Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

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


Monday, May 22, 2017

The Cigar of Vengeance (#BOTB Results)

        It always seems a bit weird to try to hurt someone else by hurting ourselves.   But sometimes what hurts us seems to hurt so good.

Have a Cigar
Have a Cigar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cigar of Vengeance

        In my previous post I told the story about how my mother got revenge on my father by smoking a cigar.  The irony to the story is that my father wouldn't have known that she was smoking the cigar at the time and likely never knew it happened.  My mother was angry at my father and did something that she knew he wouldn't have liked even though he had no idea that she was doing it.  Unless she told him later, it's likely that my father never knew that my mother had smoked that cigar.

         Years later I asked my mother about the incident.  She told me that my father had gone to Las Vegas with a friend of his who she didn't like because she thought he was a bad influence.  Besides, my mother didn't like the idea of being left at home with two young children when he was out having a fun trip.  They were both fairly young at the time having been only married about five years.  Bottom line though is that she was jealous.

          When my parents were still dating my mother was a cigarette smoker.  My father abhorred that practice and made it clear that he would not marry my mother as long as she was a cigarette smoker.  She quit and they got married.  When the Las Vegas incident came about, my mother found a cigar that had been given to my father in celebration of a baby's birth.   To her, smoking that cigar would have pissed my father off though it was not an act that she wanted to blatantly flaunt in front of him.  So I guess she smoked it in some sort of clandestine retribution for his leaving.

           In some ways this does seem a bit odd, but many years later it was something to which I could somewhat relate.  Perhaps taking after my father, I entered adulthood with an abhorrence of tobacco smoke.  Many of my friends smoked and though I tolerated it, I hated it and often let my feelings be known.  Then I met my first wife who was--at least in my view--a rather heavy smoker.  I begrudgingly accepted her habit because, well, because I loved her.  But her smoking was often a source of contention between us.

          Eventually there were so many differences between us that we parted ways--an idea that was more hers than mine.  Strangely, and perhaps not so coincidentally, one of her best friends had split with her husband shortly before our split.  They also had the problem of her being a smoker and her husband being an anti-smoker like myself.  After my wife and I split, I moved in with this guy and to my shock I discovered that he had taken up the habit of smoking.  Soon I too was smoking right along with him, acquiring a two pack a day habit in the process.  I guess our vengeance on our exes was taking up the vice that we disliked most about them.

          Sometimes smoking that big old fat smelly cigar of vengeance is just what it takes to prove a point.   What that point is I don't really know.   I'm not sure about my old roommate, but I took my cigarette habit into my next marriage to another woman who smoked and we both remained heavy smokers for a couple years into our marriage until she became pregnant and we both quit. Both of us quit cold turkey and that was it.  At least until another bout of vengeance reared it's ugly butt.  But that's another story for another day.  So have a cigar, cigarette, or whatever it is you're smoking.

Battle of the Bands Results

       My vote in this Battle between two versions of "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd goes to the disco psychedelic take by Little Virgin Experience.  Even though I'm a big fan of acoustic versions of big rock songs, the drive of the pulsating rhythm of Little Virgin captured my heart and I'm almost always a sucker for psychedelic music.   Acoustic jams take me back to the days when my friends would gather with their instruments and play a song into oblivion.  Fun, but no cigar after about fifteen minutes of riffing on the same song.

       The voters had a different opinion as they bestowed an early lead on Atlantis Becoming keeping them in an ever rapidly growing lead to which Little Virgin could never catch up with.  The outcome was very decisive giving the acoustic jam boys a victory in this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Atlantis Becoming              20 votes

Little Virgin Experience      8 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Thursday June 1st

       I'll likely have one or two posts prior to the June 1st Battle, but that Thursday Battle is a cinch to happen.  This upcoming Battle will begin my summer posting schedule and the song I'll be choosing will be a older popular standard that is about a beginning.   And though the song might be old, I'll be using versions by more contemporary artists that all of you should know.  These performances might even surprise some of you.  Stay tuned!

        Have you ever tried to get revenge on someone by doing something that was harmful to yourself?   Have you ever been a smoker?    What was it that caused you to first start a bad habit?        


Monday, May 15, 2017

Have A Cigar (#BOTB)

          There's nothing like a big fat cigar to bring folks together.  Cigar smoke is guaranteed to put everyone in a celebratory mood.  Or some kind of a mood.

