A to Z 2015

2015 Blogging from A to Z Theme

Blogs--most reading this know what they are, but maybe some of you are not sure what a blog is and have been thinking about starting one. Or perhaps you've been trying to come up with a new thematic idea for your current blog or one that you plan to add. For the 2015 A to Z Challenge I'll be looking at various possible blogging themes as well as a suggestion here or there about blogging better. If you know someone who has been thinking about starting a blog then direct them to my series. Maybe I can help come up with some blogging ideas of interest to them--or to you.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A is for Apple (#AtoZChallenge)

English: A honeycrisp apple from an organic fo...
 A honeycrisp apple from an organic food farm co-op.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Is For Apple

       An apple a day is some good healthy advice that has long been cited by those in the know.  I've heard this since I was a kid and that's been some 60 years ago.   My father loved apples and it seemed like we usually had apples around the house.  If he saw a roadside stand selling apples we'd invariably pull over and when he resumed driving he'd be chomping away on an apple.

        As for me I can't say I've been quite the apple fan that my dad was.  Oh sure, I like apples just fine, but my preference is to carefully cut them up in neat slices and eat them piece by piece.  No major chomping for me.   The apple variety that I've been mostly buying and eating over the past couple years is the Honeycrisp apple--sweet, juicy and utterly delicious.

        I'm maybe not eating the apple a day as suggested by health experts, but I've been eating more apples than I used to.   Now if only those Honeycrisp apples weren't so darn expensive!

This Is A to Z!

        No I didn't accidentally post early.  What I did was set my timer for 5 minutes and then I started writing in stream-of-consciousness style about a commonly stated "A" aphorism.   I could have posted about any "A" topic that popped into my head.   For that matter I could have done a post about "aphorisms".

         The point of all this is to refute all those who say, "I don't have time to do A to Z in April."   Five little minutes is enough for any average writer to come up with something.  We're not expecting every post to be a work of genius (though genius is always welcomed and admired).

         So you think you don't have time to come up with a post every day in April.  I've just demonstrated that it can easily be done in five minutes--or ten minutes if you include this explanatory tag to my example post.  I'd be willing to bet that a good many of you could come up with a much better post than I did here.  Take the Challenge and prove it.

         Now you have no excuses.   Go to the A to Z Blog Sign up List and add your blog.  You can do this.   You can do this very easily.

         Now what's your excuse for not doing the A to Z Challenge?    Do you think that everything you post needs to be a work of genius?   Do you ever participate in timed stream-of-consciousness writing exercises? 


   The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge begins this Wednesday April 1st!  The sign up list is still open!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Creeping Presence Crawling Toward Us

Night of the Living Dead-1
Night of the Living Dead-1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        It's coming.   There's a presence all around us taking control of the minds and bodies of bloggers everywhere.   To some it's a horror sucking innocents into its hungry maw.  Those who fear or even hate this thing may scream in futile horror, but their cries are barely heard as those of us who have been possessed by the monster smile, laugh, and chide those bitching moaning tormented souls.

         There is no stopping it--indeed, us.  We are upon you.  We are everywhere.  We are that damnable nightmare...

The Month of the Living Blogging from A to Z April Challenge!!!

        If you are not a part of the movement then you might be eaten alive or merely pummeled  and left by the internet roadside.   Don't resist us!   Look into our bloggy eyes and become one of us.  You can blog through the alphabet in April.   Don't succumb to that flimsy lie that you can't.  You can try to run.  You can pretend you're too busy writing.  Forget it!  You cannot hide from us.  You must join the A to Z Challenge!

        You must!  You must sign up!  Go to A to Z Sign-up list now!  Add your blog!   Add your blog!


Go Ahead and Ask Me Anything!

         If you've been visiting the Blogging from A to Z Challenge Blog--which of course you should be--you may have seen our co-hosts introducing themselves and fielding questions that have been put to them.   My day is coming up and it seems only appropriate to come on "A as in Arlee Bird Day" on April 1st--opening day of the Challenge. 

         Go ahead and ask me a question today in the comment section and I might choose your question for my A to Z Blog "Meet Your Co-hosts" post.  Don't be shy.  And if I don't use your question on my A to Z Blog post I can still use it in a future "Ask Arlee" post at Tossing It Out.

