NaBloPoMo Day 21: Good news!

Went to the doctor(s) today for my checkup:
Pathologists determined it was definitely a giant cell tumor, which is awesome. That means it wasn’t a sarcoma or a malignant primary cancer. That is what we were hoping for, so yay.

Pathologists ALSO believe we got it all. Instead of “scooping” it out, they removed Bob AND the bone near Bob.

The echocardiogram also came back normal. I had to get an echocardiogram after I had some weird heart arrythmias in post-op.

I’m healing well, and fast. I’m supposed to start taking calcium and vitamin D to speed up the bone growth.

To explain; A surgeon removed Bob while another removed 15 centimeters of my right fibula (small leg bone). The fibula was placed into my arm, about halfway up, extending over my wrist and into my hand. The bones in my wrist are too small to do anything with, so we had to graft further up. The means I will lose mobility in my wrist, but it will be super strong. Basically, I won’t be able to “Vogue.”

I had two doctors, HotDoc and CockyDoc. HotDoc is the orthopedic oncologist. CockyDoc is the hand specialist. CockyDoc is obviously the guy that’s so good at what he does, he doesn’t really need to be a people person. HotDoc looks like Seth Cohen with a medical degree.

CockyDoc was super thrilled about how well the surgery went. He showed me x-rays (I’ll post later) and was really pleased to be able to see on the x-ray a specific clamp that’s holding some blood vessels together. He also gave me great news; I can get my leg wet! Which means I can shower (Thank God. It’s so difficult to bathe when you can’t get you left arm or right leg wet). I also got my stitches out (I forgot to ask how many) and i got a smaller splint. It’s about half as heavy as the previous one. I get my hard cast in two weeks.

HotDoc gave lots of good news, stated above. Giant cell rumors only recur in about ten percent of cases, so hopefully this will be the last we’ll see of him. I won’t have to see HotDoc that often (I see him next after the first of the year).

Oh ALSO, HotDoc totally had pictures of Bob/my open wrist ON HIS BLACKBERRY. Which was kind of hilarious. Interestingly enough, giant cell rumors are basically jelly (that destroy bone, go figure). That photo was pretty gross, so I’ll refrain from sharing.

I’ll see CockyDoc in two weeks to hopefully get my smaller hard cast. If I keep working my leg and fingers I may even be able to avoid physical therapy.

Good news all around. Whew. In two months I should be out of a cast and all this will be behind me.

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Hugs.

I put on pants AND a bra today (along with a shirt and shoes, obvi) and ventured out of the house. Mal took me downtown and we saw some of my friends and had dinner, which was lovely. One thing I noticed, that I hadn’t considered; hugging people with only one arm is really unsatisfying. There were a few hugs tonight that were distinctly disappointing, I guess because I’d like nothing more than to truly wrap my arms around certain people and hold on for a bit. .

To update: Those of you who read about Bob know the original plan was to remove the tumor and replace it with a cadaver bone. A few days before surgery we decided instead to remove my fibula from one of my legs (originally we thought left, but it ended up being the right). The fibula is the smaller bone in the lower half of the leg. Also, apparently my bones are very small, but strong. The bones in my wrist are so small, in fact, that it was impossible to fuse the small bones on the edge of my wrist to this new bone, so the fibula bone actually extends into the back of my hand. This means I won’t be able to bend the wrist; no walking like an Egyptian, for example.

Surgery was Thursday, Nov. 10, and took about eight hours. I was in recovery for five, unfortunately, because I had some irregular arrythmias following surgery. Also, I apparently went buck in post-op; flailed my arms, spoke gibberish, didn’t know where I was, etc.

The following few days were weird. The food was awful, i couldn’t get out of bed, I was really, really high, etc. The first morning was especially bad because I was by myself (my mom overslept) and in a lot of pain and needed the nurses to shift my arm into a more comfortable position. After about two hours my actual doctor came in to check on me and fixed everything in like, two minutes.
After that, I slowly healed, enough to get out of bed and eventually be discharged.
One amusing anecdote; I got a echocardiogram and I told the guy who performed the procedure that I would mention him on the blog. His name is Matt, he’s (I assume) in his 30s, has three children and has a twin brother who ALSO has three kids. They’re basically racing for the biggest family. They come from a big family so they’re just popping them out. Also, Matt is attending VCU to pick up another degree, this one in English. I found all this out while he was rubbing the echo sensor all over and under my breast, basically. We bonded.

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Reborn

Seriously, washing my hair in the kitchen sink was easier than I thought, and having clean hair makes me feel so, so much better. It made me think of baptism, seriously. I can’t wait until I can actually shower.

NaBloPoMo Day 18: Technology woes

the last day in the hospital I dropped my phone and shattered my screen. I’ve probably dropped that phone a hundred times with no repercussions.
So besides the fact that my phone’s screen is shattered, it won’t charge. It will for a few minutes, then, nothing. So frustrating.

NaBloPoMo Day 15: Chocolate and soda

i am seriously wondering when I’ll be rational and lucid. Take for example my diet today: subway, pizza, soda and a Russell Stover box. I’m blaming my parents and their eating tendencies. I don’t usually drink soda or eat sweets. And I even told my mom I wanted to eat as healthy as possible so I can heal. But as soon as the chocolate was offered it was all over. I can’t remember simple details from conversations I had yesterday, and I ramble a LOT. I’m being a bitch, too, since I’m getting frustrated easily, along with being woozy and in pain.
I have also, while under the effects of my meds, invited multiple people to the house. When lucid I realize how stupid that is: I’m really not up for it. My schedule is like this: wake, take meds, eat, read, doze, take meds, eat, nap, meds, Facebook, nap, eat, meds, tv, sleep. Rinse and repeat. I’m in this weird sitch in that at least until my doc appointment Monday, I really can’t shower; I can’t position my body in any way that would keep water clear of my left arm and right leg. Super frustrating.
But you know what? I’ve got the windows open and a cat for my lap. Today is better than yesterday. Things will get better.

