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365 Challenge: Day 281 – Rantless (RYDER RANT)

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Rantless: when I’ve got nothing to complain about

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Hello, Friends! I had a wonderful week with hardly anything to ramble on about… I suppose that makes me RANTLESS. I got to play in the snow for a few minutes. I got Christmas presents from Grandma and Zora (my dad’s friends dog). Grandma got me carrot-flavored treats and a stuffed toy that looks just like me. Zora got me a Santa squeaky toy. I took naps on both of them this weekend. Dad’s played board games and card games with their friends. There was lots of drinking, swearing and insanity over memes! Since I have very little to rant about, I’ll reveal some exciting news today; the winners for the 2017 TRUTH award have been selected. If you are new to this blog, or didn’t read the post from about ten days ago, Dad picked the top 12 followers on his blog — based on count of comments in 2017. He believes those 12 people embody the values on his ‘This Is My Truth Now’ blog: inspiration, friendship, honesty, truth, gratitude, discovery, sharing, communicating, open-mindedness, love, commitment, equality, trust, and partnership.

Me waiting for the guests to arrive, then a shot Neel took at the tree after gifts

As a reminder, the nominees (blogs you should check out) included:

Roda @ Growing Self

Shalini @ Book Reviews by Shalini

Alex @ Coffee Loving Bookoholic

Rae @ Rae Longest & Powerful Women Readers

LA @ Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Nel @ Reactionary Tales

Claire @ BrizzleLass Books

Noriko @ Diary of a Bookfiend

Misty @ Misty’s Book Space

Kristin @ A Simply Enchanted Life

Patty @ Moohnshine’s Corner

Mischenko @ Read Rant Rock and Roll

 

*** DRUM ROLL ***

 

 

Check out the link for Dad’s book on Amazon: It’s starting to go through the next round of marketing to help new readers find it more quickly. Every click helps push it up on the rankings for Amazon, so take a quick peek today, thanks! He’s also signing a copy and mailing it to each of the three winners. Dad’s working with Mischenko, Noriko and Nel to confirm what charity they want. We’ll post together in the next few days to let everyone know. Congratulations to all the winners! The votes were very close, and everyone had a couple, which was great!

Next week… I’ll be talking to you from Long Island while Dad’s in Louisiana. I’m going to Ella’s for 5 days, heading out on Christmas Eve and returning on Thursday 12/28. I can’t wait to see my friends, but I’ll write a post on Christmas Day while I’m away just to wish everyone a happy holiday!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 152 – Matchmaker

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Matchmaker: a person who arranges relationships and marriages between others, either informally or, in certain cultural communities, as a formal occupation

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Ever since I saw Hello, Dolly earlier this week, I cannot get some of the songs out of my head, nor the other famous one: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…” All these tunes prompted me to make today’s 365 Daily Challenge word ‘matchmaker.’ At some point in our lives, we’ve all met or been exposed to some form of this meddler, the (wo)man who takes it upon himself or herself to set up other people, trying to bring joy and happiness into a new couple’s life as they meet for the first time. It’s a divisive topic. Some say “bring it on,” while others scream “mind your own business.”

Looking back throughout my days, I’ve been setup on a date with someone else a few times; it never worked out. I luckily have no horror stories to tell, as the worst that ever happened to me was that the guy was quite fickle. A friend from high school thought we’d be perfect together, so we all up met up for drinks. The match brought one of his friends (a girl), I brought one of mine (a girl), and then we had the matchmaker (a girl) who brought us together. Date seemed to be going fine, but the girl he brought kept sitting on his lap, crossing the line between very friendly and ‘did you two need a room?’ Though I would usually just ignore it, the entire situation puzzled me, as we were kind of on a date, yet tried to make it a casual group thing. I felt forced to ask the question… explain my point of view… but my words fell into a deep hole, and I’m not sure an “ah-ha moment” ever actually came out on the other side either. Nonetheless, I doubt you care to hear the end of that story. The point being… matchmakers… always trying to meddle in other people’s lives assist their friends.

