Tag Archive: life

Aug 05

Life With Melodee — Part Nine

People often ask me the same question:

What is it like to live with Melodee?

That’s a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn’t an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it’s complicated.

But I’m going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee’s blog.

Part Nine
The Music of Melodee

Yes, Melodee has been all over me to add more to this series, so here I am again in front of the keyboard. Not like I have many more important things to do, I guess.

Anyway, Melodee has been in a musical mood lately. Given the fact that she’s totally deaf, that might seem strange to a few people, so let me explain right up front.

I’ve mentioned in a few early posts in this series that Melodee can dance very well. Oh, and I’m not talking about using the pole in our bedroom, though she does a great job there, too. I mean like going to a club and being on the dance floor while a band or DJ plays. She can stay in time, and even sing along if she knows the words. Melodee claims that she can feel the vibrations of the sounds through the air or floor and that means she can “hear” the music. I can’t feel these nebulous vibrations she talks about, but I suspect that being deaf since birth, she’s more aware of them than I can ever hope to be.

Melodee has a set of what I’ll call Bone-Phones. I think that was an actual brand name from a number of years ago, but the idea is that they are kind of like headphones that lay over her shoulders and rest on her upper chest. The idea is that instead of covering your ears, the Bone-Phones transmit vibrations directly to your body. When I put them on, I can feel the vibrations though I still can’t make a lot of sense from the sensation.

Not so with Melodee. She puts on the Bone-Phones, cranks the volume way up, and sings along with her favorite songs.

And speaking of favorite songs…

I guess everyone has a favorite song and even a favorite performer. For Melodee, that’s the Moody Blues. I’m not sure if from the repertoire of the band there is one song she would call her favorite, though…she seems to like all of their songs equally. And that’s a big deal. The career of the Moody Blues spans nearly fifty years now, and they are still on tour.

As an aside, I rarely get jealous over Melodee despite her flirtatious nature. By and large, I feel very secure in the fact that she’s not at all serious and is coming home with me. Except that is, with the Moody Blues. Yes, she gets a little giddy around Graeme Edge (the 72 year old drummer), and a little more so with John Lodge (the bass guitarist who is 68), but it’s Justin Hayward (66, lead guitar, vocalist, and front man) who actually worries me. I have no doubt that all Justin would need to do is smile and nod to Melodee and she would be all over him. While he’s clearly in great physical shape to do multi-hour concerts and maintain the show schedule for the band’s tours, I wonder if his heart could take it. I sometimes wonder about my own heart, too.

In any event, for the past few days, Melodee has been on a writing binge. When she writes, she “listens” to music. She puts on her Bone-Phones, cranks them up all of the way, and also puts the music through to the speakers in her office. Despite the well designed soundproofing, the kids, staff, and I can hear the music all over the house. As you might suspect, with her affinity to the Moody Blues, Melodee is a classic rock fan. Her playlist for the MP3 files leans heavily in that direction and is probably half Moody Blues tunes, with multiple versions of the same songs. Also in the mix are a good deal of show tunes (she loves anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber) and some older country music. There are more eclectic things in the mix, too. I imagine that if she could hear the radio in the car, Melodee would be one of those people who change the station at the end of every song.

But she claims that the music helps her write. I’ve watched her (I do that a lot) and she will sit staring at the screen as she types, and her lips are moving as the music plays. And before someone asks, no, Melodee does not have a good singing voice.

Like most profoundly deaf people, Melodee has what we hearing folks would call a speech impediment. She can’t hear her own voice, so she doesn’t know what it sounds like. By the same token, she tends to mispronounce words, at least by “normal” standards, because she has never heard them spoken by someone else. While she can indeed keep tempo and sing along with the lyrics, Melodee shouldn’t consider making a living as a lead singer.

I often wonder if Melodee’s love of music is at least partially responsible for a similar passion in our oldest daughter Amanda. Amanda can, as far as I can tell, play just about any instrument, but her real love is for the guitar. At last count, she has about twenty different guitars, and they all sound different, even to me. Melodee has a number of Amanda’s “demo tracks” in her playlist, too, and she will often ask Amanda to play something special for her.

