Holy Cannoli! I Received the Liebster Award!

Ladies and gents, today is a jolly good day! During my absence from WordPress, I was nominated for an award by the kind Aussie behind Mistakes and Adventures! It’s about time that I accept it! I’ve been reading James’ blog for quite some time, and he’s been following mine for a while too. In addition to posting about his exciting travels, James also writes short stories and poetry, which is how I found him!

LiebsterAwardAccording to James, the purpose of the Liebster Award is to promote small blogs. After I answer the questions James asked me, I have to come up with my own 11 for the fine bloggers I nominate! Without further ado, let’s do this! Let us Lieb!

  1. If you had to recommend one country you’ve visited to a brand new traveler where would that be? Bonus points for also recommending somewhere within that country to visit.

It seems I must begin with a confession…I have never traveled to another country.

*gasp* “But J.J., how could you possibly be so uncultured?!”

I have no excuse for you this time, disembodied voice. I have never left the United States. I do plan on travelling in the future, though! I want to visit Bruges (literally only because the movie) and Paris to start.

Would I recommend the U.S. to those who haven’t been here? Visit New York City is all I can say. Otherwise, join me on my travels outside the US!

2. What is the main purpose of your blog?

First and foremost, the purpose of my blog is to document my journey on the road to attaining published authorship. Secondly, I aim to entertain.tenor (1).gif

3. What is the most exotic/culturally different thing that you’ve ever done to date?

Does eating this sweet bale of hay count?aBNj0jI.jpg

4. What are your plans for the future? (Travel, written word, general survival etc)

The future? I can hardly tell you what I’m having for dinner. Even still, I do have some goals! I’ll hit on those you asked about.

Travel: As I mentioned before, I want to travel to Paris. Bruges too, I guess, partly as a joke. But definitely Paris! If I don’t find myself in a well or kidnapped by the end of either trip, I’ll probably travel some more!

Written word: I want to finish writing this first novel of mine. After that…well, let me finish the darned thing first!

General survival: I want to consume meat. And water. That’s all I need.

5. Where would you like to go if you had infinite cash for two months?

Chic-fil-A.

6. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging to supplement my novel-writing! Writing is a solitary thing. I’d like to have some good company around when I pursue this published authorship goal.

7. Have you ever experienced culture shock and if so where was it?

California. 2012. My father asked the man at the deli for a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich. The deli man’s face was seized by blank confusion. Little did I know that such a sandwich was foreign outside of Jersey. I did not enjoy my breakfast that morning.

8. What was the most naive thing you ever did on the road?

I presumed that the deli man knew what a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich was. That was naive.

9. What writing advice would you have for aspiring bloggers who might read this?

Before writing your blog, have a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich.

10. Classic deserted island question: Can only take 3 things with you, what are they?

Taylor ham, egg, and cheese.

11. Do you have a favourite book and if so what is it? (Feel free to list a top 3 if that’s too narrow)

Taylor h—kidding (kind of).

My favorite (I corrected James’ odd Australian spelling) book is Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan, the sixth book of the Wheel of Time series.

At this point in the post, I’ve switched to using my phone. Why? Because I’m currently in a whirlpool jacuzzi with good friends. The thing is, I feel compelled to finish this post and send it out! J.J. isn’t going disappear again! As it stands, I still have to leave 11 questions for those who I am nominating for the Liebster Award! Those would be A.S. AkkalonM.L.S. Weech, and Eva Blaskovic. Given that I’m soaking in a hot tub right now with fine people, I thought it would be appropriate to involve them in the question-creation process. Thus, I present to you the questions the four of us came up with. Nominees, here are your questions!

  1. During which moment of your life do you wish your enemies could see you?
  2. If you could have dinner with one person who has died, from history or otherwise, who would it be?
  3. Tell us about a time you ratted on somebody/something.
  4. Can you speak another language?
  5. Do you have any superstitions?
  6. Renaissance or Baroque? (we wanted to be snobs)
  7. Clear mornings or thunderstorms?
  8. Hamburger or hotdog?
  9. War. What is it good for?
  10. What common food grosses you out/does not appeal to you?
  11. What’s something you learned from your grandparents?

