Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finals: One Band, One Song

The votes are in and here is what happened in the final four:

Queen defeated Nirvana
Van Morrison defeated Coldplay

The final matchup is as follows:

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison vs. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

There is a poll on the right side of my blog, so you can submit your votes there.  Thanks to everyone's participation and I hope that everyone has had fun picking their favorite songs.  The poll will be up until next Sunday at 2pm.

One Band, One Song Bracket Tournament Bracket

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rave Review of Roy's

Saturday night was a night for Meghan and I to celebrate us having a baby. We went to this great restaurant in downtown Baltimore.  Roy's is such a fabulous place with excellent food and fantastic service.  We each had fish, but we made sure that the fish that Meghan had was on the "approved list."  After such a great dining experience and all of the food shows that I (we) like to watch, I thought I'd blog about food.

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine offers a wide variety of different menu items and I would love the opportunity to try each and every one of them.  I enjoyed crab and artichoke stuffed trout with crab fritters and Meghan had Parmesan crusted hake with lobster risotto and green beans.  This was the second time that we've been to this restaurant and it has already taken the place as my favorite restaurant.  The food is so fresh and flavorful and the atmosphere of the place has such wonderful ambiance that it reminds me of our honeymoon in Antigua. It's not too bright and all of the sounds of people talking seem to be of those that are just there to have fun and enjoy spectacular food or drinks.  Perhaps this is an added perk to Roy's, because I'll take that reminder every day of the week.

So that's a quick slice of fantastic foodage that I wanted to share.  Next, perhaps I'll talk about my never ending love of nachos or how cake, cookies, and brownies are just not the same without ice cream.  Or I could talk about the healthy food that I normally eat.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Final Four: One Band, One Song

We are now down to the final four of songs for the One Band, One Song Rock Tournament Bracket.  Here are the results from last week:

Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl over Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Coldplay's Viva la Vida over Free Fallin' by Tom Petty
Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit over Lightning Crashes by Live
Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody over I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2

Here are the final four songs:

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison vs. Viva La Vida by Coldplay

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana vs. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Thanks for everyone's participation and you can still submit your votes via blog comments, FB messages, and tweets.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Writing Matters

I'm sitting at lunch today wondering about so many different things and all of these things revolve around my family in some way.  In this sense of "my family," I'm talking about my wife and our soon-to-be-baby.  I think about all of the things I want to provide for our child.  I want to have a plentiful supply of books, clothes, food, and eventually a good education.  When I think about these things, I can't help but think about the career I would like to have to provide these things and what it isn't at the moment.

Currently, I work in a temporary position.  I feel very thankful for this position and happy that I can provide some income for my family, but the sense of security I would like to have does not exist.  I'm also a writer and even though I've published something, I don't have the experience to back the notion that my books will be a success.  I do believe that success can happen overnight, but I also know that success can take years and years of persistence and hard work.  I would like overnight, but can tolerate the possibility that my writing career will take time.  And what will qualify my work as a success?  Many people might qualify success to signing with a publisher or selling a million copies or being recognized in another city by strangers or even the fact of just publishing a book.

Success for me will be when I can undeniably state to myself that I can provide for my family.  The day when my wife can stay at home and not work if she chooses.  The day when we can provide things for our child(ren) and not question the need to check our checkbook.  The day when I can get up and not worry about these things almost every single second of almost every single day.  That's the way my brain works.  It's either always thinking or completely shut off.  It's one of the reasons I enjoy good books, movies and certain TV shows so much, because it allows me to get so involved in the story that I forget (even if for a short while) the worry that my mind conjures.

So what to do...

I ask for help.  It's one of those things I didn't like to do when growing up.  Well, what's the point in that now.  The only pride that I care about is knowing that my wife is and will continue to be happy and proud of the man she married.  In keeping to that sentiment, I will ask for help and exhaust all options to make sure that I am successful and able to provide for my family.

I ask, Who can help me market my book?
I ask, Who can help me market me?
I ask, What are the best methods for a self-publisher to get noticed?
I ask of those that have read my book, Will you write a review for my first book?
I ask of those that haven't read my book, Would you like to read my first book to review it (and hopefully enjoy it)?
I ask, What questions should I be asking?  How should I proceed with all of the little things that I have no experience in with regards to getting a book successfully noticed?

So I ask these questions as a husband, a soon-to-be-father, and a person that would love to find success that would ease any mindful questions and worry that I have and turn them into answers.  Answers that I could share with my wife.  Answers that I could share with our child(ren).  Answers that I know would mean I'd no longer have to question anything again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Third Round Results - One Band, One Song

We are getting closer to naming a top song of all time.  I really appreciate everyone taking the time to send in their picks and hope everyone is having as much fun with this as I am.

The Rolling Stones got knocked off by U2.  I can't believe we had a shutout this far into it, but Queen did it this round.  We've gotten to a point where I can just put the results on this blog so you can just comment and submit your votes.  Here are the last eight songs remaining in the four sections of the bracket:

Classic Retro:

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd vs. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Modern Enough:

Free Fallin' by Tom Petty vs. Viva La Vida by Coldplay

The Hair Alternative:

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana vs. Lightning Crashes by Live

Top Guns:

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen vs. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2

You can click on the link below to see the entire bracket, but here are the results from the last round:
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd beat Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode
  • Van Morrison beat CCR's Bad Moon Rising
  • Tom Petty beat Foo Fighter's Everlong
  • Coldplay beat Dave Matthew's Ants Marching
  • Nirvana beat GNR's Sweet Child O' Mine
  • Live beat Pearl Jam's Better Man
  • Queen beat the Boss's Streets of Philadelphia
  • U2 beat the Stones' Paint It, Black

One Band, One Song Rock Tournament Bracket

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blog List for Future Blogging

I am sitting here on the couch and catching the tail end of two movies.  Hot Fuzz and Juno are completely different movies but great in their own way.  It makes me think of blog ideas that either I've had or given to me.  It's good for me to write these things out, so I know to remember them at some point down the road.  This is also a reason why I like making lists for everything; grocery shopping, movies I want to see, best rock songs, and of course, things that we'll need for the coming baby.

Here are a few things that I (at some point) want to blog about:
  • Dystopian fiction novels (thanks to my cousin for this idea!)
  • My favorite songs of all time - a tournament bracket of course
  • Children's books or fairy tales - I like the idea of reading, discussing, and figuring out what stuff is appropriate for what ages (thanks to a friend for mentioning Grimm's Fairy Tales!)
  • Meghan's progress through the pregnancy
  • Favorite foods
So these are a few topics that I've been thinking about and, as usual, needed to put it out there so I could come back to it later.

Side note:  If you haven't seen Hot Fuzz or Juno, I recommend them both.  Hot Fuzz is such a clever story with action and comedy intertwined together.  Juno is one of those flicks where sarcasm and sincere moments get mixed very well.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Road to Fatherhood

Today I write about being a father.  I will be a dad one day and that day is coming very soon.  I can't express the amazing joy that I'm feeling over Meghan being pregnant.  Meghan and I are very happy and completely understand the responsibility that is on our plates at this very moment.  What foods can she eat?  What OTC meds does she need to avoid?  Will we go with cloth diapers or disposable?  What type of classes do we need to attend?

The one question I don't have to ask is, "Are you ready?"  I don't think anyone will ever be ready for every single thing that comes with becoming a parent, but I do know that we want to have kids and are ready for that to start now.  It's one thing to have normal worries, and in my case, an over exaggeration to make sure Meghan is going to be okay; "Don't lift that!"

I know that Meghan will be a fantastic mom and I think that I will be a good dad.  I can only hope that I don't annoy my wife when it comes to my extra cautious nature, "Let me take the groceries in." "I'll get that." "I'll put that up in the attic."  There are so many thoughts that I have going around in my head; is it going to be a boy or girl?  And yes, we will find out.  What does the baby look like after each week?  What's developing and when?  Right now, our baby is about the size of a lime and starting to develop reflexes.  There are so many things that are going on that I didn't know before and it's amazing that we get to experience this.  I am so happy.  I am anxious.  I want to be a great father.

I hope and pray for Meghan to be healthy during and after the pregnancy.  I hope and pray for our baby to be healthy during and after the pregnancy.  That's what I want most.  It's scary, but a good scary.  We're going on a new path in our lives that will include a child that will be ours.  And right now that little baby measures about two inches.  How do you look after such a little thing?  I know it won't be that little when it's born, but all I can think about is making sure that I do everything that I can to make sure our little one is safe and healthy.

I will read to become better informed.  I will ask family and friends for advice and information to become better informed.  I will do anything to make sure our baby grows up healthy, happy, and knowing that they have two parents that love them so much.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Second Round Results - One Band, One Song

It's been so fun to see how this tournament is playing out so far.  I hope everyone keeps voting until there's only one song left.

Here are the results for the second round:

One Band, One Song Rock Tournament

This round had several upsets (according to the seeding), which included Elton John and Jimi Hendrix being left behind.  On a side note, does anyone know if there's an easier platform to do this type of tournament bracket?

I know it would be so much easier for people to participate if they only had to click and vote for the songs they wanted to advance.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

I'll continue to tally the votes that you send to me and I'll post the results for the third round next Sunday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Movie Time, Busy Time

Meghan and I got to see my sister and her family this past weekend.  And something that my sister and I always find time to do together is going to the movies.  We both had read The Hunger Games trilogy, so we went to see that movie.  It was great!  We were both really impressed with the movie and how it stayed very close to the book.  I am really impressed with the casting and look forward to seeing the next movie in the series.  And what movie will I see next?

It's been really interesting and tough trying to find time to do all of the things that I want to do.  I want to write and complete my second book.  I want to listen to music more often.  I want to keep the house clean.  I want to keep up with my blog.  And it's so amazing to see how things just seem to move so fast the majority of the time.  I just realized tonight that I only had restricted comment settings for my blog, which is something that I should've noticed immediately when I started this blog.  So obviously I have fixed that, but it's the little things that seem to creep up on me sometimes.

This weekend is a four day weekend and besides wanting to write, I'm really excited to get chores done.  I'm looking forward to getting grocery shopping done.  And even as I write that it makes me laugh.  How much of a dork am I?  Maybe I'll remember to turn on some music when I clean the bathroom.  Maybe.  Maybe I'll do another rock song bracket to listen to some favorites of my own or find some new music to like.

It all comes down to what I'll be doing tomorrow.  I'll let you know when I figure that out.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Proud Moment

Today marks six months since I published my first book. I can't help but feel happy and proud for doing something that I have always wanted to do; whether or not it becomes a huge hit among others, well that is still to be determined.  I try and look at my first book as a beginning, a beginning in hopefully a long-standing career as a writer.  I think of today as a moment that will remind me that writing the second book will not be as easy as the first, and the third will not be as easy as the second, and so on and so on.  In doing so, I hope this mindset will constantly challenge me to continue to write and not think of this accomplishment as some type of temporary thing where I feel satisfied with writing just one.

It seems that it's easy to get comfortable (or lazy) and put things off until that something you once wanted to do is no longer relevant.  I have never put much stock in feeling regret over things, because at some point in life we have to learn from our choices.  But, I do think that regret might creep into me if I were to stop writing.  Maybe that's just the pressure I put on myself or the desire I have to succeed at this.  I won't say that this book is my proudest moment.  My proudest moment, hands down, was knowing that Meghan would say yes.

I hope that this book is something I can always look back on and say, "This was the start of my career.  I made that happen."  And if that does happen, I'll frame this blog as a tribute to that success and you can hold me to that.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First Round Results, Second Round Begins!!

This rock song bracket is so much fun.  It has been so interesting to see what songs received votes and moved onto the second round.  Some songs moved on by getting all of the votes.  Some songs moved on by getting one vote more than the other song.  And there are quite a few songs that are all-time greats that won't be moving on.

Here are some of the song upsets (by artist):

The Killers beat Billy Joel
Fleetwood Mac beat John Lennon
The Verve beat R.E.M.

Now, that's only a couple of the upsets.  All number four seeds failed to make it to the second round, which means a loss for John Lennon, Derek and the Dominos (aka Eric Clapton), Oasis, and R.E.M.  Bruce Springsteen overpowered Paul McCartney and several bands didn't even receive a single vote.  Who didn't receive a vote?  Silverchair, Temple of the Dog, Metallica, and The Beach Boys.

Not including the previously mentioned, there were plenty of upsets and some flat out surprises with some songs that I expected to do better.  The last couple of days allowed Coldplay to overtake Stone Temple Pilots and Chuck Berry had to outlast The Animals by one vote.  Dave Matthews Band dominated Green Day, while Lynyrd Skynyrd crushed Cat Stevens by getting more votes than any other band.

This has been such a cool thing to do in my spare time and I appreciate everyone that has participated in this tournament of rock songs.  Today is the beginning of the second round, so please continue to vote for your favorite songs.  You can do so by viewing the bracket and then sending me your picks.  You can send me your picks through this blog, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  Again, each round of voting will last one week, so send your picks and stay tuned.

Click below to see the bracket and move your favorite songs onto the next round:

One Band, One Song - Rock Tournament Bracket