2008 in review: Blogland and beyond
Hey. Still grateful here.
Just a little more than a year ago, we decided at the last minute to go to Norway for the holidays. My husband’s grandmother was gravely ill, and we hoped to see her one more time. (She died just a few days before we got there.)
I put out a desperate call to a bunch of blogfriends, asking if they would be willing to guest post in my absence. I was humbled with the response. I had guest posts for almost every day I was away.
So I’m still grateful.
Linda Jones for letting me blog at You’ve Got Your Hands Full.
Linda also gave me free rein to redesign the blog, which I did over my crazy summer. I had some hits and misses. A photographer promised the use of an image then wouldn’t return e-mails or telephone calls. So I scrambled for a suitable replacement, and I got something even better. I called on someone I knew, Kristine Freed.
With the help of Kristine and Sherilyn Brinker of Brinker-Freed Photographyand new mother-of-twins Kerrin Laari and her 5-week-old babies, Elise and Ian, I had a fabulous image to use on the blog.
None of it would have happened, though, without Jo-Lynne at DCR Design. She made the header and buttons, arranged and rearranged everything and even called me to give me a crash course in making my own changes. (Though I’m still fairly hopeless in that department.) I would have made a big announcement on the blog by now, but I’m having technical difficulties with Typepad, and I haven’t been able to sign on. As soon as I get it figured out, though, I’ll get something posted.
Citizen of the Month for a great experience, The Interview Experiment, and meeting two new blogfriends at A Juicy Life (now Notre Vie Juteuse since she moved to France) and The Would-Be Writers Guild.
Bob for his review of Final Salute.
- Everyone who stopped by to read and/or comment.
Happy New Year.
Posted by Becky @ 3:46 pm
Brought to you by the letter E
Dad2twins honored me with the “This Blog is Rated E for Excellent” award. Wow. Thanks, D2t! (Is it just me, or does the award look crooked? I keep wanting to straighten it out. Nah. It’s straight. It must be an optical illusion with the crooked E and all.)
It took some time, but I found that the award originated with Project Mommy, a 23-year-old mother of two girls. She wanted to show her appreciation for the blogging community she’s found. She asks that anyone who receives the award turns around and gives it to at least 10 (or more) blogs, and it doesn’t matter if they’ve already gotten it. So now I need to pass along the award.
Ack. I still haven’t given out the Thinking Blogger Award.
Or the Nice Matters Award.
Finding the origin of the Thinking Blogger Award was easy. I mean, it has its own Web page. The Nice Matters Award? Different story.
I got it from Stimeyland. She got it from Oh, The Joys, who got the blue version (made by Something Blue and Motherbumper) from The Journey.
Oh, The Joys also got the original version from from Arkie Mama, Slouching Mom and Spinning Yellow.
Slouching Mom got it from MP, who got it from Purple Valley, who got it from Ramblings From Life, who got it from Just a Minute, who got it from PENSIEVE, who got it from Deb’s Lucky Patch, who got it from O So Mo Love, who got it from Our Happy Happenings, who got it from Sit With Me Awhile, who got it from Karen’s Ramblings, who got it from My Life as Annie, who got it from justabeachkat, who got it from My Montana Moments, who got it from Pieces From Me, who got it from All Stitched Up, who got it from — the blog that started it all! — Bella-Enchanted.
So, yeah. I’ve got some awarding to do. I’ll get to it, I promise. I just can’t guarantee that I’ll get it done before 2013. (What … am I running for president or something? More on that soon. Promise.)
Posted by Becky @ 12:30 am
Where should I begin…
Hello to the world through Becky’s blog. I’m Lance from Dad2twins.com. As with many of the guest bloggers that Becky bestowed with the high honor and privilege to be a stand in blogger, I have never actually met Becky in person. If, and when I meet her someday, I will make sure I bring a nice bottle of good Irish Whiskey or maybe even a few pints of Guinness with me so we can have long discussions about almost anything. I have been an admirer of Becky and her blog for sometime. Becky and I have had great conversations through email and blog entries and mutual comments on each other’s blogs for over a year. I do hope, before I finish my blog life, I know I will stay in touch with Becky because I have already decided she will be my editor when I finish writing a couple of the books I have started and threaten to finish in my lifetime.
Becky and I have something else in common. Norway. The Norwegian blood runs strong through my my family. I am of Norwegian decent. My people come from near the Arctic Circle. We are from Lesjaskog Norway. We even have some Sami in our family. As Becky spends Christmas among my people I am reminded of our heritage and how we still have a Norwegian breakfast every Christmas morning in our household. We have Rulepulse for breakfast along with Lefse. I won’t link to those, you have to discover those treats on your own. After that longwinded introduction, I don’t even think I will write about the actual topic I was going to write about. The Christmas meals sit heavy in my stomach and I am ready to sleep the next few days away. Our twins will not let that happen so I continue to dream of the lazy days after Christmas.
As I leave you, I invite you to discover this speech for yourself and the history behind it. It will give you some history into the name of Becky’s blog and how the term came about.I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I thank the two Jews for giving the Christians a break on Christmas day. I hope you all have a wonderful boxing day? Oh, and I wish Becky safe travels and I thanks for letting me sit in.
Come visit me if you get a chance.
Posted by Lance @ 12:48 am
Guest post: Lance-Dad2twins reviews Los Lonely Boys
I remember being appalled that my parents, in the prime of their lives (mid-20s, certainly not over the hill), didn’t think The Beatles were the best thing since sliced bread. How could they be there and not dig some of the greatest music ever? I vowed to not get stuck in a rut and to always appreciate whatever came along because — you never know — they could be the next Beatles. I realize now that maybe my parents didn’t actively dislike The Beatles. Maybe they were just sleep-deprived and trying to get through each day, hour and minute with kids underfoot. When you’re doing that, who has time to discover new music?
So, here I sit, a good 10 years into a rut of not knowing what is going on out there, musically speaking. Oh, hell. I can’t blame it all on the kids. It’s been 17 years since Stevie Ray Vaughan died, and I can’t say I’ve been on the cutting edge of any music since then. (Could someone explain Justin Timberlake? Please?) Maybe I just got
lazy busy. I went through a period of discovering music that was technically before my time, I sort of “fell into” other artists who had been around for a while, and I saw some great ones live (yeah, even Paul McCartney, woo-hoo). But I haven’t gotten excited about a “new sound” for years. Until now.
Enter the Los Lonely Boys. (Even though I say they’re new, they have already been around for a few years.) When I listened to the first song on their first CD, I said, “I love these guys!” Second song, “I love these guys!” Third song, “Holy … is that Stevie Ray Vaughan?!? Whoa. I love these guys.” I got their next album, Sacred, and I love them even more. The irony is that I hear bits and pieces of my entire musical history in their music, not just their obvious influences. In addition to Vaughan, Carlos Santana and Ritchie Valens, I hear a touch of Stevie Wonder, a hint of Bryan Adams and I swear if they didn’t listen to ZZ Top growing up, you can slap me. But maybe it’s because I’m, ahem, older, which means nothing is new anymore. Maybe if I were 25 again, it would all sound completely new, and I’d be looking up these other artists they say influenced them. (Stevie Ray Vaughan? Who’s that?)
Whatever it is, I have a major music crush on these guys. When I hear Texican Style (a nod to the Vaughan Brothers’ Good Texan if I ever heard one), I want to laugh and get out on the dance floor. When I hear I Never Met A Woman, I want to slow dance with my baby and have him sing in my ear. Most of all, I’d love to go down to the corner bar, order a pitcher (or three) of beer and listen to these guys all night long. And if they’d have one of their special guests stand in for a song (oh, Santana or Willie Nelson), how cool would that be?
But, look at me, rambling on and hogging the whole post. This is a guest post. I asked Lance to review their first album, Los Lonely Boys, and he pulled me from the sky and put my feet on the ground. He’s right. It’s not perfect. But I still love these guys. And I think Lance will like their next CD even more.
Lance of Dad2twins fame is a musician. I searched the Internet, hoping to unravel the mystery of his band experience (he won’t tell). Unless he’s a musician who plays backup guitar for an anarchist poet in Toledo, Ohio, or someone who sings Bob Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd songs in Georgia, the mystery will not be revealed here. From what I can tell, he has a nice, respectable job out West with a company that does stuff with money.
Lance’s early musical influences were U2, Simple Minds, late 1970s punk, Sex Pistols, early Police and The Clash. He also loved Bob Marley, Burning Spear late 1970s-early 1980s English New Wave. Today, he has a broader and more eclectic taste, listening to Tricky, Massive Attack and Björk. Vivaldi and Mozart. Etta James and Johnny Cash. His favorite albums are from bands like Sigur Rós from Iceland, 16 Horsepower from Colorado, The Innocence Mission from Pennsylvania and even Nine Inch Nails (from Ohio via New Orleans). He likes bluegrass, Irish jigs and old Hank Williams. You can throw just about anything on, and he will find something to like about it.
At his wedding, they played Etta James, Frank Sinatra, classic 1940s tunes, some Beach Boys, rock, classical and New Wave. If he were to have a funeral, he’d want Louis Armstrong to send him off, but he’d rather have everyone go to New Orleans and drink hurricanes in his honor.
