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!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cherry Picking Time ( #BOTB Results )


       Still looking for my fix of cherry flavors.  I've been having to settle for cherry coke, but that's fine.  While I search for some cherry for me, here's some cherry results for you...

Battle of the Bands Results

            My most recent Battle was a showdown between Tommy James and the Shondells (which most of you knew) and The Good Rats (which is a much lesser known band), each with their own "cherry" flavored song.  I like TJ's "Sweet Cherry Wine" much better now than when it originally came out--especially knowing what the song is about.  I always liked the song, but it struck me as light pop and not as edgy as what I was mostly listening to back then.  And even though I like the James song better now, this was not my vote.

          The Good Rats have long been a favorite band of mine and to me the song "Cherry River" is one of their best.  I can remember so many late night drives when I'd have this song cranked up on my van stereo.  Seems like the appropriate kind of song on occasions such as that.  So, as I'm sure you can guess, my vote goes to The Good Rats, who in this case were good, but not good enough for the win.

Final Vote Tally

Tommy James    8 votes

Good Rats          4 votes


Next Battle ????

       Since I've got an especially busy schedule over the next few weeks I'm not going to commit to any Battle until July 1st.  If I can manage, I'll try to visit everyone else's Battles.  I'll probably have very little access to being on line for most of June.  So, see you when things get back to normal.  Or kind of normal...

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Cherry Wine vs Cherry River ( #BOTB )


         Cherries!  I love cherry flavor.  Don't know about cherry wine or other cherry alcoholic drinks since I don't think I've had any.  But it does sound good to me!

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.

Cherry Booze Battle

       I'm jumping back onto the Battle of the Booze theme.  I had to think about the song possibilities for awhile but then the song "Cherry River" started chugging through my brain which made me start thinking about "Cherry Wine".  I'll take some of what both these songs' singers are talking about.  And if it's cherry flavored then what's not to love?   Which of these songs do you enjoy the most?

Tommy James & the Shondells  "Sweet Cherry Wine"  (1969)

       This song came out during my senior year of high school.  I had enjoyed Tommy James and his band for several years, but in 1968 Tommy started turning out some Jesus related music that was excellent.  He was like one of the earliest Christian rock artists I guess. It's not hard to figure out what this song is about.  It was a pretty big hit back in it's day.


The Good Rats   "Cherry River"   (1979)

          I discovered The Good Rats in 1970 when I was in college at the University of Tennessee.  I read a review of the band in a classical music magazine then went and bought the album, which I thought was pretty good.  Then the band disappeared from my radar after that. Over a decade later I started finding several of their albums in cut-out bins so I started buying them up. The later albums were even better than the one I already had.  The song "Cherry River" is one of my favorite songs that the band did.  I don't know what's in that river they're singing about, but I think I'd like some of it. Now if someone can just find that river again...

Time to Vote!

         Come on and vote--please!  If you don't then go jump in a river.  But I don't want you to do that.  Just take a listen to the songs then tell us which song version  you like best? 
  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. I don't know if anyone else will be doing a Battle this time around, but you can still check out these sites.

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

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Results on Wednesday May 22
        I'll try to stay away from that river until I get my results posted.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Poppin' in for Results ( #BOTB Results )

 Did I say Wednesday?

I guess today is that day--or whatever day I post this.

I'll try for Wednesday....

Battle of the Bands Results

            Okay, I'll make this quick.  I've got things to do. Never mind what.

           My most recent Battle was the song "Under Paris Skies" as performed by Jane Morgan and Nicki Parrott.  I've been a fan of Jane Morgan since I can't recall when so I'm giving her my vote.  Loved the arrangement of NIcki's version with the accordion and mandolin and all, but Morgan's version had so much class.  But here's how it all tallied up in the end...

Final Vote Tally

Jane Morgan      5 votes

NIcki Parrott       11 votes

See ya later!  Maybe I'll do a midmonth Battle, but I'll decide that later.  Bye..

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Under Paris Skies (#BOTB & #IWSG )

        Another Blogging from A to Z is behind us and now to get back to regular programming.  Today we have a two-fer that is pretty much what I regularly do here each month...

 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 May 1 posting of the IWSG are Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine.

May 1 question - How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

       Distractions don't turn my life into a total train wreck, but they often "derail" me onto a sidetrack that I hadn't planned on going down.  And if those sidetracks don't find me then I'll sometimes look for them.

        I've often had a problem with focus. There's always something for me to do that seems more fun, more interesting, or more useful than what I started out to do.  That especially applies to writing.  I may want to write, but it seems like a necessary chore comes up or someone calls on the phone or I just feel the need to do something, anything other than the writing that I thought I needed to do.  

