Category Archives: emeel salem

Hanging with Ro Episode 12 – Apple Style

So this episode is all Apple. I’m just showing some new features to some people who were curious and I enjoy doing this stuff. I’m a geek haha. It’s about thirty minutes or so.

Topics include:

*iOS 6

*iPhone 4

*Magic Bullet speaker

*Emeel Salem

*Random stuff

Hope you enjoy!

Episode 12

Uh oh, I’ve got the new Blogger interface. I think I’ll be able to post, crossing fingers.

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Filed under apple Inc, emeel salem, hanging with ro, iPhone, proud geek, twitter me this, Voiceover

I loved E. Salem’s music before…and now?

I’ve never had the pleasure of following an artist from the beginning of their career, until now. I first learned of E. Salem’s musical talents when he performed in the Rays Spring Training Talent Show.

I was incredibly impressed and soon discovered his Twitter account and got to listen to more of his singing when he posted youtube videos of his cover songs. Those tweets quickly became a bright spot for me.

I knew from his tweets that he was working on some original music and I got to hear them when he posted them on his Myspace page. I fell in love with the songs and found myself singing along right away. I loved the raw sound and acoustic guitar. I have to be honest and say I was worried about what would happen if he got signed and started recording those original songs in the style of today’s music. Would I hate it?

I was not disappointed. Salem released an EP on iTunes recently and I downloaded it today. I LOVE IT!!! I knew three out of the four songs and when the first song played, a grin filled my face.

The familiar acoustic guitar began playing “Don’t Stop” and I sang along. When the beat track started, my heart leapt! What a different sound to the song I already knew so well and I loved it. Salem still has that raw sound I love and the beat track mixed with the acoustic guitar his fingers so expertly play gives way to an upbeat song that just made me want to get up and move.

The next song began with piano and I love his talent on the keys. The acoustic guitar entered again along with a beat track and he started singing “What You Need”. Again, I began singing along. This song is a great mix of Salem’s bluesy voice and rap phrases. I’m not a big fan of rap, but I really like it in this song. Maybe it’s just Salem’s voice that makes me fancy it. This song is also incredibly sexy. I thought it was sexy before and now? Oh my!

“All About You” came next and I hold a special place in my heart for this song. It’s just Salem and his guitar, just like the version I had heard before but he’s refined it just a bit. I adore this song.

The fourth song I hadn’t heard yet. “Down to Love” is now competing with “All About You” for the spot as my favorite. The mix of piano and acoustic is beautiful and I think the song really shows off Salem’s vocal range.

I hope he releases more originals for download. iTunes has this classified as pop but to me, pop today is all that electronic robot sounding stuff and Emeel Salem is far from that. His music is raw and you feel him singing from his heart.

It’s amazing to me to have followed Salem’s budding career like this. We’ve had several exchanges on Twitter which makes me feel even closer to his music. If you’re looking for some new music, check out the iTunes page for E. Salem’s EP, or search E. Salem in iTunes. I’ve had the four songs on repeat since I downloaded them almost two hours ago.

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Filed under emeel salem, iTunes, music, plugs, twitter me this

#NaBloPoMo – Audio: Hanging with Ro Episode One

I had the idea this morning to do an audio blog of sorts for today’s post. I had the music playing and had already resigned myself to being lazy today since I’m sore from the gym. My iPod wasn’t charged so I gave it some juice and then started recording. I decided to call it, “Hanging with Ro” because essentially, that’s what it is. I hope it’s at least mildly entertaining haha!

I was going to try doing a transcription of the audio but wow, that’s practically impossible. Ok maybe not impossible with some practice, but that’s going to take awhile to master that skill.

Topics include but are not limited to:

*Music that sounds the same

*Evan Longoria in a toga

*Twitter (You might hear your tweet)

*Suspension training

*Silly accents

*A description of my work area

I don’t think the topics are in that order but I thought I’d give you an idea of what you’re about to listen to. If you like it, please comment here. If I should do more of these, let me know what you’d like to hear. I had fun doing this!

Click here for the direct link.


Filed under coffeeholic, emeel salem, evan longoria, Gamma, hanging with ro, iTunes, mom, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, random stuff, silly girl, twitter me this, weather, workouts, youtube

Relaxing piano

Just want to share this video of Emeel Salem playing piano.

It was just what I needed to relax after a long day of writing. I thought I’d share the smile!

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Filed under emeel salem, writing, youtube

Ever wonder how your money is used when you donate to the Red Cross?

