The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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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?

64 comments:

  1. And I thought I might implode on April 1. Might need to move Ask Arlee or your post will be longer than mine.
    A tie works. I actually would never listen to the Gregorian version, but it was just different enough it deserved my vote.
    I think people are just tired of the cold and snow.

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    1. Hah! This is Arlee's blog so I can't get rid of "Ask Arlee" Wait and see how cleverly I tie all of these together and still come up with a relatively short post.

      I just read where another "winter blast" is expected for the first day of spring in some areas. We've been getting our blast in L.A. with temps dropping from the 90's to the 70's and 80's. brrrrr!

      Lee

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  2. It does seem like the world is in an uproar. So much bad news, problems that can't be solved, I have been avoiding the news which is not really good if you want to be informed. Anyway, my dogs are all happy and so is my family. I'm glad your colonoscopy was quick. It means good results.

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    1. Things could be worse for many of U.S., but hopefully never will be.

      Lee

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  3. Glad your adventure was easy. I guess I never had one, but I have had a barium enema which is a procedure that should be used on terrorists IMHO.

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    1. Enema and enemy must have an etymological relationship as they seem to go together.

      Lee

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  4. Good to hear your procedure went fine. I had a Doc appointment yesterday and that was brought up as something that might be in my future. I hope they knock me out for it too if I have to.

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    1. There are some things we don't need to feel or know that are happening.

      Lee

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  5. Yep. The prep is definitely worse than the procedure, hands down. No spring here. Sigh. We are expecting snow tonight.

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    1. Yeah, I read that snow warning first thing when I brought up the internet this morning. If it's any consolation we are expecting sunny with temps in the 80's this weekend in L.A.

      Lee

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  6. No spring yet. We're getting more snow today, maybe as much as 6 inches. I think you're 4/1 post might qualify as a novel.

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    1. Susan, you and Alex just wait--my April 1st post might be among my shortest. Well, relatively speaking.

      Lee

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  7. I'm surprised your BOTB ended up a tie. I only noted the earlier votes, so there must have been a lot of later votes rolling in for Jenkins.

    I'm glad to see spring. Near the end of winter I do kind of get into the doldrums of dreary days and the cold weather. I don't think I've fully adjusted to leaving the Caribbean where the temperatures are in the mid 80's year round.

    Glad to hear you're feeling better and your 'procedure' went well.

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    1. Yeah, it was funny but there was a swell of votes for Jenkins that came in and she moved up quickly. I was surprised too.

      The Caribbean climate situation would be similar to L.A. in that there is not much variation. We get some cool, but rarely what most would think of as cold. It's kind of perfect weather here. Now only if I could say the same about the traffic and politics.

      Lee

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  8. But it's not today, it's tomorrow. You were asleep for 24 hours and 15 minutes, not 15 minutes.

    (I thought the Jenkins version was too close to the original in voice.)

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    1. I know--that's what I was thinking yesterday. I don't know how they did everything in 15 minutes but there was no trickery with clock manipulation or anything. By 10 AM my wife and I were at Mimi's Cafe for breakfast.

      That hospital was like a colonoscopy factory there were so many patients and medical personnel. I felt like a head of cattle just being herded through the whole process. In a way it was weird and scary, but in another sense the efficiency of it all was amazing.

      Lee

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  9. Hi Arlee!

    I'm just stopping by to say I'm back for another year of the A to Z Challenge. It's a fun way to exercise a little writing deadline discipline while giving myself permission to be distracted by all the lovely blogs out there...;~)

    Thanks for all you for the writing community!

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    author of THE STORY CATCHER (Anaiah Press 2015)
    coauthor of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US (Simon & Schuster 2013)

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    1. Great to hear, Donna. It will be an honor to have you join us again. Please spread the word and encourage other bloggers to join us.

      Lee

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  10. I'm trying to spring forth with life. Everything else is and hopefully I will, too. Stupid hormones! My BOTB choice didn't get picked, but I figured it wouldn't given the comments I saw. I still stand by it, though. I'm slowly getting my A2Z posts composed, but I won't be finished by the first, but hopefully I'll get enough done to make the hop more enjoyable. Not that it isn't, but you understand what I'm saying. Right? Glad all went well with your colonoscopy. Maybe your funkiness will pass soon. I kinda swing in and out of that state frequently, but it's nothing major. Have a good weekend!

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    1. I'm hoping to dive into finishing A to Z posts over the next week or so. At least get the first half of the alphabet done.

      Lee

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  11. Interesting with the tie for the BOTB. Glad your colonoscopy is out of the way, hopefully for many more years!

    betty

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    1. The tie was not expected, but not especially surprising to me since both versions were very good.