        I guess I should write more than I do, but then again...

        Time for another distraction I think...

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.

Under Paris Skies

       In November of 2015 my wife and I took a week-end respite to link up with one of our daughters and her family in Las Vegas.  For them it was due to business, while for us it was just something to do--a distraction from everyday routine.

       As we would typically do on a Las Vegas visit, we spent hours strolling through the casinos, playing an occasional slot or snacking or just looking.  One of our favorite casinos for strolling is The Venetian which for its theme has canals with singing gondoliers taking folks through the maze of waterways that meander through recreated Venice style streets.  There are jewelry shops and gelato stands.  One can dine on fancy Italian fare or grab fast food in the food court.  If you just stayed in this casino alone you might lose track of time because the fake sky is always daylight. The Venetian like most other casinos is a fantasyland of escapism.

      At one point during our visit, I was distracted by a musical ensemble playing music that was reminiscent of what one might hear in Italy.  What especially caught my ear was a song that I had grown up hearing on the radio and in my parents' record collection.  What was the song?  I was so puzzled by wondering the name of this familiar tune that I was compelled to go up to the edge of the stage when they had finished and ask the violinist what they had just played.  He told me that the song was "Under Paris Skies" which I would have never guessed.  

     But now I know the name of this song and present it in Battle format with one singer I've heard throughout my life, Jane Morgan, and a singer I'd never heard of before, Nicki Parrott.  I'm going to pick my own favorite later on, but for now I invite you to listen for yourself and tell us which version you like best.       

Jane Morgan  "Under Paris Skies"   ( 1964 )

Nicki Parrott  "Under Paris Skies"  ( 2013 )

Time to Vote!

         Try not to get distracted before you vote.  Take a moment to listen to each version.  Then tell us which song version do you like best? 
  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. I don't know if anyone else will be doing a Battle this time around, but you can still check out these sites.

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

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Results on Wednesday May 8
       I'll try not to get too distracted so I can post the results.  I know you will all be waiting anxiously to hear which song came out with the most votes.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Zookeeper, Zoning Manager, Zzyzx Operator, ( #AtoZChallenge )


 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Z

                Zoo is a common go-to for many an April A to Z series so zookeeper sounds like the natural way to go for this final regard to my series about occupations that I coulda been or actually was on occasion.  I was never a zookeeper, but I was a parent and that is sometimes compared to maintaining a zoo.  My critters--er, I mean--girls were pretty good.  Now they've got their own zoos with more nice kids like I had.  I'd much rather visit a zoo than keep care of one, but it does sound like an interesting occupation.

         Zoning manager is more like it for me. Not that I know much about zoning anything.  I'm sure I could figure it out as good as anyone else.  Sounds like an office job and that's my speed these days.  Then also, it's a manager job and as I've mentioned in earlier posts, I've been manager in most of my job positions.  Maybe I could be manager of an office of engineers or whatever who do zoning work.  And I could do the management part.  If that's how it works.

        Considering my location of Los Angeles I perhaps could apply as an operator at Zzyzx CA.  To clarify, Zzyzx is an exit one sees on the way to Las Vegas off of I-15.  There used to be some sort of health resort at this remote desert location, but now it's associated with some kind of university research.  They must have someone who runs things out there.  Guess I won't apply for that job. It gets really hot out there.

        And that, my friends, concludes another year for me of Blogging from A to Z.   I've explored the occupations that I coulda been as well as some of the things I actually did do.  Hope you enjoyed it and if you missed any of the posts then I hope you'll go back to check them out

       Comments always welcomed!

        Do you go to zoos very often?   Is the zoning where you live fairly strict or is it mostly lax and random?   Have you ever seen that Zzyzx exit or even actually gotten off there?

Monday, April 29, 2024

Yard Worker, Yacht Captain, Youth Director, Yo-yo Expert ( #AtoZChallenge )

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Y


            Since I don't know or care much about yarn, yeast, or yoga then I'll dismiss any occupations associated with those things.  I've done plenty of yard work in my life including working outdoors in what they called the "construction yard" when I was working at the contracting company that my father worked for while I was in college.  That's a young man's work and I wouldn't want to do much of that again.

       Yacht Captain would never come about for me so I can easily dismiss that job.  Youth director might be more related to my skillset, but I'm not sure I'd be the greatest youth director.  At least not if it were an energetic thing or where I might have to deal with unruly youth. Fact is I don't know that I'd want to be a director of any amassed group of people or any other creatures. 

