Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hanging Out With Some Monkeys

I accompanied my son's third grade class to the zoo last week and yesterday I received thank you cards from the group of 5 that I chaperoned.

One of them thanked me for "pertecting me from dangers." Dangers? Hmm. Not sure how much pertecting I actually did. I suppose that the lions and tigers and bears could have charged us....and had that happened, I would have definitely been there for him. So yes, he was right (and kind) to thank me for putting my life on the line. You are so welcome, sweetie.

Another note read, "the best part was finally geting something to eat." Clearly the third graders need to work on their spelling, but, regardless, I get his drift...after an early lunch at 10:30, we were all famished by 1:00. I, too, enjoyed the ice cream treat. Not sure it was the best part of the day, but definitely up there on my list.

One of the girls wrote that her favorite animal was the "peinguin, even though the room smelled like salmon." Hmm. (Note to self: be sure to check my son's spelling homework every night.) I'm not sure I'll be able to choke down my salmon dinner without thinking of those precious penguins, but that's neither here nor there.

And a very sweet little girl mentioned in her note that her favorite part of the trip was spending time with me. Clearly that child was very bored.

My son's thank you note gave me a chuckle, "I really enjoyed you coming to the zoo with me! I'm pretty sure my group did, too." Pretty sure? Hmm. Cause I think the kid I was pertecting and the girl who attached herself to my hip were thrilled that I was there. Good to know that Beck is "pretty sure". He went on to add that he hopes I can accompany them next year when their class goes to Raleigh. Darn it, I am busy that day, but surely another mother will jump at the chance (of a 6 hour round trip bus ride).

His note was by far the longest as he listed all of his favorite sites from the Amur Tiger to the merkats to the monkeys and then closed with, "But those Dippin' Dots? Don't even get me started on how good they were!" I promise not to get him started as that boy can go into some serious detail about the most mundane topics. True, a Dippin' Dot is about the size of a pea, but I guarantee he could fill an entire page with commentary on the dot: from it's consistency, to it's taste, to how it feels on his tongue, to the degree of the brain freeze it causes, to his favorite flavor, to all the places he's had the Dots, to how much the Dots cost him, etc....

While watching the ginormous turtles roaming in a field at the zoo, my son commented on the fact that it looked like somebody was controlling the animals with a joystick. Yes, he spends a lot of time in front of his Wii, clearly I need to get him out more. Or perhaps groom him to be a 3D modeler/animator. Move over Walt Disney, there's a new kid in town. (Have they come out with Wii Zoo, yet, or is that something we should jump on?)

Technology has changed a lot since I was a kid visiting the zoo. One of the girls asked if I could help her delete some of the pictures on her disposable camera. Hmm. I guess somebody should have explained the idea behind a disposable camera before entering the zoo. Unfortunately, she had taken all 20 shots of the flamingos; which were the very first animals we visited. I suggested that her friends with the digital cameras email her some of their photos and she thought that was a great idea.

It was a perfect day at the Columbia Riverbanks Zoo and I enjoyed myself immensely. Mother Nature cooperated by giving us a beautiful day and the monkeys put on quite a show swinging from branch to branch and hootin' and hollerin' at the kids. My monkeys behaved quite nicely, as well. In fact, I should be the one writing them a thank you letter.

Parking Lot Rage

I have practically eliminated my Target runs since the layoff, but when my husband informed me that he was out of contact lens solution, I took it as an invitation to visit the Mother Ship. For weeks my grey hairs had been screaming at me each time I glanced in the mirror. That's not an easy thing to do, as they literally stick straight up. It's bad enough that they are a different color than the rest of my locks, but to add insult to injury they take on a thick wiry texture quite different from my otherwise soft, dark, brown hair. They stand on end as if they are screaming, "UM, HELLO? LOOK AT ME! DO YOU NOT HEAR L'OREAL CALLING MY NAME? GO TO TARGET AND GET SOMETHING TO COVER ME UP AND RESTORE MY LUSTER!"

Happy to report that I was in and out of Target in under 20 minutes. And I didn't stray from my list. Not even once. That's a feat in and of itself, and yes, I should be commended for it. So I'm walking back to my car when this very large white vehicle - don't press me for the make and model as I am so not a make and model kind of gal; I drive a tan minivan, clearly I am not impressed by, nor do I care about cars. But this big, in fact, HUGE, white vehicle pulls in front of me and stops. I thought it was somebody I knew because the driver came to an abrupt stop as if she wanted to speak to me. But instead, she proceeded to try and turn the rig around. Mind you, huge vehicles don't turn on a dime very easily, much less in a tight Target parking garage, but this driver was determined. And so I stepped out of her way and left her to her 13 point turn and proceeded down the aisle looking for my car.

I noticed that she had one of those annoying oval stickers on the back of her car that notifies all drivers where she sends her kids to school. I know I'll probably offend many of you...but I abhor those euro-cool stickers. I don't care if the sticker has the abbreviation for your kids school or where your beach home is located or which mountain top your second home is situated...I am not a fan of those little, oval stickers. I know, I know, we all have our pet peeves (and I'm sure I have more than the average Joe) and the oval sticker in mine. This particular sticker told me that the driver of the HUGE white vehicle sends her kids to the same school as mine.

Ok, so back to the story...

Now, when I say I have no memory - I mean - NO memory. Nada. I don't remember driving to Target, much less where I parked my car. So I'm meandering, looking back and forth for my car and I'm pressing the keyless entry thing-a-ma-jig trying to get my horn to beep in an attempt to hear my car before I see it...but...I get nothing. No horn, no car, no nothing. And the whole time, the HUGE, white vehicle is still behind me, creeping along at a snail's pace right behind me. Clearly, she wants my space and I'm feeling the pressure to locate the car immediately, if not sooner.

