Three Awards and a Very Big Thank-You . . . !

Over the past month, The Eye-Dancers site has been lucky enough to be nominated for several awards.  I thank everyone for continuing to read and follow these ramblings of mine.  You are fantastic.  You are, in the lingo of one of the awards posted here–epically awesome!

The three awards I have been nominated for are:  The WordPress Family Award, The Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness, and the Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award.

I also have been re-nominated for The Liebster Award, The Versatile Blogger Award, and The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but I wanted to thank Kristy at familyeverything, Mary-Ann at likeitiz, Lorna at lornadounaeva, Christy at poeticparfait, Robin at witlessdatingafterfifty, and mummyshymz.  Thanks so much to each of you for these nominations!  I definitely urge everyone to visit their wonderful blogs.  Please take your time–there is much to enjoy!  I promise, I’ll wait till you come back . . .

Okay, onward!

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Thank you very much to Joseyphina from Joseyphina’s World and Kelsie from tenshishouoni11 for nominating The Eye-Dancers for The WordPress Family Award.  This is a very nice award to win because the community here at WordPress is welcoming, talented, and very much like family.

wordpress-family-award

 

The rules: (I am going to break one of these rules–more on that later!)

1. Display the award logo on your blog.  
2. Link back to the person who nominated you. 

3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family.    

4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them.

5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

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Thank you very much to Kimberly at words4jp’s blog for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness!  I highly recommend Kimberly’s blog.  She is a poet and wonderfully gifted wordsmith.  I am honored she nominated me for this award.  Epic!

The rules for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness are – (and again I will be breaking one of the rules–more later!  Can you stand the suspense??)

1. Tell 10 epic and/or awesome facts about yourself

2. Pass along some epic and awesome love to 10 blogs

3. Let everyone know that they are Epically Awesome

4. Thank the Epically Awesome person you received your epically awesome love from &

5. Of course, do not forget to add the Epically Awesome bling to your site.

Okay, here are ten things about myself–though I’m not sure they qualify as epic or awesome!

1. When I was a kid, I had a love/hate relationship with the basement in the house where I grew up.  I liked how cool it was on hot summer days, and I sometimes retreated down there to be alone or write.  But at night?  You wouldn’t catch me down there alone then!  There was (still is–my parents still live in the old house!)–a particular window that leads out to a crawl-space area.  Looking through the window, all you can see is darkness.  I used to call it “The Window to Nowhere,” and I would tell my friends about it–of course making up stories as I went along.  “Never, ever go through The Window to Nowhere,” I would warn them.

No one ever did.

2. Some of these same childhood friends were actually the inspiration for the main characters in The Eye-Dancers, and we still keep in touch, all these years later.  When we were kids, I used to write ridiculous stories that featured them (and me) in starring roles–adventures, mysteries, sci-fi thrillers, and I would then read these stories aloud to them.

readaloud

They were pretty bad, but a lot of fun.   Those were the days . . .

3. I have always been a fan of James Bond–both the books and the movies.  And my favorite Bond movie is From Russia with Love.  It stars the best Bond, Sean Connery, features Robert Shaw as a memorable villain, and the hand-to-hand fight scene between Connery and Shaw on a moving train is as good as it gets.

frwl

 

4. One of my favorite Stephen King books is It.  Over 1100 pages long, the novel, admittedly, should be much shorter, and I’ve always hated the ending.  But I have always loved the characters in the book–the Losers Club.  And the effortless manner in which the story follows two time lines–1958 and 1985–had me riveted from the opening page.

it

 

5.  Keeping on with books, if I had to choose a single all-time favorite novel (a very difficult thing, choosing just one!), it would probably be Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  The prose in this book is just about perfect, and the “voice” the author creates for protagonist Scout Finch is more than just endearing.  It’s unforgettable.

mockingbird

6. I have long been a fantasy football geek.  For many years now, I’ve been commissioner of a league featuring family and old friends.  I always go back home to Rochester, New York, over Labor Day weekend for the fantasy draft.  It’s a lot of fun, and one thing’s for sure–when you’re in a fantasy league, it changes the way you watch football . . .

fantasyfootball

7. For the past decade, I have done a great deal of freelance proofreading for a handful of book publishers.  In other words, much of the reading I do is assigned!  I enjoy the work, and consider it a privilege serving as the “last line of defense” against typos, grammatical mistakes, and formatting issues.

proofreading

 

8.  Believe it or not, I have never drunk an entire cup of coffee in my life.  I tried a sip of coffee when I was twelve, didn’t like it, and haven’t tried it since!

coffee

 

9. I remember once playing a game where you had to answer certain questions about yourself.  One of them was–“What was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?”  I answered, “Legislative Aide.”  I briefly served as a Legislative Aide for a city councilwoman in Rochester, New York, shortly after I graduated from college.  It was an eye-opening experience, and I learned a lot.  One thing I dealt with on a daily basis?  Irate phone calls.  Constituents of the councilwoman’s ward would call her office with complaints.  The thing was–she usually wasn’t there.  I was.  So I took the brunt of the criticism.  Every day was an adventure!

angrycallers

 

10.  I enjoy the board game Scrabble.  But I have a confession to make–I’m no fun to play against.  I hoard the U’s!  This way, whoever gets stuck with the Q can’t use it.  Dirty pool, I know.  But effective!

scrabble

 

Thanks again so much to Kimberly for this great nomination!

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And I want to thank Sam from bondingtool for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award.  Sam’s blog is a delightful place full of mouthwatering recipes and a spirit of fun and creativity.  Please browse around her great site!  I am sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

abc-award-600x100-banner1

To participate for the ABC Award:  Upload the award image to your website, use each letter of the alphabet to share something about yourself, and nominate one or more new fellow bloggers!

Okay, here are more tidbits, as we go through the alphabet!

