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, November 29, 2013

Sweet! Dessert after Thanksgiving Dinner

      As a rule I don't do the memes and awards anymore, but since it's the day after Thanksgiving, well by George, I'm going to do this one.  And after a big Thanksgiving Day dinner a dessert is in order I think.

Here is the Super Sweet Blogging Award

Given to me by Rachna Chhabria at Rachna's Scriptorium.

The rules of the Super Sweet Blogging Award are:

1. Answer the following questions
2. Nominate five sweet bloggers (This is where I bow out but invite anyone who wants to play along to add their voice to the chorus).

The questions:

1. Cookies or cake? That seems like hardly a fair questions.  I want both!  I guess it depends on my mood and what's staring me in the face.  Chocolate cake with chocolate icing?   Gimme.  Cookies fresh from the oven?  I want 'em.  It's really of matter of what kind and what I'm in the mood for.   If you're asking for frequency then I eat more cookies than cake.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?   What kind of question is that?  Chocolate of course.  But I'll settle for vanilla if I have chocolate to put on it.

3. Favourite sweet treat?  Uh, this is getting kind of silly since I like them all.  One of my favorites would be marshmallow covered in chocolate usually either in the form of chocolate marshmallow eggs or Rocky Road candy bars.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?    Usually after a meal.  Especially if it's a meal with a lot of spiciness or something like fried fish.   I take after my father I suppose.  I love my desserts.

5. Sweet nick name?  I don't have any nicknames that anyone calls me.  Sometimes I call my wife "Betty Boop" or I used to call my youngest daughter "Punky Poople".   I never call anybody "Sweetie", or "Honey" or "Sugar" or anything like that.  No sweet nicknames that cross my mind.

Thank you Rachna for thinking of me!

      Don't forget my special Battle of the Bands post this Sunday December 1st.  I've been dropping song clues throughout the week with a couple included in today's post.   Can you guess what song I've chosen in my musical confrontation?   

          Do you like sweets?   What's your favorite candy bar?   What is the most heavenly sweet that you can think of?    

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...
English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        Are you ready for the big feast tomorrow?    As I write this a week ahead of time I don't know what my Thanksgiving Day plans will be.  I know what city I'll be in, but I don't know what I'll be doing for dinner.  I guess I'm at the mercy of my hosts and whatever plans we all come up with for the day.

         Thanksgiving has always been a favorite time for me.  I love that dinner.   I am King of the Oyster Stuffing and the Lord of the Pies.   And then after a bit of a rest or maybe even a nap I'm back for another helping.  It's the best meal of the year--usually.   I wonder what I'll have this year?

 Don't Forget the Clues!

          This coming Sunday December 1st will be a Battle of the Bands Christmas special.   Be here to vote for your favorite version of a Christmas song that you undoubtedly know.  What is the song?   You'll find out for sure on Sunday, but if you want to try to guess I've sprinkled clues throughout today's post and in Monday's post.   If you think you know the song then tell us in the comments.

Cheersfest Sign-up

         Tomorrow's turkey is not the only the only bird being roasted.  On December 9th yours truly will be roasted in this year's Cheersfest.      For details visit the explanatory post at Mark Koopmans' blog.  To sign up add your name to the Linky List below:

          Where are you celebrating your Thanksgiving this year?    Do you have the traditional dinner planned?    Did you guess my Battle of the Bands song pick from the clues I've left so far?

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Going Against the Grain

Palouse Wheat Field Sunrise
Palouse Wheat Field Sunrise (Photo credit: The Knowles Gallery)
          This week I'm taking things easy.  After all Thanksgiving is on Thursday.  A lot of you are frantically trying to finish NaNo novels.  Comments on my blogs usually drop about this time of year.  Of course comments have been dropping anyway--partly due to my own slow down of commenting on your blogs and probably partly due to some of my topics.

          One of the blog topics that has been seeing lower visits is the Battle of the Bands.  Now, I shouldn't complain because I still get a goodly number of visits for those posts--probably more than the average blogger gets.   I typically have been getting at least 20 or so voters on each contest with a few added comments by non-voters.  This is not too bad I guess, but it's not like it was back when I was getting 50 or more comments on a post.

          Okay, so I'm making a big deal out of a little bit of a drop in comments and maybe it's not really that much of a drop.  And this week I will probably be visiting very few blogs as I do whatever I will be doing. We'll see what happens this week.   Now I feel so stupid for even bringing this up.
           That's me.  Always going against the grain.   Slap a couple of slices of bread around me and call me a sandwich.

Battle of the Bands Clues

          Coming this Sunday December 1st I'll be doing another Battle of the Bands face-off.  It looks like the hosts at Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends are going to be doing Christmas songs in December so I guess I will too.