That's when it dawns on me that I didn't drive my tan minivan, I drove my husband's car (also free of little oval stickers). That explains why the key fob (is that what you call it?) isn't activating my minivan's horn...the minivan is a good 5 miles away. And then I spot the car a row over, so I veer off in between two parked cars in the general direction of my wheels in the next row. And that's when all hell breaks loose. The lady driving the HUGE white vehicle GOES BALLISTIC. She is FURIOUS that I am not parked in the aisle that she has been stalking me in and so she leans on her horn and pulls her arms up and practically jabs her shoulders into her ears while contorting her face as if to say, "What the heck, lady? I have been tracking your big ole butt so that I can have your spot and your car isn't even in this row! Wtf?" At least that's what I imagine she's saying, but I can't read her lips. I just know she is not happy. At all.

How, pray tell, do I react to this crazy loon? "Really? Rrrreally? You're pissed at me because I am parked in the next row?" It's not as if I said, "Hey follow me and you can have my spot." And it's not as if she asked me where I was parked. Heck, It's not as if we ever made eye contact!'s not as if there aren't plenty of open spaces scattered throughout the parking garage! Not to mention, the last time I drove a HUGE vehicle, it didn't require any more effort on the gas pedal to make the car move, so what is this woman's problem? Drive to the next aisle and the spot is yours, for crying out loud.

Who knows what was really behind her melt-down, I just knew that I wasn't going to stick around to find out if a) she was armed and b) if one of her kids was in one of my kids' classes at school. Cause I'm pretty sure her kid would have beaten the crap out of my kid. Something tells me that short fuses run in that family. I made a bee line for my little car and high tailed it outta there. Holy guacamole.

Next stop: the grocery store. Now that's a parking lot worthy of some serious parking lot rage. Especially around lunch hour because the grocery store is surrounded by eateries and a coffee shop and a Smoothie King and parking is at a premium, to say the least. As luck would have it, it was just after noon when I pulled in and began my search for a spot. I noticed a friend walking into the grocery store, so I beeped and waved. She didn't recognize me with my hair pulled back, my baseball cap pulled down low and my big I rolled down the window and said, "Hey, you have no idea who I am, do you?" My voice gave me away, but before she could respond, the car behind me, ok, the car up my you-know-what, starts blowing her horn and signaling me to get the heck out of the way. Not sure if she had an oval sticker on the back, but she could do with one that reads RLX. Get it? Relax. Clever, huh? That's what I love most about those stickers...they are sooo dang clever. They get me every time. Every. Single. Time.

Anyway, I believe this town has gone mad. Not sure if it's the threat of swine flu or the trouble at Bank of America or the struggling economy in general, but people are on edge. I think everybody needs to take a deep breath, get out of their cars and take a long walk. I, for one, am steering clear of Target for awhile. I can't avoid the grocery store, but I figure I've got another 6 weeks before my grey hairs start standing on end and demanding that I return to the Mother Ship....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Cat is Out of Lives...

The big news isn't that Matt is going home, but rather that Adam was next in line...hmm. Perhaps his Broadway act is getting a bit old?

Now that Matt is gone, I'm throwing my support behind Kris. (Whatever that means, because no, I do not intend on voting.) I know it doesn't really matter who wins the title because they'll all get recording contracts and they'll have careers, but I don't think it does the show any good to have somebody like Taylor Hicks win the prize. Seriously - who was voting back in season 5?

Loved tonight's Group Sing. It was a classy act and scored very low on the cheese factor scale. I could have done without the food fight, but it's good to see that the Idols are a wild and crazy bunch, huh? And while they managed to make quite a mess, for $6000, I'd be more than happy to clean it up. In fact, I'd hire Natalie Cole to help and insist she eat some of it - man - that lady could use a cake or two.

I agree with Simon when he says that Matt doesn't quite believe in himself, but I'll take Matt's self-doubt over Jamie Foxx's ego any day of the week. He may have "the number one song in America" but that was the worst canned performance I've seen in a loooong time. But have no fear, Jamie blew Jamie away because that cat is a true artist. And just let him tell you about it.

So next week is all about rock 'n roll. Do you think Adam will do an Elvis impersonation? It might be a good theme for Allison...and she has one last chance to make me proud and return to her dark roots. But I only have eyes and ears for Kris and I'm sure he will not disappoint.

It's the next phase, new wave, dance craze,'s still rock and roll to me...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Rat Pack

Three more weeks until the Finale. And tonight, for the first time all season, I don't want any of the contestants to go home. But we can't have 5 American Idols, so somebody has to go...

The theme is standards made popular by the Rat Pack and the mystery mentor is Jamie Foxx. (Because as Kris pointed out...everybody else is dead.) Kris is singing "The Way You Look Tonight" and I love the way he looks. I always do. I know this is a singing competition, but Kris is adorable. And don't tell his wife that I said that because, I'm kind of afraid of her. She reminds me of an angry, mean Reece Witherspoon; somebody who will not put up with the crazy-ass shenanigans of his adoring female fans. Hmm.

