This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sad Songs Blogfest

         What's wrong with me anyway.   Diane at Spunk on a Stick is doing this Sad Songs Blogfest and here I'm doing it on a fourth blog.   Somebody needs to call Bloggers Anonymous.

          I'll tell you what the problem is here.   I thought of too many sad songs.  I stuck with my A to Z themes on the other blogs so on this one I'll go with some popular sad songs.

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry  --- This version by B.J. Thomas was the first I ever heard of this song.  It was all over the radio in the summer of 1966 when I first moved to Tennessee.  It's such a tearjerker.  B.J.'s version is still my favorite.

End of the World  -- Classic teenage angst by Skeeter Davis.

Laurie (Strange Things Happen) -- A spooky sad song by Dickey Lee.  A strange ghost story put to song.

Sounds of Silence  -- I wore out this 45 record when the song first came out and then later got the album.  When I hear this song I picture Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.   One of the best songs ever.

You'll See    I used to hear this song frequently in the warehouse that I managed.  A young lady who worked there would often have it playing and it sounded so ethereally beautiful but I had no idea who it was singing it.  I am a big fan of Madonna's music especially when I found out she sang this song.

Crying  --  The original artist Roy Orbison is joined here by k.d. lang.

            And that's where I'll leave it.  See more at Spunk on a Stick.

             Be here on Sunday as this blog begins day one of the incredible Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Post Is a Promotion and Contains Product Placement

          This will be my last regular post on Tossing It Out before the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge begins on Sunday April 1st.   During the month of April, I will be posting daily except for the Sundays after this coming Sunday.   Like many participants I've decided to go with a theme for the Challenge. I'll get to that theme in a moment, but first I wanted to clarify my opening statement.

        There will be a post on my blog this Friday as I provide my contribution to Spunk on a Stick's  Sad Songs Blogfest.  So it's a special post because it's part of a blogfest and it's exactly the type of thing I can't resist.  Anything to do with naming songs or anything like that is something I enjoy immensely.   So when I saw that Diane was doing the Sad Songs Blogfest I didn't have to even think about it.  

          The preceding was kind of an example of product placement even if not the best example.  The product was Spunk on a Stick's Sad Songs Blogfest and I've managed to put it in this post announcing my April theme in part because product placement relates to my April theme.  Also I want everyone to come back to read my Friday post and, if you're so inclined,  to join us in Spunk on a Stick's Sad Songs Blogfest.

My April Challenge Theme

         Most of you who follow Tossing It Out probably are aware that I am interested in the topic of marketing.   In fact, in February I had put up a post about Product Placement with the intent of making it the first in a series of posts about the topic of Marketing.  There is still more in that topic thread that I want to address and this is partly where the A to Z Challenge posts will come into play.

        For the Challenge my theme will be Marketing A to Z.  My 26 short posts will address various topics related to Marketing and Promotion.  I will try to keep it general so that I don't focus too much detail on any one aspect of the subject.  What I want to present is a general overview of the topic that might stimulate some thought on what marketing is and dispel any thoughts that marketing is bad or a "necessary evil".

        If you're thinking "I don't have anything to sell" or "I have no need in my life for marketing", then I'd like for you to look at this another way.  We are all marketing ourselves in one way or another.  Whether it be in dating or finding a mate, making friends or settling differences, we are selling personalities and principles in an effort to fulfill personal needs and wants.  When you go to interview for a job or try to get accepted to a university program you are marketing yourself and your talents.   We use marketing techniques on a daily basis whether we realize it or not.

         Hopefully my April series will present baby bites of some food for thought that will be good for you.  I hope you will bear with me and check out a few of my marketing snacks and offer a few thoughts of your own.

         Also, each day I'll be featuring a blog from the A to Z list that corresponds with the letter of the day.  Let me know if you would like yours to be considered.  If I haven't filled that day yet, I'll consider featuring your blog.   Let me know in the comments if you have a blog to recommend.

          See you on Friday for the Sad Songs Blogfest.   Are you going to participate in the Sad Songs Blogfest?    Are you ready for the A to Z Challenge?         

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Can't You Please Just Make It Simple?

Spitzer - base do telescopioSpitzer - base do telescopio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           Maybe it has something to do with Amazon wanting to keep you on their site longer.  And of course Amazon's not the only one.    A lot of web sites seem to want to make you jump through hoops to find things or do things on their sites.  Internet hell is what I've found sometimes.  It's like being locked inside a store until you buy something.

