end goal every day, and I feel pretty good about this. Despite feeling utterly crappy I was able to hang up several dozen bats, a couple of scary animatronic head things, decorated the bird cage and the Halloween Tree, put some of my paper collectibles in their case by the door, placed some light up skulls along a walkway, hung up some more paper lanterns on the porch, and organized a few other things. Not a lot, but enough for someone with a virus cold thing.

Anyway, what I really wanted to do was share these pictures so I can move on to Halloween;

Lake Balboa

This is a small lake in the valley near where Scott lives. We took a nice walk here the other night. I discovered it years ago before they modernized everything and fixed it up. I preferred it before; wild and natural. But it's still beautiful.

There is this enormous dam that you can see as you approach the valley from the 405 freeway. It once was filled with water but now has been completely reclaimed. Part of it was set aside as a nature preserve and park. About a week or so after my surgery, and just when Scott was about to begin to start his new job, I thought it would be good for both of us to get out and take a walk there. It was a lot of fun and a good idea.

Sparklers At the Park

This was the first shot I took that day. I love photographing children, but because I worry their parents might think I'm some kind of freaky stalker, I get a bit shy and snap the shots too quickly, and not with an entirely steady hand as you can certainly see here. But it was a lovely moment -- this little girl playing with her now illegal sparkler. Sparklers remind me of magic and faeries and my childhood so I still like the picture despite the lack of focus.

Park Pathway

This was the beginning of our walk. The sun was starting to set making everything green turn to gold. It was lovely.

Geese Friends At the Park One

And here finally are our little love birds, the geese who adopted us for about an hour -- one wonderful hour. These geese were sooooo cool and the highlight of my week. Scott and I had just begun walking along the trail and were making our way to the lake when my keen animal protective senses spotted some kids hassling these geese.

I just have a kind of radar for this kind of thing, and so sick as I was feeling, I limped on over there to give them hell. After they left we resumed our walk, but shortly after this a little boy chased them back towards us. We told him to stop bothering them and from that moment on they became our best friends, following us like golden retrievers. It was amazing and so much fun. They just tagged along beside us for our entire walk, going everywhere we went, stopping every once in a while to nibble on some grass, but if we got too far out of our site they'd come running with those cute webbed feet.

Geese Friends At the Park Twp

People were actually asking us if they were our "pets." I hated leaving them behind, but I know the life they have is better than anything I could provide for them. I'm just worried that they've become too dependent and trusting and people can be mean and dangerous sometimes. Still, I so loved being able to reach down and pet a goose walking by my side. And they were so soft and had such terrific little goosey personalities.

So that's it for tonight. I have some eBay sellers to try to put at ease because I was expecting some money today that should hopefully come super soon. And then it's all comedy all night, and cat cuddling.

Love You,

Three Weeks Post Weight Loss Surgery

I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to respond or catch up, gals, (and a couple of guys?), thank you so much for your comments, I enjoy them so much and they mean the world to me.

I've just barely been holding my head up, literally. I have this pinched nerve in my neck and have been wearing one of those silly looking collars -- the kind that make you look like you're faking whiplash, but I don't think I'm going to wear it anymore since it's dangerous to drive with, and I totally wiped out at AHHHs, (A popular Halloween store where we get a lot of our stuff), when a mean little Demon Seed child stuck out his foot on purpose and tripped me, and I really banged myself up -- bloody bruised knees, landed on my incisions, not fun. I'm getting better though, even though Beau brought home a virus and now I'm sick as well, bleh.

I'm seeing a wonderful new chiropractor and am going to see a pain specialist this Friday, and a neurologist to get an MRI, to make my more Western doctor doctor's happy.

This cold and flu thing usually happens to us around this time of year every year, darn it -- cool thing about home schooling is we don't have to deal with the stress of all that missed school due to Beau's lack of sleep, seasonal allergies, and assorted illnesses.

The point being that I'm still feeling pretty crappy, am still recovering from surgery, and am losing weight really quickly so I'm weak. Then if you add a new and super weird and painful nerve condition to my neck arm and hand to all the rest of the stuff I have going on health-wise you can see why it's hard to balance my life life with my on-line life. But I do love all of your and think of you often. As usual, it's all I can do to try and check in from time to time and keep my story moving along here as best I can.