A–Action Comics number 29.  This is the oldest comic book I have ever owned, dating back to 1940.

action29

B–Bill Gray’s restaurant.  This is a local restaurant chain in Rochester, New York, famous for, in their own words, “The World’s Greatest Cheeseburger.”

billgrays

Being a vegetarian, though, I don’t eat the famous Bill Gray’s cheeseburger.  I go for the veggie burger, which is incredibly good!  Just be warned–Bill Gray’s is not the place to count calories!  Their food is greasy, rich, and, well, just not all that healthy!  But awfully tasty.

C–Charlottetown.  The capital city of Prince Edward Island, Canada–my favorite vacation destination, and the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  Charlottetown is a pretty, compact little city full of charm.

D–Doctor Doom.  The Fantastic Four’s arch-villain, and my favorite villain in all of comic books.  Doctor Doom made his debut in Fantastic Four # 5, from 1962 . . .

ff5

E–The Eye-Dancers.  There’s this really cool book out there called The Eye-Dancers!  I highly recommend!  (Okay, I apologize!  Couldn’t resist.)

eyedancers

 

F–The Fantastic Four.  My favorite comic book title–the original FFs from the 1960s are unsurpassed in the genre.  And I know Mitchell Brant agrees with me on this one!

ff1

 

G–Galen, from Planet of the Apes.  When I was a little kid, I had a fascination with Galen.  I wanted to be Galen.  And I would only answer to that name.  One day, when we were at a playground, my mother called for me.  “Michael,” she said.  “We need to go.”  I ignored her, blissfully continuing to play.  She called again.  Again I ignored her.  She finally said, “Galen, we need to go.”  Immediately, I stopped what I was doing, and dutifully went to her.

Thankfully, this was a phase I soon outgrew!  I know my mother was embarrassed that day.  Other parents were listening.  So, years later, but better late than never–“Sorry, Mom!”

H–The Honeymooners.  This classic show from the 1950s is my favorite sitcom.  Art Carney as Ed Norton makes me laugh every time I watch him.

I–Irondequoit.  My hometown–a suburb of Rochester, New York.

J–Joe Marma.  Of all the characters in The Eye-Dancers, I probably relate least to Joe.  I tend to be methodical and a stickler for details.  Joe, on the other hand, is impulsive and likes to wing it.  He was refreshing to write for, and he is a reminder to me that sometimes we just need to let go, and not overthink.

K–Killington, Vermont.  Killington is the nearest major Vermont ski resort to the town where I live.  The thing is, though–I don’t ski!

killington

 

L–Live and Let Die.  Roger Moore’s debut as 007!  I am not a big Moore fan, but he played the role well here.

M–Morse Farm.  The Morse Farm, in Montpelier, Vermont, is a nice place to visit.  They have an educational feature on maple sugaring, a gift shop, an expansive acreage, and the best maple ice cream you ever tasted!

N–Notorious.  One of my favorite Hitchcock films, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman . . .

notorious

 

O–On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  An opportunity missed, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service may be the best Bond script, but the actor who played 007 here, George Lazenby, has about as much charisma as a soggy old two-by-four.  A great movie with the wrong lead actor . . .

ohmss

 

P–Poopsie.  In my family, growing up, all our dogs were named “Poopsie.”  Poopsie I.  Poopsie II.  Poopsie III.  And Poopsie IV.  This wasn’t my idea!  It was my mother’s.  Hmm.  I wonder if that’s why I came up with the “Galen” . . .

Q-Q.  What would an old 007 movie be without Desmond Llewelyn in the famous supporting role of Q?  He has always been a favorite of mine. . .

Q

R-Robot comic book covers.  There have been some classic robot comic book covers over the years.  The 1950s, perhaps, was the high point for these covers.  For example, Journey into Unknown Worlds # 49 from 1956 . . .

journeyunknownworlds49

S–Paul Simon.  A true poet, Simon is my favorite all-time songwriter.

T-Twilight Zone.  My favorite television show, featuring many unforgettable episodes.

tzone

U-Upstate New York.  As a native upstate New Yorker, I have always appreciated the rural beauty of The Empire State.  Sometimes, New York is strictly thought of as urban, but, in actuality, the heart of the state is rural.

ruralny

V–Vermont.  The state I currently call home, Vermont is a wonderful place to live.  And, of course, The Green Mountain State takes no backseat when it comes to scenery . . .

vermont

W–Weather.  I have always been fascinated by, and interested in, weather!

X–The X-Men.  For a long time, I had no interest in this comic book team.  But then, finally, when I gave them a chance, I was hooked!  Another Marvel Comics triumph.

xmen

Y–You Only Live Twice.  For me, You Only Live Twice begins a downward trend in 007 movies.  Even with the previous installment, Thunderball, the Bond movies began relying more and more on gimmicks.  You Only Live Twice takes this reliance to a new level, one that would continue  straight through the Roger Moore films.

Z–Zombies.  Zombies are a big hit these days, spurred on by The Walking Dead.  But the phenomenon that started it all was George Romero’s black-and-white 1968 cult classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Thanks so much, again, to Sam for this nomination!

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And now–the rule-breaking part . . .  I am not going to nominate specific blogs for any of these awards.  All of you in the WordPress community are great, and I appreciate each and every one of the bloggers who continues to stop by The Eye-Dancers website.  (And if you’ve made it this far reading this long-winded post, you deserve more than a blog award.  You deserve a medal!)

So, I would like to take this opportunity to share these awards with each of you.  I am nominating every follower of The Eye-Dancers blog for all three awards.  Whether you’d like to accept the nomination or not is of course up to you.  But please accept my thanks for all the support and encouragement you’ve given The Eye-Dancers.

You are, well, epically awesome!