  • Randy says it's his best performance to date: Kris took his time, he told his story.
  • Surprise, surprise...Kara is overly dramatic with her critique telling Kris that he set the technical standard for the evening. She thinks he's a dark horse. Dark horse? I think Kris has been one of the favorites for several weeks, so why Kara is saying that he is a dark horse is beyond me, but then again, Kara is often beyond me.
  • Paula thinks Kris is handsome and sophisticated. (Not sure Mrs. Allen appreciates that...)
  • Simon isn't as wooed by Kris tonight. He's not sure that Kris can win this competition.
  • Laurie thinks that Kris can absolutely win this competition, a lot can happen in 3 weeks and Kris gets better each week.
Allison put some black low-lights in her hair! Finally! And the orange is a bit more maroon tonight, which is a drastic improvement. Granted, I'd prefer an all over black, but I'll take what I can. She looks fantastic while singing "Someone to Watch Over Me". Jamie Foxx showers her with praise.
  • Randy says Allison is lookin' dope tonight and adds that her performance is da bomb.
  • Kara "ain't nervous for you anymore...." (After these two comments, I'm nervous for the English language.)
  • Paula is proud of Allison. (and that's something, huh?)
  • Simon isn't sure that Allison believes in herself. He thinks that she is being overshadowed by some of the other personalities and has a horrible feeling that she is in trouble tonight.
  • Laurie thinks that Simon just gave Allison the kiss of death. I think it is a great performance, but I have a hard time understanding some of the lyrics. "Someone to Watch Over Me" sounds more like, "Su Wuh to Waaaa Ova Meeee".
Matt is singing one of my favorites, "My Funny Valentine." He studied jazz in college and got a B. I'm hoping tonight's performance will be an A.
  • Randy acknowledges that it's a hard song to sing, but says it was a little pitchy and it didn't quite come together.
  • Kara doesn't feel like he was emotionally connected.
  • Paula says it was pure, simple and impressive.
  • Simon disagrees with Randy and says it is the most authentic performance all night. And the icing on the cake: the performance is absolutely brilliant.
  • Laurie is always thrilled when Simon puts Randy in his place - especially when it involves Matt's performance. I think he gets an A, ok, maybe an A-
Danny is singing "Come Rain or Come Shine" and Jamie Foxx gets in his grill to try get the most out of Danny. Apparently it works.
  • Randy thinks Danny can make a whole album of these Rat Pack songs.
  • Kara says he's got a Rat Pack Swagga.
  • Paula says she's going to keep is short: stellar. But then adds a few more words because she is incapable of making her commentary short.
  • Simon agrees that Danny has swagger (he opts to pronounce the word correctly). He believes that Danny came out to prove a point tonight: he wants to win.
  • Laurie thinks this is the first time Danny has shown some originality. Unlike some of the contestants, Danny hasn't gotten much better since we first saw him in the auditions. Granted, he was good back then, but it was nice to hear a little variety tonight.
And as usual, Adam closes the show and brings down the house. He sings "Feeling Good" and after the performance he is doing just that...
  • Randy says it's a little theatrical, a little too Broadway, but a great performance.
  • Kara says it's confusing and shocking and sleezy...but in a good way...she loves it.
  • Paula says Adam makes her feel better than good and then adds that he's our very own Michael Phelps.
  • Simon acknowledges that Adam is in it to win it. And then adds that Ryan can no longer use the staircase after Adam's entry.
  • Laurie thinks Adam is in a class by himself, BUT....she is growing weary. I like Adam, I really do, but sometimes the screaming and the theatrics is a bit too much for me to handle. Sometimes I prefer the quiet touch of Kris to the production and flamboyance of Adam. Still, I love how calm, cool and collected Adam is before and after his performances. He is well spoken and genuine and appears humble and gracious. And god knows he is talented. I just wish I could get the image of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat out of my mind when I'm watching Adam sing.
My favorite part of the night...the recap...roll the tape:
  1. Kris: understated and fabulous.
  2. Allison: why the heck didn't she change that hair color sooner? She may not get the chance to show us her brunette side.
  3. Matt: smoooooooth.
  4. Danny: I am so NOT giving Jamie Foxx credit for Danny's artistry tonight.
  5. Adam: hate to say it...but that little facial gesture of his at the end...downright creepy.
So who is going home? I think it's between Matt and Allison and I'm going to put my money on Allison.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Anoop and Lil Pack Their Bags...

You know what? Paula can't talk, but she can choreograph. I found the Group Sing (and Dance) to be thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe they should let her choreograph all the dance numbers in exchange for her judging duties.

But despite the music medly, tonight's theme was not "Disco Night", but rather "Old Ladies Revealing Way Too Much Night". It starts with Paula's Spiderman dress - or at least 1/2 of a Spiderman dress. Seriously, Paula, you are too old for a baby doll mini. Man. And the theme continues with the the two Disco goddesses.

But I between Paula and the Cougar Disco Queens....Lil Rounds is eliminated. No surprise there. Unfortunately, she has to sing one last time. Fortunately, I don't have to listen to it thanks to my favorite FF button.

And then the craziness begins. Ryan introduces some woman; I didn't catch the name. But before I can hit the reverse button the train wreck appears on stage and I cannot go back. Whoa. This woman is a site to behold. She's had lots and lots of work done to her face, but apparently opted against the tummy tuck. Her voice is horrible. She appears drunk. There are body parts bouncing all over the place and yet she still sounds worse than she looks. Holy guacamole, Idol has hit a new low.

And then Scary Disco Lady introduces Thelma Houston. I think that's her name (again, I am NOT backing up as I am mesmerized by these has-beens.) Where did they find these women? And where in god's name is Donna Summer when you need her?

Thelma's boobs are oozing out of her dress. I don't know, can we really call that thing a dress? It's more like a bunch of yellow streamers and the top part is at least 5 sizes too small. Thelma cannot contain the girls. And yet, I can't take my eyes off of her Medusa-like hair. She thinks she has Tina Turner legs; she does not. Not even close. And she appears to be singing directly to Simon begging him to satisfy the need in her. Oh, dear god, Simon is mortified.

But not as mortified as the Sunshine Band. They've got to be embarrassed for their former lead singer. Surely one of them could have talked KC out of tonight's performance? He looks like Tony Soprano and sounds like I-don't-know-what. Time has not been a friend to KC. He used to be sooo cute. But now, he has no voice - I'm not talking a bad voice - I'm talking no voice. It's gone. And so are his looks and his waist line. At least he's got some attractive (read: whore-like) backup singers to take the pressure off.

Seriously, what just happened there? That was the worst Idol production of all time. Man, what I would give to hear Simon's take on the old bags.

Ok, let's refocus....

Matt is safe! But poor Allison has to join angry Anoop in the bottom 3. I'm telling you, it's her hair. If she'd just change the color of her hair, she's broaden her fan base.

And now it's David Archuletta's turn to take the stage. He looks even younger than he did last season. How is that possible? But he proves me wrong: you don't have to be an old fart to sound flat and off key. I never got the Archuletta thing and I never will. Did anybody catch the old lady in his band playing keyboards? Seriously, what is going on tonight? It's like a bad, old lady dream.