His kids are big into The Wiggles, although he says Elmo is making a comeback. They also listen to tons of German children’s songs. He’s been pushing Romanisch Gypsy music on them, and they seem to like it. At least he has fun watching them dance.
He has a connection to Norway, he married a German, and they have twin daughters (aka, the Farty Pants Twins) a year younger (almost to the day) than my twin daughters. Because of that, he’s my twinmigo. And here’s his review.
Los Lonely Boys, March 30, 2004, Sony
From San Angelo, Texas, come the Los Lonely Boys. Three brothers, Henry (guitar, vocals), JoJo (bass guitar, vocals) and Ringo (drums, vocals), who come from a musical family (their father is Enrique Garza Sr., who was in a band with his brothers, The Falcones, during the 1970s and 1980s). Three brothers who have picked legendary musicians as their influences: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ritchie Valens and Carlos Santana. This is like the stations of the cross for Tejano-influenced blues based rock.
Becky was kind enough to send me their album for review. I appreciate the opportunity to listen to music I have never heard before. In fact, I have only heard their hit single, Heaven. So I look forward to listening to this album. But I must admit, I feel these boys have set the musical bar high. Can they successfully incorporate these legendary influences into their music and still sound new and fresh? Let’s take a spin and see.
Señorita — OK, here is the kickoff song. So far it sounds nice. Sort of what I expected when I put the CD in the player. This is nothing new, but the guitar solo kicks ass. Carlos Santana should be proud. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he made a guest appearance.
Heaven — Um, this song is OK. A little bit repetitive, though. I believe this is the big single for the Garza brothers. It reached No. 1 on the adult contemporary charts. [It also won a Grammy in 2004 for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group. They were also nominated for Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Rock Instrumental.] I hope this is not already the climax of the album and there more interesting songs on this album.
Crazy Dream — Three songs in, and the ghost of Stevie Ray Vaughn has made an appearance. I knew my patience would be rewarded. How did I know? The Boys listed Stevie under Sainthood in the liner notes. This song is it. Beautiful guitar work and a nice catchy song. Stevie would be proud.
Dime Mi Amor — Another strong song. Another Stevie Ray Vaughn guitar part. Excellent.
Hollywood— I like this song too. It reminds me of the old songs from the movies set in Hawaii. Stay with me here, this song is old-fashioned on so many levels. The harmonies are spot on and the chord progressions are beautiful. This is simply a well-written song. Maybe this is their Ritchie Valens influence. Whatever it is, I really like the way they put this song together.
More Than Love — Um, no. I don’t like this song. Sappy is about all I can say about this one. A predictable song in its structure and style. It sounds like a hundred other songs I’ve heard from a hundred other artists. Next!
Nobody Else — The brothers have the harmonies down tight. This song is a showcase of their singing style. It is a bit like the song Heaven but I think I like this song better. In fact, I know I do.
Onda — Ah, the blues. The start of this song is worth the price of the whole album. Beautiful guitar work and perfect in its execution. As a guitar player, I give this song an A+. Another song that reminds me of Carlos Santana, though. In fact, this song sounds really like Carlos. But then again, they list him under Brotherhood in the liner notes.
Real Emotions — Ah, hanging out on the beach in Miami. In my villa overlooking the bay and hanging with my beautiful Cuban bride. Oh wait, that’s not me, but this song makes me feel like it could be. Nice.
Tell Me Why — I am starting to see a pattern here. Every few songs, they throw on a boring one. This is that song. Again, NEXT!
Velvet Sky — Here is Ritchie Valens again. I like this song also with its mellow beautiful tempo and a sweet little guitar solo. Good job, Boys.
La Contestación — This song sucks. Not because it’s sung in Spanish. No, this song sucks because it is going to be played at every Latin wedding for the next 20 years or more. It is that sappy. I really hate to end the album on a negative note, but I hate this song. Now I need to go put on some Stevie Ray or Carlos to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. [Willie Nelson plays acoustic guitar on this track.]
Overall, I like the album. I don’t love the album, though. I wish I could say they sound fresh and new. But they don’t. They sound exactly like what I would expect from reading the liner notes. The Garza brothers are excellent musicians. They wear their influences well. What I most like about this band is the fact that they are succeeding and thriving. Tejano-influenced music is sorely under-appreciated by the non-Latino population. I would love to sees these guys really dig into the culture of Tejano music for their next album. These are the guys to do it. I look forward to their next album and hope it builds on the success of this one. [Get a taste of more of their music here.]
— Lance, Dad2twins
Posted by Becky @ 10:20 am