Monday, February 8, 2016

I Think I Was Wrong--Kind of (BOTB Results)

L.A. Guns (album)
L.A. Guns (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          Lately I've been ordering music for my brother.  When he discusses most of the groups that he likes, I'm somewhat lost since they are groups that I've never listened to.  Some of the artists such as Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Kiss I am well enough familiar with to know some extent of their catalogs of works.  Others like Dio, Warrant, and L.A, Guns I'd never heard actually played though I'd heard of them.

          My brother asked me if I like any of these artists and I told him it isn't my kind of music.  These days I don't listen to music like I used to and when I do it's often classical.  Then around the 1st and 15th of each month I listen to the song picks offered by the Battle of the Band participants.  There's a wide range of musical excursions at those times of the month.

          In recent days I've been listening to some L.A. Guns, Dio, Faster Pussycat, and Alice Cooper.  Back in the 70's I used to listen to a lot of Alice Cooper and even saw the band in concert--it was a great show.  What I've listened to recently is far better than I remember.  I guess that's why I liked them so much at one time.  The other groups were also excellent.  I've been digging listening to the digital copies of the albums that come with the CD's.

          I think what I said to my brother was wrong--I do like this kind of music.   Not that I would want to listen to this type of music all the time, but I don't mind hearing it at all and am finding many of the tunes enjoyable.

          More than once have I made a judgement call about something because of preconceived notions or not giving myself more of a chance to understand and appreciate it.  I'll still take classical music much of the time, but for now I'm listening to Alice Cooper and it sounds pretty good to me.

Battle of the Bands Results

         As many of you have noted about your own Battles since the Battle of the Bands first began over two years ago, the results can be unexpected and sometimes very surprising.  The results of my most recent Battle were just that.  I was bracing myself for a brutal shut out, but you voters kept this from happening.

         This Battle was between two Spanish language artists performing what I perhaps audaciously suggested what might be "among the most beautiful pop songs ever written".  Fortunately the song, "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos", was graciously accepted by the readers and even appreciated by most of those who voted.  

          From the outset my expectation was that the sound of the duo Sergio Dalma and Vanesa Martín would be the one that everyone would readily accept while the more Latin cumbia/reggaeton sound of Los Verduleros would be rejected.    I was sure wrong about this.  Even though Los Verduleros were pretty far off from a win, there were still enough of you who liked their style to hand them your vote and in the end give them a respectable showing.

          While I enjoy the exuberant performance and lively style of Los Verduleros, I much prefer the jazzy romantic style of the duo.  As Stephen T McCarthy pointed out, "How in the world Los Verduleros got it into their heads to perform THOSE lyrics in THAT style is way beyond me".  That was my initial reaction, though as I pondered the motivation of an artist I can see how the lyrics could be done in an upbeat styles as the group performed them.  It's not what I would prefer hearing with this song, but Los Verduleros sure make the song fun.  This group would probably be highly entertaining in concert and with music like that who's listening to the lyrics anyway?

           As you might have guessed, my preference was the performance of Sergio Dalma and Vanesa Martín.   I enjoy that jazzy style of music.  The vocal interplay between the two singers gave the song the sense of being a romantic mini-drama.  But even without the performance as a duo, I'd prefer the style in which they presented the song.

Final Vote Tally

Sergio Dalma (w/ Vanesa Martín)               28 votes

Los Verduleros                                              15 votes

More Battle of the Bands Coming Up!

        My next Battle will be appearing here on Monday February 15th.   Again I will be using a thematic approach geared toward the season.  Nothing dealing with romance or Valentine's Day this time.   However my song picks will be appropriate in their timeliness.  Oh,and the song will have nothing to do with the Academy Awards--or maybe it will in a way.  

        Another Battle of the Bands will be coming on Tuesday March 1st.   My song choice for that Battle will be offering a prediction of the future in a dual sense.  It's a song that "predicts the future" in the sense of the lyrics, but it will also offer some clues as to some of my upcoming song battles.   I've got something big planned--or at least my plans include something big.   Enigmatic enough for you?   I'll just leave it at that and leave you guessing.