Good luck with those. Thanks again to James for this nomination! These questions warmed me up for my upcoming Q and A.

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

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Oh, Sunny Day! I Received the Sunshine Blogger Award!

*cue medieval fanfare horns*

Long ago, WordPress legend Vinnieh nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Me, being the fool I am, floundered as I attempted to eat my mutton, my mashed potatoes, and my assorted greens all at once. Typically, I’m able to have a full meal in one sitting, but this month has been like a kick from a wild mule. It’s about time that I officially accept this high honor. Alas, here we are. I’m back on track. What better way is there to return to the presses than by recognizing this merit? Let’s celebrate!sunshine-blogger-award.png

The rules logged by the scribe are as follows:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions they set you.
  • Pick another 11 bloggers.
  • Give them 11 questions

THANK YOU, Vinnieh, for your nomination and your support. Your sincere, thoughtful comments mean a whole lot to me. For those who don’t follow Vinnieh, you ought to check him out. He reviews movies with more depth and professionalism than any other critic I’ve read around these parts, which says a lot, because there are some STELLAR critics on WordPress.

Without further ado, here are the questions put forth by the Movie Man himself, along with my answers to them.

1. How often would you say you spend on your blog?

I makes my rounds about the WordPress kingdom on a daily basis. I typically take Sundays to recline with a lukewarm, medieval beverage in hand, but otherwise, I’m on top of my game (with this week being a sad exception).

2. What has blogging taught you?

Blogging has taught me about writing. Yes, a clinical answer, but ’tis the truth. I’ve grown as a writer since declaring my lordship over this plot of WordPress thanks to writers published and rising alike. Free council? What else can I ask for?

3. Amy Adams or Natalie Portman?

Amy Adams hands down. I feel like Natalie Portman is always sneering at me. I understand it (have you seen me?), but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Lois Lane all the way!

4. Walks along the beach or romantic meal inside?

Start with the meal, end with the walk. A one-stop date is no date at all.

5. Have you ever written in the nude?

Now I have.

6. What film had the biggest emotional impact on you?

Piglet’s Big Movie. Cried in the theater and all. I was 5.

7. What is your fondest memory from childhood?

My childhood was fantastic, so I couldn’t possibly decide on a fondest memory, but I do recall steering my tricycle into my garage door. I still have a scar on my knee from the pathetic incident.

8. Is there any scene you would love to recreate from a movie?

All of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off seems about right to me.

9. Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I can’t even tell you what I’m having for dinner.

10. What film have you been meaning to watch for a long time, but just haven’t got the chance to?

The Godfather. Shame, shame, I know. I’ll get to it.

11. And in the style of Stuff and That, do you think I have a nice bum?

It’s all about personality *muffled laughter.* No, in all seriousness, personality is king. I don’t know anything about any WordPresser’s bum, though! If it’s Vinnieh’s, I’d assume yes.

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Thank you for these fine questions, Vinnieh! This Q and A process reminded me of my first Q and A some time back. Rumor has it, if I reach 200 followers (I’m climbing! :D) I’ll be doing ANOTHER video-style Q and A. Alright, now it’s time for me to pass this award on to some other, more deserving bloggers.

I nominate:

A.S. Akkalon

Books, Vertigo, and Tea

K.A. Botello

I wouldn’t be surprised if each of these bloggers has already received this award, because they certainly manage to brighten up my day with their content, whether it be for their humor, their sincerity, or their valuable insights! I implore you to check them out. The 11 questions I hereby pass onto them are as follows:

1. What is one food you could not live without? (water doesn’t count, ye sly one, ye).

2. Candy or chocolate?

3. Fruits or vegetables?

4. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

5. What movie scene never fails to make you laugh?

6. What is the best, lesser-know television show you would recommend?

7. How do you like your steak cooked?

8. What is the greatest live performance (concert or otherwise) you have witnessed in person?

9. What is your favorite song from your least-favorite genre?

10. What is your favorite movie that most people probably have never heard of?

11. Would you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?

Thanks to all for reading, thanks to Vinnieh for the nomination, and congrats to the nominees!