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Best Moment Award and a Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

Once again I am humbled and grateful to be nominated for more blogging awards.  I really didn’t know how The Eye-Dancers blog would be received when I launched the site late last summer.  I was brand-new to blogging, and, frankly, a little intimidated!  I had no idea if anyone would really want to read my ramblings on The Eye-Dancers the novel, comic books, The Twilight Zone, old movies, writing, and other often odd and sundry tidbits.  If I had only known how welcoming the WordPress community is, I’m sure I would have started this blog long before I did!

So, to begin, a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who follows, reads, peruses, and visits The Eye-Dancers site!  I’ve said it before, but it certainly bears repeating.  I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, your comments, feedback, and support.  You’re the best.

The Eye-Dancers has been nominated for two new awards:  The Best Moment Award, and The Dragon’s Loyalty Award.

I have also been re-nominated for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award and a Versatile Blogger Award.  I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but I wanted to thank Jenny from  It’s Jenny the Wren, Mandy from mandyevebarnett.com and Josephine at  Joseyphina’s World for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award nominations.  And I wanted to thank cookingwithsapana, Meridith at tinkerbellproject, and Perpetua at theseeker for the Versatile Blogger Award nominations.  Your ongoing support is much appreciated!  And I certainly encourage everyone to visit these first-rate and very engaging websites.

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Thank you very much to  Erica and Joseyphina for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Best Moment Award!  They each have wonderful blogs, and I make sure to stop in often for a visit! 

Awarding the people who live in the moment

The noble who write and capture the best in life

The bold who reminded us what really mattered

Savoring the experience of quality time

best-moment-award

The rules:

  1. Create an acceptance speech either by video or a written speech post
  2. Pass the award onto 15 other bloggers and their posts

An acceptance speech?  Wow.  This strikes me as a very daunting thing!  So, I have asked for a bit of help from four individuals without whom this website would not exist–Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski! . . .

Mitchell: “Thanks, everyone!  I am really psyched to win this award.  It’s a big honor.  It kinda reminds me of the time I won the Pulitzer Prize for best short story written by a junior-high student.  That was just a month ago, and I had to give a speech in New York City.  My mom and dad drove me to Times Square, and we-”

Me:  (clearing my throat) “Uh, Mitchell?”

Mitchell:  (looking surprised)  “What?  Okay, okay!  I guess I do have a tendency to exaggerate–just a little.  But, really.  I appreciate this award a lot.  Thank you to everybody!”

Me: “Joe?  Do you have something you’d like to add?”

Joe:  “Yeah.  This is freakin’ great.  I never really won an award before.  Usually, all the awards go to my brother, Bob.  The lucky creep.  Can’t wait to show this to him.  Thanks, buds!  This is awesome.”

Me:  “Thank you, Joe.  I’m sure Bob’ll be proud.  And now, Ryan Swinton . . .”

Ryan:  “Yeah, uh . . . thank you, everyone.  I’m kinda like Joe.  I mean, I never really won an award before.  I don’t really know what to say.  What would you all like to hear?  You wanna hear a joke?  I got a million of ’em.  But . . . I’m not sure which one I should tell . . .”

Me:  (aside to everyone, so Ryan can’t hear) “Ryan sometimes has a hard time deciding on a course of action. ”

Me: (To Ryan):  “That’s okay, Ryan.  Don’t worry about it.  We need to keep this moving along, anyway.”

Ryan:  “Oh.  Okay.  Sorry.  Um, thanks again!”

Me:  “And our final statement belongs to–Marc Kuslanski!”

Marc:  (adjusting his glasses):  “Is it just me, or are the lights inordinately bright in here?  Okay, anyway.  I really appreciate this award.  Thanks.  My gratitude is high–something along the lines of ten to the seventh power.  This is fantastic.  Thank you, everyone!”

Me:  “Thanks, guys.  I appreciate your help with the acceptance speech!  And I want to thank Erica and Joseyphina again for the nomination!”

And now to nominate 15 great sites for The Best Moment Award:

http://cncfimoparadise.wordpress.com/

http://freeurcloset.wordpress.com/

http://pachofaunfinished.wordpress.com/

http://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com/

http://martaperegrina.wordpress.com/

http://zehirablog.wordpress.com/

http://witlessdatingafterfifty.wordpress.com/

http://peacelovegreatcountrymusic.com/

http://joannafunk.wordpress.com/

http://fashionassist.wordpress.com/

http://fortyoneteen.wordpress.com/

http://failuretolisten.com/

http://cynthiajacksonblog.wordpress.com/

http://insearchofitall.wordpress.com/

http://picturemereading.wordpress.com/

Please pull up a chair, as the great Vin Scully likes to say in his baseball broadcasts, and browse through each and every one of these outstanding websites!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

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The second award nomination, the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, comes from Tazein at her wonderful Transcending Borders Blog.  Thank you, Tazein, for all your support of The Eye-Dancers and for creating such an inspiring blog!

Dragon's+Loyalty+Award

The rules for The Dragon’s Loyalty Award are as follows:

Display the  Award Certificate on your website.

Announce your win with a written post and link to whoever presented your award.

Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.

Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have liked them in the post.

Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Without further delay, here are 7 things about me . . .

1.  My favorite season is spring.  After the long Vermont winter, there is such a level of excitement and expectation for the season of rebirth, and a longing to see greenery and flowers and leaves again.  This, despite the fact that I have seasonal spring allergies!

allergies

 

pollenallergy

 

2. One of my all-time favorite movies is Forrest Gump, inspired by Winston Groom’s novel of the same name.  To me, it is a film for the ages, and Tom Hanks gives, arguably, one of the greatest performances in the history of the Silver Screen with his portrayal of Forrest.  Director Robert Zemeckis said of the screenplay that, as he read it, he couldn’t put it down, because he had no idea what was going to happen next.