         On the blog site bridgetstraub this question was raised in relation to finding a particular book on Amazon.  She related some of the problems she ran into finding a particular book and wanting to leave a review.  As she admits, her techie skills might not be the best, but I can certainly relate to that.  However the point she raised made me start contemplating some of the internet hassles I've dealt with and so have many of you I would guess.

           Fortunately, I've learned to navigate Amazon and some of those sites pretty well, but now and then I still get caught in a frustrating quagmire.  I've even managed to get pretty adept at leaving comments on WordPress and the annoying systems like CommentLuv, Intense Debate, and Disqus and the like.  Oh sure I'm a big blog baby some of you may say.   Well, that's what I think when I hear complaints about commenting on Blogspot sites. What's so difficult about leaving a comment on a Blogger site?

          I guess it's a matter of what we're used to.  I'd be fine if Blogger stopped changing stuff so I didn't have to stop and think and relearn new processes.    It's like the automated phone systems that keep asking you to press this button or that and then keep you on line waiting for a long time.

        And then there's those automated phone systems that say, "Please listen closely as some of our options have changed."   My health care provider has had that message on their system for like seven years now.  Can you please stop changing the options already people?  Either that or change the message.

         Don't even get me started on the crazy lady giving directions on those navigation systems.   Have you ever driven in circles with that lady scolding you about missing your turn and telling you to go back.  

        Time-saving technology sure seems to waste a lot of time.

        What website loop-de-loops particularly annoy you?   What about those automated phone systems?   How often do you actually talk to real people anymore?  I mean people that are actually helpful?

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Lights, Camera, Stop Motion Action! Rachel Morgan Explains How

          As mentioned in my Wednesday post, the winner of the A to Z Video Challenge for 2012 is Rachel Morgan, whom many of you know from her blog Rachel Morgan Writes.    Today Rachel is visiting Tossing It Out to allow you to get to know a little more about her.  Since many years ago I used to dabble in making animated films in the old medium of 8 MM film, one of the several questions I put forth to Rachel had to do the her process of making the video that she entered in our contest.  Here she offers a short how-to guide on making a stop motion video.

What is stop motion? 

dictionary definition for you: a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example to give animated figures the impression of movement. So if you wanted a video of your toy car driving itself around, you'd take a photo, move the car slighty, take another photo, move the car a little more, take another photo, move the car a little more, take another... etc. It's beyond tedious! But if you've got patience, the effect is worth it.

Why did I use stop motion in my A to Z Challenge video?

Anyone can take a video these days (most cellphones can do it) so it's not really that exciting anymore. I wanted to do something a little different, so I went for stop motion. I've found the idea fascinating since I watched the Wallace and Gromit short films when I was little. Those films would technically be called clay-mation (from clay animation). The characters are made from plasticine modelling clay, and it must be a truly painstaking job to make all the teeny, tiny changes for each frame so that the characters appear to move smoothly.

I'm not quite that skilled yet! The only thing I had to move in my video was my hand, and the movement in each frame was noticeable because I wanted to achieve that jerky "stop motion" feel (and it would have taken way too long if I'd wanted to make the movement any smoother!).

How can you do it?

You need a tripod, a camera and a computer with video editing software. Well, you don't actually need a tripod, but it makes life a whole lot easier (I know, because I've done this without a tripod before!). Computers with Windows should have Windows Movie Maker on them (or you can download it for free), and Apple computers come with iMovie.

1. Set your camera up on your tripod (mine was pointing down onto a table).
2. Arrange your subject in front of the camera (I had pieces of paper with words written on them, plus my hand).
3. Take your first photo.
4. Move the subject slightly (I moved my hand to reveal a letter or two of a word I was covering).
5. Take another photo.
6. Repeat this until you a) reach the end of whatever sequence you've planned, b) get really bored or c) deplete the life of your camera batteries.
7. Open up Windows Movie Maker (or the Apple version, which I've never used) and insert all your photos (in order, obviously).
8. Adjust the length of time each photo is visible for (I used half a second) so that the photos follow on from one another really quickly.
9. Add music, captions and titles if you feel like it.
10. Save the movie.

It really is very easy!

Rachel Morgan is the author of Guardian, the first novelette in the Creepy Hollow series. She was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school children, she writes fiction for young adults. 

