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, July 21, 2017

Keeping It Simple (#BOTB Results)

    I can be pretty darn fast when my world ain't so slow...

Battle of the Bands Results

        A slow computer compounded with lots of vacation things to do means I'm not getting too much done in the realm of blogging.   Sorry for not making rounds to other blogs like I usually am able to do when I'm at home with my faster computer and not as many distractions.  Most would probably agree that my time with my daughters, my family, and four beautiful grandkids here in New Jersey take precedent to blogging for now.

       One consequence of not being able to make more blogging rounds is fewer reciprocated visits to my own blog.  Of course, as many of you have noted, summertime is a time when blogging activity is down so like everyone else the voting on this Battle dropped considerably in comparison with my usual turn out.  Oh well--it is summer after all and we probably shouldn't be spending all our time indoors on the computer.

       That being said, I'll keep it short and just stick to my Battle results.

        My long familiarity with the group Clear Light and many years of enjoying their great album leaves me with a big bias for the pairing of Cliff De Young, lead singer of my favored group, and Rob Zabrecky, lead singer of Possum Dixon.   And I prefer the musical style of Clear Light though I thoroughly have enjoyed the music of the newer group.  Therefore my vote goes to Clear Light and Cliff De Young.

          It was a close one with my guy coming in second.

Final Vote Tally:

Cliff De Young                 8

Rob Zabrecky                   9

Next Battle Tuesday August 15th

         I won't have many posts until that time.   I'll try to put up one post for Insecure Writer's Support Group on August 2nd, but other than that this blog will be pretty quiet.  Ah, peace and quiet on lazy summer days.  Or maybe not so lazy.  Either way I hope you are all having wonderful summer days.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Career Changes (#BOTB)

Changing Careers

         More than what might typically considered career changes, my work experience has mostly been a matter of job changes or temporary spans of working to pay bills.  Few of those latter jobs were occupations that I would ever have strongly considered as a career choice though I'd have likely been willing to have continued working at some of those jobs had the money and circumstances been right.

          We often work at jobs that come our way while others of us might pursue the passion which we burn for the most.  A dear friend of mine started working during his high school years at a factory where his parents worked.  That friend recently retired after nearly fifty years working at that same factory--rather unusual in our time.   I don't think he ever seriously considered a career change during his working years.  Now that he is retired, he seems content to sit on his deck drinking coffee on summer mornings and watch the sunset while nursing a tall beer.  He piddles about the house during the day or just relaxes listening to the radio.  For him life is just fine and after fifty years working at the same place I guess he deserves to do whatever provides his happiness.

        Having a restless spirit, I sometimes think about moving from retirement into a new career.  Fortunately those thoughts don't last too long or become overly obsessive for me.   There is an option to retirement, but the money and circumstances would have to be right as has always been the case for me.  Money and circumstances likely plays the biggest role in a good many career changes.  I'm probably not going to rush out of retirement any time soon.  A career change could be heading my way, but I'm not making a serious effort at job hunting either.  If something did happen then it would likely fall into my life like so many things have.

         If any, what big career adjustments have you made in your life?   Would you ever want to completely retire into a quiet sedentary life staying mostly at home?   What drives you most when it comes to taking a job:  money or circumstances?

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.

Artists Who Changed Careers

            Recently I watched an episode of Penn and Teller's Fool Us TV show and my attention was particularly drawn to one rather eccentric magician who had previously had a career as a singer in a moderately successful rock band.  Though this factoid was mentioned in the show, Penn Jillette failed to explain who the artist had been in his previous life when he sang vocals on a minor hit that eventually charted at 58 on the Billboard Pop chart.

            With my music interests such as they are I had to Google the magician to discover his previous career incarnation--a band and song completely new to me.   However, reading about this artist made me think of another artist that I enjoyed in his short career as a rock star before he went on to a different career.  This in turn inspired my current round of Battle of the Bands.