1890s caricature of athletic bloomers
1890s caricature of athletic bloomers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have A Cigar, Mom!

         The A to Z Reflections have been delivered on many sites and I'm offering a hearty congratulations and a big fat cigar to all of you who finished the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.   And while I'm at it let me wish all you mothers a belated Happy Mother's Day and hand you a big ol' cigar as well.

         A cigar for mothers you might ask?   Some of you might think of cigars as kind of nasty and nothing that any mother should be smoking.   I've never been a cigar smoker although on a few occasions I've tried smoking a stogie when one has been given to me.  I don't think I've ever finished one, but I probably wasn't smoking them like they're meant to be smoked.  They are kind of nasty in my opinion, but maybe they are an acquired taste.

         When I think of cigars I'll think back on the time when my mother was smoking a cigar.  This would been around 1955 or so when I was about four or five years old.  My younger sister and I were both quite concerned when we found my mother very upset and crying because my father had left on a trip to Las Vegas with a friend of his.  We kids began crying along with my mother because we were worried about her and afraid that my father was gone for good.

          My mother's tears turned to anger and later we found my mother doing something that baffled us and at the same time amused us greatly--she was smoking a cigar.  Our fears vanished in a cloud of smoke so to speak.  My sister and I giggled with glee at the spectacle of our mother smoking a cigar.  Soon my mother was laughing too.  Her anger hadn't completely gone away, but she softened at our giggles and began blowing smoke rings.  Her skill at blowing the rings amazed us and she played her cigar smoking role with all she had to give.  It was one of those funny life moments that has stuck with me ever since.

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 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.

Have A Cigar

         From Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here, "Have A Cigar" has many cover versions.  You can listen to the original here if interested, but please don't vote on this version since I won't count it in my final tally.  No voting for Ron Paul either.

          Instead I'm offering the following two contrasting versions:

Atlantis Becoming  "Have A Cigar"    (2012)

         First we have an acoustic version by a Cincinnati, Ohio rock band.

Little Virgin Experience  "Have A Cigar"  (2014)

        Next a band from Crete performing their psychedelic disco take in the style of the 1979 cover as originally released by the band Rosebud.

Time To Vote!

o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?  Do you prefer the acoustic sound of Atlantis Becoming?  Or would you rather rock out to the beat of Little Virgin Experience?     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

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday May 22nd

         The BOTB results post will be my next post so that gives us all week to vote on this Battle, but please don't tarry and vote now if you can.  I'll be tallying the votes in the upcoming weekend.  

           Have you ever smoked a cigar?  Did you ever know anyone to smoke a cigar as an expression of anger?   Anyone know how the tradition of handing out cigars at the birth of a baby got started?  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Reflections of 2017 A to Z (#atozchallenge) & #BOTB results

Reflections of the 2017 A to Z Challenge

        There's not that much to be said for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge that I haven't said in the Reflections posts of previous years.  Most of what was said in those posts still holds true.  The guiding principles of social blogging still hold true:  Leave comments to receive comments and make every attempt to keep things interesting in your posts.

           My theme of  It's About Time was one of my favorites to ponder and write the posts about.  The subject matter was interesting to me and seemed of interest to most readers who left comments for me.   I enjoyed the philosophical aspect of each letter topic and I didn't have to spend too much time researching my posts.  

          Though as is usually the case I didn't get to visit as many blogs as I would have liked, I made new blog discoveries as well as appreciated the blogs of old and newer friends.  The array of subjects covered during April with the added bonus of so much fine writing and creativity made blog reading a joy during the entire month.

           Personally I had no problem finding blogs to read through reciprocating my comments and practicing the other methods that have been oft repeated on the A to Z Blog and elsewhere.  In other words, I stayed busy visiting blogs and never got around to as many as I could have.  Not having the Linky List was okay with me and its absence meant that 2017 was the most relaxing unstressful Challenge ever.  

            I didn't miss the list albeit I did create my own link list (found here) mostly for my own curiosity to see how many participants I could compile.  I know I fell way short so I don't have any clear idea of how many A to Z participants there actually were this year.  For that matter, I'm not even sure if all of the links I listed continued participating from beginning to end because I wasn't using my own list.  However, my list was there for anyone to use.  Sorry if I didn't list your blog--it wasn't for any reason other than once April started I stopped trying to add to that list.