As always, stay classy

~J.J. Azar

I Received the Blogger Recognition Award!

Hello, lovely ladies and classy gents!

I recently received a message via pigeon informing me that I had won the Blogger Recognition Award. I promptly returned the messenger pigeon with a note expressing my regrets, as the sender of said pigeon was obviously mistaken. Me? An award? Somebody clearly made a clerical error.

So days go by and the same pigeon descends upon my window. I attempted to shoo it away with a broom, but the bird was a persistent little bugger. To stop the incessant pecking on my window, I finally read the message tied to the winged-creature’s back. As it turns out, the award actually was intended for me. And I know the sender! Oops!

I am humbled to announce that author and blogger Eva Blaskovic chose to award me the Blogger Recognition Award. To my knowledge, she did not do so under duress. Coming from her, this is a high honor. Eva is one of the few bloggers I know who writes posts about a wide range of topics without sacrificing quality. Eva focuses on writing-related topics first and foremost, yet she has recently discussed education and cooking. She is a gem of a blogger that I cannot recommend enough to those who don’t follow her already. I extend my sincerest thanks for her consideration of my blog for this award!

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The note attached to the pigeon included specific instructions as to what I must do to accept this award. The instructions are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link to the post you created.blogger-recognition-award-1

In short, this award requires me to share my origin story and dish out some wisdom I am unqualified to give.

The origin story of jjazar.wordpress.com is a simple one, nothing like Spiderman’s! I created this blog because I wanted to supplement my novel-writing with something secondary. I wanted to have a place where I could write about writing and reach out to others interested in doing the same. Little did I know I would connect with so many ambitious, fascinating people from across the globe. So I came to WordPress for the writing, but I stayed for the community.

As for two pieces of advice for new bloggers…

  1. Interact. Interact interact interact. As soon as your blog is presentable and devoid of dead tabs and preset messages, find bloggers who write about your areas of interest using your Reader. If you like what you read, like some of their posts. If you have something to say, leave some comments. And if you really like what a blogger has going, follow them! The more people you interact with, the richer your blogging experience will be. Oh, and it won’t hurt your view/like/comment/follow count. Interaction is how you grow!
  2. Treat the “Publish” button as sacred. Post regularly, but don’t post half-assed material. If you didn’t put thought into a post, keep it off your blog. Keep your standards high. Respect your readers, respect yourself, and respect your corner of the internet. It is absolutely possible to post quality material on a consistent basis (take the Comic Vault as an example), but if you can’t sustain the pace, slow it down. It’s okay 🙂

tumblr_mnqubziKKl1sqat0wo1_500.gifI hate to sound like a drill sergeant, but that second point is particularly important. A blog is a representation of yourself, so you ought to make it the best you can make it!

Inspired by Eva’s generosity in this award, I’ve nominated the following classy bloggers for the same honor:

M.L.S. Weech

Angela at Pooled Ink

Steff at Little Booky Nook

I could frankly nominate my entire list of followers, but these bloggers are of a special trio who I’ve been enjoying lately.

Thank you once again to Eva!

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

Officially Lovely: I Received the One Lovely Blog Award

I shed a tear upon seeing that I have been nominated for my very first WordPress award by the wickedly popular WordPress newcomer, Jamie at The Comic Vault. It was a manly, salty tear which fell like a rock, but it was a tear nonetheless. If you like comics, you have to check out Jamie’s blog. Despite being on WordPress for only a short time, he has made his position in the community clear: his blog is the place for comic musings and analyses. He hasn’t made that claim so boldly, but I’ll say it for him! Thank you, Jamie!