Dolly is a matchmaker in the 1880s in New York City and Yonkers. She’s a widow who holds hundreds of jobs, always with a business card and a new title for whatever you need. She brings together couples all across the bustling city, ignoring her own needs until she’s simply grown too tired of it all. Enter a somewhat charming and rich older man who is searching for a wife… oodles of antics occur and in the end, many couples are united despite all the chaos that ensues. It’s an overly simple summary of a truly remarkable show, but since these posts won’t be as endless as they’ve been in the past (I hear you cheering — NOW STOP THAT!), it shall suffice. I’d heard of the show before the revival came to Broadway, but had never seen it. My friends were absolute crazed when it came back to life with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in the lead roles. They insisted on tickets, I shrugged my shoulders. “Sure, sounds fun, do what you will…” I said. They shot me furtive glances, I heard the whispers… “Has he lost his mind, it’s Bette.” Then I watched a performance on the Tony’s and thought, ‘oh, this could be good.’

And yes, the show was amazing, despite the concerns that grew inside my head over the course of the following weeks. You see, some ladies in my apartment building had been gossiping about it weeks ago when we were all at the gym. They sat on a weight bench for about thirty minutes admiring the lovely equipment. I was doing some weird form a squats and lunges, listening in as one does in the gym when seventy-ish women are talking about the show you’re soon to see. “Her voice wasn’t as good as I expected.” “She called out a couple of days and might not finish the run.” I tried to complete my routine, but it just wasn’t working anymore. Not because my life would be over if I missed seeing Bette. But W’s life might be… he had his heart set on seeing her in the show. And I don’t like seeing his heart in a bad place.

And a funny thing about W and me, at least in as far as how he and I met; it was through a matchmaker of our own. I know, crazy how things come together despite what I said earlier. But I promise, there’s no trickery at hand here. This particular matchmaker was quite pushy. Every day I had a message, a reminder, ‘You two should really meet. You’d be good together.” There’d be side-by-side pictures displayed on a phone screen with a few comments dropped to convince me. “You’ve got so much in common. And you live so close to one another.” I believe there were even percentages and blocks being discussed. And then on a weekly basis, a reminder would show up. “You haven’t checked anyone else out this week. Aren’t you forgetting about someone?” You see… our particular meddler was none other than “Match.Com.” Yes, we met through the Internet. And each day, it would tell me he lived a few blocks away from where I worked. Our profiles had 95% in common. And that I still hadn’t exchanged a message with anyone else on the site. But I digress… online dating… perhaps a topic for another day.

Hello, Dolly was all that you’d expect it to be. It’s one of those shows that is unafraid to truly connect with the audience. Certain lines in the show that related to problems in today’s political dramas garnered funny facial expressions from the actors, tons of laughs from the audience. Bette and David took the art of repetition and doing nothing to extremes. In at least 4 or 5 moments, they did zilch on stage for at least two minutes, but it was captivating. Sometimes she was trying to feed him, others she ate food herself while nothing else happened. How many marshmallows can one woman stuff in her mouth? I think they were marshmallows. And every night? Poor Bette, that’s not good for the body. I should know. It’s how I eat my cookies. When I get them. Someone told me I couldn’t have them anymore.

The voices were good, not stellar, but when combined with everything else, it transported you to the setting and you felt absolutely enamored with it all. I knew none of the music, yet it enthralled me. I knew none of the actors other than the two leads, yet I have a few selected to follow to other shows. Though the story took place nearly 150 years ago, it was timeless. The staging was marvelous. The entrances and exits were unexpected yet what we’d all predict if we had a moment to stop being entertained so we could actually process what was happening. It was non-stop shenanigans with a fresh breath of comedic timing and the humor we absolutely all needed. If you’re going to be in NYC, pre-plan as it’s hard to acquire the tickets. But if you have the chance to see the show wherever you are, it’s definitely worth it.

Have you ever seen Hello, Dolly? Been to a matchmaker? Suffered through online dating? Think of the stories we could share…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • In honor of this lovely show, I am not including a Recommended Blogger to know today. It deserves the spotlight all on its own. We’ll return with regularly scheduled programming over the weekend.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Meet and Greet: 5/26/17

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What a great concept — by a fantastic guy! Please take a look at this one… an opportunity to meet new online friends and see tons of great blogs and content. -j

Dream Big, Dream Often

dreambigwallpaper-pinkombre

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!! Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post. It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times! It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want. It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media. Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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365 Challenge: Day 66 – Card-Shark

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Card-Shark: a person who is skilled in card games

I am a card-shark. I admit this. I am happy about this. It brings me much joy. Now let’s set the record straight on a few things:

  1. Card-Shark also means someone who plays cards professionally or cheats at card games. Neither of those describe me. I am not a cheater. And I am not sure I’m good enough to be a professional player.
  2. In Britain, it’s called Card-Sharp… an interesting little twist. I prefer the American saying.