         Maybe I'm best at being a yo-yo expert.  Not actual toy yo-yos, but metaphorical yo-yos that represent all the ups and downs and highs and lows of life.  But haven't we all?  Perhaps I should just go out and buy a toy yo-yo and start practicing.  It's probably a dead end career.  And once you reach the end of the string you just go back to where you've started. Yeah, I guess you could call me a yo-yo expert.


        Do you or have you in the past maintained a large yard?  Are you good when it comes to working with young people or just people in general?  How proficient are your yo-yo skills?

Saturday, April 27, 2024

X-Ray Technician, X-tra in Movies, or just X ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter X

               X is the annoyance of any A to Z--or a time for creativity.  How to avoid the usual cliches of X?  Don't worry and just dive in.  

        X-ray technician or whatever seems like the natural place to go.  I've been x-rayed plenty of times in my life and operating a machine of this function seems like something I could do.  But I don't want to.  

        Considering where I live (Los Angeles area), being a movie-X-tra could be a real possibility for me. One of my daughters did it for a while and she seemed to have enjoyed doing it.  Since I worked in 1968 as a movie extra in a film shot in East Tennessee, I know a bit about doing this and it would be okay.

        Or I could just be "X"--another somewhat anonymous component of the urban sprawl in which I live. We all are statistics in one way or another.  Boxes checked to tell the Big Brain what we are, who we are, and where we are.  We all are X's in some kind of grid of information or designation.  And that's me: Mr. X from City X on Planet X.  That's me.

          What X jobs did I miss?   Do you feel like an "X" sometimes?   Are you a fan of statistics?   

Friday, April 26, 2024

Weeder, Warehouse Worker, Writer, Walker ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter W

        Weeder is not in my wheelhouse.  Been there and don't want to do it anymore.  At least not on any grand scale like I used to do for a while during my summer work interims between college quarters.  For a couple of summers I worked on a construction yard with a couple of other college guys picking up money during summer vacation.  Weeding was hot tiring work, but there were those times when it wasn't all that bad thanks to the banter among us college boys.  Then there were the times where I was left to my own thoughts as I hacked down those weeds with my scythe.  A tractor would have been better, but the company had us to do the work manually so there we were.  It was okay for a couple of summers in my youth, but not something I would have wanted to do for long.

      Warehouse worker became more my thing after a couple of weedy summers.  I found a summer job at a carnival supply warehouse in Knoxville TN and stayed on with them for a few years. It was great for me since the peak working period was during the summer months when I was off from school.  The rest of the year I would just come in when I could and the company was okay with that.  They liked me and I was a good worker for them.  I was hired on as an Assistant Manager (because I was in college), but I did plenty of hard work like loading and unloading trucks and stacking the incoming merchandise.  I came to love warehouses during those years and would come back to that scenario in a costume and Halloween supply company in my final working years before our warehouse closed and I was pushed into retirement.

        The thing that drew me to blogging after that retirement was my love of writing.  Since middle school I had begun dreaming of being a writer.  Over the years I've plied my writing skills mainly for my own amusement, but having a blog somehow gave my writing a place to be put on display for anyone to read.  Someday I'd like to go beyond my blog and actually publish something of substance. I love to write, but I think I would like it even more if I were paid to do it.  However that's on me.  I need to amp up my ambitions and do some serious writing.

        Or I could do some walking.  Years ago I started dreaming of walking across America and maybe beyond.  I actually started to do it a couple of times, but then I found an excuse to go back home to comfort.  I like to walk, but I also like being home.  Maybe I'll just be a walker who walks around my neighborhood or my house.  That seems like enough walking for me at my age.  But who knows--the dream of walking a long distance still remains in the back of my mind.  That's where that dream will likely stay.

       Do like the environment of a warehouse?   How is your writing career going?   What is the longest distance you've walked?  

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Van Driver, Visitor Services, Videographer, Violinist (#AtoZChallenge)


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter V

             Van driver might be an appropriate job label for me these days since I have a van that I frequently use to transport my wife and I and other family members around.  In fact, the first vehicle I ever owned was a van and I've owned one ever since.  I've logged many miles in my vans so I think I could qualify as a professional van driver.  And when I worked for the airport shuttle service in Knoxville TN I was usually driving a van filled with paying passengers.  That is professional van driving for sure.

       We don't get many visitors at our house, but when we do I try to show them a good time.  I might be good at visitor services.  Maybe I could work at a hotel, tourist office, or some other location where travelers were seeking information and help getting around.  One in that position would probably meet some interesting people, though I'd rather be the one doing the visiting.

