Saturday, April 04, 2015

D is for Duran Duran

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:

When I was in middle school, there was a band that all the girls were talking about. They were (dare I say) bigger than One Direction. Unlike One Direction, they even played their own instruments. The band?

This was the picture I knew best. I even had it on the cover of the folder I used at school every day. My crush was on the one in the middle (Simon LeBon):

Admittedly, the band does have a VERY 80s look. Especially here.

Duran Duran was among the most successful bands of the decade, ushering in what was termed, "The second British invasion." (The Beatles, of course, being the first.) They were compared to The Beatles at the time, but One Direction has been, as well. Let's just agree...there will never be another Beatles.

Still, Duran Duran had some major hits. Girls loved them. Guys liked their music. Then they split up and we were left with hair bands for the rest of the decade.

Thanks a lot, Duran Duran.

But they just signed a contract with Warner Music, so they're still going after all these years. Unfortunately, they peaked somewhere around this video:

Did you have a music crush growing up?

Friday, April 03, 2015

C is for Cable TV

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:

Today's children (and younger adults) were born in an era of hundreds of TV channels. They don't remember a time when you had three choices to watch on TV--ABC, NBC, and CBS. We also had a local station that became Fox and, of course, PBS. If you wanted to watch TV, you had to turn a dial that looked like this:

There were no remotes. If you were a child, you were the one who changed the channel.

Even when cable came along, you had one TV in the house that had it. Everyone had to watch together. Your cable box had about 40 channels and looked like some variation of this:

If you tried to go from Channel 2 to Channel 42 too quickly, your mom said, "Stop that. You'll strip it!"

Or maybe that was just my mom.

In those early days, there were four paid movie channels: HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and The Movie Channel. At least that's what I remember? You bought HBO, you had ONE CHANNEL of HBO. I know, crazy, right? How did we ever survive?

(^Odd 1985 commercial somehow equating cable TV with being a good mom.)

But we can't talk about the introduction of cable without talking about this:

MTV changed everything. It set the tone for the 80s. It turned music from something you heard to something you saw. I'll leave you with the very first minutes MTV was ever on the air. "A new concept is born." How could we have known that someday it would be best known as the home of 16 and Pregnant?

Thursday, April 02, 2015

B is for Boom Boxes

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:

Before the 80s, if you wanted to listen to music, you did it on your home stereo.

Or on the 8-track player in your car.

But in the 80s, something revolutionary came along. Music became portable. 

And then a little more portable...

I remember listening to music on my boom box in my college dorm room. By the early 90s they'd gotten even smaller but we had no idea that soon they'd be completely obsolete. Today's version of the boom box is simply a small set of speakers that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Boom boxes will live on forever, however, thanks to a certain romantic movie...

Do you ever listen to music without headphones? What do you use?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A is for Action/Adventure Movies

It's officially A to Z Challenge time!!! All month, a ridiculously large group of us will be posting six days a week on a theme, starting at A and ending with Z. My theme for this year? The 80s!!! Today's letter is:

My favorite (non-writing) job ever was as a concessions stand worker at a movie theater. I worked at this movie theater:

Here's photographic proof of it:

One of the perks of that $3.50 (or so) an hour job was free movies. All the free movies we wanted to see. So during the summers following my junior and senior years, I saw quite a few movies. There were movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Movies starring Bruce Willis.

And an Eddie Murphy comedy-slash-action movie thrown in.

What we didn't realize at the time was that these movies were only the beginning. The action movies of the 80s would start a trend of action-adventure movies that would carry us through the rest of the century. Most of them starred one of these three Hollywood powerhouses:

They even launched a restaurant chain together. The chain is still in operation today. You may have heard of it...

Action/adventure movies still exist...they just seem to mostly revolve around comic book stories these days.

Or dystopian young adult novel adaptations.

Of course, if you want a walk down memory lane, you could always check out the Stallone-Schwarzenegger-Willis combination in The Expendables series. If you were around for their 80s domination, you might even be eligible for a senior discount.

What was your favorite 80s movie?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Guest Post: Alex J. Cavanaugh, Dragon of the Stars

I'm honored to be a part of the blog tour for a true blogging superstar. If you don't know him, Alex J. Cavanagh is a legend around here. Today, he's here to celebrate the release of his latest novel:

If you read Alex's blog for a while, you realize one thing--he's very supportive of other writers (plus he's hilarious!). His generosity means when he needs us, we're all here for him. Today he's blogging about the importance of giving...and how when we give, we actually receive so much more in return. Here's Alex's guest post:



by Alex J. Cavanaugh

We’ve all heard the expression, but what does it mean? What exactly do we have to give and what will we receive?

First, let’s tackle the giving part. You can give your time, attention, money, heart and maybe even your pants.  But don’t give expecting anything in return. (Except a cold breeze from giving away your pants).

That’s right, if you are keeping track of anyone that owes you for your generosity, then you’ve missed the boat. (They probably wouldn’t have let you onboard anyway because you’re not wearing pants – weirdo).  If you’re not giving from the heart then you’re doing it for selfish reasons.

See, when you give of yourself freely, there is no pressure and no expectations.  It’s all about the joy of giving.

It's not about serving our own selfish needs, it's about enriching the lives of those around us.  

"The greatest among you will be your servant" Matthew 23:11

And as long as we're here, we should be good servants. (By the way, can I get you anything? A drink, something to eat, or how about a nice pair of pants?) It's pretty much a slam dunk that your life will be more fulfilling if you put the spotlight on those around you.

I try to give from the heart without any expectations. I'm not doing this for money (unless it's a lot of money), or free books (unless it's enough free books that I can fashion them into pants.) So don't worry about paying me back....I'm good.

Here's the upside–I've made a ton of friends with this outlook. Because I had no expectations about what I would receive, I've been floored by everyone’s help and kindness.  It's been a humbling experience.

So ask yourself, are you giving with the right heart and attitude?

And for Pete's sake, put on some pants!

By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057
What Are the Kargrandes?

The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?


Author Bio:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

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