Cliff De Young  With All In Mind  (1966)

          Clear Light was an album I used to listen to frequently after it came out in 1966.   I still have my vinyl copy of this album.  Lead singer Cliff De Young later went on to an acting career, not a far cry from singing.   For the Battle I offer up this song from Clear Light's only album.

Rob Zabrecky  "Watch the Girl Destroy Me" (1993)

       Possum Dixon is a new band to me.  Lead singer Rob Zabrecky has multifaceted interests including his current career as a magician.

Time to Vote!

o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday July 21st

       I might be struggling to make it through Battles this week, but hoping I make it through and making it to my next winner announcement next Friday.   Still truckin'. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Valuable Lesson (#IWSG)

      I'd learn a lot more if I didn't forget so much.......

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

Co-Hosts for July are:   Tamara NarayanPat HattPatricia LynneJuneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan

Question for July:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

         Through the years I've taken writing related classes, read many writings about writing, and involved myself in other educational and recreational realms about the art of writing.  Somehow writing seemed to be in my blood from my earliest memories.  I've enjoyed reading since I was a young child and was motivated to write by reading.  And if movies count, then I've watched plenty to get some kind of an influence from those.  Life itself is an education for many subjects and in some sense we are always in school though the classrooms might be a bit different than what we normally think of in respect to classrooms.

        A brain is like a sponge.  We absorb everything around us and within the realm of our own thoughts and reasoning.  In life we learn a lot of stuff, but it's mostly an amassing of subtleties that are in turn processed according to our life experiences and interests.  

        One valuable lesson learned?   Where does one start?  So many lessons have been vital to me in my writing endeavors that it would be difficult to single out what is most important to me.  In fact I'd dare say that the most important lessons are those integral aspects of writing that I now take for granted and can't particularly name.

       However, let me go to one thing that has been weighing upon me over the recent months (or is it years?).   We live in an age of extreme sensitivity to differing opinions.   There is so much divisiveness in our society that being genuine and expressing oneself openly can work to ones detriment both from a social standpoint as well as being commercially viable.  I'm seeing this in my blog writing.  I enjoy expressing my opinions and generating discussion.  Sadly, disagreement is rarely met with tactful intelligent response to the point where a sensible discussion can ensue and dissenting parties can be open to learning and understanding each other.  Being on the "other side" can get ugly in many cases.

       Some of my blog readers have asked me my opinion on certain issues, but I believe that they, knowing my stance on other issues, are essentially baiting me into an uncomfortable situation where they can attempt to discredit my opinion because they think they are the ones with the right answers.   I happen to think that in a good many instances both sides bear truth and those things perceived as falsehoods are merely different ways of looking at something.  

         Most of my writing does reflect my beliefs (political, spiritual, or what have you) and I don't think I am much different than a good many of those who write.   Though I try not to be preachy or overbearing in my writing,  there is almost always a message that I'm trying to convey.  I like stories, but I like enlightenment as well.  My favorite books, stories, and movies have all had that quality to them.  Escape is fun, but enrichment can carry far greater rewards in the long run.  

         More than ever before, we seem to be in a time when an opinion can label a writer as a pop star or a pariah.  Writers fall into niches, as perhaps they always have to a certain extent, but never as noticeable as it is now.  Categories and subcategories run rampant and if you toss in a writer with an opinion that others don't like, that writer can face consequences.

           It's not something I'm going to worry about much.  I'll write what I want to write and believe what I want to believe.   Look for it here at Tossing It Out.  I might offend more visitors to my site in months to come, but I must write what is in my heart and on my mind.  That's life--especially in this crazy social media age where little absurd things can rile people as much as big deep ideas.  It doesn't matter really.  That is until the question of marketability enters the picture.  Then I guess we have to accept that we are all jerks to some people while others will cheer us on.  

           Is this a lesson learned?   I think so.  And it's one that I'm still learning about and trying to contend with.

           Do you avoid reading about "issues"?    Would you rather be challenged to think about what you are reading or do you just prefer to escape?    Are you somewhat afraid to express your opinions about major issues for fear that you will make others angry with you?