NaBloPoMo Day 14: Shattered

I got pretty upset today when they unwrapped my leg. After the doctor left the room I went to grab my phone and dropped it. The screen shattered. It figures that on my last day in the hospital one more thing had to go wrong. I’m home now. I have a horrible headache and everything hurts. My friend are all texting me and offering to come over and bring me food. I’m taking reservations. I think many of them don’t quite understand the extent of my injuries. I’m not allowed to drive, can’t shower, am hobbling around on a crutch, and have one arm in a sling. The fingers on my left hand, also, are so swollen they won’t move. Anyone coming to see me isn’t really here for a social call. I can’t really take care of myself very well. Luckily I have my mom taking care of me.
I know things are going to get better. Right now it’s hard to keep that in mind.

NaBloPoMo Day 13: Walking and Talking

Hospital food is so awful. Today I was able to walk around my room, change my clothes and sit in a chair for an hour or so. Progress! However, the fingers on my left hand are still way more swollen than they should be. I asked for a doctor to come look at them, but no one had came yet. If you ever have to be in the hospital for multiple days, don’t go on the weekends – it’s like impossible to get anyone’s attention. My nurses have been great but between shift changes and staffing, I feel like things get forgotten.
I may get to go home tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it.

NaBloPoMo Day 12: When can I put some pants on?

I have been in the same hospital robe since Thursday morning. HOPEFULLY, today I will get out of bed and be able to put on some pants. It’s going to be awesome.

In other news, the fingers on my left hand are giving me some problems.
They sting and I can’t stretch them out, which is really frustrating. I’m also getting an echocardiogram because of the arrythmias I had immediately after surgery.

I did get to sleep last night, finally, but I couldn’t sleep for long, the morning shift change is loud.

NaBloPoMo Day 11: Of Hearts and Underwear

So, here’s the deal: I had some heart arrythmia last night, so I was in recovery for HOURS.
But the cardiologist said today it was no big deal. i’m probably going to cut back on the caffeine, though.
In other news, I’m supposed to start walking around tomorrow, and my mom didn’t bring my clothes to me before she went home. So, the lovely, amazing Mallory went to Target to buy me underwear. She is seriously the best friend in the world.
For those of you who haven’t heard me describe my best friend, take note:
This will be our 12th New Year’s Eve together.
We first began spending time together in 2000, because we were both taking the creative writing class offered at Phoebus High School.

I can’t really think of how to describe our friendship. We know each other’s secrets, and would never share them. We have inside jokes that last for years. We share the good times and support each other during the dark times; deaths, injuries, breakups, unemployment, family sickness, birthdays, new years, moving, unrequited crushes (SO MANY CRUSHES OMG), the flu, concerts in the rain, competitive board games, giant bugs. Mallory is one of few people on the planet I would physically fight for. I will defend her to the death and if someone insults her or makes her feel bad about anything, I see red. I’ve been known to yell at people if they’re mean to her.

We’ve shared so much sometimes I wonder how we could ever function apart. It may be codependent and occasionally intimidating to anyone trying to befriend us, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A friend of mine last week said “Wow, you guys do a have a special relationship. Do you like, sing ballads to her when you’re in the house?”
Maybe I do? What of it?
We’ve joked about how we’ll never have boyfriends because we only love each other, but that’s not true at all. We have lots of room in our hearts, for sure. The only stipulation to our romantic lives is that the guy has to like the roomie enough to conspire with her on Christmas and birthday gifts.

Mallory came to the hospital today bearing ChicFilA, a peppermint mocha, and perfume and happy pants from the Gap outlets. Later she went to Target to buy me underwear.
Honestly when she walked into my hospital room today, a wave of relief washed over me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see someone. I love my mom, but we can only stand so much of each other.

Anyone, I think, would feel weird buying underwear for someone else, but not Mal. She bought the right color, size and style; the same ones I would have bought myself. Mallory holds my heart and owns my ass.
I’m writing this all loopy on pain meds, so this isn’t by any means particularly well-written. Sorry!

NaBloPoMo, Day 10: Bob is gone!

Posting late today because I was on too many drugs to function, sorry. Dilaudid, which was what I received, is apparently STRONGER than morphine. I got the good drugs! (Apparently so good that while I was in recovery in the beginning, the nurses asked me where I was and I said “Entercom.” Shout out to my homies 🙂 Also, they asked me where I was from and I said “feathers.”)

Guess what, ya’ll? We got that bastard. I am still in the recovery room, unfortunately, because I was having heart arrythmias, but I’m about to move to a room. I haven’t actually spoken to my doctors, but I will in the morning.

Thank you all so much for the well-wishes. I can’t begin to describe how much they are appreciated.

I’ll keep updating. Thanks!

