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, August 10, 2020

Did the Best Man Win? ( #BOTB Results )

I'm not much for saying whether something is "the best" because that's an opinion. I might be able to say what's best according to my taste and even then that can change from one moment to the next...

Anybody playing games during these China Virus days?  


Battle of the Bands Results



        My most recent Battle included recordings of three different songs by three different groups.  All songs were statements regarding being a man.  Two are pretty much rock classics while the other is by a group with which most of you were unfamiliar.  The two more familiar songs both carried the title "I'm a Man" and were performed by The Yardbirds and Spencer Davis Group.  The third by a mostly unknown group called The Illusion was a song that I had always mistakenly thought was called "I'm a Man" though the actual title is just "Man".  Since I've owned their album on vinyl since 1970 I probably should have realized my mistake, but I guess I just never paid attention to what is on the album cover.

         My inspiration for this Battle was because I wanted to introduce readers to this latter group which I think is quite good.  I only base my opinion on this one album since I've never heard their two earlier albums.  The Illusion album If It's So is just that good in my opinion and opinions are what these BOTB installments are all about. 

          Considering my inspiration for the Battle I think it's probably pretty easy for you to discern that my choice in this Battle was the song by The Illusion.  I like all three songs a great deal, but I just think The Illusion's "Man" is a bit of a rock and roll tour de force. Stephen suggest that  their song was "self-indulgent...overly long and jammy" but that's part of why I like it.  As always, and as it's meant to be, BOTB is an exercise in musical preferences and opinions.  That's what makes it tick!

         If The Illusion hadn't been in the mix then I'd have chosen The Yardbirds with it's psychedelic rave sound.  Still, the Spencer Davis Group song is a good one in my book.  Aside from a low showing of support for The Yardbirds, this contest was a tight race.  That's the kind of Battle I like to see.

Final Vote Tally

The Yardbirds                    2 votes

Spencer Davis Group        6 votes

The Illusion                       8 votes



Next Battle on Saturday August 15th

         Hope you stop by to vote for that one.   Weather has cooled down a bit recently here in Los Angeles which is good for my A/C bill.  And since about all we do is stay home, it's nice to be comfortable and not sweltering.   Now if I could only go places and not have to wear a ridiculous mask.   I'll just leave it at that, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts if you want to.  Hey, a lot of us don't have much else to do these days but sit around and think...













Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Maybe Kinda Sorta ( #IWSG )



If you haven't voted on my most recent Battle of the Bands then I invite you to visit here and let your preference be known.   And now on with my August posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group...





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 August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!


August 5 question - Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?



           Back when I was in high school and college I kept a dream journal.  I kept it partly as a sort of self-analysis or something, but I also enjoyed the surrealism of the dream world.  Being prone to writing as it was, I began to make stories out of some of the dreams.  At other times the dreams might inspire a song or a poem.  I guess I could say my exercise in journaling inspired writing in other forms that were in a sense like a bonus--something I hadn't planned on doing.

         In my more recent years, distanced from those school years by some five decades, I'm finding that as I am inspired to write songs, certain songs call for me to write a story that helps me visualize the songs better.  And more and more I'm less drawn to fiction as my thoughts turn more to memoir.

        Maybe in a way I've gone full circle from where I started in my writing interest.  These days I crave more reality as real life around me seems to become increasingly more unreal.  Who needs fiction when the real world has become so wildly crazy?  No wonder I'm looking back.


         If "2020" had been written as a novel years ago, would you have believed it?    Has this year been more inspirational to you, more distracting, or more something else?   Where do we go from here in your estimation?  







     





Saturday, August 1, 2020

I'm a Man ( #BOTB )


These days I seem to have a lot going against me according to certain opinions--I'm white, I'm older, I'm American, and I'm a man.  So if anyone has a problem with that then that's their problem and not mine.  I am who I am and I'm okay with that.  Why shouldn't I be?  

Ten years ago I was 30 pounds heavier than I am today, I still had a mustache and had recently become a grandpa--Now I have 7 grandkids!  Hard to believe!





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.