One of the many reasons I love this movie is–on the one hand, it’s a simple fairy tale, an imaginary adventure that takes the viewer on a fun and wild ride.  But on a deeper level, it is a poignant and meaningful story rich in metaphor and symbolism.  It is, in short, a coalescence of the whimsical and the profound, and it’s that rare gem that makes the viewer laugh as well as cry.

“Life is like a box of chocolates . . .”

gump1

 

gump2

 

gumpicecream

 

3. As readers of this blog are probably aware, I am a fan of vintage things–old comic books, movies, TV shows, and history in general.  So it’s likely not a surprise to hear that I really enjoy old black-and-white presentations.  Take my favorite all-time show, The Twilight Zone, for instance.  What would those old masterpieces look like in color?  I shudder to think of it!  The black and white lends a moody, atmospheric presence, a level of creepiness and intrigue that color, counterintuitively, perhaps, would all but negate.  Certain movies or TV shows are better in color, no doubt.  But for shows like The Twilight Zone, or movies like Psycho, the black-and-white format adds much to the visual effect and milieu.

tzoneshatner

 

psycho house

 

4. One of my favorite writers is Truman Capote.  For sheer elegance and mastery of the English language, Capote is hard to match.  His prose is at once straightforward and concise as well as lyrical and mellifluous.  Capote would agonize over his work, examining every sentence, wanting it to sound just right.  When you read his writing, this attention to detail and quest for excellence is very apparent.  A true master wordsmith.

capote

 

tiffanys

 

5. It is sometimes said of the state of Vermont, “There are more cows than people.”  In actuality, this is not true.  There are over 600,000 people residing in the Green Mountain State, while there are “only” about 300,000 cattle.  However, in the small town where I live, in central Vermont, there really are more cows than people!  Just up the road, there is a working dairy farm with well over 300 cows.  That alone tops the human population, and doesn’t even include the other farms in the area.

dairy1

 

dairy2

 

6.  I enjoy listening to the occasional baseball game on the radio.  Not all sports play well on radio, but baseball sure does.  The relaxed pace of the game, the stops and starts, the long gaps between pitches, lend themselves to storytelling and anecdotes, where broadcasters can paint word-pictures for their listening audience.  Some of the best announcers in baseball history started on the radio:  Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Red Barber, and Ernie Harwell, just to name a few.

radio2

 

scully

 

redbarber

radio1

 

7. I have always been fascinated by the poetry and life of Sylvia Plath.  A tortured and talented soul, her output of poems is among the most powerful and haunting of the twentieth century.  When I was a graduate student of English, I wrote a long paper on Plath’s early work, and had the wonderful opportunity to visit Smith College, her alma mater, for a day, and go through her archival collection there.

plath

 

plathariel

 

And now it is my privilege to nominate the following 15 websites for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

http://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com/

http://theinnerwildkat.wordpress.com/

http://channellewrites.wordpress.com/

http://natycalinescu.wordpress.com/

http://urbantraveltales.wordpress.com/

http://poeticparfait.com/

http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/

http://lovemen.org/

http://mauldinfamily1.wordpress.com/

http://k9trackersblog.com/

http://1munchingmomma.wordpress.com/

http://carmenisabelgonzalez.wordpress.com/

http://yopinks.wordpress.com/

http://bondingtool.wordpress.com/

http://jamieayres.com/

I hope you’ll visit all of these great blogs, and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy them!

Thank you again to Tazein for the nomination!

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And thank you, everyone, for reading!

–Mike

A HUG Award and One Lovely Blog Award

When I began The Eye-Dancers site, I never thought of blog awards.  In fact, I didn’t even know they existed!  I remember how surprised I was the first time I was nominated for an award.  And as I’ve been fortunate enough to be nominated for others in the months since, the feeling is always the same–grateful, touched, and humbled by all the fantastic bloggers and wonderful people in the WordPress community.  So, thanks to everyone who has visited and supported The Eye-Dancers blog!  You’re the ones who make this fun for me.

Recently, I was nominated for two new awards–The HUG Award, and One Lovely Blog Award.

I was also nominated for a Very Inspiring Blog Award by grbxxenormyn and Lipstick and Chaos.  Even though I was lucky enough to have been nominated for this award in late 2012, I wanted to thank both of these great bloggers and encourage you to check out their sites!

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Thank you so much to Tazein at the Transcending Borders Blog for nominating The Eye-Dancers site for the HUG Award!

HOPE UNITES GLOBALLY -The ‘Hug Award’

It is truly an honor receiving this nomination from Tazein, who, just as her blog title states, strives to transcend borders and cultivate peace in the world.  I highly encourage everyone to visit her wonderful website!

Following is information on the HUG Award . . .

The HUG Award© was initiated by Connie Wayne at A Hope for Today at http://ahopefortoday.com,which promotes hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people.

hug-award1

The HUG Award©

  • is for people with an expectant desire for the world, for which they:  Hope for Love; Hope for Freedom; Hope for Peace; Hope for Equality; Hope for Unity; Hope for Joy and Happiness;Hope for Compassion and Mercy; Hope for Faith; Hope for Wholeness and Wellness; Hope for Prosperity; Hope for Ecological Preservation; Hope for Oneness
  •  recognizes and honors those who help keep hope alive in our current world, which is plagued by war, natural disasters, and economic recession.  They nurture hope, in any of the above areas (in italics),  by the work they do, or in their personal lives with things such as blogging, public speaking, charity work, etc.
  • is for people who, without giving up or compromising their own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, are able to nurture hope and respect the dignity of all people. 
  • is for those who, without bias or prejudice, use their resources and gifts to make the world a better place for everyone.
  • is for people who have a hope or an expectant desire that the work or talents they use in things such as blogging, public speaking, charity work, etc., will make a positive impact on the world.