But it ends on a happy note with Anoop and Lil packing their bags. Lil accepts her fate and seems genuinely excited about getting home to her family. Anoop, on the other hand, is majorly disappointed. Did he rrrreally think he could go all the way? I'm sure Chapel Hill will give him the key to the city; he'll be fine.

Ok, I need a few more minutes to absorb things. That was the weirdest show I've seen in a looong time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Disco Night

It's been a week; I haven't blogged since Matt was saved. I actually forgot my password (and yes, that does make me feel a bit like Paula.)

But, it's good to be back...let's get this party started.

Ryan is looking mighty dapper this evening in his skinny suit. Randy has shed his sweater in favor of a t-shirt, but that doesn't make me like him any better. The Seven are introduced and Lil is wearing her Donna Summer wig so I immediately think she is going to sing "The Last Dance", but she surprises us with Oprah's old theme song, "I'm Every Woman." She's sporting a cat suit and there's a lot of screaming going on. She may not be singing "The Last Dance", but she may as well be because it certainly is her last dance on this stage.
  • Randy says it sounded wild...Lil looks completely devastated
  • Kara continues to rip Lil's heart out....Lil looks deflated
  • Paula tries to be nice by commenting on the fact that Lil was on vocal rest this week, but it only adds fuel to the fire...Lil looks crushed
  • Simon acknowledges that Lil looks sad. Ya think? But then goes on to deliver the final blow and the kiss of death: no originality
  • Laurie wants Lil to shut up. Shut the f....front door, Lil. Shut it.
Next up, Kris Allen. He's the one singing Donna Summer tonight. Ryan asks why he chose "She Works Hard for the Money" and Kris tells us because it's a story about a woman working hard for her money. Alrighty then, Kris. I love him, but I'm thinking Kris isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. But that's ok, because he can sing and he's original and he's awfully kute.
  • Kara says he took a risk...and it paid off
  • Paula says it has a Santana feel...and by George, I think's she's got it. But then she goes on about Kris shopping in the women's department and it confuses the hell out of Simon
  • Simon says he needs a translator to understand Paula's comments. You're outta luck, Simon: I don't think anybody speaks Paula. And that's a good thing. Simon doesn't need a translator: he thinks it was a fantastic performance
  • Randy tells Kris that he knows who he is
  • Laurie thinks Kris is Adam's only competition...
Danny sings Earth, Wind and Fire's, "September". Love his look tonight.
  • Randy is worried about the song choice, but in the end, he thinks Danny turns it into something that works for him
  • Kara comments on his incredible vocals and his perfect pitch and gives her solid performance stamp of approval
  • Paula loves his range. I think. She says a lot more, but I'm not sure she has a point. Simon's facial expressions are priceless as Paula waxes poetic about Danny
  • Simon can't argue that Danny has a great voice, but thinks he lacks star power
  • Laurie agrees with Simon. I want to like Danny, heck, I want to love Danny....but he's not nearly as original as Kris and Adam. He needs to knock one out of the park, or he's going to be packing his bags NEXT week
Allison is singing another Donna Summer disco hit, "Hot Stuff". And Allison looks hot tonight. I love her stretch pleather outfit and high heels. Now if she'd only do something with that hair.
  • Randy doesn't love the arrangement but thinks she is one of the best singers in the competition
  • Kara isn't a fan of the arrangement, either, but loves the vocals. Blah, blah, blah
  • I have no idea what Paula is saying because I'm focused on Simon's face. He is as confused as I am and is having a hard time containing his laughter
  • Simon thinks it was a brilliant performance
  • Laurie loves the arrangement. Randy and Kara are so freakin' useless. It's a great performance. I think it's one of Allison's best nights
Adam is the man to beat tonight (and every night). He's got the Eddie Munster look going on and he's singing "If I Can't Have You". He wants to connect with it emotionally. I'm not sure if he's connecting with it emotionally, but I'm pretty certain that Paula is...she is quite taken with this performance. Whoa. Paula looks like she's going to cry. Adam looks like he's going to cry. Thankfully his parents are smiling at the tears in sight.
  • Randy thinks he's ready right now
  • Kara thinks he's brilliant (that's Simon's word, but Kara gets to it first)
  • I'm not watching or listening to Paula because Simon is reading my mind and so my eyes are on him...
  • Simon says that Adam has immaculate vocals
  • Laurie thinks Adam is fabulous...but...I'm kind of over that serious face of Adam's. That weird, intense thing he does with his eyes. It's a bit much and rather contrived
Matt is "Stayin' Alive"...hopefully. He starts off and is looking very Justin Timberlake, bringing sexy back and all. He can't beat Adam or Kris or Allison or Danny...but he should beat Lil and Anoop.
  • Randy doesn't love the song choice or the arrangement, but says he can sing. Well I don't love Randy or his comments or his feedback. So there.
  • Kara is glad that he brought Disco back and thinks it's a solid performance
  • Paula says that last week they saved his life and this week he saved his own life
  • Simon disagrees with them...he doesn't like it. He thinks it sounds desperate and unoriginal
  • Laurie doesn't want to agree with Simon, but knows he's right. Still, I don't think he should go home this week
Anoop closes the show with yet another Donna Summer song..."Dim All the Lights". He's sporting some facial hair this week, but still very collegiate. During his performance my husband says, "Hmm, Matt might be safe after all...". I've got my fingers crossed. At the end of the performance my husband adds, "Yup, Matt's safe..."
  • Randy doesn't like the arrangement
  • Kara thinks it's a good song choice and loves it
  • Paula likes his facial stubble, says that real men know how to wear pink and tells him to smile more because he has beautiful teeth...which translates sucked
  • Simon thinks it was mediocre at best. He doesn't like the arrangement and goes on record as saying it was Anoop's worst performance ever. Ouch.
  • Laurie is annoyed that he keeps singing "dim all the lights sweet baby" instead of "sweet darling". What's up with that? I'm not a fan of Anoop's anymore and I think it's time he get back to Chapel Hill and take his finals
Roll the recap tape, Ryan:
  1. Lil is going home...
  2. Kris' arrangement was amazing. And arrangement does matter despite what the judges say. You can't change it up for changing it up sake - you've got to change it up to make it a great song. And Kris does this. Week after week after week.
  3. Danny is playing it safe. Not sure how much longer this is going to work for him...
  4. Allison is hot stuff.
  5. Adam: I'm sorry but what is up with that pained face of his? Man, it bugs me. I don't like Mr. Serious Face.
  6. Matt: I know he's not going to win, but I love him and want him to stick around one more week.
  7. Anoop: Bye Bye....
So what two will be heading home tomorrow night? My money is on Lil and Anoop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Matt is Saved

