Archives for March 2009

American Idol, Top 9

People, I scoured the interwebs for two whole minutes this afternoon and tried to find out what tonight’s theme was going to be. But alas, my extensive research was for naught. So tonight I actually had to watch the opening of the show – cheesy intro of the judges and the whole nine yards – to find out that the theme is Top Downloads.

So, um, I have no idea what constitutes a “top download,” but, you know, SURE.

Anoop Desai – “Caught Up” – David and I just sounded like two octogenarians when Anoop announced the title of his song (“HE DO WHAT CAUGHT HUH?”). I’ve never in my life heard of this song, but I don’t think I needed to hear it in order to know that this wasn’t Anoop’s finest hour. What’s so strange about Anoop’s song choices to me is that he seems to pick songs that fight with his strengths. And at a time when he really needs to stand out and do something memorable, he didn’t.

Megan Joy – “Turn Your Lights Down Low” – She is darlin’. She really is. But something is missing when she performs – like, I don’t know, energy. It makes me a little sad, because I think she’s so interesting, but I have yet to connect with anything she’s done in the Top 12. Plus, tonight’s song was super boring. SUPER boring. But did I mention that she’s darlin’?

Danny Gokey – “What Hurts The Most” – The main thing I liked about this performance was that he didn’t sing at top volume the entire time. I actually liked this arrangement better than I like the original Rascal Flatts version. Danny put a laid-back R&B twist on the beginning of the song, and I thought it was great. However, I still contend that I have NO idea what kind of CD he’d record – maybe that’ll get a little more clear in the weeks to come.

Allison Iraheta – “Don’t Speak” – At first I got a little distracted by the bow in her hair because I’m pretty sure that I owned something similar back in 1984. Anyway, I thought the beginning of this song was great – though her guitar playing seemed sort of inconsequential – but the second half of the song was pretty rough around the edges. Also, I’m gonna have to issue a fashion citation for those white sandals (NOT EASTER YET, and also: NOT WITH BLACK LEGGINGS). As I’ve contended all long, Allison’s musical style isn’t really my thing, but she’s remarkably consistent for someone who’s only 16.

Scott MacIntyre – “Just The Way You Are” – Okay. I’m confused. What does a song from the 70s have to do with top downloads? Is that really a top download? Or is it just the song Scott wanted to sing? I used to love listening to my Billy Joel Greatest Hits cassette when I’d drive back and forth to college, so I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan – but Scott didn’t do this song justice. I keep going back to the fact that while he’s perfectly pleasant to listen to, he just isn’t in the same vocal league as most of these contestants. A nice piano bar? YESSSSSSSSS. But American Idol? NOOOOOOOO.

Also: his hair reminded me of Richard Marx. That’s neither here nor there, really, but I just thought I’d share.

Matt Giraud – “You Found Me” – Don’t even get me started about the travesty of Matt being in the bottom two last week. So as a response to that, he’s breaking out The Fray. I don’t know if his strategy is going to resonate with mainstream America, because truth be told I thought the first part of the song was a little hard to follow. Granted, it picked up about a third of the way through, but here’s what I think was the biggest problem with this performance: we’ve gotten conditioned to expect a certain thing from Matt, and this week he did a 180. It didn’t feel nearly as sincere as his performance last week, and as much as I love him (LOVE HIM), I think this was a reactionary misstep.

Buthe’sstillmyfavoriteandIwillvoteforhimasmanytimesasIcan.

Lil Rounds – “I Surrender” – My first thought about this song choice is WHY, WHY DO YOU DO THAT? I feel like Lil is all over the place and jumping into a different genre each week. We got a little glimpse of her soulfulness in the bridge of this song, but for the most part this performance was sort of pitchy and screamy. Why not break out some Mary J. Blige? Or even some Alicia Keys? Here’s my opinion: Lil is trying to be who she thinks the judges want her to be – but in doing that she’s losing some of the qualities that make her so great. I’m still rooting for her, though.

Adam Lambert – “Play That Funky Music” – You know what this performance felt like to me? It felt – vocal acrobatics or no – like it was way more for him than it was for us (I could be totally wrong, of course). And I’m sorry, but the only way this version of that song would be “current” is if it were a part of some sort of hot new Broadway musical featuring talking animals who have overtaken a disco. The end.

[HEY! IT’S MANDISA! HEY MANDISA!]

Kris Allen – “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” – THAT WAS STINKIN’ BRILLIANT. I bet I watch it five more times before I go to sleep tonight. And unlike about half of the other contestants, Kris seems to know exactly who he is as an artist, and he’s staying true to what he knows every single week. LOVED IT.

In the end I don’t think I really understood what tonight’s theme was supposed to be – because it pretty much turned into sing-what-you-like. And that’s fine. But without a more specific theme, the show felt all over the place. I thought Kris was the best hands-down, and I thought Megan and Scott were the weakest links. I think Matt’s in a little bit of danger, too.

What say you, internets?

If you’d like to add your own AI post to the Mr. Linky, please leave the permalink to your specific post and not your general blog URL.

The Fusion Isn’t The Only Thing That’s Frenzied

As long as I’ve known him – which at this point is the better part of three decades – my husband has loved video games, and with the exception of the PS3, he’s owned every major game playing console at one point or another. I, on the other hand, don’t even know what you call the piece of equipment that hooks up to the TV so that you can see the games you put in the disc drive thingy, thus my awkward use of the made-up term “game playing console.”

Given how far behind I am on the terminology learning curve, it probably isn’t a surprise that I’m not much of a video game person. I just don’t have the patience to sit in front of a TV for hours on end while I fight a series of space battles in order to return an orphaned alien named Thorzino back to his home planet of Microtundria. I would much rather use that time to do more worthwhile things, things like reading blogs and perusing celebrities’ Twitter feeds and watching marathons of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

However.

Before the young’un was born, David bought a game called Fusion Frenzy for the Xbox, and after watching D and our friend Benji play a round or four hundred, I decided I’d give it a try. Lo and behold, after a few weeks of obsessive consistent practice, I became pretty good at it (for the 2008 version of the same phenomenon, please see: Pathwords). I really looked forward to playing it every night after supper.

And then I had a baby and never played again.

The Wii has been a big hit in our house for the last couple of years, and every once in awhile I’ll feel all daring and kicky and jump in and play a game with my fellas. In fact, a few weeks ago I tried to play Mario Kart with Alex, and y’all, I was so horrible at it that my own child looked at me sympathetically, patted my shoulder and said, “It’ll be okay, Mama – you just need a little practice.” After our game was over I told him I was sorry that I wasn’t a very strong Mario Kart competitor, and he said, “Mama, has there ever been a video game that you really liked to play?”

WELL. Funny you should ask. Because AS A MATTER OF FACT, YES.

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So I told him all about Fusion Frenzy and how his daddy and I used to play into the wee hours of the morning. He was fascinated. Then he asked if maybe we could play sometime, and since it’s totally a family game, I said that would be great. And then I started to sweat because OH, SWEET MERCY, THE PRESSURE.

This past Sunday afternoon Alex announced that he would LOVE to play Fusion Frenzy with me, so I asked David to load the game and put the TV on Mach 4 or Channel Frequency 2.09 or whatever setting the TV has to be on in order for the video games to show up on the screen. Once the game was up and running, I selected my favorite Fusion character, Naomi. Naomi always wears a bright orange track suit with a cropped jacket and platform sneakers, and I think that is so hysterical because it’s pretty much the exact same outfit I wear in the afternoons when I run my errands before I head to hip-hop dance practice. She also has jet-black hair and likes to kick people. Our resemblance is uncanny.

Alex thought the whole game was pretty much the most wonderful invention man has ever known (lots of people jumping and running through lots of tubes on lots of spinning surfaces = gold), and he was completely surprised by the fact that I was sort of decent at it. I was rusty, of course, but I managed to hang in there, and by the end of our four rounds, do you know what happened?

Why, Naomi came in first and stood in the winner’s circle – that’s exactly what happened. She stood in the winner’s circle with her bright orange track suit and her platform sneakers and she owned it. Oh yes she did.

Alex was playing as a skateboarder named Zac.

Zac came in third.

Maybe Zac needs a little practice.

I really did try to contain my excitement about beating my kindergartner at a video game, but ohmyword, I was BESIDE MYSELF. Now granted, since we’re trying to teach the little guy good sportsmanship and all that, I didn’t do a victory dance or anything; I just sat in my chair and said things like, “Good game, buddy! You did a great job!”

But in my head I was running around in circles, giving chest-bumping high-fives to anybody who’d take them and shouting things like “MAMA’S STILL GOT IT!” and “MAMA HAS MAD SKILLZ!”

And in addition to mad skillz, Mama also has a deep wellspring of widsom and maturity.

Clearly.

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 03.30.09

One of my favorite things in life is to laugh until I hurt. I’m talking about laughing so hard that you feel flat exhausted afterwards, almost like you’ve been running for a really long time except that you haven’t been running because why would you bother with running if you could sit around and laugh really hard instead?

Clearly this sort of logic is the very thing that stands in between me and my fitness goals.

Anyway, today I thought I’d link to some stuff that makes me laugh out loud. Because every once in awhile Mondays just need to be laughy.

At least that is my philosophy.

So, a few of my favorite “Saturday Night Live” moments of all time ever:

This Lawrence Welk sketch makes me howl. I posted it once before when my links were on a separate page, but it’s so hilarious that it’s worth re-posting.

– Three words: Mary Katherine Gallagher. Still funny after all these years.

– Maybe it’s because I relate so well to The Awkward, but I love me some Judy Grimes.

– I don’t know what it is about Amy Poehler in this funky New York style skit, but she CRACKS ME UP. YESSSSSSSSSSS. NOOOOOOOOOOO. There’s some (mild) not-so-family-friendly language in this one, so MIND THE LITTLE EARS.

