Sometimes I Want to Respond to Spammers

One of my other blogs is an art blog.  Every day, I post a new piece of artwork.  About the only words attached to any of these blog posts are enough to convey the size of the piece, the medium and support I used and the copyright information.  So… not too many words.  But I get dozens of spam comments like this every week:

Good info to know. Thank you for sharing. Great site keep up the good work!

Well.  Ok.  I’m not sure what information you found in that post that was so interesting that you had to (spammy) comment, but thanks.

Then there are the word salad comments:

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Notice a pattern?  It’s like this person (all these, plus 20 other similar comments over the course of three days, were written by the same person) was playing a Mad Libs game in the comment section.  Apparently, Akismet filters out that sort of thing.  Thanks goodness.  Here’s another with a similar theme:

Hello.  I like “Name of Post – Aerten Art”.  It was good.  Visit my blog sometime.

No.  I don’t think so.  Listen, you’ve got fucked up punctuation.  Ok, maybe not… if you’re in the UK.  I understand they put the punctuation outside the quotation marks over there.  Still, since I find it painful, and you’re only the sixth person this week to use this formulaic post, I’m not going to be visiting your blog before Hell freezes over.  And I probably won’t visit it then, as I’ll be too busy moving to the sun.  Here’s one that actually made me laugh:

Hey there it’s so pleasant to study your site to be a circus performer I love research the web and skim reports concerning carrying out arts.

Word salad plus completely irrelevant observations!  I’d give this one the prize today, except this one beat him out:

bolt patterns

I am both baffled and amazed at the randomness.  I’m going to try to keep track of some of the more interesting and bizarre comments I get on my three blogs, and share them (and my reactions) semi-regularly.  Because if you can’t mock spammers, what’s the point of being a Language Maven with a blog, eh?

Kelly’s Spicy Lentils

This is so easy that you could probably do it while sleeping.  I’ve tried it by cooking it on the stove, and by cooking in the crock pot (because the crockpot appeals to my inherent laziness when it comes to food preparation).

For every cup of lentils (I use organic brown lentils), you’ll want about 2-1/4 cups of water.  (Apparently, different types of lentils need different water ratios and cooking times; I always use the same ones so I don’t have to fiddle with water ratios and cooking times.)  Rinse off your lentils if you think they need it.  Dump the lentils and water into your pot or crockpot.  Toss in some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy Seasoning Blend and some McCormick Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder.  Proportions?  Well, for about 5 cups of dried lentils, I use half a bottle of the Mrs. Dash (1.25 oz) and 2 tablespoons of the chili powder.  This proportion give them a bit of a kick, but they’re not (to my taste buds, anyway) overly spicy.

If you’re cooking in a pot on the stove, bring it all to a boil, then simmer for about 30 or 35 minutes.  Stir it up occasionally; you don’t want those puppies sticking to the bottom of your pan.  If you’re using the crock pot, set on low and cook overnight (10 hours or so).  Stir well in the morning; the spices seem to form a coating on the top of the lentils.  These are going to be fairly firm (because the Spousal Unit is kind of grossed out by mushy lentils).  I have no idea how long they last in the fridge, because they’re always gone in a week.  I heat mine up just as they are in the microwave… the Spousal Unit adds some veggies to his when he heats them up.  They’re pretty versatile little things.

I generally pair my lentils with a salad, and have them for lunch.  Yay, protein!

Dear Karsnak132068@gmail.com

You know, when you post a spam comment about birth plans to my post wherein I talk about the death of my infant child, I cannot help but think that not only are you contemptible and thoughtless, but also a very evil human being.  If there is a Hell, that’s where you’re headed, sweetie.  Enjoy the trip.

My First Album

Here’s the meme (it’s been floating around on Facebook, but I don’t do memes on Facebook):

  1. Go to Wikipedia and hit random. The first random article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Go to quotationspage.com and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days.” Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use picnik.com to put it all together.
  5. Post it with this text in the “caption.”
  6. TAG the friends you want to join in.

First, there will be no tagging.  If you find this meme interesting, go for it!  Also, I cheated.  I didn’t use picnik to create the album cover, I used Photoshop… because I know how to use it, and I have it on my computer, and I’m a ginormous fan. Also, I used the entire quote because it’s awesome and short.

So, I present to you, Every artist was first an amateur, the new album by that rollicking new band, List Of Fictional Fish.

Every artist was first an amateur

Why I Love Capital Pride Singers

This is really just an expansion of what I had to say at our membership meeting this week.  The first question we had to answer was, “How did you come to join CPS?”