      Lee

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  12. Lee, I think having a BOTB's tie shows the success of having a competitive battle. Mine appears to have been a disaster. I simply must stop 'second guessing' my choice of which artists to pit against each other. I changed out both at the last minute. With your battle, Gregorian is still my favorite. I actually figured Jenkins would win - I know nothing! (smile)

    Weather here, is good warm one day and cold the next. I'm ready for my stability to get things done in the yard; expecting a huge load of tree mulch this coming week.

    A2Z - do you know how many posts blogger will allow one to schedule at a time? I do have a theme and all 26 posts are a couple of minutes, each, from being finished - but... I'm still uncertain. I'm also a minion for John Holton.

    Good to hear your test went well - and the cafe was opened! (smile)

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    1. Yes, I think the tie does show a competitive edge to a Battle but a decisive win is not necessarily bad either. A shut-out is another thing though.

      I don't know that Blogger sets any limit at all to numbers of posts scheduled. I've never had any problems so far.

      Lee

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    2. Yeah, I agree with Lee.
      Truthfully, I DISLIKE ties in my 'Battle Of The Bands' installments (and I think I've had, like, 3 ties!) As Yogi Berra said, "A tie is like kissing your sister".

      I want A WINNER! And a one-sided, lop-sided, blow-out winner is better than no winner at all (in my opinion).

      And very often the most fascinating thing about BOTB is finding out how WRONG your preconception was. I'm sure Lee will agree that sometimes a BOTB does NOT go even remotely like the "conductor" thought it would. I have sometimes been considerably shocked (and simultaneously entertained) by how wrong my BOTB pre-voting predictions have been.

      And sometimes a BOTB contest is MUCH closer than the final vote count would indicate. If you go back you might find that quite a few voters said that they felt it was really close and a tough vote to submit, but ultimately they sided with one over the other. The winner might be victorious by 8 votes, but 6 of those voters said it was a tough call to make.

      So, a lop-sided victory doesn't always indicate that one artist really kicked the other artist's butt in a convincing manner.

      Likewise, I agree with Lee that a "SHUTOUT" is a horrible thing. I can't convince myself that a shutout could possibly indicate anything other than a poorly conceived BOTB match-up.

      I have occasionally posted BOTB match-ups that I EXPECTED would be blowouts, but thankfully I've not yet had a shutout... although I've come pretty close a couple times.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  13. My grown adult daughter used to make fun of colonoscopies. She had her first one yesterday.
    Depression can be the result of many things. For me it was living in a home with a harsh father, losing 3 beloved family members, and a chemical disposiiton.

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    1. I can see where a colonoscopy might be the butt of many jokes. Hope your daughter had good results in the end.
      Seriously though, preventive steps can make a big difference. Many things can contribute to depression, but I guess it's how we handle those things.

      Lee

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  14. The weather here is still crushing us to death with freezing cold wind, raw days and snow in the forecast. I'm so tired of it. There's been an uptick in my stress level for other reasons and it's making me just want to run away. As for A-Z, it's just too much work and too time consuming. I don't even participate anymore and I am dreading it.

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    1. The real key to A to Z success is learning how to manage workloads and distribute ones time to meet goals. It's kind of like life. A to Z doesn't have to be any more stressful than we make it.

      Hope your stress level gets managed so you can relax.

      Lee

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  15. I think the weather has something to do with it for many people. Life is good even though I am down for the count this past week with a bad flu and bronchitis. Off work except for Monday and badly behind on looking at all the posts. I am glad they tied actually because it was like choosing between apples or oranges or roses or orchids-both were wonderful. I am revealing my A to Z on March 23rd. Now I have been up for 2 hrs and am very shaky so heading back to the couch for a lie down

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    1. Get well rested! You need to be in shape for April.

      Lee

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  16. I'm looking forward to watching others A to Z. I loved doing it last year, but this year I'm moving from Colorado to Oregon with too much stuff (and 5 horses). The move alone will take 2 weeks, but I'll be checking out random AtoZ blogs whenever I can. Thanks for the Blitz Day visit and comment.

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    1. Moves can be tedious and stressful, but it's a new beginning. I wish you well.

      Lee

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  17. Lee-

    Was that your first such procedure? I had to have one a year and a half ago, and they recommended a repeat every three years.

    For sure the prep is the worst part, but even that was not as bad as I anticipated...

    For some reason they sent me a bunch of pictures from the test. I had no idea why. But, since the holidays were approaching, I cut them up and included them with my 2013 Christmas cards!

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  18. Not really....but the thought did cross my mind.

    What better way to counter-attack those people who send six page letters with their cards?

    Nothing says 'tis the season like a nice glossy photo of someone's innards!

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    1. Innards might be better than pets! You must be considered a higher risk to be advised to get the tests so often. They told me that depending on my results I would probably either have to get the exam done every 5 or every 10 years.

      I wasn't as bad as the 2 sigmoidoscopies that I'd had before and I won't be all that concerned next time. This time the prep was a breeze and the procedure was amazingly free of pain or discomfort.