Remember when I told you about Emeel Salem and other Lowe’s Senior Class Award winners raising money for tornado victims?” Yesterday I received an email thanking me for my donation and I thought I’d share some of it with you in case you’re wondering where the money goes.

“In Joplin, Missouri, Christine Stockwell provides a shoulder to cry on, a comforting hug, and a listening ear. She’s there because of you.

Nearly 13,000 Red Cross workers like Christine have been deployed from every single U.S. state, to communities struck by the horrendous spring storms. From Alabama to Montana, they’re working day and night, helping victims put their lives back together.

No doubt you’ve seen in the news or in our email updates, how truly devastating these storms were. And beyond the visual damage, people young and old are deeply traumatized by what’s happened – to their home, family and community. As Christine put it, “We don’t just have wounded bodies, we have wounded spirits [too].”

But with every meal and hygiene kit distributed, every caring conversation and hug, a piece of hope is restored.

Since March 31, with your support, our nearly 13,000 Red Cross staff and volunteers:
• Served more than 3.1 million meals and snacks
• Handed out nearly 1.5 million relief items like toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other clean-up supplies
• Provided more than 73,000 mental health and health consultations
• Opened more than 270 shelters and provided nearly 35,000 overnight stays
We’ll be helping people today and in the weeks to come.

I cannot thank you enough for making this all possible. There are many communities still hurting, but with you, we are there with them every step of the way.”

These summer storms aren’t over. The Red Cross will continue to need our help. I didn’t think ten dollars would do very much, but when you think about toothbrushes or a meal for the volunteers, ten dollars from ten people can go a long way.

If you can donate, here is the Lowe’s Senior Class Award page for the Red Cross. You can do it more than once if you find you can spare another ten dollars. When you hear about the damage and feel powerless to help, you can donate or spread the word about how to donate if you can’t spare money. None of us are immune from natural disasters. We all need each other.

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Filed under emeel salem, in the news

A post with stuff in it

I have no idea what I’m about to write about. My two best friends are out of town and have been for quite some time. While I rarely hang out with them, we talk on the phone. A lot. Which is odd because I hate the phone. Georgie and I talk every morning for at least an hour during the week, and Carol and I talk usually about every other day or so. For hours. When I was with T-Mobile, it worked great because so is she, so our calls were free. She has a spoon thief illness too, so we’ve really bonded over the years. Its rare that we both have energy on the same day to hang out, so we do it on the phone from the comfort of our own homes.

I forgot that she told me to blog more while she’s out of town since we can’t talk nearly as often. Oops…

So I’m blogging now. carol, it’s hot. What more is there to say? I’ve definitely got the summer blues since the heat makes me hibernate. It doesn’t help that you and Georgie planned your out of town ventures at the same time. You two must have better planning next year, ok? This will be something only you will understand. I needed Chapter 8 last night. It helped a lot.

In other news, the beeping cat collar broke. I’ve ordered another one. In the meantime, Timmy isn’t as easy to find, so that’s been a pain.

Jayden is doing well, though he’s not enjoying the weather either. I walked him all over Saavi on Monday while we waited for our ride, since walking outside is impossible now. Back to finding creative ways to work and exercise the boy. How quickly this time has snuck up on me.

The AZ wildfires are getting under control now that the wind has died down, thank God. I forget what day it was, Sunday maybe? B said he could see the smoke outside. The winds had shifted and blown it our way. I went outside and could smell it. There’s no rain in the foreseeable future, but today the humidity is up as well as the dew point, so maybe? Maybe? After a monsoon passes, there’s a decent window to get outside for a walk. I can’t wait for that. Though last year the storms seemed to come more at night, so who knows.

That’s really all there is, Carol, at least all that can be shared in public. Haha!

Of course there’s baseball, that’s a no brainer. The Rays are off today though. I hate off days. Nothing to look forward to.

I somehow managed to discover that Wil Wheaton is on Twitter. That led me to his blog which led me to his podcast. He still talks about Star Trek, but holy crap, Wesley Crusher is grown up. He swears. He wrote a book going over each episode from the first season of TNG, so in the podcast, he goes over each episode. Hilarious! I was so in love with Wil Wheaton when I was an early teen and now I think I love him even more. He’s a geek in real life!

Oh and Carol, I finally started following Ice T since a Twitter friend mentioned that she does so it finally reminded me to.