One thing I did a few years ago for our anniversary was to get with Amanda to teach me to play just one song on a simple acoustic guitar. After some eight weeks of practice and dealing with bleeding fingers, I was ready. Amanda set up her music “studio” and hooked in Melodee’s Bone-Phones and twisted the volume hard to the right so Melodee could “hear” the performance. All I did was to play the rhythm part and Amanda played the lead, but I played and even sang In Your Wildest Dreams for Melodee.

She cried for a week.

I just hope she was crying because she was so touched by the act and not because my singing and playing was so bad.

Jack

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2013/08/05/life-with-melodee-part-nine-2/

Jul 21

Melodee Wants to Know — What About Planetary Life?

 

What about planetary life?

Anyone who writes science fiction—particularly “hard” SF—has to deal with this issue. The fact is, especially in hard SF, this can take many forms…more on that in a minute.

This article discusses a real-world (in this case Mars) situation: http://news.yahoo.com/mars-life-search-hindered-planetary-protection-concerns-scientists-112342935.html and there are concerns we need to address. Do we risk contaminating Mars with Earthly organisms in order to advance our understanding of the planet? Or do we cripple our exploration to protect either the pristine Martian environment or existing Martian life?

But let’s look at these issues from the point of view of an author building a universe…

Just as one example that pretty much everyone will know (as opposed to pulling out some possibly obscure SF references), Star Trek had the Prime Directive. In a nutshell, this directive prevented Kirk (and presumably the rest of Star Fleet) from doing anything to interfere with developing civilizations. And yes, that is exactly what we are talking about. After all, if you infect an entire planet with the rhinovirus and the population has no immunity and they all die, isn’t that interfering with their development?

In my Immortal Love Universe™ (the setting for all of my books with Siren/BookStrand) the issue of protecting existing life has been hinted at but not directly addressed in the released stories. All of the current works take place very far in the future, so there are few pristine planets left for such first contact. In the Flights of Fancy series, there are first contacts with existing civilizations, but the attitude of the Empire is that interference is sometimes needed. The problem is that the Immortal Love Universe™ starts in about 1950 AD and runs for about 22 billion years. No, that’s not a typo. Billion. There’s plenty of room and time for expansion of these details.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t expand this idea just a little. The same concept applies to contact between any two differing cultures…say Native Americans and Europeans. Yeah…that went well.

Anyway…

I really have several questions for those reading this…

For readers and authors alike, what should we do about Mars? How much science do we sacrifice to protect the Martian environment, or, how much of the Martian environment do we sacrifice for the sake of science?

For readers only, how should an author handle this in a story (or group of stories)? Do you even care?

And lastly, for authors, how do you deal with the concept in the tales you spin?

What say you?

Keep Loving!

Melodee

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2013/07/21/melodee-wants-to-know-what-about-planetary-life/

Dec 28

Freaky Friday for December 28, 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Have sex with a person of your gender while your partner watches?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/12/28/freaky-friday-for-december-28-2012/

Dec 21

Freaky Friday for December 21, 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Have group sex with 3 or more members of the opposite sex?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/12/21/freaky-friday-for-december-21-2012/

Dec 14

Freaky Friday for December 14, 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Arrange for a threesome with your partner and another person of your gender?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/12/14/freaky-friday-for-december-14-2012/

Dec 07

Freaky Friday for December 7, 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Perform an exotic dance to full nudity in a public club?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/12/07/freaky-friday-for-december-7-2012/

Nov 28

How Social Media Works for Authors

 

 

I’m on FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, and yes, even MySpace. Honestly, I spend most of my social media time on Twitter, with FaceBook coming in a close second.

On Twitter, I maintain a number of “lists” where I can group people I follow into categories that make sense. The lists let me read the tweets in a more organized way…for example, I have a list named “Best Bets” that are people I am friends with (really friends, not just casual follows) and tweeps who I find particularly interesting for some reason. This is a small list of only about ten people, so it’s easy to keep track of and read each and every post they make.

