Well, all right, maybe they're not frequently asked questions, but these are a few of the things I thought visitors to the site might be curious about. If you have a question that's not answered here, feel free to drop me an email. I can't guarantee a response to everyone, but if I think the question might have some general interest, I will include it (and my reply, naturally) here in the FAQ.
1. Are you insane?
Yes. Completely certifiable. Next question, please.
2. There's an awful lot of drooling going on over these rock stars. Are you a groupie?
Well, to borrow a line from Bill Clinton, that depends on your definition of "groupie." If you mean, "Am I an enthusiastic fan of the various groups and artists mentioned around the site?" then of course the answer is yes. My CD collection numbered more than 400 discs at last count, and I collect all sorts of vintage memorabilia, including T-shirts, posters, clippings/pinups, pins/buttons, etc.
But a fan is pretty much all I am. I've never followed a band around while they were on tour--heck, with most of the groups I like, I've never had the chance to see even a single concert! I WAS fortunate enough to be able to attend a number of concerts given by Jimi Jamison during the period between 2005 and his (very unfortunate and untimely) death in 2014, both with Survivor and as a solo artist; I saw him perform at least once a summer during seven of those nine years. (You can read about those adventures in much greater detail here, and find links to the pics I've taken at each show on this page if you're so minded.) That was very much the exception rather than the rule, though; apart from that set of shows, I've only seen David Bowie on his Sound And Vision tour way back in the early 1990's, and my hubby and I caught Heart at Fiddler's Green in the summer of 2003.
And the one thing I am DEFINITELY not is a stalker. I was able to speak to Jimi for a few minutes at many of the shows I mentioned above, and he even got to where he knew me on sight after a while because of it (something that still gives me the biggest warm fuzzy EVER, just to note!). I was always very grateful that he was so good to ALL his fans, me included, and I'll even admit that I tended to go looking for opportunities to stop and say hello at concerts, just because he WAS such a sweetheart and a real pleasure to talk to. I never encountered him outside the context of a show, however, nor would I have actively tried to. As fond of him as I was, and as much as I enjoyed spending even short interludes in his presence, I would never have wanted to intrude or make a nuisance of myself, especially if he were with his family.
The honest truth, then, is that I'm perfectly content to do most of my admiring from afar. What I've said in previous versions of this FAQ still holds true: It really is one thing to think a celebrity attractive from a comfortable distance, and another thing entirely to say it to his face. Besides, in a lot of cases, I am living firmly in the past; the 80's, alas, are getting more distant by the day, and many of the members of the Hall of Hunks have become rather less attractive as they've aged, or they've at least cut their hair and stopped wearing leather pants. So while I might continue to follow their musical careers, when it comes to lusting, it's often much more fun to stick to old photos and music videos--like a favorite book or film, those never change.
3. You seem to spend a lot of time lusting after rock stars. Is your personal life really unhappy or something?
Actually, I feel enormously blessed as far as the quality of my life and relationships right now. I have a terrific family, many wonderful friends, and a very sweet (and patient!) husband who just wants to see me happy, and doesn't mind if that involves weird stuff like psychic development or a highly active fantasy life. He and I have an agreement: I'm free to drool over as many male rock stars as I want, just as long as I don't give him grief for looking at all the scantily clad women who populate music videos!
4. Isn't it a bit shallow to be a fan of a group just because you think the lead singer is sexy?
Well, quite frankly, yes. But on the other hand, I can't think of a group that I like purely because of their singer's (or whoever's) looks, and I like plenty of female artists and groups with no one in them that I find particularly attractive, too. I own a whole stack of REO Speedwagon CD's, for example, but while I adore Kevin Cronin's voice, he really doesn't do anything for me on a visual level. I've occasionally been introduced to a group because I happened to see one of their videos and someone caught my eye--Europe and Bad English come to mind--but when you really get down to brass tacks, I can't sustain interest in a band if their music doesn't have some genuine appeal for me.
5. Why isn't [fill in group/artist/author's name] listed here?
There are two possible reasons: Number one, I don't like them, or number two, I'm not familiar with them. This is my personal playground, after all; it's a lot of work to maintain a website, and I think I can be forgiven for not spending my time and energy on bands or authors who just don't interest me.
6. You seem to have a grudge against any music made after about 1992. Why?
Hoo boy. Well, I could write a whole rant on this subject, but let's keep it simple and say it's a matter of preference. Grunge happened when I was in high school, and I didn't like it when it was new, and time has not mellowed my attitude towards it. It doesn't appeal to me musically, the singers get on my nerves, and I roll my eyes at the attitude toward life that seems to have produced it. And everything that's come along since grunge has either (and I use the term loosely) built upon it, or reacted against it, usually too far in the opposite direction. And I've been away from Top 40 radio and MTV for long enough by now that trying to go back just really doesn't seem worth it, particularly when I can almost literally count on one hand the number of new acts that have come out since 1992 that I have any interest in.
Which isn't to say, incidentally, that there wasn't any bad music made during the 80's--you only have to watch VH-1 Classic's All-Request Hour on an "obscure-o-rama" night to see that there was plenty of it. But, IMO, at least there's a better prospect of digging up a hidden gem when you're talking about the 80's than anything later. Simple as that.
