New Podcast – HBO Series “A Game of Thrones”

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, Games, Podcast


Last night Chooch and I recorded Episode 0 of Presents: Beyond the Wall – A Game of Thrones Podcast with SpecFicMedia founder and Murder at Avedon Hill author, P.G. Holyfield. Rounding out the panel is Nuchtchas Nimalas of the Nutty Bites Podcast.

*Phew* That’s a lotta linking! Now that’s done, I can tell you that the podcast will be recorded every Monday after the Sunday night airing of the HBO series “A Game of Thrones and we will discuss it, along with the book. The podcast should be released by Thursday of each week.

From the announcement on the SpecFicMedia site, “While we’ll be focusing on the television series, we’ll also spend time on most of the other forms of media tied to the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, including (of course) the novels, the RPG and board games, and anything else we can sink our respective direwolf-loving teeth into.”

“Winter is Coming,” indeed!

Rock Concert and Breast Cancer Fundraiser

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Breast Health, Chooch, Music

On Friday, April 22nd, my husband’s band, Ditched by Kate, will be playing at Axum’s Level X Lounge in DC. They will generously donate their profits for the evening in a split between myself and two other ladies that are raising funds for breast cancer charities.

For the $10 cover charge, you get entry to the concert where you will enjoy a delightful show by Ditched by Kate and Shana Tucker (ChamberSoul cellist, singer-songwriter). She has a great vibe and truly lovely music.

And while having all this fun, you will have the knowledge that you have contributed to the very worthwhile cause of giving hope to the dream that our daughters and granddaughters will never die of this horrible disease.

There will hopefully be an opportunity to buy raffle tickets for a prize that is currently being determined, but I’ll post details when that is decided.

There will definitely be Ditched By Kate merchandise on sale. Come and enjoy this celebration of life with us!

Definitions You Know: Purify

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Health, Soulful



–verb (used with object) 

  • to make pure; free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates: to purify metals.
  • to free from foreign, extraneous, or objectionable elements: to purify a language.
  • to free from guilt or evil.
  • to clear or purge (usually followed by of  or from ).
  • to make clean for ceremonial or ritual use.

–verb (used without object)

  • to become pure.

I spent Tuesday through Thursday doing a lot of driving, starting with an acquisition for my fledgling business. I also saw friends along the way, and enjoyed my time with them immensely. But there were situations along the way that troubled me, because I hate seeing people I love struggle. It’s especially troubling when I am helpless and unable to take their troubles away.

Last night, a recent but very dear friend sensed this in me and cleared my energy with a sage smudging. While it made none of the problems go away, I felt relaxed, loved, lifted and able to continue on.

Now, before you crap on this post about how it’s malarkey and that a loving and spiritual woman waving burning sage around me doesn’t help anything, keep in mind it is my blog. And I felt a difference, which is all that matters to me.

Happy Weekend, may you enjoy it in good health!

Rules of Etiquette, Lesson Three

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Rules of Etiquette

As convention season is underway, this rule may be a timely one to share. Although it was originally intended for the theatre, I think it applies to panels as well.


It is rude to whisper or talk during a performance. It is discourteous to the performers, and annoying to those of the audience around you, who desire to enjoy the entertainment.


Personally, I also consider texting and tweeting during a panel to be discourteous and distracting to both audience seated behind you and to those on the panel, with three exceptions.

  • Tweeting that you are in a panel, giving the name of it, and its location is a benefit to the panelists, unless done repeatedly.
  • Tweeting a photo from the panel can also be beneficial, unless done repeatedly.
  • If you plan on “live tweeting” as some do from the panel, this too can be beneficial to the panelists as it can bring others to the panel or serve as a nice touch afterward for the panelists to see what resonated. I would suggest not sitting in the front rows, however. The panelists, if like me, tend to feed off of the energy of the audience.

In addition, I don’t think it serves anyone if an audience member takes over the conversation during a panel. Meaning, unless questions are requested, you should just listen. If you have a question or opinion, raise your hand at the appropriate time and make what you say concise. Remember, the rest of the audience came to share in the information from the panelists, and it can easily turn into a situation where the panelists are unable to continue the conversation because of an audience member with a firmly held opinion that is being voiced.

Again, these are my rules as I’ve developed them over the years and other panelists may feel completely different.

Opinions from panelists? Opinions from audience members?

Many thanks for the read. I look forward to seeing if there are comments on this one.


Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Technology?

You know how you sometimes go to read a blog, and notice that some of the commenters have images next to their comment? Gravatar is the reason why. I will throw in the usual disclaimer that there may be other services that do this, I’ve just not heard of them.

From their site, Gravatar is described as:

A Globally Recognized Avatar

Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

If you go to the site, you will find a simple way to upload your image, photo or otherwise, that will represent you on blog post comments. You can even update it when you like.

For site owners, there is instruction on how to allow Gravatar to work on your site. I can’t tell you how easy or difficult it is, since my technology specialist, aka husband, sets it up on all of our sites. But it is certainly set up for most, if not all, of the blogs that I read.

If you’d like your image out there to accompany your words, give this free service a try. I’ve been using Gravatar for well over a year and have had no complaints.

So there, a technology post that a wee percentage of you possibly don’t already know. Rawr level up?

