Friday, July 04, 2008
Jay: Book Meme Thingie Going Round********
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell******
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien**
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky***
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (this is a must read book if you have never read it.)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding****
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert*****
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett *******
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
* I did sit down and read Revelations once, and maybe poked other parts with a stick, but the whole thing? No more than I’ve read Dianetics.
** Tried once young and was so bored I couldn’t get far, which delayed my reading of the others.
*** Read part of this for an English class and found it scarily compelling. I “felt” too strongly what the main character was feeling and it freaked me out.
**** 9th Grade reading, but I liked it almost to the point of underlining, but it’s also a creepy study in human psychology, almost to where everyone ought to read it.
***** So boring I never read another of the series, yet oddly compelling enough I finished it and can see why maybe some were so intrigued.
****** Read this circa end of 1981 in my 1st apartment, resulting in uncharacteristic nightmares, as it has the same psychological edge as the type inexplicably deep-seated fears I suffer from most. The same thing that made me so horrified of the idea that in the Soviet Union they could call you crazy, look you up forever and torment you for being the rational one, or could easily accuse you of something you didn’t do or essentially invent a silly crime and completely ruin your life. Oh wait. It was sparked a deep depression that I got out of by reading Atlas Shrugged and by deciding to go to college and change my life completely.
******* It would be hard to overstate my love of this book, and its influence on me. Somewhere in a box I have a copy that might be 1st edition but is missing key pages so can’t tell. Or maybe it was damaged in some other way. If I still have and can find it.
******** Like some Indonesian junk…
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I’d never heard of the group before, but the video came up along with kid ABC videos on YouTube, Sadie played it, they ended up liking it, and I was intrigued that someone did a song about a classic aspie/geek guy whose romantic attention is hard to get. The part that drives it from sounding geeky and obtuse to sounding aspie is the part about not being in “any of his categories.”
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Jason Castro is finally going home, several weeks after he earned it. Hallelujah!
Inaccurate as they’ve become, I think Dial Idol is spot on, with the contestants in exactly the right order, and for the first time I can recall seeing this year, an unambiguous “red” indicator of who’ll be gone.
David Cook was amazing, and I liked his version of Hungry Like The Wolf. Baba O’Riley made us want to make our first ever iTunes purchase to get the full version.
Achoo-Bot was a bit more human, but still a bot. I never noticed just how much Stand By Me resembled Spanish Harlem. To me he was just adequate, and if he wins I am not sure he’ll sell as they’d like.
Syesha took her late bloom and overacted Proud Mary, of which I dislike the Turner version, while doing okay. What I heard of the other song, the only unfamiliar one of the night, was fine. She played the race card so overtly and shamelessly that she ought to get points off for it, and it’s not necessary with her talent.
To be fair, I hate hate hate Clapton’s I Shot The Sheriff. Never knew it was a cover. I thought Jason was vastly superior, making the song make sense to me. For me, he did not lose the night on the first song, apart from it maybe not being what people expect of an Idol.
Everyone knows Mr. Tambourine Man. Nobody missed his mangling of the words. He couldn’t have done a better job if he was intentionally trying to be voted off the show. Not a top four contender.
I’ve come to a realization about American Idol. Most seasons aren’t that good.
I just happened to start watching partway through season 4, quickly rooting for Bo Bice, while appreciating Carrie Underwood and being happy for her win, despite not being her market. There were WTF contestants outside the top two, but it mostly worked.
Season 5 had a different magic. Taylor Hicks was an absurd winner, though his album was better than he gets credit for. Katharine McPhee was kind of an absurd runner up. The field was loaded with talent, though, so we have Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, and Bucky Covington, all great.
Season 6 was a low talent or potential group, notwithstanding the placement of Melinda, who could sing circles around Archuletta, who is her more successful heir. At least we got the uniqueness of Blake Lewis in second.
This appeared to be a better season, but it also appeared the show was trying to make it so by having planted already pseudo-established talent, to the point of most of the top ten being clear or allegedly handpicked plants. The ways in which the producers and judges play the public to try to get outcomes they prefer, let alone the fact they can throw out votes and do whatever if they really want, has never been more obvious.
