Thursday, March 29, 2007

A G3 hangover

The wife and I went to see G3 play last night in Atlanta. For a review of the show, you'll have to wait until Monday for my article at Faster Than The World.

This was actually my first time in Atlanta, so we had some interesting times getting to the show. We stayed at the Airport Hilton which is about five to seven miles from the venue. But the directions (thank you, Google Maps) weren't the best and never having been there before, made it that much more difficult. We found a place to park (more on that later) and walked to where we thought the venue was. Apparently, we misread the street signs and had to hustle to get to the theater.

We had purchased "GOLD" level passes which basically amounted to getting good seats and getting a geeky laminate thing to wear around your neck (which we dutifully did). The e-mail we got with our ticket purchase said to arrive 15 minutes before door time and we'd get in early. So that's why we hustled to get there. But it turns out that the early show time deal is only for general admission shows. We got our seats the same time as everyone else.

If you live in the Southeast and have never been to a show at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, you really need to go. It's a converted church and is a really great atmosphere. You have a floor level and two balconies, but the way the building is laid out, there is not a bad seat in the club. Because of the size, it is very loud and, yes, I brought ear plugs.

Toward the end of the show, I began to wonder if the parking garage we parked in closed. And, if so, what time they did. So, after the show, we walked back -- finding our way a bit better -- and getting to the garage. Sure enough, they did close, but right as we were walking up, someone was leaving. It was a security guard. We were able to ask here what we needed to do -- go see the overnight security guard -- and we got right out. It was quite lucky to get there right then and see the exiting guard, because otherwise we would have had no idea what to do.

Great night, long show, and we screamed ourselves silly. Guess I'm not too old after all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Idol Threat 3/27: The "Top" 10

Jesus help me ... Gwen Stefani night. Could we have any more vapid an artist? Hey, when did Gwen become Madonna?

Thank God they're letting them sing songs that were "influences" of Gwen Stefani.

LaKisha: Gwen says she should be asking her (LaKisha) for singing advice. Probably the smartest thing Gwen's said in quite some time. LaKisha is singing a Donna Summers song, Let's Dance I assume. While she's rocking it pretty solidly, she does have one flaw, IMO, I think her vibrato is bit too extreme for this pace. She either needs to focus on toning it down, or think about a slower tempo song. Otherwise, awesome.

Randy: A'ight, yo. LaKisha, you know what's kind of good, the first time I've heard you do an uptempo joint -- that was hot. Paula: Donna Summers not an easy artist to start out with. Simon: Love those boots ... great LaKisha, now you're 30 years younger this week. This is the LaKisha I love ... great vocal.

Well, definitely better than 8 others we'll hear tonight.

Chris Sligh: Gwen says he needs to focus on the beat. Well, I think she's on on this -- it's a problem he's had this entire competition. He's singing Every Little Thing She Does is Magic by The Police ... he's doing pretty good. Again he's just a bit ahead of the beat -- this issue is really going to kill him in the long run. Other than that, I mean, it was just OK. Nothing amazing.

Randy: A good song choice, biggest problem -- rhythmically, the band was at one tempo and you were at another. What do you make of that -- "I never tried to sing the song before, it was like a masters class for me." Paula: That's probably the biggest amount of criticism I've had -- that you have a hard time staying in the pocket. Simon: Forget pockets, timing all that mess, I thought it was a trainwreck. It was a mess, it was all over the place. It didn't feel right.

Gotta agree with Simon. Chris is the kind of dude I like, but his performances are just falling apart the further we get into this.

Gina: Is totally trying to lesbo up on Gwen "You're a hero of mine." Yeah, whatever. I don't know thi ssong, but I don't think that dressing like a Spartan was the best choice on Gina's part. This isn't 300 or even Clash of the Titans for that matter. Songwise, not so bad. It probably helps that I don't know the song so I can't compare it against the original, but it's nothing I'm being moved by.

She does say, "Thank you!" at the end though, Sarah.

Randy: This must be boot night ... I thought this was one of your best performances ever. You get that thing going ... just believe in yourself. Paula: I love the fact that you're improving every week. The song you picked was great. Best performance so far. Simon: Gina, wasn't one of your best performances ... it was your best performance. This is all about knowing who you are, choosing the right song, the transformation from two weeks ago to tonight was chalk to cheese. Not only your best performance, it was the best performance tonight.

Well, I'm not going that far Simon.

Sanjaya: Um. Hair. Wow. I mean, it's part rooster, part Spartan. Is is 300 night on AI? Hell, I don't know. Oh, the singing, you ask? What the hell do you think? Let's say, it was one of Sanjaya's best. Which is saying that it closely approximated the sound of tongue licking alley dumpster.

Randy: I'm speechless every time. The hairdo is definitely interesting. The end of the song reminded me that you can sing -- just put it out there. Paula: Just go for it ... watching you on stage not going for ... Simon: I presume there was no mirror in your dressing room. Sanjaya, I don't think it matters much what we say anymore. If people like you, good luck.

Haley Doing True Colors and she's in a "sit down pose," so you know it's one of those serious moments. She gets to do her "important stand up" moment. Truly, this is probably one of the best songs I've heard her sing. She's actually belting it out some. More than I've heard her do in this competition thus far. But, honestly, it breaks down to this. Her length of time left in the competition is in direct proportion to the shortness of her skirt. Which was plenty short this week.

Randy: Started rough, it was just kind of all right for me. Didn't grab me with that. Paula: One of those songs .. hard to do ... blah, blah hard song. Simon: How do you think you did? I think it was sweet but forgettable. You'll hear thousands of girls sing just like that around this country. You'll have to better than that.

We'll see guys.

Phil Nosfertatu has some very bizarre makeup on this week. I mean, very bad fake looking. Sings Every Breath You Take and Gwen tells him not to fark with the melody. So, let's hope he listens. Well, well, well ... Phil actually sounds almost just like Sting. I mean, like Val Kilmer doing Jim Morrison close. Anyone who's reading this who watched the show tell me ... is it just me or have they added a hell of a lot of vocal effects? I mean, more than last season definitely but more than the past couple of weeks also?