These people do not have to actively use the word “hope” in their work or creative talents.  They only need be conscious of their desire to make the world a better place for everyone.

These people use their available resources–a smile, a hug, a helping hand, a listening ear, a voice, time, money, possessions, education, personality, talent, websites and blogs—to make a positive impact on the world and make the world a better place to live.


I would like to nominate the following websites for the HUG Award.  Each of these blogs, in their own unique way, brings something worthwhile and special to the world.  I very much hope you will settle in and browse through their sites!

http://theothersideofugly.com/

http://familyeverything.wordpress.com/

http://cariwiese.wordpress.com/

http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com/

http://gorjaeous.com/

http://thekatandthefallingleaves.wordpress.com/

http://yourinnerfeathersbyruby.wordpress.com/

http://oursunshines.wordpress.com/

http://shiro51144.wordpress.com/

http://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/

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The next award is One Lovely Blog Award!  I want to thank Joseyphina for this wonderful honor!  Joseyphina has a very creative and, well, lovely, site!  It is a great feeling being nominated by her.

The rules for One Lovely Blog Award are very straightforward:  thank the blogger who nominated you and link the post to their page, and then state 7 random facts about yourself and nominate those you feel are deserving of the award.

Here are seven things about myself . . .

1. Like any true Vermonter (albeit not a Vermont native!), I enjoy pure maple syrup.  And we’re in the heart of maple sugaring season right now.  There’s nothing quite like Grade A maple syrup on pancakes or waffles.

vermontsyrup

 

Also, an interesting tidbit.  Even though there are only five states smaller than Vermont, the Green Mountain State is the nation’s #1 producer of maple syrup!  Bon appetit!

mapleproduction

 

waffles

 

2. Throughout high school, I really enjoyed Math, and was under the impression that I was pretty good at it.  Then, in my Senior year, I met Calculus.  To put it mildly, it wasn’t a pleasant relationship.  I soon discovered that, whether I studied hard or not at all, either way I had absolutely no clue what I was doing!

calculus

 

3. There are so many terrifying scenes throughout movie history.  From Hitchcock to modern-day horror films and many movies in between, Hollywood likes to scare us.  But of all the scenes I’ve witnessed, nothing creeps me out more than the two ghost girls from The Shining.   In Stephen’s King novel, if memory serves, they do not appear in the hallway of the haunted Overlook Hotel.  But in Stanley Kubrick’s eerie 1980 film they do.  And Danny, the little boy with “the shining,” sees them, and knows who they are and what they represent.

“Come and play with us,” they say.  “Come and play with us, Danny.  Forever, and ever, and ever . . .”

For me, it doesn’t get any scarier than this . . .

girls

 

danny

 

4.  I am a big tennis fan, and have enjoyed the sport since I was a kid growing up in the ’80s.  But the generation of top players we have today is. arguably, the strongest group we’ve ever seen.  Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal are incredibly gifted players, all playing at a high level simultaneously.  It makes for riveting tennis.

That said, I miss the serve-and-volleyers of decades past.  Very few players rush the net these days.  It’s a lost art, and that’s sad to see.  There is nothing more exciting on a tennis court than watching a gifted net-rusher going up against a pinpoint-accurate baseliner.  I miss the daring, attacking style of Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, John McEnroe, and, the best pure volleyer and greatest net player I ever saw, Stefan Edberg.

edberg

 

5.  One of my favorite writers is Ray Bradbury.  I consider him the best short story writer of all time.  He enjoyed a seemingly endless well of ideas, inspiration, and enthusiasm.  He had the rare ability to make everyday events, like buying a pair of sneakers, seem magical.  Whenever I’m lacking ideas or feeling burned out, I turn to Bradbury, read a few of his gems, and almost instantly feel recharged again.

bradbury

 

6.  I was born, and grew up in, Rochester, New York.  And one thing Rochester is known for is its lilacs.  Each May, Highland Park, on the city’s south side, is host to the Lilac Festival.  There are live entertainers, tons of high-calorie foods, and all manner of activities going on. But more than anything, people come to see the lilacs.  Highland Park is home to over 1,200 lilac shrubs, and during the festival, with the flowers in bloom, it is a breathtaking sight.  (Fragrant, too!)  It’s not for nothing that my hometown is often referred to as “The Flower City.”

lilacfest

 

 

lilacfest

 

lilacfun

lilacs

 

7. In a previous Awards post, I shared some of my favorite vintage comic book covers from my collection.  Here are a few more . . .

hom134

 

ff72

 

sa95

 

sa2

 

hos97

 

tos29

 

And now it’s time to nominate some of my fellow bloggers for One Lovely Blog Award.  I hope you’ll have a chance to explore these sites.  They’re intriguing, informative, and eclectic.  In short (something this post has most assuredly not been!), they’re great!

http://freerangecow.com/

http://fashionmayann.wordpress.com/

http://bookmust.wordpress.com/

http://catherinesherman.wordpress.com/

http://dishingitoutwithclarissa.com/

http://kelihasablog.wordpress.com/

http://tommiastablet.wordpress.com/

http://mummyshymz.wordpress.com/

http://likeitiz.wordpress.com/

http://failuretolisten.com/

http://bettysbrownies.wordpress.com/

http://laurenlfleming.wordpress.com/

http://sheslosingit.net/

http://annechia.com/

http://bringmorebooks.wordpress.com/

******************

Thank you again to Tazein, Joseyphina, grbxxenormyn, and Lipstick and Chaos for the nominations!

And thanks so much to everyone for reading!

–Mike

Two New Blogging Awards, and a Very Sincere Thank-You!

When I began The Eye-Dancers website last summer, I really had no idea what would come of it.  I had written The Eye-Dancers the novel, and was hoping to use the website as a way of “getting the word out there.”  I didn’t have that many other plans or ideas for the site at that time.  But as I began to post, at first infrequently, I realized–this is fun!  And as more and more fellow bloggers began to follow and comment on the posts, I also realized–this is very rewarding!