Back in 1998, when I was contemplating moving to Albany from Denver, I needed to know that there was going to be a place for me to sing.  While in Denver, I sang with the Denver Women’s Chorus and Harmony: a Colorado Chorale, and loved every minute of every rehearsal and performance and retreat.  Singing is one of those things that I just have to do… you know, like breathing.  So even though it would have been completely stupid for my then-fiancé to leave his job in Albany and move to Denver where I didn’t have a job, I was prepared to be completely stupid.  I checked out the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) of Choruses website to see if there was an LGBT chorus in Albany… or near Albany… or at the very least, a women’s chorus in or around Albany.  Fortunately, according to GALA, the Capital Pride Singers was an LGBT chorus right in Albany.  Balance was restored to the universe and in April, 1999, I moved to Albany (well, technically it was a suburb of Schenectady).

But I couldn’t find this Capital Pride Singers group!  I was kind of freaking out.  I had a PO Box number, but no phone number and no website and no email address.  I was a geek… how was I supposed to find them?  I started going to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Schenectady, because I figured if nothing else, I could join their chorus.  I’m not a very church-going kind of person (even when churchy people are as nice as the Unitarians), but I was desperate.  After going to a few Sunday morning services (I rather liked the minister, but it was still pretty churchy for my tastes), during the Sharing of Gratitude section of the service, a woman stood and told how grateful she was for being part of the Capital Pride Singers.

I had found them!!  Needless to say, I tracked the member down after the service and got all the information about rehearsals and when the next concert was.  I dropped in on a rehearsal (even though it was too late in the season to sing in their then-current concert).  The director made me feel very welcome, as did the members of the alto section.  I attended their concert that fall (all I remember was that they sang the John Denver Medley (I adore John Denver) and one of the members did a fabulous a capella rendition of a Melissa Etheridge song).  After the concert, I tracked down the director and told her I’d be back in January to sing with them!

I began singing with Capital Pride Singers in January, 2000.  Very quickly, I joined the Artistic Planning Committee, because — dang it — I wanted to be involved!  I don’t remember the first concert (I’m pretty sure it was at Page Hall at SUNY Albany), but I know the Christmas concert that year was at the Cohoes Musical Hall.  I also remember that I was eight months pregnant at the time.

Now we’re getting into the second question that was asked at the membership meeting, “What personally have you gained in joining CPS?”  When my daughter was born prematurely just a week or so after the concert, and died after only four days, these people took it upon themselves to make sure I knew they cared about me.  They came to my house to just sit and hold my hands, and give me hugs.  They brought me food so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking (I’ve never actually worried about cooking, but they didn’t know that).  They CARED.  They cared about me, and they cared about my family.  They certainly couldn’t understand what I was going through, but by the gods, they tried.  When rehearsals started back up a couple of weeks later, I had my husband drive me (I had a c-section and wasn’t allowed to drive) to rehearsals so I could be with them.  I couldn’t always sing… in fact, in those first few weeks, I don’t thing I sang more than a couple of measures in any given song.  But the song was there.  My friends were singing for me.  They were singing to me.  They probably thought I was nuts, but I needed to be with my people.  There are two groups of people who saved my sanity back in the early part of 2001… the Capital Pride Singers and the New Beginnings Neonatal Loss Support Group.  CPS dedicated to a song to Mackenzie, Let Me Be the Music, and I still cry every time we sing it.  I don’t care.  That song, to me, means love, it means family, it means community… and it means that the family and community that is Capital Pride Singers love me.

We’ve gone through some rough times, CPS and I.  The chorus went through a period of great discord, and I needed to step away for a cycle or two.  But I came back, because I couldn’t stay away.  I can’t stop singing any more than I can stop creating my art.  Singing is therapy, singing is prayer.  Art is about honoring Mackenzie… and I think it’s about honoring all the people who helped me through that most hellish time of my life.  Sure, I still get choked up sometimes when I talk about Mackenzie.  What mother wouldn’t?  But I have people around people who just take that all in stride.

Right now, we have a musical director who is so full of energy, you’d think she’d make me feel old and decrepit.  But her energy and enthusiasm and sheer love of what she’s doing is highly infectious.  Every Monday night, no matter how tired I am or how horrible the fibro pain has been making me feel, I go home feeling happy… optimistic… energized… and maybe even a little less painful.  She wants us to be great.  Her attitude is rubbing off on everyone… my chorus mates are believing — BELIEVING — that we can be great.  We already are, and we can — and will — get better.  I don’t think I would have been convinced to run for Secretary of the Board without her incredible energy and support of each and every one of us.

Capital Pride Singers is a community of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered folk, and yes, even straight folks.  Labels are meaningless, though.  We have music in common, and we are a family.  That’s all that matters… and that’s why I love Capital Pride Singers.