Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hunkering Down for the Storm ( #BOTB Results )


        They're saying that we are going to get big time rain here in Southern California over the next few days.  Apparently they've even started evacuating some folks north of where I live.   Where I live there is not much threat from rain-caused disasters.  We'll just get rained on and I can leave my sprinklers off for a few days.  Besides, I rarely see the big rains they talk about on the news.  We'll get a little bit of rain and hear about mudslides in other places.  I'm happy with where I live in the respect that we don't get those events like fire, flood, and mudslide.  You can count me as thankful for most things even when I wish they'd be some other way.

        With another birthday having passed I've begun to think about my own mortality.  Recently a friend who had just turned 101 died.   He was in pretty good shape until a few weeks before he died and then we didn't see him in church for a couple Sundays and then we get word that he died.  I've got a good ways to go before I'm as old as that guy, but still I've known folks my age and younger just unexpectedly go.  My father died at the age I just turned and so did my brother-in-law.  That's just an observation that I can't help not ignore although I'm trying not to dwell on it too much.

         So I guess I'll just keep on going as though I'm going to live to 101.   Probably little chance of that considering my lack of a good diet and proper exercise.  But I'll keep on moving onward as though nothing with finality will happen anytime soon.   Besides I haven't got any appointment card or a notice to save the date.  Whenever the end comes is when it comes and that's probably as much as I can say about that.  In the meantime, I need to start downsizing.   I've got to get rid of some of the clutter in my life.   But more on that come April 1st.  No fooling...

Battle of the Bands Results

           Although my most recent Battle outcome was predictable, I had hopes that the final result would not be so lopsided.   I was not surprised that most voters in my Battle picked the dreamy laid back sounds of Jamie Dupuis on the harp guitar.  After all, initially this was my first choice.  Such a wonderful cover of the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb" and very aptly performed.

          Then, as in the case with all of my Song Battles, I continued listening to both versions repeatedly for many days.  Jamie's version with the harp guitar and electric guitar I could listen to for hours--it's so relaxing.  As I continued listening to this version I realized there are no surprises.  That's why it's so comforting.  While the version by Thomas, though initially somewhat disconcerting--"choppy" according to one voter--this version is filled with surprises.  With each subsequent listening I discovered new little sounds I hadn't noticed before.  The visuals were very persuasive as well.  But the treatment of the song is wondrous to my ears. 

          That's why my vote goes to Thomas Leeb.  Not that it helps the outcome for him much.  Jamie Dupuis ran away with this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Jamie Dupuis        18 votes

Thomas Leeb          5 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Sunday April 1st

        No fooling!  The next Battle of the Bands posting will be a sort of perfect storm scenario with the Battle coinciding with Easter, April Fools Day, and the opening of the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.    Now I need to hunker down and start composing those April posts.  A big rain storm would keep me inside writing.  Or maybe inside looking out at the rain.  I love watching a good hard rain.

          What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?    Do you ever ponder your own mortality?  Would you like to make it to 100 years if you could stay relatively healthy?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Comfortably Numb (#BOTB & #AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal)

Cleaning the Clutter

        A few years ago I was corresponding with a blogger who has since deleted her blogs.  We were discussing the different types of blog topics and at some point she related:

When I was blogging about the stuff we were dealing with because of the clutter we had to get rid of as a result of living in hubby's parents'' home I wasn't tired of the blog posts, just tired of the clutter :)

        That concept inspired my thinking to reply:

Cleaning Clutter would be a great blog theme. You could get rid of something every post and write about it.

         Now, three years after that exchange, I decided to run with this theme.  I may not write everyday about getting rid of various items, but I intend to record my musings about the "clutter" around my house.  Don't get me wrong--I don't live in a hoarder environment like in some of those television shows you may have seen.  And I am at no risk of being buried for days under toppled stacks of newspapers and boxes.  Things mostly look pretty normal around here, but there is still stuff we don't need anymore.

        As I grow older, I see...

         But wait!   Let me not get ahead of my theme.  You'll have to come back on April 1st to see where I will go with this.  The official title of my theme is "Cleaning the Clutter"--but it might not totally be what you think.  Not always.  There hopefully will be some interesting--and even helpful observations, but I will also be "tossing it out" figuratively as well as literally.

        It's business as usual.  Just the way I like it.

        And now for another matter of regular business...

