Getting into Flow states during difficult times – like going through Breast Cancer

Stories of my disappearance are greatly exaggerated.

I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer, so now looking forward to playlists such as “Now that’s what I call Chemo!” followed by the hotly anticipated “Last Night a Surgeon Saved my Life” slated for release in the new year. *

I’ll still present and perform occasionally when going through treatment. We’ll play it by ear, depending on how everything progresses and energy levels. Short Notice bookings might work. I’m optimistic that normal service will slowly resume if the results are encouraging.

To those of you unlucky enough to have some experience of the disease (either yourself, or someone you know) I send positivity and love.

BACKSTORY

My mum died of cancer when I was a child – details of her medical treatment were whispered in hushed tones in separate rooms, out of earshot and in secrecy. Yet attempts to conceal her terminal diagnosis were pointless as I knew what was going on. With nobody to ask, I felt powerless.

It’s why this very personal post exists: to try the opposite track. Knowledge (and Music) has always been a great comfort, and my curiosity to learn has helped me overcome so many obstacles, achieve so much and connect with frankly extraordinary people while performing or presenting. I’ve explained as openly and as age appropriately as possible to my toddler. Telling children early on is advised by Macmillan and other cancer charities -such a difficult experience to do but it was taken well and felt like the best decision for him.

FORWARD STORY

I may be dealing with cancer now, but as anyone different has always known, there’s simply so much more to us than how we look, our personal struggles, or what equipment we use to access the world. We are still artists, engineers, writers, thinkers, comics, poets, AI magicians, coders, hackers, lockpickers, DJs, storytellers. We laugh at great jokes, cry at terrible movies on planes (well, OK, I do) and enjoy connecting with others through our love of creativity, unconventional thinking. Best of all we love to collaborate with those who challenge and excite us. We crave pure connections which at their best transcend physical and mental capabilities, creating that elusive and magical experience of flow for audiences and performers to share.

In short, you are welcome to ask cancer questions, which I will answer if I feel up to it…. or, we can talk about stuff I still really love, like music, technology and performing. Any great, fun audio books with happy endings? Wholesome comedy video clips and podcasts? let me know!

Want to lend me some Interesting VR/Immersive kit for a day to try out during or after a chemo treatment in London? I’m down for any entertaining tech distractions during my many medically enhanced hours over the next weeks and months. Some things feel rather unpleasant, so if you think it might be fun to see how creative tech could help make procedures more palatable – that sounds kind of awesome to me too. Interested? Do click here to contact.

Finally, to everyone reading this far, thank you so much for our connection – whether it’s IRL or online  – however brief, however close, through TV, presenting or hacker / music circles, please know that many of you have been responsible for so many of my happiest thoughts. Your impact has been so positive in helping me want to be better – authentic, inspiring, thoughtful, uplifting – and kind. I wish you all the very best.

Love, LJ

P.S *These playlists don’t exist – yet. Want me to make some?

My Three Keyboard Cat Moon T Shirt

The first item of clothing I ever bought on the internet came in the post yesterday…

Three Keyboard Cat Moon T shirt from Threadless

Three Keyboard Cat Moon T shirt from Threadless

Here’s me in it…

me in kaybadly photoshopped for extra appeal

Rock 'n' Roll!

yb

I wore it to work and got comments ranging from “That is Excellent” to
“I can’t believe you buy your clothes off the internet”.

But I don’t care. I want to wear it FOREVER*.  I shall hand wash it.  I might
even buy another one in case I lose this one or get nutella on it.

The only problem with this Tshirt is that while I’m wearing this fabulous
garment,  I can’t look at it at the same time.

Of course, this design is a combination of Amazon’s Three Wolf Moon
T shirt (below)

Three Wolf Moon - top selling shirt

Three Wolf Moon - top selling shirt

…and Keyboard Cat, the friendly feline that plays people off the stage when
they do something catastrophic:

So, what have we learned from this exercise?  Sometimes the Internet can
surprise us with creativity – this mashing of memes gave us something greater
than the sum of its parts. The Tshirt was scored by 3,791 people, and rated
4.48 out of 5.

Perhaps broad appeal is the new niche.  I’m not worried about following the
crowd on this one.