         So, the bottom line for me is that 2017 was a successful year of Challenge from all that I could see.  I enjoyed myself and had fun with it.  And it seemed many of you did as well.  There's not much more that I could ask for--other than having the kind of A to Z Challenges that I've described in previous Reflections posts and I leave it to you to research if you want to know more about that.

        Did you use the link list that I compiled on my site?   Did you miss having the A to Z Twitter Chats?   Would you be interested in being a part of the 2018 A to Z Team?

Battle of the Bands Results

       My previous Battle of the Bands matched two versions of the Crowded House song "Don't Dream It's Over" as performed by Diana Krall and the duo of Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande.  The outcome in this one did surprise me a bit after some of the flak I got when I posted other battles with Justin Bieber.   I kind of figured that there would be enough Miley Cyrus "hate" to steer voters toward the Diana Krall version.  But as I was already aware there are plenty out there who aren't big Diana Krall fans either.

        In my opinion both Cyrus and Grande are immensely talented young singers.  I thought their version was very well performed even with the goofing off in the instrumental break and the goofy attire.  I enjoyed their performance and thought their voices worked very well together.  I liked their version and that's why I used it.

         I happen to like Diana Krall and the addition of the string ensemble capped this performance off for me to the point that this is where my vote went.  I agree with those who pointed out the rough quality of her vocals and that caught my attention as well.  The vocal flaws of the live performance are especially apparent when you compare her studio version of the song, but I thought the imperfection added a depth of feeling to this performance and I was okay with it.

         The duo looked like it would take the win with a much larger lead for a while, but some later Krall votes came in to make for a better showing.  Not a bad contest in the final tally.

Final Vote Tally

Miley/Ariana                13 votes

Diana Krall                  11 votes

Next Battle on Monday May 15th

        I'll be trying to catch all the Reflections posts in the upcoming week so I won't be posting anything until my next Battle of the Bands on Monday May 15th.   Hope to see you then.   Not sure what song I'll be using so no clues since I don't have a clue.



Monday, May 1, 2017

Don't Dream It's Over (#BOTB) (#IWSG)

A to Z:  It's Over! (but not totally)

      We've reached the end of another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  This 2017 Challenge was outstanding in my view.  You can tell us about your A to Z experience in the tradition that is known as the A to Z Reflections Post.   Go to the A to Z Blog for more information on the Reflections post.  The official Reflections day will be next Monday May 8th.  Hope you'll join us with your own Reflections post.  You can also help us by taking the survey created by A to Z co-host J. Lenni Dorner.   Take the survey here.

Insecure Writer's Support Group

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

May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

         I've always enjoyed doing research.  In fact I was one of those dorky guys who read encyclopedias and dictionaries for entertainment.   In college I used to spend hours in the library just looking up stuff whether it related to anything I was doing for classes or not.  Research is fun!  And oh, the rabbit holes you can fall into!

        These days most of the research I do is for blog posts and Battle of the Bands (be sure to vote on the Battle you will find below).  Once I start researching for either of these, I will invariably find all sorts of ideas for more blog posts and Battles that I'll add to my queue of things to post in the future.  If you are one of those who find yourself strapped for ideas in your writing, set off to explore new research projects and if you are keeping your mind awake you will surely start coming up with ideas.

         One of my stranger research explorations was when I was writing my 2010 NANO novel Time Light.  Part of my story involved characters going to Cairo, Illinois where there is a nearby town listed on the map as Future City.  I wanted to incorporate this oddly named place into the story, but since I was over 1800 miles away, just popping over to get information about this place was out of the question.

        At the time I was doing this research, there was little I could find on line about Future City so I called the Cairo library.  From there I was directed to a wonderful older African-American gentleman who was a retired city worker and a history scholar who had written a couple of books about the area.  We conversed for a lengthy period as he filled me in on the origins of Future City and some of its history.  Afterwards I asked if he minded if I did a story about him on my blog to help promote his book, but he declined because his book was no longer in print and he wasn't interested in having his name on the internet.  Interesting, but he sure was friendly and helpful for the purpose of my investigation.

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 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.