Yet it’s kind of boring. Jason’s gotten some of the support he has because he’s so different. Archuletta is boring. Syesha is mostly boring. Chikezie is… oh wait! Amanda is… oh wait! There were predictions of a Cook versus Castro finale just because you’d have it down to the two least boring contestants.
Plant or not, if David Cook wins, I’ll feel like it’s not a total loss. Yet I could wish he doesn’t, so he can escape the machine sooner.
My impressions of the early seasons, having not watched them, are that season 1 had a decent cast but got incredibly lucky with Kelly Clarkson, who made Idol as much as Idol made her. Season 2 had a great cast, but the Clay versus Ruben controversy, which I was aware of even as a non-viewer, lost a lot of people. Again, though, Clay’s success made it look good and paved the way for non-winners to have big careers later. Season 3 may have had some talent, but Fantasia was an absurd winner, despite being who the powers that be wanted. Just my impressions from here. I think it’s telling that my brother said “you still watch that?” in a way that sounded like he’d watched early seasons and gotten jaded, be it by season 2 or season 3.
If most seasons aren’t that good, heck, that means this one could be considered one of the better years, and that may hold even if Achoo-Bot wins. They’ll get their desired Clay McMelinda, while we get to see what Cook, Johns, Chikezie, never thought I’d say it but Carly too, and maybe Amanda produce going forward.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Jay: American Idol 2008 Top 5
This was the first episode in which they did two songs each, which is cool in that you get to see more of what the contestants can do. However, they changed up the judging in a way I don’t recall seeing before. All five sang, then the judges had a quick shot at commenting on the first performances, with a more extensive chance given to comment on second or both after each second performance.
In a classic for the ages, Paula Abdul referred to her notes - have we ever seen them making notes during an on-air performance? - and muttered about how hard it was, then went on to critique Jason, who’d gone first, on both his first and his not-yet-aired second song. Oops. You could see Ryan Seacrest looking off to the side for producer guidance, and then others jumping in for the save.
Oddly enough, I don’t think it’s as much of a scandal as some might. We already know that the judges generally hear the performances from rehearsal, even if they aren’t in the audience at the time. We already know that the judges can’t always hear the live performances as well as they might, so the rehearsal review is a tool to help them know what to expect, given the chances there won’t be much difference. We’ve seen instances where a judge was clearly talking about a different performance than what we saw live, because there was a difference, but if they pay enough attention it can generally work.
Now, Paula is getting paid waaaay too much to get so confused, pain meds or not, but I don’t think her comments were scripted, as some might assume. It’s most likely notes taken from rehearsals and confusion due to the change of procedure.
It was still classic. And she still gets paid too much for that level of spectacle. If it was scripted, it was done so with the intent of scandal to drive ratings.
They want Jason Castro gone. He’s trying hard to oblige. Forever in Bluejeans was okay, and suited him, but this is the top five. He barely belonged in the top ten.
David Cook risked singing stuff nobody knew. It was good. Possibly only second best, this week, but you know what you can expect of him when he produces an album.
Brooke’s first performance reminded me of Kristy Lee’s Eight Days a Week, which is a really bad thing. If Jason is safe, Brooke won’t be, despite her second number being okay. For I’m a Believer, which she wouldn’t have been my pick to sing, it’s as if someone told her she had to smile and look happy and look at the audience. So she did, in an artificial-looking way. It’s perhaps bad that she did perhaps my two favorites of the whole catalog, and ones I love to sing. I thought whichever judge it was said I Am, I Said was hard to sing was nuts. For that, she was back to hiding comfortably behind the piano, which doesn’t an idol make, however pleasantly sung. Perhaps she should return to the Arizona Shore.