         Thank you, Rachel!  As she says here, creating an animated film is fairly easy to do as long as you have the equipment, time, and plenty of patience.  I encourage you to try it yourself if you are interested in video making.   If you create anything you'd like to share with the rest of us, feel free to send it to me and I'll feature it in this blog.

           Be sure to stop by to visit Rachel at Rachel Morgan Writes and don't forget that she has a new book out.   For more information about her book Guardian (Creepy Hollow #1) please visit:

           Have you ever dabbled in stop-motion or other experimental types of film making?  Do you have a favorite film that was made using the stop motion technique?   Have you read Guardian yet?

         Just in case you have not yet seen Rachel's A to Z Video here it is again:

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where Everyone Is a Winner: A to Z Video Challenge

          If you haven't heard who was the winner of the A to Z Video Challenge yet, I am proud to announce that the winner by popular vote was Rachel Morgan of Rachel Morgan Writes.   Here is the winning video for anyone who has not seen it yet or would like to see it again:

          Rachel's video is indeed a winner as you can see when you watch it.  As her prize she will be featured on various A to Z co-host blogs, which conveniently coincides with the release of her new book Guardian (Creepy Hollow #1).  You will be hearing from Rachel on Tossing It Out this coming Friday.  I'm looking forward to what surprises she will have in store as I asked her more questions than she could answer in one post.   Which ones will she choose to address?   We'll have to find out on Friday when our Video Challenge winner stops by.

         The winning video was chosen by those of you who were kind enough to vote and you are winners as well.   The votes were well distributed among the entrants making the contest a close race.  I want to put out a big thank you to everyone who voted, who tweeted, who posted videos on their sites, and who supported the Video Challenge in some way.  

         And you can continue to support us by posting these videos on your sites, marking them as favorites on YouTube and leaving comments, emailing them to friends, and sending them out on social media outlets.   These videos are commercials for the A to Z Challenge.   With one last week to push the A to Z event let's do it up big and make a media blitz.  You'll be helping the cause of the Challenge and also helping get the talents of the video makers out in the eyes of the world.   You'll be doing something special that will be greatly appreciated.

         Though Rachel is the winner of the contest, in this post I want to recognize the fabulous efforts of the other participants:

            Ron Easton of  Dads Unlimited was the inspiration for the Video Challenge.  He posted a video recap of his 2011 Challenge Reflections back in December that set off an idea alarm in my head.  When I mentioned my thoughts to him about having a contest for people to send in A to Z promo videos he immediately came up with his entry to start the ball rolling.

            Ada Zdanowicz is someone I'll be talking about more in later posts.   She is the designer of the official A to Z logo.  Since I knew that she was also involved in video making, I contacted Ada about making a second video entry and she jumped right on it with her slick creative presentation.  Ada doesn't have a blog but she can be found at her website .   

           Nicole Ayers is someone you have seen often on my blogs.  Nicole is a talented writer to whom I have frequently turned for guest posts.   Not only did she assist me in putting together the Video Challenge and offering suggestions about it, she also submitted 3 videos of her own.  A big Bravo! to Nicole who can be found at The Madlab Post.  

         Also I want to thank these others who submitted their wonderfully creative and entertaining videos:

  Marta Szemik                      Marta Szemik's Blog
 Kathleen Medina                  Living 2012
 Dale Smurthwaite                 Smurfin' the Web
 Tracy Jo Blowers                Brand New Day  
 Reka Sang                           A Chronicle of Dreams
  Jocelyn Rish                        Jocelyn Rish

       I am so appreciative of all of the efforts of these bloggers and talented artists.  I hope that my readers will stop by all of their blogs to say hello and follow if you aren't already.   And don't forget to watch their videos if you haven't already.

          After all, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is all about us--you and me and everyone one else who will be putting forth the April effort and who has already been putting forth the effort to make the April Challenge a big success.  The Challenge is many things and many people and I extend a thanks to all of you.

                 Have you included any of the A to Z videos in your blog posts?  Have you visited the videos directly on YouTube to "Like" them and add your comment?   Have you tweeted or Facebooked any of these videos?    What are some other ways you can suggest to share the videos?

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Monday, March 19, 2012

What are the best blog topics to guarantee comments?

Topic wrapperImage via Wikipedia

           Short answer:   Darned if I know!  Thank you.   End of post.

