Music Reviews at Glacially Musical

Friends, bloggers, music lovers, rejoice! I’m doing some writing again as a contributor over at Glacially Musical, an excellent source for band interviews, album and concert reviews. The site has a distinctly metallic tang to its flavor but there’s definitely something for every musical taste. Go check them out and spread the word!

As a #FF suggestion try @bluenotebacker (that’s me) or @Nik_No_C (he runs the place) You can also follow Glacially Musical on Facebook to stay up to date when new posts hit the air.

I’ve reviewed a Southern Rock album from the Italian band, Smokey Fingers. I think you’ll like it and I hope you enjoy my take. Visit the site through the link above or check out my review directly HERE.

sf

Smokey Fingers – Promised Land

One-word Prompt: Storm

This one is almost too easy considering a beast of a storm ripped through the St. Louis area just last night. While we did get crazy high winds at home that tried to rearrange all the flowers and plants on our front porch we didn’t lose power, unlike nearly 100,000 people in and around the St. Louis area.

Large swaths of destruction could be seen both on my evening commute yesterday and my morning one today primarily comprised downed branches and piles of leaves, sticks and trash but there were some major incidents of property damage as well. Some trees snapped nearly in half and one fell over this house only a few blocks north of mine.

housetree

There were several HUGE old trees downed in and near Forest Park. Sad to see such majesty felled so easily. And the property damage continued as some unfortunate citizen had gambled on a parking spot and lost.

cartree

Storms are always prevalent during the Summer months in the Midwest but it sure seems they’ve grown in intensity over the last year. Thankfully my friends and family are all safe today after Mother Nature’s wrath but She’ll be back. She always comes back.

This post was in response to The Daily Prompt.

Storm

100 Word Challenge: List

Disappointed

Confused

Terrified

Resentful

Angry

Vengeful

The emotions hit me rapid fire and though I know somehow I watched the building go down as I stood on a cliff high above the city I was still in it.

As the shoreline roiled and waves overtook the rubble of the tower sirens wailed. A cacophony of horns and alarms blasted out through the dark and the rain and then, impossibly, I began to rise up out of the lagoon.

You wouldn’t have recognized me. Gone was the suit and tie. In fact, gone was my humanity. I had become The Creature!

 

100 Word Challenge
“Using “list” for inspiration, write 100 Words, no more, no less.” Link back to that post, or leave your submission in the comment section there.

100 Word Challenge: Dream

The suits milled about, oddly calm, the rumbling sounds of thunder and a mild tremor underfoot creating only a low murmur of concerned voices. The bank of windows, darkened by night and driving rain lit up with intermittent streaks of lightning casting erratic, jerking shadows across the floor.

As pairs began to form, a ladder carrier with a rope holder, and the suits streamed up to the roof for rescue, I began to panic. Every pairing seemed to come together slightly faster than I could move. Every suit made it out of the now crumbling building but me. I died.

 

100 Word Challenge

Using “dream” for inspiration, write 100 Words, no more, no less, then link back to this post, or leave your submission in the comment section. Remember to keep spreading the love with supportive comments for your fellow wordsters.

TREES

Thankful For You

 

Yes, if you’re reading this the title of this post pertains to you. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who bothers reading my blog. There are (way more than) a million blogs out there and it’s meaningful to me that you would choose to read mine. I wish I posted more often or more interesting things and who knows? Maybe moving forward I will.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving this week and will spend it with friends, family and loved ones be sure to take a moment and reflect on how good we actually have it, whether we realize it every day or not, compared to those who are suffering around the world and in our own towns.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the holiday.

Being Real, Really

I was turned on to a blog post about a week ago that compelled me to expound on the idea of real, particularly or perhaps specifically because of my claim to be a realist, as the title of my blog would imply. The post, I Don’t Know What it Means to be Real was something I saw re-Tweeted I think by fellow blogger @hanolsy and I would urge you to click-through and follow her, her blog, AND of course @GunmetGeisha and her blog as well. Thanks again to GG for the inspiration!