I can't decide if I'm happy that Matt was saved or sad that Lil wasn't sent packing. I guess I'll accentuate the positive and be happy that Matt was saved. But I'll be happier next week when Lil and Anoop leave together....

My observations:
  • Paula has the girls front and center tonight. Not a good look, Paula. At all.
  • Anoop almost wipes out during the Maniac number.
  • Adam's hair looks less asymmetrical. I think he's trying to blend in tonight.
  • Zac Efron's new movie sounds original. Not. Haven't we seen that plot before in "Peggy Sue Got Married", "Big", "Freaky Friday" and "13 going on 30" just to name a few? Hopefully Zac and his cool hat can pull it off...again. Regardless, Allison got to ride in a limo to the premiere. And it was totally awesome.
  • Jennifer Hudson looks like a GIANT next to ryan.
  • Anoop is pissed about being in the bottom 3. So what else is new?
  • Loved when Simon said, "Um, Kris, we didn't get to talk last night: you were brilliant."
  • Lil's turn to defend herself. And...I have no idea what she is trying to say. She makes Paula sound eloquent. Zip it, Lil.
  • Danny's in the spotlight. Is he in the bottom 3 or isn't he? Randy jumps in with, "Um, Danny, we didn't get to talk last night: you did your thing, dog, you worked it out." Whatever, Randy. Stop copying everything Simon does. If you feel the need to imitate him, how about going with his sweater choice.
  • Hannah Montana time. Have I mentioned how much I dislike Hannah?
  • Ryan introduces her as "Dominating the entire entertainment industry." Really? I bet she wrote that line herself as nobody is a bigger fan of Hannah Montana's than Miley Cyrus.
  • I would love to hear Simon critique Hannah's performance. Her nasally twang drives me crazy. I thought it was pitchy and indulgent and I don't think she would have made the Top 36.
  • So Matt learns he's the bottom vote getter. He's singing his heart out while Paula and Kara are dancing and carrying on like jackasses and Randy is literally running over to Simon (as Simon would never go to him). In the end...Matt is saved.
  • The audience goes nuts as the contestants embrace Matt. Hopefully this will give him a much needed ego boost and he'll stay out of the bottom 3 next week....
And next week is disco week...wanna bet Lil sings Donna Summer? Perhaps "The Last Dance". Which would be quite apropos....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top 7: Music from the Movies

Ok, before we get started, seriously, what is up with Randy's sweaters? And beads? He is on my last nerve tonight. In fact, tonight he officially proves how completely useless he is; from the sweater, to the beads to the comments, he doesn't get anything right. So. Completely. Over. Randy.

Quentin Tarantino is here giving his two cents on songs from the movies. But it doesn't appear as if any of the contestants really take his advice. Hmm. He isn't the only celebrity in the house: also spotted are Little Stevie and Katie Couric (not together).

So Allison starts us off with "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and she sings it beautifully. Flawlessly, in fact. But apparently she opts to ignore Simon's feedback from last week heeding her to address her dress. He doesn't go there this week, so I will: the black smock looks like something you wear at the salon while getting your hair colored. Paula thinks Allison's got the same sauce as Adam: she's authentic. Simon also loves her performance. While complimenting Allison with, "You are the girls only hope left in this competition." he manages to throw Lil under the bus. Niiiice. Thankfully, we don't have to hear from Randy and Kara because of time constraints.

Anoop sings "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You". Quentin tells him to deliver it with a punch, but Anoop knows better (or at least he thinks he does) and leaves out the punch. Maybe that's why he's got the sweaty upper lip thing going on tonight? Perhaps he's doubting himself? But he shouldn''s a great performance. Amid Randy's dogs and dudes and mans, I think he likes it...but I could care less what he thinks. Kara thinks it's one of Anoop's best songs eva. And I just want to hear what Simon has to say....

Adam is up and he's singing "Born to be Wild". One of my biggest pet peeves on this show is when a contestant receives negative feedback from a judge and then counters with, "I had a lot of fun up there." If ever a contestant was having fun up there - it was Adam tonight. Paula loves him and gives only positive feedback. Simon thinks his vocals are incredible, but thinks it was a bit scary. Even after Simon's feedback, Adam doesn't feel the need to justify anything by saying "I had a lot of fun up there." He's above those shenanigans - he's professional and talented and oozes star quality. He's the real deal, for sure. Simon doesn't think this performance will be as popular as last week's; I beg to differ.

Bryan Adams gets some more air time this evening with Matt's rendition of "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman". I really love him. And I really loathe Randy and Kara. Matt is an awesome piano player and a great singer and every week Kara says the same thing: I'm not sure if Matt is a rock singer or a soul singer? She bores me and I cannot listen to another word. Randy starts his critique with, "The thing for me for you...." and proceeds to massacre the English language, dog. Neither of them give Matt a glowing review and I fear that may send him home. Unless, of course, the rest of America is as sick of them as I.