Randy: You know what man ... ? A really solid performance. I liked it. Paula: Good choice, so much personality and color to your voice, you really live in the choruses, the verses, not much personality. Simon: This may surprise you, Phil, but I actually thought that was very good. Very good choice of song, the first time in the past several weeks that I feel you're taking this competition seriously.

Melinda: Gwen, "She blew me away." She's singing some disco tune and it wearing a very disco looking top. Dudes, what do I have to say here? You know Melinda owns this competition. She's not effing up or anything. I'm glad she's singing an uptempo tune this week though. I like her slower stuff, but I think she really shows her vocal power on these faster tunes.

Randy: (Out of breath) What's so dope here ... the reason I called you a pro last week is because you do more than sing the words, you interpret them and live them. Paula: You have charisma from the word, "Go." Simon: I don't think this is going to be the performance that we look back on and say was the best, but vocally it was great. Hate the outfit.

Blake: Doing a Cure tune. I mean, I don't like the Cure, but he's doing OK with it. My wife says, "He slows things down too much. You can't slow down a Cure song." Probably the biggest criticism of him I've had so far. His voice has a really good tone, but I'm just not fond of the song.

Randy: Not my favorite. Paula: Loved it. Simon: Definitely the strongest guy in the competition. Where you've got to be careful is that you're in this Chris Daughtry zone where you're doing you're own thing. You got to be careful not to get too boring.

Jordin: Singing, Hey Baby from No Doubt. Gwen seemed to like it. She's singing it too low for her vocal range. And now that's she's in the chorus, it seems like her nerves are getting her. Man, I sure miss the Jordin from last week. She's just not on top of her game this week. Toward the end she souls it up a bit, but I think it's too little to late.

Randy: That was a very risk thing to do. Hard to do those stylized those things. You could literally sing anything. You'd make a great recording artist. Paula: And you're cute too. Simon: Probably the most improved contestant over the last few weeks. Only problem with that song is that it was a little copy cat-ish.

Chris Richardson: Singing Don't Speak. Gwen hopes he doesn't do all the vocal gymnastics. Jeebus, she's not the only one. But I feel that way about anything he's ever sang. Or anyone else for that matter. PEOPLE! That vocal gymnastics RUINS SONGS! Ruins them! Sure, it's impressive that you can do it, but it sounds LIKE CRAP! Like freakin' crap. Did Freddy Mercury do it? No. Then you don't have to either.

Fortunately, Christ listened to Gwen.

Randy: That was a very interesting thing. I like your flavor on it. Paula: You're good Chris. Just good. Good. Simon: Wasn't crazy about the vocal. I don't think it was ... you need to pay more attention to your vocals.

Recap: So, another decent week. Much better than I was expecting, folks. I really thought it would be horrible but, thankfully, they allowed the "inspirational" songs. Again, Sanjaya earned a bottom spot, and, again, I hope America gets in there. So, again, I'm going put Sanjaya in my bottom and the other two I'll say Phil and, unfortunately, Chris Sligh. Going home? I have to say Phil.


Sarahk really liked Gina Glocksen.

Curly McDimple at American Midol thinks Gwen Stefani is retarded.

Dial Idol predicts that Chris Sligh, Haley Scarnato and Jordin Sparks are the bottom three with Chris and Haley sharing the exact bottom slot score. But their margin of error has been so off this year that who knows how accurate any of these predictions are going to be? Any of their bottom six could be gone. The most important thing to note here is that for the first time, Melinda and LaKisha are not both the top two. Melinda is, again, the top one, but Chris Richardson has slipped into the number two slot this week. Sanjaya is, again, predicted to be safe. Dammit.

Hide your livestock!

Fresh from recovering from an attack yesterday, Ken is now marking his territory.

Monday, March 26, 2007

This just in

Anti-banjo Forces have succeeded in toppling a major Banjo Information and financing site.

While definitely a positive blow against noise pollution, we do expect the site to be back up and running, spreading its evil, banjo-fueled messages any day now.

UPDATE: The evil, banjo-loving site is back online. May God have mercy on our souls.

The weekend of nothing

Besides spending a lot of time doing nonsense in class Friday night and Saturday morning (with the exception of a fine conversation at Sheila's), this weekend was spent doing a whole bunch o' nuttin.

Did anyone else catch any of Discovery's Planet Earth last night? Beautiful programming.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Yeah-eah, I-eye, yeah-eah, I'm still alive

So, I'm here. Just haven't had a whole lot to say the past couple of days. Nor have I had the time, to be completely honest.

While being beaten down with the busy that has come from work and school, I'm actually getting kind of excited. This weekend marks the last meeting of my second-to-last class through my university. Next weekend marks the first meeting of my LAST CLASS!

Yeah, I still have three other full-semester classes going on at the same time, but they're winding down also. It's a heady mix of nearing-the-end-of-the-semester busy and I'm-finally-about-to-graduate excitement.

So, that's me right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Idol threat 3-21: 10, 10, the number 10

Stephanie's gone. Can't say I'm surprised about that. But, oh, how I wish that Sanjaya got what he deserved.

Well, let's hope next week maybe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Idol threat 3-20: And then there were 11

Blah, blah ... go Melinda.

UK '60s era music. Nice. Should prove to be interesting.

So, they're being tutored by Peter No-one and Lulu. I think the last time we heard from either of these folks is when Noone had his song remade for Naked Gun. This must be the bottom-of-the-barrel week.

Haley: is singing "I Know Something About Love." The good is that she really listened to her coach and she's really putting on a decent stage show. The bad is that her voice is too karaoke sounding. Really ... I mean, it's pretty, but it's not Idol-quality. Well, perhaps I should rephrase that. It's not the quality of what I think Idol should be. But, what is.

Randy: Check it out -- that was the perfect song for you, America, Haley's back! Paula: You have this girlish quality to you, the flirtation was adorable. Simon: You naughty little thing. It was fun, young, a bit shrieky in the middle. I think people are going to be talking about a lot more than your singing.

Astute, Simon.

Chris Richardson: "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" ... they keep talking about it being a great song of the era and I don't think I've ever heard it. I like the fact that he's not jumping all around vocally and he's just singing the damn song. It's good. I also like the setting -- he's just sitting on stage with a jazz guitarist. I'm still not sure if I like the song all that much, but it's a decent performance. Probably my favorite of his to date.