            No, wait!  I'll try to answer unscientifically based on my experience which has little to do with paying attention to much of anything and making notes about any of it.

            What prompts my line of thinking in this post was the response I got from my post of last Monday, It's Not All About You:  Self-Centered Blogging.   Over the course of last week this post received a fairly decent 98 comments.  Most of these comments had content of substance and many were quite lengthy--almost blog posts in themselves.  This was a more impressive than normal response.   Why was this?

            To be quite honest, last Monday's post was something I quickly threw together the night before just to have something up the next day.  I considered it to be almost a throwaway effort and didn't really expect much in the way of a response.   It was essentially a topic that has been covered often, including previous posts that I had done.  I was amazed when I turned the computer on the next morning and instead of the usual no more than six comments, I already had eighteen.  And they continued steadily throughout the day.

           I want to thank everyone who did leave a comment on that post, not just for the comment you left, but mainly for the depth of the things you said.

           With the topic of comments I touched something that is common to all of us, but what drew you to read in the first place.   There was nothing in the title of the post that indicated the topic of comments.  And the first paragraph was somewhat ambiguous.   Was it the topic of self-centered blogging?   Was it a curiosity to see if the post really might be about you?  I'm curious since drawing in the reader without a tremendous effort on the part of the blogger is something we'd all like to be able to do.

            So I want to hear from you what it is that draws you to a topic rather than the blogger.  There are certain bloggers out there whom you visit for who they are and what their relationship is to you, but then there are others who might attract you with some particular topic or by a title.

            What is it that lures you in to read a particular blog post?   What are must-read topics for you?   Is it usually the title that grabs you?  The first few lines?   Or are your visits mostly random or based on reciprocated visiting?  

Be sure to visit the A to Z Blog tomorrow for the announcement of the video contest winner.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Under the Spell of Author Jeffrey Beesler

         Today in this special edition of Tossing It Out I'm pleased to be host to one of last year's A to Z Challenge co-hosts, the ever enthusiastic Jeffrey Beesler (although he's looking a bit tired in the accompanying photo--but it's Sunday after all and he probably needs some rest in the midst of his busy book tour schedule).   And now my guest, Jeffrey Beesler.

Jeffrey Beesler: Thanks for having me today, Arlee! Today I’d like to share with you an interview featuring the antagonist from my debut fantasy novel, Spell of Entrapment. Heralding all the way from the kingdom of Trava, a knight in the Royal Army of said kingdom, is the one and only Sir Patrew. Thank you for joining us today, Sir Patrew.

Sir Patrew: You do me the honor of inviting me to talk with you, my gently scribe.

JB: In your years of service to Trava, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

Sir Patrew: Why, to ascend the military ranks, of course! Being in a position of prestige and power has always been my number one goal. I’ve always prided myself on having gone up the chain of command in less than half the time it took those who have gone before me.

JB: Quite the ambitious sort, are you?

Sir Patrew: Ambition fuels the fire in my gut, after a hearty meal at the Z’lymor Inn. The staff there knows how to finely cook a roast.

JB: So I take it the inn is a frequent stop for you?

Sir Patrew: Indeed, it is. I find that it attracts a wide range of fascinating people ranging from the upper crust to the riffraff. In fact, I’ve arrested some of the country’s worst offenders there.

JB: What do you mean by worst offenders?

Sir Patrew: Oh, you know. Unpatriotic traitors, thieves, unregistered mages not working in tandem with the Royal Army, that sort of thing.

JB: Are you currently on the hunt for anyone right now?

Sir Patrew: I’ll have to politely decline your question on the grounds that I have an investigation pending right now. The only thing I can say is that if you happen to see anyone trying to obtain exotic mushrooms, please notify me or another soldier at once.

JB: I’ll be sure to keep this in mind. Thank you for your time.

Sir Patrew: Thank you.

Bio:    Jeffrey Beesler was born on May 2nd, 1978. In addition to self-publishing his debut novel, Spell of Entrapment, he has had a short fantasy story published in Abandoned Towers #4, The Broken Pipes of Drei City.  He is a graduate of the LongRidge Writers Group correspondence course, "Breaking into Print". 

His book can be purchased here:


When a knight, Sir Patrew of Trava, infiltrates sorceress Embekah Mare’s home, a magical backlash renders her unconscious. She awakens to discover a spell of entrapment binding them both inside the manor’s walls. Now forced to live with him after twenty years of solitude and exile, she must navigate her way through alternating feelings of distrust and attraction.

