Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Theme Reveal-- Elements of Blogging

       One of the topics of Tossing It Out which has gotten the best responses over my past five or so years of blogging is the topic of blogging.  Anything from content to comments seems to be something that we bloggers like to hear about.  I tend to read those types of posts on other blogs and when I post on blog related topics I tend to receive a good reaction in my comment section.  The topic of blogging is one that bloggers embrace because it's about what we enjoy doing.

      Twice during the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge I've used marketing and promotion as my topic, once I blogged about movies, and in other years the subject matter was somewhat random.  In this 2015 Challenge my topic will be in regard to blogging.  A few of my previous A to Z posts discussed blogging and blogging has been a frequent topic on Tossing It Out throughout the years.

       For this 2015 A to Z Challenge I call my theme "Elements of Blogging".   This will be stuff most of you already know while some might be some things you might not have thought too much about.  My intent in April will be to explore what blogs are about.   Maybe some of you will get some ideas about things you could blog about that previously hadn't crossed your mind.   Or you might find something that will interest someone you know whom you think might want to start a blog about the things that interest them.

         My April mission will be to explore the unique possibilities that blogging has to offer everybody and perhaps even give you cause to explore your own approach to blogging to see what you might do to infuse new life into your blog. This will be basic information that I hope will stimulate some conversation about the subject of blogging and how to blog better.  I'll be looking for comments to expound on the concepts I present.

          Do you like blogging?   Do you like to read blog posts about blogging?   I hope you'll follow along in April.  Even better still, I hope you'll let your non-blogging friends know about my series just in case it might inspire them to start their own blogs.   That means more bloggers to sign up for A to Z in 2016!

          If you have not yet signed up for the 2015 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, please go to the A to Z Challenge Linky List to add your blog today.  For more A to Z theme reveals please go to the Theme Reveal participant list.

        Do you enjoy reading blog posts about blogging?   Have you noticed that posts about blogging tend to usually get a good comment response?  What is a special field of interest that you tend to like to read about?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Is Something in the Air? (BOTB Results)

reflected sadness
reflected sadness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bring Me To Life

       There's an old comic strip or cartoon cliche of the character who has a dark rain cloud over his head which symbolically depicts bad luck, depression, or a downcast mood.  I've been sensing that cloud over the heads of some bloggers out there.  In fact I've been feeling that shadow on me now and then.

       For me I think there is a matter of bad diet and poor habits that are causing me to feel more tired than normal.  Perhaps I'm starting to feel the effects of getting older.   I can probably think of any number of things that get me down now and then, but to dissuade any thoughts that I'm suffering from some kind of depressive state let me assure you that these feelings are relatively infrequent and probably within the bounds of normalcy.

        However I read some of the blogs out there and look around at some of the people I know and wonder if there is some prevailing aura of despair and discontent hovering over the world.  Maybe it's something to do with weather issues for some of you.  Or could it be the uncertainty of the affairs of the world or a fear of the economy.  I suppose it could be anything--food additives, something in the water, chemtrails poisoning the air or you can probably think of other possible culprits.

         Hopefully it's all my imagination.  I'm good and I hope you are as well.   Let's liven up!  A to Z is almost here and we've got to fire ourselves up for it.   It's spring and soon summer will be here!   As Tina Downey would have reassured us, "Life is good!"    I believe that.   Do you?


Battle of the Band Results

       The vote tally today comes from the Battle of March 15 between Gregorian and Katherine Jenkins performing their renditions of the Evanescence song "Bring Me To Life".

       Both versions are quite good and the voting bears this out.   Like so many of the Battles I've put together the choice was a tough one between two artists that were both worthy of a win.  This was another frantic race to the finish line.

       At the outset Gregorian took a substantial lead that made them appear to be poised for a decisive victory.  Then as votes continued to come in Jenkins edged forward and squeaked by to a one vote lead.   That left my vote.

        I wavered a bit on this as I can easily go with either version.  Typically I do have a preference for male vocalists over female, especially when it comes to operatic female voices.  Jenkins has a marvelous set of pipes, but there was a certain lack of uniqueness for me in her presentation as well as that of the background chorus.  I thoroughly enjoyed the orchestration in this arrangement.  All told it's a great recording, but when put up against the Gregorian version--well...

       Firstly I liked the guitar in the Gregorian version as well as the orchestration.  The timbre of the lead vocals had a mystical quality that created a sense of longing and intense need for revival.  There was a power to the percussion back-up that did not overwhelm yet added an urgency to the feeling of the song.  I especially preferred the backing vocals in the Gregorian version--they were manic, almost nightmarish, but not overbearing in any way, which added a greater sense of drama to the presentation so that it was not so much of a song production like the Jenkins version, but a powerful moving spectacle of musical theater.   

       My vote for Gregorian thus puts this contest into a tie.

Final Vote Tally

Gregorian                 17 Votes

Katherine Jenkins    17 Votes

Life Goes On

       By the way, my colonoscopy adventure is done and much less traumatic than I envisioned.  Other than staying up most of the night for the prepping, the procedure itself was a breeze.   Amazingly quick even!  I checked in at about 7:45 then after various tests and preparations they began to administer the anesthesia at 8:30.   I immediately went under--completely under--and after sleeping for what I figured must have been a couple of hours of blissful sleep I was awakened.   Looking at the clock I noticed it was now 8:45.   I could have sworn I'd been sleeping for hours.  That was one heck of a fast and painless procedure.   Now it's done and I am glad.