Randy: You know what, I'm excited about tonight, that was another great performance. When you sing nice and soft it's all in tune. Paula: You're playing this game to win it. The whole thing was very sexy. Simon: Chris, I think that was your best performance ever. I'll tell you why, you're control was excellent and most importantly, you didn't make the song sound old fashioned.

Right on, Simon.

Stephanie Edwards: She's singing "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and Lulu compared her Beyonce. No, really? I'm not familiar with this song either, but it sounds like a song you might hear in a James Bond movie. Oh, wait, I do know this song. Ooh, I'm not very fond of her handling of the chorus. I'm not sure if she's not hitting the notes on purpose or if she's off key, but it just doesn't sound right. But, she's powerful and drove it home.

Randy: A great song choice, not your best performance, a bit pitchy for me. When you get to ballads ... a bit harder. Paula: Love what you're wearing ... think you did pick the right song, notes fell off though. Please go back to having that fun. Simon: How do you think you did? "I think I did well." I think you are losing your edge. Thought it was a bit night clubby, thought you're losing your soul. I don't that is necessarily you. Miss that passion from you.


Blake: Singing "Time of the Season." Do a little beat box with it. The dude's just got a very good voice. I mean, it's not a very difficult vocal song, but he's really owning the tune. It's a good performance. And the beat box addition works well into the song and he kept it very light.

Very much a crowd favorite.

Randy: Blake, you know what, I'm a huge Blake fan, this week, you put together a really cool, vibey, current version of this song. Much props. Paula: Think this season is for Blake. I think you've really upped the bar. Simon: Right, a million times better than last week. This week, you chose the right song and found the right way to make it contemporary. Think the strongest performance so far.

I agree.

Lakisha Jones: Debated between "You're My World" and "Diamonds Are Forever." Lakisha wanted to do the Bond song and Lulu really tried to talk her out of it. But Lakisha stuck to her guns and is singing, DAF. She sounds great ... the problem is that it's a very boring song. I can't emphasize enough how very, very good she's singing. I mean, I would go as far as to say that this is better than the original, but it still can't change the fact that this song is just dull. Without bond shooting people and naked chick silhouettes, it just doesn't cut it.

Randy: DAF, from the Bond film, I don't think it was my favorite performance. I didn't feel enough Lakisha in it. Just all right for me. Paula: I don't think you picked the wrong song. Simon: We know that you are a fantastic singer, but this was Lakisha in 50 years time, I think. The mannerisms, the dress, everything ... it wasn't my favorite performance. It was too old fashioned.

I gotta agree with Randy and Simon.

Phil Nosferatu is singing "Tobacco Road," and by singing I really mean sticking sharp objects in my ears. God, I don't really know what to say here. It's probably not all that bad, I just really don't like the guy that much. He shouts too much.

Randy: Had a good time, didn't you, dog? It was pretty good for me. Paula: Actually think it was a good choice of song. Thought some parts were pitchy, but you were right there having fun. Had a good performance. Simon: Phil, I wasn't crazy about it. I thought it was a bar band performance. I don't hear any grit in your voice and I think you need grit to sing that. I think you're being outsung and I don't know what to tell you.

Yes, Simon, preach it.

Jordin Sparks: "I Who Have Nothing" she sings. So far, this is probably my favorite performance of hers. It's not all Disney and cutesy. Which the judges will probably rip her for this week, just like they rip her for singing that way when she sings those cutesy songs. Excellent control. Great, great job.

Randy: That was a very tall order for you ... very controlled, great performance. Maybe the best tonight. Paula: Each week we learn how great your range is. Simon: You sang it beautifully, but I feel like jumping off a bridge. It was so gloomy. You sang beautifully.


Sanjaya: Goodness, he sounds horrible in auditions. I'm dreading hearing him sing live. Horrible, just horrible. Wow, they just panned to the audience and showed a 11-12 year old girl crying (a la, British Invasion, heh). I can only hope they were tears of pain, fear, or she's a plant. They keep showing the same girl. Jeebus, man, I can't even go into how bad this was. My wife says, "I've heard drunk people who can't sing, sing that better."

Randy: You shocked me, you came out of your shell tonight. Best performance to date. Paula: That's what we've been waiting for. Simon: Oh my god, I think the little girl's face says it all (and Simon wasn't being nice).

They're panning to the little girl, Sanjaya went and gave her a hug. She's still shaking. (From fear!)

Gina: Sings "Paint it Black." I'm excited to hear what she does with it. I hope she rocks it and doesn't go too Meatloaf with it. Well, she's not doing poorly, but I just don't think I like her singing this song. It needs some grit, like Simon told Phil earlier. She doesn't have the grit here, it's coming out a bit at the end, but she's also doing some funky things with the key changes. Planned. It was a very good performance. I just didn't like her arrangement.

Randy: Not my favorite vocal, pitchy, but fun. Paula: Miles better than last week, second, I think this is what you have fun doing. Simon: There were moments of complete torture in that vocal. It was so off melody. It was just not very good. It was style overcoming, you're going to have to sing a lot better than that.

I hear what Simon's saying. But I think he thinks she went off key accidentally, it was a planned off melody singing and it didn't work out well. Simon's right about it not working, but she did still give a good performance.

Chris Sligh: "She's Not There" I love the tune. I hope Chris does it justice. I like the guy, but he's a hot/cold singer. So far, I'm kind of on the fence about it. He opens his performance walking through the crowd and singing as he walks up to the stage. The performance kind of picked up in the more up-tempo part. But this certainly isn't his best performance. Not bad, but not great.

Randy: Everybody's performing tonight. Started off a little rough, but you wound up good. Great song for you. Paula: Dressing much nicer. Like that you're working the audience. Thought vocals were very good. Simon: I think you did your thing. I thought it was fun, not the best vocal tonight, but it was a lot of fun.

Melinda: She's singing a song outside of her comfort zone. I can't believe she has a song outside her comfort zone. She's singing "As Long as He Needs Me." Lulu said something during their little training session. She said that Melinda found herself in the song, and I think that's probably a very apt description of how Melinda sings -- she just finds herself in the song. Do I really need to go into her performance? Effing awesome folks. (And the little girl that cried for Sanjaya is crying again. This time its good for real.)