I’ve got another awesome Twitter friend. She’s sending me an ‘I (heart symbol) Longo’ t-shirt. It was a giveaway at the Trop last year and she got an extra one. How cool is that? She also tweeted all the Rays on Twitter and told them to read my last post, the one about the Rays being more than just a baseball team. Emeel Salem tweeted back that he enjoyed it. I need to have a way to compose blogs when I’m in bed because I had the post in my head the night before and in my original idea, I was going to mention that along with all the Twitter friends I’ve found because of the Rays, I also found Emeel Salem, who’s music has brought me such joy and who’s fundraising efforsts for tornado victims have been inspiring and fun to participate in. But I had a brain lapse and left it out of the post and he read it. Bullocks.

Something else cool might happen but I can’t write it, so you’ll have to call me when you get a chance. I think that’s about it. Summer sucks, baseball rocks and Jayden is a goof. Oh yeah, and my Twitter friends have been a giant help in filling the void you and Georgie have left in my life, darn you girls. 😉

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Filed under desert life, emeel salem, fellowship, humor as coping skill, Jayden, monsoons, proud geek, random stuff, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this, weather, where is everyone?

Athletes coming together to help tornado victims

The Lowe’s Senior Class Award winners have joined together to help raise money for the tornado victims.

They have set up a donation page through the Red Cross, which for me felt much more safe than all those text message donation commercials.

I heard about this because of Emeel Salem on Twitter and he’s really helping to get the word out there.

The donation process was simple, except screen readers, the credit card radio buttons are not labeled, so it’s trial and error. It appears that Visa is the first radio button.

If you can, go donate. The minimum donation is $10.

I was glad to be able to donate. We have to look out for each other. You can donate in the name of an athlete on the list, too.

Go on, do it if you can.

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Filed under emeel salem, in the news, twitter me this

First day with the iPhone and Voiceover

I’m very lucky to have gotten help from family for that ridiculous deposit I had to pay to start a contract with Verizon. The nice thing is that after a year of on time payments, we’ll get that back with interest, so I’m just gonna set up automatic payments. Now that that ugliness has passed, I can get to the awesomeness that is iPhone.

My other phone was completely on it’s last legs, dying constantly and making it so I was uncomfortable going out. For those interested, I had the T-Mobile Dash, basically a Blackberry, with Mobile Speak installed. Sure, tactile buttons were nice, but the screen reader was quite garbled, and unless you were on a home key or the D key with the dot, you had to really be certain which button you were hitting. I basically kept one button poised on delete since I didn’t know what button I was pressing for sure, until I selected it.

I called Verizon Tuesday morning and got my iPhone via FedEx yesterday. I was surprised when the driver showed up at 10:30. Yay for not waiting all day! On a side note, she asked me a very odd question. After she helped me sign that tablet thing she asked,” so do you just stay home all day?”

I had been giving myself pep talks about the iPhone. I knew there was going to be a learning curve so I just kept telling myself to take it slow, be patient, don’t throw it.

I set the box gingerly on the coffee table and opened it up. When I took out the slim, sleek, square device, I was surprised at how sturdy it felt. It’s also got a heft to it I wasn’t expecting.

I had been talking to Georgie that morning and she said there were two volume buttons on the upper left side as well as a switch to turn off volume. She described the home button on the bottom middle of the phone and also a slider on the touch screen near that button that you have to slide to unlock the phone. I was glad she told me about these things.

I found the USB cable and plugged the iPhone into the Macbook. iTunes had been open, waiting.

The sales associate told me I would just plug in the phone and iTunes would finish the deal. Sure enough, there was a message from Verizon that popped up on iTunes solidifying the contract and such. After all that I was able to go into the iPhone through iTunes and turn on Voiceover by selecting the general tab and scrolling down to Universal Access, I believe it’s called.

As soon as the checkbox was checked I heard a female voice come from the phone, saying voiceover was on. I was ready to go. Incredible.

I left it plugged in to the computer since the battery hadn’t come fully charged. I began dragging my finger around the screen, listening as the voice told me what I encountered. At the top left is my signal strength and then as I moved right I heard the time and charge level. As I moved down there were icons like mail, messages, phone, Safari, iTunes, iPod, etc etc.

You activate nothing while you’re doing this. If you stop after you hear messages, the voice says, “messages. Double tap to open.”

Oh and that slider Georgie told me about? The voice says “slide or double tap to unlock.” Very easy.

Initially I was amazed as I dragged around exploring. Once you select something like messages, basically all that means is you stop dragging when you hear what you want, the focus stays there. You double tap anywhere on the screen to open. You don’t have to double tap on the icon itself, which is nice. Can you imagine trying to aim a double tap when you can’t see?