David Archuletta was remarkably weak, but he seemed to have gotten better this week at looking at the audience and seeming engaging. It was just okay, certainly not the performance of the anointed. No chance of a shock elimination, but I was seeing visions of a finale between David Cook and…
Syesha has completely transformed. If she’d turned on the star power sooner, people wouldn’t be on elimination watch, even rooting for her to go despite good performances. She earned a career last week. This week was like the “and I mean it” underscore to that, and some. I don’t think she’d be eliminated this week, even if Dial Idol weren’t showing her in first place. Even David Cook wasn’t up there with her this week. It was a four tier week, with her at the top, and the bottom occupied by Jason and Brooke.
Bottom line, it’s Jason and Brooke at the bottom. I’d like to say Jason will leave, but fan base wise it’d probably be a safer bet to say we’ll have the Brooke meltdown this week. And if it is as much of a meltdown as expected, that would fit perfectly with the Paula gaffe, making it a one-two punch.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Jay: American Idol Top 6
This was a better week than I might have expected. Certainly it was clear cut as to who was bad and good.
David Cook, Syesha Mercado, and Carly Smithson are the top three, though opinions might vary and cases might be made as to what order they would be placed in. Syesha showed where her niche is and bought herself a nice career, even if she somehow went home this week. She performed the song amazingly, while singing it nicely. David showed us just how good his voice actually is, singing straight this time. Carly belted Jesus Christ Superstar, if not perfectly, well and having fun. I could quibble with a couple instances of wrong words. Deb hadn’t seen the original, which I watch regularly, thus knowing the words.
Ironically, David Archuletta was good enough this week, human enough, I typed his name before remembering I always call him the Achoo-Bot. In a twist to the other David singing straight, he made a theater song into pop that you could imagine hearing on radio, even if on a station at the mellow end of the spectrum. I never like him, but this week he was likable. Yet he falls clearly at 4th in my book, which is why the gap between the four and the bottom two is so wide.
Brooke White and Jason Castro are clearly the bottom two. I believe they do switch to two at this point, incidentally. They were so bad, especially Jason, and at that I didn’t think he was as bad as the judges thought, if one of them isn’t going home, it’s a travesty. Dial Idol had Carly handily at the bottom, but they have been hopelessly inaccurate, so that means nothing.
We’ll see what happens tonight…
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Jay: Short American Idol Post
The kids seem to have made it their mission to ruin my experience watching American Idol, or better yet, prevent it. Last night they extended that to prevented my writing a quick post. Granted, not like they were preventing me from writing a resume or something, but…
At least the baby has been good about it. He was funny, totally hating Elliot Yamin’s performance, kneeling there and babbling angry-sounding sentence-length reactions that didn’t have coherent words, but sounded on the verge of it. He liked Mariah Carey’s excessively long but acceptable and “she’s clearly a good singer” performance.
So now the results are known, I’ll just say that it’s even clearer this week that this season the people in charge are taking the voting to be suggestions. Except… hard to believe Carly would have been spared from the bottom 3, even if they decided Kristy’s time was up. And it may actually have been the voters, and Dial Idol can no longer be considered anything close to a reflection of how the voting skewed. Without regard to that, I did predict Carly and Kristy as bottom 2 the night of the show, with Carly going home. Kristy being bottom only on the idea Brooke had a bigger fan base and Kristy had too much anti-fan built up from her earlier struggles. Which makes Carly not even being in the bottom 3 the bigger surprise. I liked it fine, but she has too much negativity around her. If the votes were used, and the results actually reflected in what happened on the elimination, then there was probably backlash for the judges trashing Carly.
Heh. That’s what I already said, so I guess I called it, and should ignore those who purport to predict. Here is what I had in the editor toward my post last night, most of which is direct copy and paste, typos, shorthand and all, from my Twitter live-tweeting. Twitter entries (tweets) are limited to 140 characters each:
I’m trying to throw together a quick American Idol post before the results show, which I can then append with reaction to results, which would make it briefly spoilerish if you’re in a delayed time zone. I can do this because I live-tweeted the show last night with Twitter, via the Blackberry, and have my brief thoughts as I watched. This puts them together and expands on them slightly.
Achoo-bot sounded *good* to me. It’s his kind of music, but sounded better than usual to me.
Forgot MC covered Without You, Badfinger originally. Great job by Carly. Henry loved it.