"Don't Dream It's Over" (1986)

      It was September of 1986 when I was coming upon Austin, TX on I-35 and "Don't Dream It's Over" came on the radio.  I was immediately transfixed by the song.  The sound of it was mesmerizing to me--such a beautiful melody with puzzling lyrics.  The next chance I had to go to a record store I bought the Crowded House album on cassette and from that point on I was a fan of the group as well as anything related to Neil Finn, the composer of the song.  I sought out the albums of his earlier group Split Enz as well as the albums by his brother Tim Finn.  The Finn brothers are outstanding songwriters and I now count "Don't Dream It's Over" as one of my all time favorite songs.

       Until I ran across a beautiful instrumental jazz version which inspired me to consider the song for a Battle of the Bands match, I had no idea that there were so many great versions of the song.  Instead of using that jazz version (I've decided to use a different song by that jazz group for a later Battle) I decided to use two versions by more known artists that some of you might like or dislike.  I thought these versions displayed a nice contrast of stylistic approach to a song that has become even more amazing to me after having listened to many cover versions.

       To hear the Crowded House original you can click the link in the above title, but please don't vote on that version.

        Here are the versions up for Battle:

Miley Cyrus & Ariana Grande  "Don't Dream It's Over"  (2015)

Diana Krall   "Don't Dream It's Over"  (2015)

Time To Vote!

Between these choices do you have a preference? Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?  Do you prefer the more uptempo fun version of Miley and Ariana or the more somber take by Diana Krall?   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

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday May 8th

      You have until Sunday May 7th to vote with the winner announced on May 8th. That will be a big day as it is also when my A to Z Reflections will appear.

          Do you enjoy doing research?    Do you ever go down a rabbit hole of research to end up looking up things you originally didn't intend to research?    What do you think "Don't Dream It's Over" is about?  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zero Hour (#atozchallenge)

          Perspective determines everything.  Sometimes we see a glass half full or we might see it half empty.  The outcomes we hope to see usually depend on whose side we are on or whether something will be of benefit to us.

Zero Hour

        The irony of zero hour being the final post in my It's About Time series is that this is a term that is often used to denote a beginning.  On the other hand we might think of zero hour being the end of a count down.  However that too signifies a beginning.  With the end of the 2017 A to Z Challenge we come to the beginning of the month of May.

          With May we start seeing other beginnings as the spring season hits us almost at times with a wallop of a suggestion of summer.  From what I've seen from weather reports, summer is here and ready to start its work.   Some of us might be in the final countdown toward graduations or working time before vacation time comes.

        In a way zero hour is more like a pivot point rather than a beginning or an end.  The metaphorical "circle of life" is more like a big hoop rolling down a hill.  Beginnings and ends continuously happening with fast middles whirling past us ever more difficult to keep pace with.

         Zero hour doesn't mean much in the bigger scheme of life as it is that repetitious part of the cycle that keeps turning up and then turns back around.  Each morning is the start of a new day and as long as the mornings keep coming then we're good in that respect.

        This post you are reading marks the end of this current A to Z series. Another new post will arrive on the day after this one has had its few hours at the top of the blog page queue.  Essentially all will be back to some semblance of normal for a while.

         Be sure to be here on Monday May 1st for my next Battle of the Bands post which will be a song in honor of those who completed the 2017 A to Z Challenge--a song of relief in a sense.  In that same post I'll be incorporating my contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group where I'll be discussing strange research.  Also I'll be showing off my A to Z Survivor badge along with my reminder about the upcoming May 8th A to Z Reflections post.

         This next post will be a busy one so please don't miss it!

         In your thinking, is "zero hour" a beginning or an end?   Do you prefer the beginnings or the ends?   Do you think I should go back to one post a week or would you prefer to see more?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yearly Events (#atozchallenge)

         We are about to wrap up the eighth annual Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  It's pretty cool to realize that the A to Z Challenge can now be considered a "yearly event"!

Yearly Events

         Many families as well as communities have their own special celebrations to commemorate milestones that are especially significant to them.  Throughout the United States one can find events and gatherings in honor of something that people want to remember.  Countless festivals and fairs occur throughout the year in towns, neighborhoods, or even city or statewide.  These are aside from the holiday events that are celebrated nationwide.

           For years in my former hometown of Maryville, Tennessee there was a yearly celebration known as Hillbilly Homecoming that was popular with locals and out-of-towners alike.  This event apparently lost favor as something that negatively stigmatized the community even though thousands enjoyed those few days celebrated every year.