The best news is that after three weeks of occasional kissing and cuddling Scott and I were finally able to get it together to make love, (for a while there when we were going through that super rocky patch he preferred that I say, "Have Sex," but I'm really feeling the love right now so, making love feels right, plus he is much better balanced with regard to us and our relationship in general now), it is amazing to me how important this is and how someone who thinks she's relatively intelligent can semi-miss how totally vital sexual intimacy is. Anyway, we screwed, and it was great and I (Oh God one of my cats just did a sudden fast lap around the room and used my chest and part of my belly as a spring board -- You should have heard me shout, cats, what do they think we're made of, hay?), am feeling so tenderly towards him today, and missing him.

Scott just started a new job, which means I wasted an entire year where I could have gone over to his house, and spent as much time as I wanted with him, or to be fair, as much time as he could handle, because he needs a lot of time to withdraw and be by himself. And he overindulges in things that comfort him and alienate me. Nevertheless it's a big change and a serious adjustment for both of us. But I am so grateful that he has work again. I'm praying that he can make this transition from freedom to the working world as painlessly and comfortably as possible.

Nothing new to report on the Mom front other than that we have a lot of doctor's appointments lined up for next week. As long as she's feeling well I'm feeling well. Although she keeps telling me that she doesn't have much of an appetite and then she went an ate a huge lobster dinner, with a big salad and ice cream, and then felt sick to her stomach for hours afterwards. Which reminds me of the most moving documentary I saw on HBO last night about anorexia and eating disorders called, "Thin." It was heartbreaking.

I am so television dependent when I don't feel well, and once I develop a habit, it's a struggle for me to break it. I'm forcing myself to go downstairs and go outside, do a little work on our Halloween yard haunt every day, get some exercise, and do errands. But when you really don't feel well, and you're already a tad agoraphobic, the television can become a potent anesthetizing draw, unless of course you watch the news and sad documentaries.

I am loving Mo'Nique. She did a two part special where she visited a women's prison where she interviewed these poor women and then put on a show for them that was soooo moving. I cried. I feel so sorry for victims of theft and violence, especially because we've had a series of burglaries in our neighborhood, two on my own street in the last couple of weeks, and someone swiped a pretty decoration I bought on ETSY that I had put on my front gate, but I still feel very sorry for these women. When you really listen to their stories with an open heart you can understand how they got to the point where they made the choices they did.

Atra and I are speaking again, thank God. I missed her and her family and I was really feeling lonely and estranged. I just kind of forced her to take me back and now we seem to be okay again. While visiting her, seeing how hard things have been with her having to be the primary caregiver for her Mother who has been almost totally bedridden, I could understand why she felt hurt that I hadn't come around more often and offered more help. I felt and continue to feel guilty but I only have so much energy and have been going through so much myself.

These photos are from my first follow up, two weeks post surgery, with Dr. Liu and his staff.

Me Before Surgery

This is the first shot of myself in what is going to be a series of parking lot self portraits documenting my weight loss. You can tell when I'm stressed and feeling crappy by my hair. If my hair is pulled back and unwashed, which it often is, (But for me my hair needs to be washed every other day or it looks like this), and my bangs are messed up and brushed to the side, chances are pretty good that I didn't feel well enough to wash it and blow it dry.

Me Two Weeks Out

I thought it would be helpful for me to see how my face changes from week to week. I'm also taking full length body shots but I don't want to share them until I'm thinner because they're upsetting to look at, at this point. And I cheated because I edited the hell out of this one.

Stomach and Band Model

So this is what I now have inside of me, and I feel weird and guilty and then kind of relieved and resigned at the same time. This is a model of a typical stomach with the O-Band or Lap Band installed.

The band fits around a small portion of the stomach close to the top. There is a tube attached to this that allows saline solution to be injected through a resealing port that lies just beneath the skin. This filling inflates this band tightening the pressure and narrowing this area around the stomach. It creates a feeling of fullness as it takes time for the food that fills this smaller portion of the stomach to empty out into the larger remaining part.

My surgery was much more complicated in that I have already had weight loss surgery, so imagine that this model has already been split into two sections, a smaller section like the one you see enveloped by the band, and a totally separate stomach, each closed off at the incised end by a row of staples. A branch that forms a sort of Y shape is created from my intestines to allow both stomachs to continue to empty into my intestines. The larger stomach, that is no longer attached to my esophagus and no longer fills with food, is still necessary as it produces gastric juices that empty into the intestines.