I won’t lie.  I still am hoping this little website will encourage people to read the novel The Eye-Dancers!  Like most writers, I suppose, I want the things I write to be widely read, and, with luck, enjoyed.  But I have learned, over the journey of these past few months, that simply posting on this site, interacting with all of you, exchanging thoughts and ideas, is wonderful in and of itself.

So, first and foremost, thanks so much to all of you.  You’re the reason I’m still here, posting away.  I truly enjoy your feedback and also enjoy checking out your great blogs, too.  I was a blogging neophyte when I started The Eye-Dancers site.  It has been a fabulous and fun journey so far, and I certainly look forward to what lies ahead.  The fun, I hope, has only just begun.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been nominated for two new blogging awards–The Shine On Award, and The Versatile Blogger Award.

I also was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award recently, as well.  I was lucky enough to have been nominated for that award already, however–late in 2012.  But I wanted to thank The Kat and The Falling Leaves for this most recent nomination for this great award!  I really appreciate it!

In addition, Jae nominated me for The Liebster Award, but I already had received that award, too.  Even so, I wanted to thank Jae here, and I encourage everyone to check out both The Kat’s and Jae’s great sites!

***********************

For The Shine On Award, I would like to thank Tuttacronaca for the nomination.  It is an honor to receive recognition from such a wonderful website.  Thanks so much!

Shine_On

The Shine On Award requires you to nominate 15 other blogs, who in turn can post this award on their own sites and nominate others for the award.  It also requires that you then list a few other blogs that tickle your fancy.  So, without further delay, my 15 nominations for The Shine On Award are . . .

http://scribelifegames.wordpress.com/

http://joseyphina.wordpress.com/

http://lolarugula.com/

http://jenniferpaetsch.com/

http://fiammisday.com/

http://maryamchahine.wordpress.com/

http://readinpleasure.wordpress.com/

http://ramblingsofabipolarwoman.wordpress.com/

http://aboutaddisababa.wordpress.com/

http://wordsfallfrommyeyes.wordpress.com/

http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

http://johnwhowell.com/

http://theseeker57.wordpress.com/

http://stylesalvation.wordpress.com/

http://worldsbeforethedoor.wordpress.com/

I highly recommend brewing a nice warm cup of tea and spending some time in all of the above sites.  They are as intriguing as they are diverse.

And now, here are seven other blogs that, per Shine On Award terminology, “tickle my fancy.”  In other words, I really like them!  And I’m sure you will, too . . .

http://smallpiecesoflife.wordpress.com/

http://worldviastandby.wordpress.com/

http://martaperegrina.wordpress.com/

http://charmsofagypsy.wordpress.com/

http://lovemen.org/

http://foundinfrance.wordpress.com/

http://jasmindamaro.wordpress.com/

Thanks again to Tuttacronaca for the nomination!

**********************

The second award is the Versatile Blogger Award.  I want to thank both Pondering Spawned and Tazein at the Transcending Borders Blog for nominating The Eye-Dancers for this award!

The rules for this award are as follows:

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

Here are the seven things about myself! . . .

1.  As a kid growing up in the 1980s, my first-ever home computer was a Commodore 64.  Compared to the digital world we’re in now, this thing was, well, ancient!  But I have to say, of all the PCs I’ve used in my life, this one was the most fun.  It’s true, I used it back then mostly to play video games–old classics like Jumpman and Pitfall, with simple, and by today’s standards, laughable graphics.  But they were addictive!  I don’t remember what became of that old Commodore.  But it was a part of my childhood, and I’ll never forget it.

commodore

 

2.  If I had to choose my favorite sci-fi movie of all time, well–it isn’t easy.  There have been some great ones over the decades.  But, to me, the one that stands out above all others is Aliens.  This 1986 tour de force features Sigourney Weaver in the magnificent role of Ellen Ripley, and, despite the film’s length, it speeds along like a runaway train.

alliens

 

Great characters and unforgettable action mark this sci-fi triumph.  And it has one of my favorite dialogue exchanges in movie history.

When the crew learns they’re stranded for at least seventeen days on the world infiltrated by the aliens, Private Hudson replies:  “Seventeen days?  Hey, man, I don’t wanna rain on your parade, but we’re not gonna last seventeen hours!”   And when Ripley informs him that the little girl they rescued has been surviving much longer than that without any weapons or any training, Hudson says, in a whiny voice,  “Why don’t you put her in charge?”

Classic.

alienssigourney

 

3.  Vermont, where I live, actually has five seasons.  No, really.  Winter, spring, summer, and fall, of course.  But March really stands alone as its own season.  Mud Season we call it around here.  This picture of the dirt road I live on tells it all . . .

Vermont mud, March 14th (2)

 

4.  Dolls scare me.  Puppets, too.  Anything inanimate like that, I find creepy.  The stories and movies that give me the worst nightmares tend to involve killer dolls and the like.  Perhaps this stems from an experience I had when I was about twelve.  I went into the basement.  For some reason, there was a doll hanging from the clothesline my mother used in the basement to dry clothes in winter.  I don’t recall whose doll it was, or why it was even there that day.  The doll had blonde hair, blue eyes, and wore a long, white dress.  I can visualize her perfectly to this day.  I felt oddly unsettled as I approached her.  And when I did, she . . . blinked at me!  Was it a trick of the light?  My overactive imagination?  Maybe.  But I turned around, and ran up the stairs at Gold Medal speed just the same.

doll

5.  For me, the three funniest characters in television history are, in order:

A. Ed Norton from The Honeymooners

norton

Cliff Clavin from Cheers

cliffclavin

And Coach Cutlip from The Wonder Years

cutlip

 

6. While Mitchell Brant is the character from The Eye-Dancers I can relate to the most, Marc Kuslanski may have been the most fun to write about.  I have always had a soft spot for science geeks and know-it-alls.  Joe Marma, who sarcastically calls Marc “Einstein” throughout the novel, would say otherwise, I’m sure.

einstein

 

7.  As readers of this blog probably know by now, I am a lifelong comic book collector.  And, like any comic collecting geek, I have a list of my all-time favorite covers in my collection.  Here are a few of them.