           Other cities have latched on to events that generate revenue that benefits many businesses and individuals as well while showing a good time to many.  There are street fairs, arts festivals, and so many other celebrations that have retained a popularity that keeps people coming back year after year.

             This weekend brings to an end another yearly event--The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   From the way bloggers keep coming back to participate and to read it looks like this event might keep going for years to come.

              Another yearly tradition that is part of the A to Z Challenge is the A to Z Reflections Posts where many participants return with a post telling about their April experience.  This year the Reflections Post day will officially be on Monday May 8th.   There will be more information about this at the A to Z Blog on Monday May 1st.  

            Does your family celebrate any yearly traditions?   What are some of the yearly events in the community where you live?   Do you see any value in having yearly events?  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Xerothermic Period (#atozchallenge)

          For the dreaded "X" day I figured I'd have to go with some arbitrary throwaway concept like "Hour X" or "X O'Clock" until I actually found a time term not only beginning with the letter X, but also relevant to a controversial topic of our time--Climate Change.  

Xerothermic Period

        A number of people have asked about my views on climate change suggesting that I write a post on the topic.  This X post will not be that requested post, but it will be somewhat related. Maybe this post will give you a hint where I stand on this highly controversial and even divisive topic.

         If I am interpreting the data I've found correctly then the Xerothermic Period might also be the same as or related in some way to the post-glacial warming era called the Holocene climatic optimum. This was an era of warmer, drier climate that occurred 4,000 to 12,000 years ago according to scientists. 

        The warming primarily was in the northern polar regions as well as climate changes throughout the northern hemisphere and other parts of the Earth.  Since industrialization or other human caused factors were unlikely to have been any influence on this climate change the speculation is that this warming trend was a natural and perhaps cyclical event that could have been due to fluctuations in the Earth's orbit or some other natural cause.

         During this era of climatic change the polar ice caps melted to a great extent as well as the massive glaciers that had moved southward.  There are indications that certain lakes were larger than they are now and it is likely that the oceans came farther inland.  

          As a caveat I will say that I didn't do any extensive research on this topic and by no means offer this post to be of any solid scientific authority, however this seems to be generally representational of certain scientific schools of thinking regarding historical climate change cycles.

           So make of this what you will.  My thoughts are that those who are crying "Wolf!" concerning any influence of human activity regarding climate change might be overlooking historical scientific findings on climate fluctuations of the past.   Maybe some of you have more information about my pondering in this post.  The comment section will welcome any further facts or opinions regarding this.

          Do you think there have been non-humanly influenced periods of climate change in the Earth's past history?   Are you familiar with the theories that vast areas of what is now dry land were once covered by ocean?   Would you rather live in a colder glacial climatic period or a warmer period?  


Thursday, April 27, 2017

When (#atozchallenge)

       Though it's often good to know when something is going to occur, sometimes there is no clear answer.  Occasionally there is no answer at all.


       I'm not particularly fond of uncertainty.  If something is supposed to happen then I like to know the time and place so I can be ready for it.  In most cases, knowing when is essential if you are coordinating with others.  Not knowing when can lead to being too early, too late, or not even considering being anywhere at all.

      Then there are those ambiguous whens.  There is the unspecified anticipation that something will happen someday but we just don't know when.  We might have some vague idea or perhaps no idea whatsoever.   When might be dependent on our meeting some other prerequisite.  On the other hand, that time we are waiting for might be in the hands of someone else.  When might even be a function of natural or spiritual forces coming together at the right time--or the wrong time.

       If you know when something will happen then you can try to be ready for it.  Not that you will be ready, but at least you have that option to try.  We now know when A to Z will happen because it's called the April Challenge.  Christmas, Halloween, or U.S. Independence Day have their dates predetermined so that we can make plans before those days arrive.

       Fortunately, time is organized for us so that we can prepare for when.  That is if we know precisely when is.  Otherwise we can ready ourselves for those ambiguities such as when the big one hits, when the power goes out, or when we are facing nuclear attack.  Those with foresight might even put a plan B or plan C or even more contingencies into place.  Not many of us probably even have a first option set up.  Of course we all know how any plan can go astray.

        Hopefully, whatever happens, the government will take care of us. At least we like to think that the government has a plan for just about anything when it happens.  When it does.  When...