I have lists for writers/authors, musicians, poets, racecar drivers, and more. While some of the lists are fairly large, the groupings still let me focus on a particular topic as I read the tweets.

The vast majority of the 4,000+ tweeps I follow are in one or more lists.

On all of Twitter, there are exactly six tweeps I follow who don’t follow me back. Depending on your definition, none of them are “celebrities”. None are politicians, either. One of them is the Dali Lama. The Dali Lama has on the order of five-and-a-half million followers, and he doesn’t follow anyone. On the other hand, he’s very wise and I like what he has to say.

The real bottom line is that I follow very few people who don’t follow me, and the reason is very simple…

Odds are that someone who isn’t interested in what I have to say has nothing to say that is of any interest to me.

Call that arrogant if you like, but the fact is that the vast majority of Twitter users will not follow you if you don’t follow them. And most serious studies put the number in excess of 90%.

Every few days I will wade through my followers and those I follow. If someone has stopped following me, I stop following them. I also will stop following people who have not tweeted in the last 90 days, but I keep an eye on them…if they tweet again, I follow them again.

Along with this, I also purge my several Twitter lists…anyone I am not following gets removed from the lists. And it is this practice that got me thinking about something…

Churn Rate: (sometimes called attrition rate) In its broadest sense, is a measure of the number of individuals or items moving out of a collective over a specific period of time. (From Wikipedia)

In other words, what is the rate of tweeps who unfollow people?

I am primarily concerned with the churn rate for authors and writers. I have three lists that relate to this field: Writers, Writers2, and Writing Helpers. The first two lists are self explanatory and there are two lists due to the limits of how many tweeps can be in one list. Writing Helpers is primarily publishers, cover artists, reviewers, and similar “support” services for writers. In a typical month, the churn rate in these three lists is about 2%.

Now…I also have a list called Music that is mostly musicians and bands. There are a small handful of music production services in there, but just tiny fraction. The churn rate for the music list members is much smaller…over a month, perhaps 0.04%.

For all of the other lists, a typical monthly churn is about 0.09%.

What does all of this mean?

Sorry folks, but it means that authors are, by and large, totally clueless about how social media promotion works.

Remember when I mentioned MySpace above? Some of you may sneer, and maybe you should. MySpace is, frankly, dead and doesn’t know it yet, but MySpace was also the first of the social media sites. In the early days, music professionals and bands swarmed to MySpace to promote themselves, and they did a good job with it. More to the point, they learned a lot…

The key thing they learned is that if they didn’t show an interest in—and a respect for—people who followed them on MySpace, those people would stop following them.

And those people are their fans, the ones who buy their product. In other words, they pay the musician’s salary.

Sadly, writers don’t seem to understand this.

Some of that has to do with the flood of new writers in the various “self publishing” venues. Like all new writers, they want to change the world and have the attitude that sales don’t matter.

Sure they don’t. Keep telling yourself that while you slowly starve to death…or keep working at that job you claim to hate so much.

Some is connected to the idea that a reader will never stop reading your books no matter what you do. Right…let me know how that works out for you. Oh, that’s right…you can’t afford Internet access now and the library’s free access is all full up with other starving writers.

The real deal here is that writers need to learn the lessons that the musicians did long ago, and that is to avoid unfollowing people on Twitter. And the other social media sites, too. Create lists or groups or circles, or what-have-you to organize things so you can manage the data flow.

In other words, wake up and smell the money.

Keep Loving!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/11/28/how-social-media-works-for-authors/

Oct 26

Freaky Friday for 26 OCT 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Act in an adult film with multiple partners of the opposite sex?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/10/26/freaky-friday-for-26-oct-2012/

Oct 19

Freaky Friday for 19 OCT 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Act in an adult film with multiple partners of the opposite sex?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/10/19/freaky-friday-for-19-oct-2012/

Oct 12

Freaky Friday – 12 OCT 2012

 

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Allow a stranger to pick you up and have a one night stand with them?

Keep Loving!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/10/12/freaky-friday-12-oct-2012/

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