Many patients who have had the first surgery that I had will experience a dramatic weight loss, one-hundred-and-fifty something pounds, I think, in my case, but after several years, if all that is keeping you from eating more is the restriction of having a smaller stomach, once that stomach stretches, you will naturally be able to accommodate more food. Also once a compulsive overeater always a compulsive overeater so subconsciously I found ways to eat around my surgery and regained about a fourth of the weight I lost, maybe a little more.

Dr. Liu just happens to be a fabulous, meticulous, steady and ingenious surgeon and was therefore able to add the lap band to my already operated on smaller stomach, and hopefully this will work as a further tool to aid me in losing the weight I've gained plus the rest of the weight I so badly need to lose.

O-Band Port

This is what the port that is now semi-permanently installed in my belly -- just beneath the skin, above and slightly to the right of my navel -- looks like. Do you honestly think that if I thought I could do this any other way I would go through all of this to lose and maintain weight loss?

Lap Band and Syringe For Fills

This is the syringe that is used to shoot the saline solution into the port. I'm looking at that wide needle thinking, "Oh my God, how many times am I going to have to do this, and will it be painful?" While simultaneously looking forward to my first fill because so far I've lost about twelve or more pounds and have hardly been eating anything by white knuckling it. The weird thing is that once you get past the first few days of living on protein shakes it becomes easier and easier to give up food, weird.

Dr Liu and Gedi

This is my wonderful surgeon and his irreplaceable assistant Geddion. This is the second time they've come to my aid in terms of medical weight loss intervention. They're also pretty nice normal guys too, super funny while at the same time being very professional and caring.

Okay, these next three shots I'm shy about sharing because I look so Fab, not, but I want you to see how cute Dr. Liu is when you do things to embarrass him. Actually I want you or anyone who is considering having surgery with him to see how loveable he is beneath the uber professional veneer.

Dr Liu and Me

Hee hee hee. I love Doctor Liu. First of all I obviously trust him with my life. But he's also a great guy. He's truly brilliant but he's also reserved and shy so you wouldn't know that he has a great sense of humour and is a terrific husband and father who adores his family if you didn't just haul off and cuddle up to the guy. Despite appearances this tends to bring out the best in him and he actually broke out his laptop and showed me dozens and dozens of pictures of his unbelievably beautiful, (And we're talking a ten plus on the scale of loveliness here), family. No barriers for me.

Dr. Liu and Me Two

Terrible shots of me, but hey, I wouldn't be undergoing another surgical procedure if I were thin and glammy looking, right? I don't know why I slouched over so badly when I took these pictures. Maybe I was feeling shy. (Funny how no one knows that about me, I'm so good at faking it, plus I was feeling soooo crappy that day, I'm also good at faking feeling well, it's sort of entrained in me -- maybe a vestigial Marymount thing -- be nice, be friendly, be considerate at all times, etc.), I think he was too. Afterwards he looked at the pictures on my digital camera and said, "Oh, I'm leaning away." I'm guessing he doesn't get snuggled too much by his patients.

Okay here comes the last and probably the most shocking and revealing shot of my body, a close up of the part of my belly where I've had all the work done so that anyone considering the surgery can see what it looks like. For size purposes -- wish I'd taped a quarter to myself -- the largest incision, where the port is, is only just a bit larger than an inch, maybe an inch and a half wide. I'm going to put it behind the cut in case you can't handle this, but honestly it's not that bad and I think you can.Collapse )

(no subject)

Hi Gang,

I have so much to catch you up on and as usual there's no time to do it. We've started the Halloweening early this year because I waited so long to get started last year that I actually ended up reaching this stress saturation point where I was muttering, "I hate Halloween," under my breath, and I just can't let that happen again.

I have pictures of Halloween things I've bought on Oh God do I love Etsy, it's beginning to replace the great and glorious eBay for me in some ways. I would so much rather buy a gift for a friend that was made by another friend so that way my money is doing good all around. Etsy is just the best, you have to check it out if you haven't been. I'll post the things I've been adding to my collection as soon as I get permission from the sellers to use their photos, or edit the ones I've taken of things I've received. We're adding a few new mannequins this year, and of course I always have to buy something from D.L. Rhein, at least one of her wonderful monster dollies.

O-Band weight loss surgery wise I'm doing so much better. I just weaned off of the Vicodin, which was challenging because I'm always in so much pain, and it helps soooo much, but I can't keep taking it so its back to Tylenol for me.