As the weeks pass with no end in sight of the hex, a shape-shifting spirit arrives inside the magical barrier’s walls to target Embekah specifically. When she seeks out Patrew’s help against this new threat, she uncovers a secret in his past that could very well destroy her future. With the help of her trusty toad Halscrad, Embekah must see through the deceit and find something long lost to her.

  But not everything is as it seems. With lies all around her, Embekah finds the truth to be more elusive than the freedom right outside her manor. Can she survive long enough to figure out what’s real and what isn’t?

You can visit Jeffrey Beesler at his blog World of the Scribe.

Don't forget to vote for your favorite A to Z Video.  Voting closes at 11:59 PM Eastern Time tonight March 18th.   Voting ballot can be found at the A to Z Blog.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

A Rock Story: Questionable Values

       Maybe the Ninety-nine Percenters and the Occupy Movement have some things right within the mix of their unfocused ideas.   There are certain issues that some of them espouse that I am in agreement with.  There is a disparity of wealth in our society and for some it seems to be getting worse.

       Then, there is the rock story.

       There have been many things that have made me question the sanity, shall we say, or the good sense of people when it comes what they do with money.  Certain agencies of government seem to have no qualms about delegating our dollars to projects and concepts that we ourselves would deem absolute waste.  Yet it's like a person gets a position in government and when an absurd idea comes before them they will often say, "Oh that's a ridiculous idea, we should fund this with tax dollars."

        Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but it sometimes seems like this is what is going on.  I'm sure you can think of some examples of what I'm talking about.

          But back to the crazy rock story.  And I'm not talking about something some wild rock and roller ever did--those antics would be conservative and logical compared to the Los Angeles rock.

          The rock in this story is a 340 ton boulder that has been transported from a quarry in Riverside, California one hundred or so miles away to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Traversing city streets over a period of a couple of weeks as it made its way to the museum, the rock was all over the news and brought gawkers from miles around who wanted to see this rock.

          At the museum the rock will be fitted into an installation where it will appear to be levitated. Viewers will be able to walk under it and experience this amazing creation of artist Michael Heizer.

           But really, Heizer may have come up with this inane idea, but he did not create the rock and I would hesitate to call this art.  Maybe something like this might be more worthy of a science museum, but I think this is a pretty weird idea.

            For me the worst part is the ten million dollar cost of moving the rock and all other expenses entailed in setting this thing up.  I wonder how much they're paying this Heizer guy to do this?

            Granted this project is not costing the taxpayers money--presumably.   I'm sure some taxpayer expenses were incurred in the logistics surrounding the transport of the rock, not to mention possible road damage.  However, a major emphasis has been made that the rock installation is being fully funded by private donors.

           Still I can't help but wonder about this much money being used to move a big rock and make it look like it's suspended where people can walk under it.  Will those people really recognize it as "art" or something that's just kind of weird, amazing, or cool?  Art?  I think not.

            It seems like the ten million could have been better spent on things that would be more helpful to society.  If they want to spend money on art, why not fund art programs in the schools?   Wouldn't the money be better spent in developing businesses with long range plans of creating jobs and recycling more money into the economy?   Aren't there plenty of people and organizations that would be more benefited by this money than a big giant rock?

            I don't know much about Michael Heizer, but I would question some of the value of his "earth art" and silly projects like "Levitated Mass".   What ever happen to artists who took big rocks and actually carved out works of sculpture?

Special post will appear here on Sunday with Jeffrey Beesler making a stop on his blog tour for his new book Spell of Entrapment.   Be sure to drop by.


Please vote for your favorite A to Z Video!!   These folks worked hard on their creations and deserve your support.  Voting ends on Sunday night.  Go to the A to Z Blog and vote!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It Probably Wasn't About You: To My Blogging Friends

An Explanation about my Monday Post: 

       After an unexpectedly overwhelming response to my last post It's Not All About You:  Self-Centered Blogging, I thought I might clarify some of what I was referring to and dispel any concern that any of you were the target of my "rant".   Any of you who left a comment on that post or any of my posts in the past are not who I was referring to.

        Even if you've never left a comment on my site, but do have sites where you regularly or even just occasionally leave comments, I wasn't talking about you either.  I am talking about those bloggers who pontificate their erudition from pedestals where they are almost untouchable to the rest of us who from their viewpoints are mere struggling amateurs or plain silly bloggers of no import to them.