      Lee

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    2. How about a picture of the pets photo-shopped in with the
      innards?

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    3. Now there's a fun idea. Or maybe the kids and grandkids romping inside. I can see great possibilities with this.

      Lee

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  19. Great result Lee. I do love Katherine Jenkins voice.
    My despair have been due to lack of family life and having to move didn't help. Move over some normanity is slowly coming back into my life.........if anyone can call ME normal.

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    1. You have a lot burdening you. But summer will be here soon and things will be better for you as well. Keep looking up!

      Lee

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  20. Can't complain about the weather here in Arizona, but I do feel that odd sense of foreboding. For me I think it's world affairs, but since there's not a lot I can do about them I immerse myself in the things that comfort me, nature, children, sunsets and pretty soon, monsoon storms! That A to Z challenge sounds interesting. I could use a refresher on discipline (ah, in terms of writing!)

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    1. Be a part of A to Z! It does give some blogging discipline to those who can stick with it.

      Lee

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  21. Well, if I have seemed down it's due to a hubby who has been in a pissy mood at least once daily this week and a job where they buried me in accounts! But I am still very jived about the Challenge!!! Had my first colonoscopy this year. My experience very similar to yours. I totally winged the challenge the first two years and it wasn't hard. This year I am trying to get post done prior because I am more ramped up about visiting than ever before and I took the plunge and became one of Tremp's Troops. So glad you ended up siding with me for Gregorian in the battle! A great big Whoop-whoop! to our founder!
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    1. Always something to try to chip away at our good spirits. Just have to hang in there!

      Lee

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  22. Great that the colonscopy was painless Arlee! Interesting tie ... and interesting comments re life in general.
    Happy equinox! (it's Sat 21st 12.53 pm in South Africa). Have a great weekend!

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    1. I guess I won't fear that procedure so much in the future.

      Lee

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  23. First tie I think I've seen for botb. Glad the up the rump went easy as can be. I have noticed a few seem down in the dumps as well. There is a lot of crap that can pile on people. Sometimes an i don't give a **it attitude is just what you need.

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    1. You piled on the play on turds...er I mean words.

      The BOTB ties have happened a few times here and with others.

      Lee

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  24. I was excited about the coming of Spring, only to experience yet more snow and ice for much of Friday. It's nice to see the changing of seasons, but every winter, I'm so tempted to accept my aunt's repeated offer to move to Sarasota with her. I prefer hot to cold.

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    1. Sarasota used to be where the circus performers would winter or go to retire. I wonder if that's still true?

      Lee

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  25. I have a solid rebuttal for not doing the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Not motivated. Last year it was pretty crazy trying to create 26 posts for the challenge. By the early summer, the real world had crept up and combined with a light burnout, I decided to cut down my blogging to roughly twice a week.

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    1. I don't know that lack of motivation is a very solid rebuttal for not doing A to Z, but it's probably the most common one whether or not people admit to that way of saying it.

      Lee

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  26. I agree there seems to be "pall" over us all right now. I have all kinds of theories, but for me the answer is to "look to the hills" for my strength. I'm guilty of wondering if I should have signed up for the blogging challenge (what was I thinking when I haven't been blogging regularly lately!), but I'm going to jump in with a smile! Thanks Lee for being such an encouragement!

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    1. "Look to the hills" is the best thing for us to do.
      Sometime we have to just do things to get the fire built under us!

      Lee

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  27. Glad your colonoscopy went well. My prep didn't work the first time so then I had to do a 2 day prep where I couldn't eat. It was not fun.

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    1. I was afraid that something might be wrong and I've have to go back for a redo. But now I'm free for a few years at least.

      Lee

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  28. I do believe that our immediate connectivity to all that's going on in this world--a lot of it grim and getting grimmer--has a lot to do with the gloomy atmosphere on a lot of blogs. Poor health is always a reason for someone to become despondent, and I've read several blogs where chronic illness is taking its toll. One of reasons I started my Good News posts is I wanted to combat the negative stories, even if only in a small way.

    Glad to hear your procedure went well. It's always a relief to get good test results.

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    1. I've been enjoying your good news stories. We need more positive stories.

      Lee

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  29. Thanks for the pep talk, especially about the A-Z. I tend to get anxious when not being able to keep up with the commenting,etc. Yes, I'd say the weather has been a real downer here (Toronto area). Coldest Feb. on record and we're in a deep freeze again, this second day of spring. :( Gearing up for the April challenge is always fun though, although very few posts are actually written yet. ACK! Glad everything went well with your colonoscopy. A small price to pay for peace of mind. Sorry I missed BOTB this time, but I'm looking forward to that quadruple whammy post of yours. Cheers!

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    1. As we near April I always feel like the pep talks are needed. Have a great A to Z!

      Lee

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  30. Yay that everything came out alright. :)

    I think it's pretty cool that the songs ended up tying. Both were good.

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee