RDP#80-RETICENT – ME? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP#80-RETICENT

Ever since WordPress decided to abandon helping us, we’ve been scrambling to find ways to reach out. It’s harder and more complicated. There are too many choices with small audiences compared to the more global reach WordPress had. It’s to be expected, but it is not making our blogging lives better.

I’ve been trying to keep up.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I can’t if I want to any other life at all. I have no time for anything. I try to fit my own thoughts into prompts by other people and it works sometimes, but often not. I have always followed Cee’s prompts, and Nancy Merrill and Paula for photographs. But I can’t keep up with all the writing prompts. Firstly, because I don’t have that many different things to say. And there’s a lot of stuff going on around here.

Garry’s getting fitted for his new super-gear. We have company. We are also buying a newer car (not new). Our Jeep is 6-years old and wasn’t new when we got it, so we are moving “up” from a 2012 Jeep to a 2015 Jeep Renegade in a color my son says is “Orange Crush” (it’s a “Jeep” color), assuming the financing comes through.

When WordPress dropped its support for customers, it made a royal mess of things. They are also messing with the software. I have a lot of trouble with photographs now and can’t make mosaics (most of the time). Overall, they dropped us on our heads.

I resent the way they have behaved. Kowtowing to their “assumption” that we can just “get it together” without any support is poor business and just plain wrong.

I wanted to keep up with everyone, but I can’t. I can’t write so many original pieces daily and I don’t want to. Three pieces, two late at night and one geared to a prompt in the morning is pretty much my level. When I try to push beyond it, it becomes a job with me as the mean boss.

I will write what I can when I can. When I miss your prompt, it isn’t because I don’t care. It’s because I have other stuff I need or want to do. There has to be time to do stuff I want to do, not only what I feel I need to do.

Life has intruded on blogging. Winter will come and I will have more “at home” time as the snow closes in. But for now, I need to pull back and breathe. If I get fewer views, life will go on.

I will try to comment when I have time to read, but finding time for reading, as well as writing and photography is more than I can currently handle. I am sorry. I’ve done my best, but it’s not enough.

FOWC with Fandango — Kowtow

A MAGIC GARDEN – Marilyn Armstrong

Photo Challenge Ambience

Our garden is magical for one month every summer. Usually between late May through much of June.

This year, it was July. It’s all roses and daylilies and for its single month, it’s absolutely magic.

Daylilies with roses along the edge
Also red roses
It’s not a macro, but it is as detailed a photograph of a daylily as I’ve ever taken.
Columbine
Spiderwort 
Lilac

 

ALL-AMERICAN BOY – RICH PASCHALL

After Steve Grand became an internet sensation, he was able to self produce the album reviewed below.  Now it is three years later and he has just released another album of autobiographical songs, “not the end of me.” The title song refers to an ugly break up of a long time love.  “I wrote every song about a specific moment or feeling I had at some point in time. It was cathartic.”  Below is the image and music that launched his career.  Steve is appearing for the rest of the summer at The Art House in Provincetown, MA.

Steve Grand music, Rich Paschall

What do you think of when someone uses the term “All-American Boy?”  You may immediately think of someone who is quite handsome.  He may be “clean-cut” and “wholesome” looking, that is to say he is neat and well dressed.  Your image may include someone who is athletic.  He may have a body that is “buffed-up.”  It may be a young man with a glowing smile and pleasant personality.  An All-American boy can be a variety of handsome and talented things to the person thinking of this term.

Steve Grand is all of these things.  In addition, he is an excellent singer, songwriter, musician and model.  His musical talent alone is enough to impress, but when combined with his good looks, he definitely comes across as the quintessential All-American boy.  His image as a performer both supports this idea, and makes it unique at the same time.

All-American Boy
All-American Boy

Steve Grand, like a number of artists of the current generation, became popular as a YouTube performer.  His self-produced All-American Boy video from 2013 caught on and went viral. It now has almost 7 million views.  This is a different version of the All-American Boy than you may imagine, because like Steve in real life, the boy in the video is gay.

A lot of people do not think an “All-American Boy” can be gay, but why not?  Steve Grand has the talent, drive, and good looks of America’s best. Why should he not be the “boy next door?” He works hard at his craft and is as All-American as any young man anywhere.

The huge success of Steve’s video led to a “Kickstarter” campaign to raise money to produce an album.  Kisckstarter is an online funding mechanism where people can pledge money to help support a particular project.    In return patrons may receive gifts at certain levels of support.  Steve set a goal of 81,000 US Dollars to get his first album self-produced and out to the public.  His video success and personal performances drove the total up over 326,000 USD.  As a result, Steve has had to sign his name A LOT on CD cases.  That was the most popular “gift” in return for support.

Album
Album

While Steve is known as a “country artist” because of “All-American Boy” and some other selections, Steve is certainly not just that.  He is a well-rounded artist of many genres.  The native of a Chicago suburb, Lemont — “one of Chicago’s blandest suburbs” — he does not mind the country label, but wants people to know he is more.

His first album clearly announces that he has a variety of styles to offer and a number of messages to sing.  This freshman effort was the third best funded Kickstarter musical project.  Important among the messages are the views of love through the eyes of a young man.  The feelings of love desired, won and lost, as described by a young man, can resonate with gay or straight people everywhere.  Steve may prove to be one whose performances can transcend his sexuality and appeal to all.  That is a hard thing to do.  Few performers can come out early in their careers and expect to do well.  Steve may be one of those who succeeds.

Of course, I am always drawn in by videos where Chicago is the background.  Having an “All-American Boy” up front certainly helps the scenery.

Sources include: “All American Boy Steve Grand Talks Sobriety, Music as Therapy, and His Newest Album,  Not the End of Me,” http://www.out.com, July 17, 2018
not the end of me – Album Release,http://www.stevegrand.com. July 6, 2018

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE MIRROR IMAGES – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge:
Mirror images or reflections


Blackstone Canal – Uxbridge – Reflections
Marina, Connecticut – Water reflections
Swans on a dark pond
Riverbend along the Blackstone reflections

Black-&-White-Banner

WHICH WAY? DOWN BY THE FARM – Garry & Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – August 17, 2018

Ben, Garry, and I went around to the farms along the river. Our hope was to get some pictures and maybe, with luck, some fresh corn, too.

We got both.

The barn on the road by the river …
And this is where we found the corn!
How exciting! Corn!
Road from the farm towards Rhode Island
Another farm …