       Coming this Monday March 23rd on Tossing It Out will be my A to Z Theme Reveal post. You can still sign up for the Theme Reveal event if you follow this link and even if you've already blabbed your theme you can still reveal it on Monday for those who didn't hear yet. 

         If you've not yet signed up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge it's certainly not too late for that--you still have over a week to get on the list and we hope you do.  Don't fall under the misconception that you don't have the time or none of your posts are ready or any other feeble excuse you might come up with.   Keep in mind that posts don't have to be long or complicated, you don't have to kill yourself visiting everyone in the world who blogs, and you don't have to do any more than you are willing or capable of doing.  Just get on the list, relax, and generate the daily posts.   If you're a blogger this is really just like breathing.  Some bloggers just make a bigger deal out of this event than needs be made.  After all the point of it all is not to frustrate you or destroy you, but to inspire you, better your blogging skills, and give you something to have a good time with.  So think about it.  Or even better, don't think about it, just go sign up!

       Next Battle of the Bands post for Tossing It Out will be a quadruple whammy of a post on April 1st:  Opening post of the A to Z Challenge combining Insecure Writer's Support Group, Ask Arlee, and BOTB in one relatively simple post just to prove some of what I said in my previous paragraph.  Think I can do it?    Be here to find out.   Surely you don't doubt old Arlee by now?

          Are you coming back to life for spring?    Do you still have a truly good rebuttal for not joining us in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?    How long do you think my combined April 1st post will end up being?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Ironic Post That I Didn't Post Today

English: Private patient room at Sharp Memoria...
 Private patient room at Sharp Memorial Hospital
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       This post that you are now reading is not the post that I originally planned to publish today.  Due to an ironic circumstance that post seemed somewhat inappropriate for me to put up right now, though in actuality it's probably very fitting.  But just not right now.

        To explain in part, in the wee early hours of Monday morning I woke up extremely ill.   My attempts to return to sleep were fitful and then about 4:30 I became violently ill.   I wasn't even able to see my wife off to work as is my custom.  Instead I stayed in bed and remained there for most of the day only getting up a couple of times to get check my email and respond to blog comments, but staying up for any length of time was out of the question.  All told I think I slept for about twenty of Monday's 24 hours.

       Tuesday morning I still didn't get up to see my wife off.  She understood.  However, I had an interview scheduled with a client with whom I am working on a writing project so I managed to get myself ready to take care of that bit of business.  I was still weak and achy, but feeling better by far than I had felt the previous day.  I've been eating a bit to get my strength back, but a big irony is that I'm not supposed to eat for the next couple of days and only take a liquid diet due to a colonoscopy scheduled for Thursday.

       The piece that I originally scheduled for today is kind of appropriate for my current state of being, but it can wait since it's been in my publish queue for quite a while now.   I had decided to use it now because it kind of fit in with my Battle of the Bands theme.   I think I'll just wait now and publish that post at a later date.  Or maybe never.

        If you haven't voted on my most recent Battle of the Bands post I hope you'll visit "Bring Me to Life" and cast a vote.   I'll be tallying the votes tomorrow (Thursday evening) and announcing the winner on Friday March 20th.

       Eventually--probably in May--I'll publish that post that was meant for today.  For the time being though I'll leave you with one question:   To what extent do you think our mind has the power over the illnesses that we feel and to which we succumb?  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bring Me To Life (BOTB)

       The onset of spring is upon us and with spring comes new life, the stirring of hope, and the revival of stifled dreams.   I've been reading the discontent, the pain, and the despair on some of your blogs and from the sound of things more than a few of us could use an infusion of metaphorical spring in addition to the actual season that is so near to us--this Friday in fact!

       But for now we are at March 15th and this is one of the days of the month that we now set aside to celebrate the Battle of the Bands, the event where music loving bloggers offer up two different versions of one song and you the readers decide which version you prefer.   The Battle of the Bands blog event was founded by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes.   After you vote on your favorite of the two selections I've offered, please visit the participants who are listed at the end of this post to vote on their Battles.

        This post is dedicated to all of you who have been indicating that you need a lift and especially to my Battle of the Bands mates RobinFaraway Eyes, and Stephen T. McCarthy.

"Bring Me to Life"

       This song was originally released in 2003 by the alt rock/metal/nu metal band Evanescence.  It's a quite beautiful song with a message of hope and personal revival.  The song has been covered a number of times in various ways.  In this current Battle I've chosen versions by two artists that have a somewhat classical sound, this in contrast to my previous Battle which featured heavy rock interpretations of Beethoven's "Fur Elise".

       If you're interested in hearing the original with the official video you can click here, but please don't include this in the vote.  This is for reference only for those who are curious.   I won't say anything about the competitors in this contest.  I'll let their song versions speak for them.

Gregorian  "Bring Me To Life" (2010)

Katherine Jenkins  "Bring Me To Life"   (2009)

Time to Vote!

     Which do you prefer?    It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one 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



DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Alex J Cavanaugh (his will post on Monday March 16th)

Results on Friday March 20th

       There will be no Monday post at Tossing It Out this week in order to allow this current post to stay current for a couple of extra days in order to allow more voting.   Do come back on Wednesday though.

       The results of my Battle of the Bands post for this current contest will be announced on this coming Friday March 20th. 

          Which version do you prefer and why?  Do you typically enjoy listening to Gregorian chants?  Does this song speak to you in any way?