They really want Carly to go, even if they are somewhat right.
Syesha sounded fine, if you like the genre. Judges happy. Simon disagrees about obscure song pick.
a song I know? Brooke rules accompanying self on piano. Liked a lot. She’s beoing cute too.
Kristy keeps developing more star presence. And nice singing. She went from lucky to be there still to belonging.
MC is impressing as a mentor. Great attitude to revamps of stuff she wrote.
David Cook is outstanding. Wow. He’s as commercial as judges say. Simon spot on.
This is arguably the best Jason Castro has been yet. Randy was nuts, Simon good points.
Going home, Kristy or Carly. Not Carly only if voting backfire of judge trashing plus Kristy overdue.
So there you have it. Chances are it’ll be Carly next week. Chances are that, barring anything odd happening, it’ll be a finale between the Davids.
Deb observed that the public is more interested in rock than the Idol powers that be think they are or want them to be. Country goes well, but the bland, generic pop does not. Amanda may not be quite what people are looking for, and Robby may have been a pretender, but Michael Johns should sell, David Cook will sell well, and Carly Smithson will sell well in that genre. Her prior deal was the record people trying to manufacture something that wasn’t her. I’ve gone from suspicion and dislike to being intrigued by what she might produce down the road.
That said, because of the way Idol works and what Idol wants, they are best off getting Archuletta. They’ll get their Clay-like winner who will sell relatively well. David, Carly, Michael, Brooke, Kristy, Chikezie, Amanda are all better off not to have won it, so they have the fame but more freedom to be who they are. Then again, to their credit and his, Taylor’s album was about what you’d expect, and was good. It’s just that his being voted in didn’t translate to sales and excitement, and the album wasn’t amazing enough for a breakthrough.
Anyway, this was supposed to be brief, and I have absurd amounts to do. E-mails, dishes, another store run (didn’t realize we needed diapers, and they’re cheaper and better at Stop & Shop than Hannaford), site stuff, resume stuff, e-mails, more posts here and there, etc.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Jay: On Today’s Menu
I have to run stuff to the post office, as people have been cleaning Deb out. Like 1/3 of the Etsy shop and several items from the book shop, and there was only one order ready to ship before the post office closed yesterday. I’m looking at 7 first class or priority packages, and packing slips for a couple more.
That’s first, because it’s about prompt shipping for which the shops have become known.
Then I need to do thank you e-mails. Lots of thank you e-mails. Sometime in the next day, I figure. We’re just… astonished.
I also need to do my planned “hire us” item on the sidebar, which would have been better done before yesterday’s post went up. I didn’t ask for anyone to link it, and have no idea how the heaviest of hitters knew about it almost as soon as it was posted. So I didn’t expect anywhere near the traffic or response.
I have an American Idol post to write.
Maybe not today, but very soon there will be an edition of CotC. While I may still call it a fundraising edition, and if that catches a few more people who’ve appreciated or are attached to it then great, the impetus now is that so many people donated here and mentioned CotC in conjunction. Plus I’m going to burst if I don’t do something soon with all the links I personally have been accumulating, let alone whatever is in the mailbox I haven’t looked at lately.
It’s a good day to put the resume and/or work solicitations in more places.
I need to look at some information worth knowing in advance of a likely phone screening for the far away support job possibility. No matter how massive your background, it seems there’s always a “really like you to know...” that you don’t, or have not even heard of.
Okay, off I go. Just wanted to fix this stuff in my mind and put forth what’s up, for the curious, as something besides birthdays.
Oh yeah! Need to post about Henry aging a few months yesterday, and how cool that was.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Jay: Shock! Dismay!
Time to get around to my American Idol post-elimination commentary.
Michael Johns? Are people nuts?
Not that he could ever win, and not that he was consistently good. In fact, he had trouble most weeks when he did anything but Queen or the Doors. However, his rendition of Dream On was good, except a bit of trauma in the high spot at the end. Thing is, he’s a performer. He’s the total package - an “idol,” as it were.