Sorry about the photoshop rush job,  I was overcome by an uncontrollable
compulsion to upload this picture and couldn’t wait.  The office chairs and
other debris detracted from the WONDER and MAJESTY of said t-shirt.
It had to go.

*Or, at least, for a while.

W00t! new linguistics on the net FTW!

Ok, I’m happy painting my life as a technology-loving geeky social network addict, it’s pretty easy because it’s true. I tweet and send pictures through my mobile on twitter and flickr, I am on facebook, qypeyoutube, ping.fm and I’m on other places where I can’t even remember my username – you get the idea, some of you are probably the same as me, or worse. 

You’d think I’d be right up there, jacked in to cyberspace, fully comprehending the internet and not even seeing the code, as it were.  Sadly, I’m nowhere near where I want to be – still far too lost in the ether that is the new net-speak, although I’m clawing back some comprehension every day.

Looking back through my (and others’) twitterstream, the linguistics of the internet is in the process of undergoing yet another evolution. I’m learning a whole new language in order to keep up with my much cooler and hipper online buddies.

The emoticons we’re familiar with since I joined the internet (or before), are everywhere, even my dad texts and emails with 🙂  : – ) and 😉  ; – )  .  Stuff like BRB is pretty easy to interpret and a rough knowledge of phonetics and/or a willingness to tilt your head to one side is enough to make a start on translating the rest.  

It’s all changed now there are so many new codes based on everything from gamer-speak to the economy of letters that Twitter’s 140-character limit has imposed. So what is the last resort of the enquiring mind?  I conclude that one needs to be either “in the know” or risk Urban Dictionary (and possible ridicule for choosing the wrong acronym) to find out the meaning and usage of the latest net-exclusive abbreviations.   

On to the reason for the post – this Wednesday, I’m going to be on the radio talking about the pressure to ‘keep up’ on the internet, not just emoticons and phraseology, but also keeping up with your facebook friends and your twitter chums.  I’d love to read what you think.

Do you feel anxious when you’ve not posted what you’re doing? Do you feel guilty if you haven’t blogged / updated your status for a while?  I’d also love to know whether you use acronyms such as FTW (or even WTF!) on the interwebs, whether you embrace it or can’t bear it, and if you have any good ones you can share with me…  Please feel free to leave your comments, and try to make sure that they are SFW 🙂 kthxbai

p.s. you can listen live to the show on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30 GMT on 15th April 2009.

 

Mini Glossary for n00bs

w00t! (with zeros instead of O’s, although this font doesn’t show it as well as the header) gamer-speak with disputed origins, usage: celebratory

FTW = For The Win – usage is normally when you’re about to achieve something e.g. “eating 15 banana frittters FTW”

SFW / NSFW = Safe For Work / Not Safe For Work – usage is normally preceding or following a link where it’s not immediately obvious where it goes – can be used on twitter when posting tiny urls – stops you opening an inappropriate link in front of whoever’s lurking over your monitor.

kthxbai = OK, Thanks, Bye – Lolcats use this language a lot, pop over to http://icanhascheezburger.com/  for detailed exploration. You will waste time, though.

Twitter Article hits BBC Website!

Few things persuade me to get up in the morning, but knowing I needed to finish this article in time to have it submitted to the BBC News Website was successful in pulling the duvet covers off!
 
After last night’s twestival, I arrived back home inappropriately late after spending the majority of the evening filming – it was a fun evening, even though I was working for most of it, and I hope that the very worthy charity: water will have benefited enormously from all the organisers’ hard work.

Twitter Article on the Beeb!

Twitter Article on the Beeb!

The pictures in this article are by @lateral – you can see more here.

In case you’re wondering, the article is all about how I think Twitter has changed in recent times as more people have joined. Click on the picture, or here: http://tinyurl.com/ljbbctweet to read it.

I’m going back to bed…

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Covent Garden Wishing Well

This is what I saw when I went to Covent garden to briefly visit a blogger lunch.
What is THAT????
I nearly bumped into a conspicuous gigantic triangular shaped structure that’s there till January.

big silver wishing thing by LJRich.