        My oldest daughter works as a videographer on occasion.  I suppose I might have influenced her since I used to take a lot of videos of the family.  Doing video work might be a lot of fun and very interesting depending on what type of video I was shooting.  I'd need some better video equipment if I were going to seriously pursue the career of a videographer.  I guess I'd need to work another job to make the money to buy the equipment.  Or maybe I could just not be a videographer.

        Violinist has been a big part of my identity since I was a child.  My playing ability has never achieved any high level of skill, but I've managed to use this job persona to make a living to a certain degree. I will never be mistaken for a virtuoso, but I can honestly say that I've worked as a violinist.

      Are there any talents that you acquired in childhood that have helped you earn a living in your adult life?   Do you enjoy taking home movies or videos?  What was your first vehicle?

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Underground Worker, Upholsterer, Undertaker, U.S. Government Worker ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter U

           Underground worker might mean a number of things.  In my youth I considered myself as somewhat of a Hippie.  Back then Hippies were considered part of an "underground movement" by some, but I wasn't really that serious of a Hippie--I just identified with the movement to a degree.  A small degree.  It was pretense mostly.  I wasn't really very underground back then other than when I was exploring caves.  Being claustrophobic as I am, caving wasn't too much in my comfort realm.  I stopped doing that after a while.  Being underground isn't so much my thing.

          When I was a kid living in San Diego. during our frequent visits to Tijuana Mexico I would see many shops advertising "tuck and roll upholstery for automobiles".   There were a ton of those places back then, but I was never lured by the world of upholsterers.   When I had furniture that needed to be upholstered I just got rid of it and bought new furniture.  I'm no upholsterer.

          Undertaker seems like a very bizarre job to do.  Sure, it's respectable and can be lucrative I suppose, but being around dead bodies in a very intimate way seems creepy to me.  Somebody's got to do it, but that person is not me.  

            Neither is United States Government worker.  We've already got too many of them anyway.  If I had spent my life as a government worker, I probably would be enjoying a better retirement than I do now.  That is, if I had survived the work.  I'm sure there's a lot of government jobs that could have suited me, I didn't do them or pursue them.  So much for government work.

        Were you ever involved in underground work in reality or metaphorically?   Have you ever had anything upholstered or done it yourself?   Did you do any work for a government?

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Telephone Worker, Teacher, Tour Guide, Theater Manager ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter T

          Telephone worker?  Yeah, done that plenty.  Sales, research, customer service, fundraising--I've done it all.  Of course, much work involves the telephone so it's not surprising that most of us have used this tool in some capacity during our working lives.  It's not what I want to do to make a living, but it is a vital tool for work in our time and has been for decades.

           Teacher could have been a real possibility for me.  When I was attending University of Tennessee back in the early 1970s my major was English with a career goal of becoming credentialed to teach.  My plan was to teach high school or middle school so I ended up taking a lot of teaching courses. But then I dropped out of college to start working.  Although I tried substitute teaching, being a full-time educator is not something I think I would have enjoyed.  I'm glad I did what I did in my life.

           Touring the country with road shows might have been a good credential for being a tour guide.  In fact, each year with new travelers on my tour I often felt like a guide as I took these unseasoned travelers to visit sites across the country that I had enjoyed on previous tours.  I kind of enjoy being a tour guide for family and friends so I might enjoy this as a job.

         Similarly, theater manager might have been a good path for me to have taken.  I've played many a fine theater and visited many others.  As noted in previous posts, I am a show business guy at heart.  I love the theater and most of my working life was spent in management.  Theater manager sounds like the ideal placement for me!

         How have you used the telephone in your working life?  Have you had any experience in the field of teaching?   Can you recall any tour guides in your life that you thought were particularly outstanding?

Monday, April 22, 2024

Sales, Security, Stage Manager, Showman, Silly Fellow ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter S

          Sales is really not for me.  I'm not much of a salesman, but maybe because I'm too honest.  A good salesperson will pride themselves on being able to sell just about anything no matter how good it is or what it is. I'm more apt to talk a perspective customer out of buying something.  But I have had my moments in sales so I guess I haven't been a complete failure at sales.  I'd just rather not do it.

         Security is another field in which I have no interest in doing myself.  I like to feel secure, but I'd prefer someone else to provide that security.  Sadly safety doesn't seem to be that much of an issue with many people these days.  At least not to those in power unless it's keeping themselves secure.