He’ll do fine. I don’t think the rumors that he’s a prick who has screwed over previous bandmates will stop that, even if true. People recover from far worse to win fame and fortune.
The other part of it was the pretty firm prediction in some quarters that while Syesha and Carly had the lowest number of votes, nobody would be eliminated. I wasn’t buying that, and sure enough, it wasn’t true. It was a one time thing, last year when Idol Gives Dreck doubled as an elimination show, sparing the negative. Ryan Seacrest certainly seemed to be playing it as if that could be the outcome, the way he did all the safes first. Still, it was obvious there would be an elimination, and Carly was toast. Johns was so good, he overcame being pointedly placed in the death slot.
I’d like to trust the person who said that of they come right out and say that the person leaving had “the lowest number of votes,” there’s no finagling and we can believe it. However, that was also the first source of the “no elimination” inside information for this week. I have sometimes wondered if there are weeks when the actual vote totals are treated merely as suggestions by the powers that be.
All the shock aside, he’d have been lucky to make it to 4th place, tops. This year 8th places is impressive.
That leaves Carly as the next most likely, depending exactly how Syesha does and how demographics play out, with Kristy or Jason always possible in a given week. We can’t really predict until they sing, and then it can be sketchy. The only truly safe one until the finale, barring sufficiently public evil antics by Dadchuletta, is the Achoo-Bot. Who I finally realized reminds me of Michael Jackson when he talks. And didn’t MJ have a father rumored to be overbearing?
Apparently next week’s episode is the music of some generic pop woman who never had a hit that reached my consciousness, and whose prominence would barely be known to me if not for the judges always telling contestants not to sing her stuff. Ironic.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Jay: American Idol Top… Where Were We Again?
Very quickly, since I don’t have time but need something to post and it’s traditional, I am going to try to convert my live tweets into a unified post on last night’s American Idol, at the end of which I predicted Carly and Syesha for the bottom two. I’m guessing this may be the week they move to having two, not one, but I don’t remember definitely from last year.
They are trying to kill Michael Johns by slotting him first, but with that song no way. The judges are funny. Paula making sense? Weird. While Randy is on some kind of good stuff. Anyway, Johns was great for most of Dream On. The high part at the end was for the dogs, as the mostly impressed Paula noted, but I loved it in general.
From Whitney to covering a prior, not even very good idol. Syesha, did you never watch AI before? You avoid covering prior contestants. You don’t gratuitously do black diva stuff because - well, because. That said, Syesha was good, and Randy is still on crack. Can’t compare, because luckily I never heard Fantasia’s version. I wonder if she sings it to he shishter.
Jason Castro is nuts to choose that song, and with a ukelele!? Paging Tiny Tim. And yet it works. With cheesy Over The Rainbow, Jason sounds better than he’s been. Deb observed he’d be a good kid’s singer. Indeed.
Poor SarahK, having Kristy Lee Cook as a doppelganger. Or not, she is kind of cute. More so than I remember her being before. Great job by Kristy, and a nice eff you lyric, “sing it anyway.” Totally safe. Simon makes a good point, that she looks like a star, which was what I’d picked up on. If she’d been impressive from the beginning, some people would be betting on a Kristy versus Achoo-bot finale. Dial Idol has her in third, handily, and safe, so she’s not going to get the shock elimination on a good week treatment.
It almost seems that voting in any given week is more heavily influenced by who was actually good than we have seen seen some seasons.
David Cook is making an obscure, odd song totally work. More or less. He’s just great. Not his best this time, but good enough. Looked like maybe Paula was trying to call attention to the cancer brother thing, which he has been loathe to pimp for sympathy. Dial Idol has him third from the bottom, which is maybe not out of line relative to performances this week, but seems low on the basis of how much an accumulated fan base has to do with results. I could wonder if he might be a shock elimination, to get him back to his life and his brother without actually being the lowest, as has allegedly been done in the past for scandals or need to leave situations.
Simon has been into the thesaurus, so indulgent is pompous now. Perhaps it was. Simon overall seemed more thoughtful tonight than usual.
