This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

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

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Ups and Downs ( #BOTB Results )

Look up, look down--see the clown?  This silly rhyme from my childhood suddenly came to mind as I sat down to write this post...



Blahs Not So Blue or Blah

        Life has those ups and those downs.  I've been riding that roller coaster over the past week, but it's all a continuation of that ride I've been on my whole life.  I'm not planning to get off any time soon either.  But what comes is what is supposed to come so it's best to have a good of a time as you can.

        Yesterday my wife and I took a day trip out to the desert town of Indio California out east of Palm Springs.  It was an ideal day with temps in the sixties and partly cloudy skies.  Somewhere it was raining, but it never touched us all day.

          We spent several hours in the Agua Caliente Casino meandering to watch the players and just absorb the atmosphere.  It's a top quality establishment with a lot of machines and other places to lose money.  I lost $27 that I really don't like to lose plus an additional $10 of free cash the casino gave me for signing up to their players club. 

         Also for signing up we got a coupon for a free appetizer with one ordered entree in one of the casino restaurants.  The restaurant was a pleasant surprise.  Since I haven't been eating all that much lately I let my wife order an entree (she got bacon-wrapped meatloaf that was simply amazing with a savory fall vegetable medley and garlic mashed potatoes--all for a very fair price of $15).  For my appetizer I got skewers of filet medallions marinated Korean style on a bed of kimchi which was about as perfect of a meal as I've had in a long time.  I ate every single bite of mine.

          On the way home we stopped at Cabazon to visit the touristy Hadley's Market and Deli where my wife and I got an assortment of date delicacies and two date shakes for a dinner in the car to help us better endure sitting in the traffic heading back to L.A.  The myriad of car lights  were a bit tedious though dazzling to look at, but still it was a nice drive home.

            Life is looking up.  That's fine with me.  One nice thing about being down is that you don't have much other place to look other than up.   And really I don't mind being down as long as I'm peaceful.  A valley is as good as a mountaintop.  It's just a matter of perspective...

Battle of the Bands Results





          This was another tough one.  I kept going back and forth listening to them until I realized that I kept deciding that my favorite was whichever one I was listening to at the moment.  Both artists are winners and the voting reflected that.

          Still, having to pick one as my own favorite I decided to go with the majority of voters.  I really dug on the cool smooth vocals and lush orchestration of Lauren White so that's where my vote goes...

Final Vote Tally 

Lauren White               11 votes

Pat Dinizio                     7 votes



Next Battle on Sunday December 1st

         Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week whatever you decide to do.  I think we're just going to be going out to dinner just my wife and I.  Probably not as good as the dinner I'd fix, but a whole lot easier.

        Do you ever go to casinos just to wander and watch?   Where is your favorite place to get in from the cold or elements and just watch other people or enjoy the indoor environment?   What are you going to do this Thanksgiving? 






 

Friday, November 15, 2019

I'd Rather Have the Blues (#BOTB)


Ho, ho, ho and all that nonsensical holiday stuff.   Hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2019 is upon us and soon Christmas 2019 will be just another memory.  Time to be happy everyone!



Blue (or is it "Blah") Christmas

      I'm in no mood for holiday seasons or joyful times of gathering together to celebrate.   It's not that I'm particularly unhappy or sad in any way.  I'm just not in the spirit of things.  Not planning to go anywhere this year and not even interested in doing any festive decorating.  Just have to put it all away again when the new year comes.

      No, I don't have the blues.  I guess it's more like the blahs.  Maybe the blues would be better?  At least it would mean feeling something.

       But feelings be damned!   Give me logic any day.  Feelings just get us in trouble, lead us to do dumb things.   Maybe if we all relied less on feelings and more on logic then maybe the world would make more sense.   Everything seems so crazy and lacking sense these days.

         But blahs don't inspire much.  Maybe I'd rather have the blues...



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 there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.


I"d Rather Have the Blues

        One of my favorite films is the 1955 noir classic Kiss Me Deadly.   This ominous classic has provided inspiration to many films that came after it including Tarantino's Pulp FictionKiss Me Deadly is a film that I didn't see for the first time until sometime in the 90's (after reading about it in a review of Pulp Fiction).  It's now among the films that I added to my DVD collection and find myself watching periodically.  I would rank this high in my list of favorite movies.

           As the film opens, tough guy L.A. detective Mike Hammer is driving a lonely stretch of road at night when he encounters a barely dressed woman running in the middle of the highway.  He picks her up and the mysteries begin.  As the opening credits roll across dark highway scenes, we hear on the car radio a melancholy song by Nat King Cole which I offer for your listening enjoyment, but please don't vote on this version.  Other artists usually don't do too well when put up against Cole, but you might want to hear this original version before moving on to the Battle...





....and now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's move on to the contestants in this episode of Battle of the Bands...

Please vote for one of the following:

Lauren White   "I'd Rather Have the Blues"   (2016)

      Lauren is a jazz singer and actress who currently lives in Los Angeles.   I wonder if she's got the blahs like I've got of late in my L.A. life?  Nah--I doubt it...






Pat Dinizio   "I'd Rather Have the Blues"   (1997)

        Singer Pat Dinizio was a founding member of The Smithereens.  I used to listen to them back in the nineties I guess.  Dinizio died in 2017.   Maybe right now he'd rather have the blues...










Time to Vote!