SA150

 

mis50

 

ff49

 

st93

 

hos92

 

Now I’d like to pass this award on to the following bloggers:

http://carmenisabelgonzalez.wordpress.com/

http://maxadaland.wordpress.com/

http://2embracethelight.wordpress.com/

http://honeydidyouseethat.wordpress.com/

http://booksboozeandbeauty.wordpress.com/

http://acflory.wordpress.com/

http://idealisticrebel.wordpress.com/

http://roryta.wordpress.com/

http://iamawriterdangit.wordpress.com/

http://readinginterrupted.com/

http://1800ukillme.wordpress.com/

http://garapentrudoi.wordpress.com/

http://nancyloderick.com/

http://sandibentonvengeance.wordpress.com/

http://geminigirlinarandomworld.com/

All fifteen of the blogs above are highly recommended.  Another cup of tea, perhaps, as you browse through and enjoy?

Thanks again to Pondering Spawned and Tazein for this great nomination!

******************

And thank you very much to all of you, everyone who stops in to The Eye-Dancers site from time to time to pay a visit.  You’re the ones who make this so enjoyable and worthwhile for me.

I thank you very warmly for reading!

–Mike

Spectrum of Speculative Fiction Contest!

One of the most rewarding aspects of being on WordPress has been interacting with fellow bloggers and joining forces with other writers.  There are so many talented authors out there, and if we join together, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished, especially in this Brave New World of e-book publishing.

Today’s post will be the first of two consecutive posts featuring other authors.  (On Monday, I’ll be conducting the first-ever interview on The Eye-Dancers site!)  It’s a lot of fun introducing you to them (or, re-introducing you to them, as the case may be, since you might already be a big fan of theirs!).  So, without further delay, I’d like to talk about a great blog hop/contest/giveaway that my friend and fellow speculative fiction author Tammy Salyer is a part of.

I am very grateful to Tammy for interviewing me on her own website about a month ago.  If you’d like to read that interview, please click here!  (I also encourage you to browse through her entire site, too.  It is chock-full of very interesting and insightful posts.)

Tammy just released the second novel in her Spectras Arise Trilogy, Contract of Betrayal, and is part of a great blog hop called the Spectrum of Speculative Fiction Contest.

specficbanner

 

I definitely encourage you to click on the link and take a look.  Tammy and twelve other speculative fiction writers are teaming together today through Sunday (March 8–March 10), offering all manner of fascinating reads for free, ranging from epic fantasy to military science fiction.  There is also a contest associated with the event, and you will have an opportunity to win a $20 Amazon gift card.  So, what are you waiting for?  Head over to Tammy’s site and check out the Spectrum of Speculative Fiction Contest.

Here is more information on Tammy’s new release, Contract of Betrayal . . .

cob

 

“In a bid to free the settlers of Agate Beach from their dependence on picking at Admin scraps, Corps-deserter Aly Erikson’s crew is willing to make a few deals, even with the devil. When Aly learns her friends have deceived her, she has to decide which is stronger: her sense of having been betrayed or her allegiance to the rebel cause. After an old ally offers her a convenient escape to a new life, the decision should be easy. But when the Corps threatens to wipe out everything that matters to her, the only course of action left is the same one she’s taken for as long as she can remember—fighting back.”
*********
–“Tammy Salyer is a speculative fiction writer who dabbles in many genres, often combining everything from horror to romance in one piece. Her debut novel, Contract of Defiance, a military science fiction adventure, was released to acclaim in 2012, and the follow-up, Contract of Betrayal, just came out in February 2013.

You can also read the latest in top not-so-secret mental detritus, including movie reviews and author interviews, from Tammy at her blog: http://tammysalyer.wordpress.com, or visit her on Twitter @TammySalyer, where she’s probably blathering about pro-cycling races or single-malt Scotch.

She hopes you enjoy reading her works and welcomes your reviews.”

********************

Thanks so much for reading!  I hope you’ll take part in the Contest and enjoy some great new reading material!

–Mike

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award — 2013

I want to thank Valentina at carmenisabelgonzalez.wordpress.com for nominating The Eye-Dancers site for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award –2013.  Please visit Valentina at her site–it is a wonderful and diverse platform where I’m sure you’ll want to spend some time browsing around and enjoying all of her great posts.

I also wanted to mention that Carissa at ramblingsofabipolarwoman.wordpress.com had nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award recently, as well.  Apparently, this is a very similar award, but not quite the same one!  I had already been fortunate enough to have been nominated for this award late last year, but The 2013 Very Inspiring Blogger Award nomination allows me the opportunity to share with you Carissa’s wonderful site.  I hope you’ll check it out!