BlogFest Stuff

         My hugest thanks to  Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Elizabeth Seckman,  Yolanda Renee,  Denise Covey.  and  Alex J Cavanaugh for helping to make the Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition blog hop such a tremendous success.   And of course the event would have not been a success at all without all of the wonderful entries from those who participated.   What a wide range of views on the topic of "Lost and Found love" and a great assortment of stylistic approaches.   If you didn't get a chance to read all of the entries you can find the list of participants here.  

          Also let us not forget the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   In the first two weeks of sign-ups we have passed the 600 mark.   You've still got several weeks to add your link to the list, but why not do it now.   Start your posts now and you'll have your April blogging wrapped up before that month starts.   For more information visit the Blogging from A to Z Blog.   

          What was something that you pre-judged only to decide later that you were wrong about?   Is there a type of music (food, sport, literary genre, etc) that you now greatly appreciate after finding out more about it?    Are there any things that interested you in the past that you now don't particularly like?

If you're interested in being part of my Arlee's Ambassadors A to Z Challenge Team, please let me know in the comments.  Essentially this means assisting me with the A to Z Challenge by monitoring the sign-up list for bad links, etc and visiting bloggers who have signed up.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What Is the Best Source of Creativity? #IWSG

       In my previous post I touched upon the topic of how loss or adverse personal circumstances influence creativity.  That post included my entries for the Lost & Found blog hop, the Question of the Month, and the Battle of the Bands.  If you haven't visited this post I hope you will now and please vote on your favorite BOTB song version while you're stopping in.  You can find the post at this link.

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

 What Is the Best Source of Creativity?        

         I don't know why--and I know I'm not the only one--that times of sadness, anguish, loneliness, dejection, and despair often results in periods of intense creativity.   That's the way it's worked for me in the past.   Not that I've scientifically measured this theory to prove its accuracy, but that's the way I remember it.

        I certainly don't want to experience any extreme negative time just to prove my supposition that it would result in greater creativity.  My theory is that when we lose someone or are waiting or anticipating some person, we have an idleness of time that leads us to write or create in some other way.  On the other hand when we're with someone we love or in a state of contentment we are too happy to do the creative things as much.  I will find myself doing more things away from home.

       Lately writing has been more of a struggle for me.   I still manage my blog posts, but many other things are neglected in exchange for spending time with my spouse, watching movies on occasion, and traveling.   Life is good and I'm trying to enjoy it to the max.

        Creativity is mostly based on power from within us that thrives on all that we experience and imagine.   Since we all are unique and have equally unique experiences, the sources of creativity vary from one of us to the next.  So what is my best source of creative inspiration and drive?  I'd hate to think it was sadness, loneliness, and depression.

        Would you be willing to sacrifice creativity in order to be happy?  Can you be artfully creative when you are angry or glum?    What are your greatest sources of creativity?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lost & Found: Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos (#BOTB)

       This post is my entry for the Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition blog hop hosted by Guilie Castillo-OriardAlex J CavanaughDenise CoveyYolanda ReneeElizabeth Seckman, and me.  Be sure to visit all of the hosts for this event.  To find the full list of participants visit the list on Tossing It Out or any of the host sites.  I'm combining my Lost & Found post with two other blogging events--The Question of the Month and Battle of the Bands.

        This month is a special one for Question of the Month – we’re joining forces with the the Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition. In honor of an upcoming Valentine’s Day, we want you to write about love lost or found. Share the highs and lows that only matters of the heart can bring. As such, our question for this month is just that:

“When have you lost or found love?”
     Let me answer this way: In all my years I've seen love come and go on several occasions. In some cases that love seemed more serious at the time than it really was--I guess I could say they were more like infatuations or love false alarms. A few were marriages and those were the most significant found and lost loves. I'd always thought that marriage was a forever kind of love, which in some abstract way it is, but the reality that I've experienced is that sometimes love gets a bit derailed along the marriage journey resulting in that train wreck called divorce. I'm no fan of divorce, but sometimes things break and no amount of effort can fix that which has been broken.