        Do you have any contingency plans set up for emergencies or disasters?    Do you like to improvise actions for unprepared occurrences?   If you had a fifteen minute warning of an impending nuclear strike, what would you do?


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Valuable Time (#atozchallenge)

         Minutes and hours are not something you can save for later.  Time is like hundred dollar bills that will burst into flames if you don't spend them immediately.  Your time can be used to invest in enriching experiences, but that time itself cannot be invested in such a way that it can be used when it's more convenient.

Valuable Time

       At some time in our life most of us have probably been told that we were wasting valuable time.  When we were young there was so much time on our hands that it scarcely seemed valuable.   Then later as hair turns to silver the hours turn to gold.   The time we have is limited--a non-renewable resource.

        If we could put minutes and hours into an account to be withdrawn for later use, undoubtedly we would all do that.  Sometimes the time we have in the present might seem better served to use tomorrow or on some future day.  But we're out of luck in regard to that.  If you're not feeling up to par, if you're not quite ready for your performance in the present, or if you're just not in the right frame of mind to do what you need to do now, then that's too bad.  There are no do-overs for today. You might get second chances to do something, but today's time is gone forever once it has passed by.

        In our society we might gauge the worth of time by our pay or our accomplishments, but time is far more valuable than any arbitrary measure we can come up with.  You can't buy back the time that you've left behind you.

         Yet even those idle moments sitting on a park bench in the sun or lying on the couch lost in thought are valuable.  How can one compare the worth of such times to times spent accomplishing big things?    I don't think we can.  Each time is dependent on the other.  A seemingly idle moment can be the prelude to the most major achievement in our lives.  Or restful minutes of blissful peace can be the remuneration for a job well done.

          All time is valuable, but that value cannot truly be measured by us or anyone for that matter.  Whether by paycheck or inner peace, the worth of time is relative to how that time has fulfilled us.  And even that is something we might not even truly realize.

           How do you measure the value of your time?  Do you feel that some of your time has been worth more than other times?    If given a choice, would you take one hour of amazing experience or an entire day of just being home alone?  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Under the Wire (#atozchallenge)

          Procrastination is only a big deal if you don't make your deadline in time.   The emotional and physical duress that comes with procrastination all becomes a memory once you've achieved your mission successfully.

Under the Wire

        What I was saying in my previous post is that now I've caught up to myself in the A to Z and I'm churning out my posts under the wire.  I've been waiting until that last minute to wrap up each post.  Not really sure what I'm waiting for or why I'm doing it.  Maybe it's partly because the last week of letters have some of the toughest ones.  From what I've read in the past, I'm not the only one who finds the biggest challenge of the A to Z postings is coming up with something creative for U,V, X, Y, and Z.   W isn't too bad usually, but those others can get tricky.

      Once again we come to a time idiom.   "Under the wire" is a great time idiom to use in the the context of the thought in my previous paragraph.  A Google search reveals that "under the wire" originally comes from horse racing in the days when a wire was stretched across the finish line to more easily determine which horse came in first.

         If my personal A to Z Challenge were a horse race I'd still be finishing, but just barely.  It's almost a metaphor for my life.  I've typically been one to cut things close especially when things start coming to the end of my run.  Maybe it's my subconscious way of not wanting things to end.  If I'm enjoying myself or comfortable with what I'm doing, I don't want it all to end.

         But the nice thing is that once one finish line has been crossed a new race begins.  It's a new beginning whether I take some time to rest back at the stable or just jump into another race--metaphorically speaking.  Come to think of it, I speak in metaphors often at this blog.  The way I see it as a writer, metaphors add a bit of interest to writing. And speaking as a person, or at least personally speaking, I see life in metaphors much of the time.  Life is like a novel where I'm the main character, but the darn thing is still being written.  I hope it's a really big book and I'm only half way through.

          Do you think you still have a long way to go in your life?   Do you wish your life had a good editor to correct some of your errors?   Have you ever imagined a life episode and made it come true?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Time Travel (#atozchallenge)

      I'd like to travel back in time to see if I really did some of the stupid things I seem to remember doing.

Time Travel

      Some of you regular readers of my blog perhaps are aware of my interest in the topic of time travel.  I've written more than a few blog posts about time travel.  It's one of my favorite genres of film and literature.  If I hear about a television show having to do with time travel then I will likely watch it until they take it off the air.