Wow, folks. Just wow.

Randy: Probably saved the best vocal for last. You have great relative pitch. You are a pro. Paula: You are in your own league, my dear. Simon: Melinda, I have to ask you a question. Are you really as nice as you seem. Totally agree with Randy. It started boring, but the second part was sensational with an impeccable vocal.

WRAP-UP: Tough week, folks. It was so much more entertaining this time around. It's obvious that there are folks who deserve to be in the bottom three and those who are actually going to be in the bottom three. Sanjaya deserves to be in the bottom three, but due to Vote for the Worst and some of the young girl votes, but I'm still putting him in there because it was SO. FREAKING. HORRIBLE. So, my bottom three: Sanjaya, Haley and Stephanie. I think Sanjaya was so bad that America will come to their senses. Sanjaya is going home, dammit.


Sarahk and I share two out of three bottom three picks.

Dean makes a funny.

Curly McDimple at American Midol hates her some Blake Lewis.

Dial Idol predictions: Screw you America! Sanjaya is predicted to be safe, dammit. And the bottom three this week are Chris Sligh, Gina Glocksen and Haley Scarnato. We'll just see.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Still floating

My head is still floating with OTC cocktails of antihistamine promises.

Which is a pretty way of saying: Screw you, allergies!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Proclamation

I decree that Chet Atkins' Winter Walkin' is the greatest guitar instrumental ever. Let those who disagree cower in the sheer glory of Atkins' mighty fretting skills.

Ground Control to Major Tom

Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may gods love be with you

Dudes. My head is floating. Allergies suck.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Idol threat 3-14: Final 12 Week 1 results

So, Brandon's going home, my call.

I don't know what's up with Dial Idol this year. It must be the margin of error. Melinda and LaKisha are getting so many votes that it's throwing off the results of the others.

Oh well.

A naïve new world

Everyone has read Brave New World or has seen a movie adaptation, right? I’ve been thinking about that book quite a bit lately. Specifically how the dystopia maintained the utopist illusion through use of emotionless sex and mind-altering drugs.

The central theme is that the “utopia” was not created by making people happier, but by changing people’s concept of what “happy” was through conditioning.

Carrying these thoughts through to modern society, I’m scared shitless. How many ecstasy-laden raves and Girls Gone Wild videos will it take before we start branding things with the Model T?

I’m not a prude, but there is such a disassociation between emotions and sex today that I’m frightened that that concept of happiness is changing. Not that all change is bad, but this is not a change for the better.

One of the main precepts of our society is the central family unit. Our society and our laws are based on the family and the family’s concept of right and wrong. These concepts grew from a desire to protect the family and the family’s ability to prosper.

The family was seen as the best place to instill in people the morals and values to turn them into well-adjusted and productive citizens. Well-adjusted and productive because what made them happy was their family and doing what you needed to do to keep your family strong.

Of course, one of the central elements of a strong marriage and family is love. But if attitudes about relationships do not reflect this love (and respect) to our partners, what values are our children learning? If Mardi Gras, Cancun, and the girls of Gone Wild are any indication, not a whole lot.

Our selfish sense self-importance has led to an era where we cannot judge anyone’s behavior. Remorseless behavior has led to a generation of young adults who have little sense of responsibility. This lack of personal responsibility is in turn leading to the kind of hedonistic attitudes so prevalent in Huxley’s novel.

Brave is the very last thing this world is.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Idol threat 3-13: The Final Twelve Week 1

Diana Ross week. Meh.

Brandon: Is it me or does he seem at opposition to the music as opposed to flowing with it? Not too good. Lots of breaking and cracking.

Randy: You didn't bring it. Paula: Not easy to do what you're doing -- ooh, it's a big concert hall, look at the pretty lights ... Simon: That was a complete let down.

Holy crap! Simon just told Ryan to come out of the closet. Too darn funny! Gotta love live TV.

Melinda: She's singing some song from "The Wiz;" a song I'm not familiar with at all. I don't like the song very much, and that's probably the worst thing I've ever said about Melinda. She's singing very well, and is really selling it. This little lady really comes alive on stage. Wish it had been a different song though.

Randy: Gotta say, I don't know if it was my favorite performance of yours, but it was still hot. Paula: (Crying ... leaking!) I'm so excited for you ... gobbledy gook. Simon: Why are you crying? Look, you made a very boring song exciting. You remind me of a young Gladys Knight.

Chris Sligh: Singing "Endless Love," and singing without glasses. Is he rushing a little bit there? He seems to be singing in front of the beat a bit. You can hear a bit of the nervous break in his voice. Not too bad. Certainly not his best performance, though. Leaps and bounds beyond Brandon, though.

Randy: The bad part, sounded like Coldplay a bit ... that was a mess for me. Paula: That song is so recognizable ... I think you're trying ultra hard to be ultra hip ... you have a nice voice, worry less about being contemporary. Simon: I think you murdered the arrangement. Found it completely unemotional.

Gina: Diana says, pronounciate everything. You must pronounciate. This is the woman who advised Michael Jackson, remember. She's singing "Love Child." Hmm. I'm kind of liking this. I wasn't expecting to. So, props to Gina. Maybe not the best vocals, but it's not a demanding vocal and overall it was powerful.

Randy: Once again, not my favorite performance from you, it was pitchy, I didn't feel any excitement. Paula: It's such an exciting song, thought you were much better than how you did the song tonight. Simon: It was OK. You can't say much about it, it wasn't terrible. It wasn't fantastic. You picked the right song, I think. It was a little bit forgettable.

Sanjaya: Diana took him to school a little bit. Maybe he'll listen. She likes to counsel those younger men. Good lord, I'm not sure what the hell happened to his head. I'm thinking he cut it off and someone gave him a bad wig. Either that or my parents old mangy poodle clawed its way from its grave and plopped on his head. Oh yeah, the song sucked.

Randy: Don't know what to say. Dude, it wasn't very good. Thank god for the background singers. Paula: You sang on pitch, but you need to start it off when you grab the audience. You really need to explode with your vocals. Simon: Essentially he said -- Diana Ross is going to freak when she hears this song.

Haley: Diana says she has a recording studio voice as opposed to a live voice. Too true. As she starts the song ("Missing You") you can barely hear her. It's at the very bottom of her register and she's so quiet. And she's dropping words. And she's dropping pitch all over the place.