           Since 'tis the season I guess I can handle a Christmas related song or two.   My first pairing this coming Sunday will be what is possibly the most performed Christmas song of all time.  Actually it's performed so much that it's not only during the Christmas season, but it's become mostly associated with Christmas.  What song will it be?  I've left a couple of clues in this post.  One that is very obvious but that will probably not be noticed.  Be here Sunday to find out for sure, but you can also guess in the comments.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Blogging in Low Gear

Battle of the Bands Results

        Before I get to my main post for today, let me give you the results of my last Battle of the Bands contest between Jimi Hendrix and the Corrs with their versions of the Hendrix tune "Little Wing".   As I expected Jimi ran away with the vote, but a lot of nice words were put in for the version by the Corrs. 

       For my own taste, I've always felt that Jimi Hendrix is highly overrated although I can't deny that he did some innovative work on his guitar.  He had some moments of genius in the Electric Ladyland album, but also a good bit of meandering filler material.  I can't say I'm a big fan of the music of Jimi Hendrix but there are a lot of songs by him that I do like.   "Little Wing" is one of his best making this match-up very close for me.

       In the end I give it to the Corrs though.  The fiddle, the Irish sound, the vocals, and the arrangement in general are hauntingly lovely.  There are moments in their version that give me chills when I listen to it.  I picture a mother singing about watching her daughter at play.  In my mind I think of my granddaughters.  Somehow these images all seem more beautiful than the hippie chick picture I get when Hendrix sings the song.

      Final tally:   Hendrix 14     ----  the Corrs 6

                       Blogging in Low Gear

Texas highway signs in Clearview font
Texas highway signs in Clearview font (Photo credit: Oran Viriyincy)
        Much of the time my blog cruises along in high gear as I harangue readers with my controversies or inanities.  Actually I try to kick my blog action into overdrive so as to sustain my writing as efficiently as I can and not wear you readers out.  My blogging frenzies might leave some of you hazy headed if my comment drops are any gauge of what's going on at Tossing It Out.  That's a good reason to shift into low gear now and then and take things at a slower pace.

         If your experience is anything like mine I imagine you see a drop in activity at your blog site during the Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks.  That's been my experience during my years of blogging so far.  That being the case I've decided to keep things at a minimum on all of my blogs for the next week and probably during Christmas week as well.

         During those periods you'll probably see me commenting even less than I do now.  There will be short posts on my regularly scheduled posting days.   Mostly I'll be giving clues for my next Battle of the Bands post on Sunday December 1st.  That will my next real posting and it will be a special posting on a normally off day for me.   Be sure to watch for my clues next week and small commentaries.  Nothing big or of major controversy.  Nothing quite as insistent as usual.  I will be blogging with quiet importunity.  Blogman will be gadding about on the highways in the upcoming days.

          I'll also be getting ready for the Cheersfest.   Don't forget to sign up!  Give me a real roasting like I deserve.    Find the sign up list at  Mark “Madman” KoopmansAlex “Clone me a” Cavanaugh, Morg “the Borg” Shamy, Stephen “Wormhole” Tremp, and David “Don’t Mess with the” King. 
Artwork by Jeremy at Being Retro

Sign up for Cheerfest below:

          Do you like to slow down on your blog sometimes?   Would you rather just take a blog break rather than maintain a quiet presence?   Do  you see a big slowdown in blog traffic during holiday periods?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You've Been Given The Bird!

Hey!   Wake up dodo bird!

C'mon Arlee wake up and face the music!  And I'm not referring to any Battle of the Bands.
        While I was sleeping I was chosen as the honoree of a special event.  Maybe you've heard about it.  If not, I'm going to tell you about it.  Cheersfest was started by Mark Koopmans last year when we roasted Alex J. Cavanaugh. Yeah, we all had a fine time with that.

        Now I'm in a fix and you all are in the driver's seat.  Time to dish it out to the Bird and I ain't talkin' turkey.   It's time for the second annual Cheersfest blogger roast and I am this years roastee.   Come on and give me the business.  Have fun while you make me squirm.

"They like me!  They really like me!  Or wait maybe they don't like me.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  Maybe I'll cry.  Everything's a blur."

 What's a Cheersfest? 

        Here's the way originator Mark Koopmans puts it:

“Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the one person who was always there for you during the past year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?”
So began the inaugural CheersFest (aka AlexFest) when our Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, was roasted and toasted in December 2012.
Everyone, including A-Cav had such a great time that we’ve decided to do it again.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 recipient of CheersFest is none other than Arlee “Lee” Bird.”
On his main blog, “Tossing It Out,” Lee describes himself, in part, “as a writer, speaker, entertainer, music lover, collector, husband, father, grandfather, friend, traveler, seeker of truth and wisdom.” He majored in English while at the University of Tennessee, has blogged since 2008, and currently has six blogs that delve into his diverse mind.
The original brains behind the annual A to Z Challenge, Lee can be counted on to pay it forward and is a well-respected member of the blogging community.
Hosted again by Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp and The Ninja Captain himself, CheersFest 2.0 will go LIVE! Dec. 9, 2013.

What Do You Do?

In order to proper cheer (or roast) the Bird, here are four questions for you to answer on CheersFest Day, but please keep the retorts short – (no longer than 20 words each):

· Why did Lee come up with the A-Z Challenge?
· If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean?
· Is a post by Mr. Bird worth two in the bush?
· Who could play Lee in a documentary? (Living or dead.)