The Yardbirds  "I'm a Man"  (1966)

       This song was originally written and recorded by Bo Diddley, but many of you might be more familiar with the sped up version as performed by The Yardbirds.  Through its history this band helped to catapult the careers of some of rock's most famous guitarists--Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds are one of the most influential groups in rock and roll.  Enjoy this blast from the past...






Spencer Davis Group   "I'm a Man"   (1967)

         Stevie Winwood was the singer and co-writer of this song with the title "I'm a Man" which hit the Billboard charts in the U.S. at #10.  Later the band Chicago would cover the song on their first album and charted with their version as well.  I will say that over the years I've grown to like this song better than when it first came out.  That might have been partly due to the Chicago cover.  See what you think of this song in comparison with the others in this Battle...





The Illusion   "Man"  (1970)

        The Illusion was a critically acclaimed band  from Long Island NY.  Unfortunately, even though they managed to release three albums, they never gained much commercial success.  They first caught my attention when I heard their If It's So album played in its entirety on an FM station that I think was broadcasting from Lenoir City TN in 1970. That's when FM stations were pretty cool and did some pretty random stuff.  I was immediately enraptured by the album and bought a copy soon after which I still have in my LP collection.  Apparently the song "Man" was a mondegreen for me as I had always thought the song was saying "I'm a man" in the chorus.  I guess the song listing on the cover didn't register with me.  No matter though as this album is among my favorites in my collection.  See what you think about the song...





Time to Vote!
         You don't have to be a man to vote for your favorite of these three songs because all are welcome to play.  Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  '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 Monday August 10th
  
           This coming Wednesday I'll be presenting my post for Insecure Writer's Support Group so I'll hope you'll stop by for that.  I'm going to post my results for this Battle on a Monday because I never seem to get much response from a Friday post.  For that matter the results posts don't seem to get much attention either.   But I post them anyway because it just seems like the right thing to do.



            

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Is the River Too Wide? ( # BOTB Results)


      Is the river too wide?  Are the waters too deep?  Is it worth it getting to the other side?   Or is it better to fade into oblivious sleep?

There was something I wanted to say, but it's something that has been already said.   Perhaps silence is a better way.   For now thoughts will stay in my head.

...but then of course I still have Twitter and Facebook...

I think there are times when we all need to just scream even if without a sound...

For now I give you--


Battle of the Bands Results




         In my most recent Battle I offered up two songs about crossing expanses of water as performed by the Kentucky duo The Other Years and British singer/songwriter Gaz Brookfield. While Gaz came up with the win in this Battle, the Other Years made a respectable showing.

        After reading my BOTB post some of you might have determined that my favorite in this contest was The Other Years.  After all, this duo was the initial inspiration for this Battle.  I thought Gaz Brookfield's song was pleasant enough with a decent performance, but I didn't find it to be exceptionally unique.  On the other hand, to me the song "Bridges" was more poetic with a deeper thought behind the message. The melody was haunting, evoking memory and contemplation.  I thought the hollow resonance of the recording location added to the feel.  I was captivated by the performance of the song "Bridges" and it has been echoing in my mind for weeks now.  I had to vote for The Other Years in this match-up.

        Then there was this comment from BOTB founder and mentor Stephen T. McCarthy:

     This is going to seem mean but... I'm being honest:
While watching the video of the female duo, I just couldn't shake from my mind the mental image of that boy in the "dueling banjos" scene from the movie 'Deliverance'. Uhm... is that singer his daughter? Sister? Mother? Kissing cousin?

     To which I replied:

STMcC, funny you should say this about Deliverance. In the PBS show I watched, the blond to whom you refer actually plays banjo much of the time and your connection was the first thing that struck me. I think she's kind of like the cute sister of the Deliverance guy--or the daughter.

      If you're not familiar with Deliverance and the Banjo Boy, here are some comparatives:so you can decide for yourself if you agree:

Banjo Boy
Billy Redden "Banjo Boy" from Deliverance
        (If you're missing the reference then you can watch the clip from the movie here)


          More songs from The Other Years featuring Heather Summers on banjo:




\


        I do see some resemblance, but I also think Heather is beautiful in her appearance as well as her musicality.  Keep on playing your wonderful music, Heather Summers.