NaBloPoMo Day Eight: Complaints

My doctor looked at me like i was crazy yesterday. Apparently doc#1 should have been more clear: I’m going to be in the hospital for the whole weekend not because they are worried about infection, but because they think I’ll be in so much pain/stop doped up I won’t be able to function. Great. Oh, and I shouldn’t work until Nov. 21. Even better.
I’ve been as positive as I can. It’s time I take a moment to complain.
These are things that make me angry: three scars, two on my arm and one on my leg. They’re taking the bone from my right leg; my left leg is the one I had surgery on four years ago. So both of my legs will have scars. I’m losing the joint: it’s hard to explain, but the fibula bone from my leg is going to extend from my arm into my hand; I won’t be able to bend my wrist. I told a coworker I shouldn’t be able to “vogue,” and she said “or walk like an egyptian.” I love her.
I hate that I got the first of many bills in the mail yesterday. I hate that my mom is superstressed and stressing me out in the process. I hate that I never clean my room or put away my laundry, and now I need help to do so. I hate that you can’t wear makeup in surgery; how is a little bit of concealer going to hurt anything? I hate that I’m at the point that vicodin isn’t really affecting me at all, it seems. I hate that I can’t turn my hand to put on deoderant under my right arm. I hate that I don’t have the ability to put my hair up in a ponytail easily. I hate that I can’t pick up a pint glass, open a can of soup, cut my own meat, do dishes, fold laundry or pick up my cat. I hate that I have to put off my travel for work. I hate that I won’t be able to work, that’s seriously making me angry and kinda depressed.
For some humor: it FIGURES that as soon as I’m absolutely NOT interested in, um, dating and whatnot, something interesting happens and I basically have to ignore it because god knows it wouldn’t be fair to him or me.
Flipping the switch back to “good” Amber; my friends are kind and good, I’m not going to die, etc.
I think I’m focusing on the immediate frustrations right now so my mind didn’t drift to the actual surgery and aftermath.

Nablopomo Day Six: Richmond, again

Back in Richmond tonight, because i have a morning appointment tomorrow with my second surgeon. So long as everything goes well (I actually don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow, besides meeting) I’ll be going in for surgery on Thursday. I’ll be in the hospital until Sunday or possibly Monday, so long as I don’t get any sort of infection. 

I just want to fast forward to January, honestly. 

So here’s the deal:

On Thursday, I’ll be put under and one surgeon will open up my arm. They’ll do a biopsy of Bob immediately, while I’m under. As long as Bob is what they think, a giant cell tumor, they’ll proceed.

If the biopsy indicates Bob is something else (primary bone cancer, for instance), they’ll stop and close me up. Then we’ll start making plans for chemotherapy.

My doctor seems pretty confident Bob is a giant cell tumor. I thought he was definitely, but apparently there is a chance he is not. However, he’s got smooth sides, which is indicative of a giant cell tumor.

So, as long as Bob’s what we think he is, the second surgeon will begin working on my leg to remove part of my fibula, the small bone, of my left leg. I was told they’ll take a large portion of the bone, i don’t know how much. As surgeon #2 is doing that, surgeon #1 will be removing Bob and the surrounding bone. #1 will be going into my arm from two sides, the top and bottom, to completely remove Bob. They’ll then insert the fibula and do their magic (this part is a little unclear, I’ll get more info tomorrow). They’re going to use some screws and plates to secure the bone in place. 

According to Doc#1, the fibula only carries about 5% of my weight, which is why they can remove it without any big repercussions. 

I’ll be in the hospital for a few days, then i’ll go home. i should be able to walk out of the hospital, but *edit* I’ve been told not to work for a week and not to travel until after January 1. 

I’m going to be in a cast 2-3 months, but i don’t know if i’ll be put in a cast immediately, considering they’ll be watching my arm closely. I’ll be coming back to Richmond a lot initially, and then less frequently as time goes on. 

More updates tomorrow as things get clearer. 

NaBloPoMo Day 4: Live music

So here’s the thing: Writing a blog post every day during the month of November is going to be really hard. It’s not just the whole tumor/surgery thing: it’s days like today, during which I’m slammed at work until 7 pm and then I have to run errands and then I’m at a venue for a show and THEN I remember I’m supposed to write. Whoops.

NaBloPoMo Day Two: Bargaining, part one

I didn’t know I’d have to take of my pants on Monday.

I sat in a hard metal chair with tears streaming down my face as the xray tech looked at my chest scans and readied her doodads for the next two scans (wrist and leg).

I was wishing for clear lung scans. If Bob had metasticized to my lungs, we’d have to stop, and start chemo. But if my scans were clear, we could proceed with the new plan, and we’d be in surgery within two weeks.

If you talk to God our some higher power or force, and have ever had something make you really, truly afraid or powerless, you know about bargaining. I explained it (my version, at least) to my mom on the drive home. Yes, you’re making sometimes-empty promises, but you’re also identifying your own shortcomings. It’s one of the truest forms of self reflection there is, I think.

I’m glad I didn’t have any major things to promise. I can say I’ll be better in general, but I’ve already got the major stuff covered.

Nablopomo Day One: Ouch

I had a great blog post in mind: I’d explain what happened at the doctor’s office in Richmond and our next steps. But I have guests coming to my house and I haven’t showered yet (I worked from home today) and when I was trying to hang purses in the the guest room, a purse fell and I tried to catch it with my bad hand. Then came the excruciating pain. My xray monday showed that the tumor had grown faster than we anticipated and had completely finished working its way through my bone. I basically just snapped the fragments left. But yay for vicodin, right? I’ll post more tomorrow and in the next few days, but here’s the gist: no tumors in lungs, plan to do surgery SOON. No zombie arm, we’re going to take a bone from my leg instead.

Meet Bob, my tumor.

Meet Bob. Bob is a giant cell tumor.

(For a week I thought Bob was going to kill me. My week sucked. Things are slightly better now)

After two weeks of physical therapy, on Wednesday, Oct. 19 I was referred to an orthopedic specialist. The orthopedic specialist said, at first (before the Xray) “This could be tendonitis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Let’s get an XRay to determine.” The doctor walked into the exam room about twenty minutes later and said “Come with me.” After showing me the XRay, he said Bob was either an infection or a tumor. Regardless, this was bad news. He said it was probably a tumor, but couldn’t tell me if it was benign or malignant or give me a prognosis.

On Friday, I had an MRI. Today I was told I have what is called a giant cell tumor. One person in one million people per year (approximately) is diagnosed with this. The tumor is aggressive and destructive, so it’s not “benign,” in terms of the regular definition, but there is good-ish news: The tumor is almost definitely primary, so It is not a metastatic event from another area of cancer, which means it’s not like I have breast cancer and it moved into my wrist to throw a party.

One in a million. For real. I have no family of history of cancer/tumors and no symptoms of cancer, besides the tumor. I have never been more thrilled to be overweight; if I had been losing weight, I’d be worried. This tumor is more than likely slow-growing, which means it’s been around for maybe a year. It has destroyed my bone. The brief patch of bone that is left is compromised as well, and is not large enough to salvage. It is unlikely that this tumor will metasticize to another part of my body. In about 5% of these cases, the tumor metasticizes to the lungs; in 75% of those cases, the lung tumors are removed and everything is fine.

There are, according to my doctor, two orthopedic oncologists in Virginia. I’m going to see one on Monday. From what we can determine, the ultimate result will be removal of the tumor and the compromised bone, and a cadaver’s bone will be installed in my arm.

**Take a moment to process the fact that I’m going to have a dead guy’s bone in my arm. ZOMBIE AMBER!!! For real though, zombies are my jam and win me Halloween costume contests.**

What’s odd is this is not an “emergency,” so to speak. Because they can’t get in there to “save” the bone (since it’s already beyond repair), there isn’t really any immediacy to the problem. It’s slow-growing and is just chomping away at the bone, the hungry bastard. My nerves are not compromised and my fingers are working. I’m in pain, but yay for Vicodin, right?

So, to answer a few questions: Yep, my wrist hurts. I’m on painkillers. A lot of them, actually. We don’t have a time frame for what’s going to happen. A lot of this will depend on finding a cadaver’s bone that is a match. I’ve not been told to do anything different. I’m obviously going to try to take better care of myself, in preparation for major surgery in the future. It’s about an 8 hour thing, and recovery (I imagine) is going to be a bitch. But I can work, travel for work, dance around like a dummy, etc. No big deal.

No one has mentioned the idea of losing my arm/hand, so I’m not going to consider that an option.

Nothing causes this. This is not associated with any cancer, trauma or lifestyle choice. This is literally me winning the worst lottery in the world. Well, maybe not the worst: I’m not going to die from this. It’s going to suck and it’s going to be painful, but I’ll get through it, and I’ll have a super-awesome zombie arm, too.

I’m mad, of course. I’m angry about little things, like I can’t dry my hair and I can’t do dishes/housework, unless it’s one-handed. I’m in constant pain; it’s kinda like I have a migraine in my wrist that never goes away. I’m mad that copays are going to drain my bank account and that I’m going to need more sweatpants and fewer zip-up hoodies. I’m especially mad that my mom has cried, that my friends are worried, that I’ve been short-tempered and distracted.

I hate that I, for the past week, have wondered how long I am going to be here.

So, silver linings: Not going to die from this.

Zombie arm, which is just plain cool.

I get to play the tumor card. Oh you had a bad day? I’ve got a tumor, bitch. Beat that.

No dish duty for a while. My right hand/arm is getting super strong and dexterous; I can shampoo and condition my hair with one hand, no problem.

I don’t have a boyfriend, husband or kids. THANK THE LORD. I can’t imagine putting a significant other through this, and I would be even more upset if I had kids to worry about. (Yes, it sucks that Mal, my BFF and roommate, has to deal with this. She’s awesome and you should buy her a drink next time you see her).

Gallows humor, ya’ll. My coworker said to me yesterday “Hey do you need a hand with that?” and I laughed so hard I almost cried. To my mom,  I say “God, my wrist is killing me” nonchalantly, and a minute later say “Whoops, that was awkward.”

I’m LITERALLY one in a million. Great pickup line, right? I’m going to get all the men.

After all this is over and i have a huge scar, I plan on getting a full sleeve tattoo. I’ve always wanted one, and it’s better than an ugly scar. That’s a lot of space, so i’ll probably include: Peacocks, penguins, typewriters, a Facebook logo, my grandparents’ initials, a newspaper, cats, an ee cummings quote, the Deathly Hallows, a stake, and some Stephen King imagery. Awesome, right? I’m taking suggestions, so drop me a line if you think I’m forgetting something important.

My friends and family are amazing. Not only do I appreciate them (you, since you’re reading this), I’ve realized how lucky I am to have people that really care about me. I’m sorry if you’re worried and I hope I don’t ruin any plans we’ve made, but I’m glad I’m going to be around, with you, for a while.

To close: Fuck Bob. Fuck Bob and fuck tumors. Fuck the odds and fuck the bad luck. I’m going to be fine and maybe something good will come of this (besides the zombie arm). If anything, this has already shown me how much I want to be here.

The past week made me consider life in general, and if I could “die happy,” for lack of a better phrase. I may not have done all I wanted, but I’m satisfied in my choices. I feel like I’ve been kind and good and smart, and now, I’ll be even better.

Thanks for all your queries, kind words and support. In a year this will be behind me, and I’ll probably be sporting an awesome tattoo and even stronger friendships than I have now. It’ll be OK, I promise.

*Update: My surgery happened sooner rather than later (Nov. 10), went well and they got the whole bastard. They also decided to take bone from my leg. Apparently you don’t need your fibula. I wrote a blog post every day in November.   I’m healing well and happy to have gotten past most of this. I’m starting physical therapy on Dec. 23. My scars aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be.

One notable exception to the bullshit rule is The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White. There is little or no detectable bullshit in that book.

Stephen King
Stephen King - On WritingOn Writing
(via )

Haters gonna hate … Why your fans like to talk $*&^ on Facebook



Have you seen this meme? 

Haters gonna hate.

The reason this image turned into a meme* is simple: Haters ARE gonna hate. If you’re doing well, someone is going to try to cut you down. If you make a mistake, the loonybin gets an early release and the inmates all descend on you.
Your Facebook is a top target for the haters. Your first instinct might be to delete complaints posted on your wall, or ban users altogether. Here’s some advice about that: 

Read More

Edgerank: Why Facebook says you suck

My first official blog post at entercomsocial:

photo from thenewxtweb

Photo via thenextweb

You know what sucks? When you spend time, energy and your super-awesome brain power to create a post for Facebook, but only 15% of your Facebook fans see the post. Bummer, right?

So what went wrong? Your post is the ultimate post, and the subject matter is engaging and laugh-out-loud funny. Your Edgerank is low, and Facebook is straight-up saying “Yeah, no one wants to see this post. Where’s the post about kittens hugging stuffed animals? That was good s**t.”*

Whether you are working a station, perks, client or personal page, this applies to you. Click the jump to learn how to win friends and influence people, or just increase the likelihood fans are going to see your posts (If you don’t click the jump, those kittens will die. Just sayin’).

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How you should use QR codes: A manifesto

(Usually, I’d write this up for Press Forward. I may cross post later, I just feel like banging this out real quick. And possibly being insulting. Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. Any and all opinions here do not reflect the opinions of my employer. Also, sometimes I get cranky.)

Android QR code

A QR code should point to something the end user needs to access via their phone.

The publication medium is as important as the target. This comes into play in a moment, I promise. 

Read after the jump if you want to see me call someone an idiot.

If your end user is seeing the code via their computer, a QR code to an app is great. Read the review of the app, then pull out your phone, scan the code and download. AWESOME.

If you’re on a computer, a QR code to another website is pointless. Why not just give your end user the link? You’re asking your end user to take an extra step where none is needed. That’s silly. 

Think about your end user. 

And don’t get me started on idiots who post QR codes on mobile sites. Seriously, guys? How is the user supposed to use it? Borrow another phone to scan the QR code off the screen? 

Examples of QR codes:


QR code to an app in an ad for Macy’s. Code points to the (mobile friendly) product page. 

QR code on Facebook pointing to an app. (Only useful if the user is reading Facebook from their computer)

QR code in newspaper pointing to a YouTube video or photo gallery 

QR code on a business card pointing to a mobile-friendly resume or website

QR code on a poster at a bar/venue pointing to a mobile-friendly list of upcoming shows

QR code on a flyer/poster pointing to a coupon or promotion code 


QR code posted to Twitter. Really guys? Computer users just need the link, and mobile readers can’t scan it FROM THEIR SCREEN. Silly, silly.

QR code pointing to another website posted on a website. Period. Your homepage, your Facebook, etc. If you want to have a “graphic element,” get a logo. QR codes do not make you look cool. Your end-user is going to be all “WTF?” if you post a code with no explanation, they take the time to pull out their phone and scan the code, and it takes them to a web site they could have easily accessed ON THEIR COMPUTER. 

Not rocket science. I promise. 

Here’s the QR codes to our apps. These will work if you’re reading from your computer. If you’re reading on a mobile device, click the links and download our app. (SEE HOW EASY THAT IS??)

Daily Press for Android (Click the link!)

Android QR code

Daily Press for iPhone (Click the link!)

Daily Press for iPhone

just wrote this to a colleague

She wrote:

Would it be “If only college was this hard” or “If only college were this hard.”

OK, this is hard. I BELIEVE it’s “were,” considering you’re speaking in what’s called a ‘past subjunctive mood,’ (past tense possibility, basically). In past subjunctive, singular nouns use a past plural verb (past plural of “to be” is were)


Was: past  “College was hard.”

Were: past plural. “Colleges were hard.”

“ It is called the past subjunctive when referring counterfactually to the present, and is called the pluperfect subjunctive when referring counterfactually to the past. It occurs in that clauses following the main-clause verb “wish” (“I wish that she were here now”; I wish that she had been here yesterday”) and in if clauses expressing a condition that does not or did not hold (“If she were here right now, …”; “If she had been here yesterday, …”).

Um, was I right on this?