Carly does Queen. Hmm. I like it. She seems very Heart to me. She’s still sleeveless… Simon is right about Carly sounding angry. And she could be in trouble, versus the decent field tonight. This morning Dial Idol has her in last. I was amused that Simon complemented her appearance.
Achoo-bot can still sing. He was worried about dad approving the song choice, or whatever you can read between the clear lines. He’s boinking angels? Is that allowed? And an off note, wow. He may be an awful entertainer who sings skillfully, and thus the object of ridicule, but hearing an off note so clearly is unusual. Archuletta just needs a soul, then he’ll be a performer. Plus that’s probably a prerequisite for angelic relations.
Brooke likes Tapestry. Good girl. Carole King is a natural fit for her. Not my favorite tonight, seems a tad stiff, but… She’s a potential surprise elimination, if she doesn’t have enough fan base support or people just assume she’s safe. Considering she’s been a favorite for final two, or at least three, that would really be shocking. Brooke was okay. Pleasant but not memorable, as the judges say. Pimp slot helps, anyway.
Hard to say whether it will be Syesha or Carly. Could be a surprise, and be neither. Guess we’ll find out Thursday, after skipping a night for Idol Gives Dreck. At least it’s not disguised as a results show this year, so it’s easy to skip. Unless they want to send us some money for poor starving children in Massachusetts, in which case we might be persuaded to watch.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Jay: American Idol Top Nine
I didn’t expect to like Dolly Parton night as much as I did, since I am not the proverbial big fan and never heard of most of the songs. Then again, not knowing them eliminates preconceptions.
It has seldom been clearer who should be eliminated, but I said that last week, and of the same person, who was not even in the bottom three. However, this week Dial Idol has Ramiele Malubay so far below everyone else that they are likely to be right, though they’ve adjusted her from red to yellow since I check 2/3 of the way through the voting last night.
I’d have guessed that Jason and perhaps Syesha would be the rest of the bottom 3, but Syesha appears to be safe, and more likely either Kristy or Carly will join Ramiele. Assuming this is a week when they pull out a bottom 3, rather than moving to a bottom 2.
Since I already effectively wrote a post through live tweeting, I’m going to past those comments in here and maybe, or maybe not, embellish on them. Unusually, they reflect exactly what I was thinking at the time, sometimes before or just as a performance ended, without having seen any other comments or recaps, or listened again online.
Brooke is about as good as she’s been. I am unfamiliar with Jolene but liked it. Simon is on crack.
David Cook with Little Sparrow was amazing. Loved the intro with credits for all the cover covers, then emphasis it’s his own this week. Apparently, in news since, he was just recovering from a run to hospital before the show. We wonder if he held back to avoid being noticed too strongly and targeted too early, staying in but under the radar.
Ramiele was okay dawg, better than other weeks, out of breath, straining because too fast for her. Simon’s crack wore off. In the end, she was still the weakest. I wish I could have seen what Chikezie would do with this week.
Jason was a lot better this week, upbeat for once, yet still folky. Not very commercial, but okay. A small market, but he could make a living, tincluding small venue tours.
Carly was good, better to me than Dolly’s version. Not something I’d buy, but it fit her and showed off her voice. Simon’s right regarding the wardrobe. It’s been bad and not getting better. Proud of the tattoo is fine, but a lot of voting America is still put off by seeing it, and that’s not the only problem.
Archuletta reminded me of a smarmy fake TV preacher in intro. Achoo-Bot sounded fine, but too old for him. He’s good at faking emotion when he sings, but it’s clearly a trained thing, essentially acting. He was good enough to give the judges legitimate pimp opportunity, but he doesn’t resonate with an awful lot of people out there.
This is the second week in row can see what they saw in Kristy originally, when she was one of the planted top contenders. Nice job, if unmemorable as Simon said. Carly, see Kristy’s clothes. I came away thinking she’d be safe, and even if she’s bottom three, she should be. Her voice is so much better to me now, I wonder if she was residually sick for longer than you’d expect from that initial flu problem.