        As for actual time travel, if it were real and safe, you can darn well bet that I'd be willing to go back in time.  As long as I were able to return in an intact state of good health, I'd be a willing subject to journey back into the past.  I'd have to give the future a second thought since I wouldn't have anything specific I'd want to see, but the past is another story---There are so many places, people, and events I'd like to experience first hand

        If I could travel back only a month or two from today, I'd finish the rest of my A to Z posts since now I've come to the point where I'm whipping out posts at the last minute.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one doing this.  And it won't be the first time for me.  In some ways working under pressure suits me.  It's not my preference, but even as far back as my days in school, the procrastinated last minute paper due to be turned in tomorrow seems to be a common state of affairs.

         Just saying.   In fact, this post you are reading now could very well be the lead-in for my next post.   After all, my A to Z posts are all about time,  Time is my theme.  My posts for the Challenge are travelling through time.  Yeah.  That's my story and  I'm sticking to it.  It's a series and it travels through time.

         If you could travel through time, where would you go?   Thinking of a potential scientific theory, how do you think a person could travel through time if it could absolutely happen?   Do you have any remaining posts left to compose for the Challenge?

        Watch for an announcement at the A to Z Blog about the upcoming A to Z Reflections post day which will be on Monday May 8th.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Same Time Next Year (#atozchallenge)

     When you no longer have to say "Let's do this again next year" and everybody concerned just expects something is going to happen at the same time, then a tradition has been established.  Keeping a tradition works unless everyone gets pissed off at each other and they stop doing it.  Well, that is with the exception of elections when everyone traditionally becomes pissed off at each other and they keep doing it anyway.

Same Time Next Year

       All societies seem to develop certain traditions whether they be based on times of religious significance, historical remembrance, or whatever it might be that a culture deems worth recognition and celebration.   Most of us welcome holidays as times for getting away from work or school and having an excuse to go someplace, to party, or to just stay home and relax.  And as though the societally accepted days of recognition were not enough, we and our families come up with our own additional special days.

         We tend to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other noteworthy dates with parties, cards, gifts, dinners, or some kind of recognition.  There are annual communal gatherings to watch recurring events like the Super Bowl or the Oscar Awards.  If something's worth celebrating then it's more fun to do it with people whose company you enjoy.

        Now many of us can add the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge to the "same time next year" event schedule.  When I started that first Challenge in 2010 I didn't think about it becoming an annual event.  Then when I saw the level of interest and how many people wanted to do it again, same time next year was a natural response.  Now here we are seven years later doing the eighth annual Challenge.  I guess we can consider this Challenge as an annual blogging tradition!

        Are there any traditions that you have established with family or friends?  Do you enjoy attending family gatherings or other similar social events?    Are you already planning to come back same time next year for another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Racing the Clock (#AtoZChallenge) (#BOTB winner)

Racing the clock can be exhilarating while you're at it, but I'd much rather take my time and enjoy the scenery as I stroll through life.

Racing the Clock

       The pace of life can go so fast that we often lose track of what is around us as we go forward.  We spend our lives stuck between yesterday and today, never completely sure of what lies ahead and often oblivious of the things we missed along the way.  The racer will focus on the prize that awaits at the finish line while often missing out on those gems that are passed by along the way to that final destination.  Clocks might stop, but time races on as we are swept forward.   In the race of life, the winner is not the one who reaches the end first with the fastest speed.

Battle of the Bands Results

        Speaking of races, my last Battle featuring the song "In Between Days" originally done by the Cure was a horse race from the starting gate.  Then in the final stretch, the Ben Folds version took the lead to leave Cementerio Club in the dust.

          My vote could go for either of these fine performances, but I'll cast mine along with the winning team.  The frantic pace of the Ben Folds version seems more appropriate for the racing theme I've presented in this post though a good case can be made that the version Cementario Club captures the spirit of the lyrics in a more appropriate way.  So it's Ben Folds for me in this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Ben Folds                10 votes

Cementerio Club        6 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Monday May 1st!

         We're in the final stretch of the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge so just a few more posts until I wrap up my series on the It's About Time theme.  I hope you stay with me until the end.   Then I definitely hope you'll join me for my next Battle of the Bands post when I'll have a song chosen especially in honor of the occasion of the end of another Challenge.