Hurricane Irene in Hampton Roads

Tweets, photos, Facebook posts and videos about Hurricane Irene in Hampton Roads. #virginia #hrva #irene #hrweather

August 27, 2011
Tide 7.37ft at Sewells Pt in Norfolk surpassing Ash Wednesday 1962 storm. #hrweather #vairene
August 27, 2011
@OneHelluvaDame I’m not tryin to provoke mother nature or anything, but I feel a little jipped! We still have power and everything!
August 27, 2011
The band experience is so crazy; you can actually tell the hurricane is spinning based on when the rain comes. #hrirene
August 27, 2011
Hurricane Irene update: Storm veering back toward the Atlantic Ocean

7:08 p.m. EDT, August 27, 2011 NOTE: Comments area is for meaningful discussion. Readers are reminded to post comments that are germane to the article and write in a common language that steers clear of personal attacks and/or vulgarities. Readers may report comments by clicking report abuse.
#Hurricane #Irene Tides in Hampton Roads now about 7 feet above normal levels — 1:15 until high tide. #hrweather
August 27, 2011
Scanner: Two submerged vehicles at Tidewater and Charlotte in downtown Norfolk. #hrweather #VAirene
August 27, 2011
#VA RT @PilotNews: Man flashing during Irene report from Va. Beach goes viral #hrva #hrweather
August 27, 2011
@AltDaily Are you kayaking in Freemason?!
August 27, 2011
RT @BorowitzReport: #Irene: It’s weird for something to be this over-hyped and slow-moving and not have Ryan Reynolds in it.
August 27, 2011
Hurricane IRENE Public Advisory

MORE: #Irene maintains 80 mph speed; now 35m SE of Norfolk. Water rising in VA Tidewater – NWS
Is it this bottle of Merlot or is meteorologist Craig Moeller suddenly totally sexy (reference point, I just made out with a throw pillow)?
August 27, 2011
My Jeff Lawson just busted out on the fly that salt water corrodes the bottom of cars over the years. #YESJeffy #YoureKillingIt #KILLINGIT
August 27, 2011
Man flashing during Irene report from Va. Beach goes viral #hrva #hrweather
August 27, 2011
#irene, I’m sicker of you than of my worst date ever
August 27, 2011
They swaying and riding dirty.
evilrobert · August 27, 2011
What up Norfolk?
August 27, 2011
The latest #VA power-outage map during #Hurricane #Irene. We’re feeling awfully red:
August 27, 2011
Hurricane Irene – 2 WD
August 27, 2011
RT @dzoid11: RT@washingtonpost: Va Beach Police arrested two suspected looters #Irene #VAIrene
August 27, 2011
#irene, I’m sicker of you than of my worst date ever
August 27, 2011
RT @DMOOREINC: RT @jfivepop: Umm glad that fell away from the house. WOW. #northside
August 27, 2011
Ha. RT @darrenrovell: 1 of the best hurricane signs you’ll see (via @Chris726, @LesJavv)
SeanDKennedy · August 27, 2011
Water main breaks on Granby Street

Posted on August 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM NORFOLK — A water main has erupted on Grandby Street in the Wards Corner area. 13News chief photographer Tony Church shot video of the geyser about 4:40 p.m. Saturday. There’s no word yet on what caused this but no injuries have been reported.

Hampton declaring curfew from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. No one “should be” on the roads except emergency personnel. #Irene
August 27, 2011
Flooding so bad people are kayaking down Olney. #Irene
August 27, 2011
Irene’s center expected to pass Va. Beach with 70 mph gusts
August 27, 2011
It’s no longer raining at the DP office in Newport News. Winds are gusty, but not much. Weird.
August 27, 2011
For up-to-the-second #Irene news, definitely follow my Twitter (journo-) list of Hampton Roads journalists
August 27, 2011
RT @freemusicarchiv: Hurricane Irene: The Collaborative Spotify Playlist @evolverfm: #hurricaneirene
August 27, 2011
Not looking good for this boathouse in York County: #Irene
SeanDKennedy · August 27, 2011
Video is Hampton Roads’ trusted source for the top stories in Norfolk, Hampton Roads, Virginia, featuring top headlines, weather forecast, doppler radar, video traffic cams, sports, and video on demand.
Second person dies in Virginia from hurricane, storm toppled tree that fell on car: -EF #hurricane #irene
August 27, 2011
The latest update indicated that Irene would make landfall after daybreak Saturday somewhere between Morehead City, to the west, and Cape Hatteras, to the east.
Ali A Joktan
August 27, 2011
Characters visit Buckroe Beach to witness Irene

Posted on August 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM HAMPTON — At Buckroe Beach, a man dressed in a Spiderman costume was out braving the elements of Hurricane Irene. He told 13News reporter Velma Scaife that he wanted to lighten up the mood on this dreary day.
Four deaths from #Irene so far, multiple outlets reporting. Eye has not passed yet… This is getting ugly.
August 27, 2011
Update: Over 270,000 without power in Hampton Roads, including 88K on Peninsula #irene #hurricane #757
August 27, 2011

There’s a gate in our heads, too— that’s what I think. One that keeps the insanity in all of us from flooding our intellects. And at critical moments, it swings open and all kinds of weird shit come flooding through.

Just After Sunset, Stephen King. (via moonlightmiles)

Sorry to do this…

According to my Twitter and Facebook, many of my friends are having horrible days. Which is why I’m not posting this to Twitter or Facebook. 

But i had to get it out.


My hair is super curly with minimal effort (win!), there are brownies in the breakroom, i didn’t hit traffic coming in, i had a GREAT, almost mind-blowing second demo with a vendor, i was offered a nice opportunity that i’m going to take, that might even sort of enrich my life (more on that later), i had a great call with my kansas city point of contact, i chatted with people and they were nice and said i need a real office, i spoke with the another person i like a lot, and my current boss was nice to me on the phone and said some things that reassured me that i’m not crazy, and i think even that maybe i’m doing a halfway decent job. 

that’s a good day, for real. 

i’m concerned i’m jinxing myself. i’ll update at some point and say if things take a turn for the worse.

and for my friends who have had bad days; i’m so sorry. sending you good vibes. things will get better. 