How many times in a given day do you think you act on some impulse, or on some external motivator and portray yourself as something you’re not? I’m not necessarily talking about lying to someone (or even yourself!) or knowingly putting on a face for a situation that’s not how you usually consider yourself. I’m talking about those on-the-fly, unconscious moments of action and thought. You’d have to guess because we aren’t keeping lists (probably) of the things we do unconsciously every day.

I’d say there are plenty of times I say something out loud to myself or maybe DO something as I’m walking or driving that only I see or experience, things that don’t necessarily embody the person I believe me to be. But if those things are coming from our unconscious, don’t they really reflect who we are much more than anything we might take time to prepare for display?

Part of me hopes that’s not true. If it is, I’m probably not nearly as good a person as I think. all too often I allow my emotions to control what I think and say BUT it’s 99.9% of the time for my ears only. I suppose I have control enough not to share those things publicly and thus avoid whatever potentially unpleasant consequences they would otherwise carry. Maybe I’m over thinking it but in those moments it’s unlikely I’m thinking much at all.

Being real with people is pretty much how I try to live my life. I don’t want to give off the wrong vibe when I’m meeting a stranger, who does? At the same time, I don’t want to intentionally do something fake, be someone I’m not, specifically to impart the impression I agree with something or like something I don’t. But am I really controlling that? Is the REAL me saying what I intend to say or is it being filtered, unknowingly but necessarily by some part of my brain so that I don’t simultaneously light a match, flick it at the person I’m speaking to and squeeze a long stream of gasoline out of a bottle at the flame?

Not sure why that scenario was so easy to envision, maybe I should be concerned, but if it’s a real thought, should I want to suppress it? I suggest in the title of my blog that I’m a Realist specifically to combat the idea readers might develop, from their interpretation of my opinions, that I’m a Pessimist. I don’t think everything is bad or that everyone is bad, but if I’m seeing something In Real Life, can I really even know if it’s real or not?

This was far more existential than it seemed in my head before I put it here. I’m not trying to piggyback on the (conspiracy) theory that we actually live in The Matrix. I was spurred to wax theoretic on the subject by something interesting I read, which is where the majority of my musing comes from anyway. If I had too many original thoughts I’m afraid I might write a book or something. Ha.

The Company You Keep

My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.

The third assignment from Blogging 101 this year is to follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs. I’m constantly finding and following new blogs almost every day. Writer blogs, gaming blogs, parenting blogs, whatever I’m turned on to by other blogger/writer friends, usually through social media.

I’m going to give you five relatively random blogs/sites that you should check out and follow if you wish. Following and connecting with other bloggers and connecting with authors through social media is one of the best ways to grow your own audience, but try to remember that interaction is still the engine that drives the whole blogging machine. Comment and converse with your fellow bloggers!

Studio30 Plus

Okay, that was actually six, we’ll call one extra credit. But it’s not about “how many followers can I get?” It’s about reading what interests you and sharing and connecting and writing. I don’t have nearly enough time to keep up with all the blogs I follow and want to read every day, but it’s always rewarding to do so.

Will A Blog By Any Other Name Still Be Thorny?

Who gave it that title, gangsta rap? It’s reality rap. It’s about what’s really going on.” ~Eazy-E

For Day 2 of Blogging 101, we were to address the first thing readers see when visiting the blog, the Title. The Tagline is also important as it’s intended to give a general idea what the blog is about. That’s tough when the blog is really about everything, or nothing, at least not in particular. I’ve struggled with the title for as long as I’ve been writing my blog.

Cautious Realism stems from considering myself to be a Realist where others might call me a Pessimist. I’m not a doom and gloom kind of guy, but I’m not going to pull punches. I’ll tell it like it is as I see it. Maybe I should change the title to be more of a warning to potential readers? “Caution, Snark Imminent!” or something like that?

SNARK

Leave me a comment with any suggestions on a new name and thanks for reading.

Why I’m Here

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.