Definitions You Know: Steampunk

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Sci Fi

If you haven’t heard this term, then you’ve not been online in any way, shape or form for several years. While the aesthetic has been around since long before, the surge of interest in recent years has made it impossible to miss.


“a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power; also written steam-punk.”

I think this entry leaves a lot out of what is believed to be steampunk, but gets to its core. Another definition rounds out the genre/aesthetic as I understand it.

“An imaginary Victorian age, that features brass and copper clockwork and steampowered inventions that go far beyond 1800′s technology. Steam powered mechanical wonders, optimistic gear driven computers, dirigibles, clockwork firsts, and stuff like that. (But don’t forget the goggles.)

Well, something like that, anyway. Think Jules Verne.”
~From Monster Commute by Steam Cow

Brace yourselves, kittens. It looks like it’s here to stay.

And do be careful, because you can get nasty burns from steam.


Exquisite Photo by Kyle Cassidy of Liza James and Jared Axelrod in Steampunk Attire, featured in the Wikipedia article for "Steampunk". Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

I highly recommend you peruse Kyle Cassidy’s other fascinating works, so please visit his web site.

Weight Loss Progress

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, 5k, Dizzy, Dizzy, Exercise, Half-Marathon, Health, No Whining, Vestibular Migraine, Weight Loss

Today I busted through a milestone weight. I honestly cannot remember the last time my weight was this low, no foolin’. It was definitely before Naughty Bear was born.

It’s been a lot of work and a big sacrifice since I started back up again in September. I had gained somewhere around 20 pounds back after I got hit with the vestibular migraines and the medication had me drugged and sleeping a lot. That on top of the now inherent fatigue kicked my ass. I still tried to eat healthy, but gave up on South Beach during that time because I felt like I was just eating and sleeping all the time.

While I still believe that the maintenance phase of South Beach is the best way to eat long term, I just couldn’t keep it up anymore with the slow creep of weight gain that was occurring.

I started eating carbs again, although not pigging out or going overboard. I know their effects on me. I get sluggish, puffy, sleepy and am quick to hunger again. But having them limited for so long, I dove straight into whole grain breads and pastas. Om to the nom!

I finally got fed up and started the Couch to 5k program again, which naturally led me to watching what I was eating. Eventually I made my way to Weight Watchers Online and haven’t looked back. Since I started that I’ve lost 24 pounds, surviving Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and other excuses to gorge. I definitely did some backsliding, but have come pretty closely to finding a balance that works for me.

After successfully running an entire 5k on Thanksgiving, I felt amazing and motivated to do more. About a week after that, my medication changed and it literally knocked me on my ass. I was unable to really get moving again until January when I eased into walking again. My running started again with the Runkeeper training program that fellow runner Mur Lafferty told me about. I really love it, but will go into that in another post.

I’m now training for a 10k in June. It’s difficult because I never know from day to day if I’ll be able to run, since the migraines make it impossible. I’ve found I can run dizzy, but I can’t run with a migraine. So I’m registered now for two 5k’s and one 10k and I don’t know if I’ll be able to run all, or any of them when it comes to race day.

I am also prone to getting migraines after a tough run, but I figure I’d likely get one anyways so don’t let that deter me. I always am dizzy after a run, to varying degrees. And dizziness is less noticeable when I have a migraine, so there’s a silver lining, right?

I think my motivation is driven by being out of control of my life. I can’t control how I feel, at least not yet. My current doctor feels that if this treatment doesn’t improve things, short of tweaking dosages there is nothing else he can do for me. I’ll be seeking a new doctor after we move to an area with a wider pool of medical specialists. Not being able to control how I feel means that I can’t control if I can work. I already discovered that college coursework was nigh impossible due to memory and comprehension problems I’ve developed. I’m hoping these are due to medication, because it is very troubling.

I decided to embrace the things I can control – what I eat and whether or not I exercise. So I do what I need to in order to reach my goals, and so far it’s working. I’m not saying I’ll make it all the way to my goal, but I’m nine pounds from where the doctor wanted me to return to her for a health evaluation to see how much more, if any, I need to lose. My own goal is ten pounds more than that because as I look at myself I find it impossible to be only nine pounds away.

No, this isn’t bragging or lecturing or my telling you what to do to lose weight. I’m not that arrogant. This is just a post I wanted to write for my own blog, so that when I begin to slip I can remember how I felt at this moment in time. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m humbly proud of myself. When I finally reach my own goal, I’ll have lost over a hundred pounds. I’ve grown tired of using my illness and near constant fatigue as an excuse. I feel more energized after a workout, and feel better emotionally afterward so it’s no longer an excuse, it’s a lie.

I did this. Me. No weird pills, no crash diet, no tricks.

Sweaty, breathless, aching, exhausted and sore, I did this.

Baking healthy desserts instead of the fat and sugar laden ones of my childhood.

Trying one bite, maybe two instead of a whole serving.

Tracking everything I eat and drink, and every calorie I burn during exercise.

Trying healthier alternatives and exploring vegan and vegetarian meals, thus bringing more and more variety into my life that keep me from getting bored and stopping at (gag) fast food restaurants. (More on this in another post.)

I. Did. This.

And I can keep going until I reach my goal, unless I get in my own way. I’m refraining from posting ‘before’ pictures until I reach my goal. It feel presumptuous otherwise, so that will be my reward. Well, one of them.

No more excuses, just forward motion.