This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

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

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

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Monday, September 23, 2019

A Poke in the Eye ( #BOTB results )


You've probably heard of a "pig in a poke" and a poke in the eye is not a pleasant experience, but getting a pig in a poke in the eye must be a very bad thing...

Image result for pig eyes


Battle of the Bands Results




       Keeping things simple in this post.  For my most recent Battle of the Bands  I used versions of the Frankie Valli hit "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" as performed by Contemporary Christian group Daniel Amos and hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill.

        I wasn't too sure how this match up would go and the outcome caught me somewhat by surprise.  Even though labeled "hip hop", I thought the smooth production and laid back sound of Lauryn Hill might land her more votes than she ended up with.   The new wave/punk sound of DA on the other hand I thought might be a bit more jarring even though the arrangement was rather similar to the original version.   

        Some of you indicated that the DA recording sounded noisy, but it was preferable to the Hip Hop sound of Lauryn Hill.   Guess that "Hip Hop" label is just a turn-off to many of my readers.  As I mentioned in that post, Daniel Amos has been a longtime favorite band of mine so that's where my vote went.  And like many of you said, they play in a style that is preferable to me.  I do like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album and purchased it when it first came out, but I just like Daniel Amos better.

         This match was headed toward a devastating shut-out until some voters came through to save the day,  Not that all of those voters liked Hill, they just preferred her sound to that noisy Daniel Amos sound.   
  
           Another unexpected outcome for me...



Final Vote Tally

Daniel Amos               15 votes

Lauryn Hill                    4 votes



Next Battle on Tuesday October 1st!

       I'll likely combine that post with my next #IWSG post.  Better to do it that way than post two days in a row.   That's how I see it at least.  Besides, I'm having some work done on our house so I don't need to spend too much time on the blog this week.  That's seems to be the story of my life of late.


           











Sunday, September 15, 2019

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You ( #BOTB )


        Other people are a favorite pastime for most of us.  We like to see what others are doing.  Just think if there were no people on television.  It would be like looking out a window at a view that was always changing, but without people it would likely soon get old--and wordless....

     
A cool scene for a hot day:  Skating at Ober Gatlnburg in the Smoky Mountains
Who You Lookin' At

         Who doesn't like people watching?  We watch others for entertainment, satisfying curiosity, or instruction. YouTube is filled with videos of people doing nutty or endearing things.  It's become a go to site for me when I want to watch how others do something like household chores or simple repairs that I might want to attempt on my own.  If I can see somebody else do it then I figure I can possibly do it as well.

        Then, there are those objects of fixation, admiration, or adoration. It might be your spouse, kids, pet, car, or whatever it is that you want to have for your own The desire can sometimes be so strong that it can work adversely against us. Perhaps you can recall some instance in your own life of wanting someone or something so badly that it can lead to feelings of despondency or even reckless behavior.

         In other cases, our focus on something might help us to become better as we continue to strive to obtain that which we achingly long for.  We practice, we work, we write, and we dream.

           Or we might just have a Battle of the Bands...
       

Battle of the Bands


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


Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

         My Battle theme for this month is eyes.  The previous Battle featured "Eye in the Sky" which is essentially about watching someone for the purpose of spying on their thoughts and actions. In this next Battle we'll look at two very different versions of the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" which was originally a big hit for Frankie Valli of the vocal group The Four Seasons.   You've undoubtedly heard this original version (don't vote on it please!) and if not, you've surely heard some version of this song which has been recorded numerous times and appeared often in films, etc.  This classic is a true standard tune of our times.

        In the following Battle we'll compare two very different sounding as well as different approaches to this hit.  One of these you will likely be unfamiliar with while the other was a big hit in the nineties.  I actually own the albums where each of these versions first appeared so I'm a fan of both.  However, I like one better than the other.  Which do you like best?


Daniel Amos  "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"   (1995)

         Daniel Amos is the name of a contemporary Christian rock group that first appeared on the scene in 1974.   Under the leadership of Terry Scott Taylor,the group and its members have recorded numerous albums to this day not only as Daniel Amos, but also in various other guises.  To me, Taylor is a music genius and his group and solo projects are among my favorites.  Though they usually do original tunes, in this case they performed this cover.  In Taylor's approach here the song is sung almost as a hymn of adoration to God...





Lauryn Hill   "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"   (1998)

        Formerly with the hip-hop group The Fugees, Lauryn Hill parted ways to release the highly acclaimed monster hit album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which is where her version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" first appeared. She takes a pretty radical approach to the tune and I think it works very well. What do you think?....








Time to Vote!

        Now all eyes are on you!  Which artist do you like best?   Pick one and have some fun!  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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside





Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday September 23
          As we head into fall, I'll announce the results of the final Battle of the summer of 2019.  I don't even want to think about winter right now.  It seems like January was just a few weeks ago.  Time is careening at an unbelievable speed!

           These days, what is the focus of your greatest love, admiration, or attention?  In your younger days did you ever fall under the affliction of "puppy love"?    Do you have a secret love that you dare not tell anyone about (except here of course)?  


         


Monday, September 9, 2019

The Eyes Have It ( #BOTB Results )


         Who's watching you?  Who are you watching?  I'm always keeping my eyes on something or someone.  And if someone's looking at me what should I do about it other than ignore it.  Unless, of course, it becomes too creepy and a bit of disconcerting nuisance.  Then I'm not sure what I'd do since I've never had it happen before--or at least not that I could see...

         One of the creepiest songs that I can think of is "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town".   I mean, really--"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake."  That sounds more like a stalker to me than some benevolent overseeing benefactor who gives us gifts once a year.  And only if we've been good! 

