Helping is Easy

Help Via the Internet

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I was watching the local news tonight. Something I don’t often do any longer. I usually head over to CNN to get a look at what’s going on across the nation and the world, although CNN doesn’t feed us much world news that is not US centric. Anyway, the local news folks do a short piece on what’s happening with technology and the internet and one short piece caught my attention tonight. It was about a site that helps feed the hungry and I thought I’d share what I learned with you.

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Do You Feel Like You Spend Too Much Time on the Internet?

It Could Be an Addiction!

OH REALLY?! Can this be bad for my health??

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Last night we made Beef Back Ribs and a Potato Gratin

Now, tell me something I don’t know. I heard this on the local NBC affiliate on the evening news tonight. You’d have to be living under a rock or in a part of the world where there is no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no access to news papers or magazines not to know how addictive the online world can be. And surely you haven’t been around JTV very long if you aren’t addicted. Things are changing now and I am not nearly as plugged in as I was even just 60 days ago, but I could still use help breaking free.

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Plea from a Fellow, but Tenured Lifecaster

Where is Everyone?

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Lamb Chops, Pearl Couscous, Tomatoes and Parsley — Yummy!

Of the 16 channels on the bar this morning, only 3 show living, breathing people. The rest are either showing the JTV monkey or a fuzzy stream or a bed with or without someone snoring in it. Where is everyone? I guess Sunday mornings are not so exciting. I am usually not up this early, but lately I’ve found myself in bed by 1:30 and up by 7. Ugh. It’s lonely out here. I am getting less sleep now then I was when I was spending my days up watching, casting, blogging all things JTV and I am having a tough time keeping my head up today. It will be a light blog day today, but I will be cooking tonight.

I’ve put up some of the recipes and they can be found under the Cheftopia link or under the Blogroll to the right. I’ve got work to do on the page, but not until I am up on my feet like normal again. It’s a start for all who have asked though.

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If a Tree Falls in the Woods … and a Full Disclosure

Early Morning

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The incomparable Chef Fausto teaching us the secret of perfect foccacia in his restaurant kitchen in Rapallo

I was up early this morning and found nothing really active happening on the network with the exception of Nekomimi_lisa’s channel. When I counted, of the 15 channels displayed on the bar, there were lifecasters awake and either going about their day or interactive on only two of them. ECV and Dealer dominated the top spots on the bar with very respectable viewer counts — 188 vs. 90 respectively, and a few morning chatters, but nothing live was going on. Aside from Lisa, with 46 viewers, who showered, got dressed and I am assuming headed off for work, the other channel numbers decreased to 22, 14, … down the line to the far right, almost off my small 13.5 inch screen to 5 Live viewers.

The question remains. What is this medium all about? What provokes a person to want to lifecast? What keeps a person lifecasting? We have seen many come and go since Justin and his band of brothers opened the network in a beta release to those that they asked or suggested broadcasting their lives and eventually to those that “applied” to receive a beta code to what is now an open network. It’s a come one, come all world at JTV as of this week, yet we continue to see mostly familiar lifecaster icons adorning the bar at the top of the JTV site.

Absent Broadcasts

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Chef Fausto taking us to the Mercado in Rapallo prior to class

One ponders the question … how do some broadcasters keep dozens, scores, hundreds and more live viewers tuned in while they are either running a slideshow or tucked away in bed snoring or are off somewhere, nowhere to be found while their cam is pointed at a window or desk or some other inanimate object for hours? And what is the purpose? People can enter a channel’s chat room at any time and engage in scintillating conversation without a broadcast running in the box beside it, so I can only think of one reason for a lifecaster to keep their video running … they have a need to be “connected” in some way. Even if they are nowhere to be found.

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A sublime seafood restaurant in a town on the Cinque Terre, Italy

I’m wondering what goes on in the mind of lifecasters that once found themselves on the far left of the bar on a consistent basis and now struggle to get into the top five? Having been broadcasting for a few weeks and peaking out only about 75 live viewers and being an incredibly competitive sort, I understand the “need” to see that icon at the very least, up on the board while I am streaming. I have put up a slideshow twice, but at some point while tucked safely in my bed, the broadcast had been disconnected. I have no idea if there were even any viewers although from what I was able to see in the chat history it looks like a few came in, chatted for a little while and moved on.

What did I get from running video while I was getting rejuvenated? What did JTV get? What did the viewers that may have come in, looked around and backed out get? I think perhaps only JTV stands to reap whatever “rewards” there may be from an absent broadcast?