Danny is singing "Endless Love" and is clearly emotional and verklempt. Quenton encourages him to take the energy out of his hands and put it into his eyes. Danny's sans glasses this evening and so you can really see the tears well up in his eyes. But you can also see his hands waving in the air despite Quenton's advice. I think it's Danny's church background that causes his hands to go up in the air. And for the first time - ever - I believe Paula delivers her feedback more eloquently than Simon. She likes Danny's rendition. Simon, on the other hand, is disappointed with the harp and the fact that he sang Lionel Ritchie's rendition without much change. Simon thinks Danny needs to show a little more originality and spark...and I agree.

Kris and his krooked smile are simply adorable. Do you think his wife gets to have sleepovers at the mansion? Just wondering. Kris sings "Falling Slowly" and I love it. I think he sounds amazing. And then Randy chimes in with..."For me for you was pitchy" What the? I think Randy might have a bead lodged in his ear. Kris sounds great. And Kara agrees with me.

Lil is doing Bette Midler's "The Rose" and I'm going to be honest with you, I can't get past her lips. I don't like this performance at all. She's got a great big voice, but I don't think there is anything original about Lil at all. Paula is incoherent at this point and quotes a line from the song about the road being too long and blah, blah, blah. I am looking at her like she has 6 heads when Simon chimes in with, "I have no idea what you are talking about." Thank you, Simon. He is soooo not all over Lil. He threw her under the bus while critiquing Allison, and opts to finish her off by saying she's too middle of the road.

And now I've completely lost interest in the show and I'm telling my kids to go get ready for bed and I'm putting the pillows back on the couch and folding the throws and in the background I hear Lil and Simon going at it and I see Lil's lips going up and down and I just want it to be over.

So, let's roll the recap and be done with this already:
1) Allison: She's even better the 2nd time around. She sounds amazing.
2) Anoop: So sick of that varsity wear of his. Maybe he and Allison can swap outfits.
3) Adam: I totally get Simon's Rocky Horror Picture Show reference and now "Let's Do the Time Warp Again" is going to be in my head for the rest of the night....dammit.
4) Matt: Love him. Hate Randy.
5) Danny: Hard to say bad things about a guy who is singing about his dead wife....
6) Kris: Randy doesn't know what he is talking's a fantastic performance.
7) Lil: Sassy Mama

So who is in the bottom 3? Hmm. Lil, Matt and Anoop. And it better not be Matt that goes home or I'm going to hold Randy and his freakin' sweater responsible.

Poor Jennifer Hudson having to share the limelight with Miley Cyrus. Ugh....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sayonara, Scott...

Here are tonight's random thoughts:
  1. Worst Group Sing in Idol history. Bar none.
  2. Kris got the cute vote, as he should, and managed to escape the bottom 3.
  3. Anoop is pissed. (He'll apologize for it next week...)
  4. Kara (and her honking gold necklace) bugs the crap out of me.
  5. Love me some Flo Rida, but I don't get the exposed underwear thing. At all. And yes, I realize I am dating myself. It's in keeping with this week's theme: the year they were born. The year I was born the Beatles were wearing slim-cut tailored suits. Something tells me that Flo would bust out of a slim-cut suit.
  6. Scott is sporting a bouffant in honor of the year I was born. Thanks, Scott.
  7. Anoop, Lil and Scott are in the bottom 3. America got it right. But I think Anoop begs to differ.
  8. Simon confesses that one Idol in the bottom 3 is worthy of a save. Hmm. Who might that be? If they save Scott, I will start wearing my pants around my knees in protest.
  9. Kelly Pickler has lost a million pounds and still her dress doesn't fit. What's up with that? Has she had some work done to her face? A nose job, maybe? She better be careful, she kind of reminds me of Joan Van Ark.
  10. Tina Turner is safe. Lucky break there, Lil.
  11. FINALLY, America got it right.... Scott is going home. Or is he?
  12. When asked if his singing was good enough to earn the judge's save, Scott replies, "I won't know until I watch the tape." Was that meant to be a joke? He did say "watch" the tape, right?
  13. Simon seals the deal and finally we are rid of Scott. Whew. I can continue to wear my pants around my waist.
  14. Shut up, Paula.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Songs From the Year They Were Born

Finally...the show is down to an hour! Unfortunately, it went over an hour and my DVR cut off (that's Southern for "stopped recording") before Adam had a chance to sing. Have no fear, I caught him mid-song on real TV. As if I have to hear Adam to know he was the best.

My iMac died yesterday so I'm upstairs in the office typing on a computer that I believe was made the year Allison was born. I have no idea what font will show up and and I'm not sure I'll have the patience to search for a picture since it moves at a snail's pace. But, the show must go on....

A word or two about the judges' baby pictures:
  • Randy was adorable (what happened?)
  • Kara gets Most Improved
  • Ryan says Paula looks "exactly the same". Um, yeah, that's because it's not a baby picture, she's practically full grown.
  • Same with Simon. He's about 7 years old in the shot. And he looks more like Michael Phelps than Simon Cowell
So the old man of the bunch, Danny Gokey, starts us off singing "Stand By Me" circa 1980. I thought it sounded like a Christmas carol. I didn't love the arrangement and he looked awfully nervous, but I love Danny's vocals. And I love Danny. As does Paula, evidenced by the fact that she is on her feet.

The year is 1985 and "All She Wants to Do is Dance" in the mosh pit. Do you think that was Kris' idea? Or do the producers give him extra credit for standing in the middle of all those people? I get claustrophobic just watching it. The mosh pit is the kiss of death and Kris' arrangement sealed the deal. I'm thinking Kris should have stuck to his guns and become a taxi driver and seen the world. Bummer, I love Kris, but tonight is all wrong. I can't believe I'm going to give Kara her props, but when she said it sounded like he was doing his jazz/funk homework, she was spot on. Paula didn't have anything nice to say about she told him he was likeable. It's the male version of "you look beautiful tonight." Simon told him it was a "stupid, stupid song choice." and the dog agreed.