7. Is there a resolution that Chord & Sorcery is "best viewed at"?
I recommend at least 1024x768, but I've made an effort to ensure that the site is accessible to anyone who visits on an actual computer. (I make no guarantees if you're trying to browse around on your cellphone!) There are certain pages in the image galleries in the Hall of Hunks, though, which may appear "oversized" (that is, they require horizontal scrolling) for people on 800x600 screens. I was a web-surfer for a long time before I even thought of putting together my own site, and I got very frustrated by all of the fansites I would visit that looked to have galleries full of great pictures--but when you actually clicked on a thumbnail, what you got was something barely larger than a postage stamp, and often blurry to boot. This happened often enough that I vowed if and when I ever got a scanner and put up a fansite of my own, all the pics in MY galleries would be lovely, large, and as crystal-clear as I could make them.
So, there are many scanned images in the Chord & Sorcery galleries which run 800 to 1000 pixels in one dimension, and a fairly good-sized screen resolution is, therefore, kind of a necessity. If the pics are too large to be viewed easily on your machine, there are many excellent and user-friendly image manipulation programs out there that you can use to reduce them to a more convenient size. I use one called the GIMP on my own desktop system, which is available for all three major operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix) and can be downloaded for free here. If you're an Android user, I recommend the Photo Editor app available through Google Play Store, also for free (though I believe you can upgrade to an ad-free version for around $3, and the developer is certainly both skilled and responsive enough to be worth supporting).
8. What happened to your "Members Area?"
Well, it basically got removed due to lack of interest. The message board never got a huge amount of traffic; most of the people who signed up for accounts only visited a handful of times, and then just disappeared into the ether without ever posting anything. For a while I didn't mind keeping it up anyway, since it gave me a place to talk to a few close friends and post "sneak previews" of the photos I took when I went to concerts and such. My interests and priorities have shifted somewhat over the years, though, especially after Jimi Jamison died at the beginning of September 2014. Without him, my concert-going career has (mostly) ended, and when the developers of Simple Machines (the forum software I was using) announced that they were going to eventually drop support for the 1.1.x line and everyone would then have to upgrade to the newer 2.x version, I had to make a decision. I really couldn't just leave the forum as it was; sooner or later even the security updates for it would end, and having an outdated and potentially hackable piece of software running on the site was just asking for trouble. And upgrading would have been a major headache--database migrations are never, ever simple and bug-free, and I'd have had to completely re-code all my custom themes on top of it. If the forum had been busier, maybe I would have considered upgrading more seriously, but where it only saw active use by a handful of people for a few days maybe once or twice a year (and even that was going to be severely curtailed if I had no more concert pics to post) then in the end it really just wasn't worth it to keep the board going, and I chose to shut it down.
C&S as a whole isn't going anywhere, however; I just renewed the domain name for another two years, and where the site itself is mostly static HTML with very minimal content generated by PHP scripts now that the board is defunct, it mostly runs itself and doesn't take much active tending from me. I admit there may not be a whole lot of new content added from here on out; again, I have different interests these days than I used to, and less time and energy that I'm willing to spend on web development. I'm still getting plenty of visitors, though, and it seems a shame to just do away with the site altogether when there's that much interest, so I expect I'll continue to at least maintain what's here for a goodly while yet.
9. Why don't you have Facebook "Like" buttons anywhere on the site? I really want to "Like" your pages!
Because I really, REALLY dislike Facebook and pretty much refuse to have anything to do with it. Seriously, I loathe Facebook even above Microsoft, and for someone who's as much of a Linux devotee as I am, believe me, that's saying something! I could write an enormous ranting essay on all the reasons why, but for the sake of both brevity and simplicity, let's just say that I don't care for the ethics of the people who run it, and I especially don't care for the idea of having my real name displayed to anyone and everyone when I've spent a lot of time and a great deal of effort keeping my online identity separate from the Real Life one. (I could also write an extensive rant on the whole concept of social networking in general, but again, for the purposes of this FAQ, suffice it to say that it is SO not my scene, and I can keep up with all of the people that I actually WANT to be in contact with perfectly well through other channels, thanks.)
And in any case, speaking as a webmaster, simply having people click a "like" button (or +1 or what have you) really does not give me any useful feedback, because it tells me nothing about WHY someone likes my site. I mean, did they enjoy looking at a particular gallery, or did they get a laugh out of some comment I made, or were they just dazzled by my mad web-design skillz, or what? At most, "like" buttons are a measure of how popular certain pages are compared to others, and quite frankly, I did not create C&S with the intent of winning any popularity contests. I've always known I was going to have a fairly limited audience given the general theme and content of the site, and from the average daily visitor count during the last six months or so, the sort of folks the site is actually meant for seem to be having no trouble finding their way here through word of mouth and/or their preferred search engine. So there's really not much impetus for me to want to go to the trouble of adding "like" buttons anyway, even if I weren't so staunchly opposed to the idea of having Facebook's insidious little kudzu-like electronic tendrils invade my personal corner of cyber-space. If you have comments or other feedback to give, you'll just have to do it the old-fashioned way, either by sending me an email or signing the guestbook.