Spinvox Wishing Well

 
Spinvox, the people behind the structure, have left this silver wishing well in central London, the idea being that you call and leave a message from your phone, and it gets converted to text and displayed on the inside of the installation.
 – Here’s a shot  a bit closer in – you may be able to see me in it – I’m in the X box…
(Visual Pun! How I wish I did that on purpose!)
what is this doing in covent garden? by you.
Needless to say, there were many others there including my fantastic underground blogger mate, and of course whatleydude who kindly invited me along.

This is what it looks like inside – I stood in here for ages, reading what other people were wishing for.

inside there are messages from people calling in with their wishes by phone by LJRich.

inside the structure

I particularly like the fact that if one spoke a swear-word into the message, it would be replaced with &* ?*&!£ symbols, so even though the best words went, the sentiment remained. 

Of course, if you were one of those people who looked up rude words in the dictionary at school and laughed (English and other languages – oh, hang on, I still do that now) then you will appreciate the work that must have gone into creating the database to recognise them all.

I loved reading wishes ranging from “I wish for World Peace” to “I wish I had gigantic nostrils”.

If you’re in London, it’s definitely worth a look –  http://www.spinvoxwishingwell.com/

Reality TV follow up mini-blog

http://www.bafta.org/ is currently showing a clip of that reality TV event I attended at BAFTA a few weeks ago – I’m not sure how long it’s up there for, but for people who read my earlier blog about the surreal nature of people like Kelvin Mackenzie and Greg Dyke talking about how reality TV is shaped, I promised to put a follow-up on this blog, so here it is – I must confess it made me see TV very differently. Click the speaker if there is no sound…. and I’ll be back with a proper report on the Spinvox ICA 60th Anniversary report soon!

New Year, Different Difference?

A slightly belated “Happy New Year” to you, Chinese and/or otherwise. The picture on the left is Twilight on Gerrard St, London, which is the main drag of Central London’s Chinatown area. The place looks magical, with lanterns swaying in the breeze attached to absolutely every possible stationary object. New Year fills us with optimism, that this time, things will be different; we will be different.
On my way to the gym this morning, I remember reading a statistic saying 97 % of all people who make New Years resolutions break them – 8 % of the total actually break those resolutions in the first 10 seconds, and it is with this thought in mind that I’m feeling pretty proud of myself about making my way to the gym on this freezing occasion, a full 1 months and 11 days into the UK’s new year. But this was not a new year’s resolution – I decided to join a gym in September.
Why did I not pressurise myself with a New Year Resolution this year? Because with an NYR, I’ll get 364 chances to fail – guaranteeing that every time I don’t reach my expected goal, it’s time to resign myself to endless telly, feeling dejected about the sheer mountain of unfinished business shouting for attention, and hoping that next year will be different.
So today, I’m going to challenge the popular assumption that an arbitrary day, zero hour, “wipe the slate clean on Day 1” mentality is the only way to get back on the self improvement train, and say instead that any day, at any time, when we make a conscious decision to do something different, that’s when persistence, determination, and that elusive, sparkly feeling that we’re “on our way” is a great and just reward.
Like many people, I’m interested in goal-setting, personal development and self-improvement, and writing down my goals and aims helps me to focus more. (If you’re looking for a goodie, I humbly suggest Getting Things Done, which I overhauled my life with a year or two ago). Last time I did this was in November – not conventionally a month for that sort of thing, unless it’s your birthday, perhaps.
Be Excellent to Each other!
Anyhow, this week I received some interesting emails, including one from the BBC, one from a short film producer, and the continuation of an exciting music project I’m currently sworn to secrecy about. All of these emails represent a move in the right direction – and I have to confess it’s all a little bit scary. I know I’m on TV already, which is a massive achievement, but these projects represent quite a big leap and I wonder why taking that step into the unknown brings up such feelings of vulnerability, even though what I want most in the world is to be knee deep in Music, TV and technology for the rest of my days.

I’m beginning to realise that the big change for me this day, 15th February, is that it’s time to be ready for the next level, which I’ve spent my whole life preparing for, so this year is as good as any. It’s time for all that hard work to be translated into amazing opportunity, and although it’s a petrifying concept, I think I can handle it. So Happy New Day to you, dear reader, and wherever we go, let us go boldly, as a certain Starship Captain or two might say. Live long, and Prosper.

lots of love, LJ x
spoken through SpinVox tweaked by LJ