Well, That’s Very Nice Of Them To Say

Several months ago I received an email from a faithful commenter named Angela, and her email contained a picture that made me laugh out loud. In fact, I’ve been meaning to tell you about it ever since it arrived in my inbox, but then I got sidetracked, and I’M SORRY, PEOPLE, I AM OBVIOUSLY “RUNNING BEHIND” ON MY “DEADLINES.”

Anyway.

Angela went to Japan about three years ago, and a boutique there caught her eye. So she took a picture. And back in the fall, she sent that picture to me.

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It’s been months since I first saw this picture, and even now, I have no words.

No words.

Just deep, abiding joy in the center of my soul.

Edited to add – because I am a sucker for the clarity: I didn’t think this had anything to do with me or my silly blog. I just thought the shop name was funny and it made me so happy that someone who reads here took the time to snap a picture. That’s all. Now do carry on and have a lovely day.

Sometimes The Simplest Explanations Are The Best

A couple of months ago my friend Merritt flew in for an all-too-short visit. But since Merritt’s trip coincided with our friend Melissa’s birthday, Melissa and a couple of other friends – all from the days when we used to layer multiple pairs of colored socks before we put on our Reeboks – drove over from Mississippi. We had an absolute blast doing all sorts of fun things.

For example, we sat in my living room and laughed until we cried. Then we sat in my kitchen and laughed until we cried. Then we ordered take-out and laughed until we cried. And for kicks, just because we like to mix it up a little bit, we also drank coffee and laughed until we cried.

It was a good time.

Saturday night we decided that a little sushi was in order, so we headed down to my very favorite sushi place. For some reason the service was mind-numbingly slow, so we had plenty of time to read every single word on the menu. At some point in our reading Merritt got very tickled, and when I asked her what in the world was so funny, she pointed to her menu and said, “Look.”

I know the picture is blurry, so I’ll make it easy for you:

Donburi
A bowl of steamed rice with some other food put on top of it.

Y’all. We got so tickled.

Because here’s the thing: whoever wrote that menu isn’t trying to oversell anything, and I can’t even tell you how much I love that. There isn’t one ounce of pretense in that description. I mean, if you think about it, there’s really only so much you need to know when ordering food, and in this case the complete absence of flowery, descriptive language made me want to stand up, ask if I could see the person who wrote the menu, then start a slow clap that would gradually catch on from table to table until every single patron was on his or her feet, cheering wildly, and the whole restaurant basically resembled the final game in Hoosiers. I wanted to hoist the menu writer up to our shoulders, run into the parking lot, and high five until we couldn’t see straight. The whole nine yards.

Something about that menu description has stayed with me, and it’s provided all manner of amusement when I’m cooking supper every night – lest I get a little too big for my culinary britches. Pizza? Well, it’s really just a piece of dough with some other food put on top of it. Hamburgers? Two pieces of bread with some stuff in between. Chicken parmesan? A piece of chicken covered with some sauce and some cheese.

So. What are y’all having for supper tonight?

Because here? We’re having a plate of noodles with some other stuff put on top.

It is sure to be delicious.

This Is A Dream That I’ve Had Since Lunch And I’m Not Giving Up On It Now

All righty. I’m going to try again with the whole blogging-The-Office thing, even though last week I got super-frustrated because I felt like Michael’s likeability factor was at an all-time low. I’ve decided that “The Office” is way more enjoyable when Michael has a love interest, because being in love makes him seem more human. And less bitter. And less callous. And etc. and so forth and so on.

Plus, we don’t have the tension between Jim & Pam anymore, and with the absence of Dwight / Angela / Andy, it’s been hard to connect to the stories of characters who are, for the time being, sort of basking in their misery.

But I have my fingers crossed that tonight will be decidedly less unpleasant, and so, with a big ole dose of shiny-happy optimism, here we go.

1. “He finally has a story we really want to hear – and he knows it.”

2. “I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do…I’m gonna give it a ‘ho-o, hey-ey, ho-o.'”

3. “Any really good head hunter will storm your village at sunset and cut off your head with a ceremonial knife.”

4. “Is that what ‘soon’ means to you? Then come back soon.”

5. “BANDIT! NO! NO NO NO!”

6. “It’s monster.com. SINGULAR.”

7. “My German is pretty industrial and mostly religious.”

8. “We’re really tight. We’re like the Kardashians.”

9. “There was a sundae bar. I didn’t have any – you know, to stay trim.”

10. “She’s such a special person. She’s turning 50 this year!”

11. “I”m going with him.”

12. “Kevin, I want you on phones.”
“Phones?”

So this was better – although Michael’s desperation when he crawled on his belly through the office made my heart hurt a little bit. Still, there was a sweetness to Pam’s realization that she was at a dead end and then deciding to do something about it, even if following Michael only leads her to a brand new dead end. And sweet mercy, the Angela / Charles / Kelly triangle is hilarious – but for the love of pete, we need more Andy. And we need it now.

What did y’all think?