Syesha did that song, okay at start, meh on big part. Should have kept it level throughout, as she seemed to be in a good vocal range for her, but cracked up on the belt. She didn’t hurt herself. Simon was on. Missed the intro because we were crazy enough to have kids. For what it’s worth, Henry ended a few minute meltdown to be engrossed with Syesha’s singing, even though she’s not a cute young blond. Poor kid, he’s completely controllable through the playing of Carmen Rasmussen videos.
Michael Johns shows he’s great without doing Queen or the Doors. Not perfect, but good, entertaining, and charismatic. Heh. Cue the British accent saying “Michael, if this were a charisma competition...”
I then observed that it has to be Ramiele at bottom again, and that the rest of bottom 3 will be Syesha and Jason. As mentioned above, it appears Syesha really did herself no harm, and is unlikely to be bottom three. There could be demographics at play here too.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Jay: Album Watch
So much for the obvious conclusion about who would leave American Idol this week. We’ll miss Chikezie, and will be looking for whatever CD he produces down the line. That’s not a level of appeal I would normally ascribe to a tenth place finisher, but I don’t think he ever recovered with the voters from that top 24 performance and the orange suit.
Kristy’s brilliant strategy gets her into the top 8, at least, because it’s country next week. At which Chikezie would have been good, and Ramiele likely will not.
Process of elimination and who’s who this year gets you a bottom three next week of Ramiele, Jason and Syesha. Bottom three alternate is Carly, who I placed in the middle with Michael. Top four should be the Davids, Kristy, and Brooke. Changing from that likely lineup will take disproportionate performances from some of them. Eliminated? Could be any of the three, but not Michael or Carly if they wind up there somehow.
Then again, there are always shock eliminations, country is a minefield, and the judges don’t like country and will be down on most of the performances.
One more thing, harking back to the title of this post, which was supposed to focus on this week and Chikezie, not next week. Who else might we look for an album from? David Cook, despite our initial dislike, Michael Johns, though with him it’s as much the watching due to his charisma and Jim Morrison vibe, not sure who else. Perhaps Carly, in the end, despite our initial dislike, and depending. We’ll see.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Jay: American Idol Top Ten
I’ve seldom been so sure about who is going home, and that would be Ramiele. There’s no contest otherwise, at least once you factor in fan bases, built momentum, and demographics. The song was too big for her. I’m impressed she did it as well as she did, and had it not been a good night for the field, it could have saved her.
Obviously Jason has been sucking, but has a deeper fan base keeping him there. This week shouldn’t change that, unless we’re getting down to it enough for the fan base to dissipate, and he was better this week. Problematic for him: With three more performances to go, the two of us were ticking through the list of who had already gone, and both forgot he existed. He was a total non-entity half an hour later, forgotten until they showed the recap clips.
Brooke would have to be a lot worse. We lurve her, and so do a lot of people, just for being her. She was better than the judges seemed to think, but pretty predictable. It’s no longer “obvious” the final two might be her versus Achoo. It could instead be a battle of the Davids.
I prefer the original arrangement, and was, as I so often am, surprised that the song was from her so recent year of birth, never having noticed it was covered then. That said, Syesha was as good as she’s been, and showed what she had that made us fans. Will it be enough? Probably to keep her this week.
Chikezie sang brilliantly, has some demographics, did nothing less than what he was advised, only to be slammed by the judges, is personable, likable and memorable, and should be staying regardless of any appearance he might make near the bottom.
Michael Johns should apparently stick to covering Queen and the Doors, since he’s great when he does either of those.
Carly was better than the judges gave her credit for, and it was fascinating to watch the dynamic of them backing off their formerly outrageous support.
Achoo-Bot sang just fine, more upbeat than usual, but I felt like I was at one of those Christian music festivals a former colleague used to attend and get all excited about. The message songs? Not so much. I loved Simon’s zing at Stage Dad, holder of the radio-controlled bot remote. The prom thing was cute, and Achoo seemed a bit more normal than sometimes in the profile and banter.