All my contacts were synced from the address book in the Macbook, so everyone was already there. I was able to open up a contact by double tapping anywhere on the screen when I heard their name.

Unfortunately there was one step the sales rep hadn’t mentioned. The phone was on and stuff, but not hooked into Verizon’s network. I tried calling it from the home phone and got a recording that the number had been disconnected. So they cancelled the T-Mobile account and imported my number, but the iPhone wasn’t talking to the network.

I didn’t know how long that switch took so I kept playing. I decided to see if I could dial into voicemail and when I tried, it asked me to enter the phone number. Haha! I thought, it’s gonna take me five minutes to find the keypad so I started saying to Silicone Sally that I needed customer service. That Sally isn’t as smart as T-Mobile’s Sally, but she finally got what my frantic words meant and I got a representative.

Turns out I had to activate the phone. She gave me instructions and I wrote them in a text document on the laptop and began. I double tapped the phone icon which brings up your keypad. It tells you you’re in edit mode so you know you have a keypad or keyboard.

I had to enter star and then three numbers. It was tedious and new, but fairly simple. I managed to hit send. Then I had to press one. Aaah ok drag around, hear one, double tap. Then it had me enter the mobile number. I wasn’t fast enough. Sally kept saying invalid invalid and hung up.

deep breath. You can do this. I must mention it’s harder to work a touch screen for the first time in your life when your hands are shaking because you’re feeling rushed.

I got it on the third time, even when she asked for the last four of my social. Finally it was done and I could now make and receive calls and text messages.

I managed to send B a text that read, “iPhone text”. That took about five minutes hahaha!

I practiced answering a call by calling the iPhone from the home phone. The answer button is on the bottom of the screen and while the call is coming in, you can still drag and wait to hear “send”, then double tap. The phone announces who is calling.

Gamma called shortly thereafter and I was able to answer the call.

I somehow managed to call B when I was trying to reply to his text message and it took me awhile to figure out how to end the call. That was a long voice message haha!

There was never a moment of oh my God I can’t do this, no moments of sheer frustration and panic, nothing. I just played and explored.

I opened up youtube and managed to do a search. You just drag until you find the search field and then double tap. The phone tells you you’re in edit mode and you find your keyboard. I’m a fast typer on the laptop so I know the layout of a keyboard. This helps as you’re dragging to find keys. I would find the key and double tap. It was tedious. I managed to search for Emeel Salem and clicked the Rays Talent Show link that popped up. I played the video. It was awesome! Oh, and you can actually control youtube videos on the iPhone, unlike with the Macbook where I can’t pause or anything. You can on the iPhone. Sweet!

I spent the afternoon just playing. Of course I had to do the most important thing of all – assign ringtones. I can even give people custom text tones. Now I won’t ignore B when I’ve got baseball texts coming in.

I was able to answer the call when B called and end it this time. Hahaha!

Pretty much all I knew about how to work the iPhone was from this page. I had checked it out briefly a few times but didn’t want to lust after the iPhone too much until I was in a position to have one.

A few hours after I had it, I listened to the video there. It showed me a much better way to type. Using both hands, drag a thumb around until you hear the key you want. Leave your thumb there and tap anywhere with the other thumb. Sooooo much faster.

The voice says the letter with a higher pitch so you know you’ve selected it. When entering secure text in a password field, it won’t repeat the letter, playing a sound instead, and only enters bullets. Someone could still hear what you’re entering unless you’re really fast, so if you’re in public, use your headphones if you’re worried.

The phone came with earbuds that are also a headset so you can talk into them on a call. They feel kinda flimsy. I hate ear buds because they tangle so I’ll probably sync my Bluetooth at some point for calls.

I have yet to put music on the phone but that’ll be soon.

Oh one thing I really like is the fact that the screen locks pretty quick after it’s idle. I thought that would drive me crazy having to unlock it but it’s fast and when it’s locked, nothing is going to happen when you pick up the phone. Also, when it’s locked and you hit the home key, she says the time. Nice and easy way to check the time in the mornings.

I haven’t figured out how to adjust volume and rate of Voiceover, but it’s actually good where it is. The voice is much easier to understand than Mobile Speak was.

Since I’m already familiar with iTunes and how to control iPods through it and such, it’s nice and easy for me to do anything to the iPhone like adding apps and stuff. For someone completely new to all of it, it might be a little challenging, but there’s always help online.