A to Z Starts Next Week!

        Can you believe that it's here again.  Wednesday April 1st marks the opening of the 6th Annual A to Z April Challenge.  There will be a lot going on that day, but I hope you'll be visiting my blog for a truly epic post of 4 EVENTS IN ONE POST and it will even be a relatively short post.  Nothing like it has been seen before!

          Yes, step right up to see me, Arlee Bird, worthily submit a combined post that will encompass the A to Z Challenge Opening Day, the Insecure Writer's Support  Group, Ask Arlee, and a Battle of the Bands post that will be related to everything else.  I may even be standing on my head and juggling at the same time.   You won't believe your eyes and ears, ladies and gentlemen and bloggers everywhere.

         That's right here next Wednesday April 1st at Tossing It Out.

And That's Not All!

        No, I will not be just piddling away at this blog Tossing It Out where my April theme will be "Elements of Blogging".   I have four other blogs with the tied in themes of:

      Yes siree!   Four blogs with almost as many elements as the Periodic Table of the Elements and a darn sight more fun.  Don't miss a day or you'll miss a day.   And you wouldn't want to miss a day would you?

          What would you like to know about Arlee Bird that I haven't blabbed already in one of my many blabby blog posts?    Have I convinced you to sign up if you weren't already on the A to Z list?  Can you name all of the elements on the Periodic Table without looking?

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Theme Reveal-- Elements of Blogging

       One of the topics of Tossing It Out which has gotten the best responses over my past five or so years of blogging is the topic of blogging.  Anything from content to comments seems to be something that we bloggers like to hear about.  I tend to read those types of posts on other blogs and when I post on blog related topics I tend to receive a good reaction in my comment section.  The topic of blogging is one that bloggers embrace because it's about what we enjoy doing.

      Twice during the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge I've used marketing and promotion as my topic, once I blogged about movies, and in other years the subject matter was somewhat random.  In this 2015 Challenge my topic will be in regard to blogging.  A few of my previous A to Z posts discussed blogging and blogging has been a frequent topic on Tossing It Out throughout the years.

       For this 2015 A to Z Challenge I call my theme "Elements of Blogging".   This will be stuff most of you already know while some might be some things you might not have thought too much about.  My intent in April will be to explore what blogs are about.   Maybe some of you will get some ideas about things you could blog about that previously hadn't crossed your mind.   Or you might find something that will interest someone you know whom you think might want to start a blog about the things that interest them.

         My April mission will be to explore the unique possibilities that blogging has to offer everybody and perhaps even give you cause to explore your own approach to blogging to see what you might do to infuse new life into your blog. This will be basic information that I hope will stimulate some conversation about the subject of blogging and how to blog better.  I'll be looking for comments to expound on the concepts I present.

          Do you like blogging?   Do you like to read blog posts about blogging?   I hope you'll follow along in April.  Even better still, I hope you'll let your non-blogging friends know about my series just in case it might inspire them to start their own blogs.   That means more bloggers to sign up for A to Z in 2016!

          If you have not yet signed up for the 2015 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, please go to the A to Z Challenge Linky List to add your blog today.  For more A to Z theme reveals please go to the Theme Reveal participant list.

        Do you enjoy reading blog posts about blogging?   Have you noticed that posts about blogging tend to usually get a good comment response?  What is a special field of interest that you tend to like to read about?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Is Something in the Air? (BOTB Results)

reflected sadness
reflected sadness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bring Me To Life

       There's an old comic strip or cartoon cliche of the character who has a dark rain cloud over his head which symbolically depicts bad luck, depression, or a downcast mood.  I've been sensing that cloud over the heads of some bloggers out there.  In fact I've been feeling that shadow on me now and then.

       For me I think there is a matter of bad diet and poor habits that are causing me to feel more tired than normal.  Perhaps I'm starting to feel the effects of getting older.   I can probably think of any number of things that get me down now and then, but to dissuade any thoughts that I'm suffering from some kind of depressive state let me assure you that these feelings are relatively infrequent and probably within the bounds of normalcy.