           Stage manager is more to my liking.  This is a job I've done for periods in my life and I enjoyed doing it.  But I like things related to show business whether in the spotlight or behind the scenes.  I've been a showman, not in any huge way, but in a satisfactory way to appease my own interests.  Yes, showman at heart is what I am.

           Or am I just a silly fellow pursuing fantasies that at times I have achieved, but mostly dreaming too big to ever make it reality.  Dreaming is fine, but it shouldn't interfere with the real every day life.  I suppose I've created balance in my life.  But I'm still a silly fellow--some might say.

          Are you adept at selling?  Did you have show business dreams at any time of your life?  Do you think your life pursuits have been silly or have you accomplished just as much as you ever hoped and dreamed?

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Railroad Worker, Retailer, Radio DJ, Roustabout, Roadie, Road Warrior ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter R

           Railroads have been a fascination for me since I was a young child.  But railroads have fueled many imaginations since their inception nearly 300 years ago.  Aside from that fact, railroading might have been passed down through my family heritage.  For a while my maternal grandfather worked on a railroad.  That was before I was born, though I often heard stories about his working on a railroad operating a steam engine.  Working on a railroad not only sounds interesting, but it also sounds like a good topic for a song.

         Retailer is a common occupation that is not too bad to pursue even if it is often not particularly lucrative.  Most of my jobs dealing with tangible goods were related to the wholesale end of selling.  In the late eighties I did a few month stint working at a Radio Shack. I did enjoy the work environment and the people I encountered, but, alas, I didn't have a good grasp on what I was selling.  Still, the upper management did attempt to recruit me into managing a store.  That store would have been farther than I wanted to commute so I was hesitant to take it.  Then a wholesale position opened up for me and that was the end to my retail job.  I'd rather sell merchandise wholesale to retailers anyway.

        Radio DJ sounds like a dream job to me.  I'd do that one now if I had a good offer.  However I doubt whether I'll be getting that offer anytime soon.  I don't know that my voice is all that good to be a radio personality anyway.  But spinning discs on some late night radio show sounds kind of cool.  I'd play some weird music until the guys on top told me not to anymore.

        I was frequently around roustabouts when I was working in circuses or carnivals.  I'd rather be that kind of roustabout than one that works on oil rigs.  The pay would be a lot less, but I'd still be under a show business spell.  Still, it would be a rough life and I don't think I'd be cut out for that.  Likewise being a roadie for a rock and roll band.  It might be a glamorous life in some ways, but I'd rather be on the stage than setting it and cleaning it up.

       Most of my life I've been a "road warrior" as I've traveled the continent playing shows all over the place.   I've become very adapted to travel since I've been doing it since childhood.  I love the road and I am suited to the lifestyle of traveling.  Road life has a lure for many of us.  I'm one of those.

        Do enjoy long road trips?     Have you taken any extensive train trips?    What retail selling experiences have you had?  

Friday, April 19, 2024

Questioner, Quality Controller, Quoter, Quibbler ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Q

            Question for you:  Do you like to ask questions?

             I am a big questioner in many respects.  I am curious about the world around me as well as the people I meet.  No, I don't think of it as being nosy--I just like to know about things.  I like to hear stories and histories.  To me this is not weird, but completely normal.  I'd love to have a job asking questions, whether it be to get opinions or find out facts about people or what people might know about.  In my years spent in management as well as those working in marketing research, I've been in positions where my job was to ask questions.  I liked that role then and I still enjoy it.

          Quality control is vital for any business that wants to maintain a good reputation.  In my past jobs I've often been a stickler for giving customers a high quality of experience with me and the companies I worked for.   Insistence on quality control is pretty much practicing the "Golden Rule" of respect for others.  I like good quality whether I'm paying or not and I try to provide good quality as much as I can.  I can handle quality control because this is what I expect as well from others.

             Not only as a writer and blogger do I sometimes quote what others have said, but throughout my life I have enjoyed a good quote and will sometimes cite my own when I can remember them.  I've never been that great at memorizing things so I tend not quote very often off the cuff.  I keep a few books of quotes on my shelves just in case, but usually these days I'm more prone to just go online to find an appropriate quote.

           Quibbler some might say is more my style.  I don't think I quibble that much, but sometimes I think it's necessary when you want to excel in things like quality control.  I'm not really that much of a quibbler, I just play one on television.  Well, not really.  That reference was kind of a quote that I've heard elsewhere.  Don't know where I heard it, but I don't want to quibble about it.

       Do you think "Quibble" is kind of a dumb word?   Are you a stickler for high quality in the work you do?  Is there a favorite saying that you like to quote?