          Is your life more of a rat race or a pleasant stroll though the park?   How do you slow down to enjoy life better?   Do you enjoy it when you are faced with deadlines and a pressure to get things done?


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quality Time (#AtoZChallenge)

         I spent some quality time with my television last night.  I don't think my television appreciated that time that I put in.  My wife didn't mind because she was devoting some of her own quality time to sleep.  She probably made the more constructive choice.

Quality Time

         For years I've heard the term "quality time."   It's one of those pop phrases that people throw out there to describe something they'd like to do and often think they do, but it's questionable as to what the term actually means.  My assessment is that it means different things for different people in relation to different things.  Sounds like a bit of a cop out I guess, but I'm sticking to it.

          Usually we think of quality time as having to do with our kids, family, or friends.  But in reality we should probably try to inject quality into all of the time we are given.  My goal should be to provide quality time to myself just as I would to a loved one.

           Our jobs, our passions, or whatever we pursue should consist of time that has as much quality as we can put into it.  After all, time that has no quality is essentially wasted time or useless time.  Or better still we might call it perfunctory time.

          I've never been particularly fond of the concept of killing time or just passing time for no reason or purpose.  And keep in mind that time spent reflecting or daydreaming is not time ill spent.  Those minutes or hours can be some of the best and most rewarding passages of time of all.  Quality time devoted to ourselves.

          We should look at our time with our loved ones as high quality time since those times are fleeting.  Our memories of those times should be filled with happiness.  But time itself is our most enduring friend--or in some cases enemy.  If I can befriend my enemy then my time can be filled with quality.

         What do you consider to be quality time?   Do you feel you often miss the quality and shoulder a burden of time?   Do you receive all of the quality time from others that you would like?



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Punctuality (#AtoZChallenge)

       If I say I'm going to be somewhere at some specific time, I try my best to do exactly that.  It's what I expect from others as well.  I hate to wait so please don't be late!

Train, Dunmurry station – The 11.27 Bangor – P...
Train, Dunmurry station – The 11.27 Bangor – Portadown calling at Dunmurry station. Since the introduction of this new stock there has been a noticeable improvement in punctuality and fewer “we regret to announce” over the long-line public address. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


       I hate being late.  I don't like to wait for other people either,  If anything I prefer to be early if I'm going somewhere.  My wife seems to have that same inclination so we are usually of a single mindset when we go somewhere.  If we're running late then I tend to get nervous and start feeling anxiety.  I want to be on time because I don't want anyone waiting on me.

        That's the way I've always been.  My father too.  I guess I got that quality of punctuality instilled within me from my father's influence.  Yes, I call punctuality a quality because I consider it to be a courtesy to others and a sign of respect.  If I don't like to wait on somebody else that I'd expect that they don't want to be waiting on me.  If we're all on time then we're all happy, or at least that's the way I see it.

         But there's another thing.  Maybe this is my main reason and in a sense it might be somewhat self-serving or even a desire to be the one in control.  My father was like this too.  What I have found to be the case is that if I am the first one in a place then it's like I've marked that territory as mine.  If I'm early then I can scout things out to get a "lay of the land" so to speak, thus giving me a certain advantage in a sense.  Being the first one there means I can arrange things to my advantage.  I can usually watch as the other person arrives.  They are coming to me.

          As an example, when I went back to college at age 54, I always tried to be the first one in class.  For one thing I'd get my preferred seat in class.  But often, and this was probably also due to the fact that I was usually the oldest student, those coming into the class would often assume that I was the professor.  Even after they found out that I wasn't, as the class went on I was always seen in a sort of leadership role.

            Most of my working life I've usually either been in a management role or looked at as a candidate for management.   I tend to prefer a work situation in that way.  If I'm confident about a job then I'd prefer to be the person in charge.  I'd much rather be the guy giving orders then having to take them from somewhere else. One of reasons that I've been placed in higher positions is the sense of being capable of taking on responsibility.  Being punctual is a responsibility.  And a quality.

           My father would have liked that part of me.  Being punctual and responsible.  It was an example that he set for me and I kept up with it in my life.  It's the way I am and I wouldn't want it any other way.

            Are you usually a punctual person?    Why do you think that some people are habitually late?  Do you see punctuality as a quality in a person?