This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This Challenge of 2019 will be the 10th! Since this is kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme will be a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Slipstream Songs (#BOTB)

          If we can achieve the momentum to attain our dreams by being pulled along in the slipstream of another's success, is that a bad thing?   None of us accomplishes anything without some help from others...

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge SURVIVOR badge

Another Wave of Motivation

         Another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is now wrapped and reflected upon as all that remains is to be pulled into the slipstream of hundreds of motivated bloggers who plowed through the month with whatever they could muster.  I made it with them--as I should.  And as has been the case in every Challenge aftermath, I am riding a wave of motivation in reaching my own goals.

         As always the wave will dissipate in the coming days--I have felt it already in a slowing of the energy current around me, within me.  There is still the A to Z Road Trip (sign up opens May 20th) and the lure of the open road always catches my attention.  Of course, I have my real road trip to look forward to in summer.

         The open road is calling.  Riding in the slipstream provides an illusion of relaxation--no need to expend energy to keep moving forward.  The slipstream in the wake of a semi-truck can be dangerous.  The slipstream in which I wish to ride is a metaphorical one.  And I can't depend on riding the slipstream forever. 

          But I can have a "slipstream" Battle of the Bands post...

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

Van Morrison  "Queen of the Slipstream"  (1987)

          I didn't start following Van Morrison's music until I heard his Poetic Champions Compose album in 1988.   His name first came to my attention back in 1965 when his group Them released the song "Gloria".   A few years later I was captivated by his solo release of "Brown-Eyed Girl" and though many of my friends who played in bands covered "Moon Dance" and "Tupelo Honey," I never got overly enthused about Morrison--until 1988.  One of my favorite songs from the PCC album is this one...

Richard Thompson  "I Ride in your Slipstream"  (1994)

        A contemporary of Van Morrison, Richard Thompson came onto the music scene in the respected folk-rock band Fairport Convention.  I'd long been interested in knowing more about Thompson's music since I had read so much about it over the years, yet I didn't hear any of his albums until I bought one of them in the 80's.  He's a great guitarist and he writes some excellent songs.  Here's his "slipstream" song...


Time to Vote!

     Two great artists with two great songs!  Decisions, decisions.  I like both of them, but I'm going to pick one as a favorite.  What about you?   Have some fun with us.  What's your favorite between these two choices?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands


'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  

Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Cherdo on the Flipside

A I Love Music

Winner of this Battle Announced Wednesday May 22nd

        That post will be likely my next post unless I feel an overpowering urge to put something up before that time.  No need to announce the A to Z Road Trip on the 20th since I already did it in this post.  I'll just be riding in this slipstream for now.

            Did you ever feel caught up in the slipstream of another person or some movement or event?  How long does the motivation of your completing a major accomplishment take to wear off?   What one thing would you like to accomplish in your life that would give you an ultimate sense of reward?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Résultats de Combat ( #BOTB Results )

I took two years of college French, which included reading books in that language and countless hours in the language lab reciting in French, and now I can say that my aunt's pen is on the table...

Aerial view of the Eiffel Tower and the rest of Paris
Paris France (Viking River Cruises)

Eric Satie: The Velvet Gentleman

      For the past several years it's been nice to see several A to Z participants blogging about France and French culture.  Getting educated is a nice thing about reading blogs.  The posts about France are interesting to me since I have never been there nor is it likely that I ever will be.  But I can dream can't I?

       These days, eating at a good French restaurant is a bit out of my league, but I still enjoy French Fries on a regular basis, order French onion soup if it's on the menu of a place where I'm eating, and occasionally purchase the French roast coffee if it's darkest boldest one on sale. 

       More than anything though I sometimes like to immerse myself in French classical music.  Eric Satie became a favorite composer of mine around 1970 or so after seeing a documentary about "The Velvet Gentleman" as Satie has been called.   In the documentary they played Satie's "Trois Gymnopédies"" which I recognized from the version that appeared on Blood,Sweat and Tears' second album.   

       From that point I started researching Satie and buying any music I could find by him.  Compared to other composers, Satie has a rather limited catalog of music--mostly solo piano music.  Still, as I became more familiar with his music, he became among my favorite "classical" composers though more legitimately he comes from the movements of Impressionism and Surrealism.  No surprise that I liked his music--it's often quirky and sometimes hauntingly beautiful.

        So that's one more point about my personal tastes and that's what Battle of the Bands is mostly about.   That's why my previous Battle was chosen.  Three versions of music by Eric Satie is like a buffet of desserts for me...

Battle of the Bands Results

        This Battle was another exciting horse race (if that's an okay analogy after the Kentucky Derby fiasco).  Apparently I offered a fair balance of something for everyone not unlike the mash-up Battle I offered in the middle of April.

        Any one of these Battle selections is a winner for me as it was a somewhat difficult choice for me to make.  But like those who voted, I settled for my absolute favorite--mine being the jazzy version by the Jacques Loussier Trio.  A few years ago this album stayed on replay in my office for many weeks.  It's great music to write by at night.

           As you will see in the results, this is almost an ideal Battle due to the closeness of the voting.  Doesn't get much better than this...

Final Vote Tally

Chicha Libre                                8

Quartet Cinderella                       6

Jacques Loussier Trio                 6

Next Battle on Wednesday May 15th

         I'm going to stay quiet here until that date, but I'll keep trying to visit around to keep in touch with what you all are up to.  And if you're being quiet like me, I hope we're all productive in other realms.  Stay happy!

         What is your favorite thing about France?   Have you ever visited France?   Are you familiar with the music of Eric Satie?

Monday, May 6, 2019

10th Annual A to Z Reflections ( #AtoZChallenge )

   As another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge has passed, it is time for another Reflections post.  After having done nine of these already I'm not sure that I have much to say that hasn't been said on this blog many times before.  I will say that it was a very good year from my perspective.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

          In many ways I've become a lazy blogger.  More precisely I've lost a blogging fervor that drove me in my first years of blogging.  In a sense this is good in that I've created more balance in my life.  For a while, blogging became my obsession. Now I've found some other obsessions that put demands on my time. It's all a good thing so I'm fine with all of this.

           The bottom line though for the sake of this Reflections post is that I survived another Challenge and I think I did a credible job of doing so.  My thanks to everyone who commented and especially those who kept coming back again and again.

           And my utmost thanks to the incredible job done by our Team Captain J Lenni Dorner and all of the A to Z Team:
J Lenni Dorner (captain) @ Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner
Jayden R Vincente @ J R Vincente Erotica Writer
John Holton @ The Sound of One Hand Typing
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
Jeremy Hawkins (graphics) @ Hollywood Nuts

Show the World You Survived!

Arlee Bird with the 2019 A to Z T-shirt--to get yours click link below

Grab your A to Z gear, and other cool goodies from our graphics guy, here: 

Watch the A to Z Blog for upcoming information about the next A to Z Road Trip!