Randy: You gave it a valiant effort. You were very pitchy. Paula: You look lovely tonight. And for Paula, it's the nicest thing she can say. Simon: I didn't think it was that bad. To give you credit, I think we will remember you know. I think you look like a star. If you can hold it together, you may do better than I thought you were going to do.

Phil: I think he was planning on sucking Diana's blood. I'm not sure. There are rumors that he's a Nosferatu. He's not too bad this week. Surprisingly so ... he's not my favorite guy on the show. But he's really showing out tonight. Very good job, Phil. Just don't look into the sun.

Randy: The performance was boring, but the vocals was hot. Paula: Vocals were good, just that song was a little dull. Simon: It was OK. Very good choice of song, but you have a tendency to shout when you try to hit the big notes.

LaKisha: Singing a Billie Holiday song ("God Bless the Child") that Diana sang in "Lady Sings the Blues." And she sounds a lot like Billie, while still sounding like herself. She also took Diana's advice. You know the singers are going to go far when they listen to the judges and the guest performers. And, being able to sing like LaKisha doesn't hurt either. She's just doing an amazing job. She takes the vocal prize thus far.

Randy: Wow. Perfect song choice for you. Unbelievable vocal from you. That was sensational. Paula: Your heart comes through when you sing. Simon: You either got it, or you haven't got it. You've got it. I have to say, the quality difference between you and Melinda and the other singers, you two are in a different league.

Blake: Diana is looking forward to what Blake is going to do with "You Keep Me Hanging On." It's his arrangement. He's slowed it down a bit and added some other beats. It sounds kind of like an '80s-era new wave version, I think. But he's doing a great job with it, I think.

Randy: Check it out, check it out ... there were some good things about it. You sing better than that. Sometimes let the classics be the classics. Paula: I hear what you're saying, Randy, but there's a difference between what you did, Blake, and what Chris did. Simon: I didn't get that at all. If you had heard that in isolation, you wouldn't like it.

I really don't agree with the judges here. I thought it was a good job. A good performance. They make a decent point about punching up the vocals a bit, though.

Stephanie: Singing "Love Hangover." I guess she's doing a decent job, I just don't like the song that much. Stephanie does have a tendency to oversing bits. She shouts some of those extended notes. Otherwise, very good job.

Randy: It's been kind of an interesting night ... good vocals, not your best. Perfect choice for you, I was waiting for the uptempo part and was upset it didn't come in. Paula: Is there a reason you didn't do the uptempo part? Simon: Strange arrangement, basically what you sang was an intro. Not your best performance.

Chris Richardson: Singing "The Boss." I don't know why, but his voice is starting to grate on me a bit. Is it whiny? Is that it? Tonight, definitely so. Cracking with whine (and nerves, I'm sure) that's especially obvious in his falsetto breaks. Worked the crowd very well though -- just like Diana told him to do.

Randy: You oversang it a bit. Half good and half bad for me. Paula: I think, out of all the guys, you nailed the blend of classic and contemporary. Simon: Remembering this is a singing competition, listen to the vocals, I thought it was dreadful. If you heard it on the radio, you'd switch the station.

Jordin: Is singing "If We Hold on Together." Jeez, she is really going for the Disney crew, isn't she. It seems obvious to me that she's banking on a career in children's TV or film once she gets kicked off Idol about three or four weeks from now. One quick note: She does the "goat vibrato." Something that really bothers me. Michael Stipe does it too. I hate it.

Randy: At 17, I'm so, so impressed with you. Tonight, you made it a three girl race (Melinda, LaKisha and her). Paula: You are a natural talent, and you're have lovely song sing, good ... Simon: It was a bit gooey, but having said that, I thought it was a very, very good vocal.

Ugh. Now I have to pick the bottom three. Brandon, Sanjaya and Haley. Going home (rolls dice) ... Brandon.


Tracey has a unique critique on some performances last night.

Dean feels, much as I do, that we should just give the title to Melinda and be done with it.

Sarahk, as always, has an exhaustingly thorough rundown.

Curly McDimple at American Midol gives a concise report.

Dial Idol predictions: Blake, Chris Sligh and Stephanie Edwards are this weeks bottom three according to DI, but the bottom 9 are all well within the margin of error. It's interesting how the top two (Melinda and LaKisha) get such strong results that it throws the MoE off on all the others. I'm pissed that Sanjaya ranked so highly again. Damn you America! Stop voting for him.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Faster Than The Redesign

Make sure to stop by Faster Than The World and check out my new column today.

You'll get to see the nifty redesign. It's user friendly and returns to the original muscle car-centric theme.

DST drags

Anyone else having a hard time this morning?

In my youthier youth, a little hour change here and there meant nothing. It's amazing to me how this little shift in time really throws off my clock these days. I am really fighting the grogginess today.

I'm normally a heavy coffee drinker, so I guess I'm going to be hooking up an IV or something today.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

An interesting development

ALa at Blonde Sagacity is blogging that former senator and Law and Order star Fred Thompson may be considering a 2008 presidential bid.

As I mentioned in the comments there, a friend and I were debating this very thing 10 years ago.

Too cool.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

This probably gets me in trouble

Come on folks it was 1988.But I'm doing it anyway.

I just found out my sister-in-law is a regular reader of my blog.

Hey, sis. Love ya, dear.

IDOL THREAT update ('cause my S-I-L mainly reads for Idol): Dial Idol is oh for two so far. I'm one for two. With Jared (a solid pick 'o mine) and Antonella off to the house, I'm doing good so far.

As Haley heads in and Sabrina heads home, Dial Idol is oh for three, and I move up to two for three. Sundance goes home and I'm two for four. Dial Idol is one for four.

We have a final twelve. Now the guys need to cower in fear because they're gone.

I like my wheel ... dammit

Whenever new people come into an office, there is a period of necessary adjustment.

The problem with being the guy who's been here the longest is that it also makes you the guy that everyone asks everything. Finance? Health benefits? How do I make a shortcut to the shared drive? Where's the potty? Go-to-man, right here.