I write when I’m flying. In planes. You know what I mean.

(I went here)

 My hair was BORN for a non-humid climate. Seriously, I think if my hair could make the decision, it would be all like “Bitch, please. We’re staying here til I’m grey and falling out. For real.”

Specialist < analyst < strategist, in the grand scheme of things. Recognize.

Shanahan used to own the Broncos and now he owns the Redskins. I don’t know if I care about that, but I do know he has an awesome steak and some kick-ass truffle mac’n’cheese.

I managed to make my mom cry. I know,  I know. She was all freaking out about me traveling by myself, right? And I’m like, “Dude. I went to Seattle by myself when I was 22 and it was the first time I ever flew, and you didn’t bat an eye.” I think her husband was worried about me (bless his heart) and that made HER worried and they just worked each other up so much that it ended up escalating to the point that she burst into tears. She definitely pulled the whole “I can’t believe you’re surprised that I care. OF COURSE I care.”  This was on the phone about thirty minutes after I got to my hotel, mind you. So I had to calm her down and THAT turned into a discussion of the things that are broken in our respective homes; her sink is leaking and my fence fell down. That distracted her enough, I think.

Denver is GREEN. They just had a bunch of storms, so everything was lush and pretty. I really wanted to take of my shoes and walk barefoot in the grass, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was that crazy girl from Virginia.

As I’m writing this, I’m also listening to “Jane Eyre.” I wonder how the in-flight movies are chosen? Because seriously, I can’t imagine this is high on the list for this particular demographic. Strangely enough, I was just talking about the book yesterday, when I explained why I ended my short-lived English major and switched to Political Science; you can only deconstruct “Jane Eyre” so many times before the analysis overshadows the work itself. I believe in enjoying literature, not picking it apart until it’s meaningless and reduced to representative hyperbole.

I accidentally took someone’s seat. He’s now in 39D and I’m in 39C. I wonder if I changed some small course in the universe. We’re across the aisle from each other right now and I wonder if I’m supposed to be sitting there. Maybe the young man in 39E (who’s reading what looks like the memoir of a chef) would have been reading my computer screen at this exact moment (in this now-alternate universe) and would have asked me what I meant by “representative hyperbole,” and I would have had to tell him I wasn’t quite sure – I can’t think of the right phrase right now. It would have turned into some pseudo meet-cute, in which we develop an absolute distaste for each other after we argue the merits of analyzing literature and feminist theory. We then would have been stuck in D.C. overnight and would keep running into each other over and over until, exhausted and at our wits’ end, we finally end up at the airport bar. After drowning our sorrows, bemoaning our fates and finally admitting we find each other attractive, we end up in a hotel room together.

This is the “Jane Eyre” with Mia Wasikowski, who’s supposed to be “a revelation,” according to the reviews I read. Wow, I really forgot how awful the boarding school/orphanage/whatever is.

Oh hey, the chick that played Henry’s super-young bride in the Tudors is totally in this.

(Two hours later) HOLY DAMN I forgot how hot Rochester is. Wasikowski did a good job (I wouldn’t call her “a revelation,” but she was a’ight). But whew, Rochester is a hot chunk o’Victorian man.

*EDIT*  How did I somehow foreshadow the ridiculous delays that were about to happen? I didn’t get in to Norfolk until 2:30 a.m. Ugh.


My friend, Pete Pittman, went through his old photos and found these pictures of Jimi Hendrix performing at The Virgina Beach Dome in the 60’s.

Now it’s awkward

I’m slowly starting to cull my old blog entries from various places … Here’s one from years ago:

Now it’s awkward…

Posted 05-21-2008 at 05:55 PM by DPamberleigh

The Washington Post ran an interesting article May 11 about the word “awkward.” 

Although Mal and I believe the term, its use and what it “really” means could be explained further, we’d prefer to offer our own alternate expressions, mostly relating to life in downtown Hampton.

To whit:

1. The guy who’s yelling about the Redskins or Steelers whilst surrounded by Cowboys fans:


2. The old guy at Goodfellas who keeps staring at your table of four girls:


3. The way you speak in fragmented sentences, or can’t think of the right phrase, after “Blackout Sundays:”


4. Hearing the scary hyena laugh from the booth behind you at Taphouse or Marker:


5. Realizing your friend locked her keys in her car, after sharing a bottle of pinot noir at Marker:


6. Missing last call at Taphouse, only to miss it again at Marker because you had to say goodbye to everyone at Tap:


(also, trying to order food at Taphouse ten minutes after the kitchen closes)

7. Someone at Goodfellas or Marker butchering a well-known song on karaoke:


(also, Navy boys with tight pants. Ya’ll know why.)

8. Walking in on someone in the Taphouse bathroom because they forgot to lock the door:


9. The girl who keeps grabbing the bar/other people to steady herself while walking throught the crowd on the deck at Marker:


10. When someone follows you from one bar to the next, trying to engage you in conversation at each one. Also, running into said person the next time you’re downtown:


11. When a group of people walks into any of the bars, and there’s so many of them they take up the whole bar, order eight shots and eight beers, (and not all the same kind!) try to push the tables together and/or irritate all the servers who are trying to be cut:


And finally:
Downtown on Saturday night, seeing someone from high school/an ex/an ex-friend/the person you’ve been avoiding for two weeks/the person you made out with last weekend and forgot to call:


That is all. Thanks for reading.

this happened.

long story short, my phone has this weird quirk in that it will multiply text messages if my phone is dead when i receive the message.

so it’s really fun to wake up in the morning, turn my phone on and see something like this. 

also, men like to talk about their feelings after 2 am.