    
    Are you as torn between these two versions as I am?  D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   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

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday November 22nd

         Take some time to savor these luscious recordings and come to a decision on your favorite.  Inquiring minds want to know.  And so do I...

            How's the spirit of the holiday season creeping up on you this year?   Are you ready for some big times?   Would you prefer to be snowed in with complete provisions for comfortable living in a nice cabin in the mountains?















Friday, November 8, 2019

End of the Road Battle ( #BOTB Results )




Not much to say today so I won't say much except who won the Battle of the Bands....





Battle of the Bands Results



         My most recent Battle was between two versions of a song called "Road to Cairo" which was written by David Ackles who was also the first contender.  The second version was by Julie Driscoll backed by Brian Auger and the Trinity. 

         As some of you also said, it was a close choice.  I would have been fine with either as a winner and at first it was a real horse race.  My vote for David Ackles didn't affect the win much as he clearly was the front runner with no help from me...

Final Vote Tally

David Ackles                 13 votes

Brian Auger & Co.           8 votes




Next Battle on Friday November 15th

       I'm not writing any novel, but I've got plenty to keep me busy!  How about you?








Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Stickler for Detail ( #IWSG )



Have you ever read a story where the author has made some glaring errors that made you lose all credibility in the story being told?  I don't want to be that author...




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 November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!




November 6 question - What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

 It's All in the Details
        
         As I had mentioned in my previous post (which is a Battle of the Bands post if you'd be so kind to visit and vote), my last successful attempt at doing NaNoWriMo was in 2010 when I wrote a science fiction novel called Time Light.  Even though the story is science fiction, it takes place in 1965 Chicago.  Written in diary entry form, I was dealing with actual dates and places in history so it was important (to me at least) to be as accurate as I could in every way.

         In order to achieve accuracy, I spent hours on Google looking up places, police procedures and equipment, the daily weather conditions, transportation routes (bus and rail, etc), and even what was playing on television on certain specific days.  Anything that begged for a detail in the story that could potentially (though probably not likely) be questioned by a reader in the know was meticulously researched so that any reader could accept what I was saying as possibly real.  

         A reader like I often tend to be needs to be convinced that the story one is investing in has a reasonable degree of credibility.   A single glaring error or inconsistency might put into question other elements of the written work which can detract from reading pleasure.

          Though it would be unlikely that many (if any at all) would question the daily weather in a story that has real dates and times, my researching of the weather conditions was one my stranger Google searches.  Fortunately, I found numerous resources available on line with weather records dating back to further than my interests necessitated in this case.  The weather for the  year 1965 is well documented in numerous sites.

          I realize that this sort of detail might seem rather trivial and nonessential to many, but for me it was important.  As I was conceiving the story I was also living it in my mind so that every detail had to make me feel like I was there.  If it worked for me then hopefully it would work even for the most discerning reader.

           Frequently I've heard writers mention that researching can be fun and I would agree with that.  I love the researching part more than the writing part.  To me, the researching is an essential part of any writing especially when the writer doesn't actually know all the real details or facts.

           What is the strangest thing you've ever googled for a story or some other written work?  Do you strive for the greatest amount of accuracy when you start delving into details?    Why should anyone care about what the weather was in the time period where a story takes place?


Don't forget to vote on my Battle of the Bands!   (click the link to get there)













Friday, November 1, 2019

Road to Cairo ( #Battle of the Bands )



     A fella told me this here road leads to Cairo.  I got to get me a ride.  I got to go back, go back to my children.  I got to see my little bride...


   
       Once again another Halloween is passed as we now approach Christmas with a stopover in Thanksgiving season.  Time is flying, but I'll dispense with that cliche.  Besides I've said it before in blog posts of past years--and you may very well have too.

         However, I will acknowledge this November season when so many of you may be participating (or, like me, in the past have participated) in National Novel Writing Month.  Good luck to all of you who will be making this attempt at writing yet another--or a first--novel.

          I'll be sitting this one out as I have in the past few years.  Writing a novel is currently not at the forefront of my agendas. It's not so much that I've lost interest in writing a novel, but there are other things that I want to focus on for now.

        I finished two NANO novels in the past, one being in 2010 a science fiction story called Time Light.  Most of that story takes place in 1965 Chicago.  At one point the action diverts to a road trip down to Cairo, Illinois.  So, in honor of NANO and one of my own attempts, comes another 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 there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.


David Ackles   "Road to Cairo"  (1968)

         Typically I wouldn't use an original version by an artist, but since David Ackles is probably unknown to many of you, I don't mind starting this Battle off with his original version of "Road to Cairo".  I first discovered Ackles when I picked up his self-titled debut album in the cut-out bins.  What a find!  Great performances of some fantastic songs.  Ackles should have been more acclaimed than he was.  See what you think of his version of this song...






Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity  "Road to Cairo"  (1968)

         Who could top the David Ackles version?   Maybe this version.  This was released a few months after David Ackles came out with his version.  I've been a big fan of Brian Auger since 1969 when I saw his group with Julie Driscoll on the Tom Jones television show.  This is a great version of the Ackles song, but is it as good as Ackles himself?   You decide...





Time to Vote!

    
    Are you as torn between these two versions as I am?  D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   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

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday November 8th

         I'll be here, will you?  And I'll also be here on Wednesday the 6th for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Now you novelists--get to writing.  And the rest of you do what you need to do.


Are you writing a novel this November?   Are you writing anything this November?   What are you going to do in November if not writing?