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Parmesano Reggiano for the Pesto we Were Making for the Restaurant

The old question remains undetermined, but perhaps with this new medium we will soon have an answer??? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

And Now For Something Completely Different

(It’s a YouTube link –youtube.com/watch?v=u0WOIwlXE9g)

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Our Teacher/Chef — in a small Tuscan kitchen at Villa Rosa in the Chianti Region

I have struggled for a few days with some information that is important to me, possibly of some interest to those that watch, read or just “know” me and of most importance to my family. I say I’ve struggled because I have had to think about how I will handle the broadcast for the next 5 days. My ability to run around the kitchen and cook will be somewhat limited for the next five days. In a little while a nurse will be knocking on my door. She has been sent here by my neurologist to set me up with an intravenous infusion of some mega steroids to help turn this relapse, episode, attack, exacerbation … whatever descriptive word you choose to use for this medical response to symptoms of MS. I would imagine there are a number of you out there with friends or family members that live with this in their lives and know that it’s not always that bad — like with me. I look at it this way … there are far worse things in life. I have a pretty damn good life and this is just one of those hurdles. It’s my thing and I just deal. 🙂

A New Kind of JTV Lifecast

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Making cheese in Spezia

I thought, what a great thing I could do for people by broadcasting the treatment, but I’m not so sure I’m quite that brave to show you something that seems to be pretty personal, although on Gray’s Anatomy and ER tonight we will see far worse! LOL There are a lot of people out there in the world that experience this kind of thing and know how routine it comes to be, to say nothing of how I want people to know that I am fine. That this is just part of how things are with this sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhausting, almost always invisible chronic disease that lurks. If I didn’t tell anyone it existed within me, people would be none the wiser, except on weeks such as this when I need to be hooked up to a 1gram daily cocktail of cortico-steroids. No, it doesn’t bulk me up like an athlete. No, it has never made me violent or given me raging cravings of hunger. It has not made me an emotional mess and thankfully no dreaded moon face.”

It quite simply, does it’s job and puts me back on track, back to Justopia. While this drug is probably ravaging other organs in my body, the brain, where things are on the fritz is being well cared for.

And throughout all of this, I could put up a donate button and lead people to the National MS Society, but I contribute to the foundation’s fundraising efforts in other ways and don’t feel JTV — my broadcast here — is the place to do it. In fact, if were to do such a thing, it would feel somehow wrong. I don’t want sympathy. I don’t need anyone to dote on me. I have kept my family at bay for this round of treatment and some real life friends will be coming by to check on my beginning this afternoon “just to make sure” I am ok. It’s probably no surprise — I relish my independence and the feeling of accomplishment when I can handle stuff on my own.

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Fresh pressed oil curing

You know what the first thing each of them asked me about was? Do I need any food? Oh brother — do I ever NOT need food! I am going to be eating out of the freezer all week with all the great dishes we’ve made together the past few weeks. I went to the store yesterday to pick up some fresh produce and a few other things, but no … food is NOT something I will be needing.

Now, the reason I decided to come clean is because I will be online, but won’t be in my kitchen much while broadcasting. The key is to not need the nurse to come back and set up a new line and the only way to help ensure that is to baby the arm with the catheter in it. If it slips they have to come back out and I try to avoid that like a madwoman. Depending on where she sets the line, typing should not be an issue, but let’s see how things go when she gets here. Not all nurses are made the same, but each time I have had the good fortune to get someone caring and usually competent.

Also, I am not likely to have the energy to stay up all hours of the day and night, so I am expecting to do some major channel surfing for good blogging material, to get some reading done — I have not picked up the books I was reading before I began my own lifecast, and to watch all the shows I have waiting for me on the DVR as well as the NetFlix selection I’ve had sitting here in front of me on the coffee table for close to 2 months now. What a waste of money!!

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Parmesano Reggiano Stored on a Farm in Modena, Italy

I will be here though. I will be connected to JTV, AOL and Skype as always and will welcome the interaction. The JTV network and lifecasting will be my escape from reality and something I will probably treasure more than during a “normal” week. I have no plans to dwell on this. You can ask questions, but better yet is a trip to this site for answers if you have any Healthtalk is one of the sites I am registered with. I do not listen to or participate in frequently, but when I do it’s good info. I look and I try to not to dive in too deep. I might be one of those that likes to live in a bit of denial. 😉

So, to wrap it up … I’m sorry I won’t be cooking for you for the next 7 days, but we can talk about food. Throw around recipe ideas. I can answer questions. We can talk about so many other things than food. This is my life at the moment so hell, if young women can cast their lives, doing nothing on their couches, why can’t I?