      I prefer love found, but love lost has had some upside in my life--especially when I consider what I've found after having lost a love.   My Tossing It Out post for the Lost & Found blog hop is not a story. If you want to read one of my stories about this then check out my post at Wrote By Rote.  Instead of a story, this post is about the impact that losing or finding love has had upon my own creativity.  Love has inspired many a person throughout the ages.   The ways that love has affected my creativity is probably similar to the ways it has affected some of you.  For my Battle of the Bands song pick I'll offer a bit of evidence that I see in the lyrics of said song.  

       On Wednesday my #IWSG post will deal with creativity with more specificity, but today I offer you a song with some lyrics that illustrate how love lost has affected me.  

Battle of the Bands

        Battle of the Bands is the blogging event hosted by Far Away Series and  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   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.

"Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos" ("My Story Between Your Fingers")

       This a song that I heard frequently on the Los Angeles Spanish rock station that I was listening to back in the 90's.   I was immediately captivated by the beautiful melody and plaintive lyrical content.  Despite my limited understanding of Spanish, I was able to grasp much of the sentiment of this song and I related to it.   This has become one of my favorite songs of all time.  In fact I'll make a bold claim that this is among the most beautiful pop songs ever written.   Considering the hit status of the song in Europe and Latin American countries I think many might concur with my statement.

        Now here's a puzzling mystery about this song.   It was written and first recorded by Italian artist Gianluca Grignani.   However when it was played on the radio I understood the artist to be the popular Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti.  In fact I liked "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos" so much that I went and bought every Ramazzotti album that I could find in hopes that my song would be included on one of them.  To my disappointment the song was on none of those albums that I bought.  In my recent research I cannot find the song on any Ramazzotti recording or any indication that he had ever recorded it.  I might have said that I had misunderstood what I thought I heard on the Spanish language radio, but then I found more than one YouTube video attributing the recording to Ramazzotti.  Somewhere a confusion developed not only with me, but with many others.

          I'm offering one of these recordings--although I'm pretty sure now that this is actually Grignani's recording--for you to listen to if you are interested in the version that enthralled me so much when I first heard it.   Please don't vote on it!  I think this is the best version out there so I feel like putting it up against any other version would be unfair.   If you wish, take a listen to "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos".   If you can solve the Eros Ramazzotti mystery I'd love to hear about it.


This Song Is My Story Too

       Thanks to my Lost & Found Co-host Guile Castillo-Oriard here is the English translation of the lyrics of "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos":
I think they’re not so useless
the nights I gave you.
You’re leaving, so what?
I’m not trying to argue,
you know as well as I.
At least stay just tonight,
I promise not to touch you — are you sure?

Maybe I’ve begun to feel alone,
because I know that smile, so definitive,
that smile of yours that to me
became the gateway to your paradise

It’s said that for each man
there’s one like you.
But my place—later—you’ll fill with someone
just like me (or better, but I doubt it).

Why do you look away this time?
You ask me to stay friends.
Why friends, dammit?
A friend I forgive, but you I love.

They might seem banal, my natural instincts.
There’s something I haven’t told you yet,
That my problems, you know, are called “You”
That’s why you see me act tough,
To feel a little safer.

And if you won’t even say where I’ve failed,
remember that I’ve forgiven you, too.
Instead, you say “I’m sorry, I don’t love you,”
and leave, taking this story between your fingers.