       Actually, I could name names, but I wouldn't do that.  It could be that I'm misinterpreting those bloggers or I might start a conflict steeped in animosity and that's not something I want to do because that's not who I am.

       And for those who thought that I was upset about something that had happened recently, no such thing.  As some of you may recall, on Mondays I often write about topics pertaining to blogging.  On Sunday evening I wanted to come up with a quick something and composed what I thought would be a relatively insignificant post about a topic that used to concern me in my earlier blogging days, but not so much of late.
This is nothing that I obsess over or that bothers me to any great extent.   It's just something I remember from back when I was a newer blogger trying to understand how it all worked.

       Judging from your comments, many of you can relate to this.  In fact, Alana from Writercize directed me to a similarly themed post at Word Nerd Speaks.  From the reactions in her comment section it's pretty obvious that commenting is a hot button issue.  If you want more on this topic go over and check out that post and read the comments--they're pretty intense.

       In any case, I thank you  again for responding so ardently on my Monday post.  One thing it did for me was expand my realization that responding to comments directly via email is tough.  I tried to get back to all of you that I could and if I didn't get to you please understand that it's not you, but it's me having a hard time keeping up with things.  I'm still trying to decide how best to address responding to comments.

A Sad Day in Blogtown:

      Say it ain't so Joe--or I should say Stephen T. McCarthy.  My dear blogging buddy Stephen has announced on his blog Stuffs that he's going out of business on his blog.  His love of blogging has fizzled--so he says.  I hope it's just a phase.  Take a break, my friend, and come back when you're ready, but not too long mind you.  Maybe some of you reading this can stop by Stephen's blog and say hello and maybe a word of encouragement.

I Really Want to Say Something About This:

       In September of 2010 my blog buddy Larry Cavanaugh of DiscConnected was joined by me to witness an incredible concert near my house.  The show was by prog-rock band Spock's Beard.  I wrote about our meeting here and Larry gave a rundown about the show on his blog post.   Amazingly enough, the concert was recorded and filmed and has been released in a deluxe 2 CD set with a bonus DVD of the concert itself. Fans of prog-rock and darn good intricate rock period would do well to check out Spock's Beard: The X Tour Limited Edition Deluxe Version.  It's nothing short of outstanding.  Read Larry's recent review.

Voting Now Open for A to Z Video Contest:

      We ended up with an even dozen entries and they're all winners in my book.  I want to thank all of those who sent in videos.  Now it's up to you readers out there.  Please go to the "Vote for Your Favorite A to Z Video Here" tab and enter your vote.   Links to all of the videos will be found on that page.   Watch and enjoy them and then vote for one.

And now for your listening pleasure:  A sample of the Spock's Beard X Tour Live Concert DVD

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Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Not All About You: Self-Centered Blogging

        The biggest problem with this post is that it probably won't be read by the bloggers that it's directed toward.  And if in the improbable circumstance that one of these bloggers does read this post, they probably won't recognize the fact that I'm talking about them.

        If you're visiting my blog today, and especially if you're leaving a comment, you are a participant in an interaction, the kind of exchange that builds blog relationships and establishes a line of communication from which we could potentially learn something.  And if I know that you have stopped by to visit--that is by leaving a comment--I will more than likely be by your blog eventually and leave my comment there.  If I don't then shame on me and I apologize.

       The way I see it blogging is a two way street--an exchange of ideas.  You show me your support and I'll make an effort to support you.  If I come visit your online space then I'd like for you to show me some attention too.   Reciprocity is the name of the blogging game and most of my readers know that already.

       You probably know who I'm talking about.

       It's not the blogging superstars who have valuable content that can't be missed.  Everybody is visiting them and those big time bloggers not only might not be able to make reciprocal visits to bloggers who leave comments on their sites, but they might not even be able to respond to all of the comments they receive.

       And I'm not talking the mega-best-selling authors or celebrity bloggers who will get adulation from their fans no matter what.  It's unlikely that I would leave a comment to get lost in the hundreds of comments they receive and those who do probably aren't expecting any acknowledgement to any comment they might leave.

      Who I'm talking about is the bloggers with relatively small followings.  These bloggers might be posting excerpts of their works or expounding ideas from behind their bloggy podiums thinking they have tons of readers waiting for their next words.  I say to those bloggers:  Look at your comment section.  Do you have any?  And if so are you responding to them?