Final Vote Tally

The Other Years          5 votes

Gaz Brookfield           8 votes


Next Battle on Saturday August 1

         Maybe I'll have more to say on that day or maybe nothing but music...








Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Crossing Rivers ( #BOTB )


People have become so divided that it seems like some chasms may never be crossed.  We can look across the wide rivers of disparate ideologies and see others who look similar to us and yet so radically different in thinking.  But are we really so different?   I wonder...


Chilhowee Lake (Photo by Arlee Bird)

Crossing Rivers

         Rivers have always fascinated me.  There is the metaphor and symbolism of rivers that can get me to thinking, but then there is the beauty and mystery of the river.  It's good to have a bridge when an expedient means of crossing is necessary, but other methods like ferries have a certain charm.  As long as we can cross the river when we need to then it's good to have whatever means available to make the crossing.

          A couple months ago I watched a PBS music show called Lost River Sessions where a female duo who call themselves "The Other Years" performed a set at the Shaker Village in Auburn KY. One song in particular captured my imagination and started to haunt me. This song "Bridges" had such a mournful dreamy sound such as the kind of music that often appeals to me. 

           After finding the recording of the song on YouTube I listened to it a number of times and an idea for a Battle of the Bands began to formulate in my mind.  As I considered the ways to cross rivers I came across a song about ferries.  There's more than one way to cross a river...
       

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.


The Other Years   "Bridges"  (2016)

            This duo comes from Louisville KY.  There aren't too many recordings I could find of the duo, but they do have some samples on the Bandcamp music site if you'd like to hear more from them.  But for now the song "Bridges" is enough for me...







Gaz Brookfield   "Ferry Song"  (2015)

        Gaz is from the United Kingdom and plays acoustic folk as well as rock.  He plays solo as well as in bands.  He gets around.  Sometimes he travels by ferry...







Time to Vote!

         Music doesn't have divide us, but we can have preferences in what music we want to listen to.    Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  '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 Wednesday July 22nd

         Yeah, I'm back for a mid-month Battle.  It's difficult for me to be away for long, especially when I have all of these Battles lined up waiting to take their turn on the Tossing It Out stage. So I'm here again and I'll see what I'll do the rest of the summer.  For now, I'll do what I'll do and I guess that's what I've always done...


           Would you rather cross a river by bridge or ferry?   What is the scariest ferry ride you've taken?  What is the scariest bridge you've crossed (in reality or metaphorically)?  







Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Is History Becoming History? ( #BOTB Results )


Who should decide when what or who has become irrelevant?   Do you trust others to make that decision for you?  And who are those "others"?   

Is History Becoming History?

        Looking back to my years of pre-college education, it seems strange that I often considered history to be one of my least favorite courses.  It's strange--maybe even contradictory--since I've always loved movies, books, and stories about historic events.  I still prefer non-fiction accounts of people and times in the past.  In actuality history was/is one of my favorite subjects.

          It would be unfair to some of the wonderful teachers I had in younger days to say that they taught the subject of history poorly.  Primarily it was a matter of my perception--a perception that changed radically after I began taking history classes at the University of Tennessee and began pursuing the topic on my own.  History became interesting to me as well as relevant to my understanding of the people and events that shaped history to the present day.

          Those who we see currently rejecting the achievements of those who brought us to where we are now--those who want to tear down monuments and erase names from history books--they are essentially ignorant from all indications I receive from them.  Or they are radical insurgents who are deliberately trying to destroy the history, culture, and legacy of the United States of America and for that alone they should be condemned and rejected.

        To me there is no logical argument to tearing down or even removal of statues and monuments that currently exist unless they pose some kind of threat to their surroundings or there is a sound purpose in doing so.  Just because they might "make people feel badly" is not a reasonable argument.  Those monuments are inanimate without any motivation in and of themselves and therefore cannot "make" anybody feel anything--people chose to feel an emotion, control it, and take action to deal with why they feel that way.  The monuments are objects of learning, reflection, understanding, and discussion.  They should be cherished as part of our heritage--or at the very least respected as property that others might appreciate.