20130215-045341

As part of this award, I have to share a few things about myself so here it goes:

1. I am a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies.  “The Master of Suspense” was a remarkable and groundbreaking director, and his resume is jam-packed with cinematic triumphs.  My favorite Hitchcock movie is Rear Window.  Only a very accomplished and confident director would tackle such a script, where the entire film takes place in one room of a small apartment.  A real masterpiece of a movie.

rearwindow

2. At the age of two, I declared I would never wear a short-sleeved shirt again.  (I called them “arm shirts” when I was little.)  And, to this day, I have, with only very few exceptions, kept my word!  I’m not sure why, exactly, but I have always been more comfortable in long sleeves, even on the hottest of summer days.

notshirt

3.  Some people have asked me which of the four main characters in The Eye-Dancers I most relate to.  Well, the four protagonists in the novel are inspired by some of the neighborhood friends I grew up with.  That said, I am probably most like Mitchell Brant.  When I was Mitchell’s age, in junior high, I shared his shyness around girls, his love of comic books, especially The Fantastic Four, and his overactive imagination.  So, Mitchell has a special place for me among all the characters in the book.

ff1

4. I have enjoyed James Bond movies for many years, but to me, there is only one real 007, and that is Sean Connery.  Pierce Brosnan was good, too, but none of the other actors in the series can match the original Bond.

sean

5. I took German for three years in undergraduate school, but today I have forgotten almost all of it–due to disuse.  I can still count in German, and there are a few words and phrases I remember, but if I had to converse with someone in German, I wouldn’t be able to understand 99% of what they said.  I regret that, because I enjoyed the language when I studied it.  It just illustrates that the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in the culture for a while, and really talk to people.  Classroom learning of a foreign language can take you only so far.

german

6. Even though I grew up in Rochester, New York, and now live in Vermont, I do not like winter!  And I am fed up with snow.  For the most part, I spend the winter looking forward to spring.  People sometimes laugh at that and say, “You don’t like the snow, but you live in Vermont?”  I always counter by saying I enjoy the other three seasons in northern New England.  So–three out of four isn’t too bad . . .

snow

7. My favorite board game is still Trivial Pursuit.  When I was a teenager, my parents would invite some of their friends over for one Saturday night each month to play, and I would always join in.  In time, we managed to acquire eight different versions of the game (the regular trivia box, a sports edition, a movies edition, a Baby Boomer edition, a TV edition, a Vintage edition–you name it, we had it!).  So, here we were, playing the game, and when someone landed on a color on the game board, their team had to choose which box they wanted a question from.  For instance, if you landed on a Pink square, you could choose Entertainment from the regular box, Titles from the Movie box, Football from the Sports box, Sitcoms from the TV box, and on and on.  It became a tough decision just to figure out what category you wanted, let alone answering the question!  The games were a lot of fun, though.

trivia

8. I can be long-winded sometimes.  See questions 1–7 above as proof . . .

And now it’s my privilege to nominate the following websites for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award — 2013!  Please visit these sites.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do . . .

http://fairytaleepidemic.wordpress.com/

http://myfavesjournal.com/

http://charronschatter.com/

http://fashionskyfall.wordpress.com/

http://transcendingbordersblog.wordpress.com/

http://ramblingsofabipolarwoman.wordpress.com/

http://caitlambert.wordpress.com/

http://plantbaseddietadventures.com/

http://bondingtool.wordpress.com/

http://redpeffer.me/

http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/

http://hearingwiththeeye.wordpress.com/

Thanks again to Valentina and Carissa for nominating The Eye-Dancers!  And thanks so much to everyone for reading.

–Mike

The Sunshine Award

Thanks so much to Lisa at sheslosingit.net for nominating The Eye-Dancers site for a Sunshine Award!  If you haven’t had a chance yet to check out Lisa’s site, please take this opportunity to do so.  It’s a great, informative, and inspirational place to visit!  (And if you have had a chance to visit her site, I’m sure you’ll be back there many times.)  Thanks again so much, Lisa!

sunshine-award

The Rules:  Post the Sunshine Award image, answer the following 10 questions and note 10 blogs you wish to nominate.

The 10 questions and my answers:

  • Favourite colour: I have always liked the color green–the color of springtime after a long New England winter.  There’s nothing quite like it.
  • Favourite animal: This is very hard, actually.  I love many animals, and I honestly can’t choose just one as a favorite.  I can say–when I was very young, my favorite animals were snakes.  One time at the zoo, when I was about six, there was a grass snake slithering around the grounds.  I bent down, picked it up, and my mother wasn’t too happy about it.  But a zoo worker was nearby and she praised me for knowing how to pick up and handle the snake properly.  I guess that compliment stayed with me, as I’m remembering it all these years later!
  • Favourite number: Twelve!  With twenty-seven a distant second . . .
  • Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Just plain water.
  • Facebook or Twitter: Facebook–mainly because I’ve never had a Twitter account!
  • My passion:  There is nothing like writing something–a story, an essay, anything creative–and having it move others in some way.  If a story of mine causes you to think of something in a slightly different way, if it makes you laugh or cry, if it makes you want to yell at the characters or just sit back and smile–well, that’s an incredible feeling.  I hope The Eye-Dancers does all of that and more.
  • Favourite pattern: I guess I’d have to say the symmetry and design of a tennis court–an old-school grass court on a cloudless summer day.  I’ll take that pattern any day.  (Is that a pattern??)
  • Favourite day of the week:  Saturday, probably.  It’s the day I can sleep in a little and it kicks off the weekend.
  • Favourite flower: The wild lupins that grow along the roadsides in summer on Prince Edward Island, Canada–my favorite vacation destination.   The beautiful flowers turn an already magnificent natural landscape into a palette of vibrant colors.

And my nominees for the Sunshine Award are:

  1. http://theothersideofugly.com/
  2. http://jenniferpaetsch.com/
  3. http://kelihasablog.wordpress.com/
  4. http://lolarugula.com/
  5. http://twentyfourseveninfrance.com/
  6. http://alesiablogs.wordpress.com/
  7. http://cinemaschminema.com/
  8. http://honeydidyouseethat.wordpress.com/
  9. http://oilpastelsbymary.com/
  10. http://fortyoneteen.wordpress.com/

These are all great and eclectic sites.  I highly recommend them, and hope you stop in at each one for a long and enjoyable visit.

Thanks so much again, Lisa, for the award!  And thanks to everyone for reading.

–Mike

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