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Printer, Publisher, Packer, Painter, Psychologist ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter P

         Printer might have been a good career choice for me.  My grandfather, my father's father, was a printer and quite a respected and accomplished printer at that.  Sadly I never got to meet him since he died well before I was born.  My father was only 12 years old when his father died in 1936.  From what I've read about my grandfather, he was not only highly proficient at his job, but he was considered to be one of the most well-read men in Clarksburg WV.  Sounds like a man that I would have liked to have met and sat down to talk about history and what he had read.  Maybe some printer gene was passed down to me since I am so fascinated by printed works and newspapers.  I never went into any kind of print profession, but I guess I could have.

        Maybe I could get into publishing one day. I know there are some bloggers who are also publishers of books and such. Publishing would certainly give me some advantage to having my own books published, but I guess I'll leave that job to someone else.  That is, if I ever have a book that needs to be published. And that could happen you know. 

         A number of my previous jobs have involved packing whether it was packing boxes to ship to customers or packing truckloads to ship to wherever. Packing is something that I enjoy.  It's much like putting a puzzle together at times.  When I was working on roadshows, the first packing of the truck was usually a bit of a challenge to get everything onboard just right the first time.  After that we would always pack the truck the same way to make the process fast and expedient. Of course, since I was manager, I was usually involved in the business of the show itself while everyone else did most of the packing. But over the years I did plenty of my share of that work.  I didn't mind it at all for the most part.

        Prior to going on the road with a show, I was involved in much of the show prep and a big part of that was painting sets, props, and show cases so I did a lot of wielding of paintbrushes during those times.  I've also painted walls in houses--my own and others.  In my senior year of high school my parents let me paint our family room with a wild psychedelic design and that became a gathering place for many of my friends for a number of years.  After I moved out of the house they eventually painted and then paneled over my artwork.  I wonder if anyone will ever discover it years from now and wonder about it all?

         My plan going into college was to major in psychology and become a psychologist or something in that field.   I pursued that aim for a couple of years until I switched over to a major in English.  Psychology still interests me a great deal, but I'm probably better off for not having gone into the profession.  I've got enough problems of my own let alone take on someone else's crazy problems.  I'm good at listening, but I'm not sure I give the best advice.

        Did you follow through on your initial career aims of high school?   How are your organizational skills when it comes to packing?   Have you found a good publisher that has helped you achieve your writing goals?


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Operator, Office Worker, Order Taker, or Outdoorsman ( #AtoZChallenge )

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter O


       Operator is a job title that could mean a lot of things, but when I think of the term I think of a telephone operator.   Some of you probably remember the days when you could call "Operator" and get a real person instead of an automated system. They could connect you to numbers you needed to reach or find the numbers for you if you couldn't find them. An operator years ago was an actual human who could answer your questions and hopefully help you do whatever it was you needed to do on the telephone.  My maternal grandmother was a telephone operator back in 1919.  I never asked her about it because I never heard about this until after she died.  Operator sounds potentially interesting in its time, but now it is an anomaly for the most part.  Many jobs have become obsolete due to mechanization. 

       A few times over the years I have been an office worker to a certain extent.  I've rarely been confined to a desk all day doing clerical work, but I have worked in an office environment mostly answering phones and filling out paperwork.  But that is part of a manager job which was why I was doing office work.  And much of that office work entailed being an order taker.  Customers would call in to my office to place orders and I would enter those orders into the system to be shipped to the customers.  Order taking was one of my favorite office related jobs because I enjoyed interacting with customers.

        In my young adult years I fancied myself as a bit of an outdoorsman--to a limited extent at least.  I enjoyed hiking and camping, but I would never say I was enough of a pro to be acting in any professional capacity of outdoorsmanship.  These days I don't go outside all that much.  I'd have to drive a bit of a distance to escape the urban wilderness of Los Angeles and I don't care to be an outdoorsman in the city.  I like to watch television shows about it, but that's about as much wilderness that I can stand these days.

        What are your favorite outdoor activities?   Do you enjoy working in an office environment?  When's the last time you called an operator?


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Navy guy, Nurse, Newspaper Writer, Novelist ( #AtoZChallenge )

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter N


        Navy guy might have been a career route that I could have taken in my life.  After I graduated from high school I could have looked into joining the Navy.  It was 1969 and Vietnam was going full guns and other deadly devices.  Since my father was in the Navy during World War II it might seem logical for me to follow the tradition--that is if I'd come from a military type family.  But my father was mostly recruited to play basketball on the Navy team.  He wasn't much of a sailor, but he was good enough of a basketball player to make the Navy want him on their team.  Sounds like a nice way to serve military time.