Good to know Lil Rounds is her real name. But, despite what her teacher told her, I don't think she'll see that name in lights any time in the near future. Her Tina Turner impersonation (walk and all) was painful to watch. Lil is incapable of making any song her own. She is void of artistry. She may have gotten away with just having a big voice in the first few seasons of Idol, but now it's all about artistry and making it your own and Lil just doesn't cut it. But...and that's a big but...I don't think she should go before Scott.

Anoop was born the same day as David Cook in December of 1986. The year I graduated from college. Ouch. Speaking of college...loved Anoop's shout out to the Tar Heels. He sang "True Colors" and while I loved it, I thought it sounded like the version in Dove's True Colors Campaign. (I'll give you the link here, but I can't be sure it's the version I've heard before because this computer doesn't have sound. Good times.) Simon said that Anoop is like a yo-yo, one week he's up, the next he's down. I agree. This week I liked him, but that doesn't mean I'm looking forward to hearing him next week.

"The Search is Over" and that's not all that is is Scott. Seriously, that performance was beyond ridiculous. Horrible vocals, make-believe guitar playing, fish out of water feel to it. Ridiculous. Kara says, "I have to commend you..." WHY? Why must you commend him on that performance? You just tore Lil to shreds, how about doing the same to Scott. Then it's Paula's turn and she says, "I have to give you credit for stepping away from the piano..." WHY? Why on earth does he deserve credit for that? She knows there is nothing good to say so she adds, "You have a wonderful sense of humor." No, he does not, Paula. He isn't funny and he cannot sing. Or play the guitar, for that matter. My husband is in the kitchen (fixing my iMac) while I watch in the den and I hear him ask, "Why don't they tell him that he sucks?" Because he is blind, sweetie (how is my iMac?). Randy says it was "all ok." NO, IT WAS NOT EVEN REMOTELY OK, Randy. And Scott fires back, "At least I'm versatile." NO, YOU ARE NOT REMOTELY VERSATILE, Scott. Enough is enough, he must go home.

Allison was born in 1992 and sang "I Can't Make You Love Me." She is unbelievably talented with a magical voice. Loved this performance. Paula was right: it was Bonnie Raitt's arrangment, but she still managed to make it her own. Simon agreed that it was superb, but added that she needs to work on her image. Here, here. I've been saying that for weeks. She needs a stylist and a personality coach and she needs it fast. It's a shame that such an amazing talent can only score a 1 on the likeability scale. There is something about her that reminds me of Kelly Clarkson, but it's not Kelly's girl-next-door personality, that's for sure. I don't dislike her, but I don't like her, either. And I want to....

But I'll tell you who I do like/love/lust after...Matt. He sang "Part Time Lover" and Paula got up on her feet. It was a verrry cool version and Matt sang his heart out. We're almost out of time and the judges are speeding through their critiques. Randy keeps it short and sweet...something like..."Yo, Matt, check it out...vocally one of the best of the night." Kara bows down to him, Paula has two words for him: Standing O. Simon agrees.

But saves the actual standing ovation for Adam, who truly is amazing and has distanced himself from the rest of the pack. Sure, there are good vocals in the group, but nobody comes close to Adam's showmanship and star quality. I'm not sure if Simon gave him a standing ovation because it was the best song EVER or because there was no time left to comment - probably a little bit of both. But man, that Adam is the man to watch.

So, roll the tape one last time....
1) Gokey: love him, but he's a bit of an old fart, no? He's getting the old lady vote, for sure.
2) Kris: If he's not in the bottom 3, it's because he's so cute...and he is cute.
3) Lil: Bad, bad, bad impersonation of Tina Turner. Worse the second time around. Whoa...
4) Anoop: What's up with the lime green cardigan?
5) Scott: Versatile, my ass.
6) Allison: She is a walking, talking Glamour Don't.
7) Matt: He's bringing sexy back...
8) Adam: The man to beat.

Bottom 3: Scott, Lil and Kris.

Who's going home? It's definetly Scott's turn...but I bet it will be Lil.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Time Flies...

They say that time flies when you're having fun. It's been almost 5 months since my husband lost his job and I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember where I was standing in the kitchen when he walked through the mudroom door. I remember what he was wearing and the expression on his face. I remember knowing that something was terribly wrong before he opened his mouth. And I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when he announced, "I've been laid off." It was a cold autumn day and yet I remember it like it was yesterday. Perhaps the old adage is wrong and time flies regardless of whether or not you are having fun.

We haven't spent the months moping around and feeling sorry for ourselves: quite the contrary. This is the 6th post that I have written for The Charlotte Observer's "The Squeeze" blog (not sure if or when it will be published); those of you who have read the previous entries know that my husband is incapable of looking at a glass half empty and that his positive attitude is contagious. Even after 5 months, he continues to view this experience as an opportunity to grow as person, to gain a better understanding of his strengths and talents and to land the job of his dreams. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Believe me, there are days when I want to slap him upside the head and shout, "This absolutely sucks and the news just keeps getting worse, how can you be so @%$# optimistic!?" But I've never actually uttered those words, which is more a testament to the invigorating effects of his positive attitude than it is my ability to practice self-control.

But I would be lying if I didn't admit to having bad days. Well, maybe not bad days, but bad nights, for sure. Why is it that things that are quite manageable in the light of day intensify as soon as the sun sets? Instead of shutting down and recharging at night, my mind has a tendency to wander to strange and scary places. Over the past couple of months I've become an expert at reeling it in and forbidding my imagination to get the best of me. In doing so, I've gained power and strength. Which brings me to another old adage: that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I believe that most of us choose to make lemonade out of the lemons we are handed. What other choice do we have, really? It's a survival instinct, the human spirit at work. But it's a shame that most of us don't appreciate it until after the fact. It's not until we've been put through the ringer and made it through to the other side that we look back and see that we were capable of much more than we initially gave ourselves credit for. Perspective is beautiful thing, but too many of us lose sight of it along the way.