This whole thing is wild because if you take a gander at my posts you’ll see that I often begin by saying hello to you “lovely ladies and classy gents.” This is the One Lovely Blog Award! Coincidence? I think not! So, what does this award entail? Allow me to don my monocle and investigate the fine print. My instructions are as follows.

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

lovelyblog

It seems I’ve been tasked with sharing 7 things about myself. If that’s what it takes for this blog to be certified lovely, I won’t spare a moment!

Numbah One!

I firmly believe that there is one steak to rule them all: Ribeye is king. Yes, yes, Filet Mignon is perfect and well and fine, and I will certainly crown it king in my older age when I can no longer indulge in fat, but for now, Ribeye is my go-to. The steak’s thickness and trim of fat gives it potential which surpasses other cuts.

Numbah Two!

I am a college student with a double major. I am currently studying Political Science and Philosophy, gearing up for Law School. I can’t say I won’t change anything (I probably will), but this is the plan for now.

Numbah Three!

I’ve made three major moves. I was born and raised in New Jersey. I moved to California at the age of 12. I moved back to Jersey at the age of 16. The four year stint provided me with a world entirely different from Jersey. Three things you should know about California:

  1. Californians take it slow. It’s like they all take some kind of organic vegan environmentally friendly Jack Johnson pill every morning. They stand in stark contrast to New Jersians, who run exclusively on coffee and road rage.
  2. The traffic is brutal. You want to go somewhere? California laughs at your foolishness. Plan on sitting in your car for far longer than is reasonable by any standard.
  3. There is so much to do. I lived there for four years and did a ton of cool things, but the state is so vast I haven’t seen a fraction of it. If you can stand the unholy traffic, you can see a whole lot!

Numbah Four!

I rank the four seasons as follows:

4. Autumn. Autumn is the season that kind of just has to be there. Given that I’ve been a student all of my life, it has always signified a return to school, a place which pales in comparison to the beach and the pool. Leaves fall and pile up on the sides of the roads which further complicates my life. No thank you, autumn. Get outta here.

3. Spring. Here in Jersey, it gets humid during the spring. By humid, I mean you step outside and you immediately feel as if you’ve just emerged from the shower. But spring offers warm weather after the chilling cold that is winter, so I welcome it like Idina Menzel welcomes mispronunciations of her name.

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2. Winter. It’s all about Christmas time. Christmas time is my jam. The music, the food, the family, the time off, the vibes, the celebration of Christ’s birth and the New Year all come together to make one heck of an exciting time-of-year. I like Christmas so much, in fact, that I intend to write a book set in my western world that takes places during Christmas.

1. Summer. Summer provides me the opportunity to do my favorite things: swim, hang outside, go to the beach, hit amusement parks, run amok…Who doesn’t like summer? Please, identify yourself in the comments so we can fix you.

Numbah Five!

I am a member of a squad of five strapping lads. We are formally known as the Five Strapping Lads. Meet my cousins:

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From left to right we have Robby, yours truly, Justin, Jordan, and George.

How’s that for a team?

Numbah Six!

LOCCover.jpg

 

My favorite book is Book Six of the Wheel of Time series, Lord of Chaos. It is a refreshing book of astronomical scale that is written expertly. Furthermore, it is full of moments which prompted me to leap out of my seat and run laps around my house.

Numbah Seven!

I am a fan of the Magnificent Seven, both the original and the remake. I have yet to see the original original, Seven Samurai, but I intend to. This tidbit is relevant because my writing takes place in the western genre, however different my take on the American West may be.

So that’s a bit about me! If there’s anything that stood out to you, feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments.

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I would like to pass the Lovely Blog Award along to the following blogs which are highly deserving of it. If this happens to be a repeat nomination for any of those named, my apologies. I nominate:

A.Z. Anthony

Eva Blaskovic

PencilNeckGeek

Aimee Davis

Thank you all for reading.