=i’d just like to mention that he sends this to me after he sees me at the bar halfway upset but also exhilarated, celebrating my two days of “unemployment.” i had such a weird day. 

and if anyone is wondering: i like the guy just fine, but i’m not really interested in anything more than friendship. i should probably tell him that. 

still, it’s nice for someone to make an effort. 

This isn’t REALLY goodbye… (my last e-mail)

Hello all,


I’m going to excerpt a bit from what I wrote last week on my personal blog, so bear with me;

My grandparents and parents read the Daily Press every day when I was growing up. When I was about 10, I wrote to Tony Gabriele to tell him I read his column every week and I wanted to be a writer just like him. I think one of the proudest moments of my grandfather’s life was when I told him the Daily Press had hired me as a full-time copyeditor. He was so excited he called every New Jersey aunt, uncle and cousin, and told them exactly how much I was going to be paid at “THE PAPER.” Seriously. He hadn’t been working in 20 years, so my hiring salary made him think I was a much bigger deal than I really was.

I started here as a copyeditor (intern) in 2006. I knew NOTHING. It was embarrassing, actually. Luckily, I read fast and there were great people on the desk willing to teach me. Later I bounced around doing one thing after the next: page layout, local front and A1, inside sports, community news, features and even some writing. I’ve had the opportunity to do really fun things, like prom projects, national novel writing month, two poetry contests, blogs and, obviously, mobile and social media.


It has been an honor and a privilege to work with so many kind, talented and hard-working people. I actually have no idea what my life is going to be if I’m not coming here every weekday, and it’s terrifying. Thank you so much for teaching me and guiding me, and allowing me to make mistakes (and boy, there have been mistakes). I’m really, really thankful I was allowed to be here.


I said this last week, and I’ll say it again:

I’m not nearly as talented as anyone in this newsroom. I’m not the best writer, designer, editor or manager. I don’t know how or why I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed to stay so long. There have been a few times I expected someone to say “What are you doing here? You don’t belong here!”


You guys are doing great work, and you’re providing an invaluable service to the community. Even if you get tired or discouraged, you still get the news out. I admire that, and I’m going to miss being part of something so important.


This isn’t REALLY goodbye. I’m available online, obviously, and I’ll also expect to see many of you in downtown Hampton, or at Nawab, Jason’s Deli or Anna’s. I’ll be available for lunch (and dinner! And drinks!) very often, so drop me a line:


My goodbye

It is with mixed emotions I announce I am leaving the Daily Press. I have accepted a position with Entercom Communications, which owns radio stations across the United States. Entercom owns 94.9, z104, 101.3 and 95.7 in Hampton Roads.

This is a brand-new position created by Entercom. I’ll be one of three social media specialists the company is hiring. I don’t know which  locations are included in my “branch,” but I do know I’ll be traveling often. I am so, so excited about this opportunity, but am also terrified of the change I’m making.

This is in no way a reflection on the Daily Press or the Chicago Tribune. I have been remarkably fortunate during my time here.  I can’t begin to express how difficult this decision was for me, or how I feel each time someone says “Congratulations!”

I started as an intern at the Daily Press in 2005.  Originally, I was lucky to be a fast reader, and later I was lucky to be an efficient multi-tasker. After that, I was just geeky enough to first work with social media, and then with mobile. I’ve apparently had good timing, but I’ve had even better colleagues and supervisors who encouraged and guided me.

During the past six years I have had the privilege of interacting with some of the smartest, most talented and hard-working people I’ll ever meet. It has been a privilege that I probably don’t deserve.

My big secret is this: I’m not nearly as talented as the majority of the people in that building. Most of the time, I have decent intuition when it comes to branding and technology. But I could never write, photograph, design, edit or manage nearly as well as the other people in the room.

I grew up reading the Daily Press. My parents and grandparents read the Daily Press. When I was a child, I wrote to Tony Gabriele, telling him I read his humor column every week and I wanted to be a writer just like him. I think one of the proudest moments of my grandfather’s life was when I told him the Daily Press had hired me as a full-time copyeditor. He was so excited he called every New Jersey aunt, uncle and cousin, and proceeded to tell them exactly how much I was going to be paid. Seriously. He hadn’t been working in 20 years so my hiring salary made him think I was a much bigger deal than I really was.

I’ve been on the edge of tears the past two days because I can’t imagine not coming into the newsroom every weekday. So if you’re reading this, guys, ignore me if you see my face getting red while I’m typing at my desk.

The good thing about all of this? I’ll still be around. I’m available by phone, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and carrier pigeon. I’m also a big fan of food (and beer, let’s not lie) and I’ll be coming out to lunch and dinner with my favorite people for, I expect, years to come.

Thanks for having me, everyone. 

Beware salad dressings, for real

So I go to Subway and make an awesome, low carb and low calorie salad, right? And I’m all like “Woo hoo, I’m being awesome and healthy.” And although I have a balsamic vinaigrette salad spritzer at work, I’m like “yeah, ranch will be fine.”

So this single-serving of ranch dressing? 330 calories, 320 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturdated fat, 500 mg of sodium. Only 2g of carbs, but still. 

WOW. I mean, I might as well get a burger if I’m going to put ranch dressing on a salad. Lesson learned, y’all.