        However I read some of the blogs out there and look around at some of the people I know and wonder if there is some prevailing aura of despair and discontent hovering over the world.  Maybe it's something to do with weather issues for some of you.  Or could it be the uncertainty of the affairs of the world or a fear of the economy.  I suppose it could be anything--food additives, something in the water, chemtrails poisoning the air or you can probably think of other possible culprits.

         Hopefully it's all my imagination.  I'm good and I hope you are as well.   Let's liven up!  A to Z is almost here and we've got to fire ourselves up for it.   It's spring and soon summer will be here!   As Tina Downey would have reassured us, "Life is good!"    I believe that.   Do you?


Battle of the Band Results

       The vote tally today comes from the Battle of March 15 between Gregorian and Katherine Jenkins performing their renditions of the Evanescence song "Bring Me To Life".

       Both versions are quite good and the voting bears this out.   Like so many of the Battles I've put together the choice was a tough one between two artists that were both worthy of a win.  This was another frantic race to the finish line.

       At the outset Gregorian took a substantial lead that made them appear to be poised for a decisive victory.  Then as votes continued to come in Jenkins edged forward and squeaked by to a one vote lead.   That left my vote.

        I wavered a bit on this as I can easily go with either version.  Typically I do have a preference for male vocalists over female, especially when it comes to operatic female voices.  Jenkins has a marvelous set of pipes, but there was a certain lack of uniqueness for me in her presentation as well as that of the background chorus.  I thoroughly enjoyed the orchestration in this arrangement.  All told it's a great recording, but when put up against the Gregorian version--well...

       Firstly I liked the guitar in the Gregorian version as well as the orchestration.  The timbre of the lead vocals had a mystical quality that created a sense of longing and intense need for revival.  There was a power to the percussion back-up that did not overwhelm yet added an urgency to the feeling of the song.  I especially preferred the backing vocals in the Gregorian version--they were manic, almost nightmarish, but not overbearing in any way, which added a greater sense of drama to the presentation so that it was not so much of a song production like the Jenkins version, but a powerful moving spectacle of musical theater.   

       My vote for Gregorian thus puts this contest into a tie.

Final Vote Tally

Gregorian                 17 Votes

Katherine Jenkins    17 Votes

Life Goes On

       By the way, my colonoscopy adventure is done and much less traumatic than I envisioned.  Other than staying up most of the night for the prepping, the procedure itself was a breeze.   Amazingly quick even!  I checked in at about 7:45 then after various tests and preparations they began to administer the anesthesia at 8:30.   I immediately went under--completely under--and after sleeping for what I figured must have been a couple of hours of blissful sleep I was awakened.   Looking at the clock I noticed it was now 8:45.   I could have sworn I'd been sleeping for hours.  That was one heck of a fast and painless procedure.   Now it's done and I am glad.

       Coming this Monday March 23rd on Tossing It Out will be my A to Z Theme Reveal post. You can still sign up for the Theme Reveal event if you follow this link and even if you've already blabbed your theme you can still reveal it on Monday for those who didn't hear yet. 

         If you've not yet signed up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge it's certainly not too late for that--you still have over a week to get on the list and we hope you do.  Don't fall under the misconception that you don't have the time or none of your posts are ready or any other feeble excuse you might come up with.   Keep in mind that posts don't have to be long or complicated, you don't have to kill yourself visiting everyone in the world who blogs, and you don't have to do any more than you are willing or capable of doing.  Just get on the list, relax, and generate the daily posts.   If you're a blogger this is really just like breathing.  Some bloggers just make a bigger deal out of this event than needs be made.  After all the point of it all is not to frustrate you or destroy you, but to inspire you, better your blogging skills, and give you something to have a good time with.  So think about it.  Or even better, don't think about it, just go sign up!

       Next Battle of the Bands post for Tossing It Out will be a quadruple whammy of a post on April 1st:  Opening post of the A to Z Challenge combining Insecure Writer's Support Group, Ask Arlee, and BOTB in one relatively simple post just to prove some of what I said in my previous paragraph.  Think I can do it?    Be here to find out.   Surely you don't doubt old Arlee by now?

          Are you coming back to life for spring?    Do you still have a truly good rebuttal for not joining us in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?    How long do you think my combined April 1st post will end up being?