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

An Opportunity to Talk Wheel of Time: This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag

Many fortnights ago, my name was drawn in the Hunger Games. I fought bravely, tackling the Character Dating Tag with fervor. After threatening to eat poisonous berries, I was spared by President Sutherland, the white-bearded father of Jack Bauer. But now we have reached the Quarter Quell, and my name has been drawn once again. Wow, how convenient that the sequel features me having my name drawn a second time! I’ve been tasked with tackling the This is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag, a tag which presents me the opportunity to dive into genre. The two kind benefactors of this year’s Quarter Quell are Lashaan and Trang of Bookidote, a blog I have enjoyed following since the beginning of my Wordpress experience.

Unless I want to get chopped in half by dystopian teenagers, I have to credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of this tag. He’s a fantastic blogger who you ought to follow if you aren’t already. The war paint is on. Here we go!

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1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE?

Sorry, I live in New Jersey. I don’t recognize that spelling of “favourite.’ Next question.

Kidding, kidding. I love the Brits and all those who spell like them. Truth be told, I don’t have a favorite genre. I enjoy a wide range of stories. But all is not lost! I thought I could use this opportunity to share some more about my influential relationship with the Wheel of Time series, so I’m choosing Fantasy!

2. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR FROM THE GENRE?

10242009105514PM.jpgRobert Jordan! He’s the guy behind the Wheel of Time series. His story is a fascinating one. He published the first book of the Wheel of Time series in 1990. In 2005, he published Book 11. The same year, he was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, a rare blood disease. Tragically, in 2007, Jordan passed away. He left behind an incomplete, epic fantasy series beloved by millions of fans across the world. Brandon Sanderson eventually went on to complete books 12-14, finishing the series using extensive notes left by Jordan. There’s a whole lot more to his story, so I implore you to read up on who this man was and how he worked and wrote. He is a grand inspiration of mine who has had a substantial impact on my life.

3. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GENRE THAT KEEPS PULLING YOU BACK?

The scope. Talk about immersion! Fantasy books have history and cultures and strife and grand stakes. When I read Fantasy, I feel like I’m diving into something that’s already been going on. I feel like I’m witnessing a story as opposed to reading one as it’s being written. When Robert Jordan was asked to sum up the Wheel of Time in a few words, he responded, “Cultures clash, worlds change, cope.” That’s grand, and that’s the kind of reason why Fantasy is a stellar genre. Scope!

4. WHAT’S THE BOOK THAT STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE?

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorld.jpgThe Eye of the World, Book #1 of the Wheel of Time series. When this book was handed to me years ago, I hadn’t a clue what I was about to begin. I’m currently on Book 9 of the series and I’m still infatuated with it. Since starting the series, I’ve recommended it to many others and a handful have fallen for it as I have.

5. IF YOU HAD TO RECOMMEND AT LEAST ONE BOOK FROM YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE TO A NON-READER/SOMEONE LOOKING TO START READING THAT GENRE, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

I wouldn’t recommend a book, I’d recommend a movie. Eight movies, actually. I would implore anybody considering whether or not to dive into the Fantasy genre to watch the Potter films! The Harry Potter films feature a rich fantasy world translated to film properly. Magic, stakes, and lore is aplenty. If you’re into Potter, you could ease your way into other, more involved Fantasy worlds.

6. WHY DO YOU READ?

I read because I like stories. I’ve always been a huge movie fan, and in the last few years, I’ve watched some quality television. Books present stories through a different medium than do movies or shows. It generally takes me longer to read a book than to tackle a movie because I like to soak in every word, but the effort is often worth it. In the case of Wheel of Time, it’s unreal how invested I often become while reading.

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I’m late to the party on this tag, so passing it along when most have already tackled it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Thus, I’d like to tag any who would like to volunteer as tribute.

