Seeking blog contributors for Raw Charge

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Raw Charge is looking for writers to add to the staff of their SB Nation blog covering the Tampa Bay Lightning.  How would I know? I run the damn place, that is how I would know.

I bring this up on my personal blog site that gets next-to-no web traffic (but a gargantuan number of bot driven spam comments) because it’s a chance to talk about the aspiration to add staff.  Well, it’s not just adding staff, per se. It’s about trying to find writing teammates to work with. This is a quest to find guys and girls who love the sport, and the team but also want to be part of something bigger.

Things have changed in the past calendar year (or a bit longer) on Raw Charge with people leaving the site, self-driven writers who didn’t want to fit a format (be it site use or grammar), and college influence / professional aspirations stopping others from writing in a casual format.

While the site has taken on some very capable writers the past few months, there is still missing elements and consistency in contributions.

I’m looking for a Tampa Bay based element for new contributors. I don’t mean relocated-for-college-but-originally-from-TB people… I mean folks who are here.

You can access the official post about looking-for-writers at this link.

Potential tropical development and a touch on hurricane history

I’m a weather guy, just a bit. I get a lot of entertainment / comfort out of reviewing Doppler radar in the Tampa Bay area and Florida. I keep myself informed regarding the tropical weather situation because it’s a looming issue at play annually.

I’m a little flabbergasted this afternoon though as I reviewed the latest update on the Bay News 9 tropical update page that Tropical Depression #6 for the Atlantic hurricane season is out there. Read that again, people, Tropical Depression Number six…. No, I’m not trying to play up the total as if it set some record and illustrates this-and-that of environmental development. I’m surprised and shocked because of how few tropical systems have been out there as this is only the sixth weather system with the potential to develop in the summer of 2016.

There is the negative shocker to be worried about here too: Last time I can remember a tropical season starting so late (meaning developing a depression into a storm or hurricane) was 1992 when Hurricane Andrew started the process of development on August 16 (via Wikipedia). It was only the third depression of the season and the first one that developed. And man, did that thing develop…

If you’re in South Florida or on the Atlantic coast of the US, make sure you follow this system and in general keep an eye on the tropics now. We’re at the height of the hurricane season and that brings the most threats as well as the most potential catastrophe.

Yahoo Messenger irrelevance

To remain an Instant Message client user in this day and age is odd. It would seem a bulk of long-time Internet users are mobile users now, utilizing on-the-move means of contact made possible by social network. Facebook Messenger is popular just by being there and the mass of friend connections that are out there. Google Talk is used because of Google’s own broad reach through contact mediums (not counting Google+ which may be five years old as well as a dead vessel when it comes to personal interaction through the medium). Two major Internet brands lead the way on instant communication, while some age-old mediums are still accessible (AOL IM and ICQ) it just seems more common for old friends to stick around on those while new friends / reconnecting old friends are doing it through the aforementioned Facebook or GTalk.

And then there’s Yahoo….

Yahoo got my attention in a broad social fashion in the early 00s – heck, it may have been ’99, I forget – with chat room functionality, personal profile and email. For years it was the definition of relevant because there were numerous alternatives but not of quality while the Yahoo brand was at the top of the ‘Net. Yahoo Profiles preceded modern social media profile (MySpace and then Facebook) with ability to truly socially interact by way of Yahoo Messenger.  Your user name on Yahoo gave you access to that or Yahoo Mail for that matter.

Yet here we are now and it’s a dead zone. Yahoo will be ending the traditional, desktop version of Yahoo Messenger in early August. The means I use to access it, the Trillian IM client, will no longer have access… And it actually has long seemed access lacking, to be honest. That’s not on Trillian, that’s on Yahoo Messenger use. People have migrated away from Yahoo Messenger for one reason or another with the passing of time. In fact, this irrelevance goes further by way of Yahoo Mail. The mail application remains open and all that but with the passing of time, my own use of a Yahoo account (and my friends) have graduated to either Gmail or personal domain names and accounts tied to them.

You’ll still e able to access Yahoo Messenger, but with limited means to do so it will be ending the services relevance to many, including myself.

I’m likely going to explore deleting my long-held Yahoo account and perhaps that might be the secure thing to do for those out there that have ancient (and still accessible) accounts with them. For a guy going by “Johnny Fonts” as a nickname in this day and age, my old screen name “artfuldodger9” (and the bells and whistles at Yahoo that I used to access through it) has lost all relevance socially and in functionality.

Online dating starts with socializing

With online dating, it’s making a connection socially (or things clicking) that ideally starts the ball rolling. Is this a foreign concept in 2016 or just a testament of how people get older and stop chatting?