          Something I like to do sometimes when I'm on the computer is go to a street view from Google Maps and start virtually driving some road.  It's amazing how much of the world they've got covered.  One night I lost myself for hours driving through streets of a city in the Philippines. It was almost like being there.  It's more difficult to go down the street where I live. It's in a gated community and I guess the Google mapping vehicles couldn't get in.  At least I have that bit of privacy.

         On occasion I'll see mapping vehicles driving around our area.  They are not just from Google either.  I've seen other companies taking their own pictures.  Then there are those satellite views on Google Maps.  When I look at my neighborhood view I can see my van parked in the driveway when I zoom in.  As I scroll across the page the image appears in 3-D.  I'm pretty sure that if I angled that image just right, I could look in the windows to see inside.  Yes, there I am.  Hi everybody!

         Just think if that satellite view were live streaming.  We'd all be watching each other watch each other.  Great.  Another time-consuming waste of time.  I needed another one of those.


Battle of the Bands Results




          Out of the gate Parralox took a lead in this most recent Battle, but Noa was never too far behind.  The lady did a mighty fine version of "Eye in the Sky" and I did enjoy it a great deal.  However being such a fan of the Parsons original, I preferred the updated electro-pop sound of the Parralox cover and that's who I gave my vote to. 


Final Vote Tally

Parralox     13 votes

Noa             9 votes


Next Battle of the Bands Post on Sunday September 15th

       In fact this will be my next post on this blog or any other.  This next Battle will also be between two covers about "eyes"--a big hit that has been covered many times over the years.  You might guess what it is pretty quickly, but you'll find out for sure on Sunday the 15th.   Don't ever lose focus of what's really important.

           What is one thing that you try to never lose focus of?   Have you ever looked at internet images of your house taken from a mapper or a satellite?   Do you ever drive the virtual streets and highways on Google Maps Streetview?








Wednesday, September 4, 2019

No Place Like--Where? ( #ISWG )


I dream of places, people, things and situations.  I dream by day and I dream by night.  If my dreams turned into shiny gold coins then I'd be a wealthy man.  It could happen you know...
                                                                   Arlee Bird

An East Tennessee Lake scene


The 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





The co-hosts for the September 4 posting of the IWSG are Gwen Gardner,Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantiner!


September 4 question - If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

          Since I consider myself to be a logical person, the answer to this is easy:  If I were to sit down to write I'd prefer to be right here at home at my computer.  When I'm away from home I get so distracted by my surroundings or people I'm with I might never do any writing.  

         If I were to take a retreat for the sole purpose of writing, I'd want a mountain setting like my old home East Tennessee or maybe somewhere in western Virginia--specifically Marion.  But that could be very expensive unless I outright moved there.  So that dream is impractical in my real world.  

        Besides, near my desk and in my home I have my office and all its stuff and my house and all my life stuff.  To be unfettered by such and financially free to travel to an unlimited extent and support my away-from-home lifestyle in a comfortable way, I might want to have a summer place in upstate New York or maybe somewhere in New England.  

           If I were to stay in the western half of the U.S. I might opt for someplace like Sedona Arizona or Colorado Springs.  But there go the distractions.  With so many beautiful places to see in such places I can see the advantage of just staying at home in my urbanity from which I'd prefer not be in traffic and just stay home for the most part.

         ...but wait a minute.  That's what I do all the time.  So why the heck am I not writing my next story?  

            Oh look, there's a squirrel...

        Are you more distracted at home or away?   What fires your imagination most?   Where do you feel more compelled to write?

         If you haven't voted on my current Battle of the Bands I'd be pleased if you'd take a moment to visit here and vote for your favorite song version.   Thanks in advance!







Sunday, September 1, 2019

Eye In the Sky (BOTB)


Why try to keep secrets anymore?  Someone somewhere knows what you've done and where you've been no matter how much you've tried to hide.  Eyes and ears are everywhere...


Eye in the Sky

         Image result for eye in the sky song meaning

      I've written about this 1982 song from Alan Parsons Project a few times on this blog (like here and here for example).   As I've mentioned before, this is one of my all time favorite songs of the rock era.  I still remember the first time I heard it on the radio (June 1982 in the parking lot of a supermarket in Billings Montana) when it blew me away as one of those consummate pop songs that would be around for a long time.  After nearly 40 years it's still a favorite song of mine.

       For quite some time this song has been lingering on my potential Battle of the Bands queue and I figured it was about time that I put this Battle into play.  Let's face it, "eyes" are everywhere and if someone isn't watching us then we are putting ourselves out there on social media for all the world to see.

       Also, since this Battle falls on a Sunday and I often like to go for a song with some spiritual connotation or remotely possible implications, "Eye in the Sky" gives a sense of omnipotence in the lyrics.  The song is not about God per se, but it makes me think.  And it sets up a theme for my two September Sunday Battles...


Battle of the Bands


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



Parralox  "Eye in the Sky"  (2013)

         If the Alan Parsons version doesn't ring a memory bell with you, then listen to this version by Australian synthpop group Parralox.  I'm sure you'll remember the song since their version is very similar to the original.   Maybe that's where you'd prefer to stay...





Noa   "Eye in the Sky"  (2002)

         From Israel we have the singer known as Noa.  She takes the slower approach in her cover.  I think it's mighty pretty sounding.  What do you think...






Time to Vote!

        Now all eyes are on you!  Which artist do you like best?   Pick one and have some fun!  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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday September 9th

             On Wednesday September 4th I'll be adding my two cents for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, but voting for this current Battle of the Bands will be open until next Sunday the 8th.   Keep your eye on this blog for upcoming developments!

         What aspect of the intrusive nature of modern technology creeps you out most?    Who do you spy on?    Are you bothered by the amount of information other people, businesses, and the government knows about you?