        My second wife became a nurse after our decade of being in show business together.  I heard her stories and those of other nurses who told their stories and I'm pretty sure I would not be good at nursing.  I guess a nurse gets used to the gross stuff and other weird stuff, but I don't know how I would be doing that occupation.  Sure, I could have been a nurse, but not.  No, not me.  But don't let me knock the nursing profession.  We need them and it's a great career move for young people looking for their life's work.

       Though now maybe more dream than reality, being a newspaper writer was long a dream profession in my younger days.  From the time I could read I was always fascinated with newspapers and the wonderful array of information and entertainment those pages contained.  My paternal grandfather had worked for a newspaper, but he was mostly a printer, though he did write some pieces for the paper at times or so I heard.  I never met him since he died several years before I was born.

      Novelist is more like it for me. I've long aspired to be a novelist. I've done some work on a few novels but haven't actually followed any through to completion.  Maybe someday I'll get a novel published.  Or something published.  Or maybe not.  But never say never as they sometimes say.

         Would you be good at a care job like nursing?   Did you like to read newspapers in your younger days or even now?   Have you achieved the dream of publishing your own novel?


Monday, April 15, 2024

-Marketing Researcher, Movie Star, Make-up Artist, Magician, Musician ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter M 

          Marketing researchers don't bother me as much as telemarketers and I've done both.  I hated telemarketing vehemently, but I felt like the marketing research was more like a service to improve whatever it was we asking people about. Selling can be annoying, but often people are more than willing to give their opinions.  Everybody's got one like the saying goes. And some people just want to talk. I don't know if they still do marketing research like we used to do it back in the seventies and eighties when I was employed, but a look online tells me that the company I worked for is still in business and going strong from the looks of the website.

          Movie star was one of my childhood fantasy jobs.  In reality I probably would be cast as a make-up artist or some other behind the scenes work.  I did work as a movie extra once back in 1969 but that was my last and only film role.  However I spent many years selling make-up and other things to film production companies and to retail stores as well.  We distributed many popular brands of theatrical and Halloween make-up.

          Magician is more like it for me.  In my adolescent years I became interested in performance magic.  In my years of stage work in magic shows I sometimes performed magic tricks, but I never really considered myself as a magician.  I've known many magicians over the years and at previously mentioned company we sold magic tricks as well as make-up.

           Musician seems like the most desirable job to me.  I've always loved music and started playing violin in third grade.  For a short period in 1977 I actually worked as a fiddle player in a show at a dinner theater in Richmond VA.  It was pretty good pay while it lasted.  If I were to do anything in my retirement it would be to play music.  Never too late to do your dream job.

            How do you usually handle telemarketers?  What job in your life did you dislike the most?  Have you ever worked on a movie production? 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Landscaper, Librarian, Lawyer, Lecturer ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter L

          Landscaper is a job that is widely available here in Los Angeles.  Not that I'd want to be doing this type of work at my age.  I used to have to maintain my parents' huge yard in Tennessee when I was still living there. It wasn't my favorite thing to do on a summer day, but it was a great time to just think creatively and come up with songs or stories or just daydream while walking in circles and back and forth. Since I'm really not that much of an outdoorsy type worker then landscaping is not my thing.

         An indoor job like librarian would be more to my liking. Surrounded by books and other media all the time sounds like a dream environment.  Sometimes my house feels like a library because we have books in just about every room.  So I guess I am a librarian of my own collection.  Though in my wife's eyes she'd probably like to get rid of almost all of our books which would be a terrible thing in my own eyes.  I like being our home librarian.

        Since the homebound absurdity of COVID 2020, my wife and I have started watching a lot more television.  One of our current favorite shows are the Perry Mason episodes from 1957 to 1966.  That was a show I never watched as a child or later in syndication, but I was familiar with it.  Now that I'm older I enjoy courtroom dramas and I've thought how I might have liked being a lawyer.  I think I'd be good at it.  And I'm sure I'd have a lot more money now if I had pursued that career path in my life.

         In a similar vein I've thought how it might have been or even be an interesting pursuit to be a lecturer.  I don't think I have a real great speaking voice, but I guess if you have the right material and the fortitude to do it, one can make it as a speaker.  Some people might say that I tend to be a lecturer when they are around me and maybe I do.  I'm sure I used to lecture my kids when they were growing up, but they turned out pretty good and I think they probably give similar lectures to their kids.  So being a lecturer isn't really a dream for me since I've been doing it all my life.