Deep down in my heart, I do not mind these questions. I actually kind of feel good helping out the new guys and they are all good guys. On the surface, I am also quite pleased to be helping out the new guys. I offer assistance and am as receptive as I can be at any given time.

Somewhere between the surface and deep, deep down exists a level that resents being the go-to-man.

I am a person who is quite content with my hamster wheel. Give me my mission and I'll happily peck it out as long as you don't mess with me too much. Make sure I'm fed and wattered and my mission will prosper. The fact that I now have to a a de facto manager -- only during this period of adjustment, we are all peers, technically -- means that I have to get off my doggone wheel and climb into the tunnels. I have to squeeze my fat ass through these tunnels and into the various compartments of our labyrinthine bureaucracy.

Making sure that everyone is squared away is a good thing. Ensuring that everyone knows not only how to do their job, but how this new lifestyle works, is important for the entire office. I do wish I was better prepared to handle it though.

Just let me get back to my wheel and no one will get hurt.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Idol threat 3/7

As opposed to last night, I am very much looking forward to tonight's show. There are some great performers in this group and are mostly entertaining.

Jordin Sparks: She's singing Pat Benatar's Heartbreaker ... you know, she's got a decent voice. However, this song isn't out of her ability, really. She doesn't have the edge to her voice to pull it off convincingly. However (again), this was like a Disney performance of the song and it was pretty decent.

Randy: It wasn't your best but it was better than all of the boys last night. Paula: Weeble wobble ... love you (to be fair, she really didn't "weeble wobble," I was still trying to get situated and, you know, you can say weeble wobble for Paula any time and it kind of fits). Simon: Not quite as enthusiastic, it was a bit shrieky in the middle. But I think you'll be here next week. Wasn't your strongest performance.

Jordin, like Lisa Tucker from last season, will have a career at Disney for many years to come after she makes it a couple of weeks through the final 12.

Sabrina Sloan: She's singing Don't Let Go (Love) by En Vogue. Not up to En Vogue standard, but this was a much better song choice than last week. She kind of shouted here and there; overall not too bad. Again, better than last week.

Randy: Not my favorite performance from you, but again, better than last night. Wish song had more melody. Paula: For me ... you can sing, sing, sing. Your voice soars. It pierces (was that a complement?) Simon: It was lacking the emotion I'm seeing from your main competitors ... it actually reminded me of a hotel resort performance (because of the song). You need to inject more personality into your performance.

Ryan: Does she deserve to be in the final 12, ALL: Yes, Yes!

Antonella Barba: Has played violin since childhood. She's singing a song I don't know. But it's a bit slower and easier and well within her range. Must say this is the best I've heard her since her audition. 'Course, we all know she's not going anywhere this week. That isn't to say that she shouldn't go, but, you know, the season's skank makes it about halfway through the top 12,

Randy: Pretty good song choice. A little pitchy. Blah, blah. Paula: I think it was the right song choice, bottom notes you kind of have to watch ... you picked the right song. Simon: You've gone as far as you can go ... you are surrounded by some pretty amazing girl singers. I don't know how much far you can go because I don't think you're going to get better. You've taken a real stick in the media and have handled yourself very well. I just wish you could sing better.

Probably the best, most tactful thing I've ever heard Simon say. However, rather than listen to Simon she blows it off. And comes across a bit too catty. Simon fires right back though -- "Let's be real," he says. "No one's being critical for the sake of being critical." Nicely done, Simon.

And so ends my live blog portion. The wife is coming home from a church activity and I have to rewind and watch this part over again. If it had been last night, I might have gnawed off my own leg to escape. But I'm willing to watch these girls again. Yes, even Antonella.

Haley Scarnato: Was a gymnast. I am not surprised. I have no idea what she's singing. I mean, I don't think I've ever heard this song before. It's not a bad song, but it's not any good either. It sounds like the kind of song you hear at the end of a sitcom. She's not doing a bad job, but it's just so forgettable. I mean, I had to click over to the Idol Web site just to find out who Haley is. That probably doesn't bode well for her future.

Randy: Interesting song choice. Just had no pizazz. It had no, "YO!" Paula: I'm sure that was a difficult critique to hear (sarcasm drips). You sang the song well. Simon: Thought it was horrible. Thought it was some ghastly performance. I told Paula halfway through that I didn't know your name. I don't think you made enough of an impression.


Stephanie Edwards: Used to sing all the time as a kid. How interesting. Another song I don't know. Man. Why don't these AI contestants sing more metal or punk? Anyway ... critique -- she's not doing bad. I just think this song isn't that good of a choice. It doesn't have a well-defined melody. Ooh, and she goes off pitch a lot toward the end. Not her best.

Randy: Give you an "A" for valiant effort. Paula: Thought you were darn near flawless. Watch a bit about falling behind the music, but you have a beautiful voice and great showmanship. Simon: Stephanie, without a doubt you are one of the best singers we have, but you do have a tendency to go a bit "copycat," but we know you've done enough to sing your way into next week.

Lakisha Jones: Is terrified of animals. Heh. All kinds of animals. That's funny. I think this is a Whitney song. Oh, looks like she took their fashion advice also. She's wearing a much subdued black dress. Man. You know she can sing. She's nailing this song like it's just laying there waiting to be nailed. Begging for a good nailing. And she's all tapping its bass clef. You like that? You like that? I did (And did I use "laying" correctly? Been a freakin' editor for the better part of 13 years and can never remember that one).

Randy: Don't know if it was your best, but it was great. Paula: You've already made us love you. You're going to stay right here and work on being the next Idol. Simon: What we haven't seen yet tonight, you brought passion, emotion, believability. Tonight, you look beautiful.

See, we guys pick up on that stuff now and again.

Ryan's pillow fighting and acing like he's flirting with Gina. Not well.

Gina Glocksen: Carries good luck charms. No idea what she's singing. Is this a Evanescence song? She's not doing a bad job with it. I've heard a bit of Amy Lee singing live, and she doesn't sing this well live. Overall, not too bad. She took their advice about rocking it out. Let's see what they think.

Randy: Finally, the real Gina comes out. Some pitch problems, but this is who I always thought you were. Keep the edge alive. Paula: This is more or less who I imagined you to be. Watch oversinging. Simon: You enjoyed that ... first time I've seen you comfortable here. I think you tended to scream the song, but I really hope you make it through. Honestly, you are a breath of fresh air. Think you can do well.