Have you heard of the Wheel of Time series? Have you read any of it? Isn’t it fantastic? Let’s talk!

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

My First Tag: The Character Dating Profile featuring Kal

This is a special day.

“Why is it a special day, JJ?”

Well, disembodied voice, this blog has been tagged by the fantastic Orangutan Librarian to participate in the “Character Dating Profile Tag.” For those who aren’t savvy with the workings of the WordPress community, being “tagged” is essentially equivalent to having your name drawn in the Hunger Games. The difference is, nobody can take your place. Oh, and the other difference is this is a joyous occasion.

Indeed, today, I am bound to the rules of a “tag.” My task, if I choose to accept it (I do choose to accept it, didn’t you hear!?), is to answer the provided dating profile questions (think eHarmony)  as a character I have written.

That’s right, lovely ladies and classy gents. Today, I’m giving you a special glimpse into my western-adventure novel-in-the-works via the dating profile of a supporting character, Kal. If it isn’t obvious by the answer to the second question, these are not my answers, these are Kal’s answers. (Let it be known, however, that any dating inquiries intended for me can be sent via email). Here goes…

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Name

Kal. Just Kal. I haven’t the time to provide a surname. Don’t you know that time and money are one in the same?

Age

Late forties, and I feel it every day.

Interested in

Innovation, creation, and invention. Oh, you mean relationship-wise? I’m interested in women, I suppose, though I haven’t the time to commit to any soul but my own. I hardly have time for myself!

(Why did you make an eHarmony profile, then?) <–(#anachronism. This is 1861.) 

I only did this after suffering endless prodding from my friend, Clarence. He has a habit of irritating me, to put it mildly.

Looks

*cue heightened self-awareness*

I have buggy brown eyes. I also have what you might call a novel posture. I stand with my head cocked forward and neck bent stiff. I bob about when I speak, and I often bend and sway and shuffle. Do I care that people throw odd looks my way? No, I most certainly do not.

I do make a point of dressing nicely, however. I dress much like a professional, electing to tuck a long-sleeved white shirt into black trousers which allow ample room for the pockets. A fat wallet must always be accommodated.

Religious views

That’s a question for the philosophers.

Greatest ambition 

I long to reach the level of greatness I had so deliciously achieved ten years ago by way of the Boland Deal, the arrangement which put enough coin in my pocket to build a shack and then some. Unfortunately, I have yet to strike another deal of the Boland caliber, but I am hopeful in the mornings. The nights tell a different story…

Favourite Hobby

I like building things. As previously mentioned, I have a shack, of sorts. There, I go about my tinkering. Using raw material, mathematics, and money, I craft devices you won’t see anywhere else. I’m currently developing canned shaving lotion, a mechanized drawer to aid countermounts, and an aphrodisiac. All three have given me more than my fair share of grief, though the aphrodisiac has proven especially problematic…

Three BEST Skills

Innovation, creation,  and invention. In that order.

Ideal Partner

A partner will only get in the way of my light. Oh, you mean relationship-wise? I don’t think I’m quite ready for something like that. I was seeing a lass in New York, many years ago, but I mucked that up when I left for Nevada to build. She didn’t want to come with me, which I understand. She has a lovely family, a fine life, and plenty more suitors who are taller and more charming than I. Ever since I left her, I haven’t bothered with relationships and the like, if I’m being quite honest. On occasion a strumpet will find her way between my bed sheets, but that’s another story.

Perfect Date

I presume you’re referring to a date on a calendar, in which case my perfect date is one that never ends, because, as I said, time and money are one in the same!

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Whew. That was really something. Kal’s a charmer, isn’t he?

Ladies, tell me: Would you extend Kal the opportunity for a first date, or would you pass?

Sorry guys, you can take to the sidelines for the day. Or maybe you can tell me how I did for my first tag post! I hope I did everything properly. If I didn’t, please call me out so I can get it right next time.

Thank you for reading, and as always, stay classy!

~J.J. Azar