       Many times I have come upon a blogger who seems interesting and who has decent content on a blog that seems to be consistently published.  I will often leave a comment in order to engage with that blogger and receive either no response or a fairly inadequate brush-off.  Then I'll note that they often have very little in the way of followers or comments on any posts.  I understand why.

        Some bloggers have busy schedules--I realize that.  But still that's a rather lame excuse since many interactive bloggers also are busy.   Some may be shy or may not understand how blog operation works.  I would imagine there are bloggers with that handicap and I hope they are working on that.  I'll be glad to offer help if they would like.

       However, there remain those bloggers who maintain an arrogance that suggests that they think they are more important than other bloggers.  Well, I'm here to tell you that you are not a center of the blogosphere.  It's not all about you.   You most likely have very few adulating fans, if any at all, who anxiously await your next utterance of pure genius.

       That's what I want to tell you.   But I'm sure you're not listening.

Have you come upon any self-centered bloggers?   Do you ever try to offer suggestions in comments to help bloggers who may not know how to blog properly?   Why do you think some bloggers consistently offer fairly decent content, but have no interactions with others?

And now for something lighter.  Another video entry came in before closing.  This one is from Jocelyn Rish.
Thank you Jocelyn and all of the other entrants.  Be watching for the voting poll in the next few days.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Comment Conundrum and More Comments About My Conundrum Post

English: Comment iconImage via Wikipedia

          Comments are one of the driving forces that motivates us as bloggers.  It's nice to get the encouragement that we usually find when we open up our surprise package that pours out sweet words from the readers.  This is something that makes me look forward to writing the next blog post.

           Even when the words aren't so adulating they can reassure me that someone is listening and often even be instructional and informative.  My favorite comment situation is when a dialogue opens up.  A reader who has commented has chosen to follow the conversation by requesting email notification of follow-up comments and they may come back to respond to my response or say something about another person's comments.  Alas, this seems to be no longer the case for some of us.

          Those of us on Blogger who use the pop-up window no longer have the email notification option so far as I can tell.  Now if the owner of the blog where I have left a comment decides to respond, I will probably not see that response since as I rule I don't keep going back to monitor the comment thread once I have left.  It's impractical to do if you're trying to follow many blogs.   Now I leave my comment and that's where my conversation usually ends.

         Lately I haven't been leaving comment responses like I used to because I figure that like in my case others don't return if they're not notified.  Odds are that most commenters weren't checking that notification box and never saw my responses, but still the option to have the possibility of dialogue was nice.  I still read my comments and in a few cases I do respond by e-mail, but that's not always an option and I don't always have the extra time that direct contact takes.    I'm not sure what to do.

           The notification option is still available on those blogs that have the embedded comment box.  I know that some have said they don't like this system.  For me the embedded comment box loads much more easily than it used to and I don't have much problem with it aside from Word Verification and even that I've just about mastered.  Should I switch back to the embedded comment box?  Would that deter you from commenting?

          I love comments.  Those who follow Tossing It Out will probably recall my series on the comments I received on a post at the beginning of this year.   I was so inspired by the comments I received on the post Where Am I Now Anyway? that I have been doing a series memorializing those comments and as a consequence that post has been receiving additional comments.  Here are the next two comments after where I last left off:

Blogger alexia said...

That's a cool way to look at things! I get what you mean.

As for me, I'm pretty happy with where I've been, am at and am going with my writing.
January 4, 2012 10:23 AM
Ah, Alexia!  Cool--that's what I want to be and you confidently assert your understanding of what I've said.  I find your positive reply uplifting and optimistic.   I makes me want to move forward as well.

       Please keep the comments coming my way--I love hearing from you.  What do you suggest about keeping the conversation option open?   Is the embedded comment box that bad?   Are you a fly-by commenter who would prefer to just have your quick say and then keep moving on?   If you are one who uses the pop-up window, do you reply to your comments and how will you handle this in the future if it less likely that visitors might be returning to see what you have said?

          Remember that submissions for the A to Z Video Contest close this Sunday night March 11.  If you are going to enter a video please get it to us this week-end.   Voting for your favorites will be begin next week.  To view videos received so far click here.   For complete Video Contest information go to the tabs at the top of the A to Z Blog.

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