Especially with Twitter. You get answers fast. Amanda helped me find the Twitter app she likes and another friend helped me figure out the three fingered swipe to page down in my contacts list or on the ringtone page and such.

There’s a lot more left to learn, but I had the basics down by the end of the day.

I love it so much. If it asked me to marry it, I would!

I had seen an iPhone for like five minutes back when I could see. I knew nothing about it really until I had it in my hands. Remembering where things are is key and once you’ve got that down, you’re gold. You can also move icons on your home screen so things are positioned where you like them. That’s fun, to be able to drag and drop again.

Ok I think that’s it for things to touch on. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment. Also, if you know of any good resources for really getting in depth with the iPhone and Voiceover, let me know. I learn best when I have a web page or a blog with hints and such. Apple’s site is great, but I’d like some more in depth stuff.

Oh wait, the compass. Have to mention the compass briefly. It’s already on the phone and it’s amazing! I use a braille compass for orientation so I really like this feature. Ok, that’s it. REally.


Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, emeel salem, Gamma, iPhone, iTunes, proud geek, screen reader, Silicone Sally, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow, youtube

If the world were to end tomorrow…oh wait, it is *edited*

So the world is ending tomorrow, though there are conflicting pieces of information about that. I’ve heard the world will end tomorrow after all the saved ones go to heaven but I’ve also heard that the saved ones will go to heaven and the rest of us will suffer until October 21st.

Either way, I got to thinking about the things on the old bucket list that won’t get accomplished before the world ends tomorrow. What I came up with makes me realize just how fulfilling my life has been. These are the only things I’m really sad about not accomplishing before the world ends:

– Get engaged to B

-Get a big hug from Evan Longoria

– Attend a Rays game at Tropicana Field

– Sing a duet in person with Emeel Salem (can’t believe I didn’t think about this when I originally wrote this post. Slacker.)

– Hang out with Carin, Steve, Barb and Amanda in person

That’s really about it. If the world ends tomorrow, those will be the only things I’ll really lament never doing. Sure there are lots of things I’d like to do, like skydive and read the third book of Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Leviathan’ series, (which comes out in September), and watch Harry Potter 7.2, but I wouldn’t cry about those things.

I just find it pretty cool that I’d leave this world feeling quite fulfilled and happy after my thirty-two years on the planet.

In case we never meet again, it’s been nice knowing you. Have fun on the other side if you make it.


Filed under Audio books, baseball, emeel salem, evan longoria, gratitude, random stuff

It’s fun to be a dork on youtube

I got a little hooked on recording stuff for youtube after I did that screen reader demo and you mix a silly addiction with some boredom and you end up with a really dorky recording of pretending to call a baseball game. I had read an article about a blind kid calling games and wondered how on earth that would go. He didn’t have commentators in his head, but I did…

I had the game feed with Dave and Andy piping through my headphones and decided to add my own commentary to what they were saying. I wasn’t sure I would upload it, but being a dork is who I am, so why not? It worked out that our Jeremy ended up going all nine innings in a shutout victory against the Orioles and Matt Joyce did something cool during the second inning, which I had luckily decided to “call” after a very quick first inning.

Here is me being a dork during the first inning. Here is the bottom of the second where coolness happens.

I have to tell you what started all this youtube stuff. During spring training, the Rays had a talent show and one of the players in the organization did this fabulous performance. Since I’m a singer, a retired singer but still a singer, and since this man also plays baseball, I was instantly hooked. He happens to be on Twitter and he started linking to his covers of songs, which are all great. His name is Emeel Salem and here is his youtube channel. Go check it out. Seriously. Shiny.

How did he kick start my youtube addiction? Well I like his voice and found myself singing along to his videos. I didn’t know most of the songs and thought if he ever did a song I knew, I might try recording a virtual duet. The craziest thing happened and a song I didn’t know kept being stuck in my head, so I decided to learn it the way he did it. I refuse to listen to the original. After learning it and adding my own little twists and harmony, I recorded this. Here is Emeel’s original video. I played it and recorded myself singing with him using my iPod. It was fun. He liked it. 🙂

So that’s what started it and it led to me being a total dork yesterday during the start of the Rays game. The Rays are doing incredible right now; it’s so fun!!! After starting the season 0-6 they are now in first place in the American League East, two games above the second place Yankees. It’s all a rabid baseball fan’s dream!!

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Filed under baseball, emeel salem, matt joyce, proud geek, silly girl, youtube