        Do you tend to "lecture" others at times?   Are their any courtroom dramas that are your favorites?  When did you last go to a library and what did you do there?


Friday, April 12, 2024

Kitchen worker, Klutz, or King ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter K

          Kitchen work would not be my go-to career choice although I seem to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Seems like through the years I've been the primary cook and kitchen staff in my household.  But it's nice to be appreciated for a meal I've fixed for others and see them enjoy the food.  My Thanksgiving dinners have achieved almost legendary status among my wife's family.  Cooking can be a lot of work, but somebody's got to do it.  Apparently I've answered the call and done an acceptable job.  Too bad I don't get a paycheck for my work, but I guess I get my rewards in other ways.

        Even if I can juggle and cook decently, I'm still kind of a klutz in many ways.  Forget about a sports career for me.  I was never much esteemed for my athletic abilities since I didn't do so well at elementary school recess.  In upper grades I was the bookish nerd type who avoided sports as much as I could.  Others might think that I'm a klutz and maybe I am kind of one, but still I can juggle--even though I am a klutzy juggler.  I did get paid for that. Being a klutz isn't totally a bad thing.

       King sounds good but it is a lot of responsibility.   In my working life I was often a manager.  That's kind of a business version of being "king" I suppose.  I made rules and administered them and when needed meted out justice.  Not like a real king, but I sometimes felt kingly in those positions of authority in my own mini kingdom.  And I was king of my household which didn't provide me any wealth of material riches, but it gave me a storehouse of wonderful memories.  To me that is the best king of all.

         Do you spend much time in the kitchen?  Are you a klutz or do you have agility?   What has been your favorite position of authority?

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Journalist, Jeweler, Judge, Journeyman, Juggler ( #AtoZChallenge )


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter J

        Journalist seems like it could have been a good career choice for me.  Since childhood I've had a fascination with newspapers, magazines, television news, and anything that had to do with reporting the events of the world or community.  I would sometimes make my own little handwritten newspapers with made up stories just as part of my playtime.  In my high school and college years I would spend hours perusing newspapers and clipping articles that caught my interest.  I think I could have made a good journalist, but I was more interested in trying to get mentioned in the newspaper than working for one.  These days we could use more dedicated journalists instead of propagandists and spokespeople for causes and agendas.  Maybe I should have been a journalist, but I'm not going to pursue that career now.

        Jeweler could have been a very viable option for me I think.  Both my sisters worked at a local jewelry store in their young adult years.  If I had wanted to work in that jewelry store or another then I'm sure I could have gotten hired.  The fact is that I've never been a big fan of jewelry and tend not to wear any myself other than my wedding ring.   I've heard that jewelry has one of the biggest mark-ups of any product.  It's all a matter of perceived value like most things people pursue in life.  If I can't get worked up about jewelry then I think I wouldn't be a very good salesperson to try to sell it to someone else.  But then I've never been that great of a salesperson anyway.

        I'm probably better at judging people, but aren't most of us?  My wife and I have been watching the old Perry Mason episodes of late and sometimes I'll tell my wife that if I were playing a role on the show then I'd want to be the judge.  Unfortunately I guess I'd have to get a Law Degree to be a judge so I won't be sitting in the professional judge's chair.  And I doubt that I'll ever play a judge on TV.   I think I'd be a good judge though.  I'm pretty sure that I'd be better than a lot of the judges making the news these days.  Most likely I'd get kicked off the bench pretty quickly since I'm sure that not everyone would agree with my great judgmental wisdom and discernment.  Yeah, forget me being judge in court, but I'm going to keep judging in my mind.

      All my life I've heard the mention of "journeyman" as a career path.  With the connections I had through my father, I'm sure I could have easily pursued being a journeyman to a plumber, a carpenter, an ironworker, or any of the other trades where younger workers are trained under more experienced hands.  Seemed too much like labor to me so I became a "journey man" of a different sort as I started working on touring shows and taking all sorts of journeys.   My "life's journey" has been a series of many actual journeys that were required to do the show business work that I did.  Traveling is fun, but a journey becomes a lifestyle.

       What did I do in my show business journeys?   Lot's of things, but the one thing that I would name primarily is juggling.   If one would have asked me in the seventies and eighties about what I did for a living then I would have likely said, "I'm a juggler."  My parents were jugglers and that's what I ended up doing.  Now I don't juggle for a paycheck, but make me an offer.  Juggling is a big part of who I have been and who I am.

          Have you ever worked in the field of journalism?  What do you think is the state of journalism in our time?   When have you had to appear before a judge?