        And all of this does not even address the memorials as art.  They are indeed art since they were creations of human minds and handiwork.  Some, such as those on Monument Avenue in Richmond VA, are (or were) quite impressive to behold.  When I lived in Richmond my route to work took me past those statues and I always enjoyed seeing them.

         Now, the statue of Stonewall Jackson (whom I still proudly claim in my family's ancestry) is gone.  I guess the others have been removed as well.  I know that the statue of Matthew Maury was removed after Stonewall, something I lamented since I had only recently learned about Maury's great contributions to science and navigation.  Why oh why?  Why is there so much ignorance?  Why is the will of a handful of un-American Americans catered to while the rest of us are not even given an opportunity for input?   The incompetent mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney, is a pitiful joke as far as I am concerned.

           But that's where we've come to in this country.  Loud mobs of ignorant child-adults seem to be kowtowing local and state leaders into submitting to the will of folks who care nothing for America.  None of the government leaders or mob participants will ever attain the great achievements of Christoper Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, or Andrew Jackson.  I can say that with relative confidence and I'll retract my words if I ever see it happen.

          We live in sorry days, but I'm hoping better things will be coming.  I don't expect that to happen so I won't lay any money on that bet.  As much as possible we need to reject the mob influence or the influence of insidious radical groups like Black Lives Matter.  If you're offended by that then do your research--BLM is an evil organization.  Many people can't seem to distinguish between the sentiment of black or any lives mattering and a leftist organization that has absconded a slogan as their name.

            In true Orwellian fashion the radical left wants to rewrite our great history to reflect their ideology.  The pressure to shame us about our history is leading to musical groups changing their names, movies and books under consideration to be banned or given limited access, or erasing any vestiges of our history in our surroundings.  If you really want to tear down statues then build your own damn statue on your own land with your own money and rip the sucker down.  Otherwise leave your filthy mitts off of what others have created and funded. 

           I for one love the United States of America despite its flaws and foibles.  History should be a learning experience.  Unfortunately the spoiled brat radicals haven't learned much from our history, but they are gladly taking cues from the evil governments of the past that did the same kind of eradication of the past.

             To get angry or upset about history and what people of the past did is utterly foolish and stupid.  Really?  Getting emotional about things that already happened and can't be undone other than in some childish imaginary way?   Let's pretend things didn't happen? 

               I glad I'm more intelligent than that.   But that's me.  And I think it's a lot of other people as well.   Anyone who supports the "peaceful" protesting of graffiti, looting, violence, destruction, and chaos in general is an idiot--a dangerous idiot.  Maybe you have a different point of view about this-- and then maybe you're an idiot.



Battle of the Bands Results 



         This most recent Battle featured the Dave Loggins hit "Please Come to Boston" as performed by Confederate Railroad and Reba McIntire.  The Railroad chugged out of the station with a nice lead, but it wasn't long before spunky Reba overtook the train to take the lead all the way until the end of the match.

          I liked both versions quite well, but the male voices of Confederate Railroad were more preferred to me than Reba's country twang.  But, alas, my vote for the Confederate guys wasn't enough to beat Reba.  And I gotta admit that her version is pretty good.


Final Vote Tally

Confederate Railroad         10

Reba McIntire                    13




Next Battle on July 15th?  Maybe? Probably

           If I show up for a mid month Battle I hope you'll join me in a week.  I still feel like I need the break, but on the other hand I have so many Battles waiting in the wings that by doing two a month I might wrap them up in a couple years if I'm still blogging that long.  Then, of course, there is that fact that I keep thinking up new Battles to add.  But for me it's all less of a conundrum than it is a matter of whim.  Either way, I intend to be back at some point so please don't forget me.  Forgetting seems to be the mode of the day and I don't relish being the next victim of being forgotten.  Not in my lifetime at least.


        Can you think of a logical reason to tear down monuments to the past (especially if they have been standing for many decades)?    Do you think students today are being properly educated about history?   Are you interested in exploring the past?  