In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:

· Bird

· Juggler

· Challenge

· Brown Jacket

· Tossing

For Bonus Points:

· In +/- 40 words, can you come up with a caption for Lee’s Facebook picture?

As usual, the Very Demanding Rules of CheersFest include:

· Join the Linky List *below*

· Have fun

· Post your 200 (total) word contribution ON Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.

· No, seriously. Have Fun!

There Will Be Big Prizes!

After all entries have been carefully scrutinized for entertainment value (or if it makes me cry because it's so beautiful), I'll be picking two winners who will be winning extraordinary prizes:

· An autographed color photo of Arlee Bird appearing as the Court Wizard in the World of Fantasy Players production of The Magic of Cinderella.   Also included in the first prize pack is an assortment of promotional materials from Lee’s show biz days with a personal letter and a brief history of his entertainment career.

· A personalized graphics design from Jeremy at Being Retro for the winner’s blog. (Jeremy will design a header, badge, button, banner, or whatever might appeal to the winner.)

Okay so I don't have a book to autograph and I'm not going to be baking cookies.  But the prizes will still be fun!

So are you ready to face the Blogman?

If so, the Linky is now open. Sign up below and we’ll see you on Dec. 9th

       C'mon now--no excuses.   It'll be fun!  Not going to be around?  You can always preschedule your post.   And it doesn't have to be some literary masterpiece.   Just hack it out if you need to.   The more entries we get, the more work I have to do.  You want me to work don't you?

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Blogging with Importunity

English: The Importunate Neighbour. At the Nat...
English: The Importunate Neighbour. At the National Gallery of Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
          I am Blogman so I sit in church and turn sermons into blog posts.   In a recent sermon at the church I attend, our pastor gave a sermon about praying with importunity. This sermon which was based on Luke 11:5-10 described how the most effective way to get prayers answered was to pester God about what we want.  We should pray without ceasing even if we are repeating ourselves.  Like kids nagging their parents, we need to be persistent in our pleas.   I'd heard the verses and sentiments before but I'd never heard the concept put quite in the way the pastor had put it.  

          Then as I thought about this idea I realized that I blog with importunity.  I frequently go back to the same topics.  I'll take an idea and break it down.   If one post about a topic isn't enough I might make a series out of it.  I suppose some readers get bored with my rehashing of topics, but sometimes I'm just trying to get my point across,  However, most of the time I blog about certain topics because they fascinate me.  Marketing, promotion, "blog science", and the psychology and mechanics of social media.  They are topics I am trying to figure out and am hoping some answers will come from readers or just come to me as a result of thinking about it so much.

        So whenever you think I'm being pertinacious, dogged, or persistent to the max, please bear with me.  I hope you will find something interesting in what I'm saying or discover a relevance in my topics applicable to your own purposes.  Honestly, I'm not trying to be annoying.  I'm just blogging with importunity.

Sorry but I just love that expression and had to use it in a blog post.

         Do you ever feel like you blog with importunity?   Are there any topics that people might think you are fixated on?   Do you believe that an author basically has one story to tell and they just repeat it in different ways?


Something's afoot and you can find out more by checking the blog sites listed below:

That’s right! Time to roast a new victim. This year’s hosts are Mark “Madman” Koopmans, Alex “Clone me a” Cavanaugh, Morg “the Borg” Shamy, Stephen “Wormhole” Tremp, and David “Don’t Mess with the” King.   Today's the day when the lucky (????) roast honoree is announced.   Who on Earth will it be?   Is the person even from Earth?

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Battle of the Bands: Little Wing

        Greetings and welcome to another Battle of the Bands installment where two versions of one song are pitted against each other for you to pick your favorite.  I'll tell you mine after I've tallied the votes on next Friday's post.   Be sure to visit the originators of this blog feature:  Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Facist Friends.    Stephen T. McCarthy has a bit of a contest going on at FFFF so be sure to visit his site for info about the give-away and vote on all three of our sites to increase your chances of winning.

         In my previous two posts I gave a number of clues that could have led you to guess my song pick for today.  And if my previous match-up for "Iron Man" was considered outrageous by the majority of you, my song contest today might be taken as downright sacrilegious to some of you.  A classic by a rock and roll god?  Surely not, but yes...

Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix (1967)

Little Wing by The Corrs (1997)

       The Corrs are an Irish pop-rock band who mix-up the contemporary sound with traditional Irish music.  They are a brother and sister act that has been on the music scene since the 90's.  The group is highly popular in the UK and Australia, but have a respectable following in the U.S. They've released several albums.

         Here is their version of the Hendrix classic.  Try to listen with an open mind.  Pretend you've never heard the Hendrix version.

Now Pick Your Favorite...

         I leave to you to say which version you like best.  Tell us in the comments and let us know why you chose the one you did.  Over the upcoming week I'll keep track of the votes and announce the winner next Friday.   Anyone care to guess which version will come out on top?   I'll tell you  my favorite when you've all told me yours.

Don't forget to visit the other battles:

           Faraway Series
         Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
         Your Daily Dose

                      Coming Monday!

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