What will you do?
Look for an excuse and go.
Because about me you shouldn’t worry,
you shouldn’t provoke me.
I’ll write you a couple of songs
doing my best to hide my emotions.
Thinking, but little, about the words,
and I’ll speak of the smile, so definitive
That smile of yours that, to me,
became the gateway to your paradise…

      I've said these similar things in my partings with past loves. My times of loss have become times of great creativity when I'd write poetry and songs expressing my sentiments and desires. Maybe this was an action performed too late--my sad songs and poetry never resolved my break ups. Still I tried to fix the broken relationships with words such as those of this song. My guess is that the songwriter of "Mi Historia" went through one of those losses that inspired great creativity.

     There are many interesting recordings of this song to be found on YouTube (more evidence to why I consider this song to be so great). The recordings come in a wide variety of styles. I avoided the heavy thrash metal version (which I actually like especially because a violin is included in the instrumental line-up) but I thought it best to avoid that version. If you're curious check out Titanium for a rocking version of this song.

      In this round my choices for the Battle are two live versions that are in similar performance settings, but quite different in their stylistic approaches.  

Here are your voting choices:

Sergio Dalma & Vanesa Martín "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos" (2014)

        Dalma and Martín are both popular artists from Spain.  Here is a jazzed up version of "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos".  

Los Verduleros "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos"  (2013)

       This is a reggaeton/cumbia group from Paraguay.  They give the song an uptempo flavor that makes me want to get up and dance.

Time to Vote!

        Even if you don't understand what the artists are singing you can still judge whether you like the sound of a song or not. If you're visiting a Battle of the Band post for the first time then let me briefly explain.  Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you prefer over the other.   If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you.  This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.

      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

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
J. A. Scott  

Quiet Laughter

Holli's Hoots and Hollers


Be ReInVintaged

Results on Monday February 8th
        You've got a week to cast your vote, but try to do it soon so you don't forget!   On Wednesday I'll be discussing the topic of creativity a bit more as I post for this month's edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.   In that post I'll explain some of my thoughts on losing or finding love or any other circumstances that might cause our creative juices to flow.


Friday, January 29, 2016

#AtoZChallenge Update, but Wait!--There's More!

        The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is still over two months away from the starting date, but sign-ups and chatter are going strong.   So far in the first week the list is hovering somewhere around 500 bloggers.  No telling where this number will go in the next couple months, but you can help it grow by signing up now if you haven't done so yet and then spreading the word.

         Check out the A to Z Blog for available media sites.  We have something that should appeal to just about everyone including a Facebook page, Google +, Pinterest, Twitter, and other fun things that I'm still trying to grasp.  If you don't find your favorite online place then let us know and maybe one of the A to Z Team members can set something up.  Twitter chats will be starting up again on February 28th.  Watch the blog for details.

         We're all about outreach in trying to spread the word about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and we count on you to help us.  Be sure to not only post about A to Z on your own blog, but tweet the links to any other A to Z mentions you see and get the buzz going on your own favorite sites.   Recruit your blogging friends to join you in April.   If you know someone who's been thinking about starting a blog, help them get it going and then lead them to the April Challenge to engage these new bloggers into the community.   A to Z is all about networking so we count on the participants to let others know what's going on.

          Let's aim for another big year of blogging through the alphabet!

Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition

        If you're looking for a networking opportunity before April, have you checked out the Lost & Found blog hop?   This one is coming up on Monday February 1st (that's this coming Monday!).  So far over 70 bloggers have signed up to tell their own stories about the loves they've lost or found.  This should be interesting with a mix of all sorts of posts.   You have a story to tell so why not share it with us.   For more info and the sign-up list visit Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition.  Besides me, the hosts for this event are Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Elizabeth Seckman, Yolanda Renee, Denise Covey, and Alex J Cavanaugh.

No Excuses!

       There's always something going on in the world of blogging so none of you can say that you don't have ample opportunities to network and grow your blog.  Sign up to one of these events or any of the other myriad hops, fests, or what have you.   Visit and comment on the blogs of others.  The January slump is ending and now it's time to get back into blogging high gear.   

          What blogging events are coming up in which you will be participating?    Have you been in a bit of a blog slump lately?    What is your favorite online site for networking or just looking?