The first couple of weeks weren't so bad, but because my surgery was more complicated than most -- it was one surgery on top of a previous surgery -- this may account for why I've needed a little more time to recover. Really the worst of it was worrying about it before hand, and now getting used to the fact that I have this odd foreign thing in my body, this port that I can feel, like a big round plastic button under my skin. And then there's the guilt and shame I feel for not being able to just Nike my way back to perfect health and weight all on my own without the assist of any kind of medical intervention.

When I woke up from the surgery, the worst pain I remember feeling was in my bladder because I had a catheter in, and well, my bladder pretty much freaks out when any liquids accumulate there or anything new is added. I'm guessing it didn't like the anesthesia, otherwise I can't really account for the serious bladder pain I was in for a couple of days afterwards. And my neck, shoulder, and left arm, was killing me. I've been to see my doctor who wants me to see a neurologist ASAP, and I have a nice new chiropractor. Everyone seems to think I have pinched nerves in my neck, which would account for the non-stop tingling and burning in my arm and the severe neck pain. I swear if it isn't one thing it's another. Oh well, that's life, eh?

I really love my surgeon Dr. Liu. I honestly think he is the best. He's just amazing, brilliant really, and compassionate on top of that, but he's actually a bit shy and is reserved because of this so you just have to barrel right through that to get to the other side and see what a sweetheart he is, what a beautiful family he has -- oh my God his daughters and his wife, they could easily be models. He also has a great sense of humor but again you have to either know him really well or not be afraid to throw your arms around him and give him a great big hug.

When I feel well enough and get some time here I'll post photos of my first visit post op. I took pictures of the band itself and the port, and Dr. Liu took pictures of my incisions and my belly, which I'm a tad shy to share with you, but probably will anyway, and then there are shots of me throwing my arms around Dr. Liu's neck and giving him a big kiss. But I hate looking at myself in these pictures and I might save them until I lose a ton of weight and can call them before shots, sigh. So far I've lost about twelve pounds and I haven't even had my first fill yet.

These next three sets of photos represent hours of work on my part. There are a couple of terrific vintage fashion discussion boards, (Well, there are probably thousands, but these are the ones I visit), where I posted prayer requests for my Mom, and the Vintage Clothing and Accessories Forum on eBay kindly offered to make my Mother and Grandmother the designers of the week. I think basically they nominate a designer and then everyone posts what they've sold or currently own of his or hers and then talk about their history. I thought this was so kind that I decided to upload the hundreds, (about a thousand actually), of photos I've saved of the dresses I've either bought or bid on, on eBay, through the years.

After doing that I couldn't exactly leave out the fashion show, especially after all of the hard work my friend Mary put in to making it happen, so I uploaded all of these photos as well. Then I made three mosaics that you can see below and shared those with the group. There was a bit of agita about copyright infringement etc. but we worked it all out. It's an interesting thread and if you care about vintage fashion or like old family stories you might want to check it out.

Funny about the copyright issue. The very first post in the thread was written by me and given to the lovely woman who was handling PR for us for the fashion show, although it's been changed a bit -- kind of like playing telephone in school. She distributed it and it ended up on a bunch of different sites where, of course, I never received credit for it.

If you click on the pictures you can see larger versions on my Flickr site and then if you look to the right you should be able to see sets of photos that you can browse through. There is a fashion show set that also includes some wonderful photos of Betty Davis, and of course my Mother and Grandmother when they were younger, a Peggy Hunt set that has about seven hundred photos in it, and one for my Mom, Jeannette Alexander with about a hundred and twenty pictures in it as well. Mom's dresses are harder to find because they were affordable and people just didn't save and treasure them the way they did with Granny's.

Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts for Mom and her cancer. There really isn't much that we can do at this point except pray and hope that it grows slowly so that she'll have more time. But she's doing really well. She isn't in pain. She's a little weak and is losing her appetite but that isn't keeping her down. She has a super positive outlook, is eating ice cream, and playing bridge and hanging out with her friends. At her age it's entirely possible that something else might get in her way before the cancer does. I just selfishly want her to hang around here forever.

Jeannette Alexander Mosaic
These are Mom's dresses, Jeannette Alexander.

Peggy Hunt Mosaic
These are my Grandmother's dresses, Peggy Hunt.

Fashion Show Mosaic
And here finally are some shots from the Fashion Show we had at The El Rey Theatre although for some reason I feel like I've shared these with you before.

Anyway, I hope you're all happy and well. Naturally I've missed you and can't wait to catch up with all of you. Thanks as always for hanging in here with me and keeping me on your friend's lists when I've been so hit and miss with my postings.

Big Kisses and Hugs,