Kristy Lee was brilliant of song choice. The song is insipid if you pay any attention, but it’s catchy, well-loved, and gets the heartland voters going. She also sang it well, finally showing the much-touted ability that made her one of the too-many-to-sustain plants this season. Just remember, lyrical liberties notwithstanding, the rights already exist, and nobody dies to manufacture them.
David Cook did what I wanted to think was a bizarre version of Billie Jean, which having not been aware of the cover he was covering, I kept expecting to speed up. It was brilliant, showing off his control, singing ability, and vocal quality. It seems to have been one of those watershed performances, to the point where Dial Idol’s results graph shows him, not Achoo, as the runaway number one of the night.
Of course, if you believe Dial Idol, Chikezie goes home, but they’re still in margin of error territory with at least their bottom five. Still, apart from flipping Chikezie to third or fourth from the bottom and Ramiele into the bottom, it seems a pretty accurate reflection of how people did combined with fan bases, trends and demographics.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Jay: Meet The Sadie
Friday, March 21, 2008
Deb: More Amanda, Post-Idol
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Jay: Obligatory Post
Actually, I didn’t have a birthday until I saw one mentioned elsewhere, so I’d planned this to be something for a “no birthdays” morning post.
I was sad but not surprised Amanda Overmeyer was executed last night. Kristy Lee Cook is one lucky country-twanged long-legged hot blond in a short dress. I might prefer to see Amanda to her if I were attending one of the concerts, but I won’t be, it’s not that strong a preference, and this means, as I noted, Kristy needs the performance of her life next week. Though a couple others flopping sufficiently might be enough, if she’s adequate and being cute.
I was shocked that Carly was in the bottom three. She was too good for that, so there has to be some combination of the controversy sucking away votes, people thinking she’s safe, her support not being as strong as I might have thought, or David Archuletta’s lopsided vote totals sucking the oxygen out of the room and making funny things happen with the rest of the totals. Face it, unless there’s enough controversy, backlash, or something, Achoo is the winner and this is a race for second through fourth now.
Today I have to call the nice lady at the hospital whose sole job is to line people up with insurance if they lack it. Because this Republican Socialism thing, it won’t add bureaucracy at all. Probably about the time we’re squared away with free insurance for the poor, I’ll land a job that includes it.
I’ve been meaning to do a giant fundraising edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. It might be worth a few hours of that to fetch a little grocery money or even an additional week of rent and make me think people actually appreciated my efforts all these years. Which I know they did, and not just the few who have expressed an interest in still seeing it or helping. I’ve been told I should emphasize it and look for business development work, or something like that. That may be gotten to soon, before it becomes moot. I’ve been accumulating links for it.
And yeah, fundraiser notwithstanding, you are always welcome to use the PayPal tipjar button, now more than ever. Or use the address for Deb’s, which is actually better, deb at neatlytangled dot com.
It’s so cute. Valerie has taken to putting a mitten on a foot, like a very heavy sock. She just had me put a shoe on the other foot. She loves to change clothes and play dress-up.
Speaking of money, there’s nothing like going to the store with $16 available, needing diapers and groceries, and being focused on eliminating certain things from the diet.
Although we think we have a good idea what is going on with Henry, and what the allergic reaction was about. That and the idea that food proteins consumed by the mother survice intact in breast milk appears to be bogus, if you research it sufficiently.
Still, the discovery that corn, usually corn syrup, is in almost everything was rather startling and something we’d like to start avoiding. It’s also shocking that companies would put known likely allergens in some of the earliest foods one would feed a baby, thinks you buy because they are safe. I’m also wondering about my own levels of food sensitivities, which are not the same as allergies, for which I once tested negative.
I am not only down 29 lbs from my high plateau and 39 lbs from my absolute high (and annoyed it hasn’t budged further for a few days), but also thinner than the current weight would imply. I went from 42 required to falling off to 40 fitting comfortably to 40 wanting to fall off. Which means some of the tighter pants in that size I have somewhere should fit.
This was supposed to be quick.
The job hunting proceeds apace, subject to excitement and interruption and confusion and mild sickness and such. I have to make a list and follow it today. I’ve been doing a lot of networking-related activity.