~Henry Ford

Years ago I decided that I would start a blog and it served primarily as a way to engage in self-therapy. I figured that if I could just start talking, even to myself, I might be able to work through some issues I was having.

I’ve always been a writer at heart and I still feel that way though I seldom make the time to be one in practice. This blog became a means to that end when I told myself I’d make a post every day, or when I started publishing bits and pieces of my writing (fiction) here via various prompts and/or activities, like the Blogging 101 class, for instance.

When I started blogging I never cared much who might read it or if anyone would read it, it was mostly for me. As time has gone on I’ve found I really enjoy engaging with readers and other bloggers with regards to the opinions or thoughts I share on my blog. Getting a huge audience has never been a priority, but I definitely enjoy the fact other people read my words and I’m probably a bit more careful with the presentation as a result. I’m not going to censor myself because others are reading, but I’ll probably proofread a second time or be more mindful of my composition. I’m vain and I wouldn’t want people reading my blog thinking, “This guy sounds like an uneducated imbecile.”

Readers may think that because they don’t agree with my opinions, but that’s fine. I’m not asking anyone to agree with everything I say.

Onward & Upward

Having my own blog led me to start writing about the St. Louis Blues on other websites. You can currently find my hockey posts at The Hockey Writers. I’m definitely still looking for opportunities to write more and I would love to be writing for a living. That chance hasn’t presented itself yet, but I’ll continue looking for it.

Whether you follow my blog or just come every once in a while to check out what’s new, you’ll find me occasionally voicing my opinion on current events, sharing recipes, restaurant experiences, baseball insights, or samples of my favorite music and books. Since I’ve taken my specialty writing (about hockey) off-site, my blog remains a sort jack-of-all-trades kind of entity. That’s not to say it couldn’t become something more focused in the future, but I enjoy a lot of different things in life and for now I’m content with them all being a part of my blog

Thanks again for taking time to read, I hope you’ll leave comments during your stay.

Musing Mondays (July 20) Bluenotebacker Style

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythmThis is my response to a weekly prompt I found at A Daily Rythm. Be sure click through. Play along if you’re so inclined.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are you able to read while in a vehicle (in motion)? Have you always been this way?

First things first, I’m currently reading the “Fate of the Jedi” series of Star Wars novels. It began about a month ago with the first book, Outcast, by Aaron Allston. It was okay, but at the time I wasn’t sure I planned to continue reading the series. For reasons I cannot pinpoint, I’ve never been a big “Science Fiction” reader, though I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan. I’ve also never been big on plot when choosing my favorite fiction, and while there were certainly familiar characters in the book I just couldn’t sink my teeth into what they were doing. It happens to me often when trying to read Sci-Fi and unless the characters are extraordinary I usually lose interest.

Not surprisingly, knowing many of these Star Wars characters (and the fact there were Jedi and lightsabers involved) drew me back strongly enough to give the second book, Omen, by Christie Golden, a try and the rest has been fantastic. Allston, Golden and Troy Denning alternate writing each book and I just today finished Allies, by Golden, which is number six in what became a series of NINE consecutive novels.

If you know anything about Star Wars you’ll recognize many of the characters, places, races and historical tidbits in these books but I’ll wager you will not know them all or be able to picture them anyway. On many occasions I’m prompted to look up a particular alien race online, to “put a face” with the name, so to speak. It certainly helps to visualize when you have such a widely diverse cast, even within one group- the Jedi, for example- much less the entire universe.

To put the setting into perspective for other fans, the “Fate of the Jedi” takes place an estimated 40 years after the events of what we know as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. I urge every reader though, Star Wars fan or not, to give the books a go. They’re for the most part well-written fiction, and good, fun Summer reading. I *am* a big fan though, and they’re definitely whetting my appetite for the new Star Wars movie coming this December.

RANDOM QUESTION ANSWER: I cannot read in a moving vehicle. I don’t know if I did as a kid but I know as an adult, I can’t even ride in a car without feeling a little dizzy and sick. I have to be driving to avoid being uncomfortable.

Thanks for reading!