Gina: That's the Simon I love!

Melinda Doolittle: Has OCD. Which is perfectly fine. Excuse me while I shut my door five times. Oh man, she's a WOMAN. She's singing that's she's a woman. I'm serious here, I seriously get chills when she sings. How awesome to have her close the show? She should always close the show. She's the headliner. There's no doubt about her talent. Do we even need to go through the rest of the contest? Jeebus she's good.

Ha! Paula's crying!

Randy: The hottest of the night! You're ready to make a record! Paula: Di dyou ever think yo'd be on this stage getting this adoration. You are so wonderful. I can't wait to see what you do each week. Simon: You little tiger. Thought we had a pussy cat. I love that. Quite obvious. I don't have to tell you how good a singer you are. It's nice to see how much fun you're having out here. A million percent we're going to see you next week.

Amen.Or Ramen, if you prefer.

Dudes. This is a tough call tonight. These woman are all so good. Crap, even Antonella showed up tonight. But, since there has to be two, I'll say Haley and Sabrina are going home. Antonella deserves to be out, but, well, you know. I'll Gina in as my alternate although I do hope she doesn't get the boot.


Dean posts a quick lament.

Sarahk is as detailed and woman-unfriendly as ever.

Mejack and Curly McDimple let loose the dogs of snark upon American Idol.

Dial Idol predictions: Haley and Stephanie are Dial Idol's bottom two. However, Sabrina is within 1/100th of a point of Haley, and the bottom six are all well within the margin of error. I think it it worth pointing out that the top two -- Melinda and Lakisha -- are both WAAAAY outside of the margin of error; their scores are stellar. Gina apparently scored some points last night also.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Idol threat 3/6

Gotta tell ya,' buds, I am not looking forward to this. I mean, with the exception of, like, two guys, the dudes have not been very entertaining.

But, looking at the silver lining here, not having much attachment to any of them will make the final six that much more competitive to me in the long run.

Blake Lewis: I don't know the name of this song, but I know I've heard it -- it's one of those reggae-esque, almost hip-hop songs. And he's tearing it up. Very, very good. He just made it looks so easy.

Randy: That was hot -- didn't know the song, but I loved. Paula: Didn't know the song either, but I was interested. It was really cool. Good job. Simon: Didn't understand a word you sang, but I think Randy and Paula are right. You will 100% be here next week.

Good to go. (It was a song by the band 311).

Sanjaya Malakar: No, I'm not surprised that you can hula. He's singing a song I'm embarrassed that I don't know what it is without Googling (which I'm not going to do), and it was OK. He went pitchy at the end. But it just wasn't all that good overall.

Randy: To say that it was a bit better than last week is kind of funny. When we first saw him, there was something special, we haven't seen that since. Paula: I don't agree completely with Randy. Try and get out of your comfort zone, but keep trying. Simon: Look ... it wasn't as ghastly as last week ... at the end of the day -- you're obviously popular, that's why you're still here, but based on the fact that this is a singing competition, it wasn't a good vocal. Maybe it's your hair keeping you in? It's something.

Dead on, folks.

Sundance: He's doing Pearl Jam's Jeremy, and it's not good at all. I mean, I have heard cover bands in local bars do PJ songs a lot better than this. How long can this guy keep producing this vortex of suck (heh) and not get kicked off? As long as America is dumb, I guess. Which is a vortex of its own kind. I probably shouldn't say that, honestly. When you get right down to it, and really talk to people, few folks are really dumb. They don't lack intelligence. What people lack is self motivation. They lack the desire to learn. They lack the desire to stand out from the crowd. AND, in the case of Sundance effin' Head, they lack the desire to shut down Birmingham's freakin' phone lines.

Randy: What I liked, what I loved, you put your Southern rock thing on Pearl Jam. Paula: You really pulled it out. Simon: I actually didn't like it as much as last week. I think you lost your charm. I think you went to very generic bar song.

YES! Simon. Dead freakin' on.

Chris Richardson: Used to be fat. Well, I have no room to snark there, so I won't. I don't know this song, but the opening was pretty shabby. In fact, as it goes along, it's pretty pitchy throughout. He's putting too many of those damn self-indulgent vocal runs in the song and he's effin' them up.

Randy: Every week you put the boys on blast (according to Randy, this was a Keith Urban song). Randy loved it. Paula: Loved it. Simon: It was good, not jumping out of my chair. Thought your voice was nasally. Don't think we've heard what your voice it capable of.

I just didn't like it. Didn't think it was good. I think if the heard what we viewers at home heard, they'd think more like me.

Jared Cotter: It tackling Stevie. And, imagine this, played basketball. Man, why does this guy think he can sing Stevie? He sucks. God he sucks. My wife says he reminds her of a taller, skinnier Carlton. Tonight he's even wearing a Carlton sweater. Well, to be fair, the breakdown portion of the song was really well done, but every other part of it sucked.

Randy: You gave a solid performance. Paula: I think you need to work on coloring up the way you sing. Simon: I sort of know, amazingly, what Paula is saying. It wasn't very original. This performance gets lost in the mix. I'm slightly disappointed tonight, that was not the "wow" factor.

Brandon Rogers: Is a classical pianist. Nice, I am suitably impressed. He's singing "I Just Want to Celebrate" very well. I dig this guy's voice. I haven't yet been disappointed by him yet. Even last week's performance was good with me. This was great.

Randy: Love that song, and it was good for you. Solid performance. Paula: Thought it was pretty phenomenal. Simon: I don't think you've represented yourself well. I had high hopes for you and I don't think you've chosen good songs. Don't think you had enough of a melody, enough of a hook.

Hmm. Maybe. According to Dial Idol, he doesn't seem to be pulling the votes. So, even though this was a great performance (IMO), he's probably gone.

Phil Stacey: Jeebus, this is bad. I have no clue what song this is, but it was painful to start. He picks it up with the tempo, no ... wait ... he's gone and screwed it up again. Holy pogo-stick-jumping Jehovah that was painfully bad.

Randy: You can hit the high notes, but your low register was bad. Paula: Lower part of your register was bad. Don't feel this was your best performance. Simon: I didn't get it at all. The whole thing appeared very odd. This has been a disappointing week from the guys, bar one or two.