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 blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   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.

Comfortably Numb

      This Pink Floyd song comes from the album The Wall as well as the film of the same name.  Like much Pink Floyd music, "Comfortably Numb" is dreamy and atmospheric, lending itself well to New Age sounding instrumental interpretations.  With the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge coming soon, along with all of my other life challenges and concerns, I've been needing some laid back music to relax me.  Comfortably numb sounds like a reasonable state of being when things come rushing down on us, while at the same time remaining vigilant with a sense of rational clarity in order to properly process it all.

       How about we get on with the music.  In this Battle I've matched two somewhat similar presentations of the same song.   Each artist has his own unique approach to interpreting the song so the question for you is: Which version do you like best?    Listen and tell us in the comments.

Jamie Dupuis  "Comfortably Numb" (2016)

       Canadian musician Jamie Dupuis displays his virtuosity on acoustic harp guitar and electric guitar with Pink Floyd's tune.  You might want to just put this on a few times in the background for relaxation.  I'm loving this version.

Thomas Leeb  "Comfortably Numb"  (2013)

         Now calling L.A. his home base, Austrian guitar virtuoso Thomas Leeb has developed some nifty technique to play with a dazzling flair.  Watching this video is hypnotic, but the mesmerizing effect is definitely enhanced by the music as well as the GoPro cameras on his guitar.  I haven't gotten tired of this video yet.  What do you think?

Time to Vote!

 It's now time to snap out of your reverie and cast a vote in this contest.  Please vote. What's your preference between these two choices? Which song version do you like 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 favorites 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

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Cherdo on the Flipside 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday March 

           Don't forget to come back next Wednesday March 21st to see which song version wins this Battle.  I've got to get busy preparing my posts for April.   And maybe I can get rid of some stuff.

            Do you have any books about getting organized?   What kinds of stuff is easy for you to toss out?  What are the things you'd have a difficult time getting rid of?  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Belly Up to the Blog Buffet (#IWSG & #BOTB Results)

When I get too much on my plate I wonder if it would look bad to take some back to the buffet?   Maybe not such a great metaphor for my post today, but I do have a full plate so let me get started.

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 March 7 posting of the IWSG are Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

March 7 question - How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

       I can't say that I've done much celebrating for achieving any writing goals since there hasn't been that much to celebrate.  Tonight I'll celebrate finishing this post by going to bed--to bed far earlier than normal.  

        The writing finishes I have of late are finishing blog posts and usually my celebration doesn't amount to much more than thinking up another post, reading, watching television, or something that I can do by myself since no one else feels celebratory when I've finished composing a post.  

          Then there is the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   That's a fairly sizable writing endeavor that is a relief to finish.  But as with the other blog posts, when I'm done there are no fireworks or parties or anything like that.  No, it's just business as usual in the world of blogging.  

         And speaking of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge...

         It's coming soon!    Did you see where the list is now open?   You've still got a few weeks to decide if you are still mulling over whether or not to participate.  Maybe seeing the colorful A to Z badge (once again created by the talented Jeremy Hawkins) starting to appear on other blogs will get you fired up.  We'd love to have you join us again or for the first time.  You can find the sign up list here.  

Battle of the Bands Results

        Often when I've reached the winner's announcement I'm ready to forget the song that's been in my mind in order to move on to the next one.  This month not so much.  The song "I Believe in You" from How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying is still running in my brain and I could keep it going for a while longer.  However short of using the song again in my next Battle I'll settle for watching the film in the next couple of weeks and start focusing on the Battle that is to come next week.

       The previous Battle was probably predictable enough.  After all it was Frank Sinatra against Bobby Darin who is no slouch of a singer.  But Sinatra is a tough name to go up against.  The venerable Chairman of the Board--Frank--carried the weight with the voters.   I greatly appreciate Sinatra's version of this song and might typically pick him in another Battle, but Bobby's pacing of the song suited me better.  I really like that cool lope of Darin's take on the song.   But the voters spoke the verdict loud and clear...

Final Vote Tally

Frank Sinatra          15 votes

Bobby Darin             7 votes

Next Battle on Thursday March 15th!

          I'll be combining my next Battle with my A to Z Theme reveal for 2018.  I hope you'll join me again then.  

           Did you sign up for A to Z?   What makes you celebrate?   What is your favorite way to relax after a day at work or some period of tension?