It’s one thing for a dating site to present to you someone’s picture (and them being appealing) in that area. Image is just one aspect of a person; that’s the book cover to a story. You find out more direct contact. Direct contact too many won’t participate in because they’re sold first on image.

Is dating, in an Internet age where social media is a primary means of social contact with friends and colleagues, anti-social? In my experience, yes.

I’m a guy talking here and yet it is guys whose shtick I most often see women complaining about on online dating sites. Too many are just out for a hook-up and up front with that degree of social contact with women: Playing up image, playing up a date, and then one-and-done. There’s an avenue in living where two people can enjoy life like that, with multiple sexual partners and generally independent living / non ongoing contact. That’s not what people are generally after though, so coming off like an asshole and going that route is garbage.  Yeah, you get laid in the end but people looking for a relationship aren’t looking for a singular relationship encounter.

Women are guilty too, and that comes by way of judgment prior to actually interacting with someone. Judging a profile of someone who contacts you makes sense (it’s part of what profiles are for) but to dismiss contact? Especially contact that isn’t a guy being a scumbag? I’m not trying to glorify those who keep it too simple for their own good (PSA gentlemen: “Hi, how are you?” is not the message to send to a dating site contact), but someone who engages you? Someone who asks about this-or-that from your profile? Heck, someone who points out how they know you / live near you and who brought up day-to-day life? Yes, that kind of conversation is not romance or wooing, it just turns into it if people click…. And having a conversational connection can lead to that.

I didn’t notice such limited responsiveness in the distant past. In fact, being contacted by others and online interaction led to dates and more or less. Having made connections online that actually drew me away from online dating; interaction and social investment made it unnecessary to be on a dating site to try to find someone to be interested in.

It starts with making friends, though, or at least it should. If you start with a warm, positive contact – you at least have a new friend in your life. That alone is a positive, even if it does not develop into a mutual romantic interest.  And if things go south outright? If you don’t get along in online communication with someone? Then too bad, so sad… You move on without having found out in-person that you and your date don’t click / can’t get along.

It starts with communicating. Stop ignoring it

A thought on “…. as hell!”

I can’t exactly say it only just occurred to me but a word-use factoid popped into my brain after playing up a view from a home renovation as “nice as hell”  The thought is that the saying has the potential to not be taken as a compliment / positive usage as intended.  We’re talking hell here; fire, brimstone, negatives,  burn baby, burn! A fitting use of the “as hell” saying is something like “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!”

To use it as part of a compliment? A positive reaction to something impressive? It’s a habit of mine and in society in general… It’s also a contradiction. Think about it, it’s weird as hell and… uh, you get my point.

Creatively writing a fiction anecdote

Reddit has a pretty interesting creative writing subreddit. Someone just proposes a very generalized idea for a piece of creative writing and you’re allowed to do and say what you may in order to flesh out the generalized concept.  It’s a practice and a way to both inspire as well as hone one’s writing skills.

An example of things is the below piece of creative writing.  The Subreddit entry went on the concept of thus: “You wake up in an unknown place, tied to a seemingly random stranger. You have no clue what is going on, but the stranger does.”  Rather ambiguous, no?  But it also opens the doors to whatever your imagination kicks up to why things were that way.  Here’s what I came up with:

Continue reading “Creatively writing a fiction anecdote”

The “interests” failings of Plenty of Fish

Months ago, I went after some online dating sites because of shortcomings of the platform. Years ago, I took shots at Plenty of Fish for shortcomings of some of the participants of the site. Plenty of Fish, for those who don’t know online dating sites, is a bare-bones service that’s just a mite more involved than Craigslist… Well, write ups can be shorter than Craigslist but the point is that it’s a minimalist dating service (now owned by Match.com).

One of what should be a nice guide for the site is an interest listing that’s able to be used with the service by its members. It’s sort of like keywords or topics, but applied to life. Of course this does lead to shortcomings by a segment of the user base on POF who don’t use detailed terms or words to describe what interests them.  Others will make the error of using phrases and sentences like it’s a continuing conversation arm… But there is a segment that is just fine with showing thins that truly interest them or entertain them.

This is where Plenty of Fish screws up.

It’s not the aspect of having the tool that makes it fall short, to say the least, it’s how it doesn’t work easily or properly that is the problem. See, just to click on the topic of interest on a profile will give you a very generalized list of users on the site. I don’t mean linked to the interest, I mean you get a generalized list of users in a certain timeframe and nothing more.