Chris Sligh: Another song I don't know. "We all wanna be loved" ? It's pretty good. The thing about Chris is that he's stuck well within his comfort zone and rocked it solidly within there. Great performance.

Randy: Not sure that was my favorite song choice for you -- I think you get the vocal prize for the night, thought. Paula: Not my favorite performance. Simon: Thought beginning was very good, thought you shouted in the middle. Not a great hooky song. Probably not one of your better songs, but you have potential. Not a great song choice.

Overall: Blake was great. Brandon was very good. Chris was good, but I do agree that it wasn't the best song choice. If the voting was based solely on performance, none of these guys would have anything to fear. But, I'm afraid that Brandon isn't popular enough to make the cut.

My predictions (based both on my take on the performances and on Dial Idol predictions and the past week's results): Jared and Brandon are going home.


Sarahk posts some updates from last week and her usual in-depth review of the boy's performance.

Curly McDimple at American Midol doesn't appear to have liked anyone from last night.

Dial Idol prediction: DI has Phil Stacey and Sundance Head as the bottom two. Based on their performances, I would agree that they both earned those spots. I think I would rather see Jared go than Phil, but if DI is accurate this week, we'll be losing the dreaded Sundance. And I'm just fine with that.

Apparently I played it a bit too safe with my predictions. I figured Sundance was safe based on popularity -- he topped the DI prediction charts the past two weeks. Oh well, Jared and Brandon are the next two up, so, given the margin of error, the actual results could be those two. Actually, given the margin of error, it could be almost any of the guys. If you look at the result scores, all the guys scored very close to one another. It's a close horse race this week.

Silver age posting

At some point over the past couple of days, I zoomed past 50,000 unique hits to my page. At almost a year-and-a-half of blogging the meaningless stuff that I do, I'm pretty flattered by that.

To my 'net friends and co-bloggers who stop in here often, thanks. I really appreciate your comments and your viewership.

I'd like to send out a special thank you to all those hits from random Google Image searches. You guys -- YOU -- you make it all worthwhile. Perhaps I'll start throwing up clever Photoshops of Paris Hilton playing a banjo or Francis Bean going down a slide.

(Let's see what kind of Google hits I get from that!)

Seriously, thanks to my pals.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Andersonville adventure

Or: Stay away from my dad blasted still!Every so often, you just got to get away from the house for a day.

We like to get away at least once a month. Take a day trip somewhere and just have a good time. Today, we took an hour drive north to Andersonville. First, we drove through Americus, a town that suffered greatly from the tornadoes that hit here the other day. Apparently, the president was in town 'cause the disaster areas were all closed off. We didn't know that this was the fact, but the folks in town did.

Anyway, in Andersonville (another 10 miles north of Americus) is the Andersonville National Historic site. The site was the home of Andersonville Prison. The largest Confederate prison, where more than 12,000 union soldiers died (40% of the total number deaths of Union prisoners).

The site is moving. It's amazing that such a thing happened here. In America. Makes you thankful that we work so hard today to work things out with words.

Here are just a few photos I took today:
Kind of Braveheart-looking, no?Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off in the far right, is our Durango. God, I love that truck.

The shot on the left is the north gate of Andersonville Prison. It's imposing up close, but from this distance is kind of quaint. For many prisoners, this was their first encounter with Andersonville Prison. There are two gates here, an exterior gate that opens into a large squared area and then the interior gate opened into the main prison.

The prison was really nothing more than a large, fenced in field. The prisoners slept in pup tents. Their drinking water was from a creek that eventually became contaminated with their own feces and urine. Fortunately, a spring broke through to provide clean water for the prisoners. Hence the photo on the right, which is a monument to the spring, which saved the lives of many of the prisoners.

I love textures! Directly across the highway from the memorial and cemetery is a Confederate-era village. There are a couple of museums and a "farm" where a there are a lot of period log cabins and other structures. Here, well, I love textures. I couldn't pass this chimney.

All in all, it was a great day. I must pass along a warning though. If you ever find yourself in Americus, GA, avoid the Huddle House on Hwy 19 like the plague. Something possessed us to stop there are we regretted it all day long.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Nearly a man

I got 90%.

Picked up from Frank J.

Fuzzy recollections

There is a time I remember waking up. I don't mean getting out of bed and starting a new day. I mean, there is a time that I remember becoming fully self aware.

This is something that is hard to explain and something I'm hesitant to talk about. But I've begun to recognize some of the same traits in my oldest daughter and it's bugging me.

When I think back on my early childhood, I have very few memories, and what memories I do have are hazy. Literally, hazy. I remember being young and feeling like I was walking through a haze. Like I had a mental cloud. Yet, there are other memories that are crystal clear. Perhaps it's the intensity of the emotions surrounding the memory -- I don't know.

What I do know is that around 12 or so, a light flicked on and it's like I was suddenly aware of things I'd never considered before. I was no longer oblivious -- this is where it gets tricky to explain. If something wasn't in the forefront of my mind, it was gone. It was like there was no long-term storage (though that's not entirely true, there was school). Basically, a general sense of inattentiveness, I guess. Then, suddenly, I had focus.

I'm hoping my daughter gets her focus soon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Idol threats 3/1

Nick Pedro gone. Dial Idol 1 for 1.

Alaina Alexander gone. Dial Idol 1 for 2.

Considering their sampling model, I wonder where the error was. I wonder if text messages plaid a larger role?

Holy crap, Kellie Pickler, that was craptastic. I was thinking, she's singing her own stuff, maybe, just maybe, it'd be OK. Boy, was I wrong.

A.J. Tabaldo gone. Dial Idol 1 for 3. But, MAN, I am happy about them being wrong about this one. I cannot freakin' stand this dude. Vocally. Otherwise, I just realized that he reminds me of an old friend. So now, there's that association and I feel kind of guilty for not liking the kid. But, he sucks. Though, I will admit, he's a lot better tonight.

Leslie Hunt gone. Dial Idol 2 for 2 (Leslie was in their bottom 3).

Well, shows to go that Dial Idol's error for margin can be a bit greater than we've seen in the past. I'm still wondering if it's the text messaging ... that's the only thing I can think of.