As much as I would like this all to be over, for my husband to be employed and the economy to get back on track, I simply cannot afford to wish away this part of my life. I'm 45; I'm middle-aged, for crying out loud, every year counts! I hate that this is a difficult time, but time is going to pass whether or not I am smiling, so I may as well smile. My kids are 12 and 9 for only one year; I don't want to regret not having enjoyed every minute of it. I want to look back on this and be proud of how I handled myself and how I supported my husband and family. No regrets allowed.

This past weekend I saw one of the women I mentioned in an earlier post whose husband was also out of work. I will miss getting to know her better, but I am delighted that after only 6 weeks of unemployment, her husband found a fabulous job in Atlanta. They put their home on the market and it was under contract in 10 days. Granted, their story is not the norm; at least, it's not the kind of story that the media seems focused on these days. But wouldn’t it have been nice to see that story in print? I joked that my husband and I should rub the couple for good luck. But my husband is also doing well in his search. He hasn't secured full time employment, yet, but he landed an incredible consulting gig that brought him to the Ukraine for a week of very exciting work. I've been busy, too, and have actually deposited two paychecks in the last month. It's not steady work for either one of us, but it's a start and we're not complaining. In fact, we're smiling.

Which brings me to my last adage; I believe Robert Frost deserves the credit for this one, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." I suppose the mark of a successful life is one where the days fly by....but the years are long and full.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On My Soapbox

I was at Costco the other day, rolling my cart past the take and bake pizzas with my eyes firmly planted on the lady handing out samples of lobster spread when I heard a muffled crash behind me. I turned my head to find a sea of strawberries rolling my way. My initial reaction was to keep walking toward the loster spread, but the guilt got to me and I turned my enormous cart around to help the shopper who single handedly took out about 20 Costco-size containers of strawberries (read: enough to feed the state of Rhode Island). As I turned, I saw the woman who caused the accident pull her cart back (squishing a few strawberries in the process) and continue on her merry way toward the walk-in freezer as if nothing had happened; as if she had not plowed her cart into a tower of strawberries and left a disaster in her wake.

Oh, no you di'nt! Oh, yes, she did.

I stood there watching as the prima donna strolled into the freezer untroubled by her decision to leave the scene of the accident. She inspected the carrots and the organic pre-cut apple slices and the spinach with not so much as a single glance in the direction of the wreckage. As I bent down to pick up the bruised strawberries, two Costco employees appeared and took control of the clean up while I kept my eyes glued on the offender to see if she would come to her senses and own up to her mistake. Nope, didn't happen.

When she finally emerged from the walk-in freezer, I met her eyes with an icy stare and if looks could kill, well, she would have met the same fate as the squashed berries . But that didn't stop her from staring right back at me and ask, "Is there a problem?" Oh, no you di'nt! Oh, yes, she did. So I stood up, looked her in the eyes and said, "You tell you have a problem with this?" She didn't say a word; she stared at me for a second more and went about her business.

I bet she hasn't given it a second thought, while I, on the other hand, have been obsessing. How does someone walk away from something they were responsible for as if it didn't happen? And worst of all, leave others to clean up the mess? The Costco employees didn't seem fazed by our stare down and verbal exchange. In fact, they barely acknowledged it. I was fuming, but they didn't utter a single disparaging word. They told me that it happens all the time and that they are used to it. "But most people acknowledge the accident, right? I mean, most people don't just plow into a display and then keep going, do they?" Apparently they do. The two gentleman assured me that most of the spills they clean up are discovered by other employees; rarely does anybody own up and admit to a spillage.

Now I'm going to take my Costco experience and start jumping to all sorts of conclusions, so bear with me. I think the shopper's lack of responsibility is indicative of a trend in our society: not enough people are owning up to their mistakes and taking responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof). And many more are far too comfortable letting others clean up after them. I realize it's easier to place blame on others, or on circumstances and on conditions rather than blaming oneself.

Can you imagine a world where everybody took their responsibilty seriously? I'm talking about social responsibility, financial responsibility, personal health responsibility, parental responsibility....if everybody stepped up to the plate and acted responsibily...the world would be a much better place. That's my new wish for more wishing for peace on earth, now I'm all about responsibility on earth. It will cover the peace thing and then some. Not sure how we get people to act responsibly, but it's a worthy cause and I'm going to take it more seriously from now on.

I keep daydreaming about what I would say to that woman if she confronted me again with, "Is there a problem?" I might say, "Yes, there is a acted irresponsibly when you walked away from this mess. I understand it was an accident, but you are still responsible for it." But I wonder if it would sink in. Would it really matter? I've been lecturing my kids about responsibility for years and it still hasn't sunk in. But I'm hoping by the time they are old enough to shop the produce section at Costco, they will have learned a thing or two about responsibility. If I've told them once, I've told them a thousand times: mistakes are inevitable, but as long as you own up to them, fix them and learn from them, you're alright in my book.

I'll get off of my soapbox now....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Say Goodbye to Sassy Pants

I thought I wanted Scott to go home, and I did...until Megan graced the stage and right from the getgo started doing her best impression of an assclown. one point I thought she must be drunk. When Ryan asked her about Simon's reaction to her boring performance last night she responded, "I love you Simon, but I really don't care..." I'm calling bullshit on that, Megan Joy. You'll care when you watch the replay of tonight's show. It's one thing to be voted off, it's another to go down in flames. And you, my friend, went down in flames.

She made a complete fool of herself on the heels of David Cook's humble, dignified, top-notch performance. I am so horrified by her antics that I won't even comment on the fact that Scott was not in the bottom 3. And she had it coming when Simon said she was not worthy of a save and therefore would not be evaluated after tonight's performance....she was going home, regardless. A wise choice from a wise judge.

I still think she sounds like Ethel Merman, (take a listen), but Ethel Merman had more class in her little finger than Megan has in her whole sassy self. I have no use for that kind of back talking disrespect. Am I dating myself? Perhaps. But Megan has a lot of growing up to do and for her son's sake...I hope she does it...quickly.

Looking forward to next week when the contestants sing a song from the year they were born.