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Please Come to Boston ( #BOTB ) ( #IWSG )


In recent weeks I've been hearing a shrill shrieking noise emanating from somewhere in the vicinity of the neighborhood where I live.  I hear it periodically throughout the day and the night.  Sometimes I am awakened to hear this undefinable noise. My wife says she hears it too so I know it's not something in my head.  It's puzzling to me.  But so much has become puzzling in recent months.  I mean more puzzling than anything ever before in my life...



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 July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!



July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?


      The changes that I'd like to see are changes within me.  Everything in the industry has changed in ways that certainly make getting my work published to be a more attainable goal, but to be actually read by any appreciable audience remains a mystery in so many ways.  And if I don't write then it won't matter what else I do anyway.

       My interest in fiction writing has gone by the wayside while my inclination towards writing non-fiction--primarily memoir--is more steadfast though with not enough actual writing.  You might think the restrictive nature of current life circumstances might lead me to write more.  No, not quite--I'm not even reading more.

       Good news is that I'm writing more songs these days.  Almost every day I start a new song and even almost finish some.  My mind has been filled with music--and other writing I suppose.  I'm writing a lot in my head.

       So here's a change I'd like to see--or maybe it's more of an invention.  How about a device that I can hook into my brain that will transmit my writing thoughts into digital storage that can be printed out or sent where I want to send it.  Just the ticket for lazy me!

        If I had one of those I'd be really prolific.  Wouldn't we all...

     

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.


Please Come to Boston

        After my last BOTB post, my youngest sister Joni sent me a request to feature a favorite song of hers--"Please Come to Boston" which was originally done by Dave Loggins. Now, like I told Joni, I have so many song Battles lined up in my "someday queue" that I wasn't sure when I'd get around to doing this one, but considering it's my sister and she recently celebrated a birthday with her twin brother Jay (I won't say how old they turned, but they are getting older like I am) I figured I'd indulge her request and move her song to the top of my list.

       When "Please Come to Boston" came out in 1974 it got a lot of airplay on the radio stations in Knoxville TN near where I was living at the time.  I think the reference to Tennessee particularly caught the attention of Knoxville music fans.  My good friend Vernon had mentioned at the time how much he liked the song. I liked it too, though maybe not as much he did.

        It's a sweet song that has since those days taken on greater meaning for me seeing as how I've roamed far and wide away from East Tennessee throughout the years that followed the song's release.  These days as I seem more trapped in Los Angeles by the circumstances of life and the choices that I've made, the song hits home like never before.  It would be nice to go back to at least visit Tennessee, but I doubt that I'll ever live there again.  If visiting there or anywhere is in my future, it's not on my agenda for this year.  Don't think I'll be going anywhere this year unless the situation in this country changes drastically for the better.

        Realistically speaking, I don't think this is a very good year for traveling anywhere.  But I can dream and reminisce...
     




Confederate Railroad  "Please Come to Boston" (2007)

       When I was looking for cover versions of "Please Come to Boston" this group's name stood out considering all that's been going on of late.  Looking at the Wikipedia entry for the group I read where upcoming concerts for the band have been cancelled because of the problem with their name.  Looks like another band is going to have to change their name due to the current scourge of political correctness.  But that's a topic for another day and for now let's listen to their version of the Dave Loggins hit...







Reba McEntire  "Please Come to Boston"  (1995)

       For the female take on "Please Come to Boston" I decided to stay with the country genre.  Surely everyone is familiar with Reba since she's not only been a long time country star, but has appeared in movies and television, including her own sitcom.  See what you think of Reba's version...







Time to Vote!

         Are you feeling the country?    Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  '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 Wednesday July 8th

         Stay happy if you can and if you're doing like I've been doing you'll be mostly staying at home.  That's fine with me.  I'm happy at home.  Please vote today and come back later to see if your favorite was the winner.


         Have you been hearing any strange sounds lately?   Do you have any vacation plans this summer that involve travel?   During the pandemic lock down have you experienced greater productivity or have you been distracted by other things?