Now, hold on there! What about Google searches and finding an actual page that shows users on POF who do use the tag? That’s got to work, right?  Indeed, it does!!… and the list is of every gender and age group in the site DB who uses said tag, making it just a bit more difficult to find those who cater to your romantic wants, meaning the proper gender that matches your wants, the proper age range too. Oh and there is the silly little aspect of profiles being ancient in some cases.

Let me give you an example page here: I’m a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. Hell, I’m a known Tampa Bay Lightning blogger. Using the team and the sport as an interest to meet people would be wise, no? S, here you go! Interest page Tampa Bay Lightning gives you thousands of results (marked as “700+”) from the network with all genders using the term.  That’s one hell of a tough pile to sort through. Especially because the profiles aren’t just unsorted by gender but also by profile age… A neglected or unused profile created years ago comes up in the search results and can show up in a primary position on search results pages.

But wait! There’s a search field at the very top of that page! Let’s try sorting through ages and genders to get it so a guy like me can find a woman. That’s where the next aspect of futility rises in Plenty of Fish; to use the sort field to search through the interest list brings inconsistent results and gives you general listings of the age group within the distance you sought. You also get hit, again, in that profile results may be ancient results from days gone by… Meaning those who didn’t delete their profile can come up as a search result despite the fact they no longer use the service.  Yeah, that’s an aspect that can happen on just about any dating site… The thing is that Plenty of Fish gives you the recent-users option on other searches on the site. Just not within interest searches.

To list interests is just an attempt to show you a bit about the person listed on a dating site. It can spark curiosity or interest, or it can shy you away from a person if they’re keen on things you can’t stand. It’s useful subject matter that should be better utilized on that dating network. It’d just be better if the damn thing could actually produce a quality and detailed search result like it can with other aspects on the site.

“El Camino” by the Pretty Voices


El Camino (Pretty Voices)

Me and my girl are drivin’ cross the state
Gonna start over, with a clean slate
All that we own is in this car/truck that she hates
A ‘‘70 El Camino with airbrushed plates
She says slow down honey you’re drivin too fast
I pull her close and ease off the gas
It’s too late I see the blue lights flash
The cop says take it easy let the good times last

Palm trees and stars are reflected in our window
Ronnie Elliott is singing on the radio of my
Lime Green El Camino

Drivin’ over the Sunshine Skyway at night
Gulf coast’s on the left and Tampas lit up on the right
Out of gas and tired, guess it’s time to turn in
Wouldn’t you know the city’s got a drive in
Ten buck per car and they let us in.
We climb into the bed and settle in.
When the movie ends we’re the last of cars
My girl looks up and all we see are stars.

The stars and the sand are perfect tonight
The salt in your hair well it tastes all right
I love the stars and palm trees reflected at night, alright.

I love you and the bed of my car
I don’t have to drive we won’t go too far
Everything’s all right, when we’re here tonight.
All right!!!

Going for the "Jangular" from the Pretty Voices

A garage band named “The Pretty Voices” seems a little odd, but that’s the gist I think: to be a little off. The group isn’t aimed at a profound/powerful vocal arrangement; they’re about doing the rock thing in the garage-band kind of way: Independent, holding amateur flaws but also showing an ability that warrants exposure in one fashion or another.

It was completely by chance and a “well why not?” attitude on my part that got me to check out their album, Jangular, which was released in May of this year. The entire album is available online for purchase but it’s also able to be accessed through YouTube.

Now, I’m not a garage band listener on the norm… Heck, I rarely listen to anything of current (which holds to this story in a way, we’ll get to that in a second). I really did just listen to Pretty Voices by chance (the direct influence being Creative Loafing Tampa’s tweeting about their review of Jangular). I was drawn into the group from what I was hearing simply because the band could hit an influential riff in their pieces, such as in Control. It’s simple enough, though it also has its flaws (late in the song, it just ends up sounding messy).

El Camino, in beat and pacing, is pop rock in how it comes off. I can’t make out the lyrics but that’s my flaw with hearing disability and it – missing out on lyrics – is a running truth for most of Janular songs. That’s not a flaw for them, not as much as when engineering / production can’t diversify the sound produced for bridges in Pretty Voices songs.

The track that stands out for me to the point that I bought it was “Crackle Pop” which I embed here:

The oddity of the number is that it was released as a single three years ago by the group. The entire concoction of Jangular was put together and amassed over five years. Back to “Crackle Pop”, it’s a brilliant mix of the riff and pacing to truly come off as a crackling pop-rock number. The take from years ago seems a little less refined than the album version of the song.

In the end, Jangular and Pretty Voices are worth checking into in one way or another – be it an online listen on YouTube, buying a track from an online store, or checking the group out in-performance at a show in St. Petersburg.