OK, that said… yes, it’s a noun, but when I thought about things people clearly identify with me, being a card-shark is one of them. Playing cards has run in my family for many generations. As a child, I watched my grandparents and parents play card games nearly every weekend. They watched their grandparents play as children. And their parents watched them play on the boats coming over from Germany. When I went away for college, I setup all the games among my fraternity brothers and friends. {Oh yeah, not sure I ever told you I was in a fraternity for 3 1/2 years… was also its Historian one year, and its President the next… I’ve got some stories, perhaps I’ll find one I can share in a 365 Challenge!}

I love everything about the concept of cards: Two colors, red and black. Four suits, diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. 52 cards, 2 thru 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.Wild cards. Jokers. Pairs and Straights. Royals and Flushes. These are magical words to me, ever since I was old enough to understand the different games. When I stayed home sick from school (ahem, cough cough), I’d watch the TV Game show “Card Sharks” and dream of the day when I could be a contestant. But sadly, it went off the air by the time I was old enough to legally play it.

My family played games such as Poker, BlackJack, Follow the Lead, 4 of a Kind, Sevens, Criss-Cross. As I grew older, we learned Solitaire, Hearts and Spades. With each new skill, I became a very strong player. And I was never a happy loser. But we’ve talked about that in the past! It’s a game of skill, math, risk, chance, perception, bluffing, psychology… all things that build our brainpower… you know, good stuff.

When I turned 21, my family took me to Connecticut for my first legal gambling experience. I say “legal,” because as a kid, I’d often accompany my mom to Bingo, go with my dad to the lotto store or play betting games on vacation in the Catskill resorts we visited. But at 21, I gave the slot machines a chance and won $1k that night. It seemed I had a knack for this thing they call gambling. For my college graduation trip, some friends and I went to Las Vegas. When they all went to bed at midnight (ha, I say!), I hit the BlackJack tables… found myself a friendly dealer with hardly anyone else at the table, and I put my card playing skills to the test. After a few hours, I walked out of there with another $1K. Call it skill, call it luck, I loved it!

I’ve also said my personality is not all that addictive, so I luckily am content to go to casinos maybe once per year and give it a shot. But playing cards on the weekends is a fairly regular thing. Lately, it’s Spades. My father and I team up against my mother and my better half. I don’t believe any of them read this blog, so I can comfortably say my father and I usually win without them chiming in or being embarrassed. And we did win this last Mother’s Day when we played for a few hours in the afternoon. It was a close one, but Dad and I kept our lead in the final hand and won the game. Some might think I should have let my mom win on Mother’s Day, but a real card-shark couldn’t do that, could he? HaHaHa! (I’m just being funny with my little note of sarcasm here… but I did win…)

I keep track of the cards, so I generally know which ones are still left in the deck. Go ahead… call me a card counter… nothing wrong with it. And I am good at math, so I apply some statistics to decide what my chances are, before making any risky moves.  It’s one of the few things I excel at… so I let myself brag just a little bit. But at the same time, it’s also one of those natural talents I’ve always had — not something I really had to learn. That’s what makes it special to me. It’s a bit of a gift, and I am grateful for it. Bring me a deck of cards (if there aren’t any books available, that is), and I am in total bliss.

How about you? Anyone play cards? Bridge? Pinochle? I’ll even take a Go-Fish!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

The Blog is Growing!

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When I first started this blog about 6 months ago, I thought it would be an entertaining experience… but somehow in the last few months, I’ve got close to 100 followers and I’m on here posting nearly every day. It’s been really fun and challenging, but ultimately I want it to deliver valuable content, insight and laughter. I’m super excited with the results so far!

Now I need to start adding new content sections. Starting next week, a few posts each week on the following topics:

  1. Book Reviews
  2. TV & Film Reviews
  3. My Book: “Watching a Glass Shatter”
  4. Other Fiction I’ve Written
  5. Vacation Spot Experiences
  6. 365 Daily Challenge
  7. General Blog & Thoughts

What else should I add?

  • More animations?
  • Restaurant Reviews and link to Open Table and FourSquare reviews?
  • More author and book content?
  • Or keep it streamlined as it is now?

Let me know your opinions and let’s see what we can come up with next! Thanks for everyone’s support.

Thanks.

-jjc iv

 

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365 Challenge: Day 2 – Honesty

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Honesty: free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere

Being honest is almost always the only proper route in life. On rare occasions will I find it acceptable to be less than honest. It’s innate, at least in me, and I think in most people, that the honest response or answer is the first one (s)he thinks of; however, the degree to which they debate following through on the honesty is what differs among us.

I’m sure I was taught as a child that “honesty is the best policy,” whether it was in school or at home. I don’t exactly remember this conversation other than hearing about it in classic 1950s and 1960s TV shows and the occasional movie where someone is trying to coax a child to tell the truth. But even if I weren’t actually taught this message, it seems like the right thing to do. If not, everything would be more like a treacherous game than a way of life. Let’s all play some Game of Thrones today! Russian Roulette is the new mantra. NOT!

I can recall a few moments when I wasn’t 100% honest; told you in my 365 intro I intend to tell both the good and the bad!

  • I know I was obsessed with Legos and took a few home with me from a friend’s house one time. I claimed I didn’t know what happened to them, but I clearly remember thinking “these aren’t mine” when they “fell” into my Lego box. I’m not exactly sure why, other than Legos brought me great pleasure and offered an escape from other things in my life (no, nothing bad… I was just a very shy kid).
  • I’ve told someone (on a few occasions) I’d been dating that I wasn’t attracted to someone else when I knew I was. And yes, in the past, I did cross a line many years ago that I should not have crossed. I was bad. I admit it. But I learned from it and I eventually confessed. You can choose to dislike it or me, and I don’t blame you. But we all live in a glass house at some point, and we’ve all thrown the stones when we knew we shouldn’t.
  • I’ve made up plans when I didn’t feel like going out with someone else. I truly just needed down time… and didn’t want to offend the person or have them think I didn’t like them. They would be persistent if I just said I didn’t “want” to go out.

OK, so none of those are all that bad (e.g. murder, marital affair, bullying). But I had an opportunity to tell the truth, and I chose not to. Sometimes, I’m afraid of hurting another person’s feelings. Sometimes it would lead to a far worse situation to be honest, and it’s easier to just tell the white lie to end the immediate issue. Are these acceptable situations?

For the most part, I think they are. If the truth will hurt someone’s feelings, but the lie will avoid a problem – and it is short-term and not impactful – it may be the best course of action. Why tell a friend their new haircut looks bad when it will be fine in a few days? Perhaps if they are going on a date or a job interview, don’t let them suffer a longer-term impact. Bite the bullet, tell them it’s awful and deal with the short-term impacts.

If you’re thinking about cheating, hmm… that’s a tough one. Do you hide it until you know you want to, or do you risk saying “I thought about Person X” to the person you are dating and have them prematurely leave you? I choose not to answer that question because I think the answer lies in the strength of your relationship; you should be working towards a solidarity that can withstand admitting you find someone else attractive. It’s when you choose to act on it that the line has been crossed. Subjectivity in this level of honesty in the important message.

But on the good side, honesty is really the only way to exist. It’s an example of how to level-set the playing field. When you are dishonest, everything that happens afterwards will immediately be suspect. Take the example of someone who lies on their resume or in an interview to get a job. Perhaps the less qualified candidate will get the job due to this lie. But eventually, it’s a high probability (s)he will be found out and either lose their job or be reprimanded. That addresses the situation for the liar, but what about the person impacted by that lie? (S)he didn’t get the job, which may have been a career changer for the future. Where does that leave him or her? Note: I’m not getting into fate and sometimes it’s necessary to lose one thing to set you on the path to what you are really destined for… that’s another topic! Yikes… these challenges might be harder than I thought. Morality exists everywhere!

And so, when I look at honesty, it’s a scale heavily waited to 99% of the time, i.e. it is required. Dishonesty should only be reserved for those moments when you’ve weighed the options and the impacts of that decision are not harmful to anyone, or are less harmful than the alternative.

That said, many readers are probably thinking “he’s so wrong… you should never lie… what do we tell our children…” You tell them the truth. You provide examples, you teach them about cause and effect, you explain the impacts with either decision. Not when they are 2 or 3 or 4, but when they are mature enough to understand.

That doubly said, I RESPECT those who ALWAYS tell the truth, no matter the impact. Perhaps they are too blunt. Perhaps they are inconsiderate. Perhaps they are rude. But they are honest and you will always know what to expect from them. And being consistent